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august - september 2011

wild PhiliPPine adventures From a dip in the crater of an active volcano to swimming alongside sharks

hot heritage

book a stay in bataan’s heritage house


Not just good with wine


Me and My travels

Film director rory Quintos

Girl Band “General luna” 5 Ladies who rock

a guide to destiNatioN weddiNgs

INside i n f l i g h t | a u g u s t- s e p t e m b e r | 2 0 1 1


20 Ten Wild Philippine Adventures

Fancy a dip in the crater of an active volcano? Or a swim alongside thresher sharks in Cebu? Look no further. Lei Chavez picks 10 unbeatable trips for the adventurous


06 Editor’s Note 08 INformed

What not to miss in August and September

10 INTheNews

Step Back in time: Book yourself a historic stay at one of Las Casas Filipinas de Azucar’s 27 heritage houses PLUS: Whitewater rafting in Abuan River, Isabela; and moutain biking in Quezon City

14 INRoom

Old Spanish: Experience old-world colonial charm at Sitio Remedios in Ilocos

18 INPerson

Me and My Travels: Film director Rory Quintos

46 INFocus

Camping at Lake Caliraya


Masseto: Good food, great wine

34 INTheFrame: Arts and Culture General Luna: Five ladies who rock


PLUS! Airline Guide Cover credits

A guide to de stination w eddings

photo by daniel soriano

Concept by InFlight Photo by Daniel Soriano Art direction by Jocas See Styling by waldo villados Hair and make up by Aisa Fay Costo Modeling by Julia Sniekowski for Reco Modeling Agency Location: Callao Caves, Peñablanca Town, Cagayan Model’s attire on this page: Clothes by Promod; footwear by Merrell august-september 2011

| InFlight | 3

to Boracay w w

executive Editor

The small guide for the big trip Our InFlight guide to boracay has a 78-page resort listings, featuring some of the hottest resorts and hippest hang-outs, plus a valuable insider’s guide to where to eat, where to go, and what to do on the island. Packed with intelligent information, it’s not small where it matters.



Giselle Javison

managing EDITOR

Monica De Leon

Art Director Writer


Contributing photographers MARIO BABIERA, ferdz decena, Joel Garcia, ken go, oggie ramos, Jeffrey Sonora, Daniel Soriano, Steve Tirona Contributing writers Vicki Aldaba, Catherine Calderon, Lei Chavez, Chip Childers, Freida Dario, cathy tagle-garcia, Jan Lao, Andrea Pasion, Ces Rodriguez, Mari-an Santos

A dv e r t i s i n g S a l es a n d M a r k e t i n g Sales and marketing director

Margie Defensor

account executive

joyce ann moros

Publishing publisher Publishing director

Buy a copy now! Call +63 2/ 8 40 2802 or email

Dornier Media International Nikos Gitsis

Boa rd of Advisers Seair chairman

Iren Dornier

Publishing director

Nikos Gitsis

Editorial director Director

Giselle Javison Delza Apostol

General manager

Monica De Leon

Legal counsel

Atty. Celina Cua

Inquiries Editorial: +632/ 553 7976; Email:; Press releases: Advertising: +632/ 553 7978; Email: Subscription and Archive: Email:

philippine C op y right © 2 0 1 1 Dornier Media International 4F Lerose Building, 832 Edades Street corner Arnaiz Avenue, Makati City, Philippines Telefax: +632 840 2802 • Email:

editor’s note

Live Life. Travel Smart

Win a luxury holiday for two to Boracay To join, just click on for details

Boracay’s White Beach




luxury Boracay holiday for two is only a click away at We are giving away to our readers two roundtrip tickets to Boracay Island, including a luxury two-night stay worth P20,000 at Puntarosa Boutique Hotel (www. in Station 1, based on twin-sharing, dinner for two at Zuzuni Boracay ( in Station 1 worth P2,500, and spa treatment worth P4,600 at Kai Regency Spa ( at Boracay Regency, Station 2. To get a chance to win, all you have to do is visit www. and click on the competition box on the homepage, sign up for our monthly newsletter and membership to the Travel Boutique Shop for regular email updates on travel deals, discounts, and offers on a range of travel-related goods and gadgets. The promo runs from August 15 to October 15, 2011.

| august-september 2011

The winner will be announced online on www. and in the December 2011 issue of InFlight magazine. Our Boracay luxury holiday competition is first in a series of competition, so visit us online regularly and watch this space. And last but not least this issue, our 10 Wild Adventures in the Philippines cover story presents exciting ideas for the shoulder season in travel, whether it’s swimming in the crater of an active volcano or swimming with thresher sharks (See pages 20 to 31). It may sound a bit extreme, but it’s not really that bad an idea and one that might just fan your appetite for more adventure breaks. Enjoy your flight! ■

giselle javison Editor, InFlight

photo by oggie ramos

A d v e r t o r i a l


It is not true that you must have a fat wallet to be able to travel. Microtel Hotels and Resorts offers you value for money top quality accommodations that are located in every main tourist destination in the Philippines: Baguio, Batangas, Boracay, Cabanatuan, Cavite, Davao, Palawan, Tarlac and Manila. With these prized locations, your vacation at your choice destination can really happen.


Go up to the country’s summer capital and enjoy Baguio City’s cool climate. Microtel Baguio offers you great value with its Tree Top Adventure: an overnight stay for 2 persons plus a choice of Superman, Silver Surfer, Canopy Ride or Tree Drop. (P3,450 net)


Wanting to scratch Tarlac off your bucket list of must-visits? Better not because one can visit famous landmarks such as the Aquino Center and Museum and the Luisita Golf & Country Club. Now you can also conquer the mighty Mt. Pinatubo by trekking and exploring its crater. This adventure allows you to experience new landscapes which only Microtel Tarlac can offer with its day tour package that includes lunch and snack after the trek and an overnight stay based on twin sharing. (P4,500 net/person)


The North always brings a surprise – and Microtel Cabanatuan is no exception. This 50-room hotel is located in Sta. Arcadia, a residential and commercial development of Ayala Land. At Microtel Cabanatuan, you can now enjoy a relaxing get away with its package of an overnight stay good for 4 persons inclusive of breakfast and two beer towers for your night’s enjoyment. Indeed, heading up North has never been this fun! (P2,900 net)


If you prefer some place cool and near, travelling south towards Cavite should do the trick. Microtel Eagle Ridge, Cavite is the perfect place to unwind, with its 57-room establishment right inside the Eagle Ridge Golf and Residential Estates. It is a short drive away from Tagaytay City, a weekend favourite of people from all over the country. Experience a boat ride to and from Taal Lake with Microtel Cavite’s Tagaytay trek adventure inclusive of an overnight stay good for 2 persons. (P4,000 net)

Travellers in beach mode will applaud the budget-friendly offerings of Microtel Puerto Princesa, Palawan. It is the only property in the city with its own beachfront, the white sands of Emerald Beach. Stay for BAGUIO 3 days/2nights TARLAC based on quad CABANATUAN sharing, take a tour MALL OF ASIA BATANGAS CAVITE of the Underground River and go island hopping BORACAY in Honda Bay plus a choice of: massage, kayak, horse-back PUERTO PRINCESA ride or yoga, for only P5,200 net/ DAVAO person. Now, that’s a vacation!


Fancy going to Davao but fearing you might not be able to afford it? Fear not. Microtel Davao brings you great adventures



Another travel destination down south is Batangas, where business, commercial and recreational establishments are in abundance. If you want to let loose the kid in you, enjoy an Enchanted Weekend at Microtel Batangas with its weekend package inclusive of an overnight stay for 4 persons plus 2 Ride-allYou-Can EK Passes and 2 Entrance-Only Passes with free carousel ride. (P4,500 net, valid on weekends only)


Whether you decide to try the underwater adventures or go island hopping or enjoy a buggy car trip to Mount Luho, Microtel Boracay brings you the comfort and convenience of a Boracay hotel with its value deal. Stay overnight in a double room good for 2 persons with breakfast for only P2,500 net. Or, enjoy a 3days/2nights stay based on quad sharing inclusive of breakfast, a bucket of beer and a choice of either island hopping, paraw sailing or buggy car trek to Mount Luho for only P3,000 net/person.

and attractions with its value packages of 3days/2nights stay based on twin sharing with breakfast, for only P7,750 net/person. This includes a tour of Eden Nature Park and a Skyrider Zipline experience plus any one of these adventures: (a) the exhilarating river rafting at Davao river, or (b) Pearl Farm Resort day tour with buffet lunch and roundtrip boat ride.


Just because you are in Manila does not mean that there are no new adventures to discover. Microtel Mall of Asia Manila is the perfect choice since it’s a stone’s throw away from one of the largest malls in the world. It offers a family adventure inclusive of an overnight stay in a double city view room good for 4 persons with breakfast for 2 persons and a choice of any of the following family activities: 2 tickets to the Zipline Ride by the Bay with souvenir photo, 3 bowling games at SM Bowling Center or 4 tickets to the sled ride at SM Mall of Asia skating rink. (P3,999 net)

Microtel is an international chain of hotels under Wyndham Hotel Group. All Microtels in the Philippines are managed by Microtel Development Corp., the hospitality arm of Phinma Group For more information, call (02) 899 7171 or log on to

INFormed What not to miss in august and september



Peter Pan

Noli Me Tangere, The Musical

Noli Me Tangere musical gets restaged in honor of Philippine national hero Jose Rizal’s 150th birthday on June 19. This musical is adapted by Ryan Cayabyab from Rizal’s most famous work with libretto by National Artist Bienvenido Lumbera, directed by Audie Gemora, with costume design by National Artist Salvador Bernal. Mark Bautista and Arnold Reyes alternate as Crisostomo Ibarra, Cris Villonco as Maria Clara, Bodjie Pascua as Padre Damaso, and Angeli Bayani as Sisa. Call Tanghalang Pilipino Office at +632/ 832 3661 or email at

13 Seussical

Repertory Philippines brings to life Dr. Seuss in a magical musical Seussical, a story that revolves around Horton the Elephant who finds himself faced with a challenge to save a friend and guard an abandoned egg that’s left to his care. Directed by Joy Virata, cast includes singing diva Bituin Escalante. Seussical runs until December 2011 at Onstage Theater, Greenbelt 1, Makati City. Call Ticketworld at +632/ 891 9999 or visit www.

