The Renovated Jones Bridge at Night | Manila

December 18, 2019

My not-so-fond memories of passing through Jones Bridge was always associated with grinding traffic, that I never appreciated the bridge’s neo-classical design by architect Juan M. Arellano, nor the three arches resting on the two piers. First constructed in 1920 spanning the Pasig River to connect  Binondo district to Padre Burgos Avenue in Ermita, the bridge has undergone numerous reconstruction. The most tedious of them all was in the aftermath of the Liberation of Manila during the tail end of WWII. Another restoration was done in 1998 but still, the bridge remained an afterthought to most pedestrians. It was only in 2019 when Manila Mayor Isko Moreno injected 20 Million pesos for a redevelopment of the Jones Bridge.

Sky Gavin

Inside the Athlete’s Village and the Controversial New Clark City | Tarlac

December 12, 2019

For two days, I experienced what it’s like being inside an athlete’s village. Ever since I started following the Olympics, I became curious about what’s it like being in such place. Fortunately, I got invited as part of a small media team to spend a night at the one the Philippines built for the 30th South East Asian Games held at the New Clark City in Tarlac. Although this sporting event is a lot smaller in scale, I am hoping that we can further expand our sporting infrastructures, so we can host the Asian Games and then the Olympics someday.

Alyanna Bromeo

National Museum of Natural History | Manila

December 10, 2019

The renovated 1940 neoclassical Agriculture and Commerce Building wowed everyone when it re-opened as the National Museum of Natural History in May 2018—thanks to an arresting design element addition. Not even a week later, social media were flooded with photographs of the museum’s imposing atrium that resembles a DNA figure. Architect Dominic Galicia and Interior Designer Tina Periquet collaborated to bring the tree of life as the centerpiece of the new museum.

Manila Travel Guide

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 non-stop 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 another former 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 played an important role. It seems that whenever I visit the City of Pines, going out 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 recommendations 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.

Have a Guilt-free Meal at these Vegan Places in Teacher’s Village, QC

November 11, 2019

More and more people are choosing to embrace the vegan lifestyle not only to become healthier but also to advocate cruelty-free eating. Doing so, believers of greener dining habits are shattering previous misconceptions about veganism: “vegan food doesn’t taste good”, “there aren’t many vegan options” and so on. Thanks to them and the growing number of vegan places in the country, more people are learning that vegan food isn’t that bad at all. In fact, it has spawned creative dishes that provide memorable gastronomic experiences.

Known Vegan traveler Celine Murillo of Celineism shows off sticks of Vegan Isaw

10 Reasons why you should visit Siargao Island

November 07, 2019

Facing the mighty swells of the Pacific Ocean, the teardrop-shaped island of Siargao has garnered numerous accolades in recent years; including being voted as the "World's Best Island" by Conde Nast Travelers—an esteemed travel and luxury magazine—and a number of widely-read travel sites. Despite the growing popularity of the island, Siargao still retains its remote vibe even in the face of increasing development. Therefore, more travelers are now opting to go to Siargao over other more touristy islands like Bali in Indonesia and Phuket in Thailand.

Reasons why you should visit Siargao Island

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 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

Freediving Record Holder Marese Secades Deep Dives on her Passion for the Sport

September 30, 2019


I was a few minutes into taking a seat inside Black Scoop Café in Maginhawa Street when a towering morena lady walked through the door. I instantly recognized her as Marese Secades—a freediver whose spectacular underwater photographs arrested my attention.

Freediver Marese Secades sets the women’s record at 59 meters.

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
The panoramic view from the peak of Mt. Sawi

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” synchronize with the sloshing sounds of the rapids of Tibiao River, I would stare at the blue sky while my tube swirls me endlessly. Lying relaxed, I then just let 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 refer to as “washing machine zone”. Every time we pass a rapid, I would 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. 

the UNESCO sight of Nikko

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 to 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 | A Sweet Hereafter Return

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

Exploring Poblacion in a Sober Mood | Makati

July 01, 2019

Despite witnessing Poblacion's transformation from a seedy quarter to an exciting neighborhood, I mostly visit to get drunk and dine with friends. So when I heard that Meaningful Travels PH is organising a Poblacion Makati Discovery Tour, I jumped at the chance to discover the neighborhood's other hidden gems without the constraints of inebriation.

Ann Marie Cunanan  Meaningful Travels PH
See Poblacion from a different perspective by joining Meaningful Travels PH's Poblacion Discovery Tour

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.

Kumarakom Lake Resort: A Charming Backwater Haven | Kerala, India

June 05, 2019

Fresh from spending a night in a fancy houseboat which cruised the famed backwaters of Kerala, our #KeralaBlogExpress2 crew headed to our next destination: the City of Kottayam. Set against the backdrop of Vembanad Lake—the largest lake in Kerala—the Western Ghats on the east and the lush rice fields of Kuttanad on the West, Kumarakom is also where one can find the charming backwater village of Kumarakom.

