Why Batanes, Philippines is the Best Post-COVID Destination

The Coronavirus pandemic has left many of us stuck in our homes with little freedom to roam around and see new (or old) sights. Even introverts who love to be at home may already be daydreaming a great adventure.

Despite us not seeing an end to the pandemic just yet, it’s not too early to plan your post-pandemic travel. If you want to be the first at the airport after all these but aren’t sure where to go, we’re here to convince you that breathtaking Batanes, Philippines should be first on your post-COVID travel bucket list.

Peace and quiet

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We know what you’re thinking. You’ve had plenty of peace and quiet at home in quarantine. However, peace and quiet in Batanes is different. 

Located in the northernmost part of the Philippines, Batanes is just the place you need if you badly want to travel but are still wary of being in crowds. 

Because it is not the most easily accessible place in the Philippine archipelago, there are not too many tourists in this group of islands. You won’t hear the sound of automobiles often either. Instead, you will wake up to the sound of waves, birds chirping, and the faint rustling of leaves.

In Batanes, you’ll feel like the world is your oyster. You’ll get a true breath of fresh air, a far cry from your days of feeling cramped in your room. 

According to Kent Teach, fresh air is not only good for your heart and lungs but also your digestive and immune systems. It can increase your productivity and make you happier, making your trip to Batanes a healing one.

A place to disconnect

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Life here is calm and slow, so it is the perfect place to disconnect from the world and reconnect with yourself. Here, it is best to start your day early, heading out of your guesthouse for a little adventure.

Islands in Batanes that tourists frequent are peppered with quaint cafes that can give you your caffeine fix. They also serve local Ivatan and Filipino food made with the freshest produce. Surrounded by the sea, you’re also sure to get your fill of scrumptious seafood dishes.

If you’re staying in Basco, you should definitely drop by Hiro’s cafe for their aromatic blue rice and refreshing blue coconut juice. Butterfly pea flowers, which these are infused with, are great for detoxification, which can help with stress and anxiety relief, say experts on detox from Urologist Singapore.

There’s also little to no wifi on the islands, which is perfect for that much-needed social media detox. If you’re worried you’ll be bored out of your wits, fear not because Batanes has an endless list of scenic spots you can enjoy.

Unique scenic spots

Source: travelworkseetheworld

Batanes gives a whole new meaning to the words “scenic locations”. The sights the place holds are unlike those you would encounter at your usual vacation spots. 

The place boasts verdant rolling hills, clear skies, and a sea painted a beautiful shade of blue. If you’re staying at the capital, Basco, you can take a tricycle or motorbike ride to Marlboro Hills and enjoy the view of cattle peacefully grazing.

In Basco, you will also see the famous winding road traversing lush hills that is aptly dubbed the end of Philippine roads. Make sure to go here before dusk as the road is sure to take you to a truly one-of-a-kind view of the sunset.

There are also plenty of beaches you can have all to yourself in Batanes, each with their own unique features. Morong Beach, for instance, has natural stone formations to provide you shade… which could also double as backgrounds for an enviable Instagram post.

Rich history

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Isolated as it is from the rest of the Philippines, Batanes has a rich and diverse history and culture you can see in its architecture.

Traditional Ivatan homes in Batanes are low and made of stone, made to withstand the frequent heavy rains and strong winds as well as the occasional quakes in the islands. 

There are also structures from the Spanish colonisation like lighthouses atop scenic hills. There also exist old American radio centres and Japanese hideouts that can give you glimpses of what happened to Batanes during World War II.

Great adventure

Source: Unsplash

If you’re looking for even more adventure, go to Itbayat, the last municipality in the north of the Philippines. From the capital, Basco, you can get into a boat early in the morning to Itbayat. 

The rocky island is made of coral that earthquakes lifted above sea level. Tectonic plate movement and volcanic activity have also gifted the place with an abundance of mountains to trek, caves to explore, and cliffs to climb.

As it’s a remote island, expect to travel rough seas to get there. It’s also common for boat rides to be cancelled going in and out of the municipality due to bad weather, so it’s truly for those looking for an adventure.

When the pandemic ends, remember not to deprive yourself of a break from the world. Shake off your stress so you can face the new world with a brand-new perspective. If you’re not ready for your usual choice of busier vacation spots, places like Batanes are the best for you.

And remember, by going on vacation, you’re also avoiding the physical effects of stress, which can bring about concerns like weight gain and diabetes, according to the experts at Endocrinologist Singapore. That means you can keep both mind and body fit by taking a break sometimes! 

Just finding joy in the little things. Click here to follow Katong Kids Inc Facebook Page to stay tune on the next blog post.

