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j u n e - j u ly 2011

The Big Blue

A Tubbataha diary

Where Chefs Eat

4 top hats on their favorite restaurants

Me and My Travels

Boys Night Out DJs

Body of Art

Tale of a female tattoo artist

Green heritage The fight to save the terraces


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april-May 2011

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INside infligh t | j u ne-j u ly | 2011


34 Green Heritage

The beauty and plight of Banaue’s rice terraces

48 Insider’s Guide

THE BIG BLUE: A Tubbataha Diary David Dalton boards a former Russian spy ship for a dream scuba diving trip to the only coral atolls in the Philippines

34 photo by joel garcia

june-july 2011

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INside infligh t | j u ne-j u ly | 2011



10 Editor’s Note 12 INformed

What not to miss in June and July

14 INTheNews

Bohol to develop the country’s first manmade resort islands in Panglao Plus: Historic Paco Market to open a 764-stall market for tourists

18 INRoom

Kapuluan’s modern thatched cottages by the sea



28 INPerson

Me and My life: Boys Night Out djs

84 INFocus

Alona Beach at dawn


23 INTheShop

Eco-friendly gadgets: From sustainable ecobooks to pocket solar chargers, we’ll show you how life could be greener


26 INMyBag

Fashion designer Melissa Dizon on Eastern Samar’s “dreamy coves and endless coast”


Where chefs eat: We ask 4 chefs about their favorite tables


64 INTheFrame: Arts and Culture

Body of art: Rakel Natividad, the country’s first woman tattoo artist, on tattoo conventions and spreading the art

PLUS! Airline Guide

Concept by InFlight Photo by Daniel Soriano Art direction by Jocas See Styling by Vanessa Johnson Hair and make up by Aisa Fay Costo Modeling by Michelle Braun for IM Agency Location: Bangaan Rice Terraces, Ifugao Erratum: InFlight’s April-May 2011 issue on Me and my life feauturing actor-model Sam Milby credited Xander Angeles as photographer for Folded & Hung. The photographer was Ronnie Salvacion. Our apologies.


| InFlight | june-july 2011

s u ppl e m e n t

A 7-page guide to spas, treatment centers and beauty shops

to Boracay w w

executive Editor

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



Giselle Javison

managing EDITOR

Monica De Leon

Art Director Writer


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

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

Margie Defensor WALDO VILLADOS

Publishing publisher Publishing director

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

Dornier Media International Nikos Gitsis

Boa rd of Advisers Seair chairman

Iren Dornier

Publishing director

Nikos Gitsis

Editorial director Director

Giselle Javison Delza Apostol

General manager

Monica De Leon

Legal counsel

Atty. Celina Cua

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

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


t is not true that you must have a fat wallet to be able to travel. Truth is, with more travelers come more choices, and with these choices come possibilities that suit every budget.




Nowhere is this point perfectly illustrated than what Microtel Hotels and Resorts offers. Their hotels and resorts are located in every main tourist destination in the Philippines: Baguio, Batangas, Boracay, Cabanatuan, Cavite, Davao, Palawan, Tarlac, and Manila. With its value-for-money topquality accommodations, your holiday at your choice destination can really happen.


Go up to the country’s summer capital and enjoy Baguio City’s cool climate. Even on a tight budget you can still go to Baguio’s

staples such as Burnham Park, Wright Park, Mines View, Strawberry Farm, or Camp John Hay and stay in a safe, clean, and comfortable hotel as Microtel Baguio, found along the Upper Session Road. Commuters will be glad to know that Microtel Baguio is right beside the Victory Liner Passenger Center, so arriving in Baguio and leaving for Manila will never be a problem.


Wanting to scratch Tarlac off your bucket list of must-visits? Better not because Microtel Tarlac makes sure you have a place for rest and recreation. A must-visit to landmarks such as the Aquino Center and Museum, the Luisita Golf & Country Club, the Las Haciendas de Luisita Clubhouse, and the Luisita Commercial Complex.


The north always springs a surprise— and Microtel Cabanatuan is no exception. This 50-room hotel is located in Sta. Arcadia, a residential and commercial development of Ayala Land. Since its opening, it has attracted trade and regional activities in its area, giving travelers more than a peek into the wonderful culture of the province.


If you prefer someplace cool and near, a trip to Cavite should do the trick. Microtel Eagle Ridge is the perfect place to unwind, with its 57-room establishment right inside the Eagle Ridge Golf & Residential Estates. It is a short drive from Tagaytay City where many points of interest can be visited and enjoyed.


Travelers in beach mode will applaud the budget-friendly offerings of Microtel Puerto Princesa, Palawan. It is the only property in the city with its own beachfront, the white sands of Emerald Beach. Think of enjoying the hotel’s affordable rates and being able to have your fill of water sports and island thrills. Take a tour of the Underground River or go island hopping in Honda Bay. Now, that’s a vacation!

it the ultimate gateway to Manila’s dynamic and exciting landscape. Whichever Microtel hotel you stay in, you can be assured that your hard-earned money is well-spent. Wherever it is, Microtel is the same great hotel everywhere you go. You come home to Microtel and find clean


Fancy going to Davao but fearing you might not be able to afford it? Fear not. Microtel Davao brings together the great value you have been looking for: the modern hotel amenities in a


Another travel destination down south is Batangas, where business, commercial, and recreational establishments are in abundance. You can check out the province’s beaches, heritage sites, or cuisine while calling Microtel Batangas in Sto. Tomas your home.


Even that long-wished for Boracay holiday is already within reach, thanks to Microtel Boracay’s budget-friendly offerings, from accommodations to packages. Stretch your peso while having fun in Microtel Boracay’s beachfront, white sand, sapphire blue water, and jaw-dropping sunsets. Microtel Boracay brings to you the comfort and convenience of a Boracay hotel without draining your resources. Indeed, here in this beach paradise, the possibilities are endless.

comfortable hotels, chiropracticapproved beds, color TV with cable channels, wireless internet access, full-size bathrooms with hot and cold water, and many more.

prized location at a price that will positively surprise you. It is near commercial, dining, and commercial establishments. Its friendly staff will even happily recommend places to visit while you’re there.

Indeed, with all these offerings, comfort and convenience while traveling on a shoestring budget is undeniably possible. Just check in at your friendly Microtel hotel.


If you decide to stay in the city without busting your budget, Microtel Mall of Asia Manila is the perfect choice. It is the newest in a chain of world-class economy hotels in the country, and is a stone’s throw away from one of the largest malls in the world. Microtel MOA’s offerings, from location to services, make

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

editor’s note

Live Life. Travel Smart


f you haven’t been to Banaue to see the rice terraces, then your Philippine experience is not complete. It’s a long trip — about 10 hours by land — but well worth it. I’d recommend going by car for comfort and the flexibility to pull over a nice spot, drink in the view, and take some photos. The travel itself is an experience once you’re past crowded Manila and on to zig zagging country roads flanked by mountains and open fields. Banaue has its magic. For some reason, the place has always stayed with me. I remember the terraces’ stunning blanket of green, the crisp, fresh air, and days of trekking. In the evenings, I would sip an uncharacteristic glass of whisky — it was the only strong drink available to keep warm in temperature that sometimes drops to 10 degrees — as I look out of my balcony to the pitch black of the night and the terraces beyond. No radio, no tv, just nocturnal bird calls, shrieking, soothing, sometimes eerie. On pages 34 to 47, our contributing writer Mari-an Santos finds a Banaue that is just as beautiful, but sadly facing increasing threats from modern-day life. She talks to the locals on the plight of the terraces, named a UNESCO heritage site, and what is being done to make sure generations yet to come continue to enjoy. On pages 48 to 59 is yet another stunning destination, the big blue that is Tubbataha, the country’s only coral atolls near the Sulu Sea. David Dalton’s dream Tubbataha diving trip onboard a former Russian spy ship is a compelling read. For great eats, turn to page 60. Staff writer Margarita Francisco talks to Manila’s top hats on their favorite tables. And if you haven’t checked our new website yet, log on to for more travel stories, hotel and restaurant reviews, and travel news. ■

