Have you ever thought of exploring the northernmost part of Mainland Luzon? If yes, then this travel guide, 5-DAY DO-IT-YOURSELF ILOCANDIA | VIGAN-PAGUPOD, does belong to you.

Let’s have a little bit of geography. Ilocos Region is geographically situated in the northwest part of Mainland Luzon, it comprises several provinces namely Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union and Pangasinan. What we are going to share today is the Northen Ilocandia, the provinces of Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte., the popular hometown of the owner of Ms. Universe Philippines, Chavit Singson and the famous hometown of the Macoses respectively.

We explored Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur, DIY style. Yapak Pinoy is in the mood of blogging, so come and join us explore a 5-Day Holiday Vacations. 🙂

Why we  “Do-It-Yourself” instead of package tour?

  • It is because we have used to doing it ourselves in travelling, we have been doing it for quite some time already.
  • Expressways and Highways in the North are world class, utilizing public transport like bus is hassle-free
  • Most of all, we enjoy the feeling of being lost, we ourselves take care of everything from food to accommodation, including mishaps
  • WE find it cheaper than getting a package from travel agency


  • If you are touring as family with kids and seasoned citizens.  As I always reiterate, no one would like to compromise a memorable family travels on wasting time finding where the destination is and where the next places to visit are. I highly recommend to take advantage of Package Tour from an affordable and reputable travel agency


Day 1:

  • Bus Ride from Pasay to Vigan, Ilocos Sur, 9 hours travel time, Bus Fare id P794
  • Arrived in Vigan City, checked in to a very affordable transient hotel near Vigan Public Market. “We are backpackers so we travel super light”
  • Had our Dinner in Jollibee Vigan, there are variety of eateries within the vicinity, try their specialties, we do not visit a place to eat in fastfood chains
  • Had some rest, went to bed, slept to re-energize for the next day

Day 2:

  • Explored Calle Crisologo, visited RJ Jar Factory, and Bantay Belfy, we just basically strolled around the city; chill, dine, and relax
  • Watched dancing waters at night right in front of Vigan Provincial Capitol
  • You should also visit Baluarte which we skipped

Day 3:

  • Took a bus ride from Vigan City to Laoag, Ilocos Norte, Bus Fare is P140, 3 hours travel time
  • Took another bus Non-Airconditioned from Laoag to Pagudpod, another 1 hour travel time, Bus Fare is P80
  • Arrived at Pagudpod and took a tricycle ride to Sabang, Tricycle Fare is P100
  • Checked in to resort, had lunch and roamed around, also did some online sidekicks (sideline) 😊
  • The remaining half day was basically spent to chill and relax  in the beach, it was not crowded when we visited the place, it was September Off-Peak season and so accommodation was affordable

Day 4:

  • Took a Bus ride from Municipality of Pagudpod to Municipality of Burgos
  • Availed of the SOUTH TOUR (BURGOS) route for P600. Destinations: Cape Bojeador Light House, Kapurpurawan Rock Formation and Bangui Windmills
  • We skipped the NORTH TOUR, we headed back to our resort in Pagudpod

Day 5:

  • Headed to Laoag from Pagudpod, Bus Fare P80, 1 hr. Travel time
  • Strolled around in the city of Laoag, you can also visit Laoag Sand Dunes which we also skipped
  • Took a jeepney ride from Laoag City to MInicipality of Paoay to visit the famous Paoay Church as well as to taste the famous Ilocos Empanada
  • Headed back to Manila from Paoay, 12 hours travel time by bus, Faire is P700

TAIWAN | 7-DAY (Do-IT-Yourself) Itinerary from NORTH to SOUTH of Taiwan (Taipei-Chiayi-Kaoshiung)

If you are planning to explore Taiwan from the North in Taipei all the way to the South in Kaoshiung, we would like to share our 7-day itinerary and expenses exactly as what we had experienced when we visited Taiwan. 

We’ve tried to fit everything in, all the places we have wanted to visit and have initially planned, the were however inevitable minor changes along the way when we were already exploring Taiwan. 😊

Firstly, we’ve planned a North to South adventure in Taiwan to experience High Speed Rail. Taiwan is one of the only 4 countries in East Asia  that has High Speed Train namely China, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan. Bullet Train is not a new thingy for us, but we wanted to experience to be on board via High Speed Rail again, this time in Asia. We’ve found Taiwan on the net as the cheapest alternative to rejuvenate a High Speed Train experience. If there is one in my beloved country, the Philippines, I don’t think I will be excited of the HSR experience. 

