Find Yourself in the Cordilleras: The Farming Communities of Benguet and Mountain Province

November 23, 2020

Home to a magnificent set of picturesque highland countryside, the region of the Cordillera features an abundance of wonders. From its cool weather all year long to its majestic set of nature, fascinating culture and mouth-watering local cuisine, an all too familiar feature of the region is gaining much needed attention today. These are the fruit and vegetable farms of Benguet and Mountain Province. 


Mujee Gonzales, Christian Sangoyo, Gretchen Filart, Celine Murillo and Levy Amosin

Ancient Cham Ruins at My Son Sanctuary | Vietnam

November 08, 2020

 

 

Waking up to a rainy and foggy morning had me entertaining the idea of staying in until lunch curled up on my bed. Appealing the thought may be, the chance to see another UNESCO World Heritage Site reigned over and proved to be enough of a motivation to make me stand up, stretch my hands and face the window announcing to myself “Good Morning Vietnam

Vietnam Travel Guide

Sun Dialing the Skies at Jantar Mantar in Jaipur | India

October 25, 2020

 

Situated within the old city of Jaipur near the City Palace and Hawa Mahal is the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Jantar Mantar. Named after the words "yantra", which in Sanskrit means "instrument", and "mantrana" meaning "to calculate", the Jantar Mantar is an equinoctial sundial that measures the time of the day and the declination of the sun and the rest of the celestial sphere.


Sara Abdollahi

A Guide to Calayan Island in Northern Philippines

October 20, 2020


 

Part of the isolated cluster of Babuyanes Islands, this offbeat Island boasts of a bounteous set of rugged nature.

Despite living in an archipelago boasting some of the finest beaches and islands in the world, I still find myself dropping my jaw at a sight of a marvelous island setting. Such is the effect Calayan Island had on me the moment I first laid eyes on it. As the only municipality among the group of Islands of Babuyan—a cluster of pristine isles situated several miles off the northern tip of Luzon, Calayan appears so remote and full of raw beauty.


Celine Murillo

Why Help Our Local Farmers?

October 07, 2020


 

It isn’t a question of “Why?” anymore. Rather, “How?” as in how we can help our farmers more? should be the fitting query. Fortunately, a long overdue response to the plight of our farmers is now taking shape. Thanks to small entrepreneurs like the Local Goodness PH, local produce from far communities are finding its way straight to the doorsteps and into the table of new consumers. Suddenly, the concept of farm-to-table is slowly becoming a reality.


Jomie Naynes
Farmers in a vegetable farm in Mountain Province gathers their day's fresh produce

The Chiseled Wall and Gushing Curtain of Pongour Waterfall | Da Lat, Vietnam

September 21, 2020


As I was walking around downtown Da Lat, I picked up a flyer about an Easy Rider tour taking travelers on a motorcycle exploration of the countryside. I’m not one to easily shell money on tour packages, but I figured I can easily sightsee the outskirts of Da Lat as a passenger on the back of a Vietnamese Dennis Hopper.  I couldn’t text the number as I don’t have any local sim card. Fortunately, my hostel—Da Lat Homestay—offers the same tour. Along with the other guests, who all turned out to be Israelis, I signed up for the Easy Rider the next day.

Waterfalls in Vietnam

Where to Stay in Boracay: Azalea Hotels and Residences | Aklan

September 09, 2020

 

As a frequent guest of Azalea’s Baguio property, I already have an inkling of what to expect at their Boracay location. Still, upon our arrival, I was taken aback by the niceties of the layout that blends perfectly with the vibe of the island. The wide entrance highlighted by the globe fountain and centerpiece quickly arrested my attention. The available space creates an additional charm befitting the post-modern architecture of the five-story establishment bursting with appealing lines and patterns. 


Jen Contreras

Beautiful Lakes in the Philippines Perfect for Nature and Chill

September 04, 2020

 

Every lake belongs to the quietness desired by the swans”, poet Munia Khan wrote. Her description mirrors what we collectively sense about this body of water existing under the shadows of big-swell oceans and streaming rivers. Lakes dishes a different vibe far from the seas we’ve accustomed to visiting in our geographically-gifted, archipelagic country. The stillness of its natural pool of fresh water provides a tranquil atmosphere coupled by the lush greens that usually surrounds it. Therefore, if you are wandering around the Philippines, a jaunt to one of these lakes shall instantly give you a memorable travel experience.


Marky Ramone Go

Travel Bloggers as Influencers of Responsible Traveling?

