2Go Travel

 

Brief

Philippines is a nation with plenty different islands 7,000+ to be exact. Now to connect all these islands there needs to be some sort of way to get around, the islands are far apart so bridges would prove to be very expensive and ugly for the country, airfare is possible but may be too expensive if for some, so there is boat transportation. ‘2Go’ formally known as ‘2Go travels’ is a passenger ferry company in the Philippines, based in manila. The shipping liner has the most inter-island fleet in the Philippines  and connects from many islands within the 3 different region, Visayas, Luzon and Mindanao.

Cost

‘2Go’ like many other transportations have different classes (called accommodation), and the higher the accommodation, the more expensive the ticket will be. The accommodations are, ‘Mega/ Super Value’, ‘ Tourist class’, ‘ Cabin class’, ‘Suite room’ and States room’. The higher the accommodation the more comfortable the journey, the value class will be the cheapest (depending on destination) it could cost an average of 1,000php (£15). Cabin class and tourist class will on average just be an addition of 200php (£3), lastly the stateroom and suite room which is most expensive at an average of 3,000php (£40+) would be on the region 3x that of a value class however you can be confident whatever the price it’ll be much cheaper than an airfare. However the prices I stated was for a Manila to Cebu trip, every different destination will vary in prices.

Other costs that may be expected are environmental fees and terminal fees which are all dependant on the port or location you are visiting. Food is free with your ticket however drinks and other refreshments are not so you will need a bit of cash to spare.

Experience

My journey with ‘2Go’ was an emergency ticket as all airlines were full going back home to Manila from Boracay. Keeping in mind I only used the Mega/ Super value class (as other classes were full the words I would use to describe my ‘2Go’ experience are hot, congested, noisy and tiring but there are the pleasant times. Firstly i’d like to start off with the port ‘Caticlan Jetty Port’ as its called. Although not really a property of 2Go, the port was small and not really well thought out, it was basically an office and a waiting area. The waiting area was very hot and it was just simple plastic seats, no attraction whatsoever and no food vendors after the ticketing barrier. Next the operation, it wasn’t the fact that the departure time was late that was the bad thing. The biggest thing that annoyed me was that there was no organisation to aspects such as the queues or crowd control, some passengers didn’t even have a seat whilst waiting to board. However inside the ferry things proved to be a little better. The super value class was so cheap it seemed like it was intended for the locals and locals only. The only way I could describe it is that it was laid out like an army barracks, it had bunks and they were in rows. For me it was an experience, and I wouldn’t degrade ‘2Go’ for that fact. I like many did try to upgrade my accommodation but the ferry was very full. Even the cheapest accommodation in the ferry were given food vouchers which was served at a certain time, this however I missed as I was deep asleep. The good part of the ferry was the viewing deck at the back which had sun beds and a bar, too bad it was very busy at the time I decided to go up, not a place for me to squeeze in. Other viewing points are on each side of the ferry, at times you could see the beauty of the Philippines, dolphins jumping up and down the clear blue sea with the green islands as the background. Another interest the ferry has are the various canteens and restaurants, spa and a quick mart.

Overall experiencing to travel around Philippines by ferry has its ups and downs, if you would like to experience it I suggest book early and get a better accommodation. The advantages of taking ferry are that it is much cheaper, a suite room is much cheaper than an airline ticket. The disadvantage is obviously the time, it will take you half a day to get from Manila to Caticlan, or the other way round. It just depends what type of travel you are having, if its a budget trip then a boat will be a safe bet against Airlines.

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Cotai Water Jet

Brief

Many people travel from Hong Kong to Macau and vice versa, one of the quickest, cheapest and most convenient way is by high speed boats. There are 2 main companies that offers this type of service ‘Turbojet’ and the ‘Cotai Water Jet’. The Cotai Water Jet travels from mainly two ports in Hong Kong, ‘Sheung Wan’ and ‘Hong Kong Kowloon’ and travels to two other ports ‘Taipa’ and ‘Macau’. Each jet departs around every 15 minutes from Hong Kong, starting at around 0700 and ending 0100 each day.

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Cost

I have found this transport to be fairly cheap, $300+HKD return about £30-£40 in equivalent for a weekday in the standard class named Cotai Class. Weekends, Holidays and night sailing have a little addition of about $20-$40 return. However there is 3 different classes in this ferry ‘Cotai Class’, ‘Cotai First’ and ‘Cotai VIP’ all with varies different price range. Cotai First would cost an additional $120 HKD (around £15)  from the standard Cotai class, whereas an $2000 HKD is needed for a Cotai VIP class. I don’t really know what the difference for the First and VIP has against the standard Cotai class. They did however go upstairs in the jetty, I suspect them having larger space and maybe comfier seating,  however the standard seats was already good enough for the 1 hour plus journey. Ticket prices include 1 piece of on-board luggage weighing 20kg, like airliners additional luggage’s or weights will be charged.