Secondly, we wanted to explore the entire country. To get to experience its culture and traditions and how it differs from other Chinese States or Special Administrative Regions.

Lastly, to experience its cold climate, not the freezing point cold but the tolerable one, we may have visited Taiwan during winter but our researched told us that it was not going to have snow in the key cities, a temperature that something we could tolerate. We wanted to explore the country not to be frozen. 😊 Overall, Taiwan gave us an experience that went beyond our expectations.

TRAVEL GUIDE | Night Markets in Taiwan: It is a way of Life!

Wherever you go in Taiwan, there is always a Night Market, it is their way of life! If you love food trips, Night Market is a must-visit night out food trip in Taiwan.

There are various locations of Night Markets in Taiwan, one of my favorites is Liuhe Night Market in Kaoshiung City. The most popular in Taipei City however is Shilin Night Market. Depending on which city you intend to visit, these two Night Markets should be on your bucket list of Night Market-Hopping! 😊

Absolutely, Indigenous Taiwan Cuisines are waiting for you!

How to get there by waking: 

  • Liuhe Night Market is 15 mins away from Kaoshiung Main Station by waking –  AddressLiuhe 2nd Road, Xinxing District, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan 800

Looking for food at Liuhe Night Market in Kaoshiung City

Looking for food at Chiyai City Night Market

TRAVEL GUIDE | Love River & Ta Kang Creek of Kaoshiung, Taiwan

Walking has always been part of our travels, and for a number of travels we had, Walking by the river bank was always part of our adventure; from Pasig River of my beloved country the Philippines all the way to the Seine River of Paris, France and Rheine River of Western Europe.

We always joke that we won’t get lost for as long as we know where the river is. The river is always our point of reference to our destinations.

Coincidentally, when we booked our hotel online via agoda while we were still in the Philippines, and when we arrived in the hotel, it was interestingly situated along the Ta Kang Creek! 🙂 

Walking by the Ta Kang Creek and Love River is a must-experience in Kaoshiung. If you are form the Philippines and visiting Kaoshiung, Love river has relevance to Pasig River as it was once heavily polluted, when raw sewage and industrial waste water flowed untreated into the river. Recent efforts by the city government to divert the waste water to the treatment plant in Cijin District has resulted in significantly improved water quality. Love River is now used for sightseeing, and there are duck boats, love boats and gondola rides for tourists to enjoy the city view. Therefore, the clean and green Pasig River of Metropolitan Manila is also possible!

Starbucks along Love River

If you miss your favorite Starbucks Coffee, just walk along the Love River to Carefour where Starbucks by the river is located. You can also rent bike via the automated bike rental kios right in front of Starbucks.

We just stopped by watching Taiwan tradition on how to keep the bad luck away with fire crackers, now I clearly understand why we burn a lot firecrackers on New Year’s Eve. 🙂 We want to push bad luck away in our lives. 🙂 

Ta Kang Creek

Ta Kang Creek is connected to Love River to the North, and Kaoshiung Main Station to the South. We just walked after walked with our google map apps. 🙂 Also, very affordable food stores are available along the Ta Kang Creek as you enjoy your walking. You can have your favorite Taiwanese foods like the locals. You can also just stop by and feed the fish in the creek. 🙂

Kaoshiung city’s proximity to the Philippines, you should expect a warm weather, maybe not as warm as the Philippines but the oriental feel is present. You can also enjoy your walking during winter. It can drop as low as 12 to 18 degree centigrades in the morning and at night during winter. Generally cold for me who has used to live in Metropolitan Manila with 25 C at its coldest best and 37 C scorching hot weather. 🙂

TRAVEL GUIDE | How to get to Lotus Lake in Kaoshiung, Taiwan

Very Little that we knew about Kaoshiung when we were crafting and planning to visit Taiwan, we included Kaoshiung city in our itinerary ONLY as our exit point to the Philippines. I just checked the map to look for the southernmost city of Taiwan where we could exit back home. My primary intention was to to experience the High Speed Rail of Taiwan from North to South.

