Hello Aloha falls!

We have low expectations.
I and my sister arrived fifteen minutes late from the call time of 5:30 AM. The sun has risen but it’s hiding behind the buildings surrounding the meeting place. We were not excited by the thought that our destination is just 30 minutes away from our hometown and to add, the place was never heard before. Packed with our low hopes, we thought we can give it a shot since it will also save us from staycation on the other hand. But we never realized that we’ve already committed mistakes this early.

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Together with our four colleagues, we rode a tricycle from San Jose City, Nueva Ecija going to Carranglan to meet our friend and guide. The concrete road was easy and smooth at first but for the last half, we can hear our vehicle struggling to climb up. This is where I started feeling the cold morning fog suspended in the air and smelling the fresh breeze coming from the trees planted alongside the road. We saw folks outside. Some were doing their everyday chores and some were just enjoying a hot cup of coffee under the shade of a tree. It’s been always a nice scenario to observe the locals and appreciate how their daily lives bring meaning to their current setting.


Pain demands to be felt.
The vehicle halted in front of Sir Oscar’s house. Breakfast was done an hour before we arrived. We shared a brimming casserole of arrozcaldo, a Filipino dish made with rice and other ingredients along with Majoy’s boiled chicken eggs. A few minutes later, we’re off to set our foot to the underrated falls we’ve come to discover.

Turning left at the entrance of the bridge with Aloha Falls signage, took ninja skills to slide down to get to the rocky path we have walked on. We were welcomed by the scorching heat from the sun and the dried mud under our sandals. We could feel our feet aching as we step on the spiky rocks scattered along the way. There’s no way to step on a flat surface since there was none. We never knew that the sun would strike this hot at this early hour. Aware that arriving late was the first mistake, we endured the heat and pain.

Our eyes reached the mountainous horizon as our guide continued walking. We, along with Sir Oscar and my sister, Zyrene walked briskly to reach the mountainside while the four girls were walking and laughing far behind us. We could hear them telling jokes. One even said that we were in a role-playing scenario where the guide and my sister were co-directors and me, carrying my tripod, was a cameraman. They echoed in laughter as we walked through the spiky rocks. Soon, we arrived at the shadier part of the journey. However, the rocks turned to boulders and the mud turned to the river. Plants were scattered in all four, shrubs and trees in various flora.

An hour has passed and we couldn’t see the falls yet. We followed the river against its flow, searching where the water came from. Trees growing alongside the desired path made the journey more exciting as the branches hinder the path. Some shrubs pricked our skins leaving scratches. There were boulders that we climbed and rivers that we crossed making our thighs wet. We never stopped walking as we searched for this hidden treasure. Others jokingly wanted to go back to where we started while our guide pointed to us a false fall, a sewer-like flow of water on the side of the mountain. It was fun as we laughed at our jokes while the birds and insects were seemingly joining us.

The greatest mistake.
A few minutes later, I could hear a loud splash coming from the other side of the corner. We hurriedly jumped into excitement as we were very sure that this is the moment we’ve waited for and I never realized how I mistakenly underestimated this beauty hiding from our province. Hello, Aloha Falls!

I was deeply shocked in amazement by how my eyes could see. I reached for the cold water flowing from the river coming from the falls. There was a cold breeze brushing against my face while I could smell the freshwater. The coldness reached my veins and it flowed through my system. Our hardships were already paid off. How could I not be excited and then underestimated this place, while it took me into another dimension just a few minutes just by looking at it? I felt guilty.
Aloha Falls is embraced by the mountains hiding the spot from the sun. So, bathing would be fun in the morning. The place is perfectly located in the mountain, hiding from the bustle of people, yet remains accessible for those who are hungry for nature appreciation.

Read Also: Top Reasons To Visit The Philippines

Since the place was not familiar to some that even I, a resident of Nueva Ecija for 19 years didn’t know it until just recently, visitors don’t come frequently. When we got there, we found no one except for the biodegradable pieces of food they left.

Sir Oscar, on the other hand, is a resident of Carranglan along with his parents. He said that the falls were wider before, as one could notice a space on the right side. For whatever reasons, however, folks decided to carve the left side lower than the other to create a single stream of water. Then the current washes the tiny rocks along the shore before leaving to the river.

I dipped in reluctantly for I felt the chill in my spine and walked against the pressure. Seven meters away from the shore, I could still feel the pebbly ground against my feet. If I walk further, Sir Oscar warned, I could drown myself by the depth of it added by its pulling pressure. Maybe five meters more, I could reach the opposite side. We’re lucky to arrive at the right season because, during summer, the stream of water isn’t strong enough to boast its majestic fall.


