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Monday, December 11, 2017

Agal-Agal Festival: A Vibrant Celebration of Tawi-Tawi’s Culture


As I stood on the deck of BRP Capones, a spanking new Japanese-made Parola-class patrol vessel of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) where we hitched a ride going to Tawi-Tawi, I quickly surveyed my surroundings. I saw the sacred mountain of Bud Bongao lording it over a picturesque landscape and covered by the morning mist, yet I was still able to spot the silhouette of the town’s Mosque and the outlines of a modest village with fishing boats and passenger ferries that are starting to stir with the day’s activities. And then it dawned on me, I finally reached the southernmost province of the country. Tawi-Tawi, I have arrived!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Discovering a Trove of Cultural and Historical Relics at Villa Escudero


There’s only one country I haven’t been to. Nepal. I don’t know why – I just haven’t had the chance” – Don Ado told us after he overheard me asking my friend KarlaCan you guess how many countries he had traveled to?.” It wasn’t a question concocted out of the blue. I wondered about it after surveying through the massive art, historic, religious and souvenir collection housed inside Don Ado’s private mansion.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Counting Secluded Strides in San Vicente’s Long Beach


My step count must have numbered in the hundreds when I paused to survey my surroundings. I saw the fisherman who greeted me earlier as he was fixing his fishing net, appearing like a small dot from far away. I turned my head and saw no one else within yelling distance—except for a couple of dogs who were following me. For a few minutes I sat on a protruding branch of a fallen tree, and just wrapped my mind at the solitary vibe of the spot. I started to wonder how such stunning place remains uncrowded in an afternoon showered with the riveting golden rays of the sun.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

New York’s Best AirBnBs

Accommodation costs in NewYork, reportedly the most expensive city in the United States, are quite steep, especially if you’ve set your sights on a hotel in Manhattan. Another, relatively cheaper and comfortable, alternative would be to rent out a holiday property from those listed on AirBnB. You still may have to spend as much as $200 a night, but with the entire apartment or home to yourself, and minus the limitations typical of hotels, it may well be worth the expense, especially when travelling with friends or family.


Impressive AirBnBs are available throughout the city and rentals vary based on the location and the size of the property. Staying at a central location makes it a tad easier to explore the city without losing time and money on the commute. 

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Jaipur, India | Man Sagar Lake’s 'Floating' Jal Mahal Palace


Sticking my neck out of our tuktuk I can already see the outline of the Jal Mahal Palace as it appear to float calmly over the glass-like waters of Man Sagar Lake. An impressive architectural wonder – seemingly fluctuating or plummeting deep into the stoic blue waters. As I stood out from a distance, I immediately recognize it as a thing of beauty stuck out of place. Nonetheless, I felt it eliciting a probing element calling to answer how it ended up in its current state; abandoned, fascinating yet left to the mercy of the tranquil lake. 


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Sta Cruz Island, Zamboanga | More than a 'Pretty in Pink' Kind of Beach


The idea of walking over the pretty pink sands of Sta Cruz Island in Zamboanga City not only had me LSS-ing on a classic Psychedelic Furs song and recounting a young Molly Ringwald, it also injected a shot of enthusiasm through my spine. And no thanks to a couple of cancelled Zamboanga trips in the past, I finally found myself blissfully seated on a small boat with my eyes staring ahead to the spread out patched of glistening shoreline enveloped by hues of green flora in the not so far distant. I while away the time listening to the engine revving of the boat, as if it was a soundtrack to the opening of yet another must-watch short travel film. 

Monday, October 9, 2017

Cassie De Pecol Shares Her 7 Favorite Destinations


After becoming the first female to visit all the countries on our planet, Cassie De Pecol decided to share her 7 favorite destinations.

Cez and Agness from eTramping.com, an adventure travel blog that provides unique travel tips and interesting facts about destinations across the whole globe, were particularly inspired by the story of Cassie De Pecol, a young woman who has been to every country in the world. Since both of them are experienced travelers, it only makes sense that they take local advice from other adventurers like Cassie.


