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batanes on the Brink Why now is a good time to visit
My Favorite Beach From luxe resorts to isolated beach coves Recharge on a holiday in Dos Palmas Arreceffi Island
f ebrua ry-m a rc h 2013
Inside i n fl igh t | Februa ry-M a rc h 2013
06 in the news Boracay Cup kicks off in February; The Philippines’ National Museum to open a branch in Batanes Cale ndar What not to miss in February and March 08 In Room Hotel review: Dos Palmas Arreceffi Island Resort 10 InDULGE Restaurant review: Village Tavern
12 ME AND MY TRAVELS Sinosikat? Vocalist Kat Agarrado
Special features 16 Top 5 Valentine Dinner Ideas: From hiring a private chef to booking an intimate restaurant, we’ve got the big day covered for you
18 cove r s tory Batanes on the Brink: Direct flights from Manila are opening up the dramatic and isolated Batanes Islands to tourism. And as Andrea Pasion finds out, it’s worth getting there before the crowds
30 My Favorite Beach: 10 people who have spent their working lives and holidays by the sea tell us the secrets of their favorite beaches
45 INFLIGHT Guide s • Destination guides to the Philippines and neighboring countries • Airline Guides: All you need to know about South East Asian Airlines (SEAIR), South East Asian Airlines International (SEAIR I) and Island Transvoyager (ITI)
Cover credits: Photo by Ferdz Decena Location: Diura, Batanes
| InFlight | february-march 2013
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What not to miss in February and March
18th Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta
Marvel at the sight of hot air balloons hugging the skies on February 21 to 24 at the 18th Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta at Omni Aviation Complex, Clark, Pampanga. About a hundred balloon pilots are expected to participate. There will be aircraft shows, skydiving, rocketry demonstrations and more. The fiesta is considered as the biggest aviation sports event in the country. Visit www.philballoonfest.net. Call +632/ 3840085 for more details.
Boracay Cup Regatta Kicks Off in February The four-day Boracay Cup Regatta, which kicks off on February 19, will see about 300 to 400 foreign and local-based top notch sailors vie for the Asian Yachtsman-of-the-Year award and other major titles. The Boracay Cup categories are the racing category (36-feet long, smallest boat) and cruising category (80-feet long, biggest boat). Known racers Frank Pong and Judes Echauz will join the racing category using their Jelik 5 (75-feet long racing boat) and Jelik 3 (52-feet). Registration period is up to a week before the event. ■ Call +632/ 823 2090 and look for Rowena Eusuya for more information.
Catch the 38th International Bamboo Organ Festival on February 21 to 27 at St. Joseph Parish in Las Pinas City. The event is one of the longest running to 27 music festivals in the country, showcasing the 19th century pipe organ made almost entirely of bamboo. The festival also includes perfomances from local choirs, classical artists, orchestras, and titular organist Prof. Armando Salarza. The event is organized by the Bamboo Organ Foundation (BOFI). Visit www.bambooorgan.org for more details.
Old LORAN station
38th International Bamboo Organ Festival
Malasimbo Music and Arts Festival
The Malasimbo Music Festival, now on its third year, has gained so much local and international attention that this year’s event promises to be even bigger. Grammy award winning British singer Joss Stone is performing with Jimmy Cliff. The event, a gathering of musicians at Villa Malasimbo, Puerto Galera, showcases a wide range of music, from contemporary to traditional. Visit www.facebook.com/Malasimbofestival for schedule of events.
The Philippines’ National Museum To Open in Batanes
Batanes will have its first National Museum in Barangay Imnajbu, Uyugan, south of Basco. The museum will rise at the 3.5 hectare site of the old Long Range Navigational (LORAN). The agency’s interdisciplinary team is targeting to complete the conversion of the old Loran by late 2013. The team chose Batanes because the province has numerous sites that reveal the record of Austronesians, the ancestors of the Ivatans, who migrated there 3,000 years ago. ■ Visit www.batanesonline.com to know more about the province. Visit www.nationalmuseum.gov.ph
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CEBUNEXT: The 2013 Furniture Exhibition
Visit the CEBUNEXT exhibit on March 14 to 17 at the SMX Convention Center, Manila, which highlights Cebu as a design capital of Southeast to 17 Asia. Exhibitors include furniture designers Kevin Cobonpue, Vito Selma, Clayton Tugonon and their chairman Christina Gaston of Hacienda Crafts. CEBUNEXT partnered with three major event brands such as the Manila FAME, Manila Now, and Bijoux Cebu, to provide one venue to showcase local designs and lifestyle events. Visit www.cebunext.com or www.manilafame.com for more information.
boracay cup photo by jerry rollin , old L O R A N photo by jocas a . see
INRoom Hotels and resorts
P hotos courtesy of M ike T an , J ay M itra and G eoff G on z ales
Dos Palmas Arreceffi Island Resort
Whether you like it sporty or merely lazing about the beach, Dos Palmas Arreceffi Island Resort delivers, says Kristine Fonacier
IRST IMPRESSION. Once your boat nears the Dos Palmas pier, a resort staff hits a kulintang (ethnic brass instrument). I feel like royalty being announced. My island paradise holiday begins. LOCATION. The resort occupies Arreceffi Island on Honda Bay, about an hour away by boat from the Puerto Princesa wharf.
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ROOMS. All villas are beachside (the resort has closed down the entire wing of bay cottages over the water), and you have a choice of ground-floor rooms with decks that lead into the sand, or second-floor rooms with balconies with a view of the water. FOOD. Kara-enan, the resort restaurant, serves a small but well-balanced menu with classic Filipino and continental favorites alongside some modern food. During peak season, guests can dine buffet-style. We Like. The five-star amenities, access to all sorts of activities, a top-tier spa, and the amazing underwater marine life and habitat around the resort perfect for snorkeling. Not So Keen. Each freestanding villa is clustered together with other villas, which means that you’ll be sharing the area if the resort is fully booked, and privacy can be an issue. Unless you come during an extremely busy peak season, though, this won’t be a problem.
Verdict. Whether I chose lazing about the gorgeous beach, or engaging in watersports, I was never disappointed. A fun stay. ■
How to get there SEAIR (www.flyseair.com) flies daily from Manila to Puerto Princesa. Dos Palmas provides roundtrip transfers from the airport and from several central Puerto Princesa hotels to the resort. It takes about half an hour from Puerto Princesa proper to get to the wharf, from which a private boat will ferry you the rest of the way to Arreceffi Island. Rooms cost P9,800 per night for two inclusive of breakfast. Roundtrip transfers (Puerto Princesa Airport-resort) cost P700 per head. Tel: +632/ 637 4226 Url: www.dospalmas.com.ph
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INdulge restaur ant review
The Tavern’s open kitchen and design mix of burgundy and slate gray
Expect artisan bread with your burgers, free-range beef, and “relaxed, satisfying dining,” says Ces Rodriguez P hoto by D an I E L S oriano
HE SETTING. The second level of BHS Central, the multilevel extension of Bonifacio High Street in Bonifacio Global City. Being on the far end of one of two parallel wings, Village Tavern gets fewer people passing by and its glass windows bring in the light. The restaurant interior is mostly modern burgundies against cool slate grays, clubby antler chandeliers, and buttoned banquettes. THE FOOD. Village Tavern is the first overseas branch of a US chain of restaurants that serves classic American food. There
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are the usual burgers, steaks, and bar chow served in portions that’s typically American, but Village Tavern also serves what it calls “artisan” bread with its burgers, topped whole wheat flatbread (pizza to the rest of us) baked in a coal-fired oven, and grass-fed black Angus beef steaks. The Maryland-style crab cakes (P550 or about US $13 regular, P695 to share) doesn’t scrimp on the crabmeat, lingering with a creamy aftertaste and the gently surfacing heat of Old Bay seasoning. Just skip the cloying tartar sauce. A beastly slab of Maple cured pork tenderloin (P595), served on a chopping board, is appetizing and tender. The Cowboy Burger (P595) is moist and gussied up with applewoodsmoked bacon, cheddar, a squirt of barbecue sauce, and the comforting sweetness of caramelized onions. For something rather dramatic, the black crust squid ink pizza fits the bill, a new concoction by corporate chef Josh Boutwood who also runs and dreams up the modernist cuisine at Alchemy in Boracay. THE SERVICE. Relaxed, unpretentious, with
a check back from the wait staff after you get your food. Who dines Here. Yuppies, I’m told; Americans surprised to find a Village Tavern so far from home; families; and on Friday nights, a drinking crowd from offices around the area. Price. Comparable to most US restaurant chains. A meal for two starts at P400 per person for a small appetizer and a main course. Add P150 for an imported beer, P195 for a class of Australian merlot, or P275 for a cabernet. Red or white sangria by the pitcher is half the price on Fridays. VERDICT. It’s a group place: for casual and satisfying dining. ■
Village Tavern Level 2, Bonifacio High Street Central, 7th Avenue corner 30th Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City Tel: +632/ 621 3245 Url: www.villagetavern.com
Me and My Travels Kat Agarrado, Vocalist I nterview by M onica D e L eon
My favorite place is…Palawan. I saw the Underground River in Puerto Princesa, joined a firefly watching tour at night in Iwahig River, which was beautiful. Then I went to San Vicente, Palawan, famous for its 14km Long Beach. We stayed at Capari (www.capariresort.com). It’s super quiet and a private resort with great costumer service. Sagada is the best. It’s got a different energy. I get recharged when I’m there. Unpolluted, and magical with its mountains and rice terraces. I went caving in SumaguingLumiang Cave Connection in Sagada. When you enter the cave the hanging coffins will greet you. There’s water to wade in, tight tunnels to pass through, sometimes you have to rappel your way through; and it’s pitch black so your only source of light is the lamp you’re carrying with you. But the rock formations are amazing, it’s like you’re in another world. It’s four hours of walking, crawling, climbing but for some reason — I don’t know if it’s the stones or the energy of the place — I don’t get tired.
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My favorite vacation was in Bangkok, Thailand. I liked the shopping there, the food, their culture. I stayed at the D&D Inn (www.khaosanby. com/DD-Inn/index.htm) basically because it’s where the movie The Beach was filmed. It’s a backpacker’s place, nothing fancy, very old school
stayed in a one-bedroom loft with private jacuzzi on the second level, and it’s blue moon so the experience was perfect. For good music, I go to SaGuijo (www.saguijo. com). It’s a place where the new and up and coming and pro musicians alike play. It’s the underground. I always see friends when I go to B-Side Bar (+632/ 403 5650). 70s Bistro (www.70sbistro.com) is where alternative bands play. Radio Sago Project, Kalayo and Parokya ni Edgar play there. Irie Sunday @ B-Side (www. bsidemanila.com) is where you go if you want to go dancing. It’s more of dubstep type of dancing, which is influenced by reggae. And yes it’s on a Sunday and you’ll be surprised how full the house can get. M Café (www.facebook.com/pages/RaintreeRestaurants/360398425113?fref=ts) on Thursdays has got soul music and they have really good djs. And Martini’s at The Mandarin Oriental Manila (www. mandarinoriental.com/manila/finedining/martinis/) hosts different bands that play different music every night. It’s where I regularly play every Wednesday.
