I’ll confess that I haven’t slept for two nights prior to my secret destination travel date, over the mix feeling of excitement of where I’ll be going, and being anxious of what to pack. In the dark of which Cebu Pacific Air destination to fly to, I made sure my backpack is ready for a 3-day adventure that included different set of clothes to three particular jaunts – the beach, a hike/ mountain climb and an urban exploit. All my clothes are arranged on the base part of my backpack, top-layered with my first aid kit, two powerbanks, Go Pro and FujiFilm XA3. With everything double-checked, I’m certain that I’m all set for this excursion.
Early 3:30AM Monday morning last 27 of March, I turned up at Mactan International Airport to wait for the reveal of my “secret destination” for the special blogger edition of Juan for Fun 2017.
The Destination Reveal
4:30AM, I checked in at MCIA Counter 30 where I was presented with the #JuanForFun2017 Adventure Passport and pocket money, together with the Juan For Fun Backpacking Challenge welcome video which also unveiled my destination.
So where did I fly to? ORMOC CITY!
Cebu Pacific Air launched this route last November 2016, which flies four times weekly – every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday via ATR 72-500.
The Outset of my Ormoc Adventure
Best known for the sweetest pineapples, Ormoc City never fails to exude a sunny tone even on a gloomy day. I glanced to see the view as we landed and traces of morning drizzle was definite with the apparent puddles of water on the runway. With rain clouds still visible, I was sure it’s going to rain during my visit. But that did not upset my enthusiasm. Arriving at Ormoc Airport 20 minutes ahead of schedule, I was thrilled to explore the Ormoc City and beyond, shouting on the inside, “here comes summer!”
Ormoc (and beyond) Itinerary
With less than two hours to plot a good schedule that will abreast rack up each of the Juan for Fun Adventure Passport challenges, I came up with this itinerary for my Ormoc trip. Check out my travel timeline below.
Day 1: Ormoc Tour
8:00AM Bus ride to city proper
8:30AM Walk to Mayong’s for the highly recommended Mayong’s Burger for breakfast
9:30AM Ride a tricycle to Ormoc’s Best Cassava Cake Delicacy
10:00AM Take a tricycle to check-in for my 2-night accommodation
11:30AM Go around Poblacion
1:00PM Take a multicab to Lake Danao
2:30PM Take a quick swim at Lake Danao
4:30PM Ride a habal-habal to Semangan
5:30PM Take a tricycle from Semangan to Ormoc City
6:30PM Sunset at Ormoc Bay
7:30PM Dinner at Lechon Station
8:30PM Go back to Hotel
Day 2: Kalanggaman Island
8:00AM Wake up
9:00AM Ride a V-Hire (Van for hire) to Palompon Leyte
11:00AM Arrive in Palompon
11:30AM Catch a boat to Kalanggaman
12:30AM Arrive in Kalanggaman Island
Take a swim
2:00PM Catch the boat back to Palompon Island
3:00PM Go to terminal to catch the last V-hire trip to Ormoc
5:00PM Arrive in Ormoc
5:30PM Hostel to freshen up
6:00PM Buy Pasalubong
9:00PM Back to the hostel to pack up for early flight back to Cebu
Day 3: Fly back to Cebu
5:30AM wake up
6:00AM Check out
6:15AM Hail a Tricycle to the airport
6:45AM Check in for my flight
1. A Walking Tour around Ormoc’s Poblacion
The Ormoc City proper features historical landmarks – Puente de la Reina and Sts. Peter & Paul Parish Church to name a few which were built in the circa 1800 and 1600 respectively. Both are about a few meters away from each other and are vital parts of the Ormoc Poblacion walking tour. Also, the old city hall turned-art-museum will delight art enthusiasts. Ormoc City Superdome and Worldwar II Veteran’s and Centennial Park are also close by. Plus, sunset at the pier area is awe-inspiring.
2. Sumptuous and Affordable Food
Ormoc is teeming with restaurants and food outlets that serve delicious food at budget-friendly prices. Imagine a kilo of lechon is at P370 only. The most recommended, must-try Mayong’s cheeseburger + Mango shake combo is at P70 only. A big serving of Laksa with fresh seafood that is good for three people at Mimay’s at P299. And a whole Ormoc pineapple for only P20.