The InFlight team in Bangaan, Banaue during front cover shoot. The trek and mud were a challenge

Tubbataha’s turtle and school of jacks

P.S. InFlight has moved offices from La’O Center to 4/F, Lerose Building, 832 Edades Street corner Makati Avenue, Makati. The new office is just a stone’s throw away from La’O Center where InFlight sister companies and SEAIR continue to hold office.

giselle javison Editor, InFlight

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T u b b a t a h a ’ s t u r t l e a nd s c h o o l o f j a c ks p h o t o b y g u t s y t u a s o n

INFormed W h at not to miss in J u ne a nd J u ly



Miley Cyrus: Gypsy Heart Tour

Miley Cyrus is set to invade Manila for a onenight only concert at the SMX Convention Center, Pasay City. Cyrus is behind the hit songs “The Climb” and “Can’t Be Tamed,” and rose to fame after portraying the lead role in Disney Channel’s Hannah Montana. Call Ticketworld at +632/ 891 9999 or visit www.

22 Cirque de Soleil’s Varekai

Cirque de Soleil brings Varekai to Manila for a 20-show run until July 10. Varekai, a tribute to the circus’s nomadic soul, revolves around the story of a young man who parachuted into a captivating forest inhabited by whimsical and enchanted creatures. Call Hoopla, Inc. at +632/ 669 2222 or visit www.

24 Aida

Atlantis Productions presents Disney’s hit pop opera Aida, a timeless story with music by Elton John and Tim Rice based on the opera Verdi. In Aida, the great Egyptian hero Radames, who is engaged to marry the vain and shallow Egyptian princess Amneris, falls in love with the captured Nubian princess Aida. The play will be staged at


| InFlight | june-july 2011

the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium at RCBC Plaza, Makati City from June 24 until July 10. Starring Ima Castro as Aida, Rachel Alejandro as Amneris. Directed by Chari Arespacochaga. Call Atlantis Productions at +632/ 892 7078 or 840 1187 or visit


28 Incubus: If Not Now, When? World Tour

Multi-platinum rock band Incubus is set to release their sixth studio album If Not Now, When? The band will go on an album promotional tour, with a one-night-only performance at the Araneta Coliseum. Call Ticketworld for tickets

Report by Margie Francisco

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

Mt. Isarog in Camarines Sur; bottom, tree planting activity that saw some 500,000 trees planted in just one hour

Camarines Sur to Plant 12M Trees Camarines Sur (CamSur) recently launched its “El Verde Movement”, targeting to plant 12 million trees in the province by 2012. Camsur governor LRay Villafuerte said, “Our objective is to show the world that a province, once poor and disaster-stricken, can rise above the challenges and lead the country as a progressive and pro-active environmental advocate.” The El Verde Movement aims to reverse the rate of deforestation in CamSur. More than 73,000 local officials, civic organizations, schools, churches, NGOs and private organizations from all parts of the province simultaneously planted over 500,000 trees in one hour last February 23 to support the project. The greening movement coincides with the United Nation’s observation of the year 2011 as the International Year of Forests. It also supports the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ (DENR) National Greening program, and pledges support to the United Nation Environment Program’s (UNEP) Billion Trees campaign. ■ For more info, visit or For more eco stories and a guide to eco resorts, check out InFlight June-July 2010 at —Margie Francisco


| InFlight | june-july 2011

m t. i s a r o g P h oto b y m a r t i n r e y e s

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

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


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

Part of the new Paco Market

Hitting the Road with Bamboo Power Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s the world’s first bamboo and rattan roadster, a biodegradeable car called the Phoenix. This 153-inch long beauty, designed by Filipino designer Kenneth Cobonpue has been described as “a small and elegant solution to a big and ugly problem: the waste created by old cars”. The Phoenix was designed with skin to last for five years – just about the length of time you trade in your old car for new. You can replace the skin if you wish to keep your car longer. No information yet on the engine, but it looks like an electric engine should fit. The Phoenix is made of bamboo, rattan, steel and carbon fiber with its rear holding the engine and LED rods. ■ Visit

Historic Paco Market to Open 764 Stalls for Tourists Historic Paco market, a 3,000 square-meter public market in the heart of Manila, is undergoing a major overhaul to the tune of P75 million (about US $1.7 million) to restore its historic structure and build a new wing targeted at both local and foreign tourists. The project, called the Paco Market Redevelopment, is part of the Kapit Bisig Para sa Ilog Pasig (KBPIP), a project of ABS-CBN Foundation and headed by project chairperson Gina Lopez and project designer and director Maja Olivares-Co of Sonia Santiago Olivares and Associates. It was launched in February last year with former President Gloria Arroyo, Mayor Alfredo Lim and Congressman Amado Bagatsing. First on the development agenda is to restore the market’s structure using “green” architectural methods for natural and artificial lighting, cross ventilation and water and waste management, and energy savings. About 764 stalls will be set up. Products sold at the market will be organized according to product categories, making it convenient for consumers. Products will include the full line of wet and dry goods plus products made from waste and recycled materials. Also part of the plan is to set up a “palutuan” or food center selling fresh produce and regional cuisine. Diners will be able to shop for the produce and have this cooked the way they want it. In another area of the market there will be an activity and learning center for reading, art and music workshops, storytelling, and livelihood and healing programs. ■ Paco Market is located on Angel Linao Street, near Pedro Gil, Manila. —Monica De Leon

Philippines’ First Man-made Islands to Open in Panglao Bohol in 2014 Reclamation work on Panglao Oasis Islands’ five manmade islands to rise from the sea off Panglao Island in Bohol has started and will be completed in 2014. Developing company Oasis Leisure Islands Development said that the development will be similar to Dubai’s Palm Islands. The first island will house convention centers, hotels, and casinos; the second, residential


| InFlight | june-july 2011

developments, marinas, schools, and spas; the third, described as a “master-planned Boracay”, will house boutique hotels, souvenir shops, dive shops and theme parks; the fourth, a nature park and marine sanctuary, including a camp site and fishing grounds; and the fifth will offer land for sale. ■

INRoom hotels and resorts

K apuluan v ista Resort

Cottages by the Sea

Kapuluan Vista Resort’s infinity pool

If you like the quiet and the sea, check out Kapuluan, says Mari An Santos Photos by jocas see

FIRST IMPRESSIONS. From Maharlika Highway, it’s a 20-minute bumpy and punishing ride to Kapuluan Resort. I felt quite sore when I got out of the car, but the sight of the thatched-roof cottages and the sound of the sea were a quick-fix balm. For welcome drinks, I had a choice of iced tea or margarita. There’s an infinity pool in the center of the resort. Birds were singing and two friendly puppies were freely roaming around. SETTING. The resort is in a quiet countryside, facing the South China Sea. It is about a 10-minute stroll from the popular Blue Lagoon main beach, where you can catch glorious sunsets, observe the local people going about their daily activities, fishing or mending their nets, and explore Timmangtang Rock and Bantay Abot Cave. The resort has 10 rooms on offer, from dormitory-style rooms to the deluxe hotel rooms with loft. Location. Kapuluan is in Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte, 80 kilometers north of Laoag City, and about 570km north of Manila. ROOMS. The bed with a mosquito net above it is covered with a white inabel (Ilocano woven blanket) adorned with small, fresh flowers. The en suite shower has a small Zen-inspired garden with skylight. You can book a room with TV or without. There’s also free WiFi

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Deluxe room with loft

accessible at the lobby and dining area. FOOD. A must-try is the Papas Burrito, two burritos filled with rice, the local sausage called longganisa, egg, veggies, and cheese topped off with savory Mike’s Hot Sauce. I thoroughly enjoyed the resort’s organic pesto pasta (P200), pescado burrito (P325), fresh coconut juice, and butterscotch banana (P150). Kapuluan has an organic garden where they grow most of their vegetables. WE LIKE. The food, the location, the beautiful rooms, and the resort’s organic garden and eco practices. The staff were friendly and helpful. NOT SO KEEN. When it gets busy at the cafe, it becomes obvious that they are understaffed. FINAL VERDICT. Perfect for a quiet holiday and surfing. ■

Papas Burrito


Rates start at P600 per person for dormitory rooms that accommodate up to six, with communal bathrooms. Standard room for two starts at P2,400; deluxe room with loft for four to six starts at P4,200. All rates include breakfast. Tel: +63920/ 952 2528 Email: Url: HOW TO GET THERE Florida and RCJ buses can take you from Manila to Pagudpud in about 11 hours. From the National Highway in Pagudpud, it’s a 20 minute-drive to Kapuluan Vista Resort. A hired car such as Carfield (tel: +632/ 853 5331-32) will cost you about P20,000 for overnight use.