“I performed with living legends Wally Gonzales and Pepe Smith. It was a blast and I went barefoot onstage while singing”
When in Sagada I always stay at the Greenhouse (+63918/ 403 6571). It’s run by an Igorot family and is not that touristy. It’s just a house with about six rooms rented out to guests and a small garden. It’s basic — no aircon, no electric fans. You don’t need them because it’s cool enough and there are no mosquitoes. And it’s clean. For
food, we go out. There’s a lot to choose from down the street. I aso recommend Yoghurt House (www.facebook.com/yoghurt.house) and Masferré Gallery Resto (www.masferre.ph).
but clean. In Bangkok, I went to see temples. At night, it was fun just hanging out. On Khao San Road there were Volkswagen-cum-bars run by locals. You should not miss the weekend Chatuchak Market where there are 15,000 stalls set up. My favorite resort is Discovery Shores Boracay (www.discoveryshoresboracay.com). I
I’m in blues mode right now so on my playlist are Etta James, Sara Von Davenport, Amy Winehouse, John Mayer, Erykah Badu. Also on it are Esperanza Spalding, Lana Del Rey, Lauryn Hill, Pasta Groove, Yosha and Chaka Khan.
right page photo by E ddie B oy E scudero
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Me and My Travels
You haven’t lived if you haven’t listened to Erykah Badu and Radioactive Sago Project. After a gig, I normally mingle with my audience. [I stay around sipping my favorite drink] Jack Daniel’s on the rocks or white wine chardonnay. For instruments and music related paraphernalia, I shop online. Ebay’s the best I also shop at musiciansfriend.com. My most memorable performance was my performance in Australia. It was my first show abroad and I had the chance to play with living legends Wally Gonzales and Pepe Smith. It was a blast and I went barefoot onstage while performing. The show was in the Blacktown area and attended by Filipinos. The Malasimbo Music & Arts Festival 2012 in Puerto Gallera was also memorable. It was a three-day event set in a natural amphitheater at the foot of Mt. Malasimbo, overlooking the Puerto Gallera bay. The festival combined music, arts, nature and indigenous culture. It’s a perfect moment for Sinosikat? because the original members played again. I really enjoyed that performance, and the crowd and vibe were just amazing. My favorite restaurant is Adriatico Arms (+632/ 524 7426) on Nakpil Street, Malate because they’ve got my favorite food in the world and it’s the best garlic buttered prawns you will ever have. Try their prawns ala plancha. And I really like the vibe of that restaurant with its old Malate feel. I also love to eat at King Crab (www.kingcrabhouserestaurant. com) in Greenhills. They’ll show you live crabs and ask you how you want it cooked. I love the buffet of Paseo De Uno (www.mandarinoriental.com/manila, +632/ 750 8888) at the Mandarin Oriental Manila. And Little Tokyo across Makati Cinema Square has authentic Japanese you’ll surely love. The city is too toxic sometimes, it chokes me so I go out of town to unwind. I like driving up to Zambales for its beaches and resorts, and it’s close to Subic where I also stop by to shop. I’d like to travel to Bohol and Siquijor next. Life and traveling inspire me. I promised myself to travel more this year. In late February, I’m going to Memphis, Tennessee in the US together with my band to represent our country in the International Blues Challenge. After that I plan to extend my stay for a holiday. I plan to go to New York — my first time there — San Francisco, and then San Diego to see my family, and do my tours on a scenic train ride. Friends think I’m crazy if I do that but that’s the plan. And then in April I plan to go to Europe and just jam.
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Above, Agarrado in Long Beach, San Vicente, Palawan. Right, Agarrado (left) and a friend en route to Echo Valley in Sagada
Things I take with me on my travels are my toiletries — L’Oreal for skincare and sunblock — my Billabong two-piece, and stunners, a Rayban and some vintage brands. Three things I’d like to do before I die are skydive, see Amsterdam and have a family. I can’t sleep on planes so I read magazines or books or watch a movie. I like Paulo Coelho’s books. I also like Deepak Chopra and reading autobiographical books on Anita Franklin, Bono, and Rebel Heart: An American Rock ‘n’ Roll Journey co-authored by Bebe Buell, mom of actor Liv Tyler. The most interesting person I’ve met is Dangwa [a local in Sagada]. When I met him in Sagada he approached me and said, ‘I’ve been watching you.’ He’s not normal but he’s funny. He took us to a wake, which was an unusual one because there was singing and dancing it was like a party.
If I had to live my life over again, I’d still be singing. ■
About Kat Agarrado
Kat Agarrado (www.twitter.com/ katmagicwoman; www.facebook.com/ katmagicmusic) is a singer, songwriter and producer, and the vocals behind Pinoy Soul band Sinosikat?. Agarrado’s band has released two albums under Warner Music, Sinosikat? (eponymous) and 2nd Album, that won several major awards in the Awit Awards. Agarrado was vocalist of the year at the 2007 NU 107 Rockawards. She is part of Kat Magic Express, made up of music biggies Sammy Asuncion (Spy/ Pinikpikan/ Kalayo), Louie Talan (Razorback/ Kalayo), Kat Agarrado (Sinosikat/Stick Figgas), Wowie Posadas (Hijo) and Vic Mercado (formerly of Hijo) that won the First National Blues Competition in the Philippines. ■
Top Five Valentine Dinner Ideas
From hiring a private chef to booking an intimate restaurant, we’ve got the big day covered for you Intervie ws by Monica De Leon an d Ci e lo F lo r e s
“I think a private dinner prepared just for you and your loved one in your chosen venue, with no one else around is the most romantic thing. I remember this bespoke dinner I cooked for a couple at the Pacific Grove in California — it was a candle lit dinner set up on a grass lawn facing the ocean. The guy wanted to copy Ed Harris proposing to Julia Roberts in the movie Stepmom so I had to get a small roll of thread in a white chocolate box. When she opened the box she shouted so loud I ran from the van, fearing that something flew into the food or she found a stray hair. Thankfully it was a shout of joy! It was the coolest wedding proposal. The food was a five-course meal. I had to do all the cooking inside a van. They loved my food and because of them I did many more private dinners and proposals.”
- Chef Bruce Lim
Executive chef; Inside a Chef’s Life author
“I went recently to La Cocina de Tita Moning (www.lacocinadetitamoning. com, +632/ 734 2146). What’s romantic about it is its nostalgic ambience. It’s an old house of the Legarda Family — it’s also known as the Legarda Mansion — built in 1937 and was considered one of the first art deco houses in Metro Manila at that time. Since it’s an old house that’s converted into a restaurant, you can actually have a feel of the history of the family when you dine there. The main dining hall is quite small and there are different smaller rooms that can be opened up. The dishes are Spanish and Filipino cooked using family heirloom recipes. And the service is very personal.”
- Nikos Gitsis
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La Cocina de Tita Moning’s dining area
“Offhand, I still find Antonio’s (www. antoniosrestaurant.ph, +63917/ 899 2866) unbeatable if you’re thinking of a romantic date. Aside from being voted constantly among the top 10 restaurants in Asia since five years ago by the Singapore-based Miele Guide there is definitely romance in its location and setting. It’s out of town, in Tagaytay, and there are few restaurants or dining establishments as beautifully built as Antonio’s — a sprawling two story complex built like the modern manor of an Ilonggo (Filipino) gentry, and set within a lush 2.5 hectare garden setting. Fine crystal, silver, crisp white linen and a polished wait service in any restaurant I’ve ever experienced. Needless to say chef/patron Tonyboy Escalante’s food remains unbeatable.”
- Teddy Montelibano Journalist
“It will have to be dinner at Nami Resort (www.namiresorts.com, +6336/ 288 6755), Boracay. It’s set on the cliff side of Boracay so it offers a fantastic view of the beach, with a really cozy and secluded area for dining, dark wood floors and lots of tea lights, candles, couch type and traditional table settings.
Nami is also known for its spa so it really is an escape of sorts, especially for couples. But what’s truly memorable is the food. It’s the type of eating that makes time slow down so you can simply enjoy every bite. I discovered Nami when I was shooting for my old show on QTV, Living It Up.
- Issa Litton
Host and food critic
“One place that spells romance in Boracay is Discovery Shores’s Indigo Restaurant (www. discoveryshoresboracay. com/discoveryshores), listed in the Miele Guide, which is why it is always our top choice when celebrating special occasions that deserve a romantic dinner by the beach. Each of the top 10 tables at the dinner-only venue is carefully arranged by the beachfront, offering the luxury of quiet and privacy. Start off with the basil caesar salad and the cognac laced lobster bisque with crème fraîche and fresh herbs. My beau, who is a steak connoisseur, absolutely loves the succulent rib eye with polenta or the US prime beef tenderloin. And for the perfect sweet ending, the chocolate marquise with pistachios and crème anglaise paired with a refreshing strawberry lychee iced tea. ”
- Freida Dario
Travel and lifestyle journalist
l a c o c i n a d e t i ta m o n i n g p h oto b y o g g i e r a m o s
The cliffs of Viang, just 20 minutes from the airport
Batanes On The Brink Direct flights from Manila are opening up the dramatic and isolated Batanes Islands to tourism. And as Andrea Pasion finds out, it’s worth getting there before the crowds
Sto ry by A n d r e a Pas io n
Addi t i o n a l r e p o r t i n g b y Ci e l o F l o r e s
atanes is unlike any other place in the country, a wild smattering of islands in the north where cliffs meet the sea on pebbled shorelines and goats and cows are sent out to pasture among green hills. These islands have been described as looking more like the Scottish Highlands than the Philippines. The food is fresh not fancy and evening entertainment consists of identifying the constellations in the heavens over a cold bottle or two of San Miguel beer. The Batanes islands — some of which are closer to Taiwan than the Philippines — are so remote that it’s easy from Manila to forget they even exist. Direct flights to the town of Basco have made the islands reasonably accessible from the capital, but they still retain a quality of isolated other worldliness that make them feel like the land that time forgot. The province is often hit by typhoons that blow in from the east during the rainy season. In the dry season it’s hot and sunny, but not as blisteringly hot as Manila or the Philippines’ mainland. As the plane sweeps in to land, you get a glimpse of the drama below: waves crashing on rocks, a cow perched
Photos by oggie r amos
precariously on a cliff’s edge, the runway sloping upwards towards the flanks of volcanic Mt. Iraya. Back in 2008, electricity was rationed because two of three power sources of Batan Island — one of Batanes’s 10 islands — had broken down and engineers were waiting for spare parts from Canada. If one part of the town had lights in the evening, it meant another part was in darkness. These days, Batan Island has round-theclock power supply, while Itbayat and Sabtang islands — the two other inhabited Islands in Batanes, aside from Batan — enjoy electricity for only 12 hours, from 6am to 12 midnight. The homey little pension Shanedel in Basco, the capital of Batanes in Batan Island, which used to run on one generator, giving it three hours of power, now has electricity 24-hours a day. This is progress here. There’s lots of hometown pride with the way the island has developed. Over breakfast of dried flying fish, I remember owner Dely Millan showing me three magazines where the inn has been featured: one of them had a picture of actor Richard Gomez holding a huge yellow fin tuna. I was reminded of the movie he made here with actress Dawn
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Can you wake up to this beauty?
“The islands still retain a quality of isolated other worldliness that makes them feel like the land that time forgot” Zulueta, Hihintayn Kita sa Langit, which in English means I will wait for you in heaven, the first film shot in this location. It is no surprise Batanes is popular with filmmakers. While Batanes is increasingly becoming popular with tourists — there are now three carriers operating to Batanes from Manila — it still retains an untouched charm. Travel through the hills of Vayang, Naidi and Rakuh-A-Payaman, an area known as “Marlboro country” because of its cattle and horses and you’ll know what I mean. At Valugan explore the boulder beach and ancient windmills. If you need a local guide to go around the island, call Joaquin Cantor (+63915/ 555 2747). Get him to take you to Loran Station, the lighthouse that formed a dramatic backdrop for the movie Hihintayin Kita sa Langit. We were told this was where the Filipino version of Wuthering Heights was shot. In Songsong, a barrio at the southern part of Batan Island, check out the Ivatan limestone house where actress and local celebrity Iza Calzado stayed during the filming of the movie Batanes. Well, what makes the house special now’s plain and simple: Calzado made it her home during the duration of the shoot. There are more stone houses to be seen at the UNESCO-nominated heritage site in Barangay Savidug and Chavayan, both on Sabtang Island, less than an hour’s trip by boat from Batan. Before the Spaniards arrived in the Philippines, the indigenous people of Batanes, the Ivatans, built their houses largely from cogon grass, designed to protect
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Batanes: The Facts
The Province of Batanes is the northernmost and smallest province in the Philippines, both in terms of population and land area. The provincial capital is Basco. The province is composed of 10 islands, located about 162km north of the Luzon mainland and 160km south of Taiwan. The largest and most economically important islands are Itbayat, Batan and Sabtang. The northernmost island of the province, as well as of the Philippines, is Mavudis (Yâ€™ami) Island. The other islands are Misanga, Ditarem, Siayan, Dinem, Dekey and Ivuhos.
