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My Awesome Life 2011 Travel Log Planner

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Awesome Thank You’s

to Kuya Jess for leading us to an awesome life and for blessing us to help others to our parents for supporting us emotionally and financially to my brothers, brobo and rommel, for the inspiring ideas and brotherly support to BB2 for all the trust and the love during the happy and difficult moments of our lives to our cute little boys Aidan, Joshua, and Raphael who make our lives awesome!

Dear Foodie & Traveler Friends, Greetings from Our Awesome Planet! We live only one life. It was meant to be as awesome as it can be each day. Sometimes, we are stuck with a life that we don’t want to live because of the constraints and compromises we make. The Awesome Life Planner starts with an annual renewal of what you would consider “My Ultimate Day”. I invite you to redesign your life based on what you really want it to be.

A Blogger’s Prayer Dear Lord, Thank you for giving me the opportunity to blog once again. Please continue to inspire me with the right words when I blog. Please give me the wisdom to know when to blog and when NOT to blog. Please bless all my readers so that they would be touched and be inspired by Your love in each blog post. Please use me for Your greater glory until my last blog post. Amen, Lord Amen! Basta Ikaw Lord!

Through the Awesome Life Planner we aim to empower each person to live an awesome life in the Philippines by enjoying the BEST food at the BEST value, traveling to the BEST destinations at the BEST time, and following your passion. I provide suggestions on the best restaurants to eat, the best places to explore and the best experiences to discover. In this first edition, I invite you to eat in the best Filipino restaurants and to travel to the best beach destinations in the country. Don’t forget to put a little memento of your awesome experiences in the scrap book pages. Let this be your own yearbook of how you lived your life in 2011. Live an Awesome Life, No Day but Today!

Awesome Life Planner www.OurAwesomePlanet.com | anton@diaz.ph Mandaluyong City, Philippines Copyright 2010 OurAwesomePlanet.com All Rights Reserved. No part of this planner may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without the written permission from Our Awesome Planet, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. For more information and inquiries, please contact us at anton@diaz.ph ISDN #. Published in the Philippines.

Anton Diaz Founder, www.OurAwesomePlanet.com Email me: anton@diaz.ph Call or Text Me: +63917 5683-627 (LOVE-OAP) P.S. I would like to thank Jill of MyStyleHooks.com for the planner idea 2 years ago.


Our Awesome Life Story I started Our Awesome Planet (OAP), in January 2005 after the big tsunami hit South East Asia and before my first son, Aidan, was born. In those days, the art of blogging was new. I was armed with just my love for photography and my love for technology. I was not a writer (at that time). The only things I had ever written then were my engineeringrelated papers (I am an Electronic Communications Engineering graduate) and project-related documentations in P&G. At the start, the only thing I had in mind was to write for my newborn son a little bit of his parents’ history and a preview of his childhood days.

What Fuels My Passion? A lot of people have been asking me why I blog. OAP is a written dedication to our sons, Aidan, Joshua and Raphael. I hope to immortalize our family’s adventures and significant milestones through these online pages. I still can’t forget the first time we brought Aidan to El Nido, Palawan (where he played in the waters of Shimizu and Entalula Island and our first time on the island of Balesin). I fondly remember sharing the excitement of learning that we were having another baby boy, waiting for Joshua’s birth, and finally, giving birth the Lamaze way. More recently, my wife, Rache, gave birth to our third boy, Raphael, in early 2010. It was tempting to turn OAP into an online magazine, but I decided to maintain it as a family blog--a virtual heirloom that will be inherited by my sons. Rache is now blogging at Mrs. Awesome Planet, hosted by Sanriotown, and Aidan recently created his first blog post. One day, my entire family will be blogging, and it would be interesting to know the points of view of my three boys when we go on our food and travel adventures.

Turning Full-Time in 2008 A series of events led me to go full-time with my blogging career. Hearing Romi Garduce speak about being the first Filipino to successfully climb Mount Everest solidified my love for our country and inspired me to conquer my own Everest, literally and figuratively. The death of Julia Campbell, a US Peace Corps Worker, made me realize that even non-Filipinos like her have come to love the Philippines, perhaps much more than most Filipinos. When I attended the first Kerygma Feast in November 2007, the Holy Spirit inspired me and gave me the courage to pursue my dream: to make the Philippines the top travel destination in the ASEAN and to share with the whole world the Tropical Paradise that is the Philippines. I realized that I want so much to bring to the world’s attention the significance and essence of the Philippines--that we should not be defined by our politicians and public servants; that we are a nation that loves nature; that we are talented and can compete with the best of the best. We are Filipinos--happy, positive and God-loving people.

The Beginning of OAP’s Food and Travel Legacy I started OAP with my family as my primary audience. After 2 years, we were fortunate that OAP had been discovered by people (a few readers turned into hundreds and thousands through word-of-mouth!) because of our family’s passion for finding new restaurants and new places to experience around the Philippines. OAP is currently on its 5th year, with 8,000+ readers and about 20,000+ page views/ day, which continue to grow to this day. I’m proud to have shared the food and travel secrets of the Philippines through my blog. Besides the milestones involving my family, there have been many other highlights in my blogging career. Here are some of them: I was able to predict two dessert crazes in the country: the Cupcake Craze when Sonja first opened in Serendra and the Frozen Yogurt Craze with the first Cold Spoon outlet in Angeles, Pampanga. I introduced a lot of people to the Great Bulacan Sale when we first discovered it in July 2005. I was fortunate to witness the early beginnings of Carlos Celdran’s Intramuros Tour, Ivan Man Dy’s Chinatown Food Tour, and Tina Decal’s culinary tour of Quezon. Joel of MarketManila.com, Lori of DessertComesFirst.com and I were among the pioneers of Food Blogging in the Philippines. I also wrote the first blog posts on most of the Viaje del Sol destinations in 2005. Our Awesome Planet will also be remembered for its post on the virtual tour of the Mall of Asia and the opening of the first Imax in the Philippines. Also, I’m particularly proud of being able to share the most comprehensive Awesome Calendar of the Philippines.

So What’s Next for OAP in 5 or 10 years from Now? I believe that OAP’s greatest legacy will be our three boys--Aidan, Joshua, and Raphael-particularly how they are able to truly embody the philosophy of Living an Awesome Life in the Philippines and empowering other people to do the same. In 5 years, Aidan will be 10 years old, Joshua will be 7, and Raphael will be 5. These are the formative years for our family. Our focus is on inculcating our boys with true love for the Philippines by encouraging them to interact with great Filipinos and showcasing the beauty of the country to them. Also, we believe that exposing them to an entrepreneurial lifestyle at an early age will be key in helping the Philippines become a First World Country. In 10 years, our boys will be teenagers and (hopefully) professional bloggers or internet entrepreneurs at such a young age. I foresee them becoming leaders in taking the Philippines to a whole new level in terms of Filipino pride and appreciation for our nation. This will only be possible with the continued loving support of OAP readers and friends who have always been there for me and my entire family. I believe that I am writing the food, travel and entrepreneurial autobiography of our family through Our Awesome Planet. I believe that He has an awesome plan that even I can’t comprehend yet. I just know that it will be absolutely awesome. When it happens, I know that I could not have done it all if not for His Grace. Our Awesome Planet is a loving testimony of the grace that blesses not just our family, but the lives of family, friends and fans that read OAP as well. It is our mission in life to empower Our Awesome Planet friends to truly live an awesome life! Anton Diaz Founder, www.OurAwesomePlanet.com


My Ultimate Day (Vision Board) If you have all the resources in the world, and If you have to design your life from scratch, what would be your average day that you can live everyday for the rest of your life? You can write it down or cut pictures to paint a visual peg of what your ultimate day would look like. It would be helpful if you can think in specific details what you would do on a 25 hour time-frame.

Guide Questions: 1. The key is to define the “average� day that you can live everyday without getting tired of doing it everyday. What are those normal activities that you would enjoy each and everyday? 2. What would you do when you wake up in the morning? How would your breakfast look like? 3. How would your house look like? Where will you live? 4. If you have a family, how do you envision your family life assuming you would have all the time and money to spend it with your family? 5. Of course, once you have all the money that you need, what would you do? Would you just lie down all day and all night? Would you work for an NGO or dedicate your life to charity or religious work everyday of your life? What kind of business would you like to do? 6. Where will you have lunch? What are the type of food you enjoy and where would you eat? 7. What kind of relationships will you have? Who are the people you would love to be with forever? 8. Everyone wants to live a life of meaning, what would that mean for you? How would you want to be remembered in this world? 9. If you have a topic that you can blog about forever, what would that topic be? 10. At the end of the day, how do you envision dinner and ending the night with your special someone?


Preparing For That Awesome Road We love road trips! Whether it’s a road trip from Manila all the way to Pagudpud in the north or all the way to Legaspi in the south, there’s always something new to discover. Through the years, we’ve learned a few tips and tricks on how to be better prepared for the next road trip, and we’d like to share them with you.

1 Road Trip Worthiness of the Car

As a basic precaution, we make sure that our car is serviced before a long road trip. At the minimum, the air pressure is checked – not only for the four tires used but also the spare one. The engine oil, power steering and brake fluids, and radiator water should be at the proper levels. Tip: Make sure you’ve got a full tank of gas before you embark on your trip. Remember to refill when the fuel gauge is below the halfway mark.

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Entertainment on Board for the Kids Making the kids comfortable during a road trip is a must. Children should NOT sit in front. For the kids, we would usually bring: • a box of child-friendly CDs; • soft pillows; • jackets for when it would get cold; • fruits to munch on like grapes, bananas, or lanzones; • snacks like nuts, candies, and chips; and • 1 liter Sigg with water (one each).

Tip: We always make sure to stop over at a gasoline station for bathroom breaks. This usually takes place an hour after the kids drink a lot of water.

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Documentation Gadgets for Daddy

Here is the list of the standard things we bring with us when we travel: • iPhone 3G with headphones and charger; • Macbook Pro laptop and charger; • Canon 20D with 17-40L Lens Digital Camera with extra battery and charger; • Ultra Flip HD Camera with extra batteries; • waterproof bag to protect the gadgets; and • Pacsafe Travel Security bag as our anti-theft bag (a very useful thing to have). Tip: Don’t ever leave your laptop and gadgets in the car. Did you know that most laptops are stolen when left in parked vehicles? Best to bring them along with you wherever you go.

4 Outfit and Things-to-bring rule of thumb

For road trips, it’s always best to pack light. You never know what you’ll end up buying along the way. Here’s the basic list of what we bring: • one outfit for running with running shoes; • one outfit for swimming (with trunks, goggles, and sunblock); • one outfit for sleeping at night (with anti-mosquito repellant); • one extra set of clothes for emergencies; • the rest of the clothes are more casual and comfortable for the road trip; • a jacket is always a must in case it rains; • toiletries for the entire family; and • a first-aid kit with vitamins.

5 With Detailed Itineraries or No Itinerary at all?

At first, whenever we traveled, we would always have detailed itineraries. But now, we are slightly more freewheeling with our trips. We just make sure we have booked a place to stay for the first night. Then, we will let the rest of the trip dictate its course. We would usually have access to the internet via mobile. The contact numbers of the people who know a lot about our destination are always on hand, just in case we need to “phone a friend”. We like to explore and experience new things, so we would usually go to places we’ve never been. We particularly like discovering food that is unique to the place. Tip: Talk to the locals and ask for their recommendations. You can also call me, Anton Diaz, at +63917 5683627 if you have road trip questions. :)

Final Tip! It is not really the end destination that is important but the experience of the road trip itself. The journey with your family and friends is what will make it truly awesome. Remember, misadventures are to be expected in any road trip, so don’t sweat it. I’ve never experienced a perfect and flawless road trip myself. Most (if not all) of the time, I find that these misadventures actually make things more memorable. So, just sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride!


TOP 10 World Renowned and Must-See Places in the Philippines

Whether you are a local traveler or foreign tourist just starting to discover the beauty of the Philippines, here’s a list of places you shouldn’t dare miss:

WORLD HERITAGE SITES OF THE PHILIPPINES

1Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park

1,000 PLACES TO SEE BEFORE YOU DIE

5The Banaue Rice Terraces

should be on every Filipino’s must-visit list. The Ifugaos learned how to use the contours of the mountains to cultivate rice paddies, using the force of gravity for natural water irrigation. This knowledge was passed down from generation to generation for 2,000 years. It is highly recommended to experience this great example of harmony between man and nature.

is one of the must-visit places among the World Heritage Sites of the Philippines. Its natural 8.2 km navigable underground river is believed to be the world’s longest. The river can be found beneath a beautiful limestone karst mountain called St. Paul (named after one of its peaks that resembles the dome of St. Paul Cathedral in Italy).

There are many rice terraces in Banaue, and you should see the three mostvisited ones: (a) the Grand Rice Terraces in Banaue, immortalized on the back of the 1000-peso bill; (b) the Rice Terraces in Batad, which are among the most visited because you can swim in the natural Tapia waterfalls; and (c) the Rice Terraces of Mayoyao are the most preserved because it is difficult to get there.

This national park is one of the centers of biodiversity conservation in Palawan. In fact, you can see monkeys and large monitor lizards greeting you on your way to the mouth of the cave. Currently, it is one of the strongest contenders (out of the top 28 world finalists) for the 7 New Natural Wonders of the World Competition.

The Banaue Rice Terraces are also included in the book 1,000 Places To See Before You Die, which was written and popularized by Patricia Schultz.

2The Historic Town of Vigan

is one of the best examples of a well-preserved Spanish Colonial Town established in the 16th century. It is famous for its authentic Spanish-era homes lining the restored cobblestone streets. Thankfully, this heritage gem has survived World War II and the onslaught of natural calamities.

6Taal Volcano, of “A Lake within a Volcano within a Lake Within an Island” fame,

is one of the world’s lowest and smallest volcanoes. It is very popular because it is only a day trip away from Manila. To get there, you’ll pass through Tagaytay, the garden restaurant capital of the Philippines – the home of Sonya’s Garden and Antonio’s romantic restaurant. An adventure-filled day awaits you as you journey to the volcano’s crater. First, you drive down the mountain along a steep, winding path. Then, you take a boat ride to cross Taal Lake to get to the foot of the volcano. You have the option of trekking or riding on horseback to go up to the crater, and then hiking down its slopes as smoke emanates out of the earth to release its steam.

During World War II, as story has it, the Japanese Military commander Captain Fujiro Takahashi asked the help of Fr. Joseph Kleikamp to take care of his Filipina wife and child in exchange for not burning the town when the Japanese forces retreated. When the Japanese left, the people of Vigan spread an oversized American flag in the plaza to avoid being bombed by the Americans.

7Amanpulo Resort

3The Baroque Churches

WORLD-RENOWNED PLACES IN THE PHILIPPINES

of the Philippines are among the few remnants of Spanish colonial architecture from the late 16th century, which was an interpretation of the European Baroque style by Chinese and Filipino craftsmen. These churches are interesting particularly because of their unique Earthquake Baroque architecture, which put emphasis on the massive, carved buttresses for support during earthquakes.

is the holy grail and ultimate destination of any local traveler and beach lover in the Philippines. It is a secluded private beach resort by Aman Resorts, located in Pamalican Island in Palawan. You have an entire footprint-free, talcum-powder beach all to yourselves.

A price tag of P100,000+ for a weekend escape is not much for wealthy foreigners or celebrities looking for a private place to rest and be by themselves. But for local travelers, an Amanpulo visit is equal to the Ultimate Luxury Resort experience.

8Donsol, Sorsogon.

Donsol is known as the “Whale Shark Capital of the World” because it has the largest number of recorded sightings of whale sharks anywhere on earth from December to May. Donsol is the feeding ground for these gentle creatures because of the high concentration of plankton in the area.

The nearest one in Manila is the Immaculate Conception Church located in Intramuros. The most impressive buttress design can be seen in the San Agustin Church in Paoay, Ilocos Norte. On the way to Ilocos Norte, you will see the Nuestra Senora Church in Santa Maria, Ilocos Sur. Lastly, the Santo Tomas Church in Miag-ao, Iloilo has the most impressive façade with its impressively detailed carvings.

Once you encounter these whale sharks up close, you’ll realize how relatively small we are in this world, and you’ll appreciate just how beautiful and blessed our marine biodiversity is in the Philippines.

9El Nido Resorts in El Nido, Palawan

is a source of pride for the Philippines. It was recognized by Wild Asia with the 2009 Responsible Tourism Award and it was one of Travel + Leisure’s Favorite Green Hotels in 2008. Its environmental, sustainable tourism program is very inspiring, and you can’t help but be influenced by it once you stay at the resort.

4The Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park

is one of the best diving spots in the Philippines (and the world) because of its pristine coral reef with a 100-m perpendicular wall, lagoons, and coral islands. It covers 130,028 hectares, including the North and South Reefs, with the North Islet serving as a nesting site for birds and marine turtles.

You can choose to be based in either the Miniloc or Lagen Resort. We like Miniloc because of its rustic feel. Plus, it is kayaking distance from the Big and Small Lagoons. Don’t leave El Nido without having experienced the best white-sand beach island there – Entalula Island. It is owned by El Nido Resorts, so you can reserve it for private romantic dates or family escapes. You can arrange to have your breakfast or lunch there, and have the beach all to yourselves.

To get to Tubbataha, you can join live-aboard diving trips to explore the vast area for 5-7 days. There are also organized tours for people who just want to snorkel, but diving is highly recommended to see the wide variety of colorful marine life. There is only a small window of time to visit this World Heritage site – during the summer (from late March to early June) because of the stability of the weather.

10 Boracay Island

is consistently on the list of the best beach destinations in Asia because of its white, fine, sugar-like sands along the famous White Beach. Boracay is known for having delicious gourmet food, the hottest nightlife, the coolest adventure sports, pampering spas, luxurious resorts and the bohemian lifestyle all rolled into one fun island experience. But if the hectic beach lifestyle isn’t your thing, you’ll also find another part of Boracay catering to your whims. After all, it is also famous for the simple things in life, like walking while holding hands with your significant other along the beach…or eating chori burger and drinking Jonah’s Milkshakes…or riding the Paraw as the sun sets on the horizon.