Children used to play there during the olden times even though cliff diving wasn’t mainstream before. They climbed to the top of sturdy rocks and then plunge deep into the water. I climbed on the side, a meter high above the surface and then sat there for a few minutes. Sir Oscar even tried to reminisce about his childhood by climbing high enough but resisted halfway. Instead, he jumped right from the spot he stopped and then yelled his lungs out. We laughed. We ate our packed lunch cooked by my father which is, I would like to emphasize, delicious. Then, we took another dip for the last time. We played as if we’re building a team, even though I only met the four of them just this once.

The sun gained its momentum and ascended above the surrounding mountains. Its rays lightened the place giving another color to the surrounding. We left the falls at 11:30 seemingly untouched by travelers – still flowing proudly.


Nueva Ecija has a lot to offer other than its famous wide plains. Known for its rice plantations extending to the horizons, one could simply be amazed by how some gems are hidden just around the corner. We just have to possess the right curiosity to uncover those treasures

This Travel Story is written by Efraim Mallare. You can follow more of his adventure on Instagram: @picture.fraim . All Photos in this article are from Effreim’s personal archive.

A Chemist fond of doing things not just related to his profession. Loves travelling, photography, mobile games and caffeine. Usually found unbonded (alone) in a chemical laboratory doing chemistry stuff, but his mind is wandering somewhere else. Pet’s cuddle buddy. An introvert playing an extrovert’s game. 

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Siargao, The Best Island In The World And The Best Place To Travel Solo

For my twenty-second birthday, I decided to go on my first solo trip. It was in Siargao, Philippines, dubbed as one of the most beautiful islands in the world. It was one of the most memorable trips I had so far. I was there for 5 days (September 24-28,2019).

Read Also: Top Reasons To Visit The Philippines

Siargao is known for having one of the best surf waves, there are different spots on the island for surfing, thus a lot of people visit the place to just surf (I did try surfing too!). But there’s so much more to it. Imagine an island filled with coconut trees, surrounded by crystal clear waters and offering white beaches.

You can have a lot of activities here, the things I did while in Siargao were went surfing in Pacifico Beach, went island hopping (Daku, Naked, and Guyam Island), visited a lagoon (Sugba Lagoon), visited the tidal pool (Magpupungko Tidal Pool), motorbiked around the island, went on a food trip, catch the sunrise and sunset, just chill on the beachside, and even party all night. It is truly a paradise. And surely won’t disappoint.

Aside from being in one of the best islands and doing such activities, this trip was really memorable because it was the first time I’m traveling alone. Before going on this trip, I needed to gather all the courage because not all can do solo traveling.

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Doing it solo isn’t always easy but there’s this feeling of fulfillment. Also, I tried staying in a hostel. I did stay in two different hostels, where I met people that made my travel experience truly different. My 5-day visit felt too short. I really fell in love with the place and would surely love to go back.

If you’re thinking of going on a solo trip, I want you to go try. You’ll have this different kind of feeling and fulfillment. And also always remember to be a responsible traveler.

This Travel Story is written by Nichole Shayne Buenavente. You can follow more of her adventure on her instagram @sunshaayne

All Photos in this article are from Nichole’s personal archive.

A simple Filipina student based in Ph who loves to travel.

Traveling is one of those things that I treasure. Through traveling, my eyes were opened to more possibilities in life, and through it I’m learning a lot. The experiences I have because of traveling contributes to who I am today.

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Barcelona: A Vibrant and Gigantic Amusement Park

Barcelona is like a gigantic amusement park, a city where every locality has something different to offer. Barcelona has many different features which are facing the Mediterranean Sea.  It is filled with great and unique architectural buildings that are undeniably a work of art.  A mouth-watering dish like Paella is worth a try. 

I would say that this was our best trip so far because it didn’t only offer the preserved history of vibrant España but also their citizens, who are very accommodating and truly talented. We have visited Barcelona’s top attractions; however, our top 5 would be the Park Guell, Sagrada Familia, La Ramblas, Arc De Triomphe, and Mount Tibidabo. 

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Park Guell is one of the main tourist fascinations of Barcelona. It is very interesting for people like me who wants to know more about the unusual world of the works of Antoni Gaudi. However, you’ll have to pay an extra amount in order to enter the monumental zone to see the famous view of the park. I would describe Park Guell as an original masterpiece and an exotic architecture. 