The Meandering Pool Villas of Kumarakom Lake Resort

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”.

Mishi Magno

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

A Fine Morning of Swimming and Drone-ing at Calatagan Sandbar | Batangas

May 02, 2019


After waking up with a terrible hangover—no thanks to the previous night’s drinking game—to a beautiful moonset and a hearty breakfast by the beach, we hurried up renting a small boat for a side-trip to a nearby sand bar. It appears during low tide a few clicks off the coast of Puting Buhangin and Burot beach. It goes with a couple of other names: Starfish Island and Little Boracay, but I prefer calling it with its simple but apt name of Calatagan Sandbar. The boat trip going here from where we're staying at (Aquaria Waterpark and Crusoe Cabins) takes around half an hour and sails on the ridges of the waters of Verde Island Passage.

Levy Amosin, Mariane Tagaca

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.

Safari in Pench India

To the Batu Caves | Malaysia

April 10, 2019

Other than the Petronas Twin Towers, the Batu Caves is the other place I wanted to see in Kuala Lumpur when I started plotting the itinerary of my trip to the capital of Malaysia way back in 2007. That was my very first airplane ride courtesy of my brother who let me tag along with him. Coincidentally, that journey was what kick-started my wanderlust. A few days after arriving home, I quickly wrote a short narrative about it on the new defunct Multiply blogging platform.

Visiting Batu Caves with Cebu Pacific

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 hear in my head, the angelic voices 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 ages ranges from 6 to 13 thirteen years old have 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.

Approaching Mararison Island

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.

Postcard Series: Maiden Flight | Calayan

March 29, 2019

When I said "yes" to an invite to join the Calayan-Batanes media famtrip, I never expected the historic firsts happening on the beautiful island of Calayan. We arrived aboard the first ever plane to land on the island to inaugurate their airport—and today—we also become the first set of passengers to depart Calayan en route to another destination: Batanes. The same crowd of locals who welcomed us also bid as goodbye as we boarded this Sky Pasada jet (smallest plane I've flown so far).

Genesis Lee about to board Sky Pasada

This Year’s #LakbayNorte8 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.

Where to Stay in Luang Prabang, Laos | Satri House

March 19, 2019

The narrow entrance of Satri House betrays the gem of a place hidden inside: A stunning collection of charming colonial buildings inspired by Lao architecture and culture. Adding a layer of lure are the quaint corners and the lush gardens surrounded by towering trees. As the female staff briefs me about the property, my eyes wandered everywhere. "Satri House was first built in 1904 as a royal house by the parents of Prince Souphanouvong, the first President of Lao People's Democratic Republic. This property was refurbished in 2002 by Mrs. Lamphoune Voravongsa - now the current owner" she tells me.

Pool side of Satri House

A Beautiful Glimpse of Egypt

March 07, 2019

Egypt was the last of the triumvirate of nations which consist the Holy Land 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.

Where to Stay in Luang Prabang: Lotus Villa Boutique | Laos

March 05, 2019

It was starting to darken when I arrived at Luang Prabang causing me to hurry my pace in locating my hotel. Guided by my Google Map, I walked pass the main street of the city's historic district. It was a lovely surprise finding out a few days before, that Lotus Villa Boutique Hotel situates right smack in the UNESCO Heritage area of the city. Established in 2008, this small property houses 15 soothing rooms and 2 suites – all designed within the fervor of the architectural style of Laos’ colonial past.

Cebu Pacific Air Highlights Some Must Things-to-do in and Near Kuala Lumpur | Malaysia

March 04, 2019

As one of the major hub in Southeast Asia, Kuala Lumpur is often overlooked by some travelers as a mere pit-stop just to have a sumptuous meal of Nasi Lemak before flying a connecting flight to their final destination. Bad travel take. 

Kuala Lumpur, as it turns out, and as my more than half-dozen visits to the city have proven, hides a wealth of intrigue in the shape of the city's diverse culture, cuisine, and history. Recently, I  joined a Cebu Pacific Familiarization trip to explore new areas as well as revisit old favorites in and around Kuala Lumpur. As a result, there are many more reasons to return and, perhaps, explore other regions of Malaysia as well.

Cebu Pacific Air media famtour participants. Out to explore some of the best of KL

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.

a dolphin shows off in Bais
This is why Dolphin watching in Bais is a must-do

Postcard Series: Mount Lobo | Batangas

February 27, 2019

Despite being dog-tired from the Maguindanao trip, I wouldn't miss our monthly hike for Ferbruary. Vegan meal + Buhawi craft beer + fun conversations + sleeping under the stars and pulling off a lackadaisical-planned trip—I was the assigned organizer for this month—equates to another memorable weekend. Missing a few of our 'monthly chill hiking' crew though.

Lakbay Norte 8 | 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.  

Celine Murillo stands on a boat in Baler