Resort Feature

Infinity pool

Henann Resort

Panglao Perfection Henann Resort on Panglao Island has perfected the art of friendly relaxation, says Mari-an Santos Photos by mike alcid

FIRST IMPRESSIONS. The drive to the resort’s gates takes you through a beautiful, shady coconut grove. The staff greets us with cold drinks and happy faces. The resort is so serene – so quiet you can hear the crickets. The pool is inviting (as is the poolside bar) and the sandy beach is a few steps away, but screened from the resort itself by more coconuts trees. SETTING. Henann’s beachfront is picture perfect, with white sand, clear water, and blue sky. The dining area is laid out around the swimming pool – or if you want you can enjoy your meal on the beach, with candles in the evening. It’s peaceful and private, but with everything you need for a great beach holiday. All-in-all it’s a typically tropical, but chic resort. Location. Alona Beach has powder-fine white sand and you can reach the shore from your room in less time than it takes to slap on some sunscreen. The resort is on the south side

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of Panglao Island, a short transfer from Bohol’s main airport at Tagbilaran. Henann is in a very quiet area, but there are other resorts on the beach and lots of friendly bars and restaurants if you fancy a stroll and a change of scene. FOOD. Breakfast is a full spread and inclusive of coffee, tea, hot chocolate and fruit juice. Or you can indulge in a Filipino platter (P 250) with beef tapa, pork longganiza (local sausage), daing na bangus or milkfish marinated in garlic and vinegar with fried egg and garlic rice. If that sounds too heavy try A Healthy Start (P200), a bruschetta of grilled vegetables with caramelized onion, eggs benedict, and mesclun salad. I chose to experiment and went with the frittata of smoked salmon (P250), a huge plate of smoked salmon in a crepe of scrambled egg and potato chunks with potato wedges, salad mesclun, and tartar sauce. Children will love the peanut French toast. There’s a huge choice. Lunch and dinner favorites include seafood chowder in tomato broth, Greek salad, grilled

tiger prawns in lemon butter cream with pasta, mixed prawn and vegetable tempura, beef fillet mignon with mashed potatoes and steamed vegetables, and char-grilled Hungarian sausage with pasta pomodoro. There’s always fresh seafood from the local fishermen, and for dessert you can’t beat the island’s own mangoes. Filipino specialties include native vegetables in shrimp paste with pork and grilled medium prawns, prawns sauteed in dry soy sauce and vinegar flavored with red crab fat, and Sinigang na Sugpo ng Laguna (P420), a dish of prawns in a tangy soup with native vegetables, onions, and tomatoes. ROOMS. There are 12 villas in the resort. Each is designed in the manner of a traditional Filipino ancestral home with big, hardwood doors and handicrafts as accents. Glass doors overlook the verandah, where there are lounge chairs. The villas are all in a lush garden planted with trees and flowering plants. Every villa has its own verandah and some have

All villas’ bedroom either has two double beds or one king size bed

direct access to the swimming pool. There is a sizable bathroom, with two sinks and separate toilet and shower areas, plus a dressing table. To top it all off, there is cable TV and free WiFi.


American breakfast

WE LIKE. The little details like the umbrellas in the closet for when there’s a tropical downpour. Staff are attentive and courteous. As we arrived, a European family was leaving, and hugging the staff as they said their goodbyes. NOT SO KEEN. For those who want a heartpumping vacation, Henann might seem a little quiet. But that’s not such a bad thing. Relax, swim, have a massage and read a book. Perfect really. If you do fancy some action, you can rent kayaks (P350 per hour) and bikes (P600 per day). VERDICT. Perfect for honeymooning couples or families craving relaxation, with good service but no fuss. ■

Rates are at P12,320 per villa inclusive of Filipino or American breakfast for two. During the lean season (June to July), there’s 25% discount Tel: +6338/ 502 9141 to 44 or +632/ 491 3627 Email: Url: HOW TO GET THERE You can ask the resort to pick you up from the Tagbilaran airport or seaport. From there, it’s a pleasant hour’s drive to Alona Beach. A car with driver is P 500 per way while a van with driver is P700 one way. june-july 2011

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| InFlight | april-May 2011

INVogue in the shops | in my bag

Asus Bamboo notebook

In The Shops

Eco-friendly Gadgets

From sustainable bamboo ecobooks to pocket solar chargers, there’s lots of help to make your life greener

Asus Bamboo Notebook (prices start at P19,999)

It’s made of bamboo and all of the plastic inside this ecobook is recyclable. The components are lined with cardboard and there are no paints, sprays or even electroplating used on its components. Moreover, the notebook has a “super hybrid engine”, adjusting the computer’s power levels to match its energy consumption needs, extending battery life to up to 75 percent more.

Yongnuo LED Flash Speedlite (prices start at P3,400)

Light Emitting Diode lights emit little or no acidic gases which aid in depleting the ozone layer. LED lights are energy efficient, and a great power saver. Available at Pixel Pro, SM Megamall Cyberzone, Mandaluyong City (URL:

june-july 2011

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E co -f r i e n dly g a d ge t s

Shiro SQ-S Pocket Solar Charger (P500)

Miniot iWood4 for iPhone4 (about US $105)

The new iWood 4 allows better grip, safer handling, and optimal performance of your iPhone4 — wood is transparent to iPhone4’s sensors and insensitive to statics. Logos or personal missives can be engraved on the case to make it original, making the owner have it for keeps. Available at

Volt-Star EcoCharger ($31.90)

The Shiro SQ-S allows you the option to either charge the device in the sun or the more conventional way using an AC cord or USB cable. Included with different adapters, the solar charger can charge devices such as mobile phones, MP3/MP4 players, iPhones, iPods, even some hand held gaming consoles. The charger has a powerful internal rechargeable Li-Ion 1500 mAh battery. Available at EchoStore, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City (Tel: +632/ 901 3485)

The Volt-Star EcoCharger saves energy by disconnecting itself from the AC outlet when charging is complete. This automatic shut-off also lengthens the life of your Li-Ion battery by limiting the topping-off charging time. It is the most convenient and energy efficient way to charge your gadgets such as mobile phones, cameras, mp3 players, iPods, iPads, etc. Available at

Soxin Windup LED Flashlight (P1,250)

The iPad includes arsenic-free display glass, mercury-free LCD display, recyclable aluminum and glass enclosure. Its long battery life allows users to surf, listen to tunes or watch videos for up to 10 hours on a single charge. Available at Power Mac Center, Greenbelt 3, Makati City (Tel: +632/ 729 7128)

The windup LED flashlight will light up without batteries. Simply turn the handle and wind up for one minute for 30 minutes of continuous light. Equipped with five LED bulbs, the flashlight consumes less power and lasts longer than conventional florescent or incandescent ones. Available at R.O.X., Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City

