Tag: Beach

VanLife - Waverly Beach Park

Waverly Beach Park – Fort Erie Boondocking

Mother Day’s weekend was pretty awesome!  Though Michelle had to work on Saturday, this gave me plenty of time to get some upgrades to Freddy completed.  Afterwards, we headed to Fort Erie to boondock in the parking lot of the Waverly Beach Park.  If there is one thing we both miss is the sound of the Ocean, and since we are currently living in Ontario we will have to be satisfied with the sounds of Lake Erie!

Waverly Beach Park and Friendship Trail

VanLife - Waverly Beach Park
Waverly Beach Park – Sunset

This is the first area where I took Michelle after arriving in Canada to go exploring.  Being an avid photographer, the park affords an excellent opportunity to shoot some water scenes with sunrises and sunsets as well as some pack ice.   When we first arrived we were careful to see what the rules were at the Park.  Whether we could boondock for the night or would there be another knock on Freddy.  The parking lot says it closes at 23:00, but after speaking to a couple of different people, they indicated it is not unusual for cars to be here longer.

As usual, I prepared my camera equipment, while Michelle was more intent on just taking some time to enjoy the peace, fresh air and the sand on the beach.  Lake Erie in May is a far cry from the beaches in the Philippines but it would have to do this time.  For photography, I find it challenging to find a good composition.  We have some of the factors I love in images, sand, water and beautiful colours in the sky.  It can be challenging to find good foreground interest.  You know what they say though, “a bad day doing landscape photography is better than a good day at work anytime!” 

Boondocking, Parking, Urban Camping

VanLife - Waverly Beach Park
Waverly Beach Park – Freddy

I think it is safe to say that one can boondock at Waverly Beach Park quite easily.  Though I think it would be one of the places where you one night no problems, two nights should be ok, but the third night you might be pushing it!  I have to say it was a nice break from our weekly routine of our day parking routine and sleeping in the local Walmart parking lot.  One of the nice things about where we chose to boondock is there is a public washroom (comfort room) with running water, though the sink water is still isolated due to the time of the year.

Directions to Waverly Beach Park is really very easy.  You will need to take the QEW towards Fort Erie, and head towards the Peace Bridge.  You will pass Ext 5, which is the FlyingJ Truck stop with Sani dump facilities and remain on the Hwy until Ext 2.  Take that Ext, and keep to the right as you come off the hwy.  You will turn right and travel towards Lake Erie.  You will pass the LCBO, a Walmart if memory serves me correct and if you remain on this road it will take you right into the parking lot of the trail.  Really pretty simple!

 

 Mothers Day at Waverly Beach

It just so happened that Sunday was Mothers Day, and Michelle is a fantastic mother, needed a little pampering!  It must be so difficult with Iya and Nicole still being in the Philippines, and Michelle here in Canada.  She is the strongest woman I have ever met!  She always tries to find the best in all situations and people.  But during those special moments, you see the upset in her eyes, though she tries to hide it.

VanLife - Mothers Day
Mother’s Day at Waverly Beach Park

Iya and Nicole sent me a special message for Michelle’s Mother’s Day card, so I was sure to add that for her.   Michelle’s Mother’s Day was healthy breakfast in bed, fresh coffee and the beautiful views of Waverly Beach!  We will certainly be returning to this area to explore and enjoy some peace and quiet.  If you have a place you find peaceful, be sure to let us know!!

The Kookoo’s Nest Resort Zamboanguita Philippines

The Kookoo's Nest Resort Zamboanguita Philippines - Cere's Terminal
The Kookoo’s Nest Resort Zamboanguita Philippines – Cere’s Terminal

So the gang got together this month in Bacolod City and dediced we should head down to The Kookoo’s Nest Resort Zamboanguita Philippines, and boy was it an adventure as always.  The countryside on Negros Occidental Negros Oriental always is picturesque, to say the least.   With all the beautiful Rice Paddies and the fields of Sugar Cane, to the Mountainous regions and back down to the Ocean, I could travel around forever as my eyes are always hungry for the beauty of the Philippines.

