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Archive for the ‘Philippines’ Category

Savor The Goodies Of Lucban In Quezon

May 21st, 2010 by

LUCBAN, QUEZON (PHILIPPINES) – It is that time of the year again when the people of Quezon celebrate the annual Pahiyas Festival.  This glorious festival takes place every May 15.  Visitors, both local and foreign, mark this festival on their calendars.

Welcome to the Pahiyas Festival Photo by: herbie

I have always wanted to go.  Year after year I plan to but end up not going because of some sudden change of plans.This year, I really promised myself that it’s about time to tick of the Pahiyas Festival in my list of “Things to Do In This Lifetime.” It surely helped that the festival fell conveniently on a weekend. Yay!

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Watch The Whale Sharks Of Sorsogon

May 13th, 2010 by

The town of Donsol can pride itself as the “whale shark capital of the world”, a title earned for being home to the largest concentration of whale sharks in the world. Every year from November to May, this small Philippine community in the province of Sorsogon is visited by around 40 whale sharks, called butanding by among the locals (scientific name: Rhincodon typus). Though these gentle giants roam the vast oceans, sticking near the equator, they frequent Donsol waters for generations, leading the Philippine government to declare the area an official sanctuary for whale sharks.


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Conquer Mount Pinatubo

April 30th, 2010 by

I never thought that I could actually brave conquering a mountain.  That’s just not me.  My adventurous side can ride a speedboat in the middle of the sea even under heavy rains or eat exotic local food in the different countries that I visit.  Yes, I can also cross a rickety dilapidated wooden bridge hundreds of feet above ground to get to another mountains and ride the zipline on my way back.  But mountain climbing was something that I thought I will never get to try.  For one, I did not think that I was physically fit enough for the trek up plus how could I ever learn to pack light and compress everything including a tent in my handy dandy backpack???

Photo by:  Mr. Digz Agulo

That was what I thought until I got to try to conquer my very first mountain, Mt Daguldol in Batangas City (Philippines).  I got a natural high from the experience that I definitely promised myself that Mt Daguldol will not be my last mountain.  It did not matter that my chest practically exploded from my heavy panting, that my feet were suddenly swollen from tripping on so many branches, that it took us four hours to reach the summit with only about fifteen minutes to enjoy the breathtaking view, or that it rained on our way down and I had to slide on my buttocks to prevent myself from falling into the dark ravine.  Just like what I said, it was a different kind of “high.”

When an opportunity to climb Mt Pinatubo in the Philippines presented itself less a month later, I said yes in a heartbeat!

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Summer Is Amusement Park Season In The Philippines Part 2

April 9th, 2010 by

In my previous article, I talked about Star City and mentioned that it is considered the longest running amusement park in the Philippines.  But those who do not mind traveling a bit farther, another amusement park is worth mentioning.  I am referring to none other than Enchanted Kingdom.

Welcome to Enchanted Kingdom Photo by: theshutterbugs

Enchanted Kingdom is an amusement park in the Philippines that can specifically be found in Sta Rosa City in Laguna.  It is roughly about thirty kilometers from the capital city of Manila.  It is a huge stand alone park that covers a total land area of seventeen hectares.

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Summer Is Amusement Park Season In The Philippines Part 1

April 2nd, 2010 by

Summer is definitely a major season to look forward to in the Philippines.  For one, there are no classes and the kiddos are excited to take a two-month break from school.  Summer is the perfect time for families to bond and do more things together.  Some opt to head to the beach to get a load of sunshine and sand.  There are others who prefer to rent out private pools for a more private affair.  A lot of affluent families have their own share of rest and relaxation by booking rooms in the different hotels in the city like the Edsa Shangri-la Hotel Manila.  Those who cannot leave the city for long simply plan on trips to the different amusement parks that are quite accessible from the main city of Manila.  There are actually two popular amusement parks in the Philippines – Star City and Enchanted Kingdom.