photo by mon corpuz
against strong winds. The Spaniards introduced largescale use of limestone and ever since it has been used to build dwellings designed to stand up to the harsh Batanes environment. The houses may be built the traditional way, but not everything in Batanes is as it used to be. In one limestone house I caught a glimpse of a flatscreen TV; in another there was a microwave oven. Many Ivatans, it seems, are beginning to reap the benefits of flights from Manila. Life for many Ivatans remains pretty hard. They cultivate the slopes of the province’s rolling hills to produce sweet potato, yam, maize, patola (loofah or sponge gourde) and eggplant. It’s enough for their own needs plus a bit more to barter for necessities. For tourists there’s not much to buy except flavorful garlic, shallots and tupak, native abaca hemp slippers that costs about P250/pair from the Chavayan Village cooperative. Vaculs, the strange headpieces worn by Ivatan women to protect themselves from the heat and the rain as they work in the fields, are made from the voyavoy palm. Vaculs cost anywhere from P400 to P700, depending on whether you buy them in Chavayan or Basco. Each vacul is handwoven and takes three days to make. Tourism is making a mark. Ivatan women in Sabtang
Stone houses photo by mon corpuz
are ready with a smile to pose for photographs, and you can get items like vacul, kanayi (head dress for men) and printed Batanes shirts from souvenir stalls such as Tawsen and Wakay in Basco. In Savidug, I met Lola Deling Servillon, 66, who had negotiated, like a seasoned lawyer, the terms of renting out her home to tourists wanting homestays in a traditional Ivatan home. The house has been with her husband’s family for five generations now, and looks capable of withstanding the storms of many generations more. Lola Deling said she did not think her daughter, to whom they have bequeathed their home, would mind that she has rented out the house. In Basco, if you have time, check out the Honesty Coffee Shop in the municipality of Ivana, reputed to serve the best palek, a strong local brew made from cane sugar. The coffee shop earned its name because it’s usually not staffed, so everyone is expected to leave money for whatever they take. Treat yourself to a cold bottle of Coke but remember to drop the exact change into a slot in the counter. It spoke volumes about the Ivatans, who still live the kind of life where everyone knows everyone and people leave their doors open for anyone to come
Clockwise from left, this page: A local donning Ivatan traditional head dress vacul; row of stone houses in Savidug; and Honesty Cafe. Opposite, the rolling terrain in Mahatao
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“Ivatans cultivate the slopes of the province’s rolling hills to produce sweet potato, yam, maize, patola (sponge gourde) and eggplant” Clockwise from left, this spread: Songsong; Diyura; Loran Station; and Chinapuliran Port in Itbayat, one of the three main islands that make up Batanes
in. If someone loses something, all he or she has to do is announce it over the community radio station and the lost item will usually find its way back to the owner. I could believe it. On my last visit in Batanes, I went to Casa Napoli, a Basco restaurant that now stands in Brgy. Kayhuvokan. I asked a passerby for directions and not knowing where it was himself, he asked other people until he found someone who pointed us in the direction of Philippine budget secretary Butch Abad’s ancestral home. The man, who was walking in the opposite direction from where I was going went out of his way to take me, a lost tourist, right to Casa Napoli’s doorstep.
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Seeking some respite from the hot sun, I dropped my things on a table and sat down. Restaurant owner Xavier Mirabueno, a former ship engineer, was around and I got served a cold Coke Zero. Xavier’s assistant said I was not to leave Batanes without tasting their pizza. So I challenged Xavier to make me a pizza with the islands’ sharp-tasting garlic and real mozzarella cheese and olive oil, rare ingredients in this part of the world. He smiled and picked up the dough from a bowl, slapped it on the counter, kneaded, rolled, cut, and tossed it. The pizza, like my days in Batanes, was perfect. ■
S o n g s o n g r u i n s a n d o ld l o r a n s t a t i o n p h o t o s b y j o c a s a . s e e
The countryâ€™s national icon, the hardy water buffalo grazing in the rolling hills of Marlboro
N E X T page
An impressive natural rock forming an arch along Nakabuang Beach
ESSENTIALS HOW TO GET THERE SEAIR flies to Batanes from Manila every Monday and Friday. Tel: +632/ 849 0100 URL: www.flyseair.com Where to stay
Fundacion Pacita Batanes Nature Lodge
Fundacion Pacita Batanes Nature Lodge is highly recommended and perhaps the most luxurious you can get in Batanes. It has a lush garden setting on top of a hill with 12-creatively furnished rooms, showcase paintings from up and coming Ivatan artists, WiFi access, hot and cold shower and bath in the guestrooms, and massage service. Rates start from P7,000. Tel: +63938/ 252 0942 Url: www.fundacionpacita.ph • Pension Ivatan Hometel and Restaurant has a Kayvaluganan Hometel that is a convenient basecamp because it’s close to the airport. It has three fully-furnished aircon rooms, and a fully operating restaurant known for its local delicacies cooked the traditional way. Pension Ivatan also has a self-catering hideaway by Valugan Bay called Valugan Bay Hometel ideal for a group of four to five. It comes fully fitted with a dining cottage, a living room, family room and a mini pool. The main draw here is the view of Valugan Bay, especially at sunset, and of the stunning Mt. Iraya. Tel: +6378/ 844 2880 Url: 18.104.22.168/pensionivatan.net • Shanedel ’s Inn and Café is set by the bay in Basco and popular with anglers. This bed and breakfast has 10 rooms and is staffed by members of the owner’s family and their help. Rooms are basic and clean, with private toilet and shower, and air-conditioning. Located in the town proper, it’s walking distance from the plaza and restaurants, and less than five minutes away from the airport. The inn overlooks Basco’s m a p ill u s t r a t i o n b y m a r l o n
commercial port. Food served is basic Ivatan fare. Rates are from P1,500-P2,300 per night. Tel: +63920/ 447 0737 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Url: www.wix.com/shanedels/batanes Gastronomic delights • Flying fish. Get your dose of Omega 3 with this one served boiled, steamed, grilled or dried. The locals like to dip the fish in vinegar mixed with Batanes’ strong garlic and shallots. • Venes. Minced gabi (a type of root crop) stalks sautéed in pork blood and dried fish tastes better than it sounds. • Tatus or coconut crab. Its dwindling population has prompted the local government to fine those who take this Batanes delicacy home with them – alive or cooked. This tree-climbing,
round-shelled crustacean has a sweet meat and a sack of roe. • Kamote. Sweet potato here is the sweetest you can get, whether fried as chips, eaten with yam chips, or boiled. The reason is you get them straight from the land and not on the grocery shelves. Ivatans eat it as a snack, as with ube (yam) chips. • Uved. One of the oldest Ivatan dishes, it is made of banana corm that’s sometimes paired with pork or fish. Traditionally this is a soup dish however others make it fried meat ball style. Try these native dishes at Pension Ivatan Hometel and Restaurant (www.pensionivatan.net, which also serves Native Platters that costs P1,550 and is good for five to six persons). • Palek or sugar cane wine. This native wine has an appealing red color and pleasant, fruity aftertaste. Perfect for chilly nights. To order a palek, ask for Juan Delos Santos in the municipality of Uyugan. He sells palek for about P100/liter.
mo r e
Gastronomic deslights’ recommendations are by Oggie Ramos and Joaquin Cantor ■
adventure N E X T page
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Fishing in Mabutay
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For a bit of adventure, try: • Big game fishing or angling. Batanes’ waters are rich in marine life and perfect for big game fishing. Head for the fishing sites around the perimeters of Basco. Best time to fish is March to May, bearing in mind factors such as weather, moon phase, and water current. Joaquin Cantor (+63915/ 555 2747) can arrange for fishing trips in Batanes. • Mountain climbing. The two peaks of Batanes, Mounts Iraya in Basco and Matarim in Itbayat, offer a good-enough challenge for amateurs and veteran climbers. March to May are the best months to mountain climb in Batanes. Elmer Antonio (+63921/ 592 5583), climb coordinator of Batanes Mountaineers, offers climbing package for two for P4,350/person, inclusive of tour guide, land transportation, hotel accommodation and government fees. Visit www.batanesmountaineers.multiply.com for more details. • Scuba diving. Visibility in Batanes’ healthy waters is up to 200 feet so get ready for some glorious diving. Contact the BCTA for a list of dive sites. Contact Francis Domingo at +63939/ 922 4609 or visit www. divebatanes.com for packages and more details. Where to book packages • Triple Star Travel and Tours offers Batanes package for three days and two nights per person for a group of four for P5,871. The package, valid until end of March 2013, includes accommodation, full board meals, roundtrip airport transfers, and Batang and Sabtang Island tours. Room 202 La O’ Center Building, Arnaiz Avenue corner Makati Avenue, San Lorenzo Village, Makati City Tel: +632/ 843 7308 Url: www.triplestartravel.com • Batanes Cultural Travel Agency (BCTA) Unit 201 Parc Chateau Condo Onyx St. Sapphire Road, Ortigas Center Pasig City Tel: +632/ 635 4810 Mobile: +63917/ 811 2282 The Basco, Batanes office is on Castillejos St., Brgy. Kaychanarian, Basco, Batanes Tel: +6378/ 546 1197. Url: www.batanestravel.com • For a tour in Batanes, contact Joaquin Cantor at +63915/ 555 2747. ■
fi s h i n g p h o t o b y f e r d z d e c e n a
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Bamboo Cove, Batangas: It's not your white-sand beach, but this is home to the Olive Ridley turtles that come each year to nest. The sand is fine and the waters sparkling clear
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My Favorite Beach
Ten people who spend their working lives and holidays by the sea tell us the secrets of their best beaches O r i g i n a l s t o r y b y J a n L a o w i t h a ddi t i o n a l r e p o r t i n g b y Ci e l o F l o r e s
o p e n i n g s p r e a d p h o t o b y J e ff r e y s o n o r a
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K a w a y an C o v e , N a s u g b u , B atan g a s
Bamboo Beach is one of the finest patches of sand in the Nasugbu area of Batangas and is easy enough to get to from Manila. The waters here are usually clear and calm for most of the year, except from July to September when the waves attract some surfing. Kawayan Cove is a private 68-hectare residential community with a 650-meter crescent cove of white sand and sparkling blue water. Itâ€™s a romantic, private hideaway. Bamboo Beach is exclusive to Bamboo Beach Club members made up of Kawayan Coveâ€™s (www.kawayancove.com, +632/ 845 1266) lot and residential unit owners.
- Anne Arcenas-Gonzalez Owner of Havaianas Philippines
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Also try: Meditation Point in Kawayan Cove is a favorite place for weddings. Up here you hear the sound of birds, the crashing of waves, and enjoy a commanding view of the South China Sea. To arrange a wedding here you need to be sponsored by a residential owner. Another nice beach a short drive away from Manila that is quite close to Kawayan Cove is Canyon Cove (www.canyoncove.com.ph, +632/ 908 1111), a non-membership beach resort. It has 217 beachfront rooms with rates starting at P5,800 for two. Where to stay: Munting Buhangin Beach Camp is near Kawayan Cove. The entrance fee is P180 for day tour (call +632/ 818 4798 or email email@example.com). For interested Kawayan Cove lot or home buyers, contact Cai Lacdan +63917/ 500 7856 to arrange a day tour. How to get there: Call Manila Rent a Car at +632/ 484 8888; +63999/ 888 6666 or visit www.manilarentacar.org.
Photo by Jocas A. See
So r s o g on
Pagol Beach “The first time I went to Donsol, the son of the mayor of Sorsogon told me about Pagol Beach, a great secluded beach in Barangay Bonot, Bacon District, Sorsogon City. It’s my favorite beach. The place is almost invisible from the road, but as soon as you find your way, you are greeted by this simple little piece of white, even almost pink-ish beach covered with swept corals and lined by a thick forest of coconut trees and coastal plants. The water is usually calm, and is filled with beautiful corals, tempting you to snorkel or dive right in. The sand and the water are comparable to the more popular beaches on the southern part of the province, in Rizal, Gubat; but what’s great about Pagol is that it’s secluded and unexplored by people despite its beauty. Probably one of the few beaches in the area where one can be near the city but feel totally isolated as chances are you’ll be the only city-dwelling soul in sight. "As part of this lengthy stretch along the road of Bacon District, all the way to Sawanga, Pagol is sandwiched by two other more visited beaches. It starts with the beach of Tolong Gapo in barangay Boñga, where you can find three rocks not far from the shore, which
Photo by Gutsy Tuason
legend says were once a cat, a carabao, and a boy turned into rocks by lightning. Then further up the road in what feels like the end of the earth is Sawanga looking out to Paguriran Island. The island is so beautiful that it beckons even to those who have sworn to stay out of the sun. From the shore, Paguriran can be reached by walking in knee- to waist-deep water during low tide. There is a lagoon in the middle that opens into the bigger ocean, great for snorkeling. These three beaches can take all of one day at the minimum."