TOP 8 Most Awesome Filipino Restaurants in the Philippines

5 Ugu Bigyan, Tiaong, Quezon.

I love Filipino food, and I’m not just saying that because I’m Filipino.

The internationally renowned potter Ugu Bigyan opened his garden for merienda, lunch and dinner in his private home in Tiaong. There are no signs leading to the place. In fact, his neighbors don’t even know that such a place exists.

Filipino fare is always a celebration of what’s fresh and in season — cooked slowly with love, served with warm hospitality, and enjoyed with the laughter of family and friends. Here are the Top 8 Most Awesome Filipino Restaurants that Pinoys should experience in their lifetime:

Ugu Bigyan is famous for his Kulawo, a banana-heart dish that is charcoal-grilled in coconut milk, which tastes like creamy tuna. The Filipino set menu is fixed for a minimum of 5 persons.

1Ka Lui, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan.

Most visitors end up purchasing pottery before leaving, especially during the twicea-year sale — May 15 (to coincide with the Pahiyas festival) and August 14 (his birthday, where the discount increases every year, equivalent to his age).

Eating in Ka Lui (named after the owner, Louie Oliva) is like eating in a Filipino home, where each guest is treated like a VIP. Here, the menu changes daily, depending on what the freshest seafood, vegetables and fruits are available at the Puerto Princesa market. The dishes are quite unique, and their presentation can surprise you. When you enter the restaurant, you have to leave your shoes outside. As you rest your feet on the clean and polished floor of Ka Lui, enjoy the bahay kubo-inspired ambiance as the fresh air of Puerto Princesa cools you off while you eat. Nothing beats the Ka Lui experience.

2 Isla Naburot Resort, Guimaras.

This secluded and rustic island resort in Guimaras is a secret beach escape for foodies and beach lovers. There is no electricity on the island — only solar-powered lights at night so that you can enjoy a no-TV, no-telephone experience. This Saldaña family-owned island resort does not advertise to preserve its “un-commercial” charm. It really is back-to-basics, where the food is prepared using slow cooking methods and wood-fire oven techniques. They only serve the freshest seafood from the market and the best mangoes from the island of Guimaras. All you have to do is literally swim, sleep and eat five times a day. Indeed, Isla Naburot lives up to its name, which means “beautiful island”.

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6 Kinabuhayan Cafe in Dolores, Quezon.

Every stay in Kinabuhayan Café is magical. Its bed & breakfast is designed in such a way that you feel like you are living in a theater stage set — any photo you take is photogenic. Plus, every dish that comes out of the kitchen is really good. Jay Herrera is the heart and soul of the place, with his charming, bohemian persona and magical touch when it comes to food. He is popular for his Alagaw Leaves appetizers, Risotto, and cooked-on-the-spot Lamb Chops. Jay has a secluded place called Kubli Springs where they set up beautiful-looking lunches and dinners. The spring waters running down your feet and just-enough lights at night all add to the ambiance for a romantic evening under the stars. The place is popular during the Holy Week because it is located at the foot of Mt. Banahaw. It is used as a home base by people who want to go to the blessed caves to recharge their powers.

7 Café Juanita, Pasig.

Claude Tayag’s Bale Dutung, Pampanga

Dr. Boy Vasquez wanted to honor the culinary heritage of his family by serving their heirloom recipes in this colorfully homey restaurant. Artistically done comfort Filipino food is the specialty of the house — from Molo, to Kare-kare, to Twice-Cooked Adobo. But you also have the option of ordering other Asian-inspired dishes.

Pampanga is the culinary center of the Philippines, and Claude Tayag’s Bale Dutung (House of Wood) is the best place to taste true-blue Pampanga cuisine. They offer a private dining group experience (minimum of 10) where you enjoy a long, slow-cooked, five-hour lunch.

The most unique feature of Café Juanita is its kitschy ambiance. The place has a hodge-podge of decorative items. Dr. Vasquez makes it a point to move one piece (or more) each day so that the restaurant feels alive as small changes are made. Café Juanita’s vibrant, evolving, eclectic collection is actually a good reflection of the “halo-halo” culture of the Philippines.

You have the option of having the Kapampangan menu or the now-famous 5-Ways Lechon with Sisig menu. Each dish is cooked to perfection. They only serve one dish at a time to ensure that guests get to savor each one until the desserts are served. So when you’re there, just sit back, relax, enjoy the hospitality of the Tayags, and take in the simple yet artistic ambiance of Bale Dutung.

4 Breakthrough, Iloilo.

8 Pendy’s, Bacolod City.

The restaurant is the brainchild of marine biologist Raymundo Robles, who just wanted to have a side restaurant business for his wife. It was named after every scientist’s aspiration, which is to achieve a breakthrough in his/her field.

There’s a wide array of dishes on the menu, but don’t leave Pendy’s without trying the wellmade Negrense cuisine. Among the crowd favorites are the Chicken Dinuguan, Pancit Molo, and Batchoy with Lechon. The menu is quite diverse because it is based on the food that the family likes and the food that they can cook well. Some people actually line up for their Korean Beef Stew, Spareribs and Pad Thai. But the best part of the Pendy’s experience is having the Napoleones and Half-moon for dessert!

4. Breakthrough Restaurant, Iloilo Breakthrough is the undisputed king of fresh seafood in Iloilo, and the number one tourist spot in the city. It is famous for its Aligue Rice and the Managat fish (also known as red snapper or mangrove jack). Native Chicken Inasal, and fresh and baked oysters are also served here.

The best part of the Breakthrough experience is being able to enjoy the glorious food (and the popular vinegar called Pinakurat) with the fresh sea breeze blowing around you.

When it comes to good food in Bacolod, Pendy’s is the foodies’ choice because it is run by Omon Maravilla’s family (a family of foodies too). Pendy’s is already an institution in the area, and it is resisting the temptation to expand to keep its quality and consistency intact.

Besides the comfortable and homey restaurant, Pendy’s also has a pasalubong center that carries the best pasalubong: Bailon’s Piaya and Dulce de Gatas.


TOP 10 Beaches In the Philippines

I love beaches! The travel bug bit me when I was sitting watching the 270-degree view of sea and sky in Kota Beach, in Bantayan, Cebu in 2006. It was surreal and I can’t believe that nature is so awesome that there are no words to describe it. You will know the feeling when you experience it.

I realized if there is a place like this in Cebu, there must be a lot of places like these hidden in the 7,107 islands in the Philippines. This inspired Our Awesome Planet’s advocacy to inspire one mind, touch one heart, one Filipino at a time that the Philippines is truly beautiful because of its natural wonders that are God-made. I’ve been to most of the best beaches in the Philippines except for one which is reserved for the 10th year anniversary of Our Awesome Planet. I would like to share with you our beach discoveries after 4 years of traveling almost every week.

1White Beach, Boracay Island

Boracay will always be the BEST beach place in the heart of the Filipinos for its unbeatable powdery sugar-fine white sands. People go to Boracay not only for the night life, but to experience the Bohemian beach spirit. This spirit lives on in the people who decided to stay in Boracay despite the over-development in this small island off the coast of Caticlan. You’ll be pampered with gourmet food from different cuisine, luxurious hotels, exotic spas, adventurous sport, and the best night life on any island. The people of Boracay are now more eco-conscious. Ecofriendly programs are being rolled out to protect the beauty of Boracay for the next generation.

2 Entalula Island, El Nido, Palawan

Entalula Island is the best beach island in the Bacuit Bay group of Islands in El Nido, Palawan. It is a small secluded beach with limestone cliffs protecting its beach. It is a private island owned by El Nido resorts where you can organize a private lunch or dinner with the group. A small portion of the beach can be accessed publicly for tourists island-hopping from the El Nido Town. It’s sugar-fine white sand matches that of Boracay and I’m glad they decided not to build a resort on the island. It is well maintained and not overdeveloped but El Nido resorts arrange lunch or dinner here. The best part of the experience is that you can request to coordinate to have breakfast, lunch or dinner exclusively for your group. This allows you to enjoy the beach privately and to savor the experience with your special someone.

3 Long Beach, San Vicente Palawan

San Vicente Long Beach is the last beach frontier in the Philippines boasting 14km of undeveloped white beach in San Vicente Palawan. Imagine running barefoot from one end to another! While backpackers are usually the first people to discover a raw beach like this, it wasn’t the case with Long Beach. With its long unadulterated cove, the area has been attracting plenty of investors, especially now that the international airport runway has been developed. People are just waiting for the terminal to be built for the first official flights to San Vicente. With a change of political leadership in Palawan, its future remains speculative.

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Daplac Cove, Boayan Island, San Vicente Palawan

Daplac Cove is relatively undiscovered and never talked about except for the controversies on its ownership. I had the pleasure of visiting the island and the small solar powered-house built by Ditchay Roxas. I was flabbergasted at how beautiful the entire cove is! Just imagine fine white sands like Boracay with clean waters that is a mix of fresh and sea water--you can open your eyes under water and it would not hurt! Marine life is very close to shore. The island is a nature preserve for the endangered Tabon Bird, or the vulnerable Palawan hornbill and eagles. The people of Boayan are protecting the island from illegal fishing and illegal cutting of the kulasi trees. No wonder there is a fight between preserving the natural island versus an alleged buy-out of the cove by a big resort developer. My vote goes to preserving the island the way it is.

5 Matukad Island, Caramoan, Camarines Sur

Matukad Island boasts the sugar-like beach of Boracay, the lime-stone cliffs of Palawan and is located in a group of islands similar to Hundred Islands. It is across the popular Gota Beach which was the shoot location for Survivor. I like how it is undeveloped and it will remain that way. There are stories of a hidden clean lagoon–you can climb up the limestone cliffs where you can find a legendary big bangus. According to local folk legend, there used to be two bangus swimming in the lagoon and one time a fisherman got one of the fish and ate it. That fisherman died mysteriously, which is why the local people say that the fish contains the spirit protecting the island. Ever since that time, nobody has dared touch the remaining bangus which just gets bigger and bigger.

From Matukad, you can hop to nearby Laos Island, which is quite unique because it has two beach coves facing different sides of the island. If you stand on the intersection of the two beaches, you’ll have a breathtaking beach view on your left and yet another fantastic view on your right. Two limestone cliffs anchor the beach giving it a unique beach experience you’ll never forget.

6 Mahabang Buhangin, Calaguas Islands, Camarines Norte

Calaguas Islands is far from being developed but a lot of backpackers have been going there. To do so, you have to bravely cross open seas for two hours onboard a fishing boat, big enough to carry a carabao from one island to another. Once you arrive in Mahabang Buhangin, you’ll be captivated by its raw beauty. Its long uninhabited cove gives you a feeling you have arrived at The Beach. You would have to pitch a tent if you want to stay overnight, during which, Jurassic park scenes might play on your mind, and this only adds to the thrill of visiting this pure white sand beach. This is perfect for a group of adventurous people who want to bond together with nature. Your only entertainment would be your funny life stories and misadventures along the way. Be careful when swimming because the beach slopes down drastically.

7 Club Paradise Beach, Coron, Palawan

The Calamianes Group of Islands in Coron, the Northern part of Palawan, is known for its dive spots instead of its beaches. However, there is one island that seems to be blessed with all the white sands that surrounds the island. The island has a fully developed resort called Club Paradise which offers urban amenities, including a very good buffet and modern beach huts that open to the beach. They have a dive resort, a videoke room, a jungle bar, and conference rooms for team building. The best parts of the island are the hiking trail on the topmost part of the island, the little nature museum and the secret beach.

8 Balesin, Polilio Islands, Quezon

Balesin is a forgotten island destination. It used to be a popular private beach escape during the Marcos era. All developments stopped at a point in time and the island became less accessible. There are only two ways to get there: via a 4-hour boat ride or a cost prohibitive charter flight. With Balesin’s halted development, the island was forced to close down to tourists. And the beauty of its beaches became the island’s centerpiece once again. I was able to visit the island before Balesin closed and one of my most memorable experiences was going from one secluded beach cove to another on foot. It was a very rustic experience. Swimming on the beach is safe for kids because of its gradual slope. One of my best beach photographs was taken here. Balesin is again being developed and most beach lovers eagerly await its opening.

9 Kota Beach, Bantayan and White Beach Malapascua Island, Cebu

My first love is the twin island beaches of Malapascua and Bantayan. We would often go on an inter-island boat cruise on a rented banca just to experience both beaches in one trip. Kota Beach in Bantayan is the perfect spot because it is like a corner beach. You can see nature from your left and your right–a perfect muni-muni spot to reflect on your life and love. Malapascua beach is an undeveloped Boracay where you can enjoy the beach escape sans the noise of overdevelopment and night life. A place where you can escape, write a book or simply lounge around incognito.

10 “Blue Lagoon” Maira-Ira Beach, Pagudpud

Blue Lagoon in Maira-Ira was once the hidden beach that justified Pagudpud’s alternate name: Boracay of the North. It has a natural cove that turns turquoise blue when seen from a high vantage point. What gives it its beauty is its rawness with rice fields and foliage surrounding it. Such beauty was not able to escape enterprising developers. A big resort started to develop very close to the beach promising all the urban amenities and beach sports activities. The resort started to destroy its beauty by pouring cement to all the rice fields and cutting down all the trees in its path. I’m not surprised if one day most of the rice fields are cemented and soon Blue Lagoon will just be a distant memory for those who have experienced its raw beauty.

NEXT: Amanpulo, Pamalican Island, Palawan Amanpulo is the ultimate beach escape destination for beach lovers like me. With promises of secluded beach existence, flawless service where people work without you seeing them, and an experience that your mind, heart and pocket will never forget. I’ve never been to Amanpulo so I’m still not including it in my Top 10. I’m reserving this experience for our 10th year anniversary.


TOP 8 Awesome Adventures To Live For In The Philippines

Life is too short to waste on the usual day-to-day activities and meaningless

5 The Southern Road Trip to Bicol

travel. Over my 4+ years of exploring the Philippines, I’ve discovered the most

The roadside to Bicol is equally as beautiful as the road trip to the north. With a lot of food stops along the Quezon Viaje del Sol route, you can either dine at Ugu Bigyan in Tiaong, Quezon, or eat crispy pata in Candelaria. Most people stop over at Lita’s in Gumaca, Quezon for cocido or sinigang na isda.

awesome adventures guaranteed to make your hearts race and rave. These are the experiences that left indelible memories in my mind. I’m sharing these with

you because these are the adventures that make the Philippines truly awesome!

1 The Batanes Adventure

This is one of the last places in the Philippines that has its culture and tradition intact. The people who live here are very proud of that fact. You can also still see the bayanihan spirit alive in their communities. I love the 30-minute falowa ride from Batan to Sabtang Island. The falowa is a u-haul boat without any katig for balancing. It sways with the waves, which is safer for crossing the channel. People go to Sabtang to see the old bahay na bato that is still inhabited today. It is indeed a blast from the past. If you are adventurous enough, you can opt to try the 4-hour falowa ride from Batan to Itbayat Island. The natural wonders of Batanes are awesome to behold, especially when you are in Racuh a Payaman (also known as Marlboro Country), which is a communal grazing land in the south of Batan Island. There are a lot of nature-tripping spots like the Vayang Rolling Hills and Valugan Boulder beach. But if you’d like something more laid-back, spend a day on the terrace of Fundacion Pacita, one of the best boutique hotels in the country. There, you can just sit and marvel at your 270-degree view of the mountain, sea and sky.

2 Palawan: Puerto Princesa, Coron and San Vicente

Palawan is indeed the last frontier. It’s the place where we can start development with the right eco-mindset and sustainable tourism programs.

Puerto Princesa City is famous for its Subterranean Underground River Park, which will hopefully soon be part of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. The city is also home to Ka Lui (one of the best Filipino restaurants in the country) and one of the best fresh seafood markets. The air in Puerto Princesa is noticeably different--more fresh, more clean. Plus, you can feel the pride of the Palaweños in every person you encounter. In the northernmost tip of Palawan is Coron, which is known for its wreck diving spots, Kayangan Lake (the cleanest lake in the country), and one of the best island hopping tours that ends with a relaxing dip in Maquinit Hot Springs. The city is also the jump-off point for the Calauit Safari or a trip to the exclusive twin resorts of Club Paradise and El Rio Y Mar.

3 El Nido Resorts Experience

El Nido is the first resort that we fell in love with. Its eco-friendly practices are very laudable. Early on, they realized that protecting their natural wonders is the cornerstone of their success.

Like Vigan in the north, Naga is the progressive town of Bicol with a vibrant row of restaurants along Magsaysay Avenue and an active nightlife. I enjoyed eating kinalas in one of the secluded houses and getting my fix of Bicolano cuisine from Naga Garden. On the way to Legazpi, you have to travel early in the morning to get a great view of Mayon Volcano. There are two great photo spots: the Cagsawa Ruins and Lingñon Hill Natural Park. At the latter, you have to hike all the way to the top where you can zipline with Mayon as your backdrop. Don’t leave Legazpi without tasting the best halo-halo in the Philippines – DJC Halo Halo in Tiwi. They now have branches in Legazpi and Naga. Finally, there’s Donsol. This is the place where you can interact with the majestic yet gentle whale sharks. Every summer, these giant creatures appear because of the abundance of plankton in the area.

6 Eco-Adventure in Bohol

Bohol is the eco-adventure tourism capital of the Philippines. With yearround tourism (because typhoons don’t pass through here often), this is the best place for eco-adventures. Our favorites are: • the canyon swing and canyon zipline in Danao, Bohol; • the 4x4 adventure ride through the Chocolate Hills; • the Loboc River Cruise lunch; • the Loay River Firefly Watching Cruise at night; and • the Dolphin Watching tour on Pamilacan Island. You can also choose your own beach experience here. There’s the long, private stretch of white sand at Bohol Beach Club; the vibrant, bohemian vibe of Alona Beach; or your own, secluded beach resort. Any Bohol Adventure would be incomplete without savoring the healthy, organic food of Bohol Bee Farm.

7 Extreme Adventure: Cagayan de Oro - Bukidnon

Cagayan de Oro (CDO) is finding its niche in providing fun, extreme activities to tourists. It all started with its White Water Rafting Adventure. At first, there was just a Beginner route, then Advanced and, now, an Extreme route that goes up the CDO river.