Experience

My experience with ‘Cotai Jet’ was positive, it was quick, simple with no hassle at all. Moving across the boat port mimicked that of an airport, however it was very easy and movement was very swift. Although I took the standard ‘Cotai Class’, the seats were incredibly comfortable, and even the toilets were very clean, there were bar services for refreshments however I didn’t really bother. The seats again mimicked that of an aircraft, with rows of 3 and 2s and a few aisles. I was however expecting some sort of a viewing point, whether a balcony or a large window, but there wasn’t any, however maybe as a high speed boat safety was in mind. The journey only takes one hour and a half, and is smooth however at times can be very rough and bumpy, however like an airliner they do give audio announcements to put seatbelts and safety precautions. There are also magazines in front of every seats and televisions between a few rows. Overall the whole journey reminded me of travelling with an airline, everything from the tickets, passports, seating, magazines and safety announcements. The company is professional and admirable, I enjoyed the journey a lot and I don’t know how their rivals ‘Turbojet’ could beat them.

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Top 10 things to do in Boracay

 

10 of the best things I have personally done within in my last 4 visits to Boracay.

 

10th) 15 Shot Challenge (Coco Mangas)

For all the party people and drinkers out there, coco mangas has what they call the 15 shot challenge. Should you be able to complete this a free shirt is given. This drinking activity is a good way to start your vacation. Too bad I’ve never completed this.

9th) Walk or Run in Stations 1-362638_10151573862965818_1054097044_n

If you are in Boracay to just relax and take it easy, then a walk from stations 1-3 or vice versa is a nice thing to do. It will take about 30-45 minutes to get from one end to the other depending on how fast you walk. Some people also jog or run this route.  The scenic views of the sea is worthwhile. Remember to stop by D’mall though.

 

 

8t140h) ATV and Buggy Ride

ATV and Buggies are always a good thing to do, especially on a hot day, however with the route being very short and the rides being closely supervised like little kids, I only put this activity at 8th. To improve this they should really allow people to roam at their own leisure.

 

 

 

7th) Water Sports and Activities

Boracay is a paradise island, so why not get in the water? Any water sports whether Jet skiing, banana boat, flying fish, wind surfing or parasailing, the thrill of getting in the middle of the sea is just priceless.

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6th) Helmet Diving

Helmet diving is an a way of going underwater, if you are not very confident of scuba diving. There is no need to be trained and you can decide to do it on the day.  Underwater you will see all the colourful wildlife Boracay has to offer.

5th) Visit Puka Beach

Puka beach is a much quieter area for those who want to get away from all the crowds. It is again a beautiful area with a much more coarser sand than that of stations 1-3.

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4th) Nightlife

Boracay is known as the party island of the Philippines. So what’s the point of going Boracay without experiencing the Nightlife. Boracay has plenty of clubs and pubs to choose from all with different statures. The best time for a Boracay nightlife would definitely be the Laboracay festival  at Philippines Labour day, haven’t been but its definitely on the list.

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3rd) Boracay Pub Crawl

4th choice was any old nightlife, but for my 3rd is the ‘Boracay Pub Crawl’, for an entrance fee you will get a free shirt, a shot glass and free shots along the way. Here you stay as a group, the best way to meet people. Along with games and a few different activities the night will be enjoyable to anyone.

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Boracay Pub Crawl
2nd) Ariel’s Point

More for the adrenaline seekers, this little secluded island, around 30 minutes away from Boracay includes a cliff dive of different heights, canoes, kayaking, snorkelling, snacks, barbeque lunch, beverages and more.  This is a whole daytrip package  from around 10am to 5pm, a private boat takes all visitors across to this island.

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1st) Paraw

My number one thing to do in Boracay. Paraw is a small boat, that uses the wind to move the boat. Passengers ride on the either side on nets, it is possible to lie down or sit and enjoy the view. The paraw is usually a 30 to 45 minute ride, and sometimes the boat people will stop in the middle of the sea, so you can jump in and swim. Although you have either bigger boats and yachts for rent, but where’s the thrill in that.3

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Top 10 Places to Visit in Pangasinan

Pangasinan is my province (countryside) in the Philippines, around summer or Easter time we used to (and still) love to roam around the various beaches and attractions, with whatever budget we have.

