Monday, 4 November 2013

Images of Manila Bay

"If a picture paints a thousand words..."

Let these images in and around Manila Bay speak for itself. Dubbed as having the most spectacular sunsets and a cacopony of activities any given day, this place is a must visit while in Manila.

Things to see and do around Manila Bay:

1) Jog, brisk walk or do Aerobics

    If you are an early riser, head to Roxas Boulevard or the CCP Complex to get your morning juices going.  Jog with the rest of the early risers and fitness buff.

    Or if you are lucky, you may chance upon a free aerobics/zumba class at an open parking or a park along Roxas Boulevard or at the CCP Complex.

    Now if waking up early is not your thing, but you still want to get a sweat, you can jog or brisk walk around the area just before sundown. Luckily, you will be blessed with a spectacular sunset to marvel at, between short breaks.

2) Watch the dragon boat rowers practice

     If exercising early in the morning is not your thing but you still want to see what Manila Bay can offer, head out to Harbour Square's bayside and witness the rower's practicing.

     Oh, they sometimes practice late afternoons too. This shot was taken while on board a boat for the sunset dinner cruise.

3) Sit back, relax, and enjoy Manila Bay
     Find a space along the Roxas Boulevard boardwalk under those tall coconut trees any time of
     the day.  Or head to Harbour Square's boardwalk where it gives you an equally strategic view of 
     Manila Bay with the anchored yachts of Manila Yacht Club as your foreground.

     Early mornings and around sunset gives you so much to see, experience and enjoy.

    Witness the daily life around the area unfold before your eyes.  Cigarette and food vendors,
    families having a picnic, lovers on a date, children running around or walking their dogs, a few
    people fishing, masseuse for hire, and a lot more.

4) Take the Manila Bay Sunset Dinner Cruise

     There is no better way to fully experience the beauty than to join the Manila Bay Sunset Cruise.
     Food, music, camaraderie, fireworks and a beautiful sunset is just pure magic!

      There are two companies offering daily Manila Bay cruise. Check the links and reviews for a
      better choice.

       Sun Cruises
       Prestige Cruises

Saturday, 2 November 2013

2014 Philippine Holidays

Fellow travel bugs, time to plan your 2014 trips! Malacanang has come out with the list of declared holidays for 2014. There are several long weekends so, start planning while airlines are coming out with promotional fares.

Under Proclamation No. 655, the regular and special non-working holidays for next year include:
  1. January 1 (Wednesday) - New Year's Day
  2. January 31 (Friday) - Chinese New Year
  3. February 25 (Tuesday) - People Power Anniversary
  4. April 9 (Wednesday) - Araw ng Kagitingan
  5. April 17 (Thursday) - Maundy Thursday
  6. April 18 (Friday) - Good Friday
  7. April 19 (Saturday) - Black Saturday
  8. May 1 (Thursday) - Labor Day
  9. June 12 (Thursday) - Independence Day
  10. August 21 (Thursday) - Ninoy Aquino Day
  11. August 25 (Monday) - National Heroes Day
  12. November 1 (Saturday) - All Saints Day
  13. November 30 (Sunday) - Bonifacio Day
  14. December 24 (Wednesday) - Christmas Eve
  15. December 25 (Thursday) - Christmas Day
  16. December 26 (Friday) - Day after Christmas
  17. December 30 (Tuesday) - Rizal Day
  18. December 31 (Wednesday) - New Year's Eve
In addition to the above holidays, the proclamations declaring national holidays for Eid'l Fitr and Eid'l Adha will be issued after the dates are determined in accordance with the Islamic calendar.


Memories of Bucolic Bohol

View of the Chocolate Hills from the 240-step Carmen viewpoint

A trip made several years ago, Bohol was a revelation. I have known it to be one of the best dive spots in the country, but never thought its rural beauty can be disarming, too.

 I treated my Dad to a short trip to Cebu to catch up with his big brother, our late Uncle Sisoy, my cousins, and a day trip for us to Bohol. With Gia in tow, we went for a whole day trip around the island of bucolic Bohol. The rain that the storm brought did not stop us.