19-28 Tatlong Kwento ni Lola Basyang

Ballet Manila restages Severino Reyes’ criticallyacclaimed trilogy of Filipino tales Ang Prinsipe ng mga Ibon (Prince of Birds), a story of a princess who falls in love with a bird, Ang Kapatid ng Tatlong Maria (Brother of Three Marias), a hero’s journey to different kingdoms in search



| august-september 2011

of his bewitched sisters, and Mahiwagang Biyulin (Magical Violin), a local version of Pied Piper showing how good triumphs over evil at the Aliw Theater. The granny storyteller, Lola Basyang, is played by Luz Fernandez, with guest participation in the trilogy by Prima ballerina Liza Macuja-Elizalde. Music is by Ryan Cayabyab and Joey Ayala; musical arrangement by Mon Faustino; choreography by Osias Barroso, Lisa Macuja-Elizalde and Tony Fabella. Call Ticketworld

production of InThe Heights marks the first internationally licensed production of the show by Atlantis Productions. Scoring is by Lin Manuel Miranda. Staged at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium, RCBC Building, Makati City. Call Atlantis Productions at +632/ 892 7078 or 840 1187

29 Peter Pan



In The Heights

Tony Award winning InTheHeights is a musical – mix of its hip-hop, salsa, merengue and soul – that presents the story of a vibrant community in New York’s Washington Heights. Directed by Bobby Garcia, the Manila

JM Barrie’s classic tale about ‘the boy who never grew up’ will magically be brought to life in a spectacular Asian premiere to be presented by Repertory Philippines and STAGES. The cast includes Sam Concepcion as Peter Pan, Pinky Marquez as Mrs. Darling, and Michael Williams as Captain Hook. Directed by Jaime Del Mundo and Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo. Showing until October 30 at the Meralco Theater, Pasig City. Call Ticketworld

Report by Margie Francisco

INTheNews t r av e l | l i f e s t y l e | h o t e l s & r e s o r t s | a r t s & fa s h i o n | a n d m o r e

Reports by Margie Francisco

Las Casas Filipinas de Azucar’s 27 Filipino heritage houses on a 400-hectare land sets the stage for a virtual remake of a mid-century village

Step Back in Time

Book yourself a historic stay at one of Las Casas Filipinas de Azucar’s 27 heritage houses You may be forgiven for thinking you’ve walked into the walled city of Intramuros, but no you’re in Bataan, the new seat of a string of heritage hotels. Located in Bagac, Bataan, Las Casas Filipinas de Azucar’s 27 Spanish-era and 1900s heritage houses are on a sprawling 400-hectare land surrounded by the Umagol River, the South China Sea and a wide expanse of carabaoplowed fields that extend to the mountain. Owned by architect Jerry Azucar and managed by Genesis Hotels and Resorts, Las Casas Filipinas de Azucar offers six of its heritage houses, which were built from

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salvaged architectural pieces and remnants of authentic ancestral houses, for rent to families and groups who want the exclusivity of a selfcatering accommodation. It also has 27 heritage houses offering guest rooms and the modern conveniences of a hotel. This year, the group will open two more heritage houses. Las Casas is set to open in November Casa Jaen 2, a two-storey, fivebedroom heritage house inspired by the typical Escolta Buildings in Manila during the 1900s. Casa Jaen 2 is being rebuilt from the architectural salvage of what is believed to be the house of the first mayor of Jaen in Nueva

Ecija. It will offer en suite rooms on two floors. In December this year, Las Casas is set to open Casa Vyzantina, one of the first three-storey commercial buildings of early 20th century. It is a seven-bedroom heritage house offering airconditioned rooms, and modern conveniences such as LCD TV, WiFi, refrigerator and mini-bar, and 24-hour butler service. ■

Las Casas Filipinas de Azucar is in Bo Pag-asa, Bagac, Bataan. For more info, call +632/ 332 5338 or 355 3032. Visit

Photo by Christian Bederico

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Allow us to ease away the stresses of everyday life. Feel all your worries slip away as you sink into the tranquillity of Kai Spa. When you find your serenity, nothing else matters. 3rd floor, East Wing,

Boracay Regency Beach Resort • Tel no. (036) 288-6111 local 426


t r av e l | l i f e s t y l e | h o t e l s & r e s o r t s | a r t s & fa s h i o n | a n d m o r e

Abuan River in Isabela

Biking Haven at Timberland Heights

Isabela Promotes Abuan River as Next Whitewater Destination The majestic Abuan River of Isabela is offering whitewater rafting and promoting sustainable ecotourism to save the Sierra Madre forest range and wildlife. World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF-Philippines), in partnership with Coca-Cola Philippines and the local government of Ilagan, is grooming Abuan River as a sustainable whitewater rafting destination under its umbrella project to conserve the Abuan watershed. Some five years ago, the Sierra Madre forests and watershed were under constant threat from small-scale logging and charcoal production. In a feasibility study done by WWF-Philippines, it was noted that uncontrolled logging could displace 130,000 families living off the river. To involve locals with the conservation of the Abuan River, WWFPhilippines Isabela project manager Luis Caraan said they started an ecotourism project to give alternative livelihood to people and help them invest in the environment in terms of law enforcement and community-wide conservation efforts. “Slowly the locals are seeing the benefits of ecotourism and the role that they play in caring for the environment. Over the next five years, we see the local cooperative running their tourism agency and continuing the conservation work,” said Caraan in WWF-Philippines’ press release. Trip activities to Abuan River include trekking, swimming, scaling cliffs and waterfalls, rappelling, and of course, either rafting or kayaking. ■ For more information or to schedule a trip to Abuan, call Luis Caraan of WWFPhilippines at +63927/ 655 6845 or email

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Only 15 minutes away from Quezon City, Timberland Heights offers four kilometers of off-road terrain designed for beginners and seasoned mountain bikers alike. The trail features a series of dirt stretches, sweeping curves, steep ascents and descents, all of which should test the riding skills of bikers. At present, Timberland Heights is a popular destination among mountain-biking enthusiasts who are drawn to the challenging climbs and mix of terrain that ranges from moderately rough to rugged. At the end of the year, Timberland Heights plans to expand the trails to 30 kilometers. ■ For more information on Timberland Heights, call +632/ 725 7897 or 415 9468 or visit

Pearl Residences Now Open Boracay’s Pearl of the Pacific recently opened The Pearl Residences, a collection of luxury residential apartments in Station 1, Boracay. The newly added Pearl Residences is a four-story condominium-style building overlooking the island’s forest and its surrounding sea. It has 21 units available for rent within the year (loft, two-bedroom, one-bedroom, and studio type), all fitted with energy-efficient fixtures and large windows. ■ For more information, call +632/ 926 0162 or 924 4480 or visit www.

Toms’ Oxfords and Wedges Out in August Comfortable footwear ideal for city walking Toms introduces its Fall 2011 collection featuring classics, cordones, botas, oxfords, wedges, stitch outs, youth and tiny models – all inspired by a preppy, back to school feel. ■ Available in August, this latest collection of Toms will sell at Nothing But H20 Outlets, select Shoe Salon outlets, Swim in Rockwell, and Adora at Greenelt 5 A b u a n R i v e r P h o t o b y GREGG YAN

INRoom hotels and resorts

Sitio Remedios

Old Spanish

Experience old-world colonial charm at Sitio Remedios, says Margie Francisco

The resort’s chapel

Location. Sitio Remedios is in Barangay Victoria, Currimao, Ilocos Norte, about 45 minutes by car from Laoag International Airport. FIRST IMPRESSIONS. Sitio Remedios, a quaint village resort on a sprawling 18,000sqm land facing the South China Sea, recreates midcentury Ilocos Norte, taking you back to the Spanish colonial period. SETTING. In the evening, the place turns romantic with flickering candles lining the cobble-stone pathway to the resort’s beach with its watchtower called Torre ni Mariano. A chapel devoted to San Miguel, the patron saint of Currimao, sits in the middle of the property. ROOMS. The village resort has 10 houses (three two-storey houses and the rest, bungalows with single or twin bedrooms). I was booked in Balay Radrillo, a two-storey house built with red bricks produced from Ilocos clay. It has two air-conditioned bedrooms, two bathrooms with hot and cold shower, dressers, and free WiFi. The bedrooms are adorned with locally-woven inabel beddings and curtains for that traditional Ilocano look. The house is furnished using local antique furniture, butaca plantation chairs with elongated armrests, locally-made home accessories and crystal chandeliers. FOOD. The village resort’s restaurant by the

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A guest room at Balay Radrillo

beach serves local delicacies such as bagnet (deep-fried pork belly) served with tomatos, anchovy paste, shallot, local sausage, and poqui-poqui (scrambled eggs with eggplants). On offer too are romantic candlelit dinners by the beach or buffet-style in the restaurant. WE LIKE. Ablon, the resort’s spa. Coined from an Ilocano term for healing massage using natural oils and extracts to rub away stresses. Ablon provides a relaxing setting with massage huts near the sea. VERDICT. Spending two nights in solitude at Sitio Remedios made me want to extend my stay. Definitely a place for anybody who wants solitude (great American novelist John Irving stayed in here) or a huge group wanting a break, Sitio Remedios will make you fall in love with the heritage you have only read in books. ■


Rates start at P4,000 (about US $93) per night, inclusive of welcome drinks, breakfasts, use of swimming pool, access to WiFi and viewing of available balays. Brgy. Victoria, Currimao, Ilocos Norte Cellphone: +63917/ 332 0217 Email: URL: HOW TO GET THERE You can reach Laoag either by land or air. Fariñas, Partas, Maria De Leon, and Florida buses ply the route from Manila to Laoag City, taking anywhere from 7 to 10 hours. Domestic airlines fly into Laoag International Airport daily. The travel time takes an average of one hour. An airport shuttle can take you to Sitio Remedios in 30-40 minutes.

chapel Photo by oggie ramos; guest room Photo by jocas a. see

inflight promotions

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Quenza: for the urban adventurer Take a stroll through the city in style with Quenza, a casual and comfy pump with a delicate pointed toe and lace detail. It comes in irresistible washed-out denim shades of dark turquoise, black, blue and purple. You may also want to check out its full leather version in the same chic colors. Grab a pair at any Lacoste Footwear boutique near you.