August 20, 2020

 

The word “influencer” has become a trendy word passed around like a bottle of beer in the midst of an Oktoberfest revelry. Young people are dreaming of becoming one thus replacing childhood ambitions of becoming doctors, pilots, scientists and the likes. One can vouch for the emergence of the influence culture as a sign of our rapidly changing world. For one, it shines a positive light at affording ordinary individuals a platform to express their voices, opinions and even preference in everything related to lifestyle choices such as in fashion, travel, music, food and so on.



Places to see in Mumbai | India

August 09, 2020

Previously known as Bombay, Mumbai—aside from being the country's most populous city—is India's center of financial and commercial activities. Founded on an ancient settlement, its name was derived from the local goddess Mumba, a type of Parvati, the consort of Shiva and one of the main deities of Hinduism.

Mumbai Travel Blog_Alyanna Bromeo

Busig-On Festival: A Retelling of an Epic Bicolano Tale | Camarines Norte

July 24, 2020


As a spectator many times over of numerous Philippine festivals in the past, I still overflow with enthusiasm each time I witness a new one. After experiencing the Ati-Atihan three times and the Sinulog twice already, I’ve had more than enough dose of fun from those twin-festivals honoring the Sto. Niño. However, I’m always game to immerse in the different vibe of other lesser-known festivals in the country. Camarines Norte’s Busig-on Festival isn’t just previously unknown to me, it also has an interesting backstory involving a widely retold local story. Therefore, during my 8-hour bus ride to the province, I already visualized the kind of frenzy atmosphere that awaits me.

Cheekie Albay

A Purposeful Trek to the Sacred Bud Bongao Mountain | Tawi-Tawi

July 19, 2020


I remember being envious of my then-girlfriend years ago, when she went on a solo backpacking to Tawi-Tawi and hiked the Bud Bongao. Not only is the mountain located in the southernmost province of the Philippines, it is also considered as a sacred peak. Two preachers mentored by Karim ul-Makhdum–the Arab missionary who brought Islam to the Philippines in 1380–are said to be buried in Mt. Bud Bongao in a location called the Tampat Rocks.

Tawi Tawi travel guide

Beaches in the Philippines Perfect for Social Distancing

July 14, 2020


The future of traveling is facing uncertainties brought on by the “new normal” or as aptly put: the "temporary abnormal", until a vaccine for Covid-19 is discovered. Until then, expect travel to become heavily reliant on precautionary measures such as social distancing. Crowded tourist destinations will—for the meantime—be out of our travel plans. This however, shall challenge travelers to be extra creative in exploring places. Great news though, beach-goers need not worry. Because in a country blessed with more than 7,000 islands, we have a lot of beach choices that meet the criteria for proper social distancin. Here are some of them.

Seco Island

Travel Lokal in the ‘New Normal’

July 12, 2020


Despite more than two months of community quarantine and minimal venturing into the outside world—mostly on supply runs—majority of us are fighting cabin fever humoring our predicament and making the most of our downtime. In our minds, we are still living out our wanderlust through reading books, binge-watching, learning online courses, writing and whatever that may stir the pot of our creativity.

Can't wait to hit the road? You shall be back on the road soon  (On a bus somewhere in Southern, Cebu)

Afternoon Ramble at the Grassy Knoll of Racuh a Payaman (Marlboro Country) | Batanes

June 25, 2020
Blame western pop culture pandering outsiders for coining a needless also-known-as name of this jaw-dropping place in Batanes. Racuh a Payaman, as the locals refer to it, sounds more faithful to its appearance; of rolling hills showcasing the wealth of nature.  It takes a while before one's amazement is mellowed down by its spellbinding landscape stretching as far as the eyes can see. I missed out on going to this part of the island during my first visit here in 2014. On the morning when we were supposed to head to Racuh a Payaman, my friend Audrey suffered an accident. A tidal pool pulled her into the rocky bed while she was standing on a rock formation at one of the viewpoints situated along the road.

Marlboro Country

Places to See in Jaipur: The Pink City | India

June 10, 2020


As the capital of the Indian state of Rajasthan, Jaipur is one of India's most popular cities among tourists. Part of the so-called "Golden Triangle" with New Delhi and Agra, travelers come to Jaipur to experience a city teeming with palaces, temples, magnificent forts, colorful bazaars, and of course—lots of cows. All these plus stunning architecture, culture and a lively culinary scene all combine to make what is also known as "the Pink City" a can't miss destination in India.