3. Lake Danao
The 18 kilometer lake is shaped like a guitar and lies on an altitude similar to Tagaytay of 650 meters above sea level. So expect a cooler temperature when visiting Lake Danao, And yes, the lake water is cold as well. A perfect destination to cool down this summer.
4. Calanggaman/ Kalanggaman Island, Palompon
About 2-hours from Ormoc City, Palompon has become one of the most visited municipalities in Leyte because of this beautiful island. Kalanggaman is coined from the bisaya word “Langgam” which translate to “bird’ in English. It is called such for the island is shaped like a bird, with two sandbars spanning at each end, looking like bird wings.
Completing the Juan for Fun Challenge
A few hours after I arrived in Ormoc, the first challenge that I slashed off my adventure passport is eating a local delicacy. I ate half a box of Ormoc’s Best Cassava Cake. Haha. That’s like half a kilo of cake. Well, I was so stuffed I didn’t eat lunch that day. Teehee. Swimming in Lake Danao ticked off another one on the list. Then witnessing a cloudy sunset by the city pier doffed off the third. That’s three challenges completed on the first day. Yeee-ha!
During the first day in Ormoc, I also was able to go around the city via bus, tricycle and a habal-habal. The next day, I rode a V-Hire to Palompon, a trisikad (Padyak) and a boat – a total of six different public transport, wrapping up my Juan for Fun Adventure Passport challenges.
Total Expense for the entire Juan for Fun 2017 Challenge
Looking at my expense breakdown, Ormoc proves to be an affordable destination to vacation at. Completed all my tasks and spending less than half of the given budget even after buying more than 5 kilos of pasalubong. Grand expense total is only at P4,570.
P70 Mayong’s Cheeseburger + Mango Shake
P 7 Tricycle from Mayong’s to Ormoc’s Best Cassava Cake
P220 A box of Cassava Cake
P 50 Moron
P 7 Tricycle from Ormoc’s Best to Niko’s Ark Voyager’s Inn
P1100 2-nights at Niko’s Ark Voyager’s Inn
P 40 Multicab Ride from Ormoc to Lake Danao
P150 Habal-habal ride from Lake Danao to Semangan
P 10 Tricycle ride from Semangan to Ormoc City
P 7 A slice of Yoyi’s Cassava Cake
P130 ¼ Lechon + Rice + Mountain Dew + Banana
P 50 Ensaymada+Peanuts + Bottled water (Breakfast)
P110 Van from Ormoc to Palompom
P150 Entrance Fee to Kalanggaman
P334 Boat Fare from Palompon to Kalanggaman
P190 One whole Chicken lunch + hanging Rice
P 10 Trisikad ride from Palompon Port to Palompon Terminal
P110 V-Hire fare from Palompon to Ormoc
P175 Packs of Pineapple tart
P1000 4 boxes of Ormoc’s Best Cassava + 1 Box of Kutchinta
P 400 Mimay’s Seafood Resto’s Laksa + Buko shake
P 150 Tricycle to the airport
P 100 Terminal Fee
Becoming a part of the preview of Juan for Fun Challenge is truly a dream come true. And no, I am not exaggerating. I have covered several send-offs and awardings of this travel and adventure challenge, and wished that someday I get the opportunity to be part of the adventure. Though, what I went through was a tad portion of what the participants will be braving on, the experience has reminded me that being spontaneous is not a bad thing. Sometimes, getting lost leads to a beautiful scene, or somewhere even better than the planned destination. And, to not take life too seriously, and remember to have fun along the way. ^_^
I am very thrilled for each of the Juan for Fun 2017’s teams’ jaunts. Intrigued to join the sixth installment of Juan for Fun? All you have to do is form a group of three, ages 18-23 years old, prepare a short creative video answering – “How can i share the FUN in Juan for Fun.” If your entry gets chosen, then you’re squad will take on an epic seven-day fun race across the country, along with 9 other groups. Sky’s the limit for the lucky champions of the ‘Juan For Fun’ Backpacker Challenge, with an unlimited, one-year travel-all-you-can pass to any of the 66 local and international destinations of Cebu Pacific for each team member at stake.