I have visited many asian countries and some european countries already but I think that the only country that I’ve enjoyed the most (aside from Spain) is Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka may not have the biggest buildings like many first world countries have and the most stunning temples like that in Cambodia and Thailand but they have the most welcoming and friendliest people on the planet! This is probably one of the few countries that I plan on visiting again and again and again. This place is just amazing.

No amount of huge commercial budget would top on the warm personality and friendliness of Sri Lankan people. My travel to Sri Lanka is like a visit to a spa. You know the feeling.

Attractions

Sri Lanka has a number of tourist attractions. I’ve visited quite a few including Kandy, Dambulla, the ancient city of Sigiriya, and Polonnaruwa. I only stayed for a week so I never get the chance to visit other places in the south.

I took an Air Asia flight from Manila to Kuala Lumpur (KL). From KL, I took another flight to Colombo. My friend Mike and I met a Filipino-Sri Lankan guy (his mom’s a Filipina, and father a Sri Lankan). He doesn’t speak tagalog but he looks very Filipino. He became our friends so that when we get to Colombo airport they took us to the nearest bank to have our money changed to the local currency before we take a bus going to Dambulla.

Trip to Dambulla

The bus ride from colombo to Dambulla was an excruciating 5-6 hour bus drive with no aircon – BUT EXCITING. In fact, the first cultural encounter happened there and it was magic.

Bus in sri lanka

Bus situation going to my hotel in Dambulla. The calvo guy, just right below the red bag in the upper compartment is me. ;D

The driving skills of Filipino bus drivers pale in comparison to Sri Lankans. I was ready to die. In fact, I gave my bank account’s password to my sister just in case something horrible happens. LOL. It’s crazy. There was a mixture of amazement, bewilderment, disconcertion or whatever in the eyes of locals the moment we stepped in the bus. Everyone was curious. But I was hungry so I didn’t care.

Typical bus in Sri Lanka

Here’s a typical bus in Sri Lanka.

The scene in the bus is familiar: with regular stops come food vendors pressing their way through the sea of standing passengers. The scent of street food is always inviting and I would say that they taste REALLY good – just try them at your own risk. The way the food is served, with bare hands, is discouraging but you’ll get used to it. I never got sick anyway. Fun!

Street food encounter

I tried the first curry and chilli nuggets sold by a vendor and ate it while the locals look at me with inquisitive eyes. The moment I took the first bite and expressed by “ummmm” and a little smile of approval, people were relieved and looked at me with enthusiasm, with their smiles extending ear to ear. Lovely indeed! Sri Lanka is full of love.

I sit with a family of three and another guy on my left who was very willing to show me every little tourist-grade visuals on the street for me to take pictures. I was willing at first but grew tired after 2 hours of non-stop picture taking. They’re always ready for the camera and would be very willing for groupies and selfies. ;D

tuktuk driver in dambulla, sri lanka

The kindest tuktuk driver who became my friend during my stay in Dambulla.

English is a challenge for many locals in the rural areas so I end up doing sign language to some of the people I tried to communicate with in the bus. The ones near me are very willing to give me food, too. I was willing to try them all so I got a taste of the many street food in there. My heart is full.

food in sri lanka

My first meal in Sri Lanka. This one’s good.

I woke up by a gentle touch on my shoulder by the same picture-enthusiastic guy near me. I was lucky my stuff were safe. He said he’s been checking on them while I was asleep. ;D See how friendly and trustworthy many Sri Lankans are.

I would create a separate post for each of the towns/cities I’ve visited in Sri Lanka. Let this post serve as a prelude to the many exciting stories I will share with all of you in the coming days.

Life is short; travel whenever you can. Most importantly, travel with someone you love.

waiting shed in sri lanka

That beautiful waiting shed. I want this thing!

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Camarines Sur hides precious gems and one of them is Caramoan. For most people, this place is rather unheard of until it became the location of the 26th season of Survivor – The Survivor Caramoan.

How to get there

You can go to Caramoan, Camarines Sur either by land or air. Book a plane ticket from Manila Airport to Naga or visit one of the bus terminals in Araneta Center Cubao, in Quezon City with their fleets bound for Naga.

My friends and I took the Deluxe bus from Cubao to Naga. Took us around 9 hours to get there. Great to travel by night and wake up to your destination the day after. Cool beans.