Places to see in Jaipur

Food-tripping in Taipei’s Raohe Street Night Market | Taiwan

June 08, 2020

 

Hearing about Taipei's street food scene goes way back to my mom's solo trip to Taiwan in the late 1960's. Although my mom isn't adventurous when it comes to food, she would later tell me when I started traveling that I better try as much local food when I get the chance. Indeed, I did just that in Thailand, Vietnam, India, Hong Kong and the rest of the countries I visited so far.


Marky Ramone Go

Dose of Art and Architecture at Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum | Japan

June 01, 2020

 

Rambling mindlessly around Tokyo to random directions took me to Ueno Park where I stumbled upon an interesting looking brick-faced building. Upon closer inspection, I learned that it is the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum. Despite my novice knowledge in art, I welcomed the serendipitous chance for some artsy-fartsy exploration and hurriedly walked in.


Sophie Gianan

Things to do in the UNESCO World Heritage Town of Hoi An, Vietnam

May 26, 2020

While time travel will always be a leading emblem of science fiction, it doesn’t restrict us from getting a peek and a feel into the world of the yester-centuries. The Ancient town of Hoi-An in Vietnam possesses an olden vibe dating back to the 15th century. Highlighted by its well-preserved structures that have shaped a storied past of a former Southeast Asian trading hub, it has become a major tourism draw in Central Vietnam.  Going back in time doesn’t need to come in the form of a capsule machine, a walk through the old streets of Hoi An might just do the trick. As I boarded my bus from Ho Chi Minh to Hoi An, I already pictured a lovely age-old town awaiting for me. 

To make your journey back in time more worthwhile, here are other things to do in the UNESCO World Heritage town of Hoi An.


Lakbay Norte Goes to Pamintuan Mansion in Angeles | Pampanga

May 19, 2020

 

The last several years has seen the city of Angeles in Pampanga shred its red-light reputation by showcasing its rich culinary culture and heritage. The result is a newfound interest by tourists to explore many of its nook and crannies to satisfy not only the appetite for food but also of historical curiosities. One of the popular places to visit in Angeles City’s heritage district is the Pamintuan Mansion.


Marky Ramone Go, Celine Murillo, Jamille Domingo, Monique Tendencia, Potpot Pinili, Astrid Alvarez, Mujee Gonzales, Melo Villareal

Admiring the Fine Architecture of the Chhatris of Orchha | India

May 05, 2020


I was roused from my sleep as soon as I feel our Mini-bus rolling into a bumpy off-road trail. I opened my eyes into a view of the Betwa River and its murky waters. From the corner of my eye I catch a glimpse of a towering structures with arresting looking tips.

Our guide then hollered and pointed to us "that is the Royal Chhatris of Orchha". Still reeling from my brief slumber, I said “what” meaning to only address myself. Our guide heard me and so he offered aloud a brief explanation. “These are actually the cenotaphs dedicated to the Bundela Kings of Orchha and some members of their families”

Why Antique Province is an Underrated Tourist Destination?

May 01, 2020

 

Located in the Mother Nature-gifted island of Panay, the province of Antique tends to get overlooked by tourists heading to Iloilo City down south, to Caticlan in Boracay up north and to Gigantes Island in the East. Thanks to some travelers who wind up in Antique, a word-of-mouth now goes around that this province teems of wonderful destinations set in all types of terrain; mountains, forests, rivers, islands and even in quaint seaside towns. Need more convincing why you should visit Antique? then here's several things to do and places to visit. 


Things to do in Antique

Save a Prayer at Sigiriya Rock | Sri Lanka

April 25, 2020


Despite missing out on Duran Duran's peak of popularity, their music videos still left a valuable mark in my consciousness. One of it was their song "Save a Prayer". Shot on location in Sri Lanka, it features intoxicating scenes of temples, golden beaches and ancient ruins. One particular part of the video stood out for me; it's the scene where Simon Le Bon and Nick Rhodes are performing the song on top of a massive boulder surrounded by what look like a set of ancient ruins.

The ancient Sigiriya Rock in Sri Lanka

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

April 18, 2020


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 Walk Along the Streets of Tokyo (part two)

April 09, 2020


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.

Pench Tree Lodge: A Quaint Den for Nature Lovers | India

April 08, 2020


It took me almost a day of traveling—including a long layover in Kuala Lumpur—before I landed at Nagpur Airport from Mumbai. Upon arrival, I immediately rendezvoused with my friend Karla at her hotel. Wasting no time, me met our driver from Pench who was already waiting in the lobby to drive us on a three-hour ride to Pench in Seoni, Madhya Pradesh.

