Allea Real Estate

Allea Real Estate
Real Estate in Davao City, Philippines

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Philippine Road Trip - Day 5

We arrived in Surigao last night. I thought, finally we're in Mindanao.

But John did not want to sleep there. So we decided to proceed to Butuan City and stayed at Almont Inland Hotel. It's our 2nd stay there and we both like the spacious room. Plus they got good food. :) John loves their coffee too.

The nice and accomodating staff at Almont Inland Hotel.

After breakfast, we headed towards Davao. We were no longer worried of getting lost because we've passed by this road several times already. It's mostly flat terrain except when you reach Mawab, where you have to drive slowly because of its high elevation and zigzag road. John drove slowly so I can take pictures.

Funniest Experience on this trip:

I kept seeing the "PED XING" sign. So finally , I asked John what the word meant. He said - Pedestrian Crossing. I said , oh ok.. Then he asked why. I said, I thought it's chinese for SLOW DOWN. hahahha.. We burst out laughing. I don't drive so how would I know right? It sounded chinese to me. hehe

Random Pics:

Palm Tree Plantation in Agusan.

                            Can you count how many passengers does this motorcycle have? lol

The new bridge in Butuan City.

Logs on the road in Agusan.

Agusan Products. :)

You're probably wondering why we bought our van in Manila. Yes, there's a Nissan dealer in Davao. But Nissan Manila gave us the following freebies: 3 yr LTO registration, P90k discount which they automatically took off from the selling price, free mats and seat covers. And since we picked it up from their office, we were no longer charged with  the Freight cost. The dealer in Davao wanted to charge us Php36,000.00 for the freight even if the van is on display in their showroom.

So it's a no-brainer really. We saved a lot of money by buying in Manila. Plus we got to travel and enjoyed the Philippine countryside. :)

                                                              Lea C. Walker

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Philippine Road Trip - Day 4

I woke up in an unfamiliar bed. For a moment there, I forgot that we were in Tacloban City. Yes, we're still travelling. :) You notice the smiley after the word travel? lol  I just don't smile but grin when I think about going to places. My heart starts thumping. And I find myself singing, not just in the bathroom.. haha

John was still sleeping. So I quietly took a bath, changed and went down. The street wasn't busy yet. Maybe because it's a sunday. Most people get up late on Sundays. Not me though.. I always wake up at freakin' 5:00 in the morning. Same time with the chicken huh? haha... Gee, am I that old now?

Downtown Tacloban on a Sunday.

I hired a tricycle and went to church. I did not know that Tacloban City's patron saint is the Sto. Nino. I'm glad because he's our family's patron saint too. And it gave me the chance to say thanks for bringing us to this place safely.

Tacloban Church

The flower vendors outside the church.

Tacloban City is a small place. I asked the driver to roam around its downtown area and see what's there. He turned towards the pier. I'm glad he did since it gave me time to take pictures again. :)

When I got back to the hotel, John and I had breakfast. Our conversation:

Me   :   do you remember the bridge last night?
John:   yes
Me   :  can we go back there?
John :  why? (in a funny sounding voice)
Me   :  because I want to take pictures of it. It was so dark last night, I was not able to do so.

John looked at me as if I was crazy. haha...So I explained.

Me   : That is San Juanico Bridge. When I was in elementary, it was part of our history book. So I'd
           like to go back there and take pictures.

John :  (Rolling his eyes) Seriously?! 30mins of travel to take pictures of a bridge?

To this date, John still thinks I'm crazy. hahaha....

San Juanico Bridge, Samar , Leyte.

Another thing I learned is that Tacloban City has one of the best Lechons (roasted pig) in the Philippines. We had no idea where we will have lunch and what awaits us on the road. So  we bought food on the road again. I bought rice and lechon for me. (That's how I found out that it's Tacloban's specialty. ) And pizza for John.

Okay, so off we go.. looking for Mc Arthur! :) Tsk.. tsk.. Leyte adventure will not be complete without checking the "I shall return" guy right? Of course!

Mc Arthur Landing park in Leyte, Philippines.

John and his countrymen. :)

The rain was drizzling. But well, it did not bother us. We were having fun cruising the road. Leyte to Liloan was a beautiful ride. The ricefield, the mountain view and the beach... wow, our government should seriously consider promoting this island to the whole world.

We found ourselves at Liloan Port. The ferry leaves late in the afternoon so we had no choice but wait. Liloan , Leyte to Surigao is a 4 hour trip.  Without typhoons or a low pressure , that 4 hour trip is heavenly.  