As with any trip, we seem to take, it begins at the Cere’s Bus Terminal and for this trip we headed to the South Terminal, which is pretty rugged compared to the Northern Terminal so, do come prepared.  The cost of the “Aircon bus” was 377 Peso’s which is very reasonable for the distance we need to travel.  Be sure to come early as at this point you are not able to purchase your tickets before hand, so it comes down to first come first serve, and you purchase your tickets from the Conductor on your bus, he arrives maybe 1 hour prior to your departure time.  Michelle, my wife is very wise, and she was able to find out which bus we were taking, and got on board with the kids, and got seats while I waited in line to purchase tickets.  Smart cookie eh!

En route to The Kookoo’s Nest Resort Zamboanguita Philippines

The bus trip was advertised as a 6-hour trip but we were able to do it in less than 5 hours and I figure that was due to the fact we were on the Night bus and there was very little traffic which is very unusual here in the Philippines.  We arrived in Dumaguete at about 4 am, wich was 3 hours early from the time we said we would be there, so it was a need to wait once again.  Being use to this kind of travel it was simple for us, but I know Becca was getting a little tired of the waiting.  In a world of instant everything, it can get very trying for those who are not used to it.

The Kookoo's Nest Resort Zamboanguita Philippines - Beach Front
The Kookoo’s Nest Resort Zamboanguita Philippines – Beach Front

We had the option of taking a second bus that would let us off near the road we needed to get to the Resort, and there would be a need of taking a Tricycle or Moto to the Resort which would be very exciting for those who are not used to this form of travel, but with a group of 5, two younger children, I figured we would pay the extra for a pick up at the bus terminal and boy was it worth the amount it cost us.  We were in a van, and it took us easily `1 hour to reach the road that Nest was on, and then another 40 minutes down a road filled with construction.  Our driver was fantastic navigating all the obstacles and got us there safe and sound around 8 :30 am, about 3 hours before we could get into our rooms, but we were able to get breakfast and the girls were quick to head down to the ocean.

The Resort

I have to say the resort was beautiful!  Rustic, clean with plenty of things to do.  Everyone headed off into the ocean for some swimming, and snorkelling though this happened to be the first time for the girls to go into the ocean, and Michelle was so very

The Kookoo's Nest Resort Zamboanguita Philippines
The Kookoo’s Nest Resort Zamboanguita Philippines

excited to introduce the girls to joys of snorkelling, and seeing all the wonderful critters in the sea.  Me being a former PADI Course Director, it was like finally coming home to the water where life for me makes sense.   I had an opportunity to speak with Jamie and Nikki Ingram the owners of the resort.  Both people are very friendly and they go out of their way to make sure your stay at the Resort is a pleasurable one.  They offer Snorkelling rental sets, scuba diving if you are certified as well as Diving courses, which would be amazing to learn in such a beautiful place compared to where I learned how to dive.  There are also a couple of Kayaks so if you would like to tour the beach front and coast, plus some pretty cool nature walks.  Plus for me, some spectacular areas for shooting pictures and some amazing sunsets for sure!!

The Driftwood Cottage

Michelle and I decided on the Driftwood Cottage mostly for the space and the number of beds.  We had three adults and two

The Kookoo's Nest Resort Zamboanguita Philippines
The Kookoo’s Nest Resort Zamboanguita Philippines

children and needless to say the number of beds was very important.  The cost of the Cottage was $1,500 peso’s, which I felt was very reasonable.  Our view was the ocean and we were just feet away.  There are no words that can describe how beautiful the area was!

Every evening we were treated to a huge congregation of Hermit Crabs coming into the Restaurant Area, as well the various walkways and walls.  All you could here was the little clicking sounds of them walking around catching up with all the other crabs.  I know I should have taken a few minutes to shoot some macro pictures of the little guys, after all, I had off camera flash with me, but as is the case on some occasions, I just never did.  Speaking of the restaurant, the menu was had many different selections, some local, some Thai food, and a selection of western food, which was a godsend since Becca was having problems with the local foods.  I found the costs were really quite reasonable, and the dishes were a good size but not so big that you could not eat them.