- Gutsy Tuason
Underwater photographer Also try: Donsol’s butanding (whale sharks) encounter tour from December to May. A three-day package (P5,900/person) covers two night accommodation at Vitton Beach Resort, roundtrip airport transfers, whale shark encounter tour and firefly watching tour. Visit www.vacationislandmanila. com/donsol.html, or call +632/ 502 7107 Where to stay: Bacon Beach Resort and Dive Center on Bacon Beach has 12 rooms looking out towards Albay Gulf and RapuRapu Island. Rates start at P3,500 and varies depending on the season. Call +63919/ 582 2732 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to book How to get there: Bicol Region is only 45 minutes by plane from Manila. Travel by bus takes 13 hours. Hire a car from Viajero Rent a Car, tel +632/ 546 6742
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Pa l a w an
Amanpulo Amanpulo, located in the private island of Pamalican, is a known holiday haunt of international celebrities and wealthy guests. Only 360km southwest of Manila, the low-lying coral island of Pamalican, with an area of 5.5 kilometers, is covered with a sandy jungle of shrub and thorn-bush thickets, and sparkling white beaches. Its waters are teeming with marine life. At low tide, baby sharks chasing families of bat fish are sometimes seen in the shallows at the southern end. Starlings, kingfishers, white-breasted wood swallows, black-naped orioles, and sea eagles have been spotted in the area. Green and hawksbill turtles also nest on the island every year from March until October. Females come and to the beach at night to lay their eggs. And further on are sandbanks and a channel where whales, dolphins and sea cows have been sighted. Seven square kilometers of pristine reef surrounds Pamalican Island, 50m to 300m offshore, making it an ideal place for diving.
- Katrina Tantoco-Lobregat
Also try: Amanpuloâ€™s Romance package for two, valid until May 31, 2013 (US $9,625++ for two for five nights), or its Filipino promo, open to Filipino residents only, for a minimum of two-night stay at a Tree Top Casita (P41,900++ for two per night) valid until end of April 2013. Where to stay: Amanpulo has 40 casitas, which are 65sqm bungalows fashioned after the Philippine bahaykubo (nipa hut). Book casita 39 and 40 for sunset views as well as views of the Sulu Sea and neighboring islands. Amanpulo also has private holiday villas for rent. Rates start at $2,300++ for the one-bedroom villa good for two adults and one child. How to get there: Amanpulo arranges a chartered 70-minute flight from Manila. Guests are met at the Manila International Airport and go on a short drive to a nearby hangar where they wait at the Amanpulo lounge for the direct flight to Pamalican Island. Roundtrip air transfer, Manila-Amanpulo-Manila, is $450 per adult and baggage is limited to 20kg, including carry-on. Visit www. amanresorts.com. To book, email email@example.com or call +632/ 976 5200.
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P h o t o c o u r t e s y o f Am a n R e s o r t s
C a licoan Isl and, Gu i uan, E a ster n Sama r
Hike a bit north of ABCD and within a few minutes you’ll hit Ngolos Beach, a 3km stretch facing the Pacific Ocean, ideal for swimming as the beach extends out for so many meters. Lobsters can be caught just offshore.
- Paolo Manuel Soler
ABCD Beach is the Philippines’ next epic surfing destination. It’s like Boracay, but with consistent world-class waves and not too touristy. There are no crowds. All you get are beautiful white sand, crystal clear waters, and consistent powerful swells rolling in from the Pacific, with waves hitting eight feet or more during peak surfing season. Hugged by the Pacific Ocean in the east and the Leyte Gulf in the west, Calicoan’s 1,800-hectare island has a rugged landscape, half covered by lush virgin tropical forests, home to the civet cats, monitor lizards, rare species of birds and curious Macaque monkeys. ABCD Beach has gnarly world-class breaks, with the approximately 200-meter left-hand break best on a north swell, while the approximately 150-meter right-hand break working on a south swell. Surfing seasons are between April and November with waves of eight feet or more. Summer months produce gentle two- to three-foot waves. Other surf spots are at points north of Homonhon Island and north of Suluan Island. Suluan is the location of the infamous Jurassic Point, perhaps the largest rideable wave in the country at 15 feet.
P h o t o b y E n a M o li n a
Surf coach and president of the Philippine Surfing Academy Also try: Visit Kantican Island (Pearl Island), a 52-hectare fish sanctuary and a pearl culture farm, or try bird watching in the island. Where to stay: The Surf Camp (www.calicoansurfcamp.com, contact +63917/ 524 3582) right on ABCD Beach is a Balinese style accommodation with an infinity pool facing the Pacific Ocean. Rooms start from P6,000 to P8,400, but are well worth the stay. Tanghay Lodge (tanghaylodge.multiply.com, +63915/ 416 8067) in the main town of Guiuan is 20 minutes by motorized tricycle from ABCD Beach. Room rates are from P850 to P2,000. How to get there: If you’re booked at the Surf Camp, you can travel from Cebu to Guiuan on board the resort’s private plane for P5,000 per person, minimum of three persons. Calicoan Island is connected to the main municipality of Guiuan via a causeway. SEAIR (www.FlySeair.com) flies from Manila to Tacloban City. From Tacloban, there are regular rented or chartered vans for P150 per head (Contact Duptours Shuttle Van Service at +6353/ 523 8107) going to Guiuan, a two- to four-hour journey.
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Pan g l ao , B o h o l
Puntod Island Commonly known as the Virgin Island by locals, Puntod Island is an uninhabited island across Panglao Bay. It is only 10 minutes by pumpboat from the town of Panglao. Its main attraction is a 1.2-hectare stretch of crescent-shaped white sand sandbar dotted at one end by shrubs and coconut trees. There is no accommodation on the island except for a skeleton of a house used by fishermen. If youâ€™re okay to rough it out, try camping on the island, and be lulled by the waves and sea breeze and woken in the morning by chirping birds. Located at the southwest side of the island, three kilometers southwest of Panglao Island, is the Puntod Island Wall Dive, a dive site 35 minutes from Alona Beach by boat. Check out nearby islands such as Balicasag Island, home to manta rays, and of late to a newly discovered species of mollusks; Pamilacan Island, famous for dolphin and whale watching; Snake Island, an excellent dive site; Gak-ang Island, ideal for swimming.
- Oudine Santos
Also try: A couple will enjoy a Bohol countryside tour, inclusive of lunch during river cruise, dolphin watching, Balicasag and Virgin Island tour, roundtrip airport to resort transfers plus four-day stay based on twin sharing at Dumuluan Beach Resort in Panglao. The package costs P10,100 per person. Visit www.vacationislandmanila.com or call +632/ 502 7107 for more details. For a wedding in Bohol, the Peacock Garden Resort (visit www. thepeacockgarden.com or call +6338/ 539 9231), a luxury resort, offers all yearround services for intimate wedding plans. Try an adventure in Bohol. E.A.T (Extreme Adventure Tour) in Danao, located outside the area of Panglao Island, promotes ecotourism that are great for couples and groups who are fond of thrilling and exciting escapade. It offers outdoor activities such as river kayak, river trek, caving and root climb. Visit www.eatdanao.com for packages available. Where to stay: Oudineâ€™s pick is Ananyana Resort (Tel: +6338/ 502 8101. Visit www.ananyana.com) located on the shores of Doljo Beach. It has 12 stylish rooms categorized double ($220) and family ($340). Rates include transfers to and from any point in Tagbilaran City. How to get there: Flights from Manila to Bohol takes about an hour and a half. From Tagbilaran Airport, take a cab or rent a car (contact Eddie Magno at +63919/ 865 3867) for a 25-minute drive to Panglao Island, then hire a boat (P1,500 to P5,000) to Puntod Island. For more information and tourism assistance, call Christopher Boncales at +6338/ 412 3666, 501 9186.
Breathe (yoga.healing.juicebar) managing partner
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P h o t o b y D a r i u s Pim e n t e l
Pa l a w an
San Vicente Marc Nelson first visited San Vicente for his TV show Sports Unlimited. He visited the beautiful Boayan Island, Port Barton, and nearby waterfalls. Recalling that first visit, he said: “I fell in love with the place and when the opportunity arose to invest in a piece of this paradise myself, I jumped at the chance. It has a beautiful 14km stretch of white sand beach — Long Beach — making it the longest in the Philippines, so that’s pretty hard to beat. Palawan also has a wonderful in-harmony-with-nature kind of vibe that is rare to find elsewhere.” Located in the northwestern part of Palawan, San Vicente sprawls just above Puerto Princesa and below El Nido. It has pristine waters, rich marine life, vast mangroves, verdant virgin forest that’s home to some of the country’s endangered wildlife, majestic waterfalls and caves. Long Beach is not as creamy white as Boracay’s and some parts of Palawan, but it is still quite secluded, unspoilt and presents you with some of the most beautiful seascapes in the country.
Also try: Palawan Camping in Port Barton. For P1,000 per person you get three meals, use of tent overnight, and use of kayak and snorkeling gear. Contact owner Thelma Clark (+63999/ 486 3348). For an island hopping tour and a two-, three- or four-day stay in any Port Barton resort, contact Fred Orduna (+63908/ 863 3964). A regular three-day tour includes island hopping to Exotic Island, Boayan Island and German Island, while a four day tour, typically includes a visit to Pamuwayan Waterfall and Bigaho Falls in Port Barton. Where to stay: Marc suggests “Before the rest of the resorts open, either at Capari Resort (www.capariresort.com; +632/ 888 5801 to 03), which can do full board. Or try Coconut Garden Island Resort (visit coconutgarden.palawan.net, or contact +63926/ 721 0112) at Cacnipa Island." Rates range from P750 to P2,700, from single to family room categories. Nearby Port Barton (www.portbarton.com), or the local market are good bets for fresh seafood. How to get there: Fly from Manila to Puerto Princesa (www.FlySeair. com), and then take a bus (San Isidro Express, +63919/ 445 5021) that plies to Poblacion, or a jeepney (4Philip look for Sonny Eleperia, +63907/ 255 9691) that plies directly to Port Barton. For van rental, contact John Sy +63921/ 598 8611. For P300 per person, the van can take you to Port Barton in roughly four hours or to San Vicente in about three-and-a-half hours. Van schedule is 4am and 1pm.
- Marc Nelson
World Wide Fund for Nature Ambassador Photo by Michael Marasigan
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San J u an , La Union
Urbiztondo Beach Urbiztondo Beach, more known as “Seabay Beach” in San Juan, La Union, considered the Surfing Capital of Northern Philippines, is a firm favorite of resort owner and pro surfer Luke Landrigan. The beach is less than a kilometer long, the sand grayish and the water clear. There’s a beautiful right point break on one side, a left hand reef break that is just fantastic on a south swell on the other end, and in between both of the breaks is a beach break ideal for beginner to intermediate surfers. The surf break just offshore called “The Point,” otherwise also known as the “Monaliza” is the main surf area in the vicinity. Boards, specifically longboards, are readily available for rent and it’s not difficult to find instructors. What makes this place even better are the locals, like Luke, who are friendly and accommodating. La Union has two surf seasons, one running from July to October and the other from November to March. There are over a dozen breaks in La Union, including Luna, Darigayos Reef, Cement Factory, Tubok, Rivermouth, German Sunset Break, The Point, Dalumpinas, Car-rile, Sea and Sky,
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Poro Point, San Fernanado Airport, Southern Palms, and Bauang.