Apple iPad (prices start at P19,999)

Solar LightCap (prices start at $39.90)

LightCap is solar powered, as the cap has a waterproof solar panel built inside it. Just charge it for four hours in the sun, and the LightCap will stay bright for hours. This gadget can be used indoors or outdoors at night. Its rechargeable NiCad batteries will last for at least 36 hours. Available at

Muji Portable Cardboard Speakers (P1,350)

The Muji Portable Cardboard speakers fold out almost completely flat for storage and can be carried around with ease. Whether you’re camping, on the beach, in the car, or on the boat, you can fold flat these cardboard-made powerhouse speakers to pack and pop open into cubes to plug and play. Available at Muji, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City (URL:

Apple iPad2 in smart covers


| InFlight | june-july 2011




In My Bag

Beach Days in Samar

Designer Melissa Dizon on Eastern Samar’s dreamy coves and endless coast In t e r v i e w b y M a r g i e F r a n c i s c o


Turn to

page 66 for store contact info


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“My favorite destination is Eastern Samar. I love the waves, the beaches and the people. There was one time when my then boyfriend Edvard asked me to go for a walk down a sandy, winding road in Samar. I asked where we were going, and he said, “to wherever the road takes us.” The road took us to a dreamy barren cove then to an endless coast. The beach was lined with thousands of rare, petrified shells, most of which were almost black. We stayed in a tree house, a simple shack with the most spectacular view of the ocean and horizon, right in front of the break. It was bare but it was most luxurious to me — solitude and space and fresh air. It was sunny in the day and rainy in the afternoons. I dream that someday I can map out a utopic life where one can have the bliss of Samar and still run a business.” – Melissa Dizon Eairth, fashion designer Stuff I take when I travel: 1 Eairth tiboli overnighter [duffel bag] (P5,895) 2 Bikini (P1,195) 3 Maui Babe coffee tanning oil (P585); Santa Maria Novella Verbana spray (P4,950); Organic tumeric tea powder (P450) 4 Bloomer shorts (P2,250) 5 Tees and t-shirt dresses (rates start at P5,490) For more ideas on travel gear and essentials, visit

Divinubo Island, Borongan, Eastern Samar

5 D IVI N UBO I S LA N D P h o t o b y OGGIE RA M O S


P r o d u c t s h ot s b y Da n Y u s ay h a r v e y


ME AND my life Boys Night Out djs Boys Night Out djs’ too-hot-to-handle sex topics and sexy games on air has caused furor, but network ratings are high In t e r v i e w b y M a r g i e F r a n c i s c o

Photos by steve tirona

What got you into radio? Tony Toni: I love music, I needed to pay the bills and no experience was needed. Slick Rick: I heard this DJ called T Bone — now called Tony Toni — when I was in my first year in college. I took my practicum at the radio station and became a student DJ. Then I got hired in December 2001. Sam YG: I started when I was in third year college. I just fell in love with the job. Back when I was in third grade, I used to listen to the radio every morning. I’d tell my mom, “Hey Mom, let’s listen to this radio jock T Bone.” And as it happens, I’m blessed to be working with T Bone right now. He’s like the Muhammad Ali of radio. What were you doing before you became DJs? TT: I was taking up a business administration course. SR: I was taking up pre-med chemistry. I thought I was going to be a doctor, but that didn’t pan out. SYG: Taking up legal management. What’s a typical day for you? SYG: Tony, Slick and I briefly meet before the show to discuss segments we’re going to do. We bring up different topics and we vote on what we feel is the best. Slick handles the news, I handle the games like bugtong and whatnot. Research for the show is really important.


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We still meet after the show at around 10:30pm till about 1am, pre-producing for the show the next day. Sometimes we go out to have a drink, hang out with friends, meet people. This is our typical day, six days a week. Sometimes we’re together seven days a week when we have shows or hosting on weekends. TT: We’re pretty much in our fifth year so we’re very busy. We have a show on Channel V. We’ve been writing for Cosmo magazine for the past three years. During the day we go to meetings, attend other shows as guests, host shows, do voiceovers. In the studio, those four hours, we’re just hanging out and just having fun. Minus the alcohol, it’s like that. SR: It’s like how are we going to keep you listening? That’s something we talk about. Do you consider yourselves celebrities? TT: We’re more infamous than famous. We’re known for things that we shouldn’t be doing. SR: We’re known for breaking the rules. And that’s a good thing because no one breaks the rules. TT: Slick has slept with the most celebrities — he’s done it with those from Channels 2, 7, and is now making his way to TV5. If you sleep with him, he’ll give you an iPad or an LV bag. How could you refuse if he’s giving you an P80,000 worth of bag?

“Sometimes we’re together seven days a week when we have shows or hostings on weekends,” says Boys Night Out djs, from left, Sam YG, Tony Toni and Slick Rick at Magic 89.9’s studio, where they go live on air every Monday to Thursday at 6pm


Boys Night Out djs

In the heat of disc jockeying for Boys Night Out

Do you know how many people listen to your show? TT: No, but I am shocked by the different classes of listeners we’ve attracted. Our radio station [Magic] is an AB station, but we have taxi drivers, jeepney drivers, security guards who recognize us. Who isn’t manyak (or is interested in sexy topics on radio). Most people, whatever class or age, are naturally horny. It’s just that there are different levels of being horny. Like I’m extreme; Sam’s super extreme; Slick’s unbelievably horny! You’d be surprised. We had a five-year-old who called in. We had an 11-year-old named Javi. We had a nine-yearold girl who called in, Angel. We have politicians that listen in. SYG: Sometimes, there are old guys who’d say, “Hi this is Dave, but don’t tell my wife, ha?” Tell us about the time the broadcasting association KBP (Kapisanan ng mga Broadcasters sa Pilipinas) suspended you. TT: The case was dismissed after three years. We were reported — just like Hayden Kho, Hubert Webb. We were accused of something we did not do. We’re not saying that the show isn’t overboard. We are overboard but that was a different time slot. Our first offense was that our show was very malaswa (lewd, distasteful). There was a student who made this school project saying our show was becoming more and more graphic with words. And that project was then given to the KBP. We had a six-month suspension and a total of almost P500,000 in fine. The company paid for the fine. Would you say you’re the “bad ass” of radio? SR: I don’t know. TT: Some people think we’re super pilyo (cheeky); some people think we’re super manyak (maniac); some people think we’re bad ass; some people think we’re real. SYG: How do people define bad ass? I mean we do go overboard sometimes. SR: No holds barred. We say what we want. It’s about what comes to our head at that time, at that moment. Who among you is single and who’s taken? TT: Single. All of us. I’ve been single for 12 years. SR: Single for two years. SYG: Three years. We hang out but no relationships. Your most memorable show? TT: [fortune teller] Madam Auring grabbing her ass. She literally grabs her ass in front of us. We asked her if she still has sex and her answer was that she could still go four times a day! Your most scandalous show? SR: Every time we have girls on the show, whether it’s the FHM magazine models or [girl group] Mocha Girls, Tony’s super manyak side comes out. TT: I think I mooned newspaper columnist Tessa Prieto