Here’s a numbered list to make the instruction easier:

  1. From Araneta Center, Cubao, take a bus bound for Naga.
  2. From Naga bus terminal, take an aircon van (Filcab) to Sabang Port.  Fare usually costs PhP100. Travel time is around 1 hour and 30 mins or less.
  3. From Sapang Port,  take a boat that goes to Guijalo Port. Fare costs 120 pesos at the time of writing. Travel time takes around 1 hour and 45 minutes.
  4. From Guijalo Port, take a tricycle going to your hotel.

Here are some of the pics I took during the trip. You need lots of sunscreen here as the sun can be scorching hot in the afternoon. The people of Caramoan are one of the nicest people in the planet in my opinion. Everyone addresses you with “po” or “opo” even if they are way older than you. They are just so polite! The food is great and it’s inexpensive. You’ll love it here!

Caramoan, Camarines Sur

Caramoan, Camarines Sur

Caramoan, Camarines Sur

Caramoan, Camarines Sur

Caramoan, Camarines Sur

Plain white sand! :)

Caramoan, Camarines Sur

Caramoan, Camarines Sur

Caramoan, Camarines Sur

So many islands!

Caramoan, Camarines Sur

Yes, this is how you have your picture taken in one of the islands. LOL

Caramoan, Camarines Sur

Caramoan, Camarines Sur

Caramoan, Camarines Sur

With one of our local guides.

Caramoan, Camarines Sur

We visited the location of the Survivor Caramoan.

Caramoan, Camarines Sur

Caramoan, Camarines Sur

Caramoan, Camarines Sur

Amazing corals! :) Fun!

Caramoan, Camarines Sur

Caramoan, Camarines Sur

Atop of Our Lady of Peace Grotto. Witness the breathtaking view of the entire Caramoan from here. The 500 steps is just worth it!

Caramoan, Camarines Sur

Caramoan, Camarines Sur

Lovely, isn’t? I’ll be back!

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Bohol Travel Tips, Guide, and More

September 25, 2013

The province of Bohol is a group of islands located in the Central Visayas Region close to other major and economically important islands of the Philippines such as Cebu and Leyte. When people hear Bohol there conjures images of the famous Chocolate Hills and tarsiers, dubbed to be the world’s smallest primate and lives endemically […]

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Toledo, Spain: Travel Tips, Guide, and More

August 15, 2013

Toledo, the capital of the autonomous community Castile-La Mancha, sits 70km south of Madrid, Spain’s Capital. The entire municipality of Toledo was declared World Heritage site by UNESCO on 1986 giving you an idea of the rich monumental and cultural heritage existing in the region. My visit in the summer of 2013 (June-July) allowed me […]

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Vigan, Ilocos Sur Travel Tips and More

May 3, 2013

The trip to Vigan is a one-of-a-kind experience that you shouldn’t miss for it transports you back into the 16th century. it is important to know that Vigan was declared as one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Site due to its well-preserved Spanish colonial towns. What’s unique about Vigan is that it not only showcases European […]

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Goodbye Tatang, Dad…I’ll Miss You…

April 17, 2013

March 28, Thursday, was an unforgettable day for me and my family. My father died peacefully but the events which came before that were more painful that one can ever imagine especially for those who haven’t lost a loved one yet. My relationship with my father was better than I can describe it. I’m not […]

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Mount Pinatubo Travel Tips and More

January 29, 2013

Mount Pinatubo is one of Philippine’s natural wonders. The “sleeping volcano” took many lives when it erupted back in 1991. Now, two decades after that powerful, killer blast Mount Pinatubo has transformed itself into one beautiful, unique tourist destination. I was invited by a few travel buddies to join them in this one-of-a-kind trekking experience. […]

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City of Smiles: Bacolod, Negros Occidental Travel Tips and More

November 30, 2012

Bacolod is the heart and capital of Negros Occidental province in the Philippines and is home to the famous MassKara festival which happens every 3rd week of October. My trip to Bacolod was rather unplanned. Booked a ticket on the same day I went there and just literally trolled into the city with no clear […]

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Puerto Princesa Palawan Travel Tips

October 21, 2012

My trip to Palawan has been one of the most memorable trips I’ve had in years. Palawan is perhaps the Philippines’ last frontier. Dense forest, crystal clear water and protected marine life, Palawan is definitely the place to visit to loosen up. So let me give you some travel tips to give you an idea […]

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Boracay is World’s Best Island: Tips Guide and More

July 28, 2012

Recently romping up as the “World’s Best Island” by Travel+Leisure magazine this year, Boracay is definitely an island to hop on to among beach bums out there. My two week stay in Boracay has been the most exciting vacation I had in years. I’ve been here twice and I just can’t enough of this beautiful […]

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