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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

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Rampart 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.

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

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.

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

Finding a Discounted Hotel Rate Using the Traveloka App


There was a series of meetings I needed to attend to in Manila and look for Apostille services – both for work and leisure (no, it isn't Tinder date) so I decided to examine numerous options online to find an affordable hotel located at the heart of Manila city. I tried all the popular online booking sites and was ready to make a reservation when I chanced upon an advertisement of Traveloka in facebook.

A few moves of a thumb and you're on your way to finding the best deals with Traveloka