Here are my 10 personal  favourite places to visit in ascending order.

 

10th) Dagupan City

Famous for its Milkfish locally known as ‘Bangus’. Dagupan is the host of the famous ‘Bangus Festival which local people have a mass barbeque of the fish, some of which are given for free.

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9th) Alaminos City

Alaminos city is hugely growing in this province, being the nearest city to the iconic ‘Hundred Island National Park’. Sometimes the province could be difficult to get the bare necessities a tourists want or needs. Alaminos has big restaurant chains such as Mcdonalds, Jolibee, Chowking, Shakeys and more. Usually if me and my cousins get too bored at home we would roam the city and find something to do.

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Alaminos
8th) Surip Beach

Surip is our ancestoral beach, its awkward shaped rocks, beach formations make this beach unlike others. Although unknown to tourism, this place is improving year by year, lots of new attractions are being found like caves and cliffs for tourists to go and see. Lastly Surip has a pilgrimage walk which starts beachside and climbs the hill upwards to the peak where the cross is.

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Surip
7th) (Anda) Tondol Beach

Tondol white sand beach is something different, the beauty here is not its white sands but its shallow waters. You could walk up to 1-3 km (in low tide) in this beach and the water would only be knee or waist height. However shallow waters don’t seem very interesting does it, but what if I say that you see colourful fishes as you walk around. Walking to other more secluded islands here is also possible. The bad aspects though are jelly fishes or stepping on sea urchins, however with its clear waters all you need is to be extra careful. Hiring a wooden raft is also very popular here.

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6th)  Bolinao Falls

This waterfall is hidden, only known by the locals. It is free however undeveloped, so if your ok with walking on stones or through a jungle then visit here. Its refreshing fresh running water is cool and jumping off the small cliff is the best feeling. Do make sure you know how to swim as there are no attendants on this area.

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Waterfall Jumping
 5th) Enchanted Cave

Only just recently new caves are being found in Bolinao, here visitor are allowed to enter and have a swim, unlike any other place around the world.

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4th) Manaoag Church

Always a special place for my family, we always plan to visit here. The catholic church which has been officially declared a Basilica, sits on top of a hill in the town. Famous for some miracles relating to the Lady of Manaoag, are portrayed in various murals. This church is huge in various pilgrimage and for prayer purposes, whilst the history playing huge importance to the region.

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3rd) Patar Beach

Patar beach to me is the most beautiful, the sand is soft and the water is clear. The beach can however get very congested at peak times but the scenery never gets old. We’ve been here a few times and watching the sun set here is magical.

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2nd) Puerto Del Sol Resort

Definitely one of the best classy resorts in Pangasinan,(or within the northern area anyway). This resort is expensive, but it is just on another class than any other resorts around. The breakfast here is on of the best in any of the resorts/ hotels i’ve had around the world. Puerto del sol has the best views and best part of Patar beach. It is my number 2 as you cant find any other place like this in the province.

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Puerto Del Sol Resort
 1st) Hundred Islands National Park

My personal number 1, simply an iconic attraction in Pangasinan, with a mixture of 100 large and small islands this picturesque national park is a place to visit. I have seen the evolution of this place, having little when I was young, to now having more and more to offer such as a camping facilities, water sports, snorkelling and cliff diving. Traditional Boats called the ‘Banka’ take passengers to a number of islands such as the ‘Quezon island’ and the ‘Govenors island’ where the Big brother house was situated, and many more depending on what activities you want to do. Excellent place for everyone and barbequing is usually popular.

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100 islands

Royal Borough of Greenwich

 

Type : City Break
Best Date : Year Round
Expense : Expensive
Things to do : Sightseeing, River Cruise, Events
Points of Interest: Cutty Sark, 02 Arena, Greenwich Park, Maritime Museum, Royal Observatory, Greenwich Market

Brief

Greenwich is a Borough in London which is situated in South east of London. In the year 2012 the Borough is the newest authority to become a Royal Borough and the first for over 80 years. Greenwich is famous for being the location where the Prime Meridian runs through, so being the term ‘GMT’ Greenwich Mean Time began, which is where every country around the world references time. Titled with Royal attention it seems that there has been more cash flow within this

