Where to Eat in Baguio City | A City of Pines Culinary Tour

December 01, 2019


Some of my fondest memories of Baguio City always include food—well, and the company I was with. There’s Sarah giggling like a little girl at Oh My Gulay, my former girlfriend Lauren giddily explaining to me the ingredients of Spinach and Chicken Galantine at PNKY Café (now closed already) and the heavenly face of my ex-girlfriend Monette, as she was finishing her plate of lomo ribs at Canto. These are just a few of my wonderful memories of Baguio where a foodie joint, café or a craft brewery starring in a key supporting role. It seems that whenever I visit the City of Pines, going on a food tour will always be my main agenda. To help you create amazing memories of food next time you head here, here are some where to eat places in Baguio City.

Foggy Mountain Cookhouse

This Salmon Pie was one of the standout dishes in Foggy Mountain Cookhouse

Jpark Island Resort Cebu Celebrates 10th Year with a Bang

November 17, 2019


After numerous trips to the province of Cebu and skipping the opportunity to stay in the island of Mactan, I must admit of never hearing about Jpark Island Resort and Waterpark before. I have my assumptions managed to a middling level when I joined fellow travel and lifestyle writers on a media trip celebrating the resort’s 10th year anniversary.

Witnessing Hushed Bartering Scenes at Bulungan sa Pandawan

October 22, 2019


Every morning with daylight yet to ooze from the sky, a multitude of motorboats is heard roaring off the coast of Mercedes town in Camarines Norte. Buoyed by a prayer and a resolve to provide for their families, fisher folks head out to the abundant waters of San Miguel Bay intent on taking home boatloads of fresh catch. Providentially, the body of water that opens to the mighty Pacific Ocean isn’t called the “fishing bowl” of Bicol Region for nothing—as each day, the fish market of Mercedes becomes a bustling scene of fish trading activities. 

Crates and crates full of the freshest catch can be seen at Mercedes Fish Market
Crates and crates full of the freshest catch can be seen at Mercedes Fish Market

A Walk Along the Streets of Tokyo (part two)

October 15, 2019


After spending the first couple of days under the mercy of a gloomy sky, the sun finally appeared in all its shining glory on the third day. The bright daylight coupled with the wind of the autumn season made for a perfect brisk walking condition—and walked I did—for miles and miles over sidewalks and subway floors. Every thump of my feet got audibly in harmony among the multitude of Japanese commuters’ rickety medley of footsteps, that sounded like an orchestral beat box.

The Mesmerizing Architecture of Taj-ul-Masajid Mosque | Bhopal, India

October 12, 2019


I was feeling benumbed when I stared out the window of the bus and saw the sky reddened with strokes of sunrise. “Dawning of a new day” I told myself and instantly, burst of excitement shot up my body as this meant a new opportunity to explore. It was the first morning of the Madhya Pradesh Travel Mart where I was invited to cover. Before the event started, the organizers took our group of travel writers for a short incursion to the city’s landmark known as the ‘Crown among Mosques’—the biggest mosque in India, the Taj-ul-Masajid.

A Taste of Maa To Ro’s Bagobo-Klata Heritage Cuisine

October 11, 2019


As a melting pot of crisscrossing cultures, Mindanao is a land of diverse heritage, where one can savor a myriad of cuisines each distinct to every region. In Davao City, where there are 11 known tribes, a culinary movement aimed at promoting olden traditions of preparing food is slowly partaking in the local gastronomic scene.

the front part of Maa ta Ro in Davao

Where to Eat in Iloilo City

September 28, 2019


Iloilo City is one of the known gastronomic haven in the Philippines where the cuisine culture is best represented by a fusion of traditional and modern way of cookery. Situated around the throwback downtown and the modern bustling part of the city are a number of establishments that serve both old and new favorites. A day or two in the city should present you a variety of food choices to guarantee a satisfying gastronomical experience. To help you plan your food trip, here are our some of the places I’ve tried dining in the city of love.

Nueva Ecija | Spectacular Wow atop Mount Sawi

September 23, 2019


In this age of Filipino ‘hugot’ culture one can easily assume the name of this mountain was coined as a reverence to such Filipino movies like “Camp Sawi” and “This Thing Called Tadhana”. The real story behind it though stems from a tragic suicide that happened a few years back right on top of the mountain. A woman—as the story goes—after experiencing a heartbreak, hanged herself at one of the tree branches of the now mowed down Balete tree. Locals originally named the mountain Mt. Sawing Balete, as a reference to the sad fate shared by the fallen tree and the lovelorn soul.