The Sagrada Familia is still under construction up to this date, the construction has began in 1882 with Gaudi being the one behind the design of this religious architecture. The design is out of the ordinary and every details are well-thought of. Moreover, I was enormously impressed by the grandeur of its interior as well as the beauty of the church itself. 

La Ramblas of Barcelona is the pedestrian-like promenade that is lively with various stalls and vendors along it. Within the promenade, we passed by their ‘wet market’ or popularly known as La Boqueria that is definitely clean and well-maintained.

The Arc de Triomphe, similar to the Arc located in Paris, France is worth a visit as well. This arc served as gateway to the Word Fair in 1888.                   

Lastly, the Mount Tibidabo, which has many attractions and is best known for its funicular which was once considered an attraction. But what really amazed us was the oldest amusement park in Barcelona that is situated on top of the mountain and retains some of its oldest rides that are completely functional even up to this date. On top of the Ferris wheel ride, you can see the panoramic view of the whole city of Barcelona that is truly breathtaking. 

Barcelona is a city where you have to see and experience it yourself. You might have a different perspective about it but all in all it truly amuses everyone by its wonder. 

This Travel Story is written by Rommel ‘Roms’ Ramirez. You can follow more of his adventure on his instagram @romsramirez or facebook Rommel Zubieta Ramirez
ALL PHOTOS IN THIS ARTICLE ARE FROM ROMMEL ‘ROMS’ RAMIREZ PERSONAL ARCHIVE.

A nurse by profession, but a traveler by heart. I love traveling to places that is rich in history and diversity. I am a professional dancer, that being said, I prefer being in places that is full of creativity, culture, and positive vibes. 

Traveling means a lot to me. It is a humbling experience of being able to see places for yourself and reminisce the journey and people that I’ve met. Having conversations with locals in any specific city adds up some learning about that specific place I’ve visited. Exploring the world is something that no one can take away from us. That makes us human, the eagerness to learn, to experience, and explore the world. 

ROMMEL’S TRAVEL ESSENTIALS

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How I Travelled Across North Macedonia, Kosovo, Bulgaria and Serbia using My Philippine Passport

Few weeks back, I traveled across several countries in the Balkan Region in Europe. I was able to cover four Balkan Countries in eight days. Well it took a few days of planning like booking all accommodations and transportations in advance to get the cheapest deal available. 

As a Philippines Passport holder, I needed to have a valid visa to be able to visit these countries. But fortunately, all of these countries allow passport holders from several countries to enter without having the need to obtain a visa for each, as long as they are holding a valid multiple-entry Schengen Visa. And obviously in my case, I used my valid Schengen Visa to travel across these countries. 

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Traveling to several countries in a single trip doesn’t need to be tough, especially when you are traveling across Europe. Whenever I go on a trip, I try to cross-out at least two countries in each trip to save on flight costs. And countries in Europe are pretty much situated near each other and can easily be accessed through land transportations such as buses, trains, etc. which makes it more easier. I travelled pretty much through buses across these countries with seven hours being the longest time.

Crossing the border to some of these countries can be quite tough though, especially to people who are holding passports from third-world nations. So I highly suggest that you should always have all the useful documents like onward tickets, accommodations etc.  ready with you whenever you cross a border to prove that your main purpose of visit is merely for tourism. 

Skopje, North Macedonia

My first stop was in Skopje, the capital of North Macedonia. Skopje is a pretty compact capital surrounded by beautiful mountains. I spent a total of two days exploring this city. It is also quite affordable to travel in this city, like a pint of beer ordered from a pub or restaurant would only cost you less than a Euro. 

So far, the best places that I recommend in Skopje are Canyon Matka and Skopje’s Old Town. Canyon Matka is one of the main highlight of North Macedonia, it is also one of the most beautiful canyon I’ve ever seen. It can easily be reached through a 20-minute taxi ride from Skopje’s Town Center. The old town is just located in the city-center itself. Here you can see countless different giant statues and stunning cobbled streets.

READ ALSO:

Top Things To Do in Skopje North Macedonia

Top Reasons To Visit Canyon Matka

Pristina, Kosovo

My second stop was in Pristina, the capital of Kosovo. I arrived in Pristina through a two-hour bus ride from Skopje and spent a day exploring everything that this city has to offer. Crossing the border from North Macedonia to Kosovo is one of the quickest and easiest border crossings I’ve ever done in my whole life of traveling. 