I’ve become so passionate about Train Travels since I’ve got to experience High Speed Trains in Europe. I was missing the experience, I wanted to rejuvenate the experience without breaking bank account. I’ve discovered Taiwan as an alternative. Surprisingly, the overall experience has gone beyond what I expected!  🙂

Lotus Lake is a place to be. It is a popular destination in Zouying district, Kaoshiung City. It is one of the best landmarks in Kaoshiung if I may say from personal experience. Yes! intstagrammable worthy collections of lakeside Pagodas are waiting for you

Nonethelss, If you are looking for a peaceful trail, waterfront resting spot, and great wildlife viewing in the park’s woods and wetlands, Lotus lake should be included on your bucket list. The park has a 1.6 Kms boardwalk to enjoy the gigantic statues.

Getting there by Train:

  • Take a metro/subway from Kaoshiung Main Station to Ecological District Station, NT20
  • Take a bus ride from Ecological District Bus Station to Lotus Lake Bus Station, NT12

TRAVEL GUIDE | How to get to Maokong Gondola in Taipei, Taiwan

Maokong Gondola cable car ride is a must-try experience if you are planning to visit Taipei. You will surely enjoy the 4.3 km.s long cable car ride with four stations all the way to Maokong Peak. We ourselves were even surprised of its length. The stirring one way Gondola ride will take 20 to 30 minutes to reach the 4th and last station at Maokong where numerous tea plantations and tea shops are located. It was an exhilarating experience! 🙂

Getting there by Train:

  • From Taipei Main Station Blue Line to B15 (Transfer Station)
  • From B15 (Transfer Station) to Taipei Zoo Station
  • Metro Fare NT30

Gondola ride stations:

  1. Taipei Zoo Station
  2. Taipei Zoo South Station
  3. Zhinan Temple Station
  4. Maokong Station

How much is Gondala Ride?

  • NT120 one way 4 stations

TRAVEL GUIDE | Affordable Taipei Double Decker Sightseeing Bus | Hop On-Hop Off

When we visited Taipei, we originally planned to explore Taipei city’s top destinations via Metro/Subway. In fact, we already had the lists of our DIY (Do-It-Yourself) destinations. As we browsed google, Taipei Double Decker Sightseeing Bus popped up on our screens, it was a good deal, we then agreed to grab it since it was our very first time we would experience sightseeing by double decker bus! The experience was absolutely perfect! It is highly recommended.

How much is Taipei Double Decker Sightseeing Bus | Hop On-Hop Off?

  • NT300 for 4 hrs
  • NT500 for 24 hrs
  • NT600 for 24 hrs + Gondola Ride at Maokong Peak + Miniature Taipei Double Decker Toy (Klook Promotions).

Note: If you avail of the pass with Gondola Ride, it is not part of the route, you have to go to Gondola site yourself, the great news is you can get to Gondola ride in 10 to 15 minutes via Metro. 🙂 The Gondola Ride is a must-visit cable car ride in Taipei 🙂

I highly recommend Package no.3, if you are going to book a ticket from Klook

  • NT600 for 24 hrs + Gondola Ride at Maokong Peak + Miniature Taipei Double Decker Toy (Klook Promotions).

To avail of the FREE Miniature Taipei Double Decker Toy (Klook Promotions)

  • Take a selfie photo at Taipei Main Station with Klook banner of Taipei Double Decker Sightseeing Bus in the background, it is located at Taipei Main Station’s Visitors Information Center
  • You also have to post your selfie photo on instagram with hash tag #TaipeiDoubleDeckerBus
  • You can claim the toy at the bus, just present your selfie photo on instagram to the usherette, you can also have a selfie photo with her if you wist to. 🙂

Taipei Top Attractions Lines

  • Blue Lines – bus route heading to National Palace Museum, you can hop on and hop off to any attractions, bus comes every 40 mins
  • Red Lines – bus route heading to Taipei101, you can hop on and hop off to any attractions, bus comes every 40 mins

Taipei City Top Landmarks

Taipei 101
Chiang Kai Shek Memorial
National Palace Museum
Presidential Office Building
Taipei Main Station
Taipei Old North Gate
Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall

Where is the starting point of Taipei Double Decker Sightseeing Bus?