Mount Sawi Gabaldon Nueva Ecija

AirAsia’s In-flight Celebration of 600 Million Passengers Milestone

September 22, 2019


We were flying at above 30,000 feet for about half an hour when a flight attendant of the AirAsia Davao-Manila flight started speaking over the public-address system. “Ladies and gentlemen, because we are celebrating a momentous occasion, we have prepared a short program for you”. The short program she talked about consisted of a dance performance by two pretty FA’s who twirled to the tune of “señorita” and a trivia contest that awarded six lucky winners with a round-trip domestic ticket.

Things to do in Da Lat, Vietnam

September 01, 2019

At almost 5,000 feet above sea level, Da Lat dishes a chill vibeboth literally and figurativelythat appeals to travelers. The cool weather coupled with an array of nature and man-made attractionsmake this city in Central Vietnaman ideal place for wanderers crisscrossing the land of Pho, to make a pit stop for several daysTo give you an idea on what to do in Da Lat, follow some of the things I did.  

Marky Ramone Go sits atop a rock near Pongour in Da Lat, Vietnam

River Tubing and Kawa Hot Bathing in Tibiao | Antique

August 17, 2019


As my companion’s “ooohs” and “aaahs” synchronized with the sloshing sounds of the rapids of Tibiao River, I would raise my head and stare at the blue sky while my tube swirls me endlessly, letting the movement of the water send my consciousness to a Zen state of mind. Occasionally, I would look ahead to see the nearing rapids. Our guide would holler “hold on” up ahead the stream to let us know we were approaching what they call as “washing machine zone”. Every time we pass a rapid, I would again hear my friends Karla and Erica’s crescendo voices—this time in a chorus of joyous yell.

River tubing location in Tibiao, Antique

One Fine Autumn Day in Nikko | Japan

August 15, 2019


As I stare at the carved maxim of the three wise monkeys pinned on an overhead panel at Tōshō-gū, the proverbial mantra it personifies was made apparent to me almost immediately; "See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil". Recognizing where I stood at that very moment, surrounded by temples—concealed under a canopy of autumn leaves—I couldn’t fathom how any of my senses can conjure a negative energy. 


Into the Center of Jain Culture and History of Chanderi | India

August 11, 2019


From where I sit on a balcony of a hilltop hotel, I can see the many monuments built during the era of the Bundelas— a Rajput clan of Central India who lorded over this part of Madhya Pradesh beginning in the 16th century. In that moment I savored the solemnity of finding myself some quiet time in-between our busy media tour. Trailing my eyes from the top of an opposite hill into the rows of houses below, I became perplexed at the sight of jam-packed edifices below.

Developing a Liking to Tainan’s Street Art and a Fondness for Her | Taiwan

August 07, 2019


My memory of this vibrant neighborhood of Tainan revolves around the pleasing smile of Emily—the EVA Air manager who traveled with our small media group in Taiwan. Mirroring the captivating cobalt art installations at Blueprint Culture and Creative Park, her stares rapid fires into me with invisible arrows arresting my full attention. To save myself from (an expected) heartbreak, I remember ignoring her as we crossed the street by focusing my eyes on the vibrant wall paintings adorning the side of the buildings nearby.

Cebu Pacific Kicks-Off the 2019 Juan for Fun

August 01, 2019


It has been eight years since Cebu Pacific Air introduced “Juan For Fun”—a backpacker challenge participated by university students. Since then, Juan for Fun has evolved from an Amazing Race-like challenge, to a platform where one will not only discover the wonders of travel—but also use traveling as a springboard to spread one’s advocacy, understand different culture and broaden horizon.

Hiking to the Mist-Veiled Peak of Mount Pha Daeng | Nong Khiaw, Laos

July 05, 2019


At the foot of Mount Pha Daeng, a sign reads “Unexploded Bombs, Still in this Area. Dangerous!” remains a chilling reminder of the horrors of the Vietnam War. Collectively unmindful of the warning, we reckoned every bomb ordnance buried along the trail stretching to a radius of a few kilometers, were all swept clean already. Laos—by the way—is a vastly different nation now compared to what I first read in history books.