Resort Feature

A lta V i s ta B or ac ay

Up on a Hill Far away from Boracay’s White Beach, Alta Vista offers its own oasis on a hilly terrain

Location. Alta Vista is located in Barangay Yapak, north of Boracay Island. The resort also gives you private access to Puka Beach, just five minutes away from the resort via shuttle. FIRST IMPRESSIONS. The drive to Alta Vista de Boracay from Cagban Port took 40 minutes, but this was all forgotten once we arrived at the luxury resort built on a hilly terrain. The staff received us with a welcome drink of melon and cucumber juice. Just outside the lobby is an infinity pool with a postcard-pretty view of both the mountains and the sea. SETTING. Though far from the island’s White Beach, Alta Vista de Boracay is set atop a steep terrain that offers a beautiful backdrop of Boracay. The resort is made up of 17 buildings spread out across four hectares of prime land, each unit with a breathtaking view of Boracay Island. FOOD. The The resort’s Cafe Vista offers beach views and serves a tasty selection of Filipino,

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Asian, and Continental dishes. Guests can also dine in the comfort of their rooms or enjoy an outdoor meal at one of the resort’s picnic sites. ROOMS. The resort has 17 buildings with 500 studio and loft-type suites. The airconditioned rooms are equipped with an LCD TV, a microwave oven, a mini-bar with a bar sink, and telephone and internet access. The 42sqm studio rooms are spacious enough to accommodate four to six people, ideal for family or group trips. Rooms have floorto-ceiling glass doors, which open up to a spacious balcony allowing guests to enjoy a panoramic view of the island, refreshing sea breeze and natural light. WE LIKE. The feel of having a vacation home on the island. VERDICT. Set apart but still connected to the rest of Boracay, Alta Vista de Boracay provides a full resort experience in a private setting. ■ —Margie Francisco


Rates are P6,000 (about US $140) for studio rooms and P9,000 for loft suites, inclusive of welcome drinks, use of swimming pool, scheduled shuttle service to and from Puka Beach and White Beach. Tel: +6336/ 288 9888 Email: URL: HOW TO GET THERE SEAIR (; +632/ 849 0100) flies daily from Manila to Caticlan, and a few times a week between Clark and Caticlan. At Caticlan Airport, SEAIR takes passengers to the Caticlan jetty for a 10-minute boat transfer to Cagban Pier, where tricycles or multicabs are available for a 30-minute trip to Alta Vista. Alta Vista offers island transfer for a fee.

The resort’s infinity pool faces part of Brgy. Yapak

The resort’s Cafe Vista serves Filipino, Asian and Continental dishes

august-september 2011

| InFlight | 17


ME AND my Travels Film director Rory Quintos Intervie w by Lei Chave z

First major holiday... A trip to Hong Kong. It was my first time to go abroad. I was with Malou Santos, Olive Lamasan, Charo Santos and Mother Lily Monteverde. Mother Lily and Charo gave me money for the trip because I didn’t have any money. Favorite place... The northern territory of Australia… outback country, where we shot Land Down Under (2009). The nearby grocery store was three and a half hours away. We found ourselves eating bread with mold, but it was nevertheless fun. And Bukidnon. While we were shooting, we went horseback riding everyday, galloping with actors Angel [Locsin] and Piolo [Pascual]. It was all rolling hills and we were living like cowboys. I can’t leave the house without... My rosary. I’m not religious; I’m very spiritual. I’d like to visit... The Himalayas. For my 50th birthday, everybody’s expecting me to throw a great big party. I’m not gonna have a great big party; I’m going to trek the Himalayas. That’s my birthday gift to myself. After the TV soap

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Maria del Barrio, I’m going to Tibet. Next year, I’m going to Antartica. If they give me a job in National Geographic, I’ll go. [In the Philippines,] the place I want to go to is TawiTawi. They say it’s so beautiful. My idea of paradise is... The great outdoors. Anywhere where there’s not a single structure at all. I went to Ivuhos Island in Batanes and there’s not a structure — building or house — at all — it was really beautiful. My favorite outdoor activity is... Trekking, biking. I had the best trek in Mt. Pulag. I’m planning to climb either Mt. Apo or Mt. Kanlaon this November. I’m a backpacker. I love the great outdoors. The rougher, the better. I love beaches and places. My must-bring beauty partner is... Sunblock. I buy VMV. I unwind by... Getting out of the city. I drive to Tagaytay, to Batangas, any nearby province with my adventure buddies. We go where the wind takes us.

My favorite food is... Anything that’s green — green healthy salad. My friend has an organic farm in Tagaytay where I get my greens. My favorite restaurant is Balducci Ristorante & Deli (Tel: +632/ 856 0676) in Serendra. Five things in my bag... Wallet, rosary, hand gel, tissue and brush. To watch movies, I go to… The Promenade in Greenhills or Shangri-La Mall because it’s near my house in San Juan. My favorite movie genre is… Romantic comedies. My top three movies are... Kung Fu Panda because of this concept of inner peace, then something entertaining like Toy Story… it made me cry. Among local movies, I love Olive’s Sana Maulit Muli (1995). I also enjoyed the entire Matrix series, Star Wars, and The Godfather. My dream destination to go and film is… The Himalayas. ■

Cover Story


| InFlight | august-september 2011

Wild Philippine Adventures

Fancy a dip in the crater of an active volcano? Or a swim alongside thresher sharks in Cebu? Look no further. Lei Chavez picks 10 unbeatable trips for the adventurous o p e n i n g s p r e a d p h o t o b y Da n i e l s o r i a n o m a p i l lu s t r at i o n s by m a r lo n s e e

Styling by Waldo Villados; hair & makeup by Aisa Fay Costo; Modeling by Julia Sniegowski for Reco Modeling Agency; Model’s attire: Clothes by Promod; footwear by Merrell Location: Callao Caves, Peùablanca Town, Cagayan

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Peña bl a nc a , C agaya n

Caving and Spelunking in Callao Cave Head off to the town of Peñablanca and climb the 200 steps that lead to the massive limestone formations that house the famed seven-chambered Callao caves. You can also reach the caves by boat along Mororan River, which passes through lush rainforest and steep cliffs. Other caves for exploration include the San Carlos cave and Jackpot cave.

CAGAYAN peÑablanca

Harry Balais of 7,107 Islands Tours offers a threeday package that explores Callao and other nearby caves in Peñablanca. Packages, which include accommodation, transportation from Manila, meals, and entrance fee vary in rates depending on the number of participants. Tel: +632/ 799 5486 Cel: +63917/ 627 4945 Email: For more info on Callao Caves, visit www.cagayano. or call Cagayan Province tourism office at +6378/ 846 7576 zambales


| InFlight | august-september 2011

mt. pinatubo subic

InFlight thanks Cagayan Province Governor Alvaro de Antonio in extending assistance to the InFlight during their front cover shoot in Callao Caves. For more info on where to dine in Cagayan while visiting Callao Caves, turn to page 27

Cover Story

Pinacanauan River at sunset

Tuguega r ao, C agaya n

Kayaking in Tuguegarao

A wild two-day trip sees you kayaking the rapids of Pinacanauan River on the first day and rafting the Chico River on the second. Wonderful scenery of mountainous canyons, gorges, rock formations, and waterfalls, as well as flights of bats. Opt for the rough trip and camp out along the banks. Tintin Medel of Green Era Travel offers Tuguegarao adventure packages that start at P7,500 (about US $174) per person. The package includes spelunking, whitewater kayaking and rafting, transportation from Manila to Tuguegarao and vice-versa, meals, accommodation and equipment. Cel: +63917/ 810 9608, +63922/ 5942598 Email: For more info on Tuguegarao’s kayaking, call Cagayan Province tourism office at +6378/ 846 7576

Photos by jocas a. see


CAGAYAN tuguegarao

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Cover Story

CAGAYAN tuguegarao

Subic, zambales

Take a Zoobic Safari at Subic


The ultimate trip for wild animal lovers: get close to 400 roaming Siberia Tigers while onboard a securely-barricaded jeepney, feed hungry crocodiles, groom porcupines and ride camels. Watch animal parades and cap your trip with a visit to an Aeta Village to watch butterfly and monkey dances. Zoobic Safari package tours start at P1,290 per person with transport from Manila to Subic and vice-versa, entrance tickets, and lunch. Overnight packages start at P1,590 and include room accommodation, entrance tickets, and breakfast. URL: For more info on Zoobic Safari, visit


| InFlight | august-september 2011



CAGAYAN tuguegarao peÑablanca

m t. P i n at u b o, z a m b a l e s

Swim in the Pinatubo Crater Lake A day itinerary includes crossing endless plains of volcanic sand in a 4x4 drive from Capas, Tarlac, trekking cliffs of lahar and volcanic formations for two hours, and swimming or renting kayaks at the crater, which is filled with mildly sulfuric water. Finish the day with a soothing volcanic sand shower at the Pinatubo Spa Town. Looking for a different route? Try the Delta 5 trail that starts off in Porac, Pampanga. Pinoy Mountaineer Tours provides backpackerfriendly rates that start at P1,600 inclusive of vehicles, tour guides, and permits. Cel: +63928/ 966 8060 URL:

Photo by Erick Dantoc

zambales mt. pinatubo

The Pinatubo Spa Town also arranges treks to Mt. Pinatubo at P1,500 and offers massages starting at P500. Tel: +6345/ 493 0031 Mobile: +63928/ 341 0402 august-september 2011

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CAGAYAN tuguegarao peÑablanca

Marveling at the sight of dolphins playing in Tañon Straight is one attraction to behold in Negros





N e g r os O r i e n t a l

All-out Adventure in Negros

boracay island

aklan malapascua island

Try a five-day fling: snorkel and dive at Apo Island on day one, relax by watching whales and dolphins along Tañon Strait on day two, trek mountain trails to reach the 100-feet Casaroro Falls on day three, ride ATVs along Valencia’s rugged terrain on day four, and cap the trip by camping out in the forest on day five.