[Valdes] when she was on our show. That was scandalous. Sometimes we do this game of asking girls on the show to grind on the lap of one of us guys. Whoever gets a hard on fastest, loses. And usually, Sam gets horny first. He’s always out. SYG: Gracia! TT: Oh yeah, Gracia (former sexy actress Samantha Lopez) not wearing panties on the show. She was not at all afraid to show us that she was not wearing any underwear. SYG: We were the only ones at the station to see this, but we did get a lot of text messages from guys. Best on-air interview? TT: TV host Boy Abunda was good. Bading na palaban. (A gay who’s up for a fight). He’s scary. Any question we throw at him, he throws back at us. SR: He always has a comeback. And he’d look at Sam a certain way, like he was going to attack him or something. SYG: Singer-songwriter Usher was good. He was super game. Ask anything and he’ll answer them. SR: [Hip-hop dance crew] The Jabbawockeez — they’re a hilarious bunch! Talking about how they started, how they came up with the whole mask idea. [Wrestler] Batista was fun too. There’s more to him than just being a wrestler. He’s very proud of being a Filipino in the industry. Who would you want to invite next? TT: [Television hosts] Tito, Vic and Joey. [Actress-host] Kris Aquino. President Ninoy Aquino. [Comedian] Michael V. [Singer] Ogie Alcasid. [Former president] Erap. SR: [Impersonator] Willie Nepomuceno SYG: [TV host] Willie Revillame. What’s next for Boys Night Out? TT: Go into merchandising, endorsements. SR: I think, going into TV targeting the masses. ■ june-july 2011

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Boys Night Out djs

ME AND MY TRAVELS My favorite hideaway… Tony Toni: I have to say, my favorite vacation spot would have to be Boracay. You can go for Station 3 on the island where it’s wild and crazy to Station 1 where it’s just private. It’s just a 15-20 minute walk. Slick Rick: Home. I can just relax and not worry about anything or anyone. Sam YG: When I think about hideaways, two places come to mind. Shangri-La Boracay (+6336/ 288 4988) and Club Paradise (+632/ 838 4956-60) in Palawan. Privacy, relaxation, seclusion. Those two are definitely at the top of my list. My idea of a holiday… TT: No texting. No emailing. I’m a beach person. And as long as I’m breathing a cleaner air than what we’re inhaling here, that already relaxes me. SR: Taking my parents to places they’ve never been to. But if I was with someone, I’d take her too! A holiday for me is also getting lost in the city, just walking around. SYG: Getting lost in the bedroom. SR: Yeah, but that happens like every night. Where to go for short breaks… TT: Spa. I’m actually a home buddy. I can just stay at home with someone, just stay in bed and watch DVD. SR: I just stay within the city because sometimes the stress of traveling makes me tired and I don’t want to think about it. SYG: Road trips to Batangas or Tagaytay. Last holiday… TT: Bacolod. SR: Last real holiday was in Macau with my parents. I had fun hanging out with them for four days and the best part, I paid for it all. My first time to do that for them. Their smiles made it worth it. SYG: 10 days in Vegas, LA, San Francisco and San Jose. It’s the first trip to the US the three of us went to altogether. Favorite resort… SR: Shangri-La Boracay. You have everything there, why would you want to go anywhere else? TT: Oh yeah! Private beach, food is great, ambiance is great. Oh, Dakak! Para maiba, Cebu. Plantation Bay (+6332/ 340 5900). It was perfect — man-made pool, the ocean to your left.


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Other resorts to recommend… SR: Bellaroca (+632/ 817 7290, 328 8831) in Marinduque. I wanna go there. SYG: Dakak! TT: Ambassador in Paradise (+6336/ 288 1541). Discovery Shores (+6336/ 288 4500) is nice. SYG: Amanpulo (+632/ 976 5200). TT: You gotta be high rollers if you’re going to Amanpulo. And you better make sure the girl you take there is the one you intend to marry. Favorite meal… TT: Anything with truffles. SR: Breakfast. TT: Continental breakfast? SR: Lobster. Steak. SYG: Seafood. What I take on holidays... TT: Condoms. SR: iPod. Because I like listening to music and to audio books. Whether I’m on the plane or on the beach. SYG: Shades, a book and iPod. TT: Even when the sun is out, we still wear shades. SYG: Like three blind mice. What I bring back from holidays... TT: Pictures. Pasalubongs. SR: Tokens from the trip. Videos. I’m a video freak. SYG: Memories. Always memories.

Favorite travel companion… SYG: I’d say these guys. Because you know something stupid’s bound to happen. Nasa airport ka pa lang, gera na agad. (You’re still in the airport and it’s already war.) Who I’d like to take on a trip… TT: Cameron Diaz. Maricar Reyes. SR: Olivia Munn. Bangs Garcia. I’d like to take Mila Kunis because she seems like a girl that knows how to have fun and wouldn’t care where we went. SYG: Armi of Up Dharma Down. Where to go next… TT: Batanes. SR: Bellaroca or Amanpulo. Now if only I can find someone to go with. Hahaha! SYG: Amanpulo. ■

About Boys Night Out Djs Tony Toni, Sam YG, and Slick Rick popularized Boys Night Out, a radio show by Magic 89.9. The triad’s been hosting gigs on TV, and doing multiple commercial endorsements. Of the djs, Tony is the quintessential ladies’ man, Sam YG, the clown who gets the girls with his good looks and humor, and Slick Rick is the voice of reason when the other two start having a little too much fun.

Styling by Vanessa Johnson; hair & makeup by Aisa Fay Costo; Modeling by Michelle Braun for IM Agency; Model’s attire: Red tank top, by Columbia; The North Face back pack by Bratpack; shorts, shoes and accessories, stylist own Location: Bangaan Rice Terraces, Banaue, Ifugao Province


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Cover Story

The Fight for the Terraces They were built by the Ifugao people at the same time as Egyptians were building the Pyramids, but the rice terraces of the northern Philippines are coming under increasing threat from nature and mankind. Mari-an Santos reports ope ning photo by Danie l soriano inside page photos by Joe l G arcia

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Cover Story

Clockwise from top left, this spread: Batad visitor registration post and views of the rice terraces cuddling local villages



itting atop the Batad rice terraces near Banaue, about 3,700 feet above sea level, time seems to stand still. I sit and enjoy a steaming mug of local coffee. There is no phone signal, so mobiles are neither seen nor heard. For once, everything is quiet. It seems a faint memory how, a few days ago, we traveled by overnight bus from Manila, leaving close to midnight and arriving in Banaue, in the mountainous north of the Philippines, in time for breakfast the next day. There, we were met by Manong Michael, our guide. After breakfast, we sat looking over the terraces and the foaming Banaue river, then boarded a jeepney for the trip to the Batad Saddle, starting point for the trek up to Batad itself. We rented walking sticks for P10 each, then set off through vast wooded areas, past rocky cliffs, along shaded paths. The rice terraces here are as they have been for thousands of years: great, sprawling edifices that stand as testament to the ingenuity and hard work of the tribes that built them. These so-called “stairways to heaven”, a Unesco world heritage site, were fashioned by hand by Ifugaos — mountain farmers and woodcarvers — at about the same time the Pyramids of Egypt and the Great Wall of China were being constructed. They packed

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down the earth then built a wall around each paddy — or terrace — with rock and mud. And all this with the aid of nothing more than bare hands and wooden tools. No one really knows how it all started or how they were able to mobilize people to make such intricate, sturdy structures. It is said that if the terraces were put end-to-end they would reach half way around the world. Legend tells of a hunter named Umanger who, on one of his hunting trips in these mountains, tracked a deer to Batad. He finally caught the creature at a nearby lake and looking out over the surrounding area thought it perfect for carving out terraces similar to those he had seen in his own village. He went home and spread the good news. Batad is a remote village with no telephones and little electricity, where life has hardly changed since the Ifugao migrated here from Indonesia, bringing their prodigious engineering skills with them. A panorama of stone walls and emerald green paddies starting high on the mountainsides of four converging valleys

right page Photo by jocas s ee

“The Ifugao people continue to farm using largely traditional methods handed down through generations from their ancestors, making the rice naturally organic”

“I managed not to fall flat on my face, sandboarding, and despite the tiring walk back up to the starting point, I persisted, giving the game a go a dozen times”