Karla and myself were invited to attend and cover the Madhya Pradesh Tourism Summit happening a week later. Fortunately, the good people from Pench Tree Lodge and Pugdundee Safaris invited us for a complimentary stay and to experience a safari tour inside Pench National Park.

tree house accommodation

Things to do in the Sacred Town of Pushkar | India

March 22, 2020


Pushkar is a small town near Ajmer in the desert state of Rajasthan. Daily life and other activities here—including religious ceremonies and rituals—centers on Pushkar Lake, a sacred Hindu Site. Surrounding the lake are more than 50 Ghats where Pilgrims bathe and the nightly aarti are held. Narrow alleyways lined up with bazaars housed in centuries old havelis (traditional Indian mansions) and hundreds of temples surround this small town. Brimming with a rich history, colorful culture, savory cuisine and revered religious events—more than a charming town—Pushkar still hid many gems every traveler would delight in discovering.

Sacred Town of Pushkar

To learn more about Pushkar, here are some information you can use to help you plan your trip to this fascinating town someday.

Things to Do in Rishikesh, India: The Yoga Capital of the World

March 20, 2020

Known as the "Gateway to the Himalayas" and "Yoga Capital of the World", the city of Rishikesh is considered as one of the holiest places to Hindus. As a pilgrimage site, it is dotted with centuries-old temples. The River Ganges—considered as sacred in India—starts streaming in the state of Uttarakhand, where Rishikesh is located. Made famous when the Beatles came to visit in the winter of 1968, the city of Rishikesh has now become a place where one finds spirituality, tranquility, adventure, culture, good food and then some. To discover more about this place, here are some things to do and places to see in Rishikesh.

Things to do in Rishikesh in India
Lakshman Jhula Bridge

A Javelin’s Throw Away from My Hostel, Old Batavia (Kota Tua Jakarta) | Indonesia

March 16, 2020

 

Arriving from Bandung, I headed straight to Wonderloft Hostel where I reserved a bunk bed for one night before flying back home to Manila. I originally planned on catching up sleep but when I learned from the receptionist that the hostel is just a few steps away from the historic Kota Tua Jakarta, I ditched rest in favor of the chance to explore more.


Jomie Naynes

Travel Books to Ignite Your Wanderlust

March 12, 2020


Describing the abundant advantages of travel, Saint Augustine was quoted in John Feltham’s English Enchiridion (1799) as saying “the world is a great book, and none study this book so much as a traveler. They that never stir from their home read only one page of this book”—an evocative passage that sums up the ultimate desire of modern-day travelers; to learn and discover whatever exists outside our comfort zones.

Covid-19 Pandemic Volunteer Outreach Groups You Can Support

March 01, 2020


Did you know that staying at home during this Covid-19 pandemic is one of the best way to fight the virus? Healthcare workers refer to people staying at home as “our wartime air and artillery support. The more people who stay at home, the more chances we can contain and fight the virus”. Stopping the spread of this deadly disease means pushing the pause button in our daily lives. It is a sacrifice we all must do to ‘flatten the curve’ of infection. However, and understandably so, many people suffer anxiety because they cannot go out and help. Unfortunately, as this virus continues to spread, going out of our homes will only invite more risk than produce much-needed help to our fellowmen.

Up and Down the Ancient Step Well of Agrasen Ki Baoli | Delhi, India

February 20, 2020

 

Not far from the frenetic streets surrounding Connaught Place in Delhi, an ancient subterranean marvel possessing a fascinating history remains in an almost Zen-like condition. For the believers of mystical tales and legends, this is also where strange occurrences happen and ghostly demons plot curses. The Agrasen Ki Baoli is an ancient water reservoir common all over India of the olden times. Descending to a total of 108 stone steps, it has three levels all lined-up with arched niches on both sides.


Marky Ramone Go

Woven PH: Weaving Change in the Lives of Women Artisans of Basey, Samar

February 10, 2020


I first came to learn about the banig weavers of Basey, Samar many moons ago when on a pre-Yolanda morning, I explored the entirety of San Juanico Bridge on foot. I arrived in Samar with no destination in mind until a local I encountered pointed me to a fascinating place. “You can go to Basey, it is a small town not far from here. There’s an old church there and a cave where you will see women weavers making beautiful banig”, he told me in Tagalog.

Lakbay Norte: Bonfire Bonding, Charcuterie Feasting and Glamping at El Kabayo | Pampanga

February 08, 2020

 

During the first night of our #LakbayNorte8 in Pampanga, we were taken to a lawn covered ground surrounded by towering trees in Clark, Pampanga. “We’re going to go glamping” our host told us travel writers and vloggers as we got out of our chartered bus. Surveying the scene, I immediately saw the rows of tents pitched for us and a wooden table full of charcuterie boards screaming of an incoming feast.