There is a debate on which of their twin resorts is better: Miniloc or Lagen? For me, I prefer the rustic beauty of Miniloc resort because there is a natural pool in front of it, with lots of fishes that are not afraid to interact with people. Also, when you are in Miniloc, you can kayak to the Big and Small Lagoons–a good way to exercise and one experience you’ll never forget.

Aside from that, Cagayan de Oro is starting to become famous for the Mapawa River Trek, where you go through 5 natural waterfall challenges. The first few waterfalls are easy because you just have to slide down the falls. But the best parts of the trek are the challenging ones – the 20-ft jump off the waterfall and the 65-ft rappel down the waterfall.

You have to pay an all-in fee, which includes the buffet food and all the resort activities. You can also go on an island hopping tour that will also take you to the sand bar behind Lagen (it was once the setting of a very private and romantic beach wedding).

After CDO, most adventure seekers go to the latest adventure destination: the Zipline Park in Dahilayan, Bukidnon, which currently boasts the longest zipline in the Philippines.

The best part, for me, is that you can arrange to have an island reserved all to yourself for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Don’t forget to have this unforgettable experience in Entalula Island, one of the best beaches in the Philippines.

Every second Sunday of the month, a lot of people journey to Malaybalay, Bukidnon to experience the Sunday Brunch Buffet with the monks of the Monastery of the Transfiguration. Some people opt to stay overnight in the monastery to pray with the monks as early as 3 am. Don’t leave Bukidnon without eating steak at the Del Monte Farms and buying fresh milk from the cooperative canteen.

4 The Northern Road Trip to Pagudpud

My first road trip was when we drove to Pagudpud for 12 hours. We didn’t know how to get there and we only had an atlas to guide us. The experience was exhilarating – driving through one town after another, looking for the secret spots along the way. I can’t forget the first time we saw the giant windmills in Bangui. We were just standing there, with our jaws dropped, as we touched those gentle, white giants. On the way to Pagudpud, it’s a must to stop over in Vigan to see the proud, old homes on Calle Real. In Laoag, don’t forget to eat bagnet and empanada. When you get to Paoay, visit Paoay Church (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and dine at Herencia Cafe, which serves Pinakbet Pizza and Dinuguan Pizza. Make sure to set aside time to try the sandboarding adventure in Paoay. It’s an awesome way to experience the sand dunes of Ilocos Norte.

Some travelers are already satisfied with just reaching Saud Beach and seeing the Patapat Bridge. But you shouldn’t dare miss the best part of the trip to Pagudpud, which is finally seeing and swimming in the Blue Lagoon, with some of its immaculate beauty still intact.

8 Kayaking in Tuguegarao and White Water Rafting on Chico River

No doubt, the best White Water Rafting experience in the country is in Chico River in Kalinga because of its wild beauty and difficult rapids. Before going on that exciting river ride, you can practice White Water kayaking along the Pinakawan River in Tuguegarao. You can also explore Callao Cave, known for the church built inside the cave’s natural dome formation. Tuguegarao is also the jump-off point for people who want to visit the pilgrimage site of Our Lady of Piat or to explore more places up north. Some go all the way to Sta. Ana, Cagayan to check out the supposedly haunted Cape Engaño Lighthouse. The Philippines never runs out of adventures for travelers to experience. So, what are you waiting for? Start exploring!


Vision Board: My Travel Plan in 2011


January monday

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Best Time to Climb Mt. Pinatubo!

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February

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The Love Month! Notable Events for the Month 10-13 Hot Air Balloon Fiesta 26 Panagbenga- Baguio Flower Festival

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Feast of the Black Nazarene (Quiapo, Manila)

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Pasungay Festival (San Joaquin, Iloilo) Ati-Atihan Festival (Kalibo, Aklan) Sinulog (Cebu City)

Ati-Atihan Festival (Kalibo, Aklan) Sinulog (Cebu City)

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Dinagyang Festival (Iloilo City)

Caracol (Makati City) Dinagyang Festival (Iloilo City)

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Notable Events for the Month

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March


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Valentine’s Day Aurora Surfing Competition (Sabang Beach, Baler, Aurora)

Hot Air Balloon Fiesta (Clark, Angeles, Pampanga) Aurora Surfing Competition (Sabang Beach, Baler, Aurora)

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The Love Month!

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Hot Air Balloon Fiesta (Clark, Angeles, Pampanga)

Hot Air Balloon Fiesta (Clark, Angeles, Pampanga)

Hot Air Balloon Fiesta (Clark, Angeles, Pampanga) Aurora Surfing Competition (Sabang Beach, Baler, Aurora)

Hot Air Balloon Fiesta (Clark, Angeles, Pampanga) Aurora Surfing Competition (Sabang Beach, Baler, Aurora)

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Peak Time in Boracay Notable Events for the Month 9 22 22 18-24

Araw ng Kagitingan Moriones Festival Cutud Cruxificions Holy Week


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Best Time to go watch and shoot the awesome Manila sunset! Start of the Donsol Season in Bicol!

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Araw ng Kagitingan Moriones Festival Cutud Cruxificions Holy Week

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Independence Month Notable Events for the Month 12 Independence Day 19 Father’s Day 27-28 Kasadyaan Festival


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Independence Month Notable Events for the Month 12 Independence Day 19 Father’s Day 27-28 Kasadyaan Festival

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Obando Fertility Rites (Obando, Bulacan)

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Rainy Season Notable Events for the Month 11 Declaration of new 7 Wonders of Nature 23-24 Sandugo Festival


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Rainy Season Notable Events for the Month 11 Declaration of new 7 Wonders of Nature 23-24 Sandugo Festival

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Pintados/Kasadyaan Festival (Tacloban, Leyte)

Pintados/Kasadyaan Festival (Tacloban, Leyte)

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Time for Wild River Ride Notable Events for the Month 21 Ninoy Aquino Day 20-21 Kadayawan sa Dabaw 29 National Heroes’ Day


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Start of the Rainy Season in the Philippines.

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Time for Wild River Ride Notable Events for the Month 21 Ninoy Aquino Day 20-21 Kadayawan sa Dabaw 29 National Heroes’ Day

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Sandugol Festival (Tagbilaran, Bohol)

Sandugol Festival (Tagbilaran, Bohol)

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Early Christmas Shopping Notable Events for the Month 8 7-11 18 24-25

Mother Mary’s Birthday 26th Negros Trade Fair Penafrancia Viva La Virgen Cloud 9 International Surfing Competition


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The Best Time to go on a wild river ride.

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Early Christmas Shopping Notable Events for the Month 8 7-11 18 24-25

Mother Mary’s Birthday 26th Negros Trade Fair Penafrancia Viva La Virgen Cloud 9 International Surfing Competition

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Ugu Bigyan’s Birthday Sale (Tiaong, Quezon)

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Ascencion of Mother Mary into Heaven

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National Heroes’ Day Old Swiss Inn Annual Price Rollback

Eid’l Fitr

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Kadyawan sa Dabaw (Davao City)

Ninoy Aquino Day Kadyawan sa Dabaw (Davao City)

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Surfing Season Notable Events for the Month 15-16 Maskara Festival 15-16 Lansones Festival 26-30 Diwali Festival


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The Best Time to go to Divisoria for Christmas shopping and preparations.

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Surfing Season Notable Events for the Month 15-16 Maskara Festival 15-16 Lansones Festival 26-30 Diwali Festival

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26th Negros Trade Fair (Manila)

Mother Mary’s Birthday 26th Negros Trade Fair (Manila)

26th Negros Trade Fair (Manila)

26th Negros Trade Fair (Manila)

Grandparent’s Day 26th Negros Trade Fair (Manila)

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Penafrancia Viva La Virgen (Naga City)

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Cloud 9 International Surfing Competition (Siargao)

Cloud 9 International Surfing Competition (Siargao)

Cloud 9 International Surfing Competition (Siargao)

Cloud 9 International Surfing Competition (Siargao)

Cloud 9 International Surfing Competition (Siargao)

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Halloween Parties Notable Events for the Month 22-23 23-27 26-27

Higantes Festival 8th Maharlika Sunrise Festival Kerygma Conference


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Surfing Season in the Philippines.

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Higantes Festival 8th Maharlika Sunrise Festival Kerygma Conference

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World Bread Day Maskara Festival (Bacolod) Lansones Festival (Camiguin)

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Majestic Surfing Competition (Puraran, Baras, Catanduanes)

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Diwali Festival (Festival of Lights)

Diwali Festival (Festival of Lights)

Diwali Festival (Festival of Lights)

Diwali Festival (Festival of Lights)

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Christmas Season Notable Events for the Month 4/11 16 16 18

Annual Cultural Tour of Negros Oblation Run Simbang Gabi Giant Lantern Festival


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Higantes Festival (Angono, Rizal) 8th Maharlika Festival (Roving Festival)

Thanksgiving Day 8th Maharlika Festival (Roving Festival)

8th Maharlika Festival (Roving Festival)

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Kerygma Conference (Manila) 8th Maharlika Festival (Roving Festival)

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Feast of the Black Nazarene Pasungay Festival Ati-Atihan Festival Sinulog Festival Dinagyang Festival


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February

The Love Month Notable Events for the Month 9-12 Hot Air Balloon Fiesta 25 Panagbenga- Baguio Flower Festival


January

Cebu’s Best Lechon!

place in Cebu after lunch on a From experience, if you go to any other lechon I was surprised that the Zubuchon serve. to lechon any have won’t they , Sunday stall still had plenty. of the lechon was as crispy as The first taste test was very good. The skin the lechon skin while it is being re punctu would chicharon. The story is that they the acupunctured pig. cooked to get that crispiness; hence, it is called for any sauce. I love Zubuchon The lechon is full-flavored in itself, with no need manner but with a noticeable leap ool old-sch an in done lechon is it e becaus naturally without any MSG, artificial forward in terms of taste. The pig is cooked can really taste the quality of the You skin. the of g paintin l mixes, and artificia herbs they use.

! ndless Fiesta es’ own “Mardi Sinulog, an E world visit Cebu to witness the Philippin experience this

r the t be able to People from all ove , Filipinos, will no be a shame if we Gras” and it would s. live r ou least once in awesome fiesta at Niño. The age of the Santo the miraculous im of r drums. no the ho of in al nd sou e ritu p backward to the Sinulog is a danc ’s Pahina River. forward and one ste bu ps Ce ste o as n tw ow ves kn n mo dance what was the current (sulog) of This resembles the en the uary, which is wh third Sunday of Jan just the you on m; d 7p ule at ed sch d closes Sinulog is always e starts at 8am an the best cultural The endless parad ing ld. he tch is wa e like rad Pa Grand best parts! It’s d the line you get to catch the the sidelines behin have to hope that Don’t watch from es. walk on pin can ilip Ph you t ern tha er so show in the South like a photograph act cle, the d Cir an tes era en cam Fu a t for boundaries; bring . Better yet, set ou ere booths are performance is on wh o the als ile d wh an , ts ow ee the str the Grand Sh the stops before epicenter, one of happening. is ing nc da t ee located and str rk your r where you can pa from Ayala Cente r le clothes--rubbe from your hotel, or lk tab wa for to com red ar pa we ns, Be pre entire day. jacket in case it rai the t or ou lla it t bre ea um sw an car. Bring are prepared to ack so you a dri-fit shirt so you towels in a backp shoes, shorts and water, a hat, and ral There is a ne mi es. s, tim the all clo ties at Tote a change of cument the festivi l/ dy to shoot and do shots of the Fluvia rea did , ely can fre st lk be r wa you can ere you can enter . wh ch st /Ar nte cor Co De oto ute Sinulog Ph Sidelights and Ro n, Float, Higante, Solemn Processio nto the miraculous Sa to say a prayer to day afternoon or n, make it a point tur tia Sa ris Ch on a n sio are ces If you fluvial pro to the original her by joining the paying respects Niño de Cebu eit Niño Church and nto Sa the at ss by hearing ma is the only bu image. This Santo Niño de Ce nto Niño Sa the of e ag im al time that the origin lieve it be ays alw I church. is displayed in the the intercession of gh ou thr yer pra the power of o. If there ry or the Santo Niñ Saints, Mother Ma en in your pp ha to nt wa you is one thing that nto Niño rimage to the Sa life, make that pilg n: expect it to tio cau of rd wo a Church. Just son. ring Christmas sea be like Divisoria du Sinulog pe you consider Tara Na! I do ho ns. You got pla vel tra r’s yea in your next bigger se every year is to watch it becau that the last!

grown organic lemongrass, green “We use only the freshest and often home other herbs and spices.” - Joel, onions, siling labuyo and local sea salt among MarketManila.com Cebu. The artisanal quality justifies No doubt, this is the best lechon I’ve tasted in . its premium pricing it could be boxed for take home. You You need to buy a minimum of 2 kilos so that it wrapped as is. If you’re asking have the option of having it chopped or to have bong, it would easily cost you P900 your friends to bring you Zubuchon for pasalu for 2 kilos. is only good 2-3 hours from the time However, the problem with Zubuchon is that it buy the Frozen Lechon. The frozen people some so ble, perisha is It you purchase it. rt them to Manila. It might be transpo you when re anymo ones are not that good branch but it becomes airport the from lechon fresh the better option to buy the P40/kilo more expensive.

January, A Festival MonFull-On th!

It isn’t surprising that the Santo Niñ o is the patron of lot of towns in the a Philippines, and Sin ulog, Ati-Atihan (Kalibo) and Din agyang (Iloilo) are jus t one of the many festivals he ld in its honor. An other such festiva although not as l, massive as Sinulo g, is Biniray, held in the town of Ro mblon, Romblon, also in January. A flotilla of ves sels go around the Romblon Ba seven times to ree y nact the time du ring the Spanish Occupation when the Spanish galleo ns tried to steal the town’s image of the Santo Niño. Waves and strong winds from the Romblon Bay we re said to have prevented the Sp anish from seizin g the image; this occurrence was believed by the tow nspeople to be an act of God. The image of the Santo Niño is then carried around town in a carriage decor ated with flowers, accompanied by people in costum e and paint on their bodies and faces--as if to pro claim our colorful history reason en ough to celebrate.

how to preserve the taste of the Despite the extensive instructions they give on taste as good as eating it in Cebu. not does it , Manila to it bring you when lechon to enjoy it, not unless the lechon I don’t think there will be a way for Manilenos . Manila in itself is cooked ZUBUCHON Mactan Domestic Airport, Pre-departure Lounge (Right after the last security checkpoint in the airport) Airport Store Hours: 6am to 9pm


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Before traveling to other countries, Travel the Philippines first! Notes

Most Important Things to Do

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New Year’s Day


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If you can live your life without time, financial, and mobility constraints, how would you design your life to be this 2011? Notes

Most Important Things to Do

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In the airport, you can always find the ordinary metered taxi in the departure area like in NAIA 3, from the arrival area, go up and exit through the departure area to find the taxis waiting for you. Notes

Most Important Things to Do

10 mon

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Pasungay Festival Ati-Atihan Sinulog

Ati-Atihan Sinulog


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To love the Philippines, we have to understand our roots. If you are a Filipino but lived in the US, go back to Manila and learn more about it. If you lived in Manila all your life, go back to the province of your parents to know life in the province and to know how it all began. Notes

Most Important Things to Do

17 mon

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Dinagyang Festival

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Dinagyang Festival Caracol


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America has Disneyland... London has the Castles... and Singapore has all the latest man-made wonders... But the Beauty of the Philippines is in all the beaches and natural wonders of the 7,107 islands... One lifetime is not enough to explore its beauty. Once you discover it, you’ll fall in love with it and you will proclaim that it is indeed the best place to Live an Awesome Life!

Notes

Most Important Things to Do

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Chinese New Year Tip: Celebrate Chinese New Year in Binondo where you can chase the lucky dragon around the small streets of the China Town and eat the best dimsum in Manila. Notes

Most Important Things to Do

31 mon

Feast Day of St. John Bosco

1 tue

2 wed

Our Lady of Candles

3 thu

Chinese New Year (Rabbit)

4 fri

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February One Hot Valentin e This

love month is the bes t time to go on a rom antic adventure. Witnes balloons fly out as the s awesome hot air sun rises in the horizon at the Hot Air Balloon you aren’t in the Philipp Festival. You will feel like ines when surrounded by these world class ball frequently asked questio oons! Here, I answer ns on how to get the mo st out of your balloon adventure! 1. Do we really nee d to leave at 3 in the morning? Yes you do. At the late st you should leave Ma nila by 3:30am. The hot at around 5:30am and air balloons are inflate all of them fly out bef d ore 7am. If you arrive in traffic going inside late, you will be stuck Clark and you would have a tough time find people arriving in Cla ing parking. I had see rk at around 7am thin n king they’re still early, and miss seeing the ball only to be disappointe oons take flight. d

2. Can we ride the hot Air Balloon? There are only 5 ways you can ride a balloon : - You can pay $150/ hea d for the ride - You win in the daily photo contest and win a ride in the balloons - You are part of Media courtesy of SM and you request to ride the balloon. You have Thursday but definitely higher chances to do not on the weekend. this on - You host the balloon ist in Manila and they give you a free ride as - You own a balloon or a token of their apprec you have a relative tha iation t flies the balloon. I have been attending the festival several yea rs but it continues to balloon. I might just pay be a dream for me to the $150 one of these ride a hot air days. 3. Can we get close to the balloon? The entrance fee to the festival is P100 and this will give you access to you can see the balloon the general viewing are s from a distance. The a where y usually issue 100 spe that you can have a clos cial shooters passes per e encounter with the ball day so oons, take photos, and enter the photo contest . 4. Any recommenda tions on where to sta y in Clark? The most popular plac es are Clark Holiday Inn and Fontana. There are of Clark like Hotel Oas hotel options just outside is. 5. Are there other thin gs to do in the festiva l? The Hot Air Balloon Flig ht in the morning is the highlight of the festival have left, you can stay . After all the balloon to watch the micro ligh s t demonstrations, sky helicopter and kite flyin diving, small plane flyg exhibitions. There are bys, also military tanks and well as aerospace exh planes on display, as ibits. What we normally do is take off for a Pam the Angeles area. If tim panga food trip around e permits, we go bac k to see the night glow, whe balloons come back. The n the hot air only drawback to this is that everyone leaves prepare to be stuck in at the same time; a traffic jam going out of Clark.

