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Sunday, August 11, 2019

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


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.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

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



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.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Cebu Pacific Kicks-Off the 2019 Juan for Fun



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.

Friday, July 5, 2019

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



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.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

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



Despite expecting the 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”.

Monday, July 1, 2019

A Brief Travel Guide to Istanbul, Turkey


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

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Calayan Island | When Coming Back Beckons a Sweet Hereafter Feels



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.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

2019 Spartan Race SEA Series in Lima Park | Batangas



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.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Revisiting Marinduque



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.

Soon to re-open Bellaroca Island

Saturday, June 1, 2019

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



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.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

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



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”.

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Inaul Festival Celebrates Maguindanao’s Traditional Weaving Art



“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.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

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



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.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Pursuing Wildlife in India with Pugdundee Safari



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.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Maiden Flight Makes Historic Landing on Calayan Island



Onboard our chartered 30-seater Dornier aircraft from Platinum Skies, I steadied my eyes towards the window as our plane circled Calayan Island. I quickly gazed at the azure colored waters of Cibang Cove, recognizing it instantly from memories of my first visit here four years ago.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Of Fireflies Night and Quaint Vibe of Mararison Island | Antique



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.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

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



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.

Monday, April 1, 2019

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



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.

Monday, March 25, 2019

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



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.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

A Beautiful Glimpse of Egypt



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.

Friday, March 1, 2019

Dolphin Spotting in Bais, Negros Oriental



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.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Lakbay Norte | Baler without the Surf Board



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.  

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Postcard-Pretty Slideshow of Catanduanes



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.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

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



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”.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

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



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.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

If you want to travel more, make sure you do these 5 things



There's no doubt about it, seeing more of the world has become a priority for this generation. Regular travel is more accessible than ever before – but many of us still aren't getting enough of it. If you want to travel more, here are five tips to help you make your dream a reality.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Unique Attractions and Activities in Metro Manila



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.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Phnom Penh, a Tapestry of History and Culture



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.