Lakbay Norte

High-rise Observation and DTF in Taipei 101

February 03, 2020


I mean DTF as in ‘Din Tai Fung’

It may have feel like eons ago when Taipei 101 stood as the tallest skyscraper in the world when it first opened in 2004. Ten taller buildings later—led by Dubai’s Burj KhalifaTaiwan’s tower of power, remains as an enigma of an architectural wonder lording over the skyline of Taipei. Standing 1,667 feet with 101 floors, Taipei 101 held the title of the world's tallest building from 2004 to 2010.

Notice the architecture resembling a stack of Chinese food take-out boxes

5 Ways to Spend More Time in Nature at Home and Abroad

February 01, 2020


Being outdoors has indisputable benefits. Improvements in mood and mental health, as well as healthy doses of vitamin D, are just a few positives that you can gain from spending time in nature. Unfortunately, many of us lead hectic schedules, so if you are working long hours at the office and need an escape, here are a few things you can do to spend more time in nature both at home and overseas.

Best Travel Destinations in The United Arab Emirates

January 19, 2020


The United Arab Emirates, or the UAE, is a major tourism hub in the Middle East that offers a lot of attraction for travelers looking for an enchanting mix of wonderful sights and colorful culture. Consisting of seven emirates, each with its own distinct character and attractions, any visitor to the UAE will have an abundance of exciting destinations to choose from. With almost all the world’s airlines flying to Dubai, booking a flight (حجز طيران) is very convenient.

4 Ways You Can Feed Your Passion for Travel While in Lockdown

January 14, 2020


As large portions of the world and its population are currently being placed in lockdown to slow the spread of COVID-19, it’s only natural that people are starting to go stir-crazy. It sounds simple enough - “stay home and flatten the curve” - but after a few days with the kids and your significant other, it can all be a bit much. If you happen to have a passion for all things travel-related, being stuck indoors can be even tougher. There’s a good chance you’re busy daydreaming about all the travels and adventures you’d rather be having.

Stay at home right now, sit on a tree real soon. We will get through this 

Online Video Games to Play During Travel Down-time

January 08, 2020

 

Traveling isn’t always all adrenaline highs as sometimes we find ourselves stuck in a wanderer purgatory able to do nothing. These are the moments when we’re waiting for a delayed flight or in the middle of a long bus or train rides. While I always prefer reading a book (mostly travel books) to get by these boring moments, I have discovered that playing simple, yet entertaining online video games provides an added entertainment value that help me deal with the so-called travel down-times.


When you finally board your plane but not after a Three-hour wait

The Best Seafood to Try When Traveling Down the East and Gulf Coast

January 08, 2020

There is nothing better than visiting a new place and learning their culture and history through their food. Regional cuisines always tell a fascinating story as to how the locals traditionally grow, harvest, and catch produce. When visiting the East and Gulf Coast, it comes to no surprise that fresh seafood has become very popular. Many Coastal towns catch their own seafood daily to bring back and cook at the restaurant during the night. Here are a few of our favorites we have found when traveling down and around the East and Gulf Coast.


Jomie Naynes

6 Ways to Bring a Sense of Adventure into Home Life

January 07, 2020


During the coronavirus pandemic, many people have been spending a lot more time in their homes. This has been a walk in the park for some individuals, but for those who are adventurous, the lockdown has been a frustrating waste of valuable time that could have been used to explore new places or try new activities. Even when times are normal, however, some people struggle with new experiences due to limitations with their budget, work obligations, and family responsibilities. If you are sick of being stuck in one place, here are six ways to bring a sense of adventure into your home life.



Explore Busan City’s Vibrant People, Heritage, and Culture

January 05, 2020


You may not be familiar with Busan. It is among the most urban and modern cities in South Korea. The city’s vibe is vibrant. Individuals who like exploring culture and heritage can fancy this alternative destination to Seoul.  It is a destination to visit the mountains, beautiful scenery, beaches, shopping centers, restaurants, and festivals.

Top 10 Delicious Plant-Based Eateries in Madrid

January 03, 2020

 

Madrid is the capital of Spain and one of the world’s most popular cities. One of the main draws of the city is its food. From tapas and croquetas to paella and jamon, there’s no shortage of fine dishes worth trying in Madrid. Moreover, throughout the years, the Spanish capital has expanded its dining scene to feature other international cuisines and to cater to a variety of diets and preferences, including veganism.


Jomie Naynes