Contact the Negros Oriental Provincial Tourism Office. Tel: +6335/ 225 1825, +6335/ 422 0675 URL: puerto princesa

Contact ATV Adventure Tours for ATV requirements. Cel: +63906/ 554 2105, +6363917/ 608 0558


| InFlight | august-september 2011

negros oriental

Cover Story

Pinacanauan River at sunset

CAGAYAN tuguegarao peÑablanca

zambales D o n sol , S o r so g o n

Swim with the Whalesharks in Donsol subic

Reserve the months between December to May for a gigantic underwater wildlife encounter. Swim alongside 18-meter butandings (whale shark) in Donsol, Sorsogon, the whale shark capital of the world. For further encounters, take the two-hour trip from Pilar, Sorsogon to Masbate to scuba dive with giant manta rays in the famous Manta Bowl in Ticao Pass. donsol

Donsol EcoTour offers butanding interaction packages that include boat guide, registration fee, snacks and bottled water for P2,000 per head for a group of five.


In Masbate, Dive Ticao (contact Marti Calleja) arranges dives with manta rays in Ticao Pass. boracay island Tel: +6352/ 480 4466


For more info on the whalesharks and for guided tours, visit

Photos by Gutsy Tuason

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Cover Story



P u e r to P r i n c e s a , P a l a w a n

Puerto Princesa’s Ziplines Conquer your fear of heights in Puerto Princesa, Palawan, with its three newly opened ziplines. Glide across rice fields from the limestone formations of Ugong Rock in Tagabenit, or fly above the flora and fauna of the Irawan watershed. A tour with the Tagabenit Community Tourist Association (contact Marivel Orcajada) includes a light trek to the top of Ugong Rock and a quick descent to the receiving zipline ramp. Tel: +63910/ 628 7980 Email: Contact the Rancho Zipline for adventure packages. Cel: +63917/ 549 4711 Email:


| InFlight | august-september 2011

palawan puerto princesa

Cover Story CAGAYAN tuguegarao peÑablanca




M a l a p a sc u a Isl a n d , C e b u

Swim with Malapascua’s Thresher Sharks Underwater thrill-seekers can dive with six-meter thresher sharks in Monad Shoal, a sunken island near Malapascua Island off the northern coast of Cebu. Famed for their scythe-like tails, the threshers show themselves throughout the year between sunrise and 9am. Thresher Shark Divers offers a three-day dive package complete with diving equipment, accommodation, meals and transportation from Cebu City. Cel: +63927/ 612 3359 Email: URL:


Photo by Gutsy Tuason

malapascua island


palawan puerto princesa

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Cover Story

CAGAYAN tuguegarao peÑablanca



Bo r a c a y i sl a n d , a k l a n

Kiteboard in Boracay

The must-try extreme sport: kiteboarding in picturesque Boracay, where the best kite surfers come together to practice the tricks of the trade. Need more privacy? Hangin Kiteboard Center can arrange a kitesurfing safari to remote beaches on the islands of Tablas, Sibaton, and Seco. Hangin Kiteboardcenter’s Kite Safari package starts at P12,500 and includes boat, guide, board and lodging. Tel: +6336/ 288 3766 Cel: +63917/ 717 1870 Email: URL:



Filipino-owned Freestyle Academy offers a twoday beginner kiteboarding course at P10,500. Cel: +63915/ 559 3080 Email: URL: puerto princesa

| InFlight | august-september 2011


P h oto by E s ta n Ca b i g a s


boracay island


Cover Story


Davao O r i e n ta l

Surf in Mati P h oto by J oj i e A lca n ta r a

For surf worshippers who want to avoid the crowds, ride the swells of eastern Davao. The best times to surf are before sunrise from November to April. â– Amihan Surf and Skim Team offers surfing lessons for P400 per hour inclusive of board rental. Botona Beach Resort in Dahican Beach has decent affordable rooms for backpackers. Cel: +63918/ 525 5227, +63916/ 796 8054


davao oriental

Living indulge | in the fr a mes


”It’s P73,000 a bottle. Enjoy!”
 It may be named after the legendary Italian red wine, but this classy new restaurant also has a few French vintages if you’ve got big money to spend. And by the way, the food is divine, says Ces Rodriguez THE SETTING. Near the corner of V.A. Rufino Street with no signage. Arriving at “114” – large brass letters are on the wall of the modern building – a man in a neatly-pressed shortsleeved barong led me to a recessed foyer, where a glass door led to the restaurant. Masseto’s interiors are done in shades of wine: burgundy, champagne, rose and chocolate. Interior decorator Maja Olivares-Co updated the look and feel of the traditional gentleman’s club for Masseto, scaling down wing chairs and eschewing leather for deep, cushy banquettes. A plate glass window brings in natural light. There’s a rectangular bar on the opposite end, and a floor-to-ceiling wine rack. Yes, this is a temple for wine. THE FOOD. Head Chef Tippi Tambunting, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, says she cooks the classics courageously “but respectful of tradition.” Masseto’s been included in the 2010/2011 Miele Guide, which lists the best restaurants in Asia. A plate of chorizo puffs began the tasting menu. They were crunchy thumb-sized triangles, a spicy intro made more flavorful by an aioli dip. The salad of mixed greens with pecorino flan scaled down the fireworks, the whisper of the saltiness from the creamy cheese flan a quiet contrast to the equally laid-back sweetness of the balsamic vinegar and the small disks of what looked like poached pears. It was back to explosive mouthfuls with the tagliolini botargga, pasta served with wafers of the cured roe. The braised lamb rib simply slid

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Masseto’s bar and floor-to-ceiling wine rack. Above, the restaurant’s interior inspired by the shades of wine: burgundy, champagne, rose and chocolate

off the bone into a tiny pile of couscous that soaked the juices but not enough to overpower its delicacy. The meal ended with the strawberry pavlova and the dense, mildly chewy chocolate hazelnut tart. My perfectly chilled glass of Livio Felluga Pinot Grigio was clean, crisp, and went swimmingly with the salad. The Condado de Haza red that accompanied our lamb was just as refined.

seated across the room from Rep. Teddyboy Locsin, writer Teddy Montelibano and Binggoy Remedios of Boracay’s Dos Mestizos restaurant — stalwarts all. At night, the younger crowd. At Saturday brunch, seniors come in.

THE SERVICE. Very attentive. Their wine list is on an iPad, searchable by vintage, type. Inform the restaurant ahead of time if you want a Chateau Margaux (P73,000 a bottle) or Petrus.

VERDICT. Refined and divine. ■

PRICES. Not cheap. A three-course meal (appetizer, entrée, dessert) will set you back P1,500 (about US $35). Add P300 for a glass of wine.

Masseto SB Cards Building, Mezzanine Level, 114 Valero Street, Salcedo Village, Makati City. Tel: +632/ 810 3565, 338 0929, +63918/ 811 8088

WHO DINES THERE. We found ourselves

Photos courtesy of Masseto

Edsa Shangri-La’s Summer Palace


In The Fr ame

Girl Power – Pinoy Style

General Luna says they’re not here to beat the boys — just to show that rock music is for everyone. Margie Francisco met them photos by erick dantoc

Meet General Luna — five young ladies who came together to give a male-dominated band scene a fresh take on rock music. The five — vocalist Nicole Asensio, guitarists Caren Mangaran and Audry Dionisio, bassist Alexis Montemayor and drummer Bea Lao — are out to prove they can hold their own in the Pinoy rock world. Although they only got together in May 2010, the ladies are no strangers to the local band scene, with all of them having played in bands before. They had known each other through various gigs with their own bands and last year decided to form their own band. Their timing was perfect. Warner Music Philippines was scouting for a group that was different from the rest and General Luna fitted the bill. But why General Luna? “It’s funny because we didn’t even realize we needed to come up with our own name,” says Asensio. “It’s a combination of the words General, which is masculine, strong, and then there’s Luna, which is strong but feminine. So it’s a balance between the two concepts.” Asked about how they view their music, Montemayor sums it up in one word, “positivity.” Mangaran adds: “I think our music is basically about girl power, relationships, inspiration for women, fight against domestic violence.” The band describes their music as different kinds of rock – classic, hard, metal – all rolled into one. The girls say the single Red Heaven is the most “defining” song out of the 12 on their self-titled debut album because it is their first single to launch and best represents the kind

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of music they play. “It’s a combination of loud guitar riffs and catchy verses, I think that’s how we can sum up our music,” says Lao. Among those who helped the band make the album are topnotch songwriters, producers and musicians like Ebe Dancel of Sugarfree, Typecast frontman Steve Badiola, Rivermaya bassist Japs Sergio and multi-awarded recording engineer Angee Rozul. The band hopes people will try to overlook the feminine aspect of the band and focus on the music. “We’re no different from other musicians. We’re just hoping to add something new to the local musical palate,” Asensio says. “We’re not here to beat the boys. We just want to share our music and, hopefully, become successful.” The girls are working on their second album, which they plan to release in 2012. Montemayor says: “For the second album, we all want to put our two cents in it. We want the songs to be written by all of us.” ■ General Luna’s front act, vocalist Nicole Asensio

You can buy General Luna’s self-titled debut album at Odyssey, Greenbelt 1. Visit

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South East Asian Airlines (SEAIR Domestic Islands)

Dornier 328

Southeast Asian Airlines (SEAIR), a premier leisure airline, is the second oldest airline in the Philippines. It is the first airline locator in Clark and the second firm to put its trust and confidence in the Clark Development Corporation. SEAIR was founded in 1995 by Capt. Iren Dornier, Capt. Nikos Gitsis, and Tomas Lopez with an initial investment of two million pesos and two nine-seater planes. SEAIR, at first, flew passengers and light cargo from Manila to Rodriguez and Busuanga, both in Palawan. By 1996, SEAIR started servicing the Caticlan route, the jump off point to the island paradise of Boracay, which eventually paved the way to SEAIR’s being a top-ofmind airline in connection with Boracay. This has been highlighted upon SEAIR’s introduction of its Dornier 328s operating Caticlan, enabling SEAIR’s claim to fame of having the fastest flights to Caticlan at 35 minutes. To date, SEAIR has the longest history of flights to Caticlan for 16 years, and has the most flights to Caticlan – hitting as much as 32 flights daily during peak travel season – and offers the most connections to Caticlan via Manila, Clark and Cebu. The airline also helped develop Batanes into a major tourist destination that it has become today. SEAIR has been servicing the Batanes route since 2008. In 2010, SEAIR further expanded on, tapping the international market by launching flights from Clark to Singapore in December, followed by flights from Clark to Hongkong in March this year. SEAIR was awarded “Best Airline of the Year” for two

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consecutive years in 2002 and 2003, and in 2009 by the Philippines’ Consumer Excellence Award. It was named Gold Brand by the Gold Brands Council Philippines in 2010 for brand image appeal and trust and market acceptance.