A February Food Trip

pangan? These are OAP’s While in Clark, why not eat like a Kapam stops on a Pampanga Food Trip:

top three

e of Wood) - It is now a popular 1. Claude Tayag’s Bale Dutung (Hous 10-12 people) where Claude and of um (minim rant by-reservation-only restau an intimate slow-cooked 5-hour host nally his darling Mary Ann Tayag perso Kapampangan meal or their special lunch. You can choose from the traditional it to the Miele Guide as one of the made g Dutun Bale tly, Recen n. 5-ways lecho you have a very light breakfast that ed mend recom is It top restaurants in Asia. . lunch if you are going to Bale Dutung for it This is not Kapampangan cuisine but 2. Chef Chris’s C’ Italian Dining ry. It is best known count the in rants restau Italian best is voted as one of the Panizza. This kind of pizza has for its thinly sliced roll-over pizza called al. C’ Italian Dining is located along origin the beats g nothin but d copie been Pampanga. For a party of 10 or more, Friendship Highway in Clark, Angeles, n a special set menu for your group desig to Chris Chef you can personally ask to hang out there at great is It . and let him do his culinary magic . hours 3-4 for last easily could r dinne night– pay tribute to the home of 3. Aling Lucing’s Sisig - You can also arized by Aling Lucing popul the original sisig on a sizzling plate, d. Even after the owner railroa the along place grill al origin her in its popularity. Most people passed away, the place did not lose eaten in the birthplace have they that say would go here just to dishes of the Philippines. of sisig--one of the unofficial national

KUNG HEI FAT CH OI

! In the past, there was that occasional fear of pick poc kets and feeling of being an outs ider trying-hard-to-celeb rate-the-NewYear that prevented me from experiencing the Bino ndo Chinese New Year! My wife’s fam ily celebrates Chinese New Year and celebrating it in Binondo makes it more special. There are endless photo opportunities as you cha se the dragons and lions all around Chin a Town. There is no orga nized schedule of activities as the hap penings are organized by the shop owners. Each store prep ares something for the lions—it could be candies or lucky coin s to eat and sometimes beer to drink. They court the lions to dan ce and bring good luck to the store. The dance is usually culm inated by fireworks. Befo re the lions leave, they get the angpao containing cash usually hooked high above the store’s entranc e. It is quite an experience to see these dragons and lions do this ritual all over China Tow n. How to Celebrate The New Year, The Binond o Way: 1. Bring Ear Plugs! Prep are to be near the loud est drums and fireworks. 2. Go with the flow. The re is no set schedule on when the dragons/lions appear so the best way to find out is to follow the group of dragons/lions. 3. Be there at 10am or at 4pm on the eve of Chinese New Year. This is when most of the dragons/lions appear. 4. Go on a Food Trip. Be with someone who wou ld know where to eat in Binondo, unless you’ve joined Ivan Man Dy in his Big Binondo Food Wok, and you know your way arou nd Binondo’s culinary secrets. 5. Celebrate it with frien ds and family. Beneath the noise and chaos of Binondo lies its mystery and charm; it is quite an experience to explore it with family and friends.


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How do you measure your life? (a) Amount of Wealth (b) Resume of Accomplishments (c) Unconditional Love Notes

Most Important Things to Do

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Hot Air Balloon Fiesta

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Hot Air Balloon Fiesta

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Hot Air Balloon Fiesta

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Hot Air Balloon Fiesta


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Valentines Tip: Valentines Day is the most marketed love celebration in the world. I think it is too commercialized to celebrate it on the day itself. Remember what is important is that you provide a service to your loved one during the Valentines Week to make them feel special through your own efforts.

Notes

Most Important Things to Do

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Valentine’s Day

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After Valentines, Filipinos shift to summer mode and this is the best time to finalize your travel plans. By this time, most of the popular destinations are fully booked for Holy Week. You’ll have more flexibility to organize your trips after holy week – end of April to early May. Notes

Most Important Things to Do

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EDSA Day

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Panagbenga Festival


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For Filipinos, eating and traveling are social events to be enjoyed with friends, family or special loved ones. These experiences are sacred bonding sessions to be cherished forever. Notes

Most Important Things to Do

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March

Itbayat is the biggest of all the islands. Some say that it was the first to be inhabited and it was made from corals that were pushed up from the sea. That could explain why there are no beaches there. Instead, Itbayat is home to magnificent cliffs and rock formations. To get there from Batan, you can ride a bigger falowa (compared to the ones traveling to Sabtang). The trip can take around 3 hours and the waves encountered are much bigger. If you sit on the roof of the falowa, you will literally see the boat swaying almost 95 degrees from side to side. The boatmen give out plastic bags before traveling (so I guess getting seasick on the trip is already normal). The prime seats are those located beside the window so that you can still look out and see the horizon to avoid dizziness – or you can easily throw up into the sea.

The Magic of the Batanes Isles

You will magically fall in love with these northernmost islands of the Philippines, not only with its beauty, but also with its cultural heritage, proudly preserved by the Ivatans. Batanes comes from the word Batan-es, which means islands around Batan. Ivatan is the name of their local language and the name of the indigenous people, which came from the word I-Batan – meaning “from Batan”.

simply rest among the zen-like rocks. There is another boulder beach on the other side of the dormant Mt. Iraya Volcano, which you can clearly see from the Vayang Rolling Hills.

Visit Batanes and you will develop an authentic love for the place: not induced by any marketing ploy, not forced. You might find yourself wanting to live in this place.

Another unique spot is the tiny village of Mahatao town called Diura fishing village. It faces the Pacific Ocean and is a fishing area for mahi-mahi or dolphin fish (also called dorado in Batanes). The fishing season is usually from March to May and starts with the Kapayvanuvanua ritual.

Batanes’ magic lies in its raw and pristine state. Its beauty is well-preserved and protected from outside influences by the Ivatans themselves, who won’t sell their land to any foreigner; by the high airfare cost, which limits the entrance of travelers. The falowa ride protects the neighboring islands, Sabtang and Itbayat, from hordes of visiting tourists. This is one of the few places left where you won’t see any commercial food chains, and you will really get to experience what it is like to live in a rural province. Batanes has three inhabited islands: Batan, Sabtang and Itbayat. Batan Island Basco, the capital, is located on the main island of Batan; the center of commerce and political power. It is also where the airport and main port are both located. The narrow Abad Street is the main street of the town, where the fresh market, souvenir shops and grocery stores can be found. The town plaza is modest and easy to spot with the Sto. Domingo de Basco Cathedral, the Provincial Capitol, and other government offices around it. The hospital, police station, and Saint Dominic College are also located nearby. It is so safe in Batanes that the only people in jail are the Taiwanese caught fishing illegally. In fact, sometimes, they are allowed to go around the town because there is literally nowhere to go even if they decide to escape. Near the town is a signature icon of Batanes – the Batanes lighthouse, designed by the Abads, resembles the lighthouses in Denmark. It puts an artistic accent to the vast grasslands and rolling terrain of the area as seen from the Vayang Rolling Hills viewpoint. The lighthouse now has a bunker restaurant where you can enjoy watching the sunset while enjoying a conversation over coffee or beer. The famous spots to visit around the island would be the oldest inhabited stone house (called House of Dakay) in Ivana town and the Honesty Coffee Shop. At this unusual store, you can get any item you want and drop the payment in a box – it’s all based on the honesty system. The prices are indicated near the items, which you record alongside the list of the stuff you’re purchasing. Make sure to round it up to the nearest coin or bill value because you won’t get your change back. One of the latest attractions is a secret room beside the San Carlos Borromeo Church of Mahatao. It is like a mini art library containing books labeled 1-99 with empty pages where guests can sign or create artwork on its pages. It is user-generated content (in an offline sense) where each visitor can express his or her feelings about Batanes. One of the favorite spots around the island is the Valugan boulder beach. The entire stretch is lined with big rocks spewed from the volcano. It is best visited during sunrise. There, you can meditate, commune with nature, or

There are a lot of viewpoints in Batan Island, which include the Chewa Viewdeck and the Loran station with the Alapad rock formation. But the most loved viewpoint of all is Racuh a Payaman. It is also known as “Marlboro Country” to some because the grasslands remind them of the Marlboro commercial where the animals roam freely in a wide area. From this viewpoint, you can see the entire southern Batan island with the coastline of Diura fishing village on one side, the Diura lighthouse with hedgerows at the foreground, and a view of Mt. Iraya towering over the entire island. On a clear day, the silhouette of Itbayat can also be seen from this vantage point. The best time to go is early in the morning when the carabaos and cows wander around to feed. You could also go before sunset, with the sun having a good angle, providing a nice balance of light and shadows. Sabtang Island Sabtang Island is 30-45 minutes away from Batan Island via a falowa ride. The falowa is a U-haul boat designed with no balancing beam called katig, so that it can freely dance with the waves. Between Batan and Sabtang is the channel where the Pacific Ocean and the South China Sea meet. In this channel, you can see the waves flowing in different directions, and this is where most people get seasick with the falowa’s rocking motion. Once you arrive in Sabtang and see the heritage towns of Savidug and Chavayan, you will realize that bearing with the rocky falowa trip was worth it. These two areas are the remaining coastal towns composed predominantly of the stone houses Batanes is known for. The houses have walls that are made from stones bonded with lime and their roofs are made from cogon. These towns are next in line for inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage List in the Philippines. Chavayan is the most loved heritage town of all, not only because of the intact stone houses but also because of the cute kids with anime eyes, and the vakul (traditional headdress used for planting root crop) weaving community. In between the towns of Savidug and Chavayan is the Chamantad viewpoint, which can literally take your breath away. Some people remark that the grassland, mountain and seascape view remind them of Ireland. Most just appreciate the view in silence – in awe of the grandeur of Nature’s beauty and God’s creation. You can end your day trip to Sabtang with an authentic Ivatan fresh seafood lunch along the beach. A simple serving of the fresh catch of the day, together with either lobsters or coconut crabs, will make the meal quite memorable. The beach is now more famous because of the natural arc formation found there (as shown in the movie, Batanes). After lunch, some people lie down for siesta along the beach or take a dip in the waters for a while. It is a bit rocky, though, because of the coral base. Itbayat Island

Most Ivatans are fisherfolk by occupation. One of the popular ways they fish is they tie a long fish line in the falowa and then put the hook with fake bait into the sea. Consider it an extra treat if you see an actual fish caught using this method during your boat ride. If successful, the entire crew would clean the fish later on and eat it sashimi- or kilawin-style with chili vinegar. Docking in Itbayat is an experience in itself, where there are no beaches, bays or harbors. The designated port has a steep ramp where a clever pulley system was devised to lift the goods from the port to the elevated road. There are stairs paved on the sides of the ramp for pedestrians to climb. Modes of transportation going to the central town are a bit rustic, and life on Itbayat is simple and laid-back compared to the other islands. A hike to the highest viewpoint on the island; caving in Torongan cave – an ancient dwelling place with a burial ground on top; and visiting the old town of Raele are the adventures that await the more daring visitors to the island. The houses in the town center are a bit modern already, but in Raele, you can see the stone houses built with rocks from crushed coral stones (since there is no source of boulder rocks on the island). A 2-3 day trip is ideal when exploring Itbayat. Yummy Ivatan Food You’ll discover just how yummy organic food can be when you are served the Ivatan platter with all the fresh vegetables available on the island, such as fern salad, ampalaya, tomatoes, onions, eggplant, and okra with bagoong. The vegetables taste sweeter than usual and are pleasant to eat – even non-vegetable lovers rave about them. Ivatans are proud of their home-cooked food, often enjoyed on a big fruit-tree leaf called Kabaya, and eaten with the hands.

cassava or gabi. One particular root crop called dukay, which is white in color, is used as the main ingredient for Dukay Salad (which is fresh fruit and dukay, mixed with cream). You should not miss trying Batanes kamote – it’s very sweet. The beef in Batanes, when cooked, is very soft and tasty, ideal for dishes like tapa, Bulalo, and my favorite Inihaw na Crispy Tadyang ng Baka. Tes of Pension Ivatan prepares the best beef dishes on the island, and you can take some beef home as pasalubong. Only pork and chicken are allowed to be imported from Manila, while the beef is 100% sourced from Batanes. You can see the cows grazing freely and happily around the vast grasslands, only eating natural and organic grass and vegetables. Fundacion Pacita Abad Fundacion Pacita is one of the best boutique hotels in the Philippines with a “Wuthering Heights” ambiance as it is located on top of a cliff with a 270-degree view of the sea, mountains and the sky. In December, this is one of the only places where you can feel “winter” in a tropical paradise like the Philippines. This Batanes resort on top of a rolling hill was once the home studio of internationally acclaimed artist Pacita Abad. She’s known for her larger-than-life, colorful mural paintings. One of her latest works was painting a modern pedestrian bridge called The Alkaff Bridge (it crosses the Singapore River at Robertson Quay) with playful colors. The Fundacion Pacita Batanes Nature Lodge has a country-style charm in a lush garden setting. Its signature terrace rooms with blue chairs look out peacefully towards the sea. Each room was designed to resemble a gallery with works from well-known and up-and-coming artists. The foundation supports the education of young Ivatan artists and the heritage conservation projects in Batanes. Among its artist beneficiaries are: • Olan Gonzales, who is the lead painter in the Tukon Chapel ceiling project; • Mahatao-born Jaypee Portez; • Xavier Abelador, a representational and surrealist painter; and • Itbatyat artist Javier Ponce. The artworks of these young Ivatan artists are appreciated locally and recognized internationally by art collectors and enthusiasts. Some of their works are sold on Ebay and they have a couple of major commissioned projects also. You can see the tribute painting they created at the entrance of the Fundacion Pacita Batanes Nature Lodge. Pacita Abad’s insignia is located in the center, and each quadrant is painted with the young Ivatan artists’ own interpretation and tribute to the master artist who inspired them. The Proud Ivatans

It’s a treat to end every meal in Batanes with turmeric rice, made with fresh yellow ginger (sometimes, turmeric powder is used already). My favorite Ivatan dishes are the steamed Uvud balls made from banana heart mixed with meat; Lunez, their crispy and dried adobo version; and Venus, which is made from gabi stalks. For special occasions, the Ivatans prepare kinilaw (raw fish meat from the fresh catch of the day), uni (sea urchins) and snails. Lobsters are also served to special guests and, occasionally, the tasty meat of coconut crabs. These crabs, called tatus, are already on the endangered list and are only allowed to be consumed locally. Most of the Ivatan meals are served with freshly harvested root crops, like kamote,

The core essence of the magic of Batanes is the first-hand encounter with the Ivatans. They are proud of their culture and heritage – never arrogant and never apologetic about who they are. They lead simple and happy lives, and they are always willing to help and go out of their way to assist you. The true spirit of Bayanihan – where people help each other out (ex. for building houses or preparing for a special occasion) – is still alive in their communities. They celebrate life to the fullest and they generously share this positive energy with the people they meet. Through the years, Batanes has been able to successfully preserve its magical beauty. Now, it’s just waiting for you to discover it.


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When Pinoys travel, food is an important factor. If the place is bad but the food is good, the overall experience is good. However, if the food is bad – no matter how good the scenery – the experience will most likely be remembered as negative. Notes

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Ash Wednesday

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To truly experience the culture of the place, you have to eat and drink the unique food the place has to offer. Sometimes, the locals might be shy to offer it because they think that it is ordinary food. Insist for something local and you’ll be blown away with your experience. Notes

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Earth Hour Tip: Use this as a teaching moment for kids to conserve energy wisely and to inculcate eco-conscious behaviors or habits. Notes

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Earth Hour (8:30 - 9:30 pm)


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Remember, we travel for memories and not for the destination. We travel to share an escape with someone and not just to escape for escape’s sake. Notes

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Travel Log Chronicle the highlights of your trip here - the awesome experiences you like most and to immortalize the memories about your trip. Feel free to scribble down your thoughts here.


April

A Guide to an Awesome Road Trip to Legazpi City, Bicol! Don’t miss these must-see and must-eat places to stop over on your road trip to Bicol!


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Travel Tip: Best Travel destinations in Bicol: Camsur Wakeboarding, Caramoan Islands, Donsol Whale Sharks, Mt. Mayon, Surfing in Bagasbas Beach, and Calaguas Islands. Notes

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Araw ng Kagitingan


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Travel Tip: Best Travel destinations in Palawan: Kayangan Lake in Coron, Calauit Island Safari, El Nido and Apulit Islands, Underground River in Puerto Princesa, and San Vicente Long Beach. Notes

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There are three ways to celebrate Holy Week: 1. Commemorate the passion and death of Jesus Christ; 2. Retreat, Rejuvenate, and Relax; and 3. Experience the Holy Week traditions of different towns each year. Notes

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Good Friday Moriones Festival Earth Day Cutud Cruxificions

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Easter Sunday


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Remember if you are going on a north/south road trip, you can always rely on Caltex Stations for car maintenance assistance, and clean restroom. Also, most travel accidents happen on a Good Friday -- make sure to keep it sacred and don’t travel on that day. Notes

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Labor Day Feast of the Divine Mercy


May

Why we will always love Boracay

Some people already dismiss Boracay as an overdeveloped ecological disaster. But we love it not only because of its night life and endless parties night after night, we love it because of the “Boracay Spirit” of living life to the fullest and communing with nature in all its glorious beauty. Everyone who visits Boracay imbibes this spirit. Every year, Boracay tries to reinvent itself. The latest aqua sports and activities are already in Boracay. Riding the Zorb has become a must-try activity. There are two kinds of Zorb Rides: the hydro ride (1-3 persons) and the harness ride (1-2 persons). The hydro ride is more fun because you jump inside a mini pool of water inside the zorb and you don’t rotate with the ball (like in the harness ride, where you are strapped down). The coolest thing about it is you can let the Zorb roll over you. It’s not painful — it’s just like a soft, pillow-y ball running over you.