  • The starting point is at Taipei Main Station (M4 area outside TMS)
M4 – Taipei Main Station Taipei Sightseeing Bus Starting Point

TRAVEL GUIDE | How to get to Cigin Island in Kaoshiung, Taiwan

Cigin Island is a growing tourist destination in the south of Taiwan, it is situated in the city of Kaoshiung, the 2nd largest city of Taiwan. Cigin area is a small island which is just 15 minutes away from the harbor of Kaoshiung city.

When we visited Taiwan, we included city of Kaoshiung in our itinerary. We had Kaoshiung as the final leg of our 7-day adventure in Taiwan. We entered in Taipei and exited from Kaoshiung on our way back to Philippines.

Topping the list of our Kaoshiung adventure was Cigin Island where we almost spent our entire day biking in Cigin island. Biking is the fastest way to navigate each point of interests in the entire island. Walking is advisable as well, while biking is full of fun!

Getting there by Train & Ferry:

  • Take a Metro/MRT from Kkaoshiung Main Station to Siziwan Station – NT20
  • From Siziwan Station, walk all the way to Gushan Pier (5 Mins walk)
  • Take a Ferry from Gushian Pier to Cigin Island – NT30
  • Bike Rental at Cigin Island – NT100
  • Foods ranges from NT30 to NT200

7 minutes walk from Love River to Kaoshiung Main Station

Walking at Gushan area from MRT/Metro Siziwan Station

It may appear on the photo that I was the only person walking, we arrived very early in the morning around 7AM, but in reality Cigin is touristy travel destination. 🙂

Gushian Pier 2

Ferry is packed with tourists all over the world, I highly recommend to go to Cigin island early in the morning

BIKING at Cigin Island

Cigin Island is the place where we enjoyed the most in Kaoshiung City

TRAVEL GUIDE | How to get to Shifen Old Street, Shifen Waterfalls, Shifen Lantern Flying, & Jintong via PingXi Line in Taiwan

To explore Metropolitan Taipei always comes first to our mind visiting Taiwan. Well, Taipei highly efficient transportation systems can get us around Metropolitan Taipei in a day or two. We can just simply utilize its state-of-the-art train networks and efficient bus transportation system to roam around the city to visit its top destinations, but how about sparing another day exploring a historical place rich in Taiwanese culture and nature wonders northeast of Taipei?

Exploring Shifen Old Street, Shifen Waterfalls, Shifen Lantern Flying, & Jintong via PngXi Line in Taiwan should be part of your itinerary in visiting Taiwan.

Shifen Old Street is one of the most popular destinations in Taiwan. It is situated in PingXi area or PingXi railroad, the railroad was originally built to transport coal. It was completed in July 1921.

Before we visited Taiwan, we knew nothing about PingXi Area or Shifen Old Street. We just planned to stay in Taipei for 4 days and the next 3 days down south of Taiwan in Chiyayi city and Kaoshiung City. When we were already in Taiwan and had already explored the destinations of our interests in 2 days, we were thinking of where else to go. We tried to google and to look for blogs, we found Shifen Old Street. We spared a day to explore the famous Shifen Old Street. It was an awesome experience!

Getting there by Train:

PingXI Line DIY North of Taipei  – Shifen Old Street Lantern Flying, Shifen Warerfall, Xing PI, and Jungtong

  • From Taipei Main Station to Ruifang (Regular Train) – P72, NT42, US$1.38
  • Transfer to PingXi Line to Shifen Station(One Day Pass for PingXi Line & Sheniao Line) – P135, NT80, US$2.58
  • Lantern Flying in Shifen – P253, NT150, US$4.8
  • Taruko Express Train from Ruifang to Taipei Main Station = P128, NT76, US$2.45

Please see the railway guide below: 

Shifen Train Station & the Skyway in Shifen area

The sky way stretching in Shifen area really caught my attention. The old suddenly appeared to be modern. Despite the contrast, Shifen Old Street is a very romantic place.

Lantern Flying At Shifen

I also had my fair share of Lantern Flying. I initially thought of wishing to win a lottery. I wrote different wishes on the lantern. 🙂  

Shifen Waterfalls

It is a 1.5 kms trek from Shifen train station all the way to the breathtaking Shifen Waterfalls. A well paved path way is waiting for you. Trekking is like walking in the moon.

Jintong, the last station in PingXi Line


Taiwanese Cuisine: No Travel will ever be complete without the food

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