Welcome to Star City Photo by: theshutterbugs

STAR CITY is an amusement park that is considered the longest running in the Philippines.  It is also accessible to foreign guests given its close proximity to quite a number of hotels like the Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila Hotel.  It is also located close to a huge mall called the SM Mall of Asia.

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Delicacies To Enjoy In Cebu

March 26th, 2010 by

The people in the Philippines always look forward to Holy Week.  For one, it is those rare times in a year when there are a couple of days declared as non-working holidays.  In short, it is the perfect time to travel plus have that much deserved rest and relaxation.  This year, Holy Week will start on the 28th March which is referred to as Palm Sunday.  The holidays will start on Maundy Thursday (April 1) until Easter Sunday (April 4).

Dried Fish at the Taboan Market  Photo by:  theshutterbugs

It is also this time when most airline tickets get sold out and room accommodations sell like hotcakes.  Booking a vacation during these days is the perfect way to kick off a series of summer escapades.  One of the favorite destinations for these getaways would have to be Cebu.

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7 Places In The Philippines To Spend Holy Week

March 18th, 2010 by

Holy Week usually occurs in early April, and for the predominantly Catholic Filipinos, it is a period when families take leave from school and work and spend time visiting churches to observe the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Many opt to leave the cities and take vacations, and depending on their temperament, will choose destinations for their party atmosphere, quiet setting, or spiritually-nourishing events.

Here are 7 Philippine places to spend the upcoming Holy Week:

Moriones Festival

Moriones Festival, Marinduque – a popular celebration which reenacts the story of Longinus, the Roman soldier who pierced the side of the crucified Jesus with a spear. Morion means mask, and was once a standard part of a Roman soldier’s helmet. Colorful Roman costumes, painted masks and helmets, and brightly-hued tunics characterize this festival, and several towns in the island of Marinduque become one big stage.

Sagada – located in the Cordillera mountain range of Luzon some 5,000 fee above sea level, this area is world-renowned for its hanging coffins, 60 caverns and pleasant waterfalls. The cool climate, clean air and plush scenery allow for peaceful contemplation with few distractions. Getting to Sagada from Baguio requires a 6-hour bus ride through Mt. Halsema Express.

Subic – a former US naval station which has since been transformed into a premier economic zone and entertainment complex. An Ocean Park, wreck-diving sites, mangrove graveyard, Mt. Pinatubo crater trek, bat sanctuary and golf course await visitors who desire family-friendly fun. Regular flights are available between Metro Manila and Subic; there is also a 50-minute ferry ride off the Cultural Center of the Philippines which travels directly to Subic Bay Free Port.

Boracay – the premier beach in the country, notable for its fine, white sands and turquoise waters. Modern amenities are provided along the shore for the comfort of vacationers, along with bars, restaurants, and clubs. Boracay gets particularly festive during Lent, when throngs of beach-goers mix it up with henna tattoo artists, trinket vendors, masseurs and entertainers. To get to this beach, reserve a domestic flight early from Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 to Caticlan or Kalibo Airport in Panay, then board a commuter van to the Port Terminal, where pumpboats finally take passengers to Boracay Island.

Batanes - the northernmost province of the country has also the sparsest population, and is characterized by steep cliffs, rugged coastlines and unpredictable weather. With no malls and modern distractions, visitors can expect quiet moments of reflection while enjoying the outdoors. Mountaineers can relish a challenge with Mt. Iraya; the rest can go lighthouse-hopping or take a dip at the nearest beach. To get to the Batanes Islands, travelers can take a SEAIR flight from Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

Mt. Banahaw
Mount Banahaw, Laguna – considered sacred by many cults in the surrounding areas, this dormant volcano, located 165 kilometers south of Metro Manila, is a pilgrimage destination for the devout. Topological features have names based on biblical allusions, and three crosses are placed on important sites. To get to Mt. Banahaw, travel to San Pablo, Laguna, then ride several jeepneys to the foot of the mountain.