Boracay’s Finest

It’s not just Boracay’s fine white to visit the island.

sand, it’s also its delicious food

that continues to draw people

-cooked Pizzas in Boracay. n Pasta, Salad and wood-fire oven Aria is the undisputed king of Italia runs the kitchen, which still dio Amo Gino t favorite. Italian Chef The spicy Tuna Tartare is a recen in Boracay, but in the only not authentic Italian Restaurants— makes this one of the most ) panna cotta with its signature, inous gelat r (neve y cream r Aria’s Philippines. Don’t forget to orde a cotta with gata. berry and pandan syrup, and pann innovative flavors like fresh straw island, maybe except for Suites has the best buffet on the Most foodies agree that Discovery delicious food, and great location ce, servi le ccab impe Its y. Friday’s Seafood Buffet every Frida beach make it a winner. right along Station 1 of the white restaurants in Boracay, to The one of the longest-running, top izos, Mest Dos g Chef Andre is takin and take the Dos Mestizos enjoy bottled tapas so that you can Next Level. They launched their Homemade Chorizo, Callos con the are ites favor our ng Amo la. experience back with you to Mani aged in olive oil). Don’t go s, and Boquerones (fresh anchovies Garbanzos, Blue Cheese Croquette et with the best sangria suns cay Bora the a, and without savoring home without tasting their paell on the island. rtheless, the pioneering branch s when it opened in Manila. Neve Cyma lost a bit of its exoticnes g Greek food and the wildest tastin bestcontinues to serve the hidden in the corner of D’Mall rience, start with Saganaki, expe ch. For the ultimate Cyma “Opa!” versus any Cyma Bran Roka Salata with its secret some have !”; “OPA ic siast enthu Flaming Cheese served with an s; and end with Flaming Chop Lamb d broile chara e order Cym Greek Vinaigrette; for main cours liquor. It is a tradition to Ouzo of shot a with Cap off your meal Mangoes with Vanilla Ice Cream. of your lungs and beat top the at it t shot straight up. Try to shou shout “Opa!” before drinking the the loudest “Opa!” ever. the best restaurant in Boracay, about what they would consider I was asking the Boracay locals racay restaurants. The only in-Bo onlye, as it is one of the uniqu and Kasbah was often mentioned tricycle up to White House a take e Discovery Shores. You can ial thing is it is quite far, located besid slow-cooked stew and the spec the to s refer e Tagin ; stew e resort to get there. Try their Tagin rich, with very tender and rful flavo is stew The ed. h it is cook pot (with a conical cover) in whic s to the overall enjoyment of it a different texture that contribute meat. The prunes and eggs give dn’t know for sure, but I woul stly ntic Moroccan cuisine. I hone this dish. Some say that it is authe shingly unique. like it because it’s something refre

Helmet Diving, Parasailing, ATV/Buggy Ride and Sunset Paraw Sailing are the top activities to do in Boracay. The Banana Boat and Flying Fish rides are still on the list, too. Boracay now has a 320-meter zip line inside Fairways, but it still has basic service issues so I would not recommend it yet.

A Different Spa Expe rie

nce I’ve never seen such dram a in any other spa in the Philippines. The Tirta Spa difference starts with its “contemporary old” gate s guarded by two ugly guards. They are there not to scare you but to scare anything evil—spirits, thoughts, and intentions—s urrounding you. As I step past the yin yang and ascend into the gates, the sound of a gong further rem oves the bad spirits clinging to your soul. Fina lly, 10 Balinese guards hold ing a torch and an umbrella welcome you to Tirta spa. I can just imagine how impressive this scene would be at night. Tirta Spa is the manifestation of En Calvert’s passion of brin ging the benefits of a holistic spa experience to the Philippines. I love mee ting a Filipina who decided to establish her root s here in the Philippines to show the whole world how we can create the fines t health and wellness spa in Asia. Tirta Spa is a young spa with three royal suite villas designed for couples. Each villa has full amenities of a private bathroom, an outdoor bathtub, a shower, and a Koi carp pond to com plete the serene ambiance. There are two outdoor Thai pavilion seated on top of the Koi pond where you can enjoy your massage of choice. Each villa is brought to life with careful attention to deta il—from the Indianinspired doors, to the intricate trellis surrounding the villas, the traveler’s palm carving, and the expert skill s of the masseuse. Each villa houses En Calvert’s personal collection of mem entos from her travels arou nd the world. The massage begins with a foot massage and a healthy drink of ginger tea. I chose the Herbal Compres s massage which makes use of a special blend of herbs and spices (grown at the spa) wrapped in muslin cloth. When heated, the oil extract is massaged onto your body. After the massage you reall y feel rejuvenated, and you’ ll be so relaxed you won’t want to leave the plac e.


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You will only appreciate the love and sacrifices of a mother once you have kids. Don’t forget to show your love and appreciation to your mother, wife, and all the mothers out there. Notes

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Caramoan Fiesta

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Caramoan Fiesta Mother’s Day


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There are three types of traveler: 1. The Checklist Traveler. The objective is to get to most places within the day. 2. Off the Beaten Path Traveler. They travel to discover and sometimes look for the extreme adventure. 3. Awesome Traveler. They want to make a positive difference in the places they visit because it enriches them. Which one are you?

Notes

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Pahiyas


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People travel not only because of the destination but for the misadventures that await them getting to that destination. Notes

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Obando Fertility Rites

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Obando Fertility Rites

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Obando Fertility Rites

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Travel Tip: As a rule-of-thumb, a tricycle ride costs typically around P7-P10 per ride per person around the provinces. You can pay for a special trip by paying the cost per person multiplied by the capacity of the tricycle (max of 6 people). Night trip is usually at a premium. Notes

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National Flag Day


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Last Hurray for summer! Make it a tradition to bid farewell to summer by going to the beach one last time with your friends or family. Also, this is your last chance to take advantage of good weather in Batanes — don’t miss it! Notes

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June

The Potter ’s

Kubli Springs Night

route, and I can say that Kubli Springs at the foot I’ve been to all the places in the Viaje del Sol , is one of those must try experiences for any of Mt. Banahaw, in the heart of Dolores, Quezon foodie. s, on a table set atop natural rocks, with fresh Imagine dining amidst a wild forest lit with bonfire is quite safe to drink; it is so natural that you water spring water flowing at your feet. That same such that the longer you stay in the place you around all is Water ls. minera the taste can almost feels. it the calmer and safer prepared by Jay and Ralph of Kinabuhayan The best part of the dinner is the excellent food tasted that all my friends were raving about it food the great how at guard off caught was I Cafe. under the stars; a truly priceless experience. long after dinner was over. We were literally dining shorts so you can dine while submerged swim wear to is The best way to enjoy Kubli Springs n with garlic chili—the best we ever chicke garlic in cool clear water. Our dinner consisted of the tender grilled lamb steak. They served a with perfect was that dish risotto secret a tasted, salad with flowers and a dressing to remember. eating, but we decided to stand. Frankly, we We were challenged by Jay to submerge while we forgot we were standing for a couple of hours that great so was food the e becaus mind didn’t Jay also served the best Barako coffee we ever already. The dessert is an array of sweet fruits. just the right amount of alcohol. with and mooth tasted and the best Lambanog—s cafe where we freshened up and played a little After dinner, we went back to Jay’s Kinabuhayan dachshunds as we toured around the rustic loving Jay’s to ced introdu were billiards game. We but homey bed and breakfast. Expressway and exit going to Batangas (this To get to Kinabuhayan Cafe, go to the end of South to the direction of Bicol and when you arrive d Procee right). your on exit last the is the second to a half from manila without traffic), stay and hour an (about in the San Pablo, Laguna border o compound to your right. Shortly Meralc the see on the highway up to Km 86 where you will Dolores. Go passed Bato srpings and turn left to leading road the on left turn o, Meralc after , reach Bejarme St. Turn left, after a few meters after the gas station. Stay on this road until you lost. get you if Jay Call right. Kinabuhayan cafe will be to your Kubli springs is a secret and Jay is not advertising try it with your barkada!

it even in the Viaje del Sol brochure. You must

Kinabuhayan Cafe Bed and Breakfast n +63 917 327 1106 Tel (042) 565 6828 Jay +63 917 368 0054 Winsto

Place After blogging about Ugu Bigy an’s Pottery W secret places orkshop, it co in the Philippin ntinues to be es.Lonely Plane who live with one of the t doesn’t men in the area we tion it; even th re unaware th I’ve been ravin e people at such a beau g about it for tiful garden pla years now, an plan a Viaje De ce exists. d if you have l Sol trip this co not eaten here ming summer. , you should Here are som e tips on mak ing your Ugu Bi 1. You need gyan trip a mem to reserve on orable experie e day in adva nce: merienda. They nce for lunch are strict that (minimum of you pay for th that you reserv 5) or e exact amou ed since they nt of headcoun buy the ingredie reservation. t nts in the mar ket based on 2. The Best tim the e to buy potte ry ite ms in Ugu are are three sale during the sale schedules: fir season. There st is the Pahiy too crowded) as sale on May ; second is his 15 (this would birthday (Aug much as his ag be ust 14), wher e; lastl is durin e he discounts g the first Sund 3. Lunch is no as ay of October. w @ P400/ he ad . It is usually a fix can buy in the ed set depend market. You ca ing on what th n influence th of the items ba ey is a bit and try sed on your pr to change som eference. 4. Merienda e is also a nice time to go he Gulaman. re and get a taste of their 5. You can lea Sago and rn pottery he re and decide inquire when to stay for a the classes ar nig ht . I suggest yo e and schedu u le your visit du ring that time. Ugu Bigyan’s Hearty Fare co nsists of: Kulawo (Ban ana Heart) – The Best selle charcoal to br r in the house. ing out the sm This is just do okey flavor an it tastes like tu ne with d cooked in vin na meat! egar and spice Pako salad. s. I swear, This is a true filipino dish wi One of the be thout any fusio st Calamares n. we ever tasted right bite. ! It is cooked perfectly and Huge Grilled Ri with the bs that would satisfy any ca Sweet and So rn ivore. ur Fish with M ango salsa. Ca n I ask for mor e? Ugu Bigyan: Potter’s Gard en 490 Alvarez Vil lage , Brgy Lu sacan, Tiaong, Call + 63 (42) Quezon 545-9144


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Travel Tip: Bohol and Puerto Princesa are two of the places that are not affected by big typhoons all year round. These two places have nice weather all the time for tourists and they only get occasional rains. Notes

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Independence Day


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Father’s Day Tip: Being a father of three kids, now I appreciate the big responsibility that every father has to fulfill to raise their kids in a loving but disciplined way. Say Thank You to your dads for bringing up such wonderful responsible Filipinos into this world. Notes

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Father’s Day 150th Birth Anniversary of Jose Rizal!


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Food blogging tip: Learn how to take photos quickly and in its natural environment. Remember, you have to eat it while it is hot. Always ask permission before taking that photo. Notes

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You’ll know good food just by looking at it. Trust your senses, you can already see if the food is prepared well by the way it glows and by the way it subliminally tells you it’s yummy. Notes

Most Important Things to Do

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Pintados/Kasadyaan Festival

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Pintados/Kasadyaan Festival

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Travel Log Chronicle the highlights of your trip here - the awesome experiences you like most and to immortalize the memories about your trip. Feel free to scribble down your thoughts here.


July erience The Cagayan de Oro-Bukidnon Exp serves as a jump-off

point to other ao and Cagayan de Oro (CDO) is the gateway to Mindan country and the in tourism ure advent in rs pionee destinations in that region. It is also one of the Together with thrill-seeking friends, we ines. Philipp the in craze Rafting ater Whitew it started the Oro and Bukidnon adventure for 3 days and 2 nights. decided to experience the Ultimate Cagayan de Day 1: Mapawa River Trek e Park and River Trek. I heard a lot about it becaus We started our journey at the Mapawa Nature fully realize how didn’t I But ok. Facebo on posted ure advent of the pictures of the 65-ft waterfall nce would be up close. exciting — and dangerous — the entire experie along the path of the river where we encountered The Mapawa River Trek literally entailed hiking ride and then went on a short hike to the river’s tractor a five waterfall challenges. We started with just there. The first challenge was easy because we jump-off point. It took us almost an hour to get tall. It’s scary at first when you look down, 20-ft about that’s slide ll waterfa natural a d had to descen if you by falling the wrong way). For guys, it’s painful but it’s fun (as long as you don’t hurt yourself to hit the water have you is trick The . forward fall you if hurt hit the water butt-first; for girls, it would feet-first with a straight body. It was a tricky climb down because of the raging The second waterfall was an 11-ft challenge. helped us go down the falls. As for the third that system waters, so the guides created a rope waterfall, it was an easy 8-ft water slide. from the boys (in a manner of speaking). We had The fourth waterfall challenge separated the men to be the first to jump because you don’t know is trick The to jump off a waterfall that’s 30-ft high. will power you to jump. The longer you wait rush line what to expect. The excitement and the adrena n out. Fear feeds on other people’s fear, chicke will you that s chance the greater the for your turn, . heights of especially if you are afraid had lunch of adobo, rice and egg. How I wish we After that exhilarating jump, we had a nice t... desser for cake chocolate most challenging, because we had to rappel down The last waterfall was the most fun, but also the while peering at the water down, down, down a 65-ft waterfall. It was scary to be hoisted down ll jump gave us the confidence to trust the waterfa s previou the in s succes our heless, below. Nevert real fun starts when you take your first The fun. and safe be would ing adventure crew that everyth ll itself. I still can’t forget taking a waterfa the of power the nce step down and you begin to experie nce! experie shower inside the falls — what an awesome te the night at the Gardens of Malasag and celebra After the Mapawa River Trek, we decided to spend . lechon Oro de n Cagaya of feast nal traditio the conquer of the waterfalls with a

Day 2: Monastery of the Transfiguration

in Malaybalay

We went to Bukidnon because we had heard a lot about the Monastery of the Transfiguration in Malaybalay. Our first stopov er was for lunch at the Del Monte Farm for tasty steaks and fresh pineapple juice! I was personally excited to go on a person al retreat and stay overnight in a Benedictine monastery. I studied in the Bened ictine Abbey School in Alabang, and I have great respect for the monks. The food in the monastery was delicious (it was Kapampangan), thanks to the Celebrity Monk — designer Gang Gomez, now known as Benedictine Dom Martin. In fact, most people would flock to the monas tery on the second Sunday of each month to have a breakfast feast with the monks after the Sunday Mass. As for me, I got to experience the holy prayer s in the Church with the monks. They pray 7 times a day — I can still remember the Benedictine motto: Ora et Labora, “Work and Play,” because idle time is the time of the devil. Waking up to the nice sound of the church bells, praying at very early hours of the morning with the monks, and listening to them singing all contributed to an experience I won’t ever forget. After the Sunday mass, we went back to Cagayan de Oro for some Whitewater Rafting fun.

Day 3: White Water Rafting! t of For more than 10 years now, CDO has been at the forefron Although Whitewater Rafting adventure sports in the country. in Kalinga some argue that the Whitewater Rafting in Chico River popular came first, nobody would dispute that CDO is the more a more one. Maybe it’s because CDO has a beginner’s route and along the advanced course. The latter just starts more upstream experience same river. (For me, Chico River’s Whitewater Rafting through is on a different level though, because it’s like passing Jurassic Park.) up with a Our Whitewater Rafting adventure started with suiting to behave vest and helmet, then getting safety training on how whitewater and paddle in the raft. We were first brought to easy After a to build the confidence of the newbies in the group. stand on series of paddle hi-5’s, we soon felt brave enough to ter. Our the raft while passing through moderately rated whitewa hours. 4 around took re adventu whitewater on the My favorite part was jumping off the raft and just floating made this water, being swiftly carried away by the current. What commune adventure even more memorable was the chance to the river with nature and to feel embraced by it. At the end of :) journey, we were treated to a well-deserved grill lunch. 3 days. I It’s amazing how much can be seen and done in just to discover believe a longer stay would have given us a chance n, and its more gems in the area. As Cagayan de Oro, Bukidno there to neighbors continue to evolve every year, we aim to be all. it experience


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Travel Pro tip: Organize tours during the summer peak season, Travel during the off peak, and enjoy the December season with your family. Notes

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Food is part of the Filipino culture; you’ll notice that it is always part of any conversation. When we eat lunch, we talk about what we had for breakfast and what we will have for merienda and dinner. Notes

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Official Declaration of New 7 Wonders of Nature

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There are three types of Foodies: 1. The Snobbish Gourmets, those who really know their food. 2. The Wannabe Chefs, those who aspire to be chefs someday. 3. The Amateur Foodies, those who enjoy food. Period. Which one are you?

Notes

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Sandugo Festival

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Sandugo Festival


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Bloggers are the modern historians of our times. Filipinos 20 years from now would look at blog posts on what it was like to live during this time. Contribute to that history by sharing your experiences through your own personal blog. Notes

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August

More th a

n Duria At Davao, n we were raving abou lunch, an t the fresh d the man salads for go-bravo-l had yumm ike desser y Halo-Hal t. We also o at Aling Fo Antonio’s fing’s, had Grill and had sansriv dinner at Coffee. al for dess ert at Bo’s Something else that is durian. An d while I’m uniquely Davao, th ough, is sure you’ve candies or durian-flavo heard of durian red jam an not have tr d tarts, yo ied durian u might coffee. Dav experimen ao locals ting with have been the fragra different co nt fruit, m ncoctions ixing it in including co one of the to ffee. Bluegr pioneers of e Café is durian coffe durian’s sw e. They sa eetness ba y that the lances out Locals love the coffee’ it, and they s bitternes say it’s a m s. ust-try for visitors.