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Where to Go for Your Next Healing Retreat in Malaysia

Keeping up with the world and trying to perform all our different roles can be exhausting. Once in a while, we might feel the need to drop everything and go someplace relaxing. If you’re thinking of using your leave credits for a healing getaway, we’ve got just the places for you.

If you’re from Malaysia or from any neighbouring country, there are many places you can book in Malaysia for your much-needed retreat. We’ve listed three of the best ones below for you to consider for your next vacation.

Spa Village

Located on a private island that boasts scenic coasts, Spa Village at Pangkor Laut Resort is the breath of fresh air you need from your regular routine. 

The extravagant resort has “spa villages” for each of their treatments. They offer programmes that target specific needs, particularly relaxation and stress reduction, rejuvenation and longevity, detoxification, and romance.

They use techniques that originated in Malaysia, Bali, Thailand, India, China, and Japan. They combine natural and local ingredients, time-tested healing practices, and modern spa equipment to give you the type of healing you need.

If you wish to have a holistic experience of their healing rituals, they also have specialists in  Chinese, Ayurvedic or Malay traditional medicine you can consult with from the first day of your stay to better enjoy your healing retreat.

The place even has special structures to give their clients the best spa experience. These include 8 treatment pavilions, a deluxe Belian Treatment Pavilion, 3 nap gazebos, 3 spa huts, 2 bathhouses, a Chinese Herbal hut, an Ayurvedic hut, a Malay hut, and a spa boutique. 

After your healing activities, you can retire at 1 of 22 spa villas overlooking the sea, which also offers direct access to Spa Village.

The Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat

The Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat is Malaysia’s first luxury natural hot springs wellness retreat, However, the place offers more avenues for relaxation beyond the hot springs it is famed for, such as caves for different designated activities.

Moreover, Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat provides more than just a scenic location for your relaxing getaway. They have treatment programs tailor-made to satisfy your needs.

They also provide healthy food options, nutritional therapies, and spa therapies for their weight management programme. To help you recover from stress, they also have a rejuvenation programme that provides soul-filling food and soothing spa therapies. 

Meanwhile, they offer a variety of group and one-on-one exercise sessions and targeted wellness therapies for their fitness programme.

Further taking your worries away, all packages are inclusive of villa accommodation, spa cuisine menus, plus access to more of their amenities. Their villas also have their own private pools and jacuzzis filled with all-natural geothermal hot-spring water for your utmost relaxation.

The Datai Langkawi

The Datai Langkawi is a luxury resort in Malaysia located in the middle fll of a 10 million-year old rainforest, making it the perfect place to visit if you just want to be surrounded by lush greenery.

The resort’s spa can be found along a stream, which allows them to harness the gifts the rainforest generously provides. They use age-old Malay healing recipes called Ramuan made with plants and herbs from the rainforest. 

Besides their Ramuan and other spa treatments, The Datai Langkawi also offers a variety of multisensory healing activities.

One can get a cup of specially-curated tea at The Nature Centre Lounge. You can also get a full cooking experience, from picking your own herbs to plating, at the resort’s The Dapur cooking class.

You can also opt to join the Mandi Embun, an ancient Malay ritual for wellness and longevity that can make you feel like a reinvigorated person.

The ritual starts with bathing at the stream in a way that follows traditional Malay forest bathing principles. Then, you’ll get a traditional massage that increases blood flow, a healthy lunch, and Malay exercises to conclude the ritual.

Mandi Ebun can reduce your stress too, so it’s definitely a good thing to try if you’re stressed out. Some even find that it reduces certain physical pains, say previous customers.

This may be because stress can cause some physical issues. Stress may be causing your sleep problems, ear pain, throat constriction, and other concerns, according to the pros at ENT Doctor Singapore, so stress- mitigating therapies can help then.

Anyway, after your scheduled relaxation activities, you can rest at any of the resort’s 121 rooms, suites and villas, which give you an enthralling view of the verdant rainforest or the majestic Andaman Sea.


You can certainly do quick activities to reduce your stress at home, but these are often bandaid solutions that have temporary results. Vacations can increase creativity and productivity, strengthen relationships, improve mental health, and prevent stress-induced heart disease, says Select Health

While it is admirable to keep going despite tremendous amounts of stress, taking time off for a bit of relaxation is important. So, on your next long weekend, enjoy your well-deserved time off with a truly healing retreat.


Places You Can Enjoy for Free in Singapore

Singapore is a delightful place to visit in Southeast Asia. Small as it is, it has so many things to offer wandering souls. Here, you can explore multiple cultures in the middle of a bustling, ultramodern city. 

However, many travellers tend to be too intimidated to roam the country, thinking it would cost them a lot. The truth is, there are so many cheap yet beautiful places to visit in Singapore. One just has to look beyond the usual tourist spots.