Dipping (sans Brooke Shields) in the Blue Lagoon of Datu Odin Sinsuat | Maguindanao

July 04, 2019


Despite expecting Maguindanao's blue lagoon to be concealed deep in the forest reachable by at least an hour or two of trekking, I still expected a good ole surprise. When I stepped out of our van and saw a few kids dripping wet, I simply figured they came frolicking from a nearby stream. Our friend Jeff told us “I think these kids came from the lagoon”. I was already standing at the mouth of a wide trail on the elbow of the Shariff Aguak Road when I heard him. “You mean, the lagoon is just nearby?” Claire asked. Jeff’s reply sounded like music to my ears—as I was in no mood for a lengthy hiking activity that day— “just less than 200 meters ahead”.


Calayan Island | When Coming Back Beckons a Sweet Hereafter Feels

July 02, 2019


Not missing the blustery 7-hour lampitaw ride of my first journey here, I stepped out of the plane—moments after it made a historic first landing on the island—buoyed by a feeling akin to rekindling a tryst with a former lover. Calayan Island has that effect on me. It could be because last time, the place served as a background to my memorable hilltop and beachside frolics with my then girlfriend.

The long stretch of Cibang Cove in Calayan Island

A Brief Travel Guide to Istanbul, Turkey

June 15, 2019

Situated in between two continents—and former capital of two empires—the city of Istanbul teems with diverse cultural influence and a storied history. This alone make the city a must-visit for travelers in search of fascinating discoveries. Add on the fact that Istanbul also boasts of a robust art scene, mouthwatering cuisines and a medley of activities that tickles one's fancy and senses, there’s almost an endless list of things to do and places to see in this vibrant capital of Turkey. To help you plot your itinerary for your trip to Istanbul, here some important facts and helpful travel tips you can follow.

Photo credit: Hege from Flickr

2019 Spartan Race SEA Series in Lima Park | Batangas

June 06, 2019


Founded by adventure racer Joe DeSena in 2007, the Spartan Race has grown to become the world standard for endurance and strength races. A total of 240 races are now being held in 25 countries every year including the Philippines. The first leg of the 2019 Spartan Race Southeast Asia Regional series held in Lima Technology Center in Batangas on May 3-4, 2019 attracted more than 4,000 participants.

The Raviz Resort & Spa | Kollam, Kerala | India

June 03, 2019

A cheery welcome capped by a fun banquet highlighted Kerala Blog Express' stay at this hotel

I've had many great memories of Kerala Blog Express 2 surrounding the great camaraderie formed among 30 travel bloggers from around the world, the organizers and of course—our jovial new friends from the hospitable industry. The Raviz Resort& Spa in Kollam was one of the many hotels that made us feel at home. Mirroring the glitzy setting of this palatial lakeside resort—the service, hospitality, architecture, food and over-all vibe made our brief stop here truly memorable.

Revisiting Marinduque

June 02, 2019


Whenever people ask me how I fell in love with traveling. I always tell them I got inspired by Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road” novel. An autobiographical narrative of Kerouac’s post-war road trip across the United States amidst the background of poetry, jazz and the emerging beat culture. Thinking back now, I realized the birth of my wanderlust occurred during my college years. This was a time when my friends and I journeyed to the province of Marinduque every holy week, to partake at the island’s iconic revelry---the Moriones Festival.

Scenes from a Weekly Market and a Local Village | Seoni, Madhya Pradesh | India

May 15, 2019


Ask them what their names are”, a father manning a street food stall gently commands her young daughter of not over ten years old. The beaming but shy little girl obliges, “What is your name?” she inquired staring wide-eyed at my friend. “I am Karla and this is Marky and your name is?” answered my ever responsive friend. The young girl smiled before telling us her name “I’m Amara”.