A Taste of Adventure t go wrong by picking Davao. Our family

you can’ When itching for adventure, birthday. We wanted rate our second son Joshua’s decided to visit Davao to celeb her city. anot re explo to ted wan we been; to go somewhere we had not had a fun tour of re Park. It was raining but we We had a fun tour at Eden’s Natu t on our second White Water wen also We . route trail the park, which has a 4KM four white water make it a point to complete the Rafting adventure. We want to , Davao River in CDO in r Rive Oro de es: Cagayan rafting courses in the Philippin ga. Kalin in r egarao, and Chico Rive Davao, Cagayan River in Tugu nture. Rache, o del Sur for a “superman adve We visited Camp Sabros in Dava best family our is -this linezip em on the 380m Ahiya Aidan and I flew in tand it—flying h wort was os hour trip to Camp Sabr adventure to date! The two, tree rappelling. ction attra t lates the and ses through all the zip line cour d about it more have tried tree rappelling rave ks Most of the people I met who the attraction was only 2 wee it, did we that time the At than the zip line ride. tree. The adventure is to the to ess harn your on ed old. First you have to zip seat elling technique. oot high tree via the Free-fall Rapp rappel down the swaying 80-f ses the rope relea h whic hand right device by your are To go down, you grip a rappel behind your waist. Then you rope the es guid hand left steadily while your of the adventure because part ier scar the is This . hine hoisted back up with a mac t help but heave a gh the rope is cut loose. You can’ at one point, you feel as thou up the tree. sigh of relief once you are back e Mt. Apo view and you get to appreciate the entir On the way back, via cable car, the view of the trees below. to establish this as a and remember how we want I look back on this adventure another city or destination ring explo days birth ’ sons tradition—to celebrate our in the Philippines.

Fun Ranch Happiness

play, built for them where they can Imagine an entire compound Kids these days are very lucky. h Center (beside Tiendesitas) Ranc Fun d calle is e plac This sage. kids shop, eat and have a spa mas to spend family time with your fast becoming the cool place where kids definitely rule! It is or celebrate your kids’ birthday. definitely see the happiness on Aidan at Fun Ranch and you can We celebrated valentines with s to avoid the kids’ crowd on kday wee the g durin to visit here his face after the trip. It is best Lambs Spa. There’s also a Little and area the Active Fun play weekends. The best places are —it makes me happy that mind in was built with kids and family I do Big Red Barn restaurant which wonderful place for kids and a it’s all, Over s. joint food l fast they didn’t opt to put the usua it. hope they are able to maintain ch Experience nied 7 Tips for the best Fun Ran s old, they should be accompa e Fun. For kids less than 3 year Activ @ kids your with Play 1. by a yaya/a parent (for free). kids and the parent) 2. Socks are a must! (for the discount promo. avail of Little Lambs’ weekday 3. Go on a Weekday. You can nt) pare the and Barn 4. Bring Extra Shirts. (for the kids Little Lambs Spa — Big Red r: Active Fun Play Center — 5. Spend 3 hours in this orde Resto kid for the entire experience. 6. Prepare a budget of P500/ era and take fun shots. cam your bring to t forge t Don’ 7. Active Fun Play Center / Hour Weekdays (12nn to 9pm) : P150 / Hour Weekends (9am to 10pm) : P175 o Manila Macapagal Ave., Pasay City, Metr dado Dios . Pres 8 , Asia of Hobbies +632 551 3848 as Ave/ C5, Pasig City Fun Ranch, Frontera Verde Ortig 5290 Hotline: 0906-3005231 237, +632 6340067, +632 396 +63 915 370 9006, +632 3965


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When foodies want to de-stress or celebrate, they would go to a “feel-good� restaurant. This would mean yummy food, a laid back ambiance, and warm service. Welcome from lovely owners is a plus :) Notes

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Ghost Month Tip: Chinese believe that the Ghosts come out during this time of the year to get other souls to join them. It is bad luck to launch a new business or to travel during this time (usually around mid August to mid September). Notes

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Ugu Bigyan’s Birthday Sale


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Inspire One Mind, Touch One Heart, One Filipino at a time that the Philippines is truly Awesome! Notes

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Ascencion of Mother Mary into Heaven

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Kadyawan sa Dabaw

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Kadyawan sa Dabaw Ninoy Aquino Day


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Birthdays are a time for thanksgiving and a time to take your self to the next level. Make sure to use this time to ask feedback about how people perceived you and how you can improve your life moving forward. Make this commitment to continually improve yourself until you die. Notes

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My top 5 Filipino Food are: 1). Kare-Kare, 2). Adobo, 3). Crispy Pata, 4). Dinuguan, and 5). Sugba/Grilled. What are your top 5? Notes

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National Heroes’ Day Old Swiss Inn Annual Price Roll Back

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Eid’l Fitr

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September

Makati’s Secret Bicol Comfort Food

We love good food from the French Fine Dining Places to Hole-in-the-Wall restaurants. Our recent quest led us to Makati’s secret place for Bicol comfort food. Top Meal Food Haus specializes on Bicol favorites like the Pork Binagoongan and Bicol Express. It is also popular for its pancit selection which includes Pancit Lucban with Chili. If you like Som’s Thai restaurant in Makati, check out Top Meals Food House within its Makati neighborhood (at the back of Rockwell). There are 5 small tables inside and 2 small tables outside that can sit 2-3 people. You would see native artworks from Sorsogon around the resto and a single ceiling fan to cool the surroundings. This place is a favorite hang-out of Atenistas, Rockwell people and foodies.

A Preview of the Bicol Caravan

Here are some things you can look forward to if you’re going to the Bicol area.

What I like about Top House is that it is not like a carinderia where the food is prepared in the morning and served all day. Most of the dishes are cooked when you order it so that it is served hot and fresh from the kitchen. It is best if Wilson Tan is in the resto because he will be the one to cook for you. Wilson’s specialty is the Pork Binangoongan which is prepared with toasted alamang. The Bicol Express is made with gata and a good mix of fatty and lean meat pork. You can specify if you want your food to be really hot like how they enjoy it in Bicol. The serving plates are small (in proportion with the small tables) but its flavor is enough to compensate for its size.

started Chili Peppers with the vision of having a hip place for sales agents/ transients and the fallen eagles in Ateneo de Naga. After 3 years of successful operation, the other trendy restaurants opened including Coco Leaf, which serves Asian food, and the local coffee house, Bean Bag Coffee. When you eat in Chili Peppers, don’t forget to other their killer food which includes: Baby Back Ribs, Bangus Tail, Squid, and the Sinigang Bicol style with coconut. 1. Photogenic but shy Mt. Mayon. If it is your first time to visit the Bicol region, the view of Mt. Mayon will be breathtaking and awesome. If your intentions are pure according to the local folklore, you should be able to see Mayon clearly. Otherwise, you’ll only be seeing Mayon wrapped around white clouds. Have your cameras ready and take the first opportunity to shoot Mt. Mayon when the clouds are clear. It’s best to visit the Cagsawa ruins duringweekdays when there are no tourists. You can also buy cheap handicrafts in the tiangge and don’t forget to buy mazapan pili. 2. The beautiful Naga. Naga is an ideal place for stop over on road to Donsol, Sorsogon (3 hours from Naga). There are a few places to explore here which includes: a. Basilica Minore, Naga. Home to the miraculous image of the Patroness of Bicolandia, Nuestra Señora de Peñafrancia. Thousands of pilgrims flock to this site during the September celebration of the Peñafrancia Fiesta just to visit and venerate the virgin. b. Magsaysay Strip - This is where Malate meets Libis in Naga. One of my colleagues in college in DLSU, Junjee Abela, started the trendy restaurants that you can find in the now famous Magsaysay St. of Naga City. Five years ago, he

3. An enjoyable road trip to Bicol. a. Don’t forget DVDs! Bring a car with TV/DVD installed and bring a lot of DVDs of movies that you have not watched before. The people inside the car won’t be sleeping if they’re engrossed in the movie they’re watching. But if you want your passengers to sleep, play soothing music (Norah Jones, anyone?) to send them off to dreamland. b. Feast on fresh food. This is the time to enjoy the food of the southern provinces of Laguna, Quezon and Bicol region. Here are some potential places to eat: • Palay-Isdaan in Pagbilao, Quezon. Enjoy eating lunch in a hut amidst ostriches, birds, snakes, crocodiles. There are videoke terminals in some of the huts so that you can sing while eating. The Tilapia is very good and you can taste its sweet freshness. • Lita’s Carinderia, Atimonan, Quezon. I have not eaten here but this one is located facing the ocean and boasts of fresh fish and squid. There are alot of people stopping over in this restaurant. • Biggs Diner in Bicol. Eating breakfast here is a must. Not that the food is great, but at least you can say that you have eaten in one of the successful diners concept in the Philippines. Bicol is the only region where Jollibee is not the number one fast food chain because of the strong equity built by Biggs in this region and a wider assortment of food.

The Halo-Halo was a bit different because it had a slimy texture because of the Ube made with gata. In Tiwi Halo-Halo tradition, it was served with cheese sprinkled on top. The Leche Flan tasted like it was sugar free. This one is a matter of preference — I like it because it has its own character, while my wife hates it because it was slimy. Top Meals Food Haus 5994 J.D. Villena St. cor. Mabini St. Poblacion, Makati. The place is beside Estelle Salon.

Thunderbird Roars

Thunderbird Resort is the best resort in the La Union area. It is located in Poro Point Freeport Zone, San Fernando, La Union (about 6 hours away from Manila). This is quite near the La Union airport and abou t 30 minutes away from the popular San Juan Surf Resort (for those interested in surfing). The place created a buzz whe n it opened because it was the first to provide a Santorini-themed resort — ahead of Bellarocca. Unlike Bellarocca, which is located on an island, Thunderbird is part of the La Union mainland and is easily accessible by car. Also, the resort has a decent Med iterranean restaurant called Olives, whic h makes up for its so-so buffe t breakfast. Thunderbird has a swimming pool and a decent beach, good for families that just want to momentarily get away from Manila. Some people go to this resort because of the casin o, which was built ahead of the hotel. I originally thought the casino was inside the resort hotel; fortu nately, it’s in a different building that’s a bit far from the hotel. The huge swimming pool area has a pool bar, a mini waterfall, an infinity pool (at the deep end of the pool), and water polo goals on both sides. It was built with children in mind and reminds me of the swim ming pool in Sofitel (but without the water slides). Thunderbird has a baywalk alon g the rocky shoreline, which leads to the cove with the beach. The beac h area is quite nice--golden sand with a bit of crushed shells and clear blue water. Aidan and Joshua had a fun time playing with the baby wav es. You won’t really have to worry about letting them explore by the beach because it is shallow and gradually slopes down. It is quite a walk from the hote l, though. First, you have to go down to the swimming pool, then walk a few minutes along the bayw alk before

you reach this beach. Swim here first before going to the swim ming pool. You can also rent equipment if you want to jet ski, ride a banca, snorkel, kayak or waterski. The hotel features whitewashed walls and a sky-blue dome. It is elevated, overlooking the swimming pool . I like the geometric-shaped design of the entire resort with its pockets of greens. You have an option to stay on the first floor or on the seco nd floor. The upper floor is more premium because it has a better view of the sea. Make sure to reserve ahead of time . It comes with the basic ame nities: safety deposit box, refrig erator, cable TV with stereo, complimenta ry bottled water, local newspap er, welcome drinks and — best of all — Wi-fi ! Overall, I find Thunderbird to be the

best resort in this northern part

of Luzon. Thunderbird Resorts Poro Point Freeport Zone, San Fernando City, La Union, Phili ppines Email: pororeservations@thun derbird-asia.com Website: www.ThunderBirdR esorts.com/Philippines For Reservations: +63 72 8887777


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Top 10 Food places in the Philippines: Pampanga, Tagaytay, Bacolod, Iloilo, Bicol, Cebu, Palawan, Roxas City, Boracay and Tacloban Notes

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26th Negros Trade Fair

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26th Negros Trade Fair Mother Mary’s Birthday

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26th Negros Trade Fair

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26th Negros Trade Fair

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26th Negros Trade Fair Grandparent’s Day


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The Rule of Three Independent Sources: Something is being shared through word of mouth if you receive it by three different and independent sources. Notes

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Penafrancia Viva La Virgen


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Foodies love unique yummy food that they can share with their loved ones. If you have a unique yummy food discovery, please email me at anton@diaz.ph Notes

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Cloud 9 International Surfing Competition

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Cloud 9 International Surfing Competition


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The Philippines is about to be the next travel destination discovery by the world’s tourists. Let’s do our part in promoting the beauty of the Philippines within our own circle of influence. Notes

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Travel Log Chronicle the highlights of your trip here - the awesome experiences you like most and to immortalize the memories about your trip. Feel free to scribble down your thoughts here.


October

Authentic Bacolod Fast Foo d, in

Makati Bob’s, Bacolod’s favorite restaurant, is now in Manila. It is a restaurant institu tion — similar to Aristocrat here in Manil a — started by Dr. Homero Sicangco in 1965 in Bacolod. It is popular for its American menu: BBQ, Baby Back Ribs and Cheeseburger. The restaurant in Magallanes is now managed by the 3rd generation. They were able to bring the authentic taste of Bob’s in Bacol od to Manila (but I find it a bit overpriced) . If you are looking for a place to celeb rate Masskara festival in Manila, this is the right place to go. Bob’s Famous Sate Babe with Sate Rice (P145). Tender pork barbe cue grilled with peanut butter sauce a.k.a. “Sate Sauce”. Served with sate rice and atchara on the side. This is Bob’s claim to fame. The Sate sauce tastes like BBQ with peanuts. It is similar to Aristocrat’s sauce but this one has a maasim twist in the end and a more peanut-y taste. Baby Back Ribs with Onion Ring s (P370). Tender pork ribs marinated in homemade bbq sauce and grilled to perfection. Served with crispy onion rings and veggies on the side. I personally love this! The BBQ taste penetrates every single strand of meat that falls off the bones easily. It is overp riced, though, considering it is only P215 in Bacolod and it only has 4 ribs. Bob’s Big Boy Cheeseburger (P170 ). Grilled double patty with Bob’s thous and island dressing, onion, tomato and lettuc e in a burger bun. It is not as big as I thought it would be. The taste is just similar to a double patty cheeseburger in McDonald’s. I was expecting a better burger bun. In Bacol od, this is only P110, so apparently, they priced the Manila dishes +50% or highe r. Fruit Punch (P95). This is one of the famous drinks in Bob’s. What make s it unique is the presence of Ubod bits (used in Fresh Lumpia) and chunks of fresh fruits. Overall, we would recommend it becau se Bob’s (since 1965) Magallanes, Makati Marian Magalona Mobile: +639209046401

of its authentic Bacolod taste.

Place lod Chicken Inasal Makati’s Best Baco entic Bacolod Chicken Inasal in the heart of the Makati

an auth l Torre’s Do you know that there is places in Manila are Joe c Bacolod Chicken Inasal enti auth the of Two ress in Makati. These are District? Exp se Hou ken Chic ls and Bacolod c chicken (JT’s) Manukan in Greenhil their craving for an authenti ple from Bacolod satisfy al: Inas the two places where peo ken Chic ets of the authentic Bacolod inasal. Here are the 8 secr which ks the chicken 100% raw Chicken Inasal place coo cialized Chicken mer 1. The authentic Bacolod com r Othe ion. vers commercialized makes it juicier than the (or worse, cooked already that is already half-cooked Inasal places use chicken sauce. and just reheated). in the orange atsuete oil or of the Chicken Inasal is ns atras and mea Isol 2. The secret in the flav , olod Bac In ). rites is the Isol (P38 r 3. One of the Bacolod favo is to put everything in you The right way to eat isol it refers to the chicken ass. the tail bone). mouth and eat it (including meat is poor. They should e is good, but the quality of inad Mar ) (P65 po Liem 4. Grilled r for their liempo. ce and find a better meat supplie Vinegar, Kalamansi, Soy Sau with a sauce of Sinamak 5. Enjoy Chicken Inasal le. sinamak vinegar is availab Chili. Always make sure that ge atsuete sauce and is to put a little bit of the oran rice the y enjo to way t 6. The bes al with a pinch of rock salt. , eat Bacolod Chicken Inas entic Manukan experience 7. To complete the auth Chicken your hands. of the authentic Bacolod ken House Express is one Shopwise Makati. of 8. Carlo’s Bacolod Chic t fron in ket Mar ana ted in the Sav Houses in Manila! It is loca of the owner of the Main Carlo Cajili who is the son The resto is owned by Jose Bacolod City. Bacolod Chicken House in Express Bacolod Chicken House Tamo, Makati ropolitan Avenue, Pasong 114 k Savana Market, Met


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San Miguel Oktoberfest na! During this time of the year, San Miguel releases a special San Miguel Pale Pilsen Brew — this is the only time to taste and experience it so don’t miss it :) Notes

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Traveling with kids has its benefits — you can be first in line when boarding on an airplane, kids less than 6 years old are usually free of charge in Familyfriendly places, and kids below two years old travel for free in airlines. Notes

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Maskara Festival Lansones Festival

Maskara Festival Lansones Festival World Bread Day


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Remember, we travel for memories and not for the destination. We travel to share an escape with someone and not just to escape for escape sake. Notes

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Halloween Tip: The Halloween Costume parties for kids are becoming very competitive these days. In order for your kids to win in costume parties, the costumes need to be at a cosplay level of quality already. Kids love it so plan for their awesome costume for next year starting this Halloween. Notes

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Diwali Festival

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Diwali Festival

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Diwali Festival

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Diwali Festival

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Diwali Festival


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All Saints Day Tip: All of us are called to be a saint in order to enter the Kingdom of God. It is difficult but not impossible. Never lose sight of our ultimate objective in life – to be with our friends and family in Heaven :) Notes

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Eid-Ul-Adha


November Dare to Discover

e Discovery Center will have a big impact on One thing is for sure, the Nido Fortified Scienc ore to experience a similar Science Discovery Singap go to have don’t You tion. Aidan’s genera and technology will affect our lives. I also science how kids your Center where you can teach ery Center and it will teach Filipinos to Discov e liked the environmental focus of the Scienc thanks go to the Sy Family for creating this be sensitive about our environment. My sincere g. Discovery Center, and Nestle Nido for the backin e fee for myself and Aidan on the opening I took a leap of faith as I paid P330/person entranc kids and below are free. Just think about going of Science Discovery Center. Only one year old the P330 will be a bargain. Don’t compare and this like ing someth enjoy to to Singapore an educational center and more hi-tech is this e becaus ne it to your playtime in Timezo ber your field trip to the now dilapidated Remem than your usual recreational game center. now enjoy the awesome Planetarium inside Planetarium in Manila? The new generation will the Discovery Center.