From Cassie De Pecol's Facebook Page

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Standing on the Shoulders of Isla de Gigantes


A 3-hour sleep removed from walking on the rain drenched streets of Iloilo City, I found myself inside a van with a few friends heading to a group of scattered but positively raved Islas in the Western Visayas Sea. A few hours of land travel followed before I stood staring at the radiant skies above. To think, Mia was having doubts earlier in the evening of pushing through because of the bad weather in Iloilo - the sight that greeted us at the port of Carles screams of a setting perfect for romping over pure and glistening sands with a beer in hand.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Rajasthan on my Mind | India


Many-a-times I am always asked by friends about my favorite place in India, and each time I would answered with Rajasthan, I would be met with a surprised reply ‘What about Taj Mahal in Agra? Or New Delhi?’ While, my month-long initial trip to India took me to many breathtaking places which also has given me so much cultural and spiritual widening experiences such as Varanasi, Agra, Cochin, Mumbai and Kolkata - the places I visited in the state of Rajasthan left a collection of fascinating images in my mind; of stunning desert landscapes, grandiose forts and palaces, colorful bazaars, friendly people and delicious food.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Paoay, Ilocos Norte | Charging at the Mad Max Vibe of La Paz Sand Dunes


Yohooooo, Kuya be kind to us” she shouted at the driver of the 4x4 truck as we make sure our hands were gripped into the handlebar like glue. We were just about to go over the first mound of sand almost 30 feet high when she issued that reminder. Not that kuya had a habit of giving a flying eff of slowing down, it’s just that he follows to heart the unwritten rule of the faster, the better. He then accelerated the truck into a dizzying speed, shaking the four of us huddled at the back. The engine struggled a little going to the apex of the hill but once gravity took over, hellacious yells from my female companions almost busted my eardrums. As we slid through the downhill path like one of those post-apocalyptic vehicles driven by looneys in Mad Max films, I felt a different kind of rush.


Egypt | Scaling Mount Sinai Before Sunrise


Under a canopy of dark midnight sky dotted with a few observable stars, and a wary moon hiding beneath thick clouds, we started our hike over a narrow trail speckled with loose rocks. As scorching as the wind was when we arrived at Saint Catherine—after a couple of hours wheeling over the long highway of the Israeli and Egyptian border, the wee hour breeze swifts by a little colder for comfort. Guided only by a small flashlight of our Bedouin guide, we trod the shadowy trail, slowly lost in silence of the hush sounds of our huffing and puffing and the breathing of a trio of camels.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Are you a Seat-Sale Abangers? Get Notified with Traveloka’s Cheap Flights Price Alerts


As much as we would love to be that spontaneous traveler who would just wake up one morning, pack the backpack and head out to the airport – something that would make us also look cool in the travel community, the reality of personal finances suggests; it is hard to pull it off because of expensive airfares. Unless of course, you have a travel fund that stretches to seven figures. For us, backpackers of the world, a little planning ahead will help us heaps. Besides, there are many travel opportunities that lays ahead inside a whole calendar year; Sinulog Festival in January, New Year’s Eve in Boracay, mid-summer in El Nido, Palawan, experiencing the cold weather of November in Batanes and the list goes on. 


Friday, August 25, 2017

Bangkok | Onwards to a Brighter and Broader ASEAN – INDIA Tourism and Trade Partnership

Celebrating a fruitful 25 years of strengthened relations between the member nations of ASEAN and INDIA, the leading tourism and trade figures from the participating countries converged in Bangkok for the ASEAN - India Expo and Forum held last August 3-5, 2017 at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center. The 2-day event was driven by the model of “Strategic Economic Partnership & Connectivity”, where a string of productive discussions emerged from a series of panel talks, round table discussions forums, expert lectures and young entrepreneurs networking activities. A trade exposition showcasing the local products and brands from the participating countries also became a major draw and attracted a large crowd. 