Destinations • Clark • Caticlan (Boracay) • Cebu • Manila • Basco (Batanes) • Tablas (Romblon) • El Nido (Palawan) • Taytay (Palawan) • Vigan

• Singapore • Hongkong

Fleet • 4 Dornier 328 • 1 LET 410 UVP-E • 2 Airbus A-319

Booking and Ticketing • Book online at • Makati: Unit 202 La O' Center Building, 1000 Arnaiz Avenue (formerly Pasay Road) corner Makati Avenue, Makati City Tel: +632/ 849 0100 • Cebu: SEAIR Cebu Office, YMCA Building, Jones Avenue, Cebu City Tel: +6332/ 341 4879

Airbus 319

Dornier 228

SEAIR (Low Cost)

Island Transvoyager (ITI)


Island Transvoyager, Inc. (ITI) is the airline that operates to prime tourist destinations El Nido and Taytay, both in Palawan, offering as much as daily flights from Manila. ITI is the official carrier of the upmarket El Nido Resorts that operates three resorts in El Nido and one in Taytay. Both El Nido and Taytay are known for having stunning limestone cliffs, white sandy beaches, and highly diverse eco systems. ITI is also engaged in air taxi services and air charter operations using the 19-seater Dornier 228-212 aircraft. It is committed to protecting the environment and conserving the natural resources and beauty of El Nido, and is the first airline to establish a program to offset carbon emissions in 2008.

• Singapore • Hong Kong • Macau

Fleet • 2 Airbus A-319

Booking and Ticketing • Book online at or • Clark: Unit 166, SM City CSEZ, Clarkfield, Pampanga Tel: +6343/ 499 0258-59 • Makati: Unit 202 La O' Center Building, 1000 Arnaiz Avenue (formerly Pasay Road) corner Makati Avenue, Makati City Tel: +632/ 849 0111

Destinations • El Nido (Palawan) • Taytay (Palawan)

Fleet • 3 Dornier 228

Booking and Ticketing • ITI Hangar No. 5-03-127, Andrews Avenue (near PAL Medical Center), Domestic Airport, Pasay City Tel: +632/ 851 5664, 851 5674, 851 5667 Email: URL:

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| august-september 2011 INDONESIA


Hong Kong

SEAIR Airbus Flights Achieved 89% On-time Performance SEAIR achieved 89 % on-time performance for its Airbus flights for the first half of 2011, with a peak season on-time performance of 94% for April and 92% for May. SEAIR uses the 144-seater Airbus 319 aircraft for its flights from Clark to Macau, Hong Kong, and Singapore. A flight is considered ontime if it arrives or departs not more than 15 minutes from the published time of departure or arrival. ■ Book online at or call SEAIR Reservations at +632/ 849 0100 to avail of the lowest fares and on-time flights to Singapore, Hong Kong and Macau. Join SEAIR Facebook Fan Page at www. for SEAIR updates.

SEAIR Increases Flights to Hong Kong to 9 times Weekly Starting October this year, SEAIR will increase its flights from Clark to Hong Kong to nine flights weekly, from seven weekly. SEAIR flies between the two cities daily at 7:15pm with return flights leaving at 9:40pm. Additional flights are scheduled on Fridays and Sundays departing Clark at 7:20am with return flights departing Hong Kong at 9:45am. Hong Kong, a former British colony, is best known as a shopping mecca, with high street designer shopping, cut-price designer outlets, and cheap gadgets, electrical appliances, clothing available at night markets and outdoor flea markets. Other attractions include Victoria Peak, Hong Kong Disneyland, Hong Kong Museum of Art, Wong Tai Sin Temple, and Man Mo Temple, Hong Kong’s oldest and most important temple built in the 1840’s. ■ Book online at or call SEAIR Reservations at +632/ 849 0100 to avail of the lowest fares to Hong Kong. Join SEAIR Facebook Fan Page at for updates on promos.

Fly SEAIR to Boracay for as Low as P2,500 One-way, All-in SEAIR invites everyone to fly to Boracay from July 6, 2011 to October 15, 2011 offering fares as low as P2,500 one-way. Ticket purchase period is from July 5 to October 15, 2011. The Boracay experience is enhanced with SEAIR offering special service advantages to its passengers to Boracay. SEAIR passengers enjoy complimentary transfers from Caticlan airport to Boracay and vice versa, as well as shortest queues and check-in procedures at the airport, fastest baggage claim, and privileges for their SEAIR ticket or boarding pass in partner establishments in Boracay and Manila. ■ Fly SEAIR and rediscover the joy of flight – speed, convenience, personalized Service! Go to for the best deals or call +632/ 849 0100 for more information. Hong kong photo courtesy of Hong kong Tourism Board

Batanes Flights to Increase Up to 3x Daily SEAIR flights to Batanes will increase from once daily to up to three times a day from December this year to February 2012. Triple flights are scheduled on Saturdays and Tuesdays, while double daily flights are scheduled on remaining days. Batanes, a visual feast of rolling hills and green pastures, is the only place in the Philippines that experiences 4 seasons – spring from March to May, summer from June to August, autumn from September to November and winter from December to February. Its close proximity to Taiwan brings the temperature down to as cool as 7°C from December to February. ■ For inquiries and reservations call +632/ 849 0100 or book online at For packages, call SEAIR Leisure Escape Packages at +632/ 843 7308 or 851 9876. Like SEAIR Facebook Fan Page at www.facebook. com/flyseair for updates on promos.

SEAIR Joins the 22nd Philippine Travelmart SEAIR participates in the 22nd Philippine Travelmart on September 2-4, 2011 at SMX Convention Center, SM Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City. The theme of this year’s Travelmart is “Philippines: Your Best Friend in Asia”. The Philippine Travelmart is the biggest tourism and travel exhibition that’s solely dedicated to inbound travel, and is organized by the Philippine Tour Operators Association (PHILTOA). ■ Watch out for announcements on special SEAIR Promos and packages for the 22nd Philippine Travelmart! Call SEAIR at +632/ 849 0100 or SEAIR Leisure Escape Packages at +632/ 843 7308 or 851 9876. Check and SEAIR Facebook Fan Page for updates.

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For more information: Call: +632 840 2802 or 553 7978 Email:

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| InFlight | 45

A guide to destination weddings Featuring resort and hotel choices across the country and wedding suppliers to book Plus: Notes from a topbilling wedding planner

by InFlight Launch editor Rita Neri Managing editor Monica De Leon Editorial consultant Frederick Peralta Writer (profiles) Margie Francisco

Setting your sites


Contributing writer (resort/hotel editorials)

Catherine Kirchoff

Art director Gary Enriquez

Contributing photographer Niccolo Cosme

This is a magazine I have been dying to see for a long time – a magazine that features a section devoted entirely to destination weddings within our very own 7,100 plus islands! One of the first decisions couples make in planning a wedding is where to hold the ceremony and the reception. So many other decisions that follow are affected by this important selection. In the Philippines, the choices are endless: white pristine beaches, crystal clear blue waters, tropical waterfalls, gorgeous mountains, and a multitude of resorts, clubs and hotels ready to make a dream wedding come true. Destination weddings are no longer a fad but are now serious options for soon-to-weds. InFlight, South East Asian Airlines’ (SEAIR) and Island Transvoyager Inc.’s (ITI) onboard magazine, leads the way by showcasing great local destinations in and around the Philippines. You’ll be charmed, beguiled and informed by InFlight’s Wedding Isle that features many perfect destination wedding options to fit any wedding budget. In this maiden issue, we feature several popular resorts and how they have set up their wedding packages. We asked them menu choices, decor options, accommodation, the best time to wed in their respective venues, and a hundred and one other details – to aid couples in deciding how to put together the event of their lives. Want more? Tell us what you want to see and read about. Email us at We want to hear from you.