- Luke Landrigan
Pro surfer and Billabong Surf School head instructor Also try: When you pass by Barangay Taboc in San Juan, you will be amazed by the export quality pots (dalikan, a traditional cooking stove made from red clay and soil, also jars, bricks and lamps, are made by local villagers) displayed on this stretch. A number of pottery-making stalls are located in this area where one can actually stop to watch. If getting wed in the municipality is the agenda, St. John de Baptist is the only church in the area. For reception and spending the night, try the Kahuna Beach Resort and Spa (www. kahunaresort.com) that offers 31 Filipino-Balinese inspired rooms with garden and ocean views. They also offer a Destination Wedding package starting at P110,000 for 50 guests. Call Glynis Balagot at +63917/ 885 6566 for inquiries and details. Where to stay: The San Juan Surf Resort (+6372/ 720 0340 or +63917/ 880 3040. Visit: www.sanjuansurfresort.com) has budget and standard rooms, bungalows and condo units, a bar and restaurant, and a surf shop that offers surfboard sales and rentals. Rates range from P930 to P6,000 a room night. How to get there: San Juan is a five-hour journey by car from Manila via North Luzon Express Way (NLEX), Subic-Clark-Tarlac Express Way (SCTEX) and then MacArthur Highway. For a car rental, call +632/519 6814 or visit www. transaviarentacar.com.
Photo by joel garcia
Pa l a w an
El Nido About 420km southwest of Manila and 238km northeast of Puerto Princesa, El Nido has an amazing scenery of tall dark cliffs, thick green forest, white sand beach, sparkling water and, rising above it, a series of magnificently sculpted jade islands. “El Nido is nice because the staff are very attentive and I like the fact that the guest relations staff would come to you at dinner time and ask you what you’d want to do the following day. I always tell them I want to go to an island where there is no one else. And so in the morning after breakfast they would take me on a boat to an island we can have all to ourselves so you could bathe nude if you want. And before lunch time, around 11:30am, the resort boat would arrive with monoblock table, chairs, table cloth then serve the food. Sometimes I like going to sandpits. “In El Nido, they have this small lagoon and the big lagoon so we took a boat there. I convinced the musicians to come with us. As we entered the lagoon they started playing the violin. The wild monkeys
P h o t o s c o u r t e s y o f El Nid o R e s o r t s
came out, curious. I took a dip in the water, which was so calm it was like glass, and floated listening to classical music.”
- Tetchie Agbayani Actress
Also try: Visit Cudugnon Cave, an old cavern that was formed by million years of erosion located near Lagen and Miniloc Island. One must go inside a small hole to step into the cave. It is also believed to be a historical site. Other islands to discover in El Nido are Dimulacad Island, Pinasil Island (Cathedral Cave) and Virgin Island (Snake Island). Visit www.e-philippines.com.ph/ philippine-destinations/el-nido-palawan-travel-information-and-packages/, or call +632/ 668 1958 for package tour. Price starts at P4,200 per person based on a group of two. Where to stay: Lagen Island Resort has 51 rooms, including water cottages built on stilts on both sides of its cove. Rates are from P24,400 to P32,330. Visit www.elnidoresorts.com, or call +632/ 813 0000. How to get there: From Manila, take an hour and 15 minute flight to Lio Airport (El Nido). Lagen Island Resort is about four kilometers from the main town and they provide clients land and boat transfers.
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Pa l a w an
Islands are Coron’s biggest attractions – 11 World War II Japanese naval wrecks.
- Jeena Llamas Lopez Sports enthusiast
Coron in Palawan has some of the most beautiful and unspoilt beaches in the country and the region. It also presents excellent diving. This side of the planet has more than 200 islets, mostly uninhabited, and its coastline is fringed with white sand and clear waters. It has towering limestone cliffs, sheltered lakes, lush mangroves, and thriving marine reserves. Check out Banol, a small strip of beach lying at the foot of a towering limestone cliff, Debatoc at the entrance of Coron passage, with its white sandy beach and steep limestone cliff partly bordered by coral reefs, Lagat, a small island 334-feet high surrounded by a reef with a narrow passage, and Malcapuya, said to be better than Boracay. Sports enthusiast Jeena Lopez’s favorite beaches are Sangat, Gutob, Malcapuya, Mangenguey, and all the uninhabited islands that you pass by on your pumpboat ride: “It is ideal to hire a boat and travel as far as you can, then turn back and explore the different uninhabited islands on the way back that catches your interest,” says Lopez. Attractions in the area that she adores are Makinit Hot Spring, Twin Lagoons and Kayangan Lake. Also, submerged at the narrow passages of Sangat, Gutob and Black
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Also try: Visiting CYC Beach located five minutes away from the town proper. Snorkel its gin clear water or have picnic on its white sand beach. Or take a 30-minute trek up Mt. Tapyas and view the breathtaking scenery of Coron Island. A hotel located at the back of the mountain called Mt. Tapyas Hotel (+63917/ 500 5566) offers a three-day package for P6, 360/person (two-four persons). The package includes airport transfers, accommodation, van service, packed lunch and entrance fees on tours. Where to stay: Sea Dive Resort (www.seadiveresort.com, +63920/ 945 8714) is built over water, with rooms ranging from only P450 to P1,600. It has a very large restaurant, a bar, a good dive shop with pocket friendly rates. Across the wharf is Sangat Island Dive Resort (www.sangat.com.ph) with rates ranging from $122 to $136. For a luxurious stay, try Mangenguey Island (www.mangenguey.com) with rates ranging from $250 to $450, or Club Paradise (www.clubparadisepalawan.com, +632/ 838 4956) on Dimakya Island. How to get there: Coron town in Busuanga Island is a major off point to neighboring islets and 45-minutes away by van (contact Mike Tonel at +63999/ 993 4896 for van hire) from Busuanga Airport where there are daily flights from Manila to Busuanga. For more information, contact Coron Tours and Travel at +63928/ 500 3866 or +632/ 838 4992.
Photo by Ferdz Decena
Sia r g ao I s l and , S u r i g ao de l N o r te
Cloud 9 in Tuason Point, General Luna, Siargao Island is a favorite of JV Borromeo and many other surfers. It is home to a famous break called Cloud 9, and the site of the annual Cloud 9 International Surfing Invitational. Siargao Island, in Surigao del Norte, is greatly influenced by the winds and currents coming uninterrupted from the Pacific. Its reefs are situated on the edge of the Philippine Trench, and the extremely deep offshore waters assure the ocean swells have undiluted power when they encounter the many coral and rock reefs. Excellent surfing conditions run particularly during the southwest monsoon, when the prevailing wind is offshore. “Another thing I love about Cloud 9 is that I can go barefoot on the beach. It’s so clean and pristine, untouched!” said Borromeo (Rico Rietenbach (+6399/ 889 9988) of Siargao Inn Surf School provides surfing lessons). Siargao boasts of the largest mangrove forest reserve in Mindanao, with a coastal landscape of palm trees and sparkling seas. It has several beautiful beaches offshore to visit.
- JV Borromeo
Stoked Inc. Philippines managing director P h o t o b y M ik e Al c id
Also try: Seeing the 20-meter Bitaugan whirlpool in Biyagnan Island. The whirlpool, located 10 meters from the shore, is a nice scene to witness especially during high tidal change but is dangerous and not for swimming in. For night out, visit Drop Inn Bar located between General Luna and Cloud 9. It has a lounge area and an open air bar. Buddha Surf Resort (www. siargaosurf.com) has acoustic jam every Thursday. Where to stay: JV suggests Siargao Inn (www.siargao-inn.com or contact Rietenbach) with rates from P1,800 to P3,000 and Sagana Resort (www.cloud9surf.com) with rates from P3,300 to P4,500. At the higher end, try Kawayan (www.kawayansiargaoresort.com, +63920/ 364 0663) with a rate of P4,500, and Kalinaw (www.kalinawresort.com, +6917/ 310 2617) with rates from P7, 900 to P13,900. How to get there: Fly from Cebu to Surigao City, the main hub for twoto three-hour ferry rides direct to Siargao Island. Contact Leonardo Go for a tour guide in Surigao City at +63906/ 696 6272. ■
Some of the interviews in this story were compilations from earlier stories published by InFlight. Our thanks to Arjun Shroff, Sorsogon City tourism officer Sheena Dioneda, Recti Alkindes of Easter Samar Tourism Office, Honorio Alejano and Marvy Buitizon of San Vicente, Palawan Tourism Office, Adamor el Dageng of San Juan La Union Tourism office, Robert Eklund and Leonardo Go of Siargao, and Faye Ormido of Office of the Mayor of Coron, Palawan february-march 2013
| InFlight | 41
bacolod // Batanes // bor ac ay // Cebu // Clark // davao // el nido // iloilo // puerto princesa // tacloban // Bangkok // Hong kong // Singapore
Updated Every Issue
p46 Destination guides
p58 Airline guides
Resorts World, Singapore
m a p i l lu s t r at i o n s by m a r lo n s e e
| InFlight | 45
InFlight City Guides
Bacolod jeepneys routes: Banago-Libertad, MandalaganLibertad, Bata-Libertad, Shopping-Libertad routes.
Where to eat
• Mu Shu Asian Restaurant and Lounge is an
Asian restaurant by day cum party venue at night. Their best sellers include beef kebab, java spare ribs, lemongrass prawns and grilled salmon belly. Located at 20 Lacson Street. Tel: +6334/ 435 0972 • Bascon Café. Quiet, elegant and serves moderately priced but delicious food. Traditional fares like callos, lengua estofado, steaks make up the menu. Tel: +6334/ 433 2011
Country code: +63 Area code: 34 Currency: Philippine Peso (US $1 = about P43)
From the airport • Car Hire: Nyala Tours provide chauffeur driven sedans for P1,800, and SUVs and vans for P2,000, both for the first 10 hours. Tel: +6334/ 434 4589 • Taxi: Air-conditioned taxis can be found outside the aiport. • Jeepney: Jeepneys are common modes of transport within the city. There are four major
• Art District is one of Bacolod's nightlife spots and has got various bars to choose from. Try dining at Ju Ja and Cafe Joint. Located at Lopues Mandalagan
Where to stay
• L’Fisher Hotel is a landmark in Bacolod,
operating for more than 22 years. After undergoing renovations in 2009, the interiors of the hotel showcase Negrense ingenuity with the use of locally produced furniture and fixtures. Tel: +6334/ 433 3731-39 • O Hotel has 53 fully-air-conditioned rooms and suites, all cozy and fully equipped. Tel: +6334/ 433 7401-04
• Check Inn Hotel Bacolod is located in the heart
of Bacolod City, right beside the Bacolod City Hall. It has 91 fully air-conditioned rooms with hot and cold shower, with a 24-hour stand by power generator. Rates range from P650 to P1,750. Majority of the guests prefer the rooftop rooms because of the scenic garden in the center of the area. Tel: +6334/ 432 3755 Things to do
• Visit Balay Negrense in Silay. It's a museum-
like house showcasing the 19th century home of a sugar baron. It has a horse-carriage entrance at the back of the house and the rooms all have huge windows and doors. • Visit The Ruins and see how the rich sugar haciendero Don Mariano Lacson and his wife Maria Braga lived. A walk into the mansion will show the intricate designs that tell their love story and the wonderful life that the family has led back then. • Enjoy Mambukal Mountain Resorts where tourists can go boating, climb the seven waterfalls, or swim in the cold natural pool or their sulfur hot spring. There are also bats to see, red sulfuric mud you can put on your skin, and lots of Bacolod food to eat in their Ikea Cafe.
photo by oggie ramos
Batanes Owners and Drivers Association (BATODA) at +63929/ 703 8404. Rate within Basco proper is at P30. itbayat island
Country code: +63 Area code: 78 Currency: Philippine Peso (US $1 = about P43)
From the airport • Car Hire: For car and van rentals, contact Ivatanya c/o Batanes Cultural Travel Agency (BCTA). The hire costs P2,200 per day. For more information, call BCTA at +632 635 4810 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. • Tricycle: Tricycles can be found along Lizardo Street, Barangay Kayhuvukan in Basco. You can also call the 24-hour service of Basco Tricycle
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Where to eat • Hiro’s Café is a restaurant serving local staple food like beef stew, fish lumpia, and sandwiches. Located at 409 Abad St., Basco, Batanes • Honesty Coffee Shop is an unmanned storecafé operating on honesty-basis. You can grab coffee, cola, fried bananas, biscuits or anything you’d like from the store, and jot down your order on a notebook next to the box where you are to leave your payment. Radiwan, Ivana, Batanes • Bunker Café is steps away from the famous Basco Lighthouse. It opens at night for dinner and serves Ivatan dishes like uved balls, lunis and native fern salad. Tel: +63999/ 727 4789 Where to stay
• Batanes Resort is nestled atop a hill, facing the
South China Sea. A typical cottage here has two rooms with ensuite bathroom, airconditioning, and hot water. Rates are about P1,800 a night. Mobile: +63999/ 990 7554 • Batanes Seaside Lodge and Restaurant. This 15-room lodge is popular for celebrities. There is TV, free WiFi, aircon, and hot shower. Rates
The cliffs of Viang, just 20 minutes from the airport
start from P1,600. Mobile: +63921/ 229 0120 or +63999/ 994 2313 • Fundacion Pacita Batanes Nature Lodge is a boutique hotel perched on top of a hill and has had good reviews. Rates start at P7,500, inclusive of set breakfast. (www.fundacionpacita.ph). Mobile: +63938/ 252 0942 • For more on places to stay in Batanes, visit www. inflight.ph
InFlight City Guides
Boracay Road with alleys leading to White Beach. Tricycle fare starts from P10. Chartered rates for tricycles range between P100 (from Cagban to Station 3) to P200 (from Cagban to Yapak). Tricycles also offer island tours for up to a group of four for P300 per hour. For more information, call the Boracay Land Transport Multi-Purpose Cooperative (BLTMPC) at +6336/ 288 3090 or 288 3271.