The Place

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02 Arena by night

The newly titled Royal Borough of Greenwich has both historic attractions and new modern attractions.  Firstly we’ll start off in the North Greenwich region the Greenwich Peninsula, this is the newer and more modern part of Greenwich. The 02 Arena formally known as the ‘Millennium Dome’ which was built to welcome the millennium, is an exhib486528_10151094428010818_754075338_nition centre which is the biggest of its kind around the world. The building itself which is a large dome shape with 12 towers sticking up, which is meant to represent the hours of the clock and the months of the year which rightfully characterizes the location and ‘GMT’ Greenwich Mean Time. Inside the 02 Arena, in the centre is a huge concert hall, the biggest in Europe, which hosts various events such as Boxing, indoor tennis, concerts, award ceremonies and many more. Around the centre is various pubs, restaurants, a cinema and also clubs at some nights. Outside the 02 Arena just a 5 minute walk is the new ‘Emirates Air Line (Cable Car)’ was erupted just in time for the 2012 Olympics. The Cable Car takes passengers from the Greenwich Peninsula to the Royal Victoria Dock in what they call ‘flights’. Each flight currently costs £4.50 one way or £3.40 for oyster card holders. As the Cable Car is sponsored by Emirates they have also created a facility called the ‘Emirates Experience’ which is a little simulator promoting the airline for extra costs. Another attraction in Greenwich Peninsula is the ‘Greenwich Peninsula Golf Range’ here you will see the best panoramic view of Canary Wharf, whilst playing golf.

The other popular location in Greenwich is by the ‘Cutty Sark’, this area is older and has kept many of its historic buildings. The main attraction for this area is obviously the ‘Cutty Sark’ itself, a British ship built in 1869. The ship which is situated on the river bank is now parked and stationary, where visitor would be able to go  on board and even below the boat under the new glass cage. Other attractions around this area are various museums such as the ‘Queens House’, ‘National Maritime Museum’, ‘Royal Observatory’, the ‘Planetarium’ and a few other museum, some of which is free of charge. Another interesting 20170405_134226aspect to experience in this borough is the historic ‘Greenwich Market’ which happens 7 days a week, although a lot more busier on the weekends and Sundays. Here they sell various products such as antiques, artwork, clothes and they also have many popular food stalls. Last but not the least ‘Greenwich Park’ which spans 183 acres on top of a hill. This park is another ‘Royal Park’ which provide a small group of Fallows and Dears. The park is also enclosed and has an opening time of 06:00am but closes at random times throughout the year.

Another area which is worthwhile visiting is Blackheath which is a old village with traditional shops in the middle of a Blackheath park besides ‘All saints church’.

 

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Greenwich Park

 

 

Transport.

Travelling within Greenwich

There are only two main locations in Greenwich where tourists need to be aware of.  These are ‘North Greenwich (Greenwich Peninsula)’ where the 02 Arena is situated and ‘Cutty Sark’ where the name sake boat is and Greenwich Park which host many attractions in itself is just a walk away.

The ‘Cutty Sark’ is only accessible through DLR, whilst ‘North Greenwich is accessible through the London Underground (Jubilee Line). Both locations are easily connected by various buses which should only take 10 minutes.

The Thames Clipper also connects the two locations in Greenwich, which will be a nice scenic view however too short of a ride to enjoy.

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Greenwich Docks

Attractions and Stations:

Cutty Sark for Greenwich (DLR) Station : Greenwich Market, Cutty Sark, Maritime Museum, Greenwich Park, Queen’s House, Royal Observatory

North Greenwich Station: Greenwich Peninsula, 02 Arena, Emirates Cable Car, Thames Clipper, Greenwich Peninsula Golf Range

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Travelling within London

Travelling in London is very easy, maybe even one of the easiest in the world (in my opinion). Buses, Underground, Overground and even the Thames clipper connect every region and area within London. London prices are determined by zones and the duration of travel, buses are £1.50 for any 1 hour of travel, meaning you can use as many buses within the hour. The underground is charged through the number of zones you pass through, zone 1 is the most expensive to travel, overground is the same whilst the Thames clipper is a little different. London transport are also connected with the Oyster card which is used instead of cash and the paper tickets. Oyster cards can be used with any of mode of public transport apart from the taxis.

Taxis in London are one of the most iconic in the world, they are also known as the “London Black Cabs“, they can be taken and stopped anywhere in the streets or designated taxi bays.

Santander Cycles or better known as the Boris Bikes are available and used by both locals and tourists. All you will need is to find a cycle bay, input a credit card, take a bike and ride until your heart desires (or when you reach your destination). It is charged by how long you use the bikes, and when you are finished you simply find another bike bay and re- dock the bike so that the timer stops. The charge will be put on your credit card.

As a tourist there is no need to rent a car as London has the most accessible public transport in the world. However walking is not advisable as London is one of the largest city in Europe.