Sales and marketing director

Margie Defensor

Accounts executive Janette Cruz,

Joyce Moros, Kathleen Parayno Advertising traffic assistant Kris Sario Copyright 2011

Dornier Media International Corporation 4/F Lerose Building, 832 Edades Street corner Arnaiz Ave., Makati City, Philippines Telefax: +632/ 8402802 Tel: +632/ 553 7976 & 78 Email: Url:

Photo by Niccolo Cosme Gown and styling by Frederick Peralta

Rita Neri

Launch Editor

Hair and makeup by Koala Cabardo Modelling by Keischa Van Heddegem Location: Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila



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Essentials in destination weddings

by Rita Neri

Today, two out of 10 couples hold their weddings out of town or abroad. Here are five handy guides in planning a destination wedding


It pays to prepare early. Ideal is one year for international venues and at least three months for local

Why prepare early? • You can avail of discounts if travel and hotel arrangements are made in advance. Same goes for suppliers • Advance planning gives enough time to work out possible changes, corrections and solve problems that may arise during the mid-planning stage • There is enough time and opportunity to work on other matters that will require attention

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ROI – Research / Ocular / Investigate • Use the Internet to thoroughly research the country, town and area where the wedding will be held. Then ask information from those who have prior experience • Don’t rely solely on brochures, ads or what the travel agent or account officer tells you. Verify all important information even if it means going to the country’s consulate or embassy • Arm yourself with questions, maps, pictures, etc. when doing ocular • Remember that you are there not as a tourist so stick with your agenda

Know the legalities • Depending on the kind of wedding you will have, know the options that are available for religious and civil ceremonies • Be sure that the wedding is also legal in your country


4 5

Know the locals • Establish your “team” of suppliers and make sure you are in sync in everything • Support all instructions with visuals and have everything in writing • No contract, no payment. If a supplier cannot give you a contract or an official receipt, think twice in getting their service • Try to meet all suppliers personally

Attend to other activities proactively • What else is planned? Any local tours required? Car rentals or boat rides to arrange? Make sure you get to answer all these queries • Know what to put in your welcome baskets • Be inquiring, inquisitive and alert to all possibilities

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“ I’m a risk taker. I’m passionate about what I do and I know I am good at what I’m doing, ” says event stylist

Teddy Manuel

Event stylist Teddy Manuel came from a family who ran a food business. He took up a business course in college and graduate school but he landed on a job that requires creativity and glamour.


In 2001, Manuel was working full time as a ground crew for Air Philippines and sidelining as a florist while pursuing a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) at the Ateneo Graduate School of Business. With a natural talent in visual arts and penchant for ‘arranging’ things, he focused his post grad thesis on floral arrangements. At the start, he would accept modest weddings jobs and supply flowers to City Garden Hotel in Makati. In no time, he had a growing career as a florist. Manuel’s family ran a catering business that it was likely for him to pursue a similar career path. Well, he did, except that instead of food, his was about flowers. He set his MBA aside to start Flowers & Events in 2001 with the help of his brother Roland who handled the business side. Manuel took care of the creative. “It’s a more challenging role; it’s not just being a florist. You also have to think of lighting, decorations, props. Everything has to come together with the look and the ambiance of the venue to create the mood for a wedding,” explains Manuel. As his company grew, Manuel was getting the hang of designing highly thematic and detailed weddings. He was keen on making everything customized and original. “It’s all about ideas and concepts. You can use inexpensive

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flowers but arrange them in such a way that it will look simple but elegant, classy,” says Manuel. Eventually, Manuel and his floral creations were featured in Martha Stewart Philippines magazine’s September 2008 issue. Other major wedding and bridal publications followed suit. A decade after Flowers & Events was borne, Manuel never lost his personal touch in his creations. “In business, even if you have good people, you still have to be there to personally oversee and make sure that everything’s okay,” reveals Manuel. “Because we are so personalized, we can only accommodate so many clients,” he adds. Starting out young in the business, Manuel admits he is aggressive in trying out ideas, putting fear of failing in the backburner, and adding up a little faith in himself and in what he does. “I’m a risk taker. I’m passionate about what I do and I know I am good at what I’m doing,” caps Manuel. For inquiries and to book, visit Flowers & Events at Themes and Motifs, Makati Shangri-La Hotel, Makati City. Tel: +632/ 564 2638. Visit for more on Teddy Manuel’s works.

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Three days to go!

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• Get settled in. Check-in. • Meet the account venue coordinator to finalize things. o Reconfirm guests’ and suppliers’ room accommodation o Reconfirm and update wedding details • Meet and finalize details with wedding suppliers • Check and submit any ceremony requirement • Distribute welcome baskets to guest rooms

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• Spend half of the morning at the salon and/or spa • Attend to miscellaneous wedding details like the packaging of wedding giveaways and car rental itinerary • Greet and meet wedding guests who arrive • Enjoy a welcome or rehearsal dinner

3 day

• Meet and greet arriving wedding guests • Lunch with the wedding entourage • Go over checklists and last minute changes with the coordinator or venue representative • Prepare personal items/toiletries needed for the wedding • Spend time with family • Have a nice dinner and a good night’s rest


by Rita Neri

Invitations were sent, guests confirmed, and everything is a go. Your destination dream wedding is all set to take place. Just to be sure no details are left undone, here’s a three-day-before-the-wedding checklist that will help ensure you have everything covered

“ I was an accidental hair and makeup stylist, ”

admits Victor Ortega. And now, he has successfully booted 9 salons and is counting There’s a reason why society columnist Tessa Priero Valdes, with her quirky fashion sense, would only go to hair and makeup stylist Victor Ortega for a hair do. Ortega, with his 25 years of experience, is one of the best, and can satisfy even clients with the most unconventional preferences.


Ortega’s broad base of experience comes from working with the finest cosmetic lines such as MAC, Laura Mercier, Estee Lauder, Artistry and L’oreal, including creating makeup designs for fashion design biggies like Rene Salud and Frederick Peralta. What sets Ortega’s talent apart is his diversity. He is able to do all kinds of makeup whether for bridal, fashion or the theater. And his products and work ethics are equally superior. But Ortega admits, “I was an accidental hairstylist and makeup artist.” Ortega used to be a registered nurse in a hospital in Mandaluyong in the early 1980s. During his breaks, he would hang out in the hospital’s nondescript salon, picking up whatever he could from the stylists. With no formal training at all, he eventually worked in a small salon in Mandaluyong, doing manicures and facials. “I think I got my break when the senior hairdresser [of the salon] wasn’t there and they needed someone to fill in for him. They asked me to do it.” Customers began to look for Ortega to do their hair and makeup. Two years later, having saved enough, he flew to the US to take a beginners course at the Sassoon Academy, where he learned the basics of haircuts. “It was easy for me, honestly. The interest was there; the passion was there,” Ortega shares. After training, a more confident Ortega came back to the Philippines, who opened up the first Victor Ortega

Salon in Mandaluyong in 1990 and was also hired by Rustan’s as one of its first beauty consultants. In 1999, Ortega won the best Hair and Makeup Award in Hair Asia Pacific held in Singapore, the first Filipino to win the award. He was also the grand winner of the Asia Pacific Awards for best hair and makeup in that same year. Because business was good, Ortega opened up Emphasis Salon in Rockwell in 2001. He eventually opened Emphasis Salon at the Peninsula in Makati, and four Victor Ortega salons and a Victor Ortega Spa in Boracay. He plans to open yet another spa and salon in Marco Polo Cebu sometime next year. Emphasis Salon is at G/F Joya at Rockwell, Plaza Drive corner Joya Drive, Rockwell Center, Makati City. For inquiries and appointments, call +632/ 403 0119. august-september 2011

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18 years in the business and still the most sought after by brides-to-be Top-billing wedding planner Rita M. Neri, a pioneer of events planning in the Philippines, has been running her show for 18 years and is still at the top of her game.


Rita is a career woman who always had passion and talent for putting together special events. When she opened The Wedding Store in Glorietta together with her late sister Chit Luz in 1994, it marked her starting point in the industry. The Wedding Store was Rita’s first retail store selling various wedding paraphernalia. Soon clients who came into her store started inquiring for a wedding planner. This fueled her passion to take her talents a notch higher. With her hard-earned knowledge, ambition and own personal style in planning events, she ventured into wedding coordination. Brides and grooms who became

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her clients got the attention they so deserved in making their wedding dreams happen. By 2006, Rita transformed her company into Rita Neri Event Planners (RNEP), an organization aimed at handling corporate events, debuts, baptismal, anniversaries, and birthdays. Working so closely with such diverse personalities, Rita and her pool of account coordinators she calls “angels” work hard to organize the best weddings, paying close attention to their clients’ visions on how they want their wedding to be. RNEP designs unique beautiful weddings that reflect the couple’s own personal styles. They develop

close relationships with their brides and grooms, giving them a sense of comfort and winning their confidence. RNEP is the company behind top celebrated weddings in the Philippines such as Judy Ann and Ryan Agoncillo’s, Aga & Charlene Muhlach’s, and Claudine & Raymart Santiago’s. It can also plan weddings wherever couples want to hold their precious event. In fact, RNEP has long been established as a top coordinator of destination weddings. Rita authored two bestselling books, The Essential Wedding Workbook for the Filipina Bride, Volumes I and II, is consultant for event and wedding venues, sought-after speaker for bridal fairs and expos, and contributing writer for Wedding Belle, Asian Dragon and Themes and Motifs’ Destination Weddings. She is also guest editor of Wedding Isle, InFlight magazine’s first supplement on Philippine island weddings. Recently, Rita launched satellite offices in the US and Canada. Apart from extending her services to these regions, her objective is to share her knowledge of the business to new talents and promote the Philippines as a top wedding destination. Rita Neri Event Planners is at 59-B Paseo de Roxas, Urdaneta Village, Makati City. For inquiries and appointments, call +632/ 893 0534 or 840 3359. Visit

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by Rita Neri

Destination weddings are fun events and attendees are often already in a jolly mood as soon as they set foot on the venue. Nevertheless, you ewant your wedding to leave a mark. Here are a few ideas on how to make your wedding unforgettable. • Welcome baskets for the guests are usually a given already but add a twist by putting in something personal to those who you are more familiar with. For your fashionista friends, you can include the latest copy of their favorite fashion magazine. Officemates will surely love a travel size board game or playing cards with a note from you saying “knock yourselves out!”. For your barkada, put in inexpensive picture frames with a note that reads “put our group picture here”. It’s all about anticipating the fun to come and showing that you took the time to make them feel important during your special day. • Arrange group activities aside from what can be enjoyed in the location. What about a treasure hunt along the beach at 5 pm for the mature guests and a mini “Amazing Race” for the more fit and active? Group Tai Chi, anyone? Or perhaps the venue’s chef could be persuaded to throw a cooking class. For the couch potatoes take with you some latest DVDs and schedule a movie marathon complete with popcorn and chips! Be creative; work with what you have; and get your friends in on the activities even before you get to your destination.

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Make if different; make it memorable!