Country code: +63 Area code: 36 Currency: Philippine Peso (US $1 = about P43)
From the airport • You can fly to Boracay via Caticlan Airport and Kalibo Airport. From Caticlan, a shuttle bus takes you to the jetty port where you ride a boat to take you to Boracay Island in five to 10 minutes. From Kalibo, it’s another two-hour land travel to Caticlan jetty port on air-conditioned shuttle bus or coasters. • Tricycles: Tricycles can drop you off on Main
• Boracay Regency Beach Resort is a
Where to eat • Anzani is highly-rated restaurant that served affordables European food. Tel: +6332/ 232 7375 • CNT Lechon serves the best lechon or roast pig in Cebu City. Tel: +6332/ 254 4249 • Golden Cowrie for Filipino food and Cebuano dishes. Tel: +6332/ 238 1206
Where to stay mactan island
Country code: +63 Area code: 32 Currency: Philippine Peso (US $1 = about P43)
From the airport
• Car Hire: Call any of Cebu Trip Rent-a-Car's
• Cebu City Marriott Hotel features 301 rooms
and 23 suites equipped with aircon, cable TV, mini bar, high-speed internet access, and with luxurious beddings. Tel: +6332/ 411 5800 URL: www.marriottcebu.com • Marco Polo Plaza Cebu mixes Western comforts and Asian hospitality, comprised of 329 guest rooms (some with a view of the mountain or sea) and suites. Tel: +6332/ 253 1111 URL: www.marcopoloplazacebu.com • Waterfront Cebu City Hotel & Casino has 561 rooms with two casino floors open 24 hours. Tel: +6332/ 232 6888 URL: www.waterfronthotels.com.ph
24-hour numbers +6332/ 262 4697 or +63917/ 320 5688. Nightlife • Taxi: Metered taxis are lined up outside the MALAYSIA arrivals' terminal. Fares down town to the city • Marshall Irish Pub Bar and Restaurant serves proper are about P150. burgers and sandwiches as well as Filipino dishes
| february-march 2013 SINGAPORE
like caldereta and afritada. Also try its signature drinks greenttini, Irish Eyes and Leprechaun. Open Monday to Sunday 5pm to 3am. URL: www. marshallsirishpub.com/; Tel: +6332/ 412 6418 • MO2 Restobar is a disco bar with KTV rooms that opened in 2011. Rental of KTV rooms start at P1,200. The menu ranges from burgers and sandwiches to Chinese noodles and pizzas. URL: www.facebook.com/pages/MO2-RestobarCebu-Mandaue-City/118873351509749; Tel: +63917/ 320 6262
photo by jocas a. see
Where to stay
Mediterranean-style, 285-room property with excellent facilities and amenities. Tel: +6336/ 288 6111 to 17TARLAC • Punta Rosa Resort is a resort in a secluded Where to eat area in Station 1, with 12 types of accommodation, each with its own, en suite bathroom with rain • For a list of the best Boracay restaurants, read shower, and fixtures made of native materials, ideal our InFlight Guide to Boracay at www.inflight.ph Clark for couples. Tel: +6336/ 288 6740 • Real Coffee is a good place for breakfast and a nice cup of coffee. Try their freshly baked • Discovery Shores Boracay has 87 spacious brownies, banana walnut and calamansi muffins, guestrooms all exuding luxury, combining and oatmeal cookies. Tel: +6336/ 288 5340 traditional fabrics and furniture with modern amenities. It has a restaurant, bar, function room • If you’re into Moroccan cuisine, try Kasbah’s PAMPANGA and spa. lamb tajine, a stew slow cooked in the traditional Tel: +6336/ 288 4500 tajine, a glazed terra cotta casserole with a funneled lid. Tel: +6336/ 288 4790 Nightlife • Aria is best known for authentic Italian cuisine. It’s a good place for pasta, salad and pizzas • Epic for celebrity spotting and some of the best cooked from wood-fired oven. Tel: +6336/ 288 parties on the island. Visit www.epicboracay.com 5573 • The Sand Bar for watching fire dancers BATAAN and enjoying a drink by the beach. Visit www. • Zuzuni serves delectable Greek cuisine. Try their BULACAN thesandbarboracay.com moussaka or baked layers of eggplant with ground beef and béchamel sauce, souvlaki or skewered
meat, garides saganaki pasta and the Mati chocolate sin for dessert. Tel: +6336/ 288 4477
InFlight City Guides
p h o t o b y e r i ck l i o n g o r e n
Clark Where to eat • Pampanga's capital, San Fernando, just 20 minutes from Clark, is home to Everybody's Cafe serving local dishes. • Angeles City is the birthplace of sisig (chopped grilled pork cheeks) and make sure you taste the original at Aling Lucing's. Call +6345/ 888 2317
Where to stay
• Mimosa Resort. Situated in a 175-hectare
Country code: +63 Area code: 45 Currency: Philippine Peso (US $1 = about P43)
From the airport • Car Hire: VIP Rent A Car has daily rates from P800. Call +6345/ 892 6216 or +63918/ 906 7265. • Taxi: Taxi stands are located in the arrival halls of the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA) and the fare is metered. • Jeep: Public jeepneys areCHINA available outside the airport. Rates start at P8.50.
landscaped property, Mimosa offers both standard hotel rooms and villas. Rates start at P6,600 per night. Tel.: +6345/ 599 7000 • Wild Orchid Resort A property nestled along A. Santos, Angeles with 135 clean, fully-equipped airconditioned rooms, and in-house dining that serves good Filipino dishes. Rates start at P3,900 per night. Tel: +6345/ 892 0134 • Holiday Inn Clark. A local favorite, the Holiday Inn has air-conditioned rooms and WiFi. Private garden villas are also available for families and groups. Tel: +6345/ 599 8000 Things to do
• One of the activities in Clark is horseback riding at El Kabayo Riding Stables. • For P2,500, tourists can enjoy a dip at the Puning Hot Spring.
davao del norte
have a cab driver pick you up. Tel: +6382/ 233 0445 or 234 1360
south cotabato davao del sur
Country code: +63 Area code: 82 Currency: Philippine Peso (US $1 = about P43)
Where to eat • Jack's Ridge, located just across the Shrine Hills, serves delicious Filipino cuisine in a venue that overlooks the city. Tel: 6382/ 297 8830 to 31 • Harana offers great food at reasonable prices. Try their tuna panga or tuna belly. Tel: +6382/ 227 3937 or 227 5615 • Riverwalk Grill. Located right next to the famous Crocodile Park, Riverwalk Grill is for the adventurous eater, serving crocodile meat, ostrich meat and egg, and pangasius fish. Where to stay
• Mictrotel Inns & Suites Davao has fully fitted
double rooms and suites, all designed to for a comfortable stay. It's right in the Damosa Gateway Complex and IT Park, Davao’s major business and commercial hub, and about a 10 minute ride From the airport away from the airport. Mamay Road, Lanang, • Car Hire: Ecotrans Car Rentals provides point to City. Tel: +632/ 899 7171. Visit www. point and charter service. Car hire are on per hour, MACAUDavao microtelphilippines.com per day, per week or pick-up and drop-off basis. Rates start from P500. • Pearl Farm Beach Resort lies in a secluded cove on Samal Island off the coast of Davao City. • Taxi: The simplest way to get around is by taxi. It's perfect for a romantic getaway, for diving Fares start from P40. A typical trip can cost about and snorkeling. This 11-hectare resort was once P70-P95. You can call Mabuhay Taxi directly to
• Omni Aviation offers Mount Pinatubo Sky Tours overflying Mt. Pinatubo for P5,500 per
person in a four-seater Cessna 172 aircraft. Tel: +6345/ 892 6664 or 599 5524 • If you're a high-roller or just looking for some fun, the Clark area has several casinos including Casino Filipino Angeles, Casino Filipino Mimosa, Fontana Casino and Hotel Stotsenberg's Casablanca Casino. For more information, call the tourism office at +6345/ 599 3222
Aling Lucing's sisig
| february-march 2013
a pearl farm, thus the name. Kaputian, Island Garden City of Samal. Tel: +6382/ 221 9970 • Eden Nature Park & Resort is a mountain resort surrounded by lush forests and overlooks the city and the gulf. Great for camping, nature hiking, bird watching, and horseback riding. Matina Town Square McArthur Highway, Matina, Davao City. Tel: +6382/ 299 1020 or 296 0791 Things to do
• Visit the Davao Crocodile Park, a breeding
center for saltwater and freshwater crocodiles. Visit www.psdgroupph.com for schedules of crocodile shows • People's Park along Legazpi Street showcases a mini forest, interactive fountains, ponds and waterfalls, a durian dome, a shady and open plaza, a statue of a gigantic Philippine eagle and a fantasy-themed park with large sculptures made by Mindanaon artist Kublai Millan. • Davao Wildwater Adventure across Davao River. The three-and-a-half-hour wild water rafting starts from Barrio Tamugan in Calinan, and ends at the lowlands. Also try their 310m long zipline suspended 100ft above the ground and set at the hilltop in Brgy. Langub, Ma-a. Tel: +6382/ 221 7823
InFlight City Guides
El Nido • Bus: Two bus companies operate regularly between Puerto Princessa and El Nido, stopping in Roxas and Taytay. Departures are daily at 5am, 6am, 7am, 8am both from El Nido and Puerto Princesa. Travel time is six to eight hours with a fare of P350 per person.
Country code: +63 Area code: 48 Currency: Philippine Peso (US $1 = about P43)
From the airport • El Nido Airport serves South East Asian Airlines (SEAIR) and Island Transvoyager, Inc. (ITI). • Van Rental: From Puerto Princesa Airport, van company Fortwally Shuttle Service has daily shuttles to El Nido. Fare is P600 per head. Private tours range from P2,800 to P3,600, inclusive of food. Travel time takes about five hours.
Where to eat • Artcafe for freshly-baked pastries, pizza and pasta. They are known for their pancakes, fresh muesli and homemade yoghurt. Tel: +63917/ 560 4020. Visit www.elnidoboutiqueandartcafe.com • Vista Beach Resort in Corong-corong is known for their lemon pepper tuna or Cajun maya-maya. www.elnidostunningvistas.com • An institution in itself, Balay Tubay on Real Street serves Filipino and European cuisine. Local musicians regularly perform. Where to stay
• For a private, luxurious experience, El Nido Resorts has premiere resorts on Lagen and
Miniloc Islands. Visit www.elnidoresorts.com • Marina Garden Beach Resort at the center of El Nido town offers native-style cottages with basic facilities for budget travelers and concrete country villa rooms with air-con and hot showers. Visit www.mgelnido.com or call +63917/ 624 7722
or +63908/ 884 3711 Things to do
• Rock climbing & walking. The western side of El Nido town lies in the shadow of an impressive sheer cliff face which is just the visible portion of an even more impressive headland. There are organized walking treks to the top of the headland. • Bacuit Bay has islands with limestone cliffs, ideal for climbing, diving, and swimming. • Explore the island on foot. After a 14 kilometer ride from El Nido Town proper, you can go on a one-hour trek to Nagkalit-kalit Falls in the town of Pasadena. Five kilometers from the waterfalls is the undeveloped Makinit Hotspring, open only for sightseeing. Bulalakaw Falls in Villa Paz, 15 kilometers from El Nido town, is about a two hour hike. Seven kilometers from El Nido town proper is Ille Cave with its archaeological artifacts dating back 10,000 years. The waterfalls are best visited during the rainy season by tricycle. Fares from P600-P800. For more info on El Nido contact El Nido Tourism Office at +63917/ 841 7771 or email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Iloilo Where to eat
• Tatoy’s Manokan & Seafood is the most
popular, and described by Philippines Travel Guide author Jens Peters as the best, native restaurant. Known for its native lechon manok, tourists and locals alike trek to the restaurant just to eat their tasty chicken. Sto. Nino Sur, Arevalo, Iloilo City • Breakthrough is a native-style restaurant popular among visitors and locals for its fresh and affordable seafood. Tel: +6333/ 337 3027 • Ted’s Oldtimer La Paz Batchoy serves diners the original La Paz batchoy. Tel: +6333/ 320 1945 Where to stay
Country code: +63 Area code: 33 Currency: Philippine Peso (US $1 = about P43)
From the airport
• Car hire: Bench Transport offers a wide
selection of newest models of sedans, AUVs/ SUVs, and vans, with rates starting from P2,200, inclusive of driver and fuel. Tel: +6333/ 336 6190 • Taxi: Taxis are found at a terminal outside the airport. Flagdown rate is P40 for the first 500m, with P3.50 surcharge thereafter.
