Traveling For the Holidays? How it can be less of a Hassle

December 23, 2017

Even if there were a resort just next door, nobody would visit it for his or her vacation. Maybe pop in once or twice, but rarely for an extended stay. Why? It is ordinary, and no one wants this during his or her holiday. A holiday is not all about luxury, but the environment as well. A perfect getaway spot is a far-away place; a different atmosphere. That is why most people choose to travel so that they can enjoy the marvels of nature, or better yet, some new culture. For sure, you have to have this in your bucket list. However, holiday traveling logistics are something else. It isn’t as easy as it looks.

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

December 17, 2017

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!

a woman participates in the agal agal festival
Agal-Agal Festival also celebrates the seaweed cultivation practice in the region

Discovering a Trove of Cultural and Historical Relics at Villa Escudero

December 07, 2017

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.

Koryn Iledan

Counting Secluded Strides in San Vicente’s Long Beach

November 20, 2017

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.

The view of San Vicente from atop a hill
I could sit here for hours and just stare at this view

Searching for the Lotus-Eaters in Lake Sebu | South Cotabato

November 05, 2017


Opening my eyes to a still-dark surrounding had me recalling the creaking of the floor I heard the night before. Jolted to consciousness, I half-expected seeing a figure standing from the foot of my bed. I saw nothing but the low illumination of electric light seeping into the small window. Pacifying my mind, I assured myself that a bunch of rats were behind what I initially though was hurried footsteps outside my room. It would be fine hearing noises the previous three nights. But on that fourth night in question, I was the only remaining guest staying at the budget hut of Punta Isla Lake Resort—where a dorm bed only cost me 180 pesos per night. Not bad hey, even if it comes with fright every evening.

Second Time’s a Charm at the Governor’s Rapids | Quirino

November 02, 2017


The sky was the color of mud, raindrops pelting us sideways and the wind growing stronger. All we could hear was the rambling of the hardly visible river. Our guide told us what we had expected to hear the moment we arrived at the brook’s edge; “Negative, the water is too strong we cannot ride the boats”, he told us in Tagalog. Nobody protested at the obvious correct call of our guide. While there was an ounce of disappointment, I just chalked this place in my ‘see you next time’ list despite the uncertainty of my travel schedules.

Quirino Travel Guide

Postcard Series: Mount Batur | Indonesia

October 25, 2017


Mount Batur, an active volcano and its lake, may appear like a picture of tranquility. However, history of its violent eruptions suggests otherwise. The black patch stretching from the bottom to the middle part of the volcano were from the lava field generated by Batur's 1968 explosion. This remnant of nature's wrath stares back at me as I enjoy a feast of a lunch at a side-road outdoor restaurant. 

Karla Ramos of Karla Around the World

Where to Eat In Zamboanga City

October 15, 2017


Influenced by the Muslims, Spaniards, Chinese, and settlers from Visayas and Luzon, Zamboanga City’s cuisine is one big delicious melting pot of different textures and flavors. This underrated food hub, shaped by decades of preservation and fusion, is a highly-recommended destination for foodie travelers. To guide you through your food trip around the city, here are must-visit places on where to eat in Zamboanga City. 

yummy food in Zamboanga
Mango with Bagoong. Yum

Alavar Seafood Restaurant


Curacha Crabs with Alavar Sauce
Zamboanga's Curacha crabs dripping with Alavar sauce

No visit to Zamboanga City is complete without trying out Alavar Seafood Restaurant’s Curacha, a deep-sea giant crab that’s almost the size of a child’s face. Using your bare hands, crack the shell open to reveal the thick and juicy meat inside. Don’t forget to smother it in the restaurant’s signature Alavar sauce! You will be surprised at how many crabs you’ve licked clean, as the Curacha is definitely a delight to the taste buds. Other must-try dishes at Alavar include the dinuguan cooked Chavacano style, prawn curry, grilled tuna jaw, pinakbet Chavacano, Paella Chavacano and many more.

Alavar Seafood Restaurant can be found at Don Alfaro Street Tetuan, Zamboanga City.

Paseo del Mar and Palmeras Restaurant


New York Knickerboxer NOT. It's Zamboanga's Knickerbocker

Paseo del Mar and Hacienda Palmeras are popular spots to try the Knickerbocker. If compared to the halo-halo or the fruit salad, one can say that the Knickerbocker is “same same but different”. While it also has milk cream, sliced frozen fruits, jelly cubes, and ice cream, it’s still a unique and refreshing dessert concept.

Palmeras Restaurant can be found at Hacienda de Palmeras, Sta. Maria Rd., Zamboanga City, while Paseo del Mar can be found at Valderoza St. (right beside Fort Pilar), Zamboanga City.