Ministers from ASEAN countries and INDIA does the famous world-leaders handshake

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Adventure n Rolla at NOAH | Narvacan, Ilocos Sur


Adventure plays out like a series of rock en roll tunes on this part of Ilocos Sur. Iggy Pop’s Lust for Life could very well be blasting in your head once you signed up for the day’s first undertaking. Taking advantage of the varying rudiments of our planet; water, wind, earth and fire and incorporating it with various thrilling activities and the great outdoor vibe - a one-stop adventure hub is born. Situating at the foot of the rolling slopes and the coastline of Narvacan in Ilocos Sur - NOAH or the Narvacan Outdoor Adventure Hub, dishes a landscape that provides a perfect setting to a number of great outdoor exploits. 


Saturday, July 8, 2017

#GetAwaytoAdventure at Mt. Gulugod-Baboy with Merrell’s Moab 2

Like what most millennials would say, “I’m G’ all the time for an adventure. It just so happens that in recent years, most of my travels have taken me exploring every nook and cranny of new cities – urban and quaint towns, and isolated islands to boot. The mountains, where I found my first love of the great outdoors when I joined the UST Mountaineering club back in college, took a backseat.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Bringing Heritage Cuisine into the Street-Food Culture


As soon as the clock stroke the 4 p.m. mark of the opening day of the five-day World Street Food Congress and the gates finally opened, legions of foodies eager to chow down some of the world’s finest culinary delights conceived for the streets quickly came bursting at the SM Mall of Asia Concert Grounds on May 31.

Creator and Curator of the World Street Food Congress KF Seetoh (left) joins Chef Sau del Rosario on stage as he shows off his Sisig Paella.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Seco Island, Antique | Kruhay under the Sun


I could not come up with a better way of celebrating last year’s Independence Day than to romp over the fine white sands of this isolated island 27 nautical miles west of Panay. Highlighted by a curving stretch of sand bar encircling an area dotted with pockets of small trees and scattered shrubbery, it was named Seco Island because of its close similarity to the shape of a human elbow; ‘siko’ in Tagalog.

Seco Island. Ang Island na Ma-Swerte

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Luxury Hangover in 'Lebua at State Tower' | Bangkok


As our van slowly inches through the infamous Bangkok rush hour traffic, I could already see the towering Lebua at State Tower at the distance rocking the city skyline with its towering and bright presence. The thought of staying there excited me – and as the four of us; myself, Bernadette, Jekki and Kelly were discussing earlier, “We must re-enact the scene in Hangover 2 at the Sky bar rooftop of Lebua”, there was no doubt that I will be the one to play the part of Bradley Cooper. Having a quick photo-shoot at one of the highest rooftop bars in the world became our side mission of the trip – our main business of course, is to cover the 2017 World Travel and Tourism Council Global Summit.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Romping Stomping Inside Mehrangarh Fort in Jodphur, India


I first saw Mehrangarh Fort as the imposing thick walled fortress at the backdrop of the scene in the film “The Dark Knight Rises”. As one of the build-up parts to the climax of this classic film; Bruce Wayne is seen escaping from the pits of his imprisonment – finally ascending out of a hole from the ground. The thrilling high of that moment is made more spectacular by the presence of a magnificent mountain lustrous with sun rays and where the impressive fort stands solidly and undaunted by the passage of time.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

WTTC Global Summit | How Travel Can Transform our World


Travel industry leaders, tourism ministers from other countries and conservation groups, journalists and representatives from the World Economic Forum, as well as former UK Prime Minister David Cameron, gathered together at the 17th World Travel and Tourism Council’s (WTTC) Global Summit held in Bangkok, Thailand, on April 26 and 27. Far-ranging issues that touched upon the area of sustainability, freedom to travel, the future of the industry and Asean tourism, among others, were thoroughly conversed through discussion panels and intimate “meet the experts” sessions.