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• Eon Centennial Plaza Hotel has 41 rooms that are fully air-conditioned and have private toilet and bath with shower and tub, cable television, and mini-bar. They’re also furnished with a coffee/ tea maker, hair dryer, and daily newspaper. Tel:+6333/ 337 2277 • Sarabia Manor Hotel is 40 minutes away from the Iloilo Airport and 15 minutes away from the seaports. It has 187 fully air-conditioned spacious rooms equipped with high-speed internet access, satellite and cable television, a working desk, personal refrigerator and complete bathroom amenities. Tel: +6333/ 335 1021 to 27
• MO2 Westown Hotel offers a range of stylish designed rooms which are fully equipped with modern facilities and amenities. Each of the 90 rooms has flat panel television, high-speed LAN internet access, electronic safe, fully stocked miniref, down comforters, cotton pillows, and hot and cold showers. Tel: +6333/ 508 3838
Things to do
• Hunt for authentic antiques at the different
antique shops in Iloilo. There are various collections of Philippine colonial sculptures, wood, stone, and ivory saints, Chinese porcelain wares and other artifacts at reasonable prices. • Take home famous delicacies like pinasugbo (banana brittle), barquillos (local wafer), and biscocho (buttered toasted bread) from Jaro district. Try Panaderia de Molo and Biscocho Haus. • Watch women weavers as they make delicate
jusi, piña and hablon fabrics of elegant designs. Buy finished products at Sinamay Dealer near Arevalo Plaza.
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InFlight City Guides
Puerto Princesa standard routes. The fare around the city starts at P8 per person. Where to eat
• Kinabuch’s Bar & Grill serves grilled squid,
puerto princesa city
Country code: +63 Area code: 48 Currency: Philippine Peso (US $1 = about P43)
From the airport • Car Hire: Ellen’s Travel and Tours offers van rentals in Puerto Princesa City. A three-hour city tour costs P600. Call +6348/ 434 7052 • Jeep: Available 24 hours and covers most of the city. The usual cost for a jeepney ride is P8 for the first three kilometers. • Multicabs: Multicabs and tricycles have
grilled blue marlin steak, baked mussels, and the local delicacy tamilok, a wood worm. Tel: +6348/ 434 5194 • Scenario Bar is a tiny lounge bar at the ground floor of Asturias Hotel. Try their crocodile burger and kilawin tanigue, fish cooked in spiced vinegar. Open from 7pm to 1am. Located at South National Highway, Tiniguiban. Tel: +6349/ 434 3851 • La Terrasse has a delicatessen offering organic produce, homemade by local entrepreneurs. For sale are dried fish called dilis, bread, smoked bacon, yoghurt, cheese and vegetables. Tel: +6348/ 434 1787 Where to stay
• Marina de Bay, located 20 to 30 minutes from
Puerto Princesa Airport, has 18 air-conditioned villas surrounded by mangroves and landscaped gardens. Each room has a balcony with a view of the Puerto Princesa Bay. Tel: +6348/ 723 1754 • Sheridan Beach Resort and Spa has 94 spacious guest rooms and suites; all are tastefully furnished and decorated in a contemporary Asian
style with local touches. Tel: +6348/ 434 1449 • Balay Inato Pension, a five-year old guesthouse near the airport with 14 fully airconditioned rooms, equipped with cable TV, intercom, hot and cold shower, and private lanai. Also offers free Wi-Fi. Tel: +6348/ 433 8595 Things to do
• Underground river tour. Book at least two
weeks in advance to be assured of a place in the tour. URL: www.puerto-undergroundriver.com • Visit The Gypsy’s Lair. Apart from being home to local artists and musicians, the lively café features an eclectic menu consisting of Filipino, Asian, Spanish and Western cooking. Located at Mercado de San Miguel • Honda Bay island tour. The tour offers white sand and blue seas on any number of small islands in the bay. Average cost P1,100 per person, inclusive of transfers, lunch, and entrance fees to some of the islands
Tacloban arrivals terminal in Tacloban City. Fares start at P8. tacloban city
Country code: +63 Area code: 53 Currency: Philippine Peso (US $1 = about P43)
From the airport • Car Hire: Duptours Shuttle Service offers vans for rent per day starting at P5,500. Tel: +6353/ 523 8107 • Havens Rent-A-Car has sedans, auv-suv-type vehicles and a Starex van. Rates start from P2,500 for a 24-hour use of sedans. Tel: +6353/ 523 0765 • Jeepney: Jeepneys can be found outside the
| february-march 2013
Where to eat
• Ocho Seafood Grill for seafood. Pick your seafood of choice and have it cooked the way you want it done. Its bestsellers are baked scallop, porbidang kangkong, an Ilongo dish cooked in coconut milk, and sarad (a seashell variant cooked in soysauce and vinegar). Tel: +6353/ 3254171, Located at Sen. Enage Street. Visit www.ocho.ph • Sunzibar serves Mexican meals and is famous for their nachos salad and rum ribs. Tel: +6353/ 5234565. Located at Burgos Street • Rafael Farm is a restaurant and a park, about 11km away from the famous Philippine landmark San Juanico Bridge. Specializing in native food, this restaurant serves lechon kawali, native tinolang manok, and fish kinilaw. Tel: +6353/ 325 0729
Where to stay
• Hotel Alejandro is a five-storey structure having
a total of two executive suites, 25 standard rooms and 33 deluxe rooms. The fifth level is the roof deck where parties are mostly held as it can accommodate up to 200 persons. Tel: +6353/ 321 7033 • Welcome Home Pensione has 28 guest
rooms that can accommodate from one to seven persons per room. It offers a range of affordable budget, standard and suite rooms when staying in Tacloban. Free internet access is available at their cottage and lounge areas. Tel: 6353/ 321 2739 • Leyte Park Resort Hotel was built by former First Lady Imelda Marcos in 1979 and is now a major tourism and convention complex with its 6.1 hectare parkland nestled on a hill overlooking beautiful San Pedro Bay. Tel: +6353/ 325 6000 Things to do
• Sto. Niño Church. Considered the main church
in Tacloban City, this house of prayer is home of the Señor Santo Niño that believed to be miraculous. • San Juanico Bridge, about 15 minutes away north of Tacloban City, is a 2.16-kilometer long S-shaped span connecting the islands of Leyte and Samar. • Sunzibar serves Mexican meals and is famous for their nachos salad and rum ribs. They also serve mojito and margarita. Located at Burgos Street. Tel. +6353/ 523 4565 • A visit to the Sto. Niño Shrine and Heritage Museum will give you an idea how the Marcos clan lived. A guided tour for up to five persons costs P200.
Bangkok Where to eat
• Bed Supperclub is Bangkok's trendiest address
Country code: +66 Currency: Thai Baht (US $.032 = THB 1)
with its contemporary, all-white, tubular design, serving modern Asian cuisine. Try the roast duck and mushroom risotto with foie gras cream and dried shallots, and the BSC Burger, wagyu beef, gorgonzola, smoked bacon and hand cut fries. 26 Soi Sukhumvit 11, Sukhumvit Road, Klongtoeynua, Wattana. Tel: +66/ 2651 3537 • Hidden in Talaat Mai in "Trok Itsaranuphap" is Hong Kong Noodles, famous for its wheat-andegg noodle soups. Come for breakfast or lunch, but prepare to wait for a seat. 136 Trok Itsaranuphap, Th Charoen Krung • You'll find Thai and Chinese street food at Soi 38 Night Market. Try the famous flame-fried phat thai and divine mango sticky rice. Soi 38, Th Sukhumvit
From the airport • Bangkok Skytrain: Bangkok Skytrain (BTS) operates from 6am to 12mn everyday with two main lines – Sukhumwit and Silom lines. The fare ranges from 15 to 40 Thai Baht (THB 15-40). • Taxi: Finding a taxi is not a hassle, especially around hotels, shopping malls and other tourist attractions. The fare starts at THB 35 for the first two kilometers, and THB 2 per kilometer thereafter.
Where to stay • Wendy House is a good-value budget choice. A brightly colored coffee shop and reception greet visitors. There's internet, laundry and business services. 36/2 Soi Kasemson 1, Rama1 Road, Patumwan. Tel: +66/ 2214 1149 or +66/ 2214 1150 • The Sukhothai is surrounded by lush, tropical gardens and decorative pools, close to shopping, entertainment and historical sites, and the Suvarnabhumi Airport. The hotel features 210
contemporary Thai guestrooms, three restaurants, a swimming pool, health club and spa. 13/3 South Sathorn Road Tel: +66/ 2344 8888 • The Peninsula Hotel has 370 guestrooms and 60 one-bedroom suites, each with state-of-the-art electronic system for access to features at the touch of a button, modcons, luxurious furniture, bespoke accessories, and a large balcony that overlooks the city and Chao Pharya River. 333 Charoennakorn Road, Klongsan. Tel: +66/ 2861 2888 Shopping
• Chatuchak Weekend Market is where to go
for antique pieces, beautiful plants, hand-woven textiles and ceramics. Kamphaeng Phet 2 Road, Chatuchak • Flower Market is one of the most interesting places in Bangkok. You can fill up an entire car with orchids and spend only $6 maximum. Chak Phet Street, Bangkok • Gem shops are ubiquitous in Bangkok – and many of them will rip you off. David Glickman at Lambert Holding Co. offers a cash-back guarantee with no time limit; if you change your mind about a purchase, you can return it, no questions asked. 807 Silom Road. Tel: +66/ 2236 4349
Hong Kong china
Country code: +852 Currency: HK Dollar (US $1 = HKD 8)
From the airport • Train: The MTR (Mass Transit Railway)-operated Airport Expresscan get you to Kowloon in just 21 minutes and Hong Kong Island in 24 minutes. It also operates a complimentary shuttle bus service from the stations to most major hotels. The platform is located within the terminal building, connected to the Arrivals Hall, and is clearly signed. Return fare is HKD 160 (Kowloon) or HKD 180 (Hong Kong). It is also possible to purchase
tickets that include unlimited use of the MTR for three days, which are very good value for money. • Taxi: Upon arrival, make your way to the Taxi Station via the left-hand ramp outside the Arrivals Hall. Taxis are color-coded but red taxis will travel to most areas, including Hong Kong Island and Kowloon Peninsula. An approximate taxi fare to Central is HKD 290 and to Tsim Sha Tsui is HKD 230. Where to eat • Yung Kee is a local favorite and has been awarded a Michelin star in 2010. Famous are its roast meats, especially the goose, seafood and dim sum. Address: 32-40 Wellington St., Central Tel: +852/ 2522 1624 • Ajisen Ramen serves affordable and satisfying noodle soup and curries and bento boxes served in a traditional Japanese setting, with over 30 outlets across Hong Kong. Address: Shop 5, 4/F, Langham Place, 8 Argyle St., Mong Kok, Kowloon Tel: +852/ 3514 4396 Where to stay
• Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong. Located in
Central near the major business landmarks that’s an ideal place to stay if visiting for shopping. With 501 guestrooms, 71 of which are suites. Select
rooms and suites overlook Victoria Harbour and the surrounding cityscape. Operates 10 restaurants and bars, including the Michelinstarred Pierre and the three-storey Mandarin Spa. Rates start from HKD 5,300. Address: 5 Connaught Road, Central, Hong Kong Tel: +852/ 2522 0111 URL: www.mandarinoriental.com/hongkong • The Peninsula Hong Kong. Hong Kong's grand old dame that features rooms with high ceilings and classical proportions, all spelling luxury. Rates start from HKD 5,580. Tel: +852/ 2920 2888 Visit www.peninsula.com/Hong_Kong • Park Lane Hong Kong offers 809 fully equipped guestrooms and suites with the view of the famed Victoria Harbour and Park ideal for business and leisure travellers alike. Rates start from HKD 2,470. Tel: +852/ 2293 8888 URL: www.parklane.com.hk • W Hong Kong has 393 rooms and specialty suites featuring interesting infusions of wood, fire, earth, metal and water and modcons in each room. Address: 1 Austin Road West Kowloon Station Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon Tel: +852 3717 2222 URL: www.whotels.com/HongKong
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InFlight City Guides
Kota Kinabalu RM 160 for a whole day’s use if traveling within Kota Kinabalu. Call Kinabalu Heritage Tours & Car Rental at +6088/ 318 311. kota kinabalu
Where to eat • Kampong Nelayan Seafood Restaurant
making facilities and a flexible workplace. Rates start at RM 260 per night. Call +6088/ 529 888 Kinabalu Heritage Tours For a wide range of travel and tour packages, call +6088/ 318 311
(Tel: +6088/ 231 003) for its prawn dish, Sabah vegetable with garlic, ostrich meat with spring onions and ginger and steamed saltwater grouper in sauce.