The Kookoo's Nest Resort Zamboanguita Philippines
The Kookoo’s Nest Resort Zamboanguita Philippines

As with any trip we seem to take, it’s always difficult to leave.  We wanted to stay for a couple of more days if it was possible, however, the kids started school on Monday so we had no choice but to gather everything up and head back to Bacolod City.  The Kookoo’s Nest Resort Zamboanguita Philippines will be on the top of our list for a return visit.  Definitely another opportunity to enjoy more photography, and maybe the next trip will have some diving it in for me.  If you are interested in visiting The Kookoo’s Nest you can reach James and Nikki through this link or by calling +63 919 695 8085.  Also if you are interested in seeing more pictures be sure to visit the gallery found here.

 

 

Thanks to Ken Dunlop Photography for the use of their images!

 

 

Villarosa Resort

Villarosa Resort
Villarosa Resort

New Years day was spent at the Villarosa Resort in Punta Taytay.  This is my first time being in the this area and I was very much impressed with the number of people whom were out and enjoying the sun and the beach.  Enroute there were a number of viewing decks that one could sit back and enjoy the mangroves, something that I have only seen on TV in documentaries, so this will be a place I will need to go with my camera and get some new photos.

Villarosa Resort
Villarosa Resort

I did a search on the internet, and found some pictures of the beach area.  I was slightly shocked with the amount of garbage on the beach and in the water, though the beach is close to Bacolod, I did not think there would be so much.  The water was a muddy brown, but that is because of the shallow un protected area from the waves and winds.  With a little effort, I think this would be a fantastic place to enjoy a day in the sun, with family and friends.  If you are in the area don’t miss out on a visit to Villarosa Resort as it is well worth the visit.

Easy Diving and Beach Resort

Easy Divings Dive Center
Easy Divings Dive Center

We spent a fabulous time  at Easy Diving and Beach Resort from the 18th – 21 Dec, and what a fantastic time we had. This was a last minute booking for us as I thought we only had one day available since our week was pretty busy with Christmas agenda issues and we were expected back to work the next day, but we were able to swing a couple of days. Sadly I forget the name of the Filipina that we spoke to for the booking but she was very very helpful, and she was able to set things up for us and she was even more helpful when we decided to extend for a day, ensuring we were able to keep the same room.

We took a bus from Bacolod, and it easily took us about 5 – 6 hours to arrive in Sipalay. We were to be met at a drop off point by a Trike driver named Denmark but there was some confusion and we ended up taking one of the other Trikes that are there awaiting customers, and the price was the same as what it would have been if it was arranged by Easy Diving.

Local Boat at Sunset
Local Boat at Sunset

After an additional 30 minute trike ride we finally arrived at the gates of Easy Diving and Beach Resort and as with everything else things happened like clock work. One of the security guards assisted us with the bags, and delivered them directly to our room, and we actually made it in time for a late bite to eat. We got a quick tour of how to make it to our room, and we retired for a restful evening as it had been a long day.

We chose a Deluxe Room, so we could have a queen sized bed, the rates where PhP 2700 per night, and that came with Aircon and a mini bar, and I have to say it is half the price of the other Resort we looked at and after doing a little beach walk the rooms and the resort look a lot nicer. So I think we scored a big victory there.

Easy Diving's Boats
Easy Diving’s Boats

The first morning I spoke with one of the dive instructors named I do believe Carl, about taking my friend on a Discover Scuba Diving, as I am a PADI Course Director. I was very impressed, as I know what a hassle it can be for outside instructors to want to run things, he simply said he would ask the owner and let me know. Excellent, and he actually did exactly that. Christian, the owner of Easy Diving and Beach Resort, approached me later in the day and introduced himself and welcomed us to the resort which I felt was a nice warm touch. I can not say enough about the staff, especially the Filipina’s and Filipino’s which were very very helpful!!

If you are on Negros Occidental, and want a nice place to stay, don’t miss out on a chance for a little part of paradise!! I will be going back for another visit for sure!!