Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Davao Del Sur's Hidden Treasures

It was the early part of 2005 when I was lucky enough to discover places in my country where people still walk for days just to go to the market, who wore animal skin as clothing or sometimes wearing nothing at all and places where lobsters are ordinarily eaten.  Yes, there are still places undiscovered like this in my home country, Philippines.

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Sunday, October 10, 2010

Visayas in Fleeting Glances

Among the memorable trips we took was when we visited the Visayas provinces.  Although not as popular as some of the tourist destinations of the country, still these provinces have opened my eyes to our beautiful culture and heritage.

Beautiful Architecture in Iloilo
Iloilo is a small town in the Visayas region of the Philippines where it is famous for the Piaya and their La Paz Batchoy.  Piaya is a famous souvenir food item.  It is a flat bread with a muzcovado sugar.  This delicacy is perfect when it is reheated.  The filling just melts in your mouth.  The batchoy on the other hand, is another Filipino noodle soup, but when you order your batchoy from Iloilo, expect something different with the taste. 
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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Boracay: The Asia's Ibiza

Where can you find a place where the party never stops, the music stays loud, the booze continuously flow and sexy and hunky bodies mingle 24/7?  You’d think Ibiza right?  But Ibiza is way way too far if you are residing somewhere near the sunrise point.  If you are currently situated in the eastern part of the world and wanting so badly to take a break and have a party either with your friends or simply meet new ones, you don’t really have to book the next flight going to Spain and jump into the ferry going to the Balearic Islands.  You can easily find another version of Ibiza in in a little island in the Philippines called Boracay.



Boracay island is a paradise hidden within the heart of the Philippine archipelago.  This 10.32 sq. kilomter island is blessed with fine white sand beaches.   The sand is perfectly complemented by the aquamarine waters of the beach which could stretch for miles without changing the depth.  This is particular on low tides, the beach is shallow and if you are inclined to do some diving, you better prepare yourself for a long walk.  However, with a breathtaking view of the beach and the sandy beach, the 20 minute walk for a deeper water is hardly noticeable.



A day in boracay is not enough to do everything you want to do in a glorious beach with a clear sky and a cheery sun.  by the time, the sun peaks in the horizon, start your day with a brisk walk along the shoreline.  The cool breeze will cool you down while you sweat off some calories.  Then when its time to take off your shorts for a more sexy bikinis, frolic on the waters with your friends to cool off the morning jog.  Then flaunt sexy bikini bottoms on the sand to dry off while you get your sun tan, your henna tattoo on your lower back and have your hair braid for a totally cool vacay mode do.  Before the sun sets, make sure to visit the small shops in D’Mall.



This compound sells about anything you can ask for in a tropical paradise, sultry dresses for the night, accessories to highlight your look and the usual sourvenir shops to take home.  Then hit your rented cribs and prepare for a big party along the shores of Boracay.



Bars and restaurants in boracay comes alive upon twilight.  You’d hear the competing sounds of bars and restaurants calling out to all partygoers.  Also, fire dancers is a crowd favorite.  Many who dare to learn the dance spend the whole day practicing to showcase their instant talent in fire dancing at night.  The party does not stop until all of the partygoers drop in stupor.   You will find those unlucky ones sleeping along the walkways when you wake up in the morning.



For those, who prefer to spend some quiet nights with their partners, there are spots along the beach where the music is muffled by the crashing of waves.  You can enjoy the cool breeze and cuddle your honey.  Tip: the sand at night are really cool, try burying your beer for 15 minutes, you’ll discover it is still cool. After being out of the fridge for sometime.



Going to boracay is not so complicated.  Most flights come from Manila or Cebu.  It is an hour and 15 minutes plane ride from Manila and 45 minutes plane ride from Cebu.  When you land in Aklan Domestic Airport buses and vans are available to take you to Caticlan where you will ride the ferry going to Boracay island.  The drive from Aklan to Caticlan takes almost an hour.  Although, there are small airlines who also cater flights going directly to Caticlan airport.  From Caticlan airport you can take the tricycle or a jeepney going to the Ferry Terminal.  The ferry ride would take almost 15-20 minutes.  When you get to the island there are three (3) boat stations where the ferry will dock.  If in case you don’t have a booked hotel yet when you get there, it is best that you drop off at station 3 so you could check out all the possible hotels and inns along the stretch the beach.