Inaul Festival Celebrates Maguindanao’s Traditional Weaving Art

May 05, 2019


“Life is a loom, weaving illusion” [1] and in Mindanao’s storied sundry of woven heritage, a diverse weaving art scattered across the region abounds with dream-like patterns and fascinating backstories. Anecdotes encompassing historical origins and local legends shaped the roots of the various cloth creations of the Dreamweavers’ T’nalak of South Cotabato, the Langkit of Maranao, the Dagmay of the Mandayas, the Tausugs's Habul Tiyahian, the Inabal of Davao del Sur’s Bagobo-Tagabawa tribe, among others—and in this case, ushering a festivity called the Inaul Festival

Pursuing Wildlife in India with Pugdundee Safari

April 18, 2019


Like leafing through the pages of "Man-Eaters of Kumaon" – Jim Corbett’s memoir of his experiences hunting man-eating Bengal tigers in India’s Kumaon region, I find Chinmay’s tales of these wild beasts’ sightings very engrossing. Unlike Corbett’s experiences, fortunately today in this part of India, man has known better to let these animals roam freely.

Of Fireflies Night and Quaint Vibe of Mararison Island | Antique

April 06, 2019


Memories of my first visit to Mararison Island played vividly on my mind as we approach it aboard a motorized boat from the port of Culasi. I could still perceive the angelic voice of the Mararison Children's choir belting out a harmonious Kinaray—a traditional welcoming song. Known all over Antique province where they perform frequently in numerous revelries, its members whose age ranges from 6 to 13 thirteen years old has become the island’s cultural ambassadors. It was more than a year ago when I first heard them croon. One and a half lap around the sun later, I find myself en route back to Mararison—not only to listen again to the youngsters’ divine voices but also to embrace the enthralling setting of Mararison.

Aquaria Waterpark and Crusoe Cabins | A Cool Hidey-hole Beach Destination

April 01, 2019


Also, a great place to have a fun shindig with friends.

All I could remember from the night before was me crawling to my upper bunk bed inside the cabin I shared with fellow travel bloggers Mujee and Joel. I recalled vomiting violently on the toilet – no thanks, to losing consistently on our little drinking game that got a bit out of hand. Meaning: all us guys ended up wasted on the veranda while the girls stood victorious and the last ones standing, laughing at how squandered we look.

This Year’s #LakbayNorte Highpoints Must-see Places in Clark, Subic and Baler

March 25, 2019


Now on its 8th year, Lakbay Norte once again concluded a media familiarization tour participated by travel writers from online and print publications. It is organized by the North Philippines Visitors Bureau in partnership with Victory Liner as a way of promoting Northern Luzon as a premier tourist destination. This year's itinerary took the more than 20 travel writers and photographers to the places of Subic and Clark in Pampanga and to the surfing town of Baler in Aurora. Here’s a quick rundown of all the places highlighted by #LakbayNorte8 as possible destinations for travelers heading to this part of Luzon.

A Beautiful Glimpse of Egypt

March 07, 2019


Egypt was the last of the triumvirate of nations which consist the HolyLand tour I joined. After kicking off our trip in Jordan and spending almost a week in Israel, the last leg of our journey took us to the land of the Pharaohs and Cleopatra. Along the way we passed by endless stretch of deserted valleys and mountains until the azure waters of the Red Sea signaled the approaching border crossing to Egypt. It was here where we followed the trail of Moses and the Holy Family when they fled Israel after King Herod Antipas issued a marching order to execute all infants in Israel.

Dolphin Spotting in Bais, Negros Oriental

March 01, 2019


Alighting out of a bus from Dumaguete, I arrived at the quaint town of Bais at the flinch of sunlight. This idyllic municipality was a bastion of 19th century barons who spearheaded the raw sugar boom Negros Oriental came to known for. As I took my first strides around the town, I quickly noticed the miscellanies of its storied past evidenced by the run-down but still charming pre-war colonial homes.

6 Reasons to stay in Best Western Hotel Metro Clark | Pampanga

March 01, 2019


The local economy surrounding Clark, Pampanga has seen rapid growth in recent years. Coinciding this development is the emergence of Clark as a prime tourism and business destination. The old stinging red light district reputation of Metro Clark has all but relegated to a nostalgic single strip known as the ‘Walking Street’.  While it remains an interesting place to check out – thanks to an assortment of Asian food gems and fascinating entertainment bars lined up on both sides, a surrounding renaissance of heritage structures, quaint cafes, local craft breweries, adventure theme parks and a thriving commercial district, all make Metro Clark a fascinating area to explore and do business.