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• Do some ice-breakers even before the big event. Without breaking your budget, host a chips & nuts party before dinner at a date when most of the guests have already arrived. Get everyone to mix and mingle by putting name tags and start playing minor games to acquaint everyone in the group. You and your fiancé should emcee this small party and prizes need not be expensive since it’s all for fun. The idea is that by the time the wedding takes place, most of the guests are already familiar and comfortable with each other. • Get inventive with signages and props! In one wedding, the couple asked all the children in the entourage to make “Just Married” signs, which they used in all their pictorials. Another wedding gave out frames that was just the right size for the pictures coming out of the photo booth. • The fun shouldn’t end in the wedding reception. Show your guests how much you care by giving out personalized thank you cards handed over to them as they leave. Making memories with the people you share your special day with will make memories of your wedding even sweeter.

Esposa Bella From classic chic to sexy modern, here are wedding gowns that will surely make a bride dazzling

Photo: Niccolo Cosme Hair and makeup: Koala Cabardo Modelling (on these pages): Keischa Van Heddegem, Nicolette Henson, Danielle casta単o This page, gown by Frederick Peralta Location: Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila august-september 2011

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Turtleneck white chiffon gown with soft draping on the skirt Designer: Frankie De Leon

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Fully beaded corset bodice with bias duchess satin silk skirt Designer: Frederick Peralta

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| Unit 311, South Syquia Apts. 2021 M.H. del Pilar St., Malate, Manila (MWF & Sat) | Phone: 536-9264 | Telefax: 521-3463

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308-B Tomas Morato St., Quezon City (TTH) | Landline: 426-1977 | Mobile: 09178454117, 09228449991 | E-mail: august-september 2011

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Pleated woven organza silk bodice and ruffled skirt gown Designer: Frederick Peralta

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Sweetheart mermaid cut pina gown, embroidered and beaded with seed pearls and glass crystals Designer: Frankie De Leon

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OFFICE: 1858 Eureka St., La Paz, Pablo Ocampo Sr. St. (formerly Vito Cruz Ext.), Makati City

CALL (By Appointment Only): 897-5860 / 0917-3999828 | E-MAIL: | VISIT: august-september 2011

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Empire waist tulle gown accentuated with blue ornate lace and silk sash Designer: Frankie De Leon

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Duchess satin silk shirred bodice serpentine gown Designer: Frederick Peralta

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“ I love serving a woman’s dream to become a bride ”

Frederick Peralta, fashion designer

For 28 years, fashion designer Frederick Peralta has been designing gowns, earning him high respect in the industry. And his claim to fame? His hand in making the most glamorous wedding gowns.


Designing wedding gowns is Peralta’s forte. “I really love serving a woman’s dream to become a bride,” he says. “Being a designer is a very fulfilling job for me because I’m able to touch the lives of different people.” Peralta designed the wedding gowns of some of the top celebrity brides in the country. In the 80s, while Peralta was taking up Foreign Service at the Lyceum of the Philippines, he simultaneously mentored under Greg Centeno, one of the giants then in the fashion industry. In 1984, an investor gave him the chance to study pattern-making and draping under the late fashion illustrator and teacher Pempet Mortera. Peralta won the ASEAN Design Competition in Singapore in 1990, presenting his designs to Malaysia’s royal family. In 1994, he won the grand prize at the Concours Internacional des Jeunes Creatur de Mode (International Young Designers Competition) in Paris, France where he was invited to present his collection together with other fashion biggies Paco Rabanne, John Louise Scherer, Ted Lapidus and Ross Met, among others. During those years, he was also given the Parangal Award by the Gawad Parangal in the professional category. “Designing per se opened doors for me to represent the country in different competitions. Everything flourished afterwards,” says

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Peralta. He was featured in a book by Dina Hajje called “Haute Couture Designers of the World” and in another book entitled “Best of the Philippines, Volume 5” as one of the best designers in the country.“I became a designer with a purpose of inspiring other designers to pursue their dreams,” shares Peralta. He was vice president of the Fashion Designers Association of the Philippines (FDAP) and a board director of the Fashion and Design Council of the Philippines. Perlata was also fashion editor for Wedding Magazine, lifestyle columnist for Business Mirror, columnist for Manila Bulletin’s JFK section and dj of Wave 89.1’s Fashion Radio. He also designed couture beddings, wedding cakes for Red Ribbon and signature box designs for Softee Tissue. Frederick Peralta’s offices are at Syquia Mansions, 2021 M. H. Del Pilar, Malate, Manila and 308-B Tomas Morato Street, Quezon City. For appointments, call +632/ 563 9264 (Malate), +632/ 426 5154 (Quezon City) or email

Classic with a touch of sexiness is how best to define fashion designer

Frankie De Leon ’s creations

Ladies today can’t help but rave about one of today’s gifted talents, fashion designer Frankie De Leon.


De Leon’s designs are classic with a touch of sexiness, and focus more on quality of design; he uses fine silk fabrics, delicate laces, and rich colored sashes, his signature. His bridal gowns are sensual and modern. His style is considered innovative, and his craftsmanship, exquisite and these have attracted a wide range of clientele from diplomats to celebrities. De Leon studied BS Biology at the University of the Philippines but after finishing the course, he realized he could not spend four more years in med school and would rather work. Eventually he landed a job at Cityland and Solid Link, working 9am to 5pm shifts in the office. But immersing in routinary work was out of his character and this forced him to leave his job. At a young age, De Leon was already interested in sketching designs and fashion. “Whenever my friends would go shopping, they would always take me along so they could ask for my opinion on clothes,” says De Leon. While working for his friend’s uncle who supplied garments for Rustan’s in 1996, De Leon had a career turning point, realizing fashion designing was his real love. At Rustan’s, he did fashion merchandising and other fashion related work like sorting textiles and buying embellishments, until such time that he was able to sketch prototype designs. Two years later, after Rustan’s, he became an apprentice to some haute couture fashion designers in the country like Inno Sotto and Pepito Albert that further honed his skills in designing, and slowly started developing his own style. In 2000, De Leon finally started his own small fashion design company. But his first big break was in 2005 when he was asked to design the wedding gown of veteran actress Sylvia Sanchez, who at first was hesitant of the idea. “But she trusted me to do her gown and in the end

she loved it,” says De Leon. Coincidentally, he also met top-billing wedding coordinator Rita Neri. A few months after they met, De Leon was asked by Rita Neri’s company to design entourage gowns inspired by a Vera Wang wedding gown. De Leon took the challenge and ended up having a line of beautiful gowns for Neri’s bride’s bridal entourage. Frankie De Leon’s studio is at 1858 Eureka Street, La Paz Village, Makati City. To book an appointment, call +632/ 897 5860. To view more of his works, go to www.

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El Nido Resorts LOCATION. The northern part of Palawan is blessed with scenic landscapes and diverse flora and fauna. It is here that the protected areas of El Nido and Taytay, home of the lovely El Nido Resorts, are located. Spectacular, ancient limestone cliffs in private islands tower over crystal-clear waters and pristine beaches. It is a truly exotic destination, and its relative isolation and exclusivity make island weddings here all the more special and memorable. Set on a four-hectare lush forest, Lagen Island Resort in El Nido offers a magnificent view of the bay and the El Nido sunset. Its tranquil Oratory Chapel, surrounded by centuries old trees, can host solemn Catholic wedding ceremonies. Sheer limestone cliffs serve as the stunning backdrop of Miniloc Island Resort, also in El Nido. There is absolutely nothing more spectacular than exchanging “I Do’s” on a floating raft in the calm, emerald waters of the island’s Big Lagoon, with the limestone walls providing perfect acoustics to a string ensemble’s wedding symphony. Apulit Island Resort in Taytay is a tropical paradise where couples can exchange vows on a wide expanse of white-sand beach lined with coconut trees. With the azure bay and the warm hues of the sunset in the background standing as witness, this private island is the ultimate beach wedding destination.

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DÉCOR. Natural beauty doesn’t require much embellishment to make a statement. El Nido Resorts’ picturesque landscape complements any wedding theme. Minimal flowers, candles and table décor, and use of linen and earth toned fabrics dress up nature’s charming stage. TIME FOR “I DO”. Display of nature’s colors is best during sunset. A wedding ceremony at mid-afternoon can be capped by sunset cocktails on the beach and a private island dinner. Palawan is outside the typhoon belt of the Philippines, so El Nido Resorts caters to weddings year-round. FOOD & DRINKS. El Nido Resorts offers sustainable menus. Organic produce, fresh seafood, and other locally-sourced food and ingredients are used to prepare the wedding feast. Delectable cuisine can be customized to the theme, and a cocktail named after the couple can be created and served along with choice wines and other beverages. CAKE. A wedding banquet isn’t complete without the cake! El Nido Resorts creates delicious and lovely wedding cakes to suit any theme.