Cover Story

cascades down the hillside, layer after layer of perfectly contoured sweeping lines. At the center of this natural amphitheater sits the tiny village of pyramid roofs – a mix of traditional thatch and dazzling silver of corrugated iron. There is almost nothing to do here except soak up the solitude, although after a hard day’s trekking a traditional Ifugao massage is well worth the cost of a few hundred pesos. There are a handful of inns (about P250 per room) that have restaurants overlooking the terraces. You can also trek down to the main village, Bubley, where there are homestays. These terraces are all about livelihood. When they were built, all of them more than 2,000 years ago, the rice harvest was life or death. These days the terraces remain a striking symbol of Asia’s most important crop. But most of the farmers who remain here have not been self-sufficient for many years. The main problem is population growth. The average couple here has five or six children. Most of the rice farmed in the area is “tinawon” rice, an aromatic variety that cannot survive the cooler months and has to be planted at the beginning of every year. The Ifugao people continue to farm using largely traditional methods handed down through generations from their ancestors, making the rice naturally organic. A tonong, or village leader, decides when the time is right to start preparation of the soil for planting. One day after he has planted his land with seedlings, the rest of the village follows. Usually, villagers prepare land for

Clockwise from top left, this spread: Rice for life: Batad’s rice is organic long before organic became fashionable. Rice cultivation and harvesting is all by hand. Opposite page, Ifugao local, Mang Ben sits by a fire while his wife Aling Rosalinda talks to InFlight about the Ifugao way of life

cultivation in December, clearing it of weeds and snails that may wreak havoc on the young seedlings. They scatter the seeds and wait one month for them to sprout. After everyone in the village has finished planting the rice, a day-long celebration called the orpe is held. Families picnic at their paddies, feasting on chicken and rice wine, sharing the same with their neighbors. At Bubley, we meet Ben and Rosalina Chogap, Manong Michael’s parents. They live in a traditional Ifugao house designed to resist typhoons and built, remarkably, without any nails. They are not sure when the house was built (there are no documents) but they estimate close to a hundred years ago. They are busy threshing and pounding the rice from a previous harvest for a meal the next day. Ben and Rosalina have a few rice paddies that need checking every day to ensure they are getting enough water and that no pests or birds are feasting on them. Once this is done, Rosalina sets about her “second job”, weaving traditional clothing and purses that she can

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Cover Story

Batad’s terraces, and opposite page, Batad’s Tappiyah Falls, a valuable source of water for the villagers


sell from P60-P600. Ben, in full tribal regalia, sometimes helps with the selling, stationing himself at a small hut overlooking the terraces and catching the attention of passing tourists. This is their daily routine for four to five months of the year. Then, when the rice plants are about three meters high and the heads have turned golden, harvesting begins. The ingenious irrigation system constructed thousands of years ago is still in use today. The Ifugao tapped water from the watershed and built canals so water flows from the topmost rice paddies down to the paddies below them until it finally reaches the lowest level, watering all the rice paddies for many kilometers. But the terraces are plagued by problems. Foremost is water shortage. Last year was the worst, when all over the Ifugao region, very little rice was harvested because of a dry spell that lasted throughout the rice cycle. According to Jimmy Cabbigat, Banaue’s Municipal Agriculture Officer, many irrigation systems fall into neglect. When this happens, the water no longer reaches the terraces and farmers abandon them. To solve the problem, the provincial and municipal governments provide funding for the rehabilitation of the irrigation system, including the cleaning and removal of landslides from the canals and the repair and reconstruction of walls. Forest conservation is also vital because it’s the area’s forests that store much of the water for the terraces. The system of forest conservation lies

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within the clans. Each clan has a forested area that it owns and trees can’t be felled without permission from the head of the clan — and only then for firewood and the building of houses for clan members. When trees are cut, new seedlings are planted. In this way, the watershed is maintained. Still another threat discovered We trek for almost two hours for a swim at Tappiyah Falls, whose water also comes from the Batad watershed. Manang Cristina, who runs a small store overlooking the falls, sells snacks to tourists after tending to her paddies. She bemoans the rats, the snails, and the riceeating birds. But one of the greatest threats to the terraces are large earthworms. Batad barangay (village) captain Romeo Heppog says they discovered the worms about six years ago. The worms have already caused the collapse of some stone walls in the lower part of Batad. The worms, known as olang, can reach almost 30 centimeters in length and are believed to have moved to the terraces as their original

Cover Story

forest habitat was destroyed. As they burrow through the earth in search of food, they weaken it, particularly affecting the terrace walls. In the valleys around Banaue partial collapses can be seen in every few terraces, and increasing numbers are being left to grow wild by farmers who cannot rehabilitate them. Mankind is also taking a toll. In Batad, people from neighboring communities are encroaching on the watershed area and clearing woodland so they can plant vegetables to sell. There are plans to reforest these areas, but equally as important is education, so communities understand the damage they are doing. The area’s aging population, and the movement of the younger generation towards towns and cities where they can find education and work, is further undermining the terraces. Heppog says young Ifugaos no longer want to work in the rice terraces. The elders are the ones who continue to till the soil and in 10 or 15 years from now, there will be few left to cultivate the land. “Our culture is diminishing,” he says. In an attempt to keep young people interested in the terraces, Ifugao State University in Lamut offers courses on farming culture and tradition. The Save the Ifugao Terraces Movement has spearheaded efforts to open community learning centers to teach Ifugao culture and traditions. In Banaue we meet a farmer, 75-year-old

From left, this spread: Bangaan’s rice terraces with yet-to-be-harvested rice seedlings, and the familiar local ritual of pounding rice and separating the chaff from the grain, all done by hand

Maximo Aguian, whose paddies are the inspiration for the iconic art on the 1,000peso bill. A retired geodetic engineer, he and his wife tend two hectares of paddies, but their children live abroad and in Manila. I ask what will become of his terraces. He shrugs and says they will go to any of his grandchildren who decide not to study at college. “Once the young ones go to school, they won’t come back.” Maximo’s seven-year-old grandson Tyrone walks up and down the walls of the rice paddies, never once losing his footing. Who knows, maybe one day he will inherit this piece of earth and continue to cultivate it. There is always hope. ■

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Cover Story

Authentic places to stay In barangay Bangaan, located an hour’s jeepney ride from the Batad Saddle, is another set of beautiful, functional rice terraces. An old trail that took the same men and women who fashioned the rice terraces from Batad to Bangaan, is still accessible today. There is just one inn and restaurant, the Bangaan Family Inn (P300 per room). At an Ifugao house, we meet the rest of Manong Michael’s family, including his wife, Jocelyn. Their two children help with the farming chores, including threshing and pounding the rice that they will eat the next day. It takes less than an hour to trek to Bangaan’s Bubley, where there are makeshift stores that sell various native souvenir items including woven recycled bags made from potato chip wrappers. Bato Biyo has an ancient Ifugao house (P250 per night) where you can stay for the authentic tribal experience. ■


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Bato Biyo

b ato b i yo P h oto by j o ca s s e e

Writer Mari-an interviewing local Ifugao resident Maximo Aguian at Banaue Viewpoint