Tsokolate Restaurant


Aside from cakes, pies and pastries, Tsokolate also serves hot plated meals to go with their aromatic and flavorful brewed coffee. Mixing great food with a laidback vibe, you get to feast your eyes on cool decorations like vinyl records and other pop culture mementos. This charming nook is an ideal spot to hang out with friends and enjoy a wonderful meal.

Tsokolate Restaurant can be found at NS Valderosa St, Zamboanga City.

Dennis Coffee Garden


Have a taste of some of Tausug kakanin

It’s popular for its brewed coffee and Tausug cuisine but Dennis Coffee Garden also serves traditional native pastries that are widely-known in the whole Sulu archipelago. Don’t forget to try out a platter of Daral (comparable to a crepe but with a sugary coconut filling), Jualan (fried bananas that come with a sweetened dip), Pulihmandi (purple colored balls made of rice and covered with coconut shavings) and Sulu’s version of a pancake called apam.

Dennis Coffee Garden has locations at Labuan-Limpapa National Rd. and KCC Mall along Gov. Camins Rd. (near the airport), Zamboanga City.

Bay Tal Mal


Bay Tal Mal
Tausug Platter

No 'Where to Eat in Zamboanga City' list is complete without the inclusion of Bay Tal Mal. Coined from the Arabic word ‘Bayt-ul Mal’ which means ‘House of Wealth’, Bay Tal Mal serves traditional Tausug and Halal Moro cuisines. The Moroccan inspired interior sets an idyllic mood that’s perfect for feasting on Latal-–a platter of a variety of Tausug native dishes. These go great with rice and other favorites such as chicken piyanggang and kiyaliya. (photo shows a platter of Tausug native dishes)

Bay Tal Mal can be found at DSEN Bldg., Mayor Jaldon St., Canelar, Zamboanga City.

Jimmy’s Satti and Johnny’s Morning Sun Satti


Breakfast of Champions indeed

If you’re arriving in Zamboanga early in the morning, consider yourself fortunate because you can immediately try what most locals’ choose for breakfast. The Satti Ayam or Sati is flavored local barbecue (either chicken, pork or liver) that’s eaten with a soupy, sweet and spicy sauce and rice wrapped in coconut leaves. Upon arriving, you can head straight to either Jimmy’s Satti or Johnny’s Morning Sun Satti–-both are modest eateries located on the side of the road not far from the airport.

Jimmy’s Satti Place can be found at Pilar St, Zamboanga City. While Johnny’s Morning Sun Satti can be found at C. Atilano St., Brgy. San Jose Gusu, Zamboanga City.

La Vista del Mar


ensalada chamba
Ensalada Chamba for the win

A favorite among seafood lovers, this seaside restaurant serves many of the region’s heritage cuisines. A scene-stealing dish here is a healthy bowl of goodness called Ensalada Chamba. It’s an appropriate play on the word chamba, which means ‘stroke of luck’ because the combination of the ingredients (namely diced mangoes, sliced eggplants, salted egg, cucumber and others) just happened to blend perfectly well.

La Vista del Mar can be found at Labuan-Lampara National Rd., Zamboanga City.

There are a lot of must-try dishes in Zamboanga, available in a number of restaurants in the city. Some of these are:

Sama Bangingi Muslim Delicacies


Perfect for an afternoon snack

These are just a few of the favorite appetizers which originated from the Sama Bangingi ethno-linguistic group residing in the Greater Sulu Archipelago: From bottom left (counter clockwise); Lokot lokot (rice flour rolls), baulo mamun, panganan, kalling, pitis patani, baulo tapung, panyalam or panyam bangingi (middle).

Baked Imbao


Lip smacking goodie

In Zamboanga, clams are prepared in a number of different ways and one of the end products is the Baked Imbao. Capped off with garlic and butter, it serves as the perfect appetizer to any dish.

Chupa Kulo


It's a satisfying suck of a meal with these snails on the table

A familiar sight on dinner tables among the houses in the coastal towns and islands surrounding Zamboanga City, Chupa Kulo are snails simmered in squash and coconut milk. As the name suggests,you need to suck it to be able to eat the slimy yet flavorsome meat inside each shell.

I hope you enjoyed this where to eat in Zamboanga list. 

*Knickerbocker | Photo from Kara Santos of Traveling-Up


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Winning Travel tip: For a hassle-free transport and to avail an expert tour guide to accompany you on your food trip adventure around Zamboanga City, I suggest getting the services of ITravelTouristLane travel agency based in the city.



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

October 12, 2017

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. 