or 2 years) like they do in Singapore because I do hope they have a frequent pass (good 1 good brainwashing tool for your kids to learn you can only do as much in one visit. This is a s who still avoid Mall of Asia because of the familie know I logy. techno and to love science would definitely give them a reason to Center ery Discov e Scienc crowd. But the opening of go to MOA. and astronomical capabilities plus digital Digitar Planetarium. Complete with star field r Planetarium creates environment Digista at 158-se ed screen surround sound, our domefun. through e educat that that completely immerse you in images The Search for Life: Are We Alone? Synopsis inquisitive and dreaming minds. Sailors and For ages, people have looked to the stars with lovers, inspiration; scientists and scholars, and poets them; in ce farmers have found guidan ward has also found questions in the heaven looked answers. But everyone who has ever pondered over thousands of years is, “Are cosmos. Perhaps the most common question we Alone?” and trends in digital information and computer Media City. Experience the latest in software Games. graphics, including the Gesture Xtreme Virtual features that reveal how burping happens Grossology Exhibit. Besides entertaining : The Game”), Grossology also offers games (“Urine (“Burp Man”) and how the kidneys work and identifying different bodily odors. involving educational Q-and-A’s about grossness engines that will drive tomorrow’s vehicles Transportation Nation. Have a tour inside the complex technical processes that occur the and and experience the operation of power to where we are today. within the objects that have literally brought us

A Museum of Surprises

We love to surprise Aidan these days. I would bring home surprise pasalubongs (cupcakes...) , or treat him to surprise restaurants (Haagen Dazs, Kozui...) or (our favorite) bring him to surprise places he would enjoy (Global Fun Carnival, etc.). He loves airplanes and helicopters, and we bought him helicopter / airplane toys to play with. Occasionally, we would go sunset airplane watching at the Heritage Park. The ultimate surprise for any kid who loves Airplanes / Helicopters is to bring him in close encounter with the real thing! Of course, you need to set it up as a surprise and bring him to the Aerospace Museum of the Philippine Air Force in Villamor Air Base! The world class Aerospace Museum opened its doors on the 60th founding anniversary of the Philippine Air Force last June 29, 2007. It was a long awaited opening after 10 years of planning, design and construction. The first floor has interactive displays of modern aerospace science. The second floor houses the Air Force heritage and the history of Aviation in the Philippines. The third floor has a view deck to see excellent views of the air base and its surroundings. Our favorite part of the museum is the display of the 18 kinds of military aircraft permanently towed in the museum for public viewing! The museum is located in the intersection of Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 and Villamor air base complex. For P20 per person, you can enjoy this museum with your kids! They are open on weekdays and halfday on Saturdays. Ways to enjoy the Aerospace Museum by the Philippine Air Force 1. Touch one of the modern planes on display in the first floor of the museum. Aidan got scared at first because the plane lit up when you go near it. 2. Ride and see what’s inside an actual helicopter. I can see the surprised happiness in Aidan’s face when he climbed into the helicopter. 3. Sit in the cockpit of one of the jet fighter planes. 4. Be amazed with the different airplane models on display like the airport model above. 5. Get inside one of the big commercial airplanes donated by the Philippine Airlines. This is air-conditioned plane. 6. See what it feels like to peak into a night vision goggle. 7. Further explore a total of 18 military aircrafts on display in the aerospace museum. 8. See this vintage 8mm movie camera and an old military phone. Aerospace Museum of the Philippine Air Force Intersection of Villamor Airbase Complex and NAIA Terminal 3 P20 Entrance Fee | Mon-Friday 8am to 5pm and 8am-12nn on Saturday

d An Underwater Playgroun nter with the diverse marine creatures indigenous to

a live encou At Manila Ocean Park, kids can have ed and excited throughout It is priceless to see your toddler amaz the Philippines and South East Asia. e exhibits. Don’t miss marin live and reefs coral iums, giant aquar the Oceanarium’s self-paced tour of first aquarium exhibit the is which area, ) ber in the Agos (Flow interacting with starfish and sea cucum is the 25 meter-long tour the of from land to sea. The highlight that features the natural flow of water fish, stingrays and sharks from ent differ of ction intera e marin tunnel, which feels like watching the rkable display of sharks, be awed and intimidated by the rema their underbellies. In the end, you’ll Giant Guitarfish. the and Shark oo Reef Shark, Gray Bamb showcasing the Blacktip and Whitetip ned areas, except for the facilities are in covered and air-conditio Most of the Oceanarium aquarium entrance. You can bring main m’s nariu Ocea the to g from parkin Agos (Flow) area and the walkway cularly the Agos area (parti stairs with areas around, except for strollers, which are convenient to push ed, except for flash allow is s video d floor). Taking photos and and Oceanarium exit going to the secon ls. anima e marin the photography because it would scare la. It would take a maximum in the premises, except for infant formu Food and beverages are not allowed Popular fast food outlets ing. enter e so better feed your toddler befor of 2 hours to go around the exhibits, o on the 2nd Floor offers an Ozean yo’s Tama ty. vicini the in found like Chowking, North Park, etc. can be your toddler to beg you to ring dessert display, which can lure Eat-All-You-Can buffet with a mouthwate Park. n Ocea a Manil /head for your trip to eat there. On average, budget P500 Manila Ocean Park a, Manila, Philippines Behind the Quirino Grandstand Lunet 777 567-7 ) (+632 er: Telephone Numb ark.com Email: Reservations@manilaoceanp Website: www.manilaoceanpark.com (Children 4 ft & below), Entrance Fee: Php 400 (Adult), Php 350 ent) (Senior Citizens), P360 (Manila Resid P320 ), Below & ft 2 ren (Child . Complimentary days (Mondays-Fridays) 10am-9pm Week 9pm; 9amys Holida and Park Schedule: Weekends m.) (Note: The ticket counter closes at 8:15p


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Don’t collect wealth for this earth but collect lasting treasures in Heaven. Notes

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45 Days with the Lord Anniversary Mass


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Live your passion while you are still in your prime. There is no day but today to pursue the things that you truly love! Notes

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Live for the memories and blog about it to immortalize the experience for future generations. Notes

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Higantes Festival

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Higantes Festival 8th Maharlika Sunrise Festival

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8th Maharlika Sunrise Festival Thanksgiving Day

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8th Maharlika Sunrise Festival

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8th Maharlika Sunrise Festival Kerygma Conference

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8th Maharlika Sunrise Festival Kerygma Conference


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Success means living life with childlike wonder and getting paid for what you love to do :) Notes

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Bonifacio Day

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Annual Cultural Tour of Negros


December Top 10 Things To Do For Christmas

. 1. Immerse yourself in the Filipino Christmas Culture Simbang Gabi (the early Nine days before Christmas, a lot of Filipinos attend ves for Christmas Day. morning mass) as a novena and to prepare themsel around, to celebrate come to 25 er Decemb for waiting late, up Filipinos stay of gifts. opening the in ting culmina friends, Noche Buena with family and 2. Enjoy the Christmas Cleaning. outside Manila. This is the best time get things done because most people will be traveling The week after Christmas is actually an ideal time to year because you are already relieved the during period your work. This is the most laid back to purge your files, or do some cleaning and renewal in mode. holiday on still of gift-giving responsibilities and people are as Capital of the Philippines. 3. See the Giant Lanterns Festival in the Christm ys compete for the honor of can be found in San Fernando, Pampanga. Various baranga season as Christm the during The most celebrated festival diameter and are operated manually to light up and in 18ft least at are lanterns The country. the in having the best and biggest giant lantern display dance to upbeat music. 4. Pamper yourself in Tagaytay. month in the country. This is the best time to Most people travel to Tagaytay to experience the coldest s, and chillax at the cozy boutique hotels. Antonio’ at dinner sunset a eat , Volcano Taal hike to see the at Cliffhouse, and Meteora. Inn The , T-house e, Boutiqu The The best ones are 8 Suites, 5. Explore the Santa Claus House in Antipolo. full of Santa Claus-inspired collections. Kids would love to see Casa Santa, a Christmas-y house restaurant in the country--Vieux Chalet. Swiss best the out check area, Since you are already in the place in Antipolo. Reyes’ Benji artist Also, make an appointment to see furniture Ocean Park. 6. Entertain kids at Enchanted Kingdom or Manila there during December because of Sta. Rosa, Laguna, just outside Manila. Most people go in located n attractio park theme a is Enchanted Kingdom s display. the cool weather, interesting Christmas shows, and firework It is a nice place to explore at aquarium theme parks in Asia, located near Manila Bay. Manila Ocean Park, on the other hand, is one of the biggest place. the enjoy really can you that so H2O Hotel at or decide to stay leisure. You can watch the special Christmas shows there until Christmas Day. 7. Avoid the malls and bazaar places from the 10th the 12 days before Christmas due to during crunch time. Expect the heaviest traffic during Filipinos love to give gifts, and they also love to buy them ng around this time. all the holiday parties, Kris Kringles and reunions happeni 8. Watch a local Filipino film. Starting on Christmas Day, all local movie festival in the country, the Metro Manila Film Fest. Every year, local filmmakers compete in the biggest , but watching them with locals subtitles have usually don’t shown films in the festival. The movie theaters would only show the movies taking part is all about. could give you a peek into what Filipino movie culture 9. Explore Viaje del Sol in Laguna and Quezon. Escudero; eat and shop at the best pottery Here is a recommended itinerary: Lunch tour at Villa then stay overnight at Hidden Valley in and Quezon; Tiaong, in garden place by Ugu Bigyan Alaminos, Laguna. 10. Escape to the beach. beaches of Kawayan Cove, Tali Beach and South of Manila, the nearest beaches are the private in Calatagan, Batangas; Hamilo Coast and n Calataga Punta Fuego in Nasugbu, Batangas; Playa beach resort is the private Anvaya Cove the resorts in Laiya, Batangas. North of Manila, the best g time with your loved ones. spendin and beach the on relaxing just beats in Subic. Nothing

Larger than Life Lanterns

Festival in San Fernando e of its awesome Festivals like the Giant Lantern One of the reasons I love the Philippines is becaus of the Filipino’s creativity and proud be will you where ts momen those of one Pampanga. If you haven’t seen this, this is hard work. of participation. It which makes this the biggest festival so far in terms There were 12 giant lanterns during that year’s festival front of two tents where the different in up lined were lanterns giant the All ga. was held at the back parking lot of SM Pampan the place is too small for is no entrance fee to watch these giant lanterns but celebrity and prominent judges were seated. There at 8pm until 11pm starts usually ition compet lantern ulder crowd. The giant 100,000 people that it is literally a shoulder-to-sho e for barangay pride and there is no cash prize. compet ys baranga t differen The ition. compet of to complete all the three rounds lantern bigger and bigger each year. Each segment in the These lanterns are 18 feet in diameter; they get it with different colors. It is like the Redbehind bulbs 3-4 having cover paper se Japane usually has a white s. Of course, each lantern has its own unique design Green-Blue (RGB) configuration in our computer monitor to create these giant lanterns and coordinating the is it ated and creative purpose. Just imagine how complic the lanterns need to dance and showcase its lights to switching of the colors. During the competition, the songs. as tune of the Christm d to showcase each lantern’s beauty and the group’s There are three rounds in the competition — designe so rcials or intermission in between the competition, comme no are There music. the with sync to ability will only see here in the Philippines! you that show lantern giant l magica a of hours it is actually 2 full

What a Spankadventure: The Very Best of Pampanga Cuisine!

It was a foodie dream come true!

Mely’s Sisig. Voted as the Best Sisig in Pampa nga by the locals. Mely’s Sisig is grilled to perfection, chopped and mixed with the special sauce which makes this dish very addicting.

I have always dreamed about the day that I would get to explore the very best of Pampanga food.It was a feast not to be forgotten--Mely’s Sisig, Jun-Jun’s Barbecue and the popular Everyb ody Cafe’s authentic Pampanga food. We also treated ourselves to unique Pampanga desserts like Doren Tayag’s Decadent Cake with Caram el Sauce and Aurely’s Special upside down version of Brazo de Merced es.

Doren Tayag’s Decadent Cake with Caram el Sauce (P550/ box). The Best Chocolate Cake in Pampanga (if not in Metro Manila)! Now, I’m sounding like I’m exaggerating already but we had to seek out all these treats to taste the best of what Pampanga has to offer. Polly’s Cake will be no match for this soft chocolate cake with decade nt icing topped with oh so delicious caramel sauce!

You won’t be a certified foodie if you haven’ t tasted Kapampangan cuisine. I assure you, you can’t find these types of food in the Metro and yes, you have to travel to San Fernando, Pampanga for a taste of all of these.

Aurely’s Special: Brazo de Mercedes (P125 /box). These highly rich in cholesterol brazo de mercedes are sinfully temptin g. I should warn you not to eat one of these or you’ll be addicted special ly if you are a brazo de mercedes lover just like us.

Fried Catfish (P80) with Buro and Mustasa (P25). I was never fond of eating catfish specially the fried one becaus e of its aftertaste. This one is an exception because the meat was fried well--crunchy outside but tasty juicy meat inside. You eat this by wrappi ng a piece of catfish meat with Buro in a vegetable leaf similar to how you would eat a peking duck. The buro is so good that you forget that it is made from fermented rice. Fried Camaru (P160). I must admit that these food trips are becoming adventurous bordering into the exotic. Althoug h it looks like a fear factor dish, don’t be deceived by its looks. This tastes like bacon and you won’t believe that this was the first dish that was wiped out! Jun-Jun’s Barbecue (P40/stick). All my blog readers vouch for this, so we had to take out 5 sticks with us to eat in Everybody’s Cafe. This is the best barbecue I ever tasted and it tastes like Aristocrat Chicken Barbecue. It is marinated in Java sauce which makes the meat very tasty and you have the option to put more java sauce on top before eating. Each stick is already good for one meal, and the P40/stick is well worth it because it is full of meat and cooked while you order.


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15 days before Christmas is the time when most people would buy their Christmas presents. Make it a habit to buy your Christmas presents earlier and beat the Christmas Rush. Notes

Most Important Things to Do

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The Filipino Christmas is warm, festive, and alive — truly, it is one of the best Christmas Celebrations in the world! Notes

Most Important Things to Do

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Start of Simbang Gabi UP Oblation Run

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What if the Mayan Prophecy is true that on December 12, 2012 the world as we knew it will end and will renew itself. If you only have one year to live – what would you do differently in 2012? Notes

Most Important Things to Do

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Merry Christmas! This is the time to forgive and love your enemies and to celebrate life with your friends and families. Celebrate this Christmas like it is the last Christmas in the world! Notes

Most Important Things to Do

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New Year’s Day


Travel Log Chronicle the highlights of your trip here - the awesome experiences you like most and to immortalize the memories about your trip. Feel free to scribble down your thoughts here.


Notes

Notes


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Lifestyle Directory

Lifestyle Directory

TOP 100 MOST AWESOME RESTAURANTS 8 Most Awesome Filipino Restaurants

Email: cheflaudico@yahoo.com Website: http://www.ChefLaudico.com.ph

1. Ka Lui

10. Abe Restaurant

369 Rizal Ave., Puerto Princesa City, Palawan Telephone: +63 (48) 433-2580 Website: http://www.KaLuiRestaurant.com

Serendra, Bonifacio Global City Taguig City, Metro Manila Telephone: +632 856-0526

2. Isla Naburot

11. Chef’s Table by Chef Bruce Lim

Brgy. Sinapsapan, Guimaras Contact: Theresa Saldaña Araneta, MD Mobile: +63 918 909-8500 Email: islanaburot@gmail.com

Unit 106 The Infinity Tower 26th Street Bonifacio Global City Taguig Telephone: +632 399-18-88 Website: http://ChefsTableManila.com

3. Claude Tayag’s Bale Dutung

12. Romulo Cafe

Villa Gloria Subdivision, Angeles City, Pampanga Mobile: +63 917 535-9198 Telephone: +632 6684038, 5024527 Email: mquioctayag@yahoo.com Website: http://BaleDutung.com

# 32 Scout Lazcano cor Scout Tuason, Quezon City Mobile: +63 915 662-3121 Telephone: +632 3327275

4. Breakthrough Restaurant

Paseo de Sta. Rosa, Sta. Rosa, Laguna | Ayala Triangle Gardens Telephone: +63 (49) 544-0332. Manila Number: +632 771-1400; 332-5978 Website: http://www.facebook.com/ pages/Kanin-Club/9931121198

Barangay Sto. Niño Norte, Arevalo, Iloilo Telephone: +63 (33) 337-3027

5. Ugu Bigyan: Potter’s Garden 490 Alvarez Village , Brgy Lusacan, Tiaong, Quezon Telephone: + 63 (42) 545-9144

6. Kinabuhayan Cafe Dolores, Quezon Contact: Jay Herrera Mobile: +63 917 368-0054 Telephone: +63 42-565 6828 Email address: kina_cafe@yahoo.com

7. Cafe Juanita #19 West Capitol Drive, Barrio Capitolyo, Pasig Telephone Number: +632 632-0357

13. Kanin Club

Telephone: +632 697-0396 Mobile Phone: +63 929 7093063 Website: http://vieuxchalet.multiply.com

19. Lemuria 5 Julieta Circle, Horseshoe Village Quezon City Telephone Numbers: +632 724-5211, 722-2185, 724-6306 E-Mail Address: sales@lemuria.com. ph, lemuria@brumms.com.ph Website: http://www.lemuria.com.ph and http://www.brumms.com.ph

19. Galileo Enoteca 80 Calbayog St. cor. Malinao St. Mandaluyong City, Metro Manila Telephone: +632 534-4633

20. Ninyo 66 Esteban Abada St., Loyola Heights Quezon City Telephone: +6324260301 Mobile: +639175385813 Website: http://www.ninyo.ph

Quaint Places to Eat

14. Bagoong Club

21. Fat Michael’s

122 Scout Dr. Lazcano, Sacred Heart, Quezon City. Telephone: +632 929-5450, 929-0544 Website: http://bagoongclub.multiply.com/

Lacuña cor. Rodriguez St., Bangkal, Makati City, Metro Manila Telephone: +632 843-1953

15. Everybody’s Cafe

8 Socorro Fernandez Street, Mandaluyong City 1550 Telephone: +632 724-3595, 381-5935 Website: http://cookbookkitchen.multiply.com/

Del Pilar, MacArthur Highway, San Fernando, Pampanga Pampanga Telephone: +63 (45) 860-1121 / 961-7121