Bangkok, Thailand, the site of the 17th World Travel and Tourism Council Global Summit.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Where to Stay | Chiang Mai, Thailand | Na Nirand Romantic Boutique Resort


Unmistakably, one instantly feels the throwback vibe Na Nirand bestows upon its guest. Upon our enthusiastic probing for details, we were eventually told by the manager that the various style of residences in the property, incorporates a classic northern Thai architecture called Lanna. This style involves a specific design scheme composed mostly of wooden houses built on stilts, and characterized by a spacious veranda and a ‘galae’ component in the roof – styled in V-shape form attached to the beams.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

7 Reasons Why Traveloka App help travelers travel on a budget


In this age of travel when technology allows us to have instant access to information, it is still important not to fall prey to phony travel apps that promises the moon and all – but delivers failingly. This is the reason why I was so very methodical in my selection of what travel app I install on my phone. Even then, I still ended up having to use a couple of travel apps – something I found time consuming, so imagine my delight at discovering Traveloka through a series of strong word-of-mouth recommendations from my wanderer friends.

Easy and user-friendly interface

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Retracing the last 10 kilometers of the Bataan Death March


It was 4 a.m. when we arrived at the converging place. I instantly felt the cool morning air starting to diminish as the hour inches its way to sunrise. Members of the Philippine Armed Forces, war veterans, their families, sociocivic groups, government employees, Automobile Association of the Philippines (AAP) members and volunteers quickly filled the grounds of People’s Park in Tarlac. While the revving engines of military AUVs and footsteps of army boots sound off, a familiar and respected figure took to the stage and was handed a microphone to address the crowd.

The Capas Shrine honoring our courageous WWII veterans

Monday, May 1, 2017

I’M Hotel: A High-Rise and Stylish Accommodation in Poblacion, Makati


The Poblacion District of Makati is quickly shredding the infamous red light reputation. Thanks to a fast growing number of trendy bars, quirky cafes and a roster of restaurants serving various global cuisine, Poblacion has become a mini traveler’s hub in Makati. Coupled with this development are the existence of hip budget hostels and classy accommodations ranging from 2 star to 5-star hotels.


One of the leading 5-star hotels in the area is the towering 24-storey I’M Hotel standing at the corner of Makati and Kalayaan Avenue.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Reliving Paoay’s storied history and rich culture with Guling-Guling Festival


Believed to have originated even before the arrival of the Spaniards, the Guling-Guling Festival morphed into a religious practice in the 16th century, when the Spanish friars attached it with the celebration of the Lenten season.
Believed to have originated even before the arrival of the Spaniards, the Guling-Guling Festival morphed into a religious practice in the 16th century, when the Spanish friars attached it with the celebration of the Lenten season. Happening a day before Ash Wednesday, guling, the Ilocano word “to smear,” comes to play, when the town mayor would smudge a white cross, made from damp and white rice flour, on to a person’s forehead to indicate one’s pureness. The townsfolk believe that this ritual washes away their sins.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

A ‘meaningful travel’ to the Highlands


“Happiness and kindness is something if you give it away—then it comes right back to you,” the song reverberates harmoniously inside the classroom as the pupils of Ogo-og Elementary school sing in unison. A few minutes more and we will be distributing the school-supply kits to each one of them. Everywhere, the wide smiles are in display as the little ones happily goofed around with each other, unable to contain their excitement.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Shaping a Heritage in the Pottery Town of Iguig, Cagayan


Hundreds of years after what is believed to be the earliest industry that thrived in this part of Cagayan province, the town of Iguig is picking up where its ancestral settlers left off. By continuously shaping a heritage through the delicate hands of its artisan townsfolk; the soft natural rock material called clay – finds a home and purpose here.