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

October 10, 2017

The idea of walking over the pretty pink sands of Sta Cruz Island in Zamboanga City had me LSS-ing on a classic Psychedelic Furs song and recounting a young Molly Ringwald. After a couple of cancelled Zamboanga trips in the past, I finally found myself blissfully seated on a small boat heading to island of Sta. Cruz—otherwise known as “The Pink Island”. With my eyes staring ahead to the spread out patched of glistening shoreline, I was quickly arrested by the enveloping hues of green flora in the not so far distant. Wide-eyed with wonder, everything felt good that even the engine's revving sounded as if it was a soundtrack to a must-watch travel film. 

Audrey Trinidad
The inviting clear waters of Sta Cruz Island

Culinary Delights | Where to Eat in Bataan

October 10, 2017

From a traveler’s perspective, Bataan is an underrated tourist spot that surprises its visitors with both natural and man-made attractions. But from a foodie’s perspective, it’s a place that’s rich in both culinary history and modern food culture. If you want to discover Bataan through a gastronomical tour, here are some "Where to Eat in Bataan" places you shouldn’t miss out on!

Cassie De Pecol Shares Her 7 Favorite Destinations

October 09, 2017

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

Postcard Series: BNP Capones | Tawi-Tawi

September 30, 2017

A boatload of good karma fell on our laps when faced with a few days of being stuck in Zamboanga, the Philippine Coast Guard offered to hitch us all the way to Tawi-Tawi. Since the BNP Capones is also en route to patrol the waters of Celebes and Sulu Sea as a security for the upcoming Agal-Agal Festival, we unanimously said yes. As opposed to traveling a day later on a packed and slower passenger boat, we enjoyed the modern amenities of the ship. We even had a boodle fight of curacha crabs on the deck on the way back.

Philippine Coast Guard

Standing on the Shoulders of Isla de Gigantes

September 03, 2017

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.


Rajasthan on my Mind | India

September 01, 2017

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.

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

August 31, 2017

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.

sandboarding

Egypt | Scaling Mount Sinai Before Sunrise

August 31, 2017

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.

Marky Ramone Go

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

August 30, 2017

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. 


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

August 25, 2017

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

Watching a Live Muay Thai Match in Pattaya | Thailand

July 19, 2017


My first impression of the sport of Muay Thai was of a violent one where fighters battle each other almost to a pulp. No thanks to my childhood memory of watching the film ‘Kickboxer’. In the movie, Jean Claude Van Damme’s character had to go through a blood-spattered match against the villain Tong Po—to avenge his brother who was left paralyzed after an earlier fight with Po. Besides, if Boxing can kill fighters on the ring, how much more in a martial arts sport that uses fist, elbow, knee, and the legs as main weapons.

Adventure n Rolla at NOAH | Narvacan, Ilocos Sur

July 16, 2017

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. 

Marky Ramone Go Paragliding

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

July 08, 2017

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.

Gulugod-Baboy with Merrell

Bringing Heritage Cuisine into the Street-Food Culture

June 30, 2017

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.

Ann Marie Cunanan: Spreading the Credo of Meaningful Travels

June 21, 2017


When I first met Ann Marie Cunanan more than a year ago, she took me inside Fort Bonifacio for a bit of an afternoon walk at the camp’s oval field. Mirroring our hurried pace around the field, are the conversation we shared which she commandeered into the topic of finding one’s role in life. Caught in an animated discussion with her throughout the few rounds we had circling the oval field, I have learned heaps of fascinating things about her which includes her voluntary departure from a high-paying corporate job –to pursue a social enterprise Master’s course in Australia. Cunanan is passionate about working with communities.

Ann Marie Cunanan of Meaningful Travels PH
Meaningful Travels PH tagline is ‘explore, immerse and connect’. Photo courtesy of Jacob Maentz 

Seco Island, Antique | Kruhay under the Sun

June 12, 2017

I could not come up with a better way of celebrating last year’s Independence Day than journeying to 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 in Antique
Seco Island. Ang island na ma-swerte

4 Most Common Tips When Traveling

June 04, 2017

To travel is one of the greatest pleasures in life. Going to places and discovering new things is such a wonderful experience, especially when you are with your loved ones. This is why most people spend their vacation, experience new things, relax and have fun.

Luxury Hangover in 'Lebua at State Tower' | Bangkok

June 01, 2017

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.


Romping Stomping Inside Mehrangarh Fort in Jodphur, India

May 21, 2017

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.

The view of the Blue City

WTTC Global Summit | How Travel Can Transform our World

May 16, 2017

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.

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

May 15, 2017

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.

Jamie Fournier