Rice planting in terraces close to Banaue’s Poblacion, the town center

Cover Story

Essentials HOW TO GET THERE Florida Bus Company (Lacson Avenue cor. Earnshaw St., Sampaloc, Manila) has daily trips from Manila to Banaue. To be a bit more comfortable for the long trip, book a deluxe airconditioned bus which leaves Manila at 10:45pm. Autobus Transport (Dimasalang cor. Laong Laan St., Sampaloc, Manila) also plies Manila to Banaue daily. WHERE TO STAY Uyami’s Greenview Lodge This family-run lodge in the main Poblacion has comfortable clean rooms and decent meals on offer and makes for a good base camp for exploring Ifugao villages. Poblacion, Banaue, Ifugao Province Tel: +6374/ 386 4021; +63920/ 540 4225 Email: Url: Thanks to Uyami for housing InFlight during the front cover shoot Sanafe Lodge The great attraction of this lodge is its location, facing the famous rice terraces. Book a room with balcony for the best views. Budget dormitory rooms are also available. A room night costs from P1,600 to P1,900 for a private room with balcony. Banaue Trade Center, Banaue, Ifugao Province Tel: +6374/ 386 4085; +63920/ 950 4644 Email: Url: Simon’s View Inn & Restaurant One of the places to stay in Batad. Very Spartan, with common toilet & bath akin to the lifestyle of the locals, and with accommodating staff and offers good light meals. No hot water here so if you wish to have a warm bath, you can pay for staff to boil water for you. Batad, Banaue, Ifugao Province Hillside Inn & Restaurant This budget accommodation in Batad has the best view of the terraces. Only one room has an en suite bathroom. Batad, Banaue, Ifugao Tel: +63908/ 601 2888 Email: Bato Biyo’s Homestay A self-catering accommodation that’s spacious enough for a family of three to five. Bubley, Bangaan, Banaue, Ifugao Province

m a p i l lu s t r at i o n by m a r k dav i d s e e

Bangaan Family Inn & Restaurant The only inn in Bangaan where you can stay and dine. Has six sparsely furnished rooms sharing a common toilet and bath. Bangaan, Banaue, Ifugao Province Tel: +63908/ 463 9035 TOUR INFORMATION Banaue Tourist Information Center Poblacion, Banaue, Ifugao Province Tel: +6374/ 386 4010, 386 4011 Asia Venture Services Room 305, De Villa Building, 1153, MH del Pilar St., Ermita, Manila Tel: +632/ 526 6929, 523 7007 Email: SITMo The NGO Save the Ifugao Terraces Movement (SITMo) organizes tours, including visits to the Bakle d’Kiangan or harvest ritual. See www. for details. ■

TRAVEL TIPS • Most of the tours have standard rates and best to check out the Tourism Office’s list upon arriving in Poblacion. The listing incudes tour guides, jeepney and tricycle hires, plus accommodation options. Better yet, ask the inns you’re staying at for direct referrals • Clarify rates for services like porters before you start the trek • If you want to take photos of the locals, ask permission before doing so. Some of them will expect you to give money for the trouble • There is no bank nor ATM in all of Banaue, and establishments don’t accept credit cards so have enough cash • Food in certain areas like Batad are surprisingly pricey so best to pack drinks and snacks • The temperature drops at night time so a must to take a jacket or sweater • Expect to pay extra for charging your gadgets. ■ june-july 2011

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Insider’s Guide

Manta ray

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The Big Blue A Tubbataha Diary David Dalton boards a former Russian spy ship for a dream scuba diving trip to the only coral atolls in the Philippines, 110 kilometers from land in the middle of the Sulu Sea photos by gutsy tuason

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Insider’s Guide

Tubbataha Reef National Marine Park covers 320 square kilometers. Its marvelous coral atolls are the only ones in the Philippines and were formed like all atolls, on the flanks of a sinking volcanic island. The park consists of two main atolls — North Atoll and South Atoll — separated by an eight-kilometer channel. Both atolls have large inner lagoons and sandy areas, a few above sea level. The reefs end in steep, vertical walls washed by nutrient-rich open waters, offering some of the best scuba diving in the world.

The Diary


Up before dawn with the remnants of a hangover from an everning’s rum-drinking with a friend from the UK. We’re both novice divers for whom Tubbataha is a step up (down, actually). Will everyone else on the boat be a tiresome expert, full of stories of man-eating hammerheads and manta rays the size of cars? Will my rented BCD do the job or will it trap air and send me shooting ignominiously to the surface at the wrong times, everyone else scoffing through their masks below? No time to eat, so it’s coffee and a Danish at the Domestic Airport. The coffee is microwaved dishwater and the Danish is stale and dry. Bad mood. At eight we land in a torrential downpour at Puerto Princesa, where an officious immigration officer with a buzz haircut threatens to detain me for not having a passport. “There’s no need for me to carry a passport on a domestic flight,” I tell him. “Palawan isn’t a foreign country.” I present him with an expired credit card and he makes a show of carefully copying my name into a ledger while everyone else proceeds through arrivals unmolested. Very bad mood. We take a van to the harbor and our first sight of home for the week, the M/Y Vasco. It’s squat and solid, a reliable looking tub built in the CCCP in 1974 as a spy ship. Our cabin has wooden bunks and smells of brine. Other divers begin to arrive, their kit fastidiously organized in scuba travel bags, every item labeled with printed name stickers, like the first day at school. My BCD is in a plastic Landmark bag. This is embarrassing. We sail at four, so there’s time to shop, eat and take a nap. The Coast Guard arrives and collects our P4,500 (about US $105) park fee. Dinner, a couple of beers and bed by 8:30pm. During the night the swell increases and I slide around in bed, my stomach rolling with the waves.

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Fishing boat in Puerto Princesa port

M/Y Vasco

Corals and jacks

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Insider’s Guide


“Sleep well?” “Terrible. You? “Bloody awful.” By 5am we’re on deck watching a milky sunrise. The captain says we’ve been at Tubbataha since three, but in the dark navigation around the reefs is treacherous, so he’s been waiting for daylight to anchor. We sip sugary coffee and munch on sweet toast before being called together for a briefing. Five dives a day maximum, at 6:30am, 10:30am, 1:30pm, 4:30pm and 6:30pm. The 6:30pm is a night dive and optional. There’s water on board, but not much, so don’t spend too much time in the showers. “Personal hygiene is not a priority,” says the dive master. “Any questions?” We all stare back blankly. “Right then. Gear up.” I’m not sure what I expected to see at Tubbataha, but what I do see surprises even me. Nothing. We are 110 kilometers from land in the middle of the Sulu

Sea, southeast of Palawan and northeast of the Sulu Archipelago. There’s nothing but water and sky. Our first dive is at Jessie Beazley, a small reef on the northern edge of Tubbataha Reef National Marine Park. We drift gently along a coral wall that plunges into venous blue below. Plenty of reef fish, but none of the big pelagics I expected. It’s an enjoyable warm-up. We return to the Vasco for breakfast and a nap. Dive two and disaster strikes. I can’t equalize my right ear and have to bob about feeling stupid at eight meters, watching everyone disappear below. When I surface I’m half deaf. Back on the Vasco, I munch half a packet of decongestants. I spend the afternoon snorkeling, swept 200 meters along the reef edge by a strong current that almost takes me out to sea. In a shallow area there’s a familiar shape on the sandy bottom. My first shark. I free dive to within a couple of meters and it slips quietly away.

Reef shark

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Insider’s Guide


We’ve pretty much bonded. What worries the average social cripple like myself about a liveaboard holiday is that you’ll end up spending a miserable week with merchant bankers, Opus Dei recruitment officers or Tessa PrietoValdes. It seems there are no such horrors in store. Ours is a mixed group of ordinary people who have nothing to sell or prove. The only momentary tension surrounds the choice of music. Some want something mellow, others fancy a little alt country. We agree to alternate and the alt country radicals go into a slight sulk while the mellow faction tortures us with Abba and the Police. After dinner, Bob Marley is unleashed. Weeks later, back in Manila, I still become deranged when I hear the opening chords of Jammin’. The decongestants are doing the trick, but with an unfortunate side effect. When I surface from every dive, I spout yellow fizz from my nostrils, like a gargoyle on acid. The pelagics have shown up. Hovering at 18 meters, looking into the ink-blue pit below, I see whitetip sharks swimming one after the other along the reef wall, dozens of them in sinuous formation, patrolling for food. We move to the South Atoll, anchoring within site of Bird Island, which is so picturesque it’s a cliché. We have permission to dive here, but the island is a breeding ground for brown boobies and capped noddies, and setting foot on it will result in detention by the rangers and a fine of between P5,000 and P500,000, excluding the value of damages and required rehabilitation or restoration costs. The underwater environment is even more precious. Tubbataha is home to almost 500 species of fish and 400 species of coral, equal to or greater than every other reef in the world. Such is its importance as a breeding ground and consequent food source, that according to an apocryphal adage, if Tubbataha dies the Philippines will die with it. Clearly an exaggeration, but point taken.