Lakbay Norte | Baler without the Surf Board

February 25, 2019


Thrice in the past spread over a decade, I found myself in Baler always tugging a surf board. Despite failing to achieve consistent long rides over the waves, I recognized the cherished vibe reigning in this sea-side town. There is this inexplicable vibrant sub-culture that continue to attract an expanding list of friends and acquaintances of mine, into re-rooting themselves amongst the surfing community here.  

Postcard-Pretty Slideshow of Catanduanes

February 06, 2019


One after the other the rumbling sound of the waves remained on a continuous loop. Each time, a blast of sea water splashes violently towards the natural pool where our group were dipped soothingly. The sight and sound may appear perilous but the magnificent rock formations jutted from underneath the sea, sheltered us safely from the torrents of the Pacific Ocean. Such is the lure of Tuwad-Tuwadan Lagoon, a secluded tidal pool situated at the foot of Cagnipa Hills facing the monster swells of the Pacific.

Victory Liner’s P2P Bus Service Connects Clark Airport to Subic and Dagupan

February 05, 2019


Clark International Airport was where I took my very first airplane ride in 2007. Yes, just like with dating, I was a late-bloomer to plane rides. Similar to going out with women, I made it up with air travel - big time. Countless flights later and I still vividly remember walking over the hot paved tarmac of Clark Airport one sunny May morning, to an Air Asia plane warming up on the apron area. I dredged up thoughts of vowing to myself to “do this (flying) more often”.

Where to Stay in Ortigas | Jinjiang Inn: More than a Business Hotel

February 01, 2019


Situated right smack at the center of Ortigas Business District—Jinjiang Inn—is a modest six-story property stripped of the imposing grandeur of a bigger hotel, but maintains a comfortable and laid-back sense that appeals to both business and leisure travelers. In the world of always-on-the-move travelers, an accommodation providing great bang for the buck is always a source of gratification.

Tribes and Treks Zambales | Seeding Hope in Nature and the Community

January 30, 2019


I could use a tree right now”, I muttered to myself as I feel the sun’s rays piercing my skin in the middle of the beautiful but barren landscape of San Felipe, Zambales. While patches of greens are starting to re-grow—in between flowing streams—still, much of the lowlands and the rolling hills appear denuded. What was once a fertile ground as far as the eyes can see was changed forever by Mount Pinatubo’s eruption.

9 Best Day Trips from Manila

January 15, 2019


Amid the many hidden gems of Manila, the city also provides a strategic location from where a traveler can set out to explore nearby destinations for a day. ‘Day trips’—as most would call it—is a popular activity among travelers pressed for time and young professionals seeking to escape the toxicity of work. Surrounded by a number of provinces dotted with scenic countryside, rolling mountains and fine sandy beaches, you can never ran out of day trip locations to choose from. To help you plan your next quick escape from the city, here are some best day trips from Manila.

Manila as seen from the Manila Hotel

Where to Stay in Manila | Hotel Benilde Maison De La Salle

January 14, 2019


I used to think Hotel Benilde was simply a high-rise playground building of culinary and HRM students of College of Saint Benilde. I am guilty of downplaying the establishment as merely having the basic necessities needed for elevated education yet still not up to par with industry standards. Oh man, how mistaken I was—when after stepping foot inside its lobby—I quickly noticed how everything is ran professionally, just like other fancy hotels I’ve been to.

Unique Attractions and Activities in Metro Manila

January 09, 2019


Exploring the city of Manila is like opening a box filled with ukay-ukay (pre-loved) clothes and other objects. It may take you quite a while of digging before you start finding things you actually like. Because this city’s gems aren’t notable at first glance, it takes extra effort in discovering Manila’s allure. From the city of Manila to the rest of its Metropolitan area, one can find a myriad of charms hidden at every nook and cranny. By knowing where to search and expanding your zest for discovery, you can easily enjoy Manila with all its rich history, culture, art scene, food and friendly people.

Phnom Penh, a Tapestry of History and Culture

January 02, 2019


Perched at the junction of the Mekong, Bassac and Tonle Sap rivers, Phenom Penh is a colorful tapestry of Khmer and French Indochina colonialism, evident in every aspect of daily life. Legend has it that the city is named after an old lady known as Daun Penh, meaning “Old lady Penh”, with Phenom being the Khmer word for hill. Within Southeast Asia this is a must visit city full of color, fascination and learning.