Coin divers at Liloan Port.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Philippine Road Trip - Day 3

It had been a gruelling 2 days. But waking up from a deep slumber was both relaxing and refreshing. Today, starts a new episode. Another adventure to the unknown. :) Of which I was excitedly looking forward to.

We started our day with a great breakfast from La Roca Hotel. For Php2,400.00 per night, I thought that the place was cheap, considering the big room and the free breakfast that comes with the booking. I love their spacious and very clean bathroom. I am glad that we found an instant "home away from home" , so to speak.

At 9:00 a.m. , John and I were already on the road , trying to get out of Legazpi City. But we both realized that we've done the same road twice already. So I looked at the map again and wondered how on earth did we get lost? John stopped and I asked the vendor beside the road for direction. Using her finger and lips as she pointed the direction to us, I profusedly said "thank you".

Okay,  now we understand how we mistakenly took another route. Finally, we found the main highway. Thank God. :)

The Park in Sorsogon.

Travelling in a highway is so much better than being in a big city. Traffic is lesser and the countryside gets more beautiful every minute that passes by. We did not even notice it when  we reached Sorsogon. We stopped for a short break, bought some "merienda" and used the park's bathroom. It gave me time to satisfy my photography addiction too...  With John as my handsome but unwilling model.  ha..ha..


Beautiful mountains in Sorsogon.

Past lunchtime, we reached  MatnogPort.  This is where we will board the ferry going to Allen, Samar. The trip took 2 hours only. That gave us the respite we much needed. Again, I bought food. This time from the ferry canteen. There weren't many options. But it's better than nothing considering that we still had a long way to go.

The Ferry in Matnog.

The view from the ferry. See how small the boat was amidst the vastness of the sea.
Reminds me that I am just a speck on earth. Really.

The port in Allen, Samar.

Getting out of the port was no hassle. We were on the road again after a few minutes. What took time was crossing the rough and bumpy highway. That's good news though. It means that our government is repairing the road. At least we know that taxpayer's money is going somewhere. :)

Samar, Leyte has a lot to offer. They are blessed with beautiful beaches and mountain ranges that any adventurous traveller should try to visit. This trip taught me a lesson. I have so much to learn about my country. I am a Filipino but I did not know that these things exist in my own "backyard". I am glad that I am a wanderlust. And I thank God for giving me a husband who understands it. And the means to rest when we want to.

A "postcard-perfect" scenery in Samar, Leyte.

The ingenuity of the Filipinos. Covered motorcycle being used as a public vehicle. :)

                                                          Lea C. Walker

Monday, September 26, 2011

Philippine Road Trip - Day 2

I felt better after a good night's sleep. Thanks to Star Garden Tower Hotel. :) 

John and I ate at McDonald's because that's the only breakfast place available early in the morning. We decided to start early since we still have a long way to go.

I asked John not to feel bad anymore. What happened the previous day was in the past. (For Day 1 of this road trip - please check:

You know, John was more disappointed than I was. Actually, he really took it worst that I did. Maybe because in my case, I was already prepared for the worst. Like what everybody says, interview at the US embassy is like a game. If they like you on sight, they'll give you a visa. If they don't, too bad for you. :)  If you like, pay again the fee next time. And hope that luck is on your side that day... Nice right?

So John and I agreed that we will not let it spoil our vacation. We work everyday, even on a Sunday sometimes. So I thought, we both deserved to rest.

Somewhere in Quezon Province.  

I am glad we took a road trip because John and I loved every bit of it. The countryside was gorgeous and the view was great. 

Giant Silver Swan Bottle in Quezon Province. :)

We stopped in Naga City for lunch and rested for awhile. John bought a back support thing from a hardware in SM Naga. I'm so happy  he found it because it made driving more comfortable for him. :)

Finally, we arrived in Legazpi City around 5 in the afternoon. We looked for hotels and decided to stay at La Roca. I loved the place. It's just a 2 storey hotel so it was not so crowded. The food was great too...

But what I love the most about it is that, the majestic Mayon Volcano is just very near. John drove a couple kilometer and we're there.  

We just stayed on the road, watching this magnificent mountain from afar. It stood there, breathing smoke, on a beautiful day looking so grand and regal... I felt lucky and blessed that I was given a chance to see and take photos of it.


                                                          Lea C. Walker

Philippine Road Trip - Day 1

July 2010:

We arrived at NAIA around 8:30am. 

By 9:30 am, we were already in Nissan to pick up the new van we bought. It's been sitting there for almost a month but we wanted to pick it up in time of my non immigrant visa interview at the US Embassy. My mom-inlaw and I just talked on the phone. But she and the rest of John's family has not seen me yet. Hence, the application for the US visa. I had no idea what proof the embassy needs for them to know that I'm coming back to Davao. But going by what everybody suggested, I brought all the important documents; bank statements, business documents, titles , etc. 