Here are some of the names of hotels in Boracay:

Station 3:

Dave’s Straw Hat Inn

Website: www.davesstrawhatinn.com

Email:  info@davesstrawhatinn.com

Phone No.: +63 36 328 5466 toll free (UK) (+40) 020 8133 4244

toll free (USA) (781) 579 2273 +1 USA

Sander’s White

Website: http://www.sanderswhitebeachresort.com/

Handphone No.: +63 9302962896 and +639163285695

Station 2:

Boracay Regency Hotel

Website:  boracayregency.com

Email: main@boracayregency.com

Phone No.: +63 36 286 6111 to 117

Boracay Holiday Resort

Website:  http://www.boracayholidayresort.com/

Email: inquiry@boracayholidayresort.com

Phone No.:  (036) 288 4085 to 86; (209) 267 4482 and 474 6785

Bamboo Bungalows Boracay

Website: http://www.bbboracay.com/

Email: reservation@bamboobungalows-boracay.net

Station 1:

Bans Beach Resort

Website: http://www.bansbeachresort.com/



Friday’s Boracay

Website: http://www.fridaysboracay.com/

Email: reservations@fridaysboracay.com

info@fridaysboracay.com

For more hotels and inns in Boracay you can check the website http://www.boracay.com/.   So when is the perfect time to visit Boracay?  Anytime of the year, but it is recommended to visit it on the ssecond week of January when the Ati-Atihan Festival is also celebrated.  Why not hit two birds with one stone?  Witness a street festival at the same time party the Ibiza way in Boracay after all the street dancing in Aklan is over.  Hala Bira!!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

METRO MANILA: The Shopping Mecca of the Philippines

I always look forward when summer vacation is almost over.  Weird, right?  I mean, most kids would have loved to extend the summer for another month of beach frolicking and lazing around.  But, hey, this is just me.  It’s not that I love school so much that I’d like to spend my entire year in it.  What I love about this time is we could finally take our family vacation.  While everyone else were nursing hangovers from their summer vacation, my family are still packing to take our own vacation.  Another thing that makes me so excited aside from flying off to somewhere is the moment when we are going to buy school supplies.  Geeky thing, but truly one of my favorite moments way back, this is because I get to buy my school stuff away from my hometown which again, makes all my stuff more special than the rest of my would be classmates, or so I think.

Back in the mid-1980’s  my hometown is not that blessed yet with malls equipped with a wide variety of school supplies.  So for those who want to stand out among the crowd in owning the only Princess Jasmin pencil case, you have to buy your stuff somewhere else.  And I’m lucky enough to have that opportunity.  And yes, I was the only one with a Princess Jasmin pencil case back then.  So where do we usually buy our “special” school supplies?  Where else? But Metro Manila.

Even after all these years of flying to and from Manila.  I’ll never understand the maze of cities it covers.  I absolutely have no idea where the first city ends and where another city starts.  So let’s just zoom in to one particular city where you can do shopping without breaking a sweat.  Welcome to Makati city.

This city is considered the central business district of Metro Manila.  Aside from the prestigious companies taking offices in the high rise buildings of this city, malls are everywhere.  The Shoe Mart (SM), Rustan’s, Glorietta and Landmark.  The Greenbelt, though not really a mall but sort of a bridge that connects Ayala area to Landmark it also holds few shops like my favorite bookstore .  This bookshop can offer hundreds of books from around the world.  Though a bit pricey, the book is worth its value.  This is because, some of this books are not available in other bookstores.  Another plus factor of Powerbooks is if in case payday is still far from being reality, you can read your fresh from the press books for free.  Find a nook or a comfortable corner within the shop and have a go with the book. 

The Landmark is a shopper’s ideal place for bargain hunting.  click here to continue reading







Monday, September 27, 2010

My First Take-Off

I was 7 years old when I had my first airplane ride.  We were on our way to visit our cousins in Silay City, Negros Occidental, Philippines - the city of smiles.

All of us kids, were ecstatic to be going somewhere far and riding the airplane.  We were composed of 3 families with 5 adults and 6 kids.  Imagine the headache we were causing our parents when we decided to 'bond' during the flight.  Our first stop was Cebu City.

Cebu City is famous for being the city discovered by the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan in 1521 and the Sinulog Festival.  In his search for the Spice Islands now known as Indonesia, his ship accidentally veered further west thus landed him in Homonhon Island in the Philippines.  This started the colorful history of Spain in the Philippines which lasted for 300 years.

Since Cebu city is a city that holds quite a number of historical landmarks, we did what most tourists do.  Paid it a visit to the nearest ones and had our go with the picture taking activities.  Actually, the cross displayed is just the wooden casing of the original cross.  This cross is not where Magellan met his demise, but, this is the cross that symbolizes Spain's biggest contribution to the Philippines - Christianity. 



The cross is located inside a small building near the Basilica Minore del Santo Nino.  Back then, we were not really that interested of these things.  We ran around the cobbled path of the area from the chapel to the main Sto. Nino Church.  



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