Little did we know, we witnessed one of God's miracles--- when we did start our trip, we were blessed by a cool breeze and a scorching sun, up to the time we boarded the ferry back to Cebu. Amazing!!!Perfect weather amidst a supposed storm in the Visayas.

Tubigon was our ferry stop. A sleepy town, less popular than well-known Tagbilaran, but a mere 20 minutes to the first stop---Sagbayan Viewpoint. The place has tarsiers and chocolate hills but without the gruelling 240 steps climb to the viewing deck. Here you will find a rolling pathway (less strenuous) to the viewing deck. The mounds where not chocolate brown but a rich green. It turns brown around March-May, or summertime.
Pathway to Sagbayan Viewpoint (photo from internet)

View from the Sagbayan Viewpoint
View from Sagbayan Viewpoint

Monday, 29 July 2013

Visa-Free Entry to the Philippines

photo courtesy of

After a blog on where Filipinos can travel visa-free, here is another reference. A list of countries/nationalities that can enter the Philippines, visa free.

With the very recent government move to boost tourism, citizens of these countries can now enter the Philippines without a visa and stay for 30 days, starting August 1, 2013, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs

Antigua and Barbuda
Brunei Darussalam
Burkina Faso
Cape Verde
Central African Republic
Costa Rica
Cote d’Ivoire
Czech Republic
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Dominican Republic
El Salvador
Equatorial Guinea
Guinea Bissau
Lao People’s Democratic Republic
Marshall Islands

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Food Truck Craze now in the Philippines - Cucina Andare!

After getting the food truck bug in New York City, we have never stopped raving about such novel idea. We kept on talking about our experience and wishing that we have something like it in the country. Watching Eat St. on Food Network made us crave for it more.

Boy, were we glad when we learned about the very first food truck market in the country!

From the organizers of Mercato Centrale at BGC, comes Cucina Andare at the Glorietta Park, Makati. Happening every week from Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 4:00pm to 3:00am.

Cucina Andare has rows of food trucks and food stalls selling food from all over the world. Mexican? American? Arabic? Filipino? Japanese? or just plain simple hotdog sandwich but with a twist? Cucina Andare has it! Traditional, fusion and new discoveries. They got it all.

Visiting this place once is not enough. I plan to go back and try the other food offers.

What caught our attention on our first visit? Let us count the ways...

1) Chicken/Beef Shawarma by Shawarma Bros.
     One of the most popular food trucks, "Delicious just like the one we tasted in NYC!"   Their bestseller is the Lamb Steak Shawarma, but since we are no lamb eaters, we went the safe way---chicken and beef.
Shawarma Bros truck

Beef Shawarma Rice (photo courtesy of Shawarma Bros)
Shawarma Bros Menu

2) Crunchy Belly by Carlo's Kitchen
    "Crispy and not too salty."

Crispy Belly by Carlo's Kitchen

3) New Orleans Ribs from Hick's Famous Ribs
    "Soft to the bone, sweet, tangy and spicy."

Hick's Famous Ribs

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Air Passenger Rights

Know before you go.

Delayed flights. Bumped off. Cancelled reservations. Denied Check-in. Person with Disability. Senior Citizen. Or bought your ticket on promotional fare?

Fret no more. Here are our rights as Air Passengers. Learn. Be aware, so we know better next time.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

A Different Kind of Carinderia

I came across information of this much talked about, low-key food jaunt from friends on a social networking site several months ago. It did not caught my attention then.

A few weeks ago, another friend on the same site posted a photo of what seemed a delicious creation. That, led me to research more about the place. And the more I read about it, the more I wanted to check it out.

And that day came. Thanks to reliable google maps, it gave a route through Cavite's inner towns, rice fields, new housing developments, vast highways, rough roads, coastal towns and roads, before finally reaching the place. We could have taken the easy way, but no, I wanted to also explore Cavite's inland towns. It was a day of adventure for us.

Welcome to Cavite City!

Heroes Arch

You know you are in Cavite City when you see a lot of like this on the roadside

Welcome to Asiong's Carinderia!