Where to stay
Country code: +6088 Currency: Malaysian Ringgit (US $1 = RM 3)
From the airport • Taxi: A taxi costs around RM 20 to 30, and takes only 10 minutes to the city center, situated eight kilometers away. • Bus: There is a minibus terminal outside the airport that can take you to the city center. The bus costs RM 1.50. • Car rental: A car for hire, excluding driver, costs
• The Jesselton Hotel is a 32-room hotel with
a colonial house feel. It has a cozy lounge, and a restaurant that serves international and Asian cuisine. Room rates start at RM 195 per night. Call +6088/ 223 333 • Shangri-La Rasa Ria Resort is a five-star hotel with 420 guestrooms in soft earth tones and intricate panel carvings. All ground floor rooms have private lanais while upper rooms have private balconies with views of the Pantai Dalit Beach. Room rates start at RM 1,100 on high season per night. Call +6088/ 792 888 • Novotel Borneo is a four-star hotel with 263 rooms and suites, each with LCD satellite TV, internet access, in-room safe, coffee and tea
Singapore • Bus: A trip will cost you between 60 cents and SG$ 1.20. Buy a copy of TransitLink Guide available at most bookstores for a comprehensive guide on bus time-tables, routes and fares, sold at SG$ 1.50. • Taxi: A taxi stand is located outside the departure hall of the airport. A taxi from the airport to the city has a SG$ 3 surcharge but there is no surcharge when you travel from city to the airport. A trip from Changi airport to the city costs about SG$ 13, excluding surcharge.
Where to eat
• 49 Katong Laksa. For authentic Peranakan
Country code: +65 Currency: SG Dollar (US $1 = about 1.30 SGD)
specialty Laksa. Tel: +65/ 6344 5101 • Jumbo Seafood East Coast. Known for its black pepper beef fillet, sweet and sour prawns, and Yangshou fried rice. Tel: +65/ 6442 3435
From the airport Getting around Singapore on foot is a pleasant and hassle-free way of seeing the center of the city, but when you want to venture slightly farther or dart between different districts, then a bus or train is the fastest and most economical option. • Car Hire: San’s Tours and Car Rentals charges daily rates between SGD$ 90 per day for a minimum of five days. Call +65/ 6734 9922.
Where to stay • The Scarlet Hotel Singapore is an 80-room “lavish” hotel set in a four hectare property at the center of Singapore, close to the Thian Hock Keng Temple, Sri Mariamman Temple, and Raffles Place. It’s designed in modern Moulin Rouge style. Room rates start from SG$ 235. Tel: +65/ 6511 3333 URL: www.thescarlethotel.com
| february-march 2013
New Majestic Hotel
• New Majestic Hotel offers 30 exclusive and unique rooms that incorporate the 1920's style with being state of the art, with modern luxurious amenities. Rates start at SG$ 268. Address: 31-37 Bukit Pasoh Road, Chinatown Tel: +65/ 6511 4700 URL: www.newmajestichotel.com • Wanderlust is a left-field and totally experimental boutique hotel set to draw madcap voyagers and curious travellers to its doorstep. Located in Little India, the hotel has four thematic levels with 29 rooms created by award winning Singapore designers. Rates start at SG$ 219. Address: 2 Dickson Road Tel: +65/ 6396 3322 URL: www.wanderlusthotel.com
AirlineGuide Airbus A-320
South East Asian Airlines (SEAIR)
South East Asian Airlines International (SEAIR I)
Southeast Asian Airlines (SEAIR) is the second oldest airline in the Philippines. SEAIR was founded in 1995 by Capt. Iren Dornier, Capt. Nikos Gitsis, and Tomas Lopez, starting operations from Manila to Rodriguez and Busuanga, Palawan. In 1996, it started the Caticlan route, servicing Boracay bound passengers. SEAIR now flies from Clark to Kalibo (Boracay), as well as to international destinations Singapore, Hong Kong and Bangkok in Thailand. SEAIR also flies from Manila to Cebu, Davao, Kalibo, Tacloban (Leyte), Puerto Princesa (Palawan), Iloilo and Bacolod.
SEAIR International (SEAIR I), founded in July 2012, is one of the country’s youngest airlines. From the spun out Turboprop division of SEAIR, it was established to continue services to some of the Philippines' remote destinations and missionary routes. Staying true to the vision of the original SEAIR (now Tiger Airways Philippines), SEAIR I aims to chart the path in discovering the country's hidden gems, developing the next Boracays. On November 24, 2012, SEAIR I started its domestic cargo services from Clark to Cebu, and from Manila to Clark using its Boeing 737 freighter. On December 7, 2012, it launched its flights from Manila to Basco (Batanes), its first official scheduled operation, using the Dornier 328. In addition to offering executive charter services in 2013, SEAIR I intends to establish a hub and spoke system in Puerto Princesa, Palawan that will allow for inter-Palawan flights. SEAIR I was founded by aviation veterans and pioneers Iren Dornier, Tomas Lopez and Nikos Gitsis.
• 2 Airbus A-319 • 3 Airbus A-320
Destinations • Bacolod • Cebu • Clark • Davao • Iloilo • Kalibo (Boracay)
• Manila • Puerto Princesa • Tacloban • Bangkok (Thailand) • Hong Kong • Singapore
Booking and Ticketing • Book online at www.flyseair.com or www. tigerairways.com • 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 • Clark: Unit 166, SM City CSEZ, Clarkfield, Pampanga Tel: +6343/ 499 0258-59 • All airport destinations
| InFlight | february-march 2013
Island Transvoyager (ITI) Island Transvoyager, Inc. (ITI) is the airline that operates in Palawan, a prime tourist destination in the country. El Nido flights depart from Manila with frequency of up to three regular flights daily, and Taytay flights with frequency of one regular flight daily. 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 starting 2008.
Destinations • El Nido (Palawan) • Taytay (Palawan)
Fleet • 3 Dornier 228
Booking and Ticketing • Basco (Batanes)
Fleet • 2 Dornier 328 • 1 LET 410 • 1 Boeing 737 200 series
Booking and Ticketing • Book online at www.flyseair.com • Makati: Unit 202 La O’ Center Building, 1000 Arnaiz Avenue (former Pasay Road) corner Makati Avenue, Makati City Tel: +632/ 849 0100
• ITI Hangar No. 5-03-127, Andrews Avenue (near PAL Medical Center), Domestic Airport, Pasay City Tel: +632/ 851 5664 Email: email@example.com URL: www.itiair.com
REPUBLIC OF KOREA
SEAIR Regional Route Map
REPUBLIC OF KOREA TAIWAN
BANGLADESH MACAU MYANMAR LAOS
PHILIPPINES CLARK, ANGELES
SOUTH CHINA SEA
CAMBODIA SULU SEA
ANKA CELEBES SEA
HONG KONG SINGAPORE MACAU SEAIR Domestic, SEAIR I and ITI Route Map
SEAIR low cost flights SEAIR I flights ITI flights
INDONESIA PHILIPPINE SEA SOUTH CHINA SEA
PHILIPPINES EAST TIMOR
LUZON CLARK, ANGELES MANILA
ILOILO BACOLOD CEBU
PALAWAN Puerto Princesa
MINDANAO DAVAO DEL NORTE Davao City DAVAO DEL SUR
| InFlight | 59
The Farm's black bean chili with corn bread
From left: VIA country manager for Thailand Bharat Kumar, SEAIR CEO Patrick Tan, and VIA country manager for the Philippines Ramesh Samineni
SEAIR Partners with Via.com South East Asian Airlines (SEAIR) announced its partnership with Via.com, a travel solutions provider that will allow SEAIR to increase its reach to the general public and conveniently announce its best deals. The partnership will allow SEAIR's customers to buy tickets, holiday packages, hotels, and other travel products at very low costs and all at once online and through the travel agency partners of Via.com. While waiting for Via.com to announce the start of its online services for SEAIR, SEAIR products are now being sold at over 4,000 Via.com outlets and travel agency partners nationwide. SEAIR, in partnership with tigerairways.com, flies to three international destinations and seven Philippine destinations while Via. com has the largest travel agency network in the country for both domestic and international flights. Visit www.flyseair.com and www.tigerairways.com. Like www.facebook. com/flyseair.
The Farm Wins Best Spa and Best Spa Cuisine Awards The 2012 SpaFinder Reader’s Choice Awards in the US voted The Farm, one of the most recognized wellness resorts in the country, as "Best Eco-Spa and Best Spa Cuisine". The spa also won the Spa Cuisine of the Year in recent AsiaSpa Awards in Hong Kong. The Farm general manager Michael Di Lonardo says “It is very satisfying to be consistently recognized as one of the leading integrative medical and wellness destinations in the world.” Visit www.thefarm.com.ph.
Wild Orchid Resort Offers Up to 15 % Off Room Rates Wild Orchid Resort is offering a 10% discount to guests who book a room for 10 consecutive nights at the resort, and an additional 5% for cash payment, valid until the end of the year. Guests who stay in any Orchid Group hotel for over 30 days gain a Very Important Guest (VIG) status and can avail himself of special discounts in the next visit. Wild Orchid Resort, the first four-star resort in Angeles City, is right in the heart of Angeles City’s entertainment district, and minutes away from SM Clark Mall, restaurants and the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport. It opened on July 1, 2005 with 55 rooms. Within the same complex, the Wild Orchid Lagoon Wing rose in November 2009 with 80 rooms to accommodate more guests. The resort has two large swimming pools, a 24-hour bar called Scalliwags Bar and Restaurant that offers cold beer, fresh seafood, sizzling steaks and salads, and an ATM machine located at the lobby. Wild Orchid Resort received the "Best Hotel Partner Top Performer" title from BDO Bank, and was one of the top 10 resorts in Region 3 to receive the reward. The resort also received a “Four Star Certificate of Excellence” from TripAdvisor(www.tripadvisor.com). Visit Wild Orchid Resort at A. Santos corner Johnny's St., Balibago, Angeles City, Pampanga. Visit www.wildorchidresort.com or call +6345/625 6337 for bookings and reservations.
W IL D OR C H I D Ph o t o BY J O C AS A . SEE
| february-mach 2013
Have it your way Providing Practical Business Solutions and Highly Customized Contact Center, Creative Services, and technology Support Services.
H e lic o n Tec H n o l o g y, c o r p. unit 306, La o' Center Building, 1000 arnaiz avenue corner Makati avenue, Makati City, Philippines 1223 tel. No. : (+632) 849 0280
Fax: (+632) 849 2804