A local artist demonstrates his expertise in pottery making. Photo courtesy of Martin San Diego / North Philippines Visitors Bureau (NPVB)

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Featured Travel Guide | Things to do in Cebu


More than the frenzied vibe of the Sinulog Festival, Cebu is also a gateway to a number of adventure destinations. A major hub in the Philippines when it comes to tourism, shipping, commerce and also the site of many beautiful beaches, picturesque countryside and home to some of the famed local cuisines; Cebu ranks among the top travel destinations of both domestic and foreign travelers.

The province’ capital city; Cebu City might appear almost similar to Metro Manila, one would quickly wonder “What to do here” after surveying the busy roads leading out of the capital. After the initial shock of the street’s bustling activities, one could thoroughly enjoy exploring not only Cebu city but the rest of the province’ tourism offerings.


Friday, March 31, 2017

Bataan Pawikan Festival: Sending Sea Turtles Home with Love


Guiding newly-hatched Olive Ridley turtles to sea since 2001, the annual Pawikan Festival held at the Pawikan Conservation Center in Barangay Nagbalayong, Morong, Bataan has become an extant representation of environmental awareness pertaining to marine life. Most especially to these loveable creatures teeming with delightfulness, but is now considered as an endangered species. Experiencing this unique festival centering on environment conservation, particularly the marine life, has made me more aware about the dangers that many creatures of the sea face each day.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

A Chao Phraya River cruise to remember for two Mario Maurer fans


Most travelers see Thailand as a nation teeming with culture and historical relics that extend to its numerous ancient cities—where iconic temples and reclining Buddha statues abound. To some, a shopping haven; to the younger generation, a multitude of islands ripe for an abundance of revelry—especially come full moon nights and during the renowned cultural festivals of Songkran and Loy Krathong.



Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Hiking Mount Ulap at the Most Opportune Time


It was almost a year ago when I found a comrade-in-arms in the art of moving on. A knack – because it takes a while figuring how to pull it off, and requires keen imagination to create a way for one’s self to wiggle out. A heartache that punctures deeply and hurting necessitates a massive redo of one’s routines. A friend of mine; Cha found a progression to distance herself from that madness; by indulging in the sport of mountain climbing. Mountaineering - my first love back in college, which I had abandoned except during sporadic hiking trips that happens far in between.



Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Surfing in a Small Hideaway Town | Lanuza, Surigao del Sur


Already positioned on top of my long board, I looked behind me and saw a cluster of incoming swell. With my heart racing, I paddled my hands to gear up for my impending stoke. The waves pushed me forward and as I raised my body against my two arms to stand on my board, I heard something pop on my lower right chest. I lost balance and the swirling of the swell resembling the insides of a washing machine swallowed me yet again.

Pick your Waves at Lanuza

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Chiang Mai | A Laid Back Historical Gem and Cultural Melting Pot This Side of Thailand


It was past midnight and the open-air acoustic place set up at Ploen Ruedee Night Market where I am hanging out with a friend starts to close down – so as the other nearby establishments. The once lively stalls lining up Chang Klan Road leading to Chiang Mai Night Bazaar are almost devoid of pedestrians and shoppers. Earlier in the night, I met up with a friend Valerie, who is also traveling in Chiang Mai. After a couple of rounds of Singha beers we were joined by her friends she met in Myanmar; Feven a beautiful girl with a braided hair from Ethiopia, Colorado native Michael and the pretty Puerto Rican Gisele.


 Doi Inthanon Temple. Photo Credit: "Thailand Tourism Authority"

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Dear Robin Leach, Cruise Ship Traveling Isn’t Just for the Rich and Groovy Retirees


Notwithstanding sans a honeymoon mate, I walked towards the gigantic ship bootlegging the swag of Mark Renton at the end of Trainspotting. Only this time, I am Ship-spotting. Unflappably sliding my feet over the smooth carpet of the hallway of Harbour Front in Singapore, I silently declaimed my own version of the film’s famous quote. “Choose Cruise Life. Choose Traveling. Choose a big ship to sail. Choose on-board parties, choose an island to explore.” Finding myself separated only by a thick glass and a couple hundred meters of pathway ahead, I stopped on my tracks and laid eyes on the sheer beauty of the docked ship that awaits my first ever cruise ship experience.