Cutud, Pampanga – a Lenten ritual which is highlighted by a dozen or so people who flagellate themselves or nailed to wooden crosses atop a makeshift Cavalry. While the Catholic Church does not endorse this behavior, the locals believe in these acts of penitence and their ability to remove sins. Interested parties can get to Cutud and other participating towns by taking the North Luzon Expressway and exiting at San Fernando, Pampanga, then following the road to the town.

The national government takes big steps to support this holiday mass migration across and in-between the islands with media updates, roadside and port assistance, and heightened presence of police and emergency units. For those who wish to remain in the big cities, expect many malls, restaurants and shops to close from Thursday to Saturday during this week.

Dishes To Try In The Philippines

March 5th, 2010 by

The Philippines is another destination in Asia that is quite famous among tourists.  It is known for the warm hospitality offered by the Filipinos, the lush forests, tropical climate, island getaways, and serene sights just to name a few.  Undeniably, anyone who gets to visit the Philippines must never miss trying out the local fares.  Of course, there are numerous dishes ranging from the ordinary to those that are borderline exotic.

I think it is best to start this list with the crowd favorite – SINIGANG.  This dish is popular because of its sour and tasty soup.  The meat that is included in Sinigang can be pork, beef or seafood like Shrimp or Fish.  It is prepared by boiling the meat together with chopped onions and tomatoes in a proportional amount of water until the meat becomes tender.  Tamarind powder, which is readily available in local supermarkets, is added to the soup for the flavoring plus salt depending on preference.  When this is done, chopped vegetables are added as a final touch.  This dish is best served when hot and with a cup of steaming boiled rice.  Sometimes, the locals prepare a special dip that is made of fish sauce with a little lime.

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My Love Affair With Boracay Part 2

February 19th, 2010 by

The first morning of our stay at The Boracay Regency Beach Resort and Convention Center was very filling – literally!  We were escorted to the Sea Breeze Café for our buffet breakfast.  We ogled at the superb spread of the freshest breads, cheeses, fruits, juices, and other delectable breakfast fares.  I immediately fell in love with their fresh ripe mangoes and their heavenly French Toasts with yummy syrup.   To burn all the calories, we decided to take a morning stroll…

Relaxing in Boracay

To those who have not been to Boracay, it is just fitting to explain that Boracay is famous for its long stretch of sandy shore and shallow glistening blue green water.  The water is shallow in the sense that you will find yourself already a couple of meters from the shore and yet the water will only reach your knees.  This kind of water is what you can say safe for kids as there is no terrifying drop to deep water.  This long sandy stretch of beach is divided into several sections.

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A Visitor’s Guide to Cebu City

February 17th, 2010 by

Nestled in the heart of the Philippines is the stunning Cebu City. Cebu City serves as the capital of Cebu and is considered the oldest city in the Philippines.

Sinulog in Mambaling, Cebu City 2009 (January 25, 2009)

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Japanese TempleFrom castles to shopping malls and business districts, Sendai is vibrant and fast paced but this bustling city also boasts the name of “City of Trees” for its tranquil parks, the Hirose-gawa River and the beautiful zelkova trees that border the city’s streets. Bellhop Picks: Read more about other attractions in our Japan guide. See what fellow travellers have to say in the Japan tales section.
  • Polls

    Top 5 Romantic Spots in Asia

    • Palawan, Philippines (39%, 182 Votes)
    • Boracay, Philippines (36%, 168 Votes)
    • Bali, Indonesia (31%, 143 Votes)
    • Agra, India (18%, 84 Votes)
    • Batangas, Philippines (17%, 79 Votes)
    • Male, Maldives (16%, 77 Votes)
    • Jeju Island, South Korea (16%, 75 Votes)
    • Sentosa Island, Singapore (15%, 72 Votes)
    • Krabi, Thailand (13%, 60 Votes)
    • Macau, China (10%, 49 Votes)
    • Halong Bay, Vietnam (7%, 34 Votes)

    Total Voters: 467

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