So around 12:00nn , I was already at the embassy for my 1pm interview.

I was excited and nervous at the same time. Excited because I don't know what the outcome would be. Nervous, because I know how the interviewers hate Filipinos. :) They automatically think that since you're going to the US, you're not coming back.

Ok, I waited for quite sometime. Finally, it was time for my interview. Three questions later, the interviewer told me:  "I cannot give you a US visa right now because you're not socially and economically qualified".

I got stunned.

But I remember saying "excuse me? How can you say that, when you did not even look at my documents?". For the first time, he looked at me. Really looked at me... He probably did not expect that I would question him. I'm just a lowly Filipina, after all. :) A possible domestic helper, a worker of any kind who will go to the US and not come back...

I stared back. And I lost. :)

He said , " you're done ma'am. Finished. Next."

Talk about being rude. But then again, I was just a number to him. So what does he care. It just felt unfair to me, because  I was never given a chance. He did not see the documents that I carried from Davao for that purpose. I was mad because it was heavy. I had at least 30 titles in my name and John's, that day. Plus all the other docs I brought.

Three silly questions will not prove that I am not going back to Davao.  My whole life is here. Our business is here. Why would we throw that away? Boy, was I mad... I felt bad that I won't be able to see my parents inlaw. They're old people already. And they've wanted to see me for a long time. I'm the reason why their son is in the Philippines, instead of being with them in the US. So it was really sad that some misconception about Filipinos are hindering that plan.

For those who say that this is the 21st century and no more racism.. Try being a Filipina! And you'll understand what I mean. :)

You know, for the longest time , I was mad. Not because of the visa. But because of the insult. Let me ask you, how do you become socially qualified? I have no idea..  Maybe, one of my friends can tell me how..  

How many millions do you need to have in your account to qualify "economically". Isn't it enough that there's money in your bank account to finance your vacation and more? I never professed to be rich. But we're not poor either. All my life,  I have worked like there's no tomorrow, to be where I am today.

For somebody to insult me like that... he's a total jerk.

Of course, John was really mad. :) But there's nothing he can do. The embassy would not even let him in. He's an american remember? But he was denied entrance because it's my interview. Not his.

I have not been back since then. I don't think I would like to go through the same humiliation again. It's our 7th anniversary soon. So maybe I'll go back next year. Let's see if 7 is my lucky number. hahaha... I mean you know, they won't look at your documents. So what else do they want? Blood? LOL

Anyway,  after the embassy fiasco, John and I met with our dear friend, Marlic. We had  lunch together. With me , spitting fire. Hay sus!

By 4pm that day, Kuya Dodong, my cousin who lives in Manila drove us to the boundary. From there John and I will travel on our own back to Davao. With just a map as our guide. Fun , right? :)

John with Kuya Dodong. The new Nissan van we bought, in the background.

After saying goodbye to Kuya Dodong, John and I moved on.  I'm glad there was still daylight because we had no idea what awaits us on the way to Lucena City. That's where we will be staying that night.

I'm glad that Marlic's son made a booking for us in a hotel there. I said thank you then kapatid , but I'll say thank you again. :) Can you imagine being in a new place with no idea where to stay? So yeah, John and I really appreciated your help.  Salamat kaayo! :)

I usually do online bookings but that time, I did not because it depended on my interview. Whether we will be staying in Manila for another day or not.

We arrived in Lucena City around 7:00 in the evening. I am glad that the hotel looked nice. And their dinner was good. We needed a good night's sleep after a veeerrryyyy looooong day....:)


                                                                           Lea C. Walker

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Things To Do In Davao

Davao City is only 1.5hrs from Manila by plane. Both Cebu Pacific or Philippine Airlines have several trips each day, either from Manila or Cebu. If you want an adventure, you can also do a land trip from Manila to Davao, by bus (2 days they say) or by private vehicle. John and I did the latter for a total of 4 nights and 5 days. But then again, we stopped and slept in a hotel every night. Then proceeded again the next day. I'll write about that I promise. Eventually... :)

Where To Stay in  Davao:

It's not fun when you have nowhere to sleep on right? So click on the link below for the list of the places you might want to stay:

Then click again on the name of the hotels and inns and it will take you to their website.

For those who want somewhere cheap, Business Inn along Monteverde St., is a good choice. Cheapest price per room is Php500.00 per day.