Pristina is a beautiful city, you can pretty much explore everything in this city within a day. Mother Theresa Boulevard is a must-visit when in Pristina. Here you can find countless hip cafes and authentic local restaurants where you can have a taste of amazing Kosovo cuisines. The same as Skopje, this city is also quite affordable to travel to.

Sofia, Bulgaria

My third stop, Sofia! Sofia is the capital of Bulgaria and one of the most  beautiful European cities. I spent a total of three days exploring everything that this city has to offer. Sofia can easily be reached through a four-hour bus ride from Skopje in North Macedonia or Pristina in Kosovo.

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Sofia has so much history, and you can see it from the ruins which still remain intact until today. Some of the few things I recommend worth visiting in this city is the Vitosha Boulevard, their main street and the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, one of the most beautiful cathedrals in the whole of Europe. 

READ ALSO: Top Things To See and Do in Sofia 

Belgrade, Serbia

Belgrade or Beograd, the capital of Serbia is my final stop on this trip. I arrived in Belgrade’s main bus station after a seven-hour bus ride from Sofia, Bulgaria. From the bus station, the city center can easily be reached in less than ten-minutes by foot. I stayed for a total of four days exploring and discovering everything this city has to offer. 

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Belgrade is a big and beautiful city, I know it’ll be beautiful prior to visiting it but I wasn’t expecting it to be very vast. It has also been dubbed as ‘the city that never sleeps’. The capital has two main areas worth exploring, New Belgrade and Old Belgrade. New Belgrade is on the left side of the Sava river while Old Belgrade is on the opposite. 

Although the whole city itself is worth exploring, there are few things in Belgrade that I highly recommend worth visiting. The Knez Mihailova Street and the Belgrade Fortress shouldn’t be missed when you are visiting Belgrade. The Knez Mihailova Street is one of the oldest and most valuable landmarks of the city and there you can find countless shops, restaurants, cafes, pub, etc. While the Belgrade Fortress is one of the most beautiful spots in Belgrade for sunset viewing and it can easily be reached from the other end of the Knez Mihailova Street. 


Have you been to and of these countries? How was your experience? Share it with us through the comment section below. 

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10 Photos That Will Make You Wanna Visit London

London is one of my favorite of all the cities I have been to. Simply because of its captivating vibe and picturesque streets. When we think of London, we think of the London Eye, The Big Ben, The Tower Bridge, etc. But let’s skip those for now. In this blogpost, I will be sharing 10 unique photos that will make you wanna visit the English Capital.

Covent Garden is one of the most beautiful districts in London. I spent half-day exploring this gem when I was in London. Definitely a place I would like to explore again when I will visit London soon.

After a day of exploring, a pint of beer is the best idea! So why not head to Cafe Brood. I found this gem while exploring Borough Market on my second day in London.

If you’re looking for the best backdrop for your instagram photos, head over to the Southbank Skate Space, here you can find stunning graffitis and other street arts. Or if you simply wanna skate, then this is the best place for you.

I visited St. James Park on my second day in London. The views are breathtaking even though most trees didn’t have any leaves mainly because it was winter during that time. What mostly caught my attention though are the squirrels. They’re very cute and they seem to be really tamed, maybe because they got used with people giving them food.

If you’re visiting Greenwich in London, make sure to include the The Old Royal Naval College in your list. The Old Royal Naval College is an architectural center piece in Maritime Greenwich, a World Heritage Site in Greenwich, London. Definitely a must-visit for architecture lovers.

The Old Royal Naval College
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If you wanna travel back in time or simply want to admire a great piece of architecture, then Churchill War Rooms is the best place for you to go. The Churchill War Rooms is a museum in London the museum comprises the Cabinet War Rooms, a historic underground complex that housed a British government command centre throughout the Second World War, and the Churchill Museum, a biographical museum exploring the life of British statesman Winston Churchill.

reference: Wikipedia

Churchill War Rooms

I visited Columbia Road Flower Market on my third day in London. It was a Sunday and it is the only day where the market is open, so take note of that. Columbia Road Flower Market is located in Bethnal Green in London. But aside from flowers, you can also witness amazing street performers showing their respective crafts here.

‘People Watching’ is definitely one of the most therapeutic activities out there. Have you ever tried picking up on idiosyncrasies like language, expressions, clothing and activities to try to guess at another person’s story? Well, I always do and it’s pretty relaxing haha. Anyway, I took this photo between St. Pauls Church and the Millennium Bridge. I though it would be nice to add at here.

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