A W edding S upplement


Fridays Boracay INTRODUCTION. Breath-taking sunsets, powdery sand between your toes, crystal-clear water, and a gentle breeze… the recipe for wedding in paradise. Fridays Boracay, Philippines is a resort with boundless opportunities for family adventure and memorable special events. Known for its elegant beach weddings, Fridays Boracay Resort is situated in the northern, quiet part of Boracay Island’s main White Beach. Away from the maddening crowd, Fridays ensures important events like weddings get relative privacy. Fridays staff understand the importance of a wedding day so there is no detail too small for them to set aside. DÉCOR. Its beachfront is one of the finest in Boracay and is a breathtaking place to celebrate your vows. It serves as the backdrop for a provisional altar, which the resort can assemble beneath a flower-filled arch. Seats are arranged for guests and the aisle for the wedding march decorated according to the couple’s taste or may be worked around Friday’s theme of tropical chic. With the seascape as the focus, décor need not be elaborate. Minor accents to enhance the tropical setting – bright colored flowers, a smattering of seashells, candles for adornments and torch lanterns for evening setups – are enough. Flowers are flown in from Manila or other parts of the Philippines. Tropical flowers such as haliconias, anthuriums and orchids are recommended but the bride has a freehand on the arrangement that she likes via a Fridays in-house florist. TIME FOR ‘I DO’. The best time to hold your vows is right before sunset, between 4:30 pm to 5:30 pm while the sun’s rays are mellow and the sea breeze is a pleasure. By the time the bride and groom finish

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saying “I do’s” the island’s famous sunset ought to work its magic. The monsoon season from June to September almost always brings about an afternoon shower but tents may be prepared by Fridays in advance. FOOD. Fridays’ outstanding reputation holds true especially in its kitchen. Head Chef Bill McGrath has brought his vast experience to the island and works wonders with the local produce. He and his team of chefs create an impressive assemblage of dishes with influences from Asia, the Mediterranean, the Pacific Rim and Continental Europe. Some of their specialties include Lobster bisque in whisky for soup; Shrimp Pasta Salad for starter; Seafood Paella, Seared Foie Gras or Grilled Palawan Lobster for main dish; and blueberry cheesecake for dessert. Fridays’ world class service team can prepare an al fresco reception set alongside the ceremony area that can accommodate up to 300 people. DRINKS. Apart from fruit juices and shakes, signature cocktails are available like the “Fridays Sunset”, a mixture of different tropical fruits with vodka, or the “Robinson Crusoe”, a blend of seven kinds of alcoholic beverages. Champagne for toasting and other wines should be booked ahead. A minimal corkage fee is required from couples who opt to bring in their own preferred bottles. CAKE. Fridays is known on the island for its cakes and pastries done by its in-house Pastry Chef who can make one-of-a-kind cakes for discerning brides. For more information and pictures of Fridays’ little piece of paradise, log on to or email us at

Marco Polo Plaza LOCATION . On Nivel Hills, Cebu City, Marco Polo Plaza is about 30 minutes by car from Mactan International Airport. Marco Polo Plaza accommodates after-the-vows parties. For big indoor weddings, the hotel can sit 500 guests at the Grand Ballroom while the al fresco venue Garden Terrace can accommodate 1,500. The smaller function rooms can be adjusted according to the number of attendees. DÉCOR. Their popular themes revolve around the Seasons of Love – Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn/Fall. Each season follows a design concept and grand executions. The ballroom with its crystal chandeliers is transformed into a preferred motif; a stage is set as focal. The center space is reserved for dancing. The morning al fresco reception overlooks the city center and the Mactan Channel. In the evenings, lanterns are lit and are topped by fireworks display. An in-house professional banquet team dresses up the venues but the hotel has access to suppliers for more elaborate designs. TIME TO CELEBRATE. Indoors, it can either be a brunch reception from 8am until noon or afternoon parties around 4pm until early evening. Evening parties start at 6pm until late at night. For al fresco, early morning ceremonies can be

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as early as 8am followed by a brunch reception. A romantic evening ceremony can commence at 4pm followed by cocktails and sit down dinner. FOOD. Marco Polo’s restaurant, headed by Executive Chef Luke Gagnon from Canada, specializes in Asian and Continental cuisine but can create something special for the couple. Being so close to the sea, Cebu boasts of the freshest seafood but the meat dishes said to rule in these parts. The Emincee of Beef with teriyaki sauce and sesame seeds is a top seller of the hotel. It’s also shame not to serve Lechon de Leche (roast pig) that Cebu is known for. For dessert, Mango Sago with ice cream is always a favorite. DRINKS. Sparkling wine for the toast and a round of fruit juice for guests go with a typical package. The hotel also serves special cocktail drinks or couples can simply choose from its list of red and white wines. Bringing in of own bottles will set couples back P800 per bottle. CAKE. Basic wedding cakes are a two- or threelayer fondant or butter icing, designed and flavored according to the couple’s taste by the famous cake designer in Cebu Marissa Unchuan, aka Mrs Yu. Pastries and other sweets are made in the hotel.

Nigi Nigi Too Beach Resort LOCATION. Station 1, in front of the famous Willy’s Rock on Boracay’s main White Beach, Nigi Nigi Too is a small scale resort that specializes in medium sized weddings with a maximum of 100 persons in capacity. Weddings are set right on the beach, facing the rock and the sea. Because Catholic ceremonies are no longer allowed outside of church, blessings by the beach can be celebrated by a pastor. Nigi Nigi has also done super intimate weddings with only the bride and the groom, the wedding vows official and the staff of Nigi Nigi serving as the witness present. DÉCOR. Nigi Nigi has its own wedding coordinator that can plan and execute the whole event. Typical setup includes a canopy for the vows, seats for the guests and the aisle to march on. Flowers for decoration are ordered and flown from Baguio and Tagaytay. The reception is right beside the ceremonial space with tables and chairs dressed up according to motif.

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TIME TO SAY ‘I DO’. A Sunrise wedding starts at 8am followed by a breakfast buffet meal. Sunset weddings start at 4:30pm FOOD. The resort specializes in Filipino fare so what is typical in Filipino feasts are on the menu like Beef Mechado, Chicken Afritada, Pork and Chicken Adobo, curries and the ubiquitous Filipino party dish Lechon (roast pig). They also make simple desserts like Mango float. DRINKS. If you prefer to have the ceremonial toast then you have to arrange with the resort for the bottles ahead of time. The resort’s drinks are limited to fruit juices and shakes or colas. CAKE. Cakes are not included at Nigi Nigi’s wedding package but they can order for you either from Kalibo or from Quency’s or Lemoni Café, both on Boracay Island. The latter is well known delicious cakes and desserts.

The Tides Hotel and Epic Boracay Location. The Tides Hotel on Boracay Island is tucked inconspicuously within the famous island shopping center D’Mall, about a minute’s walk from the main White Beach. Its Solstice Lounge on its roof deck is the perfect place to host a ceremony or reception, with its pristine white motif that can easily adapt to any theme any couple may want. Tides also boasts of a swimming pool smack right in the heart of its roof deck that overlooks the sea, similar to those Miami hotels. It’s where guests of the couples can socialize with each other while sipping cocktails. Epic Boracay is just as ideal an option to wed in or hold a wedding party. Fronting an expansive beachfront, couples can exchange vows with the sea, skyline and fantastic sunset as backdrop, the most romantic setup a ceremony could ever have. Décor. Epic has two setups to choose from: Boracay, which is Filipino in theme, utilizing bamboo as primary material to decorate the place, accentuated by woven twigs, raffia and flowy linens; and Hamptons that uses steelworks and Tiffany chairs with crawling flower arrangements to evoke a modern and more international feel. If the weather isn’t too great, the function can be moved to Tides’ Ka-On Restaurant or Epic’s main dining area.

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A wedding coordinator is made available if couples go for the Tides-Epic Wedding package. Time FOR ‘I do’. Sunset weddings can be exceptional especially that Tides has been known for its “Sunset Sessions” where guests get to enjoy the majestic Boracay sunset at the hotel’s roof deck. For Epic, since it faces west of the island, sunset, hands down, is the best time to exchange vows with your spouse-to-be. Food. For cocktails, favorites at Tides are spring rolls, sisig, calamares and blue marlin. What’s served on dinner depends on the theme but couples have to take note that Tides’ Ka-On Restaurant, headed by Chef Eric Arevalo, serves the best progressive Filipino cuisine on the island. At Epic, with the kitchen spearheaded by Chef Anj Valencerina, gambas, nachos and shooter-style appetizers are recommended. Dinner menus range from modern Asian to Italian and Mediterranean. Drinks. Tides’ mojitos are superb while Epic’s signature fruit-infused concoctions are highly popular. Wines are for dinner while vodka and similar hard liquors are for the after-party. Cake. Tides and Epic can offer bespoke cakes, created according to the couples’ taste.

Pontefino Hotel

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Location. Located in Gulod Labac, Batangas City, about an hour’s drive from Manila, Ponte Fino Hotel & Residences is set in a luxe environment accessible via the Star Toll Expressway. Couples can choose to have a rustic romantic wedding ceremony by the pool area with the trees and greenery as backdrop or at the airconditioned tent, both able to accommodate 350 guests at a given time. Or for the more traditional ones who prefer the solemnity of a church, the historic Immaculate Concepcion Church is a stone’s throw away.

arrangements for their ceremony and reception. For the reception, it’s either sunset cocktails by the pool or dinner in the air-conditioned tent. Whichever the couple chooses will be dressed up using a variety of fresh blooms and plants and fabric swags. For more unique table settings, Pontefino can provide local material like “calado” or embroidered tablecloth and napkins and adorn these with combinations of a variety of blooms and plants unique to Batangas and tiffany chairs with bows.

Décor. The hotel has a dedicated team of wedding specialists – who work with top wedding suppliers – who can assist the couple in the

Time for ‘I do’. An outdoor ceremony is best at sunset while indoor ceremonies are good any time of the day.

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Food & Drinks. Pontefino’s chefs can whip up local food specialties like “bulalo” or beef shank and bone marrow stew, and “sinukmani”, a kind of sweetened rice cake. There is also a selection of international and Asian menus and Café Robusta’s signature dishes that won’t disappoint. Cake. Top pastry chefs from Batangas and Manila who Pontefino works with make the wedding cakes. For more information, call Pontefino’s Manila office at +632/ 635 9364 or 631 8310, or Batangas office at +6343/ 723 3466. Visit

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THE ECO SADDLE campsite Known for its great sunrise views and bass fishing, Lake Caliraya in Laguna is also an excellent site for camping. Its Eco Saddle campsite provides ample grounds for pitching a tent for guests and space to dock speedboats and jetskis. Lots to do, from fishing, swimming in the lake, or a spot of boating or jetskiing. Photo hobbyist Paolo Nacpil (top, this page) took this photo of the campsite in February on a camping trip with his family. The yellow 4x4 vehicle shown here is a 1975 Suzuki LJ50 restored by Nacpil’s father. Lake Caliraya offers various accommodation in the area, including Caliraya Hilltop Resort, a favorite of fishing enthusiasts, and CaliRana Resort, targeted at families. To book a stay, visit For more of Nacpil’s work, visit

Camera: Canon 350D Lens: 18-55mm IS f/3.5-5.6 Aperture: F/3.5 Shutter speed: 1/30 sec ISO Speed: 1600


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Inflight August-September 2011  

Good Times in the Philippines