That taken cared of, let's proceed to the Things you can do while in Davao City:

1) March is when Araw ng Dabaw is celebrated. So maybe you would like to schedule your trip before its culmination day, March 16 to enjoy the Street Dancing Parade. It's fun, believe me. :) I've been watching this parade for 10 years or so because we give away fliers to the tourists during this time. Well, work and fun should go together right? :)


Mutya ng Dabaw


2. If you cannot make it on March, I would suggest that you come to Davao on the 3rd week of August, if you can. This is when Kadayawan sa Dabaw culminates. Visitors from all over the  Philippines and even foreigners come to watch the parade. Kadayawan is a thanksgiving festival for the bountiful harvest during the year. Like I said in my previous blog, we are blessed with fruits , vegetables, seafoods, etc. all year round. That's why food is cheaper in Davao than Manila and Cebu.

Me and Friends from Bank of Philippine Islands :)

3. Samal Island: 

       Please read about Samal Island here -  .

4. Eden Nature Park and more:

       Please read  about it  here -

5.  River Tubing and Wild Water Rafting:

        Both of these activities are done in Calinan.

       River Tubing will take at least 2 hours. It starts in Malagos and ends near Calinan Proper. The fee is Php150.00 per head and it includes: rent of the tube, head gear, life vest,  guides' fee and CD compilation of your tubing trip. For more details, please contact:

                    LAYAK OUTDOORS
                    Fausta St., Calinan, Davao City
                    E-mail :
                    Contact: Layak - 0910-4230723
                    Marlon - 0909-6391344
                    Don Kaloy - 0910-4230723

Wild Water  Rafting is coordinated by PSD Group of Companies. ( The fee is Php2,000.00 per head. You have to go to Crocodile Farm office in Diversion Road, Maa by 8 a.m. on your scheduled day. They usually leave around 9 in the morning then head towards Calinan. Make sure that you have one day to spare because you do not come back until 4 in the afternoon, the same day. :)

6. Davao is also the home of  Pag-Asa, a monkey-eating eagle , born at the Philippine Eagle Center in Malagos, Calinan. For more details, please check this -

7. While in Calinan, make sure that you visit Malagos Orchid Garden. The bird show is amazing. :) It's usually scheduled on a Sunday -

8. If you have more time, do not miss the chance of going to Buda. Seagull Mountain Resort is there. Their coleslaw is a must! It's so yummy, I can eat it everyday. hehe... The resort also has  waterfalls so make sure you go there during summertime. Don't forget that Buda is on a higher elevation so it's very cold up there. It would be difficult to appreciate the waterfalls when you're having hypothermia. :) On top of that, the flowers being sold along the road, are so pretty you would want to take them when you leave. hehe... 

9. Aldevinco Shopping Center:

      Of course, vacations are not complete without souvenirs right? So head towards Aldevinco Shopping Center for Davao souvenirs. Aldevinco is also famous for money exchange. So don't worry if you have no Philippine Peso when you arrive in Davao. Just go there and problem solved! Their rate is higher than the banks and hotels. :)

10.  Food Trip:

     If you like adventure, go to Bankerohan market. And look for the "puto maya" place. They serve one of the best "puto maya" coupled with local "tsokolate". Perfect for breakfast! :)

        For lunch, try Boyd's along Palma Gil St., Bo. Obrero, Davao City.  I love their dumpling and Porkloin with Java Rice. I've tried the java rice of several restaurants. But Boyd's I'd say is the best in Davao.  John loves their pizza and pasta.

         If you're in SM, you might want to try Bigby's for their BBQ Ribs :) Also, Roadhouse Cafe. They have an extensive menu but I always order the Sizzling Bangus. Can't get enough of it.

         Past SM , at the corner of Dona Luisa Village 2,  there's a place called Karlyn's. The restaurant is made of bamboo materials and it looks very simple. But the food is really good. Their specialty is tenderloin steak. For P170.00 pesos, that's cheap. They mostly have beef menu and all of them are really, really good. Orders come with soup (yummy!...) and dessert .

         For dinner, best choice would be Marco Polo. It's a buffet dinner so they serve a lot of choices, from seafoods to pork, chicken and beef menus. There's a wide array of fruits and desserts. The fee is so worth it. :)

Buffet @ Cafe Marco,  Marco Polo, Davao City

10. Last but not the least, a visit to the Shrine of the Holy Infant Jesus of Prague, locally known as Sto. Nino shrine in Shrine Hills, Matina.  For catholics, you might want to do this. Personally, I like to visit St. Jude Church in Mt. Apo St. Everything that I prayed for and more were granted to me. So if you like to say "thank you" for the many blessings received, those are two of the places I go to.

                                                               Lea C. Walker