Asiong's unassuming facade
Located in Cavite City, the restaurant is a a popular place in Caridad. If you crave for cheap Filipino food, then, this is the place to be when in the area. But no, this is not your typical carinderia.

It's unassuming facade belies a place with so much to offer besides your usual carinderia fare. Their offering may not be too familiar, but you will love the tastes.

Asiong's Carinderia

Food in a row

Porkchop, great when eaten with bagoong itlog ng isda, kalamansi & sili as dipping sauce

Ginataang gulay

 Presenting, Asiong's Carinderia's well-loved and popular dishes/homemade creations:

1) Pansit Choku en su tinta

  Pancit Pusit is vermicelli noodles cooked in squid ink, with ground crispy pork skin 
  (chicharon), and  kamias (if in season) . Odd-looking but definitely delicious.

   Call in advance to make sure they can serve you this. One order is good for 4-5 people. 
   You can also order by bilao. 

Asiong's popular dish

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Naimbag Nga Adlaw Ilocos! (Day 3)

Bangui Windmills
Last day in this side of the world before going back to Manila. Before proceeding to Ilocos Sur, we passed by:

Bangui Windmills

The rain last Saturday was a blessing in disguise. We decided to forego Bangui and resked it for Day 3. Oh what a great decision! We were blessed by clear skies and the sun shining brightly!
Seeing the rows of humungous windmills is just awesome! Seeing how beautiful it is from afar is just half the fun. Try to see it up close and personal, and you will be awed by its sheer size.
Formally called the Bangui Wind Farm or Northwind Bangui Bay Project, it is located in the municipality of Bangui, Ilocos Norte. 20 units of 70-meters high wind turbines stretched along a 9-km shoreline of Bangui Bay, facing the South China Sea.
I felt like Liliput , the dwarf, amongst giants!
Bangui wind turbines

Bangui windmills

See how humungous it is!

Friday, 22 February 2013

Naimbag Nga Adlaw Ilocos! (Day 2)

Day 2 was spent trekking and swimming the sites around Pagudpud,  Ilocos Norte.
Kabigan Falls
A 1.5km trek to the falls, past rice fields, rivers and streams with cold cold water that provide relief to our dirty tired feet, carabaos, forests and "kubos" here and there.

Can't believe that my daughter was able to do it. In fact, she enjoyed it!

We trekked...
...we witnessed...

..we crossed streams... see and swim here...
Agua Grande

Passed by this place to view the large boulders on the shoreline and the South China Sea. It becomes a natural swimming pool during summer as it naturally fills up with water It is also a popular picnic area amongst locals.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Naimbag Nga Adlaw Ilocos! (Day 1)

Paoay Church
A trip we made several years ago on a weekend. We left Manila at 10pm Friday for a long bus ride to Ilocos Region.  Joined a bunch of "photoholics" out to capture the beauty of the Ilocos Region.

After 8 hours, we arrived Vigan at around 6:00am the following day. First stop was at the St. Augustine Church of Bantay & Bell Tower. Bantay Belfry, known to be the people's watchtower, commands a sweeping view of Ilocos Sur. Unfortunately, we were not able to go inside because it was still too early in the morning.

Bantay Belfry

@Bantay Belfry
 We then walked to St. Augustine Church. A neo-gothic Church which was built in 1560, it is one of the oldest surviving churches in Ilocos Sur. It is built in an equally historical grounds, believed to be where Diego Silang and his troops fought with the Spaniards during the Spanish period.  After the customary photo shoot, we freshened up at the nearby public restroom and had our breakfast of Ilocos empanada.

St. Augustine Church
We then proceeded to Batac, Ilocos Norte to visit the following:

Paoay Church
Declared by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site as one of the best examples of Baroque churches in the country .

Paoay Church & its famous buttresses
Close-up of the age-old, moss-grown buttresses
Marcos Museum & Mausoleum
A compound that houses Marcos memorabilia and where their former house and their parent's house is.

Went inside the creepy Mausoleum and saw Former President Ferdinand Marcos' (wax?) body lying in state (really musty smell and dark--just creepy!).