If you are looking for more places to add to your Singapore itinerary without blowing up your expenses, there’s no need to look further. Below is a list of places in Singapore you can enjoy for free.

1. ION Orchard

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We’re not kidding. ION Orchard, one of Singapore’s biggest and fanciest shopping malls, has a few places you can enjoy for free.

ION Art, ION Orchard’s art gallery, showcases modern and contemporary art from Asian artists and designers. Besides the multimedia and digital art you’d expect to see in modern art museums, the place also features thought-provoking art installations and sculptures.

At ION Orchard’s 55th and 56th floors, there is also ION Sky. It is a free-for-all observation deck that gives you an amazing view of the city’s skyline.

2. Buddha Tooth Relic Temple

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Time-travel to Tang dynasty China at Buddha Tooth Relic Temple. This striking piece of architecture is considered sacred as it is said to house a tooth from Buddhism’s founder, Siddharta Gautama. 

The 156-year old temple is still an active place of worship for Buddhists in Singapore, so expect to see monks and devotees chanting their prayers in the hall. Certainly a warm place to visit, they even serve guests a simple vegetarian meal for free.

And if you’re not too crazy about vegetarian food, just remember: according to Thrillist, eating more fruits and vegetables can make you feel significantly happier. So, a visit at Buddha Tooth Relic Temple can make you feel better not just spiritually, but also physically.

3. Sri Mariamman Temple

Source: Tripadvisor

Located in Chinatown, Sri Mariamman Temple is the oldest Hindu temple in Singapore. Having existed for almost 200 years, the place represents Hinduism’s rich history in the country and remains a place of prayer for devotees.

Colourful and 6 storeys high, this elegant architecture can be spotted even from afar. Up close, you’ll also appreciate the intricate statues and shrines it holds for various Hindu deities and mythical creatures.

Just remember to show up in appropriate attire when visiting temples, although there are often sarongs you can borrow at temple entrances, just in case you forget.

4. Haw Par Villa

Source: Visit Singapore

Formerly known as Tiger Balm Garden, Haw Par Villa is the last of its kind in the world. This 8.5-hectare cultural park built in 1937 is packed with art that tells of Asian culture, history, philosophy, and religion.

To be specific, Singapore’s biggest outdoor gallery has eclectic statues and dioramas that pay tribute to Chinese mythology and legends as well as the Chinese belief system Confucianism.

One of the main attractions in the place is the 10 Courts of Hell, which tells a lesson about the punishments mortals are said to receive depending on their earthly sins as per Indian Buddhism.

5. Jurong Lake Gardens

Source: TODAYOnline

Occupying 90 hectares, Jurong Lake Gardens is Singapore’s garden of gardens. The huge space holds the Garden Promenade, Lakeside Garden, Chinese Garden and Japanese Garden.

Each garden can transport you into a whole new space. For instance, the Chinese Garden has the trademark imperial Chinese architectural style, complete with stone lions, stone bridges, and pagodas. Next to it, the Japanese Garden looks straight from a Japanese landscape painting.

We actually recommend this spot when you need to unwind. When staying in a busy city, it’s important to find places where you can breathe fresh air freely from time to time. 

Spending time in parks like this one can even improve respiratory health and reduce the risk of lung diseases, say the experts at Livingstone Health. So, visiting sites like these can be good for your body too! 

6. Mount Faber Park

Source: Visit Singapore

Mount Faber Park is the best place for a leg day in Singapore. It offers an avenue for exercise in a refreshing space you’ll surely find pleasing to the eyes.

Your efforts will not only reward you with healthier joints and muscles. Here, you also get to enjoy the area’s flora and fauna. 

There are also murals that tell a story of Singapore’s rich history. Push for the peak and you’ll even get a spectacular view of the city’s skyline. 

Just make sure you wear the right footwear. A lot of sightseers get in trouble in this spot because they forget about that, according to the experts at Rheumatologist Singapore – who often find themselves ministering to the sore tourists afterwards. Don’t be one of those! 

Anyway, you don’t really need too much money to see more of the world, as you can see. This is as long as you set aside materialism and look at travelling as a way to gain experience and insight. These places in Singapore prove that the country can be enjoyed even with a small budget. 

With a bit of research, resourcefulness, and willingness to go off the beaten path, you can explore more places and begin to see things in a different light.

Just finding joy in the little things. Click here to follow Katong Kids Inc Facebook Page to stay tune on the next blog post.

All photos, information and opinions, unless otherwise stated, in this post belong to Katong Kids Inc. Reproducing or copying them for use on third party sites without our written permission are strictly prohibited. All rights reserved.