Monday, January 16, 2017

UTOPIA RESORT AND SPA | A Sweet Low-down Weekend at this Quaint Hideaway in Puerto Galera


Puerto Galera used to be a familiar place I associate with sublime white beaches almost devoid of structures – where me and my buddies from UST Mountaineering Club would pitch our tents over a stretch of fine sands with only a lone house standing in the middle. “A German owns that house” I remember a friend telling us. Our campsite then, situates on a beachhead that leads to the foot of Mount Malasimbo – where we would day trek before we retire back to our tents. For three to four days, our group and nobody else would exist in sheer delight on a place everyone calls as Talipanan beach – which those days back in the late 1990’s, was a picture of isolation. I would come back many years later only to see numerous new resorts erected all over rendering the place almost unrecognizable. Since then, I see Puerto Galera as that distant friend, who once possessed a benevolent silence meant for listening to one’s thoughts, while offering a haven for nature lovers – but has now grown into a wild child catering to a more party atmosphere.  

The well landscaped grounds of Utopia Resort and Spa

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Pedicab Tours | A Unique Way of Exploring New York City's Central Park


In the urban park of the “City that never sleeps”, you can tour around by foot, bike, pedicab and horse carriages. When you find renting a horse carriage a bit expensive, traveling by foot or pedaling a bike exhausting, then I’d suggest taking a pedicab ride. So, below, I’ve listed the things you may need to know, as well as tips on how not to get ripped off, when you take a pedicab ride in Central Park:

Where to Stay in Osaka | Karaksa Hotel


Whether you went to get cultured at Kyoto or eat your heart out in Osaka, you can come home to the inviting comfort of Karaksa Hotel, especially designed for the smart Asian traveler. Inside, there’s everything you need for a cozy stay. The rooms are fully-air conditioned and equipped with hot and cold shower, all of which contains the basic necessities like the latest flat screen TV, universal sockets with USB ports, bath towels, hair dryer, suitcase storage under the bed, Japanese-style bidet, mini refrigerator, toothbrush set,  shampoo, conditioner and face soap, pajamas, sanitized slippers. There’s also a mini desk area if you have an urgent work to check. The room sizes include double-decker and Hollywood twin for 2 adults and their child, and connecting room for group of friends or bigger families. The average room size is 18 sqm.


Monday, January 2, 2017

Travel Bucket List | Distant Places to Visit


When I started this travel blog back in 2007, my wanderlust was set upon exploring all 81 provinces of my country; the Philippines. Almost a decade later, after good karma and travel Gods blessed me with bounteous opportunities of planting my feet to a number of Asian countries – and even flirting with the African continent, via a brief trip to Egypt - I realized that I shouldn’t limit my travel goals within a singular continent. Travel far and wide, as most would say. So here I am now making my own bucket list and putting it all in writing for myself to dream, that someday I shall also experience stepping over the soil – frozen or scorching – of these beautiful places located far, far away from where I now roam. Get ready to feel the fernweh.

Antarctica

Photo credit: Flickr Creative Commons

Best Things to do in Dubai in 3 Days


So you have 3 whole days to spend in Dubai. It might seem like a very brief period of time to you, especially when you’re vacationing in the very hub of tourist delights, Dubai. However, we’d like to tell you that you can do a lot in Dubai in 3 days. It’s all about planning and prioritizing attractions and activities to get what you want out of your time. We have drawn up a curated list of activities for you, along with timings to help you get the best out of Dubai during those 3 days. Note that we have taken 3 full days of your presence in Dubai in order to draw up this itinerary, so plan your trip accordingly! Have fun!