The Best Romantic Restaurants

22. Cookbook Kitchen

23. TAuMBAYAN

25th corner Lacson St., Bacolod City Contact: Omon Maravilla Telephone: +63 34 434-0269 (Judy/Margie)

16. Antonio’s Restaurant

40 K-1st st corner Teodoro Gener St Kamuning, Quezon City Website: http://www.facebook.com/ pages/TAuMBAYAN/49898549130

Bgy. Neogan, Tagaytay City, Cavite Mobile Number: +63 918 899-2866

24. Nomnomnom Happy Food

Filipino Restaurants We Love

17. La Cocina de Tita Moning, San Miguel

Tomas Morato Corner R. Rodriguez Sr. Avenue Quezon City Metro Manila Phone: +632 8250338

8. Pendy’s

9. Chef Laudico’s Bistro Filipino Ground Floor net 2 Building, 3rd Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig Telephone: +632 856-0634, 856-0541 Mobile: +63 917 800CHEF (2433)

315 San Rafael St., San Miguel Manila, Metro Manila Telephone: +632 734-2146

18. Vieux Chalet Taktak Road Antipolo City Antipolo, Rizal

25. Cocina Juan 100 Maginhawa St., Teacher’s Village, Quezon City Telephone: +632 434-3911 Website: http://www.facebook.com/ pages/Cocina-Juan/59845509318

TOP 100 MOST AWESOME RESTAURANTS 26. Vangogh is Bipolar

34. Lugang Cafe - Bellagio in Manila

154 H Maginhawa St. Sikatuna Village, Quezon City Website: http://www.facebook.com/pages/ van-gogh-is-bipolar/78957949878

115 Connecticut St., Northeast Greenhills, San Juan City Telephone: +632 775-7599

27. Qasa 61

Restaurants at the Ayala Triangle Gardens, Makati Avenue, Makati City Telephone: +632 846-8924 Website: http://www.facebook. com/WeeNamKeePH

61 Lopez Jaena St. Tañong, Marikina City, Metro Manila Telephone: +632 904-6417 Mobile Number: +63 927-9411241 Email: qasa@qasa61.com Website: http://www.qasa61.com/

28. Top Meals Food Haus 5994 J.D. Villena St. cor. Mabini St. Poblacion, Makati Website: http://www.facebook.com/pages/ Top-Meal-Food-Haus/73151448624

35. Wee Nam Kee Philippines

36. Peking Garden Restaurant 4/F Greenbelt 5 Legaspi Street Legaspi Village Makati Metro Manila Telephone: +632 729-0820

37. Choi Garden Seafood and Shark’s Fin Restaurant

Makati Cinema Square, Makati City

12 Annapolis St. cor. Purdue St., San Juan, Metro Manila Telephone: +632 727-6042

30. Bacolod Chicken House Express

38. Eat Well! Delicious Kitchen

114 k Savana Market, Metropolitan Avenue, Pasong Tamo, Makati

Unit C, G/F Net Quad Bldg., 30th-31st St. Bonifacio Global City, Taguig Telephone: +632 856-9408

29. Aida’s Chicken House,

31. You Jie Xiao Chao Chinese Hunan restaurant 6404 Camia St. Guadalupe Viejo, Makati City Mobile Number: +63 915 4252972, +63 927 7876999

Most Awesome Chinese Restaurants 32. Tao Yuan 508-512 General Malvar St., Corner A, Mabini St., Malate (Beside Music 21 and across Pan Pacific Hotel) Telephone: +632 522-7009, 522-7010 Mobile: (+63)917-8197218 Email: info@taoyuanrestaurant.com, taoyuanrestaurant@yahoo.com Website: http://www.taoyuanrestaurant.com

33. Crystal Jade La Mian Xiao Long Bao Unit 117-121 (near Haagen Dazs and Goodwill Bookstore) V-Mall, Greenhills Shopping Center, Greenhills, San Juan City Telephone: +632 570-6910, 570-6912 Website: www.CrystalJade.com

39. The Legend Seafood Restaurant CCP Complex, Roxas Boulevard, Pasay, Luzon, Philippines Telephone: +632 833-1188, 833-3388, 832-2288 Email: legendhkseafood@yahoo.com Website: www.legendhkseafood.webs.com

40. Passion Restaurant 2nd Floor, Maxims Hotel, Resorts World Manila, Newport Boulevard, Newport City, Cybertourism Zone, Pasay Telephone: +632 836-6333 Website: www.rwmanila.com

43. Corner Tree Cafe (Vegetarian Food) 150 Jupiter Street Bel-Air, Makati, Mobile Number: Chiqui +639178481004 or Leah +63916-6149927

44.Wabi-Sabi Noodle House & Vegetarian Grocery 7274 Malugay St., Brgy. San Antonio, Makati (Located at the back, right side of The Collective) Telephone: +63918-450 1714 Email: WabiDashSabi@gmail.com

45. Green Daisy 20 Maginhawa St., UP Village Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines Phone Number: +632 922-2409 Mobile Number: +63 917 814-8262

Most Awesome Japanese Restaurants 46. Urameshi-ya Yakiniku Restaurant Little Tokyo, 2277 Pasong Tamo Makati City Telephone: +632 8132210

47. Ukokkei Ramen Ron Unit 1-2 Upper Ground Floor Tesoro Building 822 A. Arnaiz Avenue ( Pasay road ) Makati Telephone: +632 856-4588

48. Seryna Japanese Restaurant Little Tokyo, 2277 Pasong Tamo Makati City Telephone: +632 894-3855

49. Kikufuji, Makati Little Tokyo, 2277 Pasong Tamo Makati City Telephone: +632 893-7319

50. Sushi Kappo KOBIKI-CHO

Healthy Places to Eat

150 Legazpi Street, Legazpi Village, Makati City +632 752-1280

41. RawVolution

51. Inagiku

GOLD Bldg., 15 Annapolis St., Greenhills, San Juan

Makati Shangrila, Ayala Avenue corner Makati Avenue, Makati City Telephone: +632 840 0884 Website: http://www.shangri-la.com/en/ property/manila/makatishangrila/dining

42. Greens Vegetarian Restaurant and Cafe 92 Scout Casto St., South Triangle, Quezon City, Metro Manila Telephone: +632 415-4796


Lifestyle Directory

Lifestyle Directory

TOP 100 MOST AWESOME RESTAURANTS Most Awesome Italian Restaurant

Telephone: +632 637-3090 Website: http://cymarestaurants.com/

Whistlestop/129858612590

52. C’ Italian Fine Italian Dining

60. Lu Restaurant (Mediterranean)

FCC Building, 119 Rada St., Legaspi Village, Makati City Telephone: +632 752-5669

1210 Don Juico Avenue, Clark Field, Angeles City, Pampanga Contact: Chef Chris Locher Telephone: +63 45 892-4059 Website: www.c-italian-dining.com

53. Cantinetta G/F Karrivin Plaza, 2316 Pasong Tamo Extension, Makati City +632 892-9873

54. Bellini’s Italian Restaurant Cubao Expo, Gen. Romulo Ave., Cubao, Quezon City Contact: Roberto & Ma. Luisa Bellini Telephone: +(632) 913-2550

Most Awesome French Restaurants 55. Je Suis Gourmand G/F, Net One Center, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City +632 815-8801

56. Restaurant Cicou Hotel Celeste San Lorenzo Drive cor. A. Arnaiz Ave., San Lorenzo Village, Makati City Telephone: +632 887-8080 loc. 242

57. La Regalade French Bistro 820 Arnaiz Ave., Makati City Telephone: +632 750-2104 Website: http://www.laregalademanila.com

Specialty Restaurants We Love 58. L’Entrecote (Steak and Frites) Forbes Town Center, Unit A Bellagio 2 Burgos Circle, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig Telephone: +632 856-4858 Email: info@lentrecotemanila.com Website: http://www.lentrecotemanila.com/

59. Cyma (Greek) G/F Greenbelt 2, Ayala Malls, Makati City Telephone: +632 729-4837 Unit 638 Level 6 Shangri-la Mall, Mandaluyong City

G/F Joya Bldg., Joya Drive, Rockwell. Makati City Telephone: (+632) 403-3991

61. Balkan Express (Balkan) 87 Jose Abad Santos St., corner Mons St., Little Baguio, City of San Juan Telephone: +632 330-0945

62. Ba Noi’s (Vietnamese) G/F Greenbelt Mansions, Perea St., Legaspi Village, Makati City Telephone: +632 893-7359

63. MAYA Mexican Restaurant & Tequila Lounge (Mexican) Crossroads Banilad, Cebu Telephone: +632 238-9552, 238-9618 Mobile: +63 917 624-9185 Email: Service@MayaCebu.com Website: http://www.MayaCebu.com

64. People’s Palace (Thai) G/F Garden Side, Greenbelt 3, Ayala Center, Makati City Telephone: +632 729-2888 Email: reservations@peoplespalacethai.com Website: http://www.peoplespalacethai.com

65. Old Swiss Inn 24/7 (Swiss) G/F Somerset Olympia Makati Ave. (beside the Peninsula) cor. Sto Tomas St., Makati City Telephone: +632 818-0098, 818-8251, 894-5826 Website: http://www.oldswissinn.com

66. Borough 24/7 (New York) Ground floor, Unit 107A, The Podium Mall, 12 ADB Avenue, Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong Telephone: +632 5708906

67. Chocolate Fire (Desserts) PDCP Building, Corner of Leviste St. and Rufino St., Makati Telephone: +632-840-FIRE (3473) Email: info@chocolatefire.com Website: www.chocolatefire.com

68. Whistlestop 24/7 (Asian) Address: 28 Jupiter St., Makati, Philippines Telephone: +632 896 1989 Website: www.facebook.com/pages/

69. Swagat Indian Cuisine (Indian)

The Best in Continental Cuisine 70. Aubergine Restaurant & Patisserie 32nd and 5th Building. 5th Avenue cor. 32nd Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig Telephone: +632 856 9888. Email: dine@aubergine.ph Website: www.aubergine.ph

71. Sala Restaurant 6752 Ayala Avenue corner Makati Avenue, Makati City Telephone: +632 750 1555 / +632 893 0242 Email: info@salarestaurant.com Website: http://www.salarestaurant.com/

72. The Goose Station Ground Floor, W Tower, 39th St., Bonifacio Global City, Taguig Telephone: +632 556 9068 Mobile: +63917 85 GOOSE (46673)

73. Cafe 1771 El Pueblo Real de Manila, Julia Vargas cor. ADB Ave., Ortigas Center, Pasig Telephone: +632 631-7340

74. Masseto

TOP 100 MOST AWESOME RESTAURANTS 132 L.P. Leviste cor. Sedeno St., Salcedo Village Makati City Telephone: +632 843-4075

Best Steakhouse 78. CRU Steakhouse

Best Burger Places

Purok 5, Brgy. Bukal, Silang, Cavite, Philippines 4118 (near Tagaytay City) Telephone: +63 929 711-3289 Email: info@chateauhestia.com Website: http://www.chateauhestia.com/

86. Charlie’s Grind and Grills

94. Crescent Moon Cafe

No.10 Newport Boulevard, Newport City Complex, Pasay City Telephone: +632 988-9992 Fax: +632 988-9946 Email: mhrs.mnlap.aatodfb@marriot.com Website: www.marriott.com/mnlap

79. Mamou Serendra, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City Telephone: +632 856-3569

80. Elbert’s Steak Room 3/F Sagittarius Building III, 111 H. V. de la Costa Street, Salcedo Village, Makati City Telephone: +632 339-3363 Mobile Number: +63 915 315-1813 Email: info@steakroom.com Website: http://www.steakroom.com/

Best Buffets in Manila 81. Spirals Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila, CCP Complex Roxas Boulevard , Pasay City Telephone: +632 551-5555, 832-6988 Website: http://www.sofitel.com

82. Circles Event Cafe Makati Shangri-La Ayala Avenue corner Makati Avenue Makati City Telephone: +632 840 0884 Website: http://www.shangri-la.com/en/ property/manila/makatishangrila/dining

75. Restaurant 101

83. Sunday Family Crossover Brunch

Enderun Colleges, 1100 Campus Avenue, McKinley Hill, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig Telephone +632 856 5000 local 101 or 403-7840 Website: www.101.enderuncolleges.com/

Dusit Thani Hotel & Resorts, Ayala Centre, Makati City Telephone: +632 238 8888 Website: http://www.dusit.com/ hotels/philippines/manila/dusit_thani/ restaurants/index.html

G/F Greenbelt 5, Legaspi St., Legaspi Village, Makati City Telephone: +632 756-5893

77. Apartment 1B One Lafayette Square, G/F Unit 1-B

93. Chateau Hestia Garden Restaurant

5/F Hyatt Hotel & Casino Manila, Pedro Gil cor. MH del Pilar Manila Telephone: +632 245-1234

G/F 114 Valero St., Salcedo Village, Makati City Telephone: +632 8103565, 3380929 Website: http://www.facebook.com/ pages/Masseto/253146102439

76. Lusso

85. LiLi Restaurant (Yum Cha Buffet)

84. Escolta, Manila Peninsula

The Peninsula Manila, Corner of Ayala and Makati Avenues, Metro Manila Telephone: +632 887-2888 Email: pmn@peninsula.com Website: http://www.peninsula.com/ Manila/en/Dining/Escolta/default.aspx

16 East Kapitolyo Drive Pasig City Telephone: +632 501-0137, 635-4857

87. Chuck’s Deli 141 C Serendra Piazza, Bonifacio Global City Taguig City Telephone: +632 576-4210 Mobile: +63 923 398-6378 Email: chucksdeliserendra@gmail.com Website: www.chucksdeli.com.ph

88. BRGR: The Burger Project 122 Maginhawa St., Teachers Village, QC Telephone: +632 351-7474 Email: theburgerproject@yahoo.com Website: theburgerproject.com

Most Awesome Garden Restaurants 89. My Mother’s Garden 2650 Zamora St. Pasay City Telephone: +632 831-8407 Mobile Numbers: Malu Antonio Veloso (+63 917 600 8886) Letlet Antonio Veloso (+63 918 702 2125)

90. Sonya’s Garden, Tagaytay Barangay Buck Estate, Alfonso, Cavite, Philippines Mobile: +63-9175329097 / +639175335140 / +63-9175231080 Email: info@sonyasgarden.com Website: http://www.sonyasgarden.com

91. Balai Indang, Tagaytay Indang, Cavite Contact: Marge Tan Mobile: +63 917 866 5825

92. Isabelo Garden Restaurant San Roque, Marikina City Telephone: +632 510.6914 Mobile Number: +63 908 740-1645 Email: isabelogardenrestaurant@gmail.com Website: http://www.isabelogarden.com

Sapang Buho, Ascencion Road, Barangay Dalig, Antipolo City Telephone: +632 630-5854, +632 658-3866 Mobile Number: +63917 523-2356

95. Bawai’s, Vietnamese Restaurant Purok 5, Silang, Cavite and Sandari, Batulao Mobile: +63920 9722924 Website: http://www.facebook. com/pages/Bawais-VietnameseKitchen-Tagaytay/78856454717

Private Dining Places 96. SOCO Private Dining 6 General Segundo Street San Antonio Village Pasig Phone: +63(0922)8804823 Telephone: +632 910-0724

97. The Home Chef Private Dining by Minnie Puno Somewhere in the Ayala Alabang area Telephone: +632 842-2559 Mobile: +63917-8382559, Email: minniepuno@yahoo.com

98. Chef Popit’s Crown Tower, 107 HV dela Costa Street, Salcedo Village, Makati City Mobile: +63 917 893-1938

99. Myrna Segismundo’s New Manila: Private Kitchen 45 Sunrise Hill, New Manila Rolling Hills Village, Quezon City Telephone: +632 721-0736 Email: newmanilakitchen@gmail.com

100. Chef Tatung’s Private Dining 17 Matipid St., Sikatuna Village, Quezon City Mobile: +63 915 846 3234 Telephone: +632 352-6121 email: cheftatung@gmail.com


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2012

31

march W Th F

S

1

2

3

4

8

9

10 11 12

M

5

1 3 4 5 6 7 8 10 11 12 13 14 15 17 18 19 20 21 22 24 25 26 27 28 29

9

10

11 12 13 14 15

13

14 15 16 17 18 19

13

14 15 16 17 18 19

16

17

18 19 20 21 22

20

21

22 23 24 25 26

20

21

22 23 24 25 26

23

24

25 26 27 28 29

27

28

29

27

28

29 30 31

30

31

M

T

W

M

T

W

T

1

2

3

8

9

10 11 12 13 14

5

6

7

15

16

17 18 19 20 21

12

13

14 15 16 17 18

22

23

24 25 26 27 28

19

20

21 22 23 24 25

29

30

31

26

27

28 29 30

may Th F 4

5

june S

Su

6

7

W

july Th

Th

F

S

Su

M

F

S

1

2

3

4

8

9

10 11

1 3 4 5 6 7 8 10 11 12 13 14 15 17 18 19 20 21 22 24 25 26 27 28 29 31

M

T

september W Th F

S

Su

1

2

3

8

9

10

4

5

6

11

12

18

19

25

26

7

M

T

october W Th F

S

Su

M

T

1

Su

M

T

W

S

Su

2 9 16 23 30

T

august W Th F

S

Su

1

2

3

5

6

8

9

10 11 12 13

2 9 16 23 30

14

15 16 17 18 19 20

21

22

23 24 25 26 27

28

29

30 31

Su

M

T

7

november W Th F

S

1

2

3

4

8

9

10 11 12

4

5

6

4

december W Th F

S

1

2

3

8

9

10

5

Su

2

3

4

8

6

13 14 15 16 17

9

10

11 12 13 14 15

13

14 15 16 17 18 19

11

12

13 14 15 16 17

20 21 22 23 24

16

17

18 19 20 21 22

20

21

22 23 24 25 26

18

19

20 21 22 23 24

27 28 28 30

23

24

25 26 27 28 29

27

28

29 30

25

26

27 28 29 30 31

30

31

5

6

7

7

april Th F

Su

7

My Awesome Life Book 2011  

My Food and Travel Book in 2011

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