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museum Photos by nina fuentes

Hawksbill turtle

Insider’s Guide


South Atoll and the best diving so far. On the morning dives there are whitetips everywhere, jacks, barracuda and communities of spotted grouper. In the afternoon I fossick along at reasonably shallow depths and stumble across two beautiful hawksbill turtles mating. A few minutes later another turtle, so close that I settle myself in the water and simply stare at it, forgetting that I might be short on air. On the final dive of the day an incident occurs that comes to be the iconic moment of the whole trip. My dive buddy sees a turtle and goes in close for a photograph, only to be attacked by a triggerfish, which flies at him like a demon. I distinctly hear the clang of teeth against the camera case and see my buddy, panicked, shoot like a cork to the surface. I’m laughing so hard I almost drown. Back on the boat, the attackee says, “Second time he came at me, I whacked him on the nose.” He isn’t the first diver to be embarrassed by a triggerfish. They’re not big, but at spawning time they defend their nests with the ferocity of a rottweiler. The Tubbataha rangers invite us to a barbeque on a sandbar. For months at a time they live out here in a small hut on stilts, patrolling the waters for illegal fishing boats. “Any sign of the Abu Sayyaf?” we ask them. “They come through once in a while,” says one of the rangers. “But don’t worry, we’ve got bigger guns.”


Disaster number two. I’m late for a dive and grab my camera without checking it. We do a backward roll from the tender and descend to the top of a shallow reef, at six meters, from where we drop over the edge into infinity. I try to take photographs, but nothing happens. Then the gutchurning horror of realization; the underwater case is flooding. I can’t kick the cat, so I take a few deep breaths and compose myself. There’s nothing I can do. It’s only money. For 24 hours my camera sits in the sun on the Vasco’s foredeck, but does not revive. There are compensations. Toward the end of the dive I’m hovering above the abyss while my dive buddy adjusts his mask. Beneath me and to the front of something emerges slowly from the planktonic haze. It’s a marble ray, immense and elegant, drifting gently past like a planet. We’ve looked for manta rays and seen none, but this will do. It’s good enough for me. The ray is gone in seconds, but I stay where I am, overwhelmed by the placid immensity of what I’ve just seen and whatever else is beneath me. I’ve no idea of the depth, but I do know the Philippine Trench, to the east of Mindanao, plunges almost 11km and is the habitat of brutolids, sea creatures with no eyes that have never been photographed.

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A diver amidst school of jacks Lau Pa Sat market

Insider’s Guide


The final day’s diving before we head back overnight to Puerto, but I’ve done enough and sit it out. Last night the wind increased and I was seasick, so I spend the morning in the cabin, which is humming with the vapor of wet towels and unwashed t-shirts. When the nausea hit I rushed for the door to our shared bathroom only to find it was locked, forcing me to puke in the trash can. Problem: the storm must have dislodged my glasses from the bedside table and they have also fallen into the trash can, where they now lay covered with upchuck. People start to hose down their kit and pack. We usually eat dinner on the top deck, but the Vasco is rolling so this evening we eat from our laps in the lounge area, closer to the boat’s center of gravity. The food has been excellent, with bread baked on board, salads, fresh fruit with every meal, curry, sour sinigang soup and spaghetti bolognese. We open a bottle of cheap brandy, but are too tired to get drunk. People drift off to bed, some unrolling mattresses on the deck. In my dreams I am floating in an ocean so monumental that I can’t find a way out. Giant rays waft past, ghostly and serene, but when I call them they don’t respond. It seems I am destined to float here for eternity, suspended in a hyperbaric limbo. When I wake we have already docked. The temporal sounds of dry land, of stevedores and tricycle engines, reimpose themselves, supplanting the deathless silence of the sea. ■

Bird Island

Essentials Arrange your Tubbataha trip through Cruise Island Adventure. Rates start at US $1,440 (About P62,000) per person including aircon accommodation on board, fullboard meals, no-decompression diving (five dives a day including night dive for six days), use of tanks, weights, weight belt, boat and services of a divemaster. The M/Y Borneo Explorer is a fully equipped dive cruiser that can comfortably accommodate 20 people. It is known to be the fleet’s “sightseeing yacht” as all of its rooms have large windows. Tel: +632/ 892 3477, 813 2970 email: For more details about the Tubbataha Reef National Marine Park, log on to its official website www. or call the Tubbataha Management Office at tel: +6348/ 434 5759. Visit their office at 41 Abad Santos St., Puerto Princesa City, Palawan. Email the park manager, Angelique Songco at For some of the best dive sites in the Philippines, go to Inside Track,

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m a p i l lu s t r at i o n by m a r lo n s e e

Barracuda school

Living indulge | in the fr a mes


Where Chefs Eat Margie Francisco asks four chefs to reveal their favorite tables

Chef Bruce Lim

Owner and executive chef Chef’s Table Restaurant by Chef Bruce Lim One of the restaurants I go to is Kikufuji (+632/ 893 7319). It’s inside Little Tokyo in Makati. I spend around P1,000 to P2,000. I love their chicken soft bone, kani salad special and ama ebi sashimi. Everything on their menu is fresh. Their wasabi is not your typical powdered wasabi. It’s soft, blends easily with the soy sauce and adds that extra oomph. I also go to Choi Garden (+632/ 727 6042) in Greenhills. They have the three-way lapu-lapu; the first one served in miso soup; second is steamed with broccoli; and the third cooked adobo style in hot pot with tofu. The interior makes you feel like you’re in a modern Chinese Garden setting — a playful, almost tacky, setting. Kachi Bunsik Korean Restaurant in Makati is another favorite. I love their mo jeum soon dae, boku bibimbop and ramyun. The soon dae is served with boiled liver, ears, and stomach of pigs. They’re really tasty. Except for Choi, all these restaurants are simple restaurants with simple, good food.

my breakfast. You get that scent of the floral and the spices. The drama of the whole place is just so moving — the lights, the tables, the people, the food. The salads are tasty, certified organic. The herbs and vegetables are from Tony’s own garden in the back. I like the quattro formaggi. It’s your usual omelette with a touch of salt as aftertaste. The bread was toasted just right with the four cheeses. The egg’s flavor complements the cheeses. IWhiteMoon like Milky Way Bar (+632/ 843 4124, 843 7124) on Pasay Road. It’s my mom’s favorite restaurant too. It’s like a canteen to me because you see me there very often. The group of J Gamboa’s restaurants on Pasay Road is consistently good. It’s really my favorite for Filipino food I think because they’re Kapampangan (Pampanga locals) and their food is just so flavorful. I love their crispy hito (cat fish), kare kare (peanut stew), dinuguan and puto (blood stew and rice cake). And their ice cream is homemade! Milky Way’s crispy hito

Chef Sau Del Rosario

Executive chef Chelsea Market Café and Le Bistro Vert Antonio’s (+63918/ 899 2866) in Tagaytay is top of my list! Tony Escalante — the owner — always has a lot of stories to share with you. He’d give you a wild chat about the party the night before. I don’t mind driving all the way there early in the morning to have

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c r i s p y hito P hoto b y j oc a s a . s ee

Edsa Shangri-La’s Summer Palace


Cirkulo (+632/ 810 8735, 810 2763) for their tapas and paellas. I especially love Chef J’s paella a la Montana. It’s like traditional paella with a twist. The twist being that this one’s a vegetarian paella, with saffron seasoned rice, Portabella mushrooms, asparagus and truffle oil. I also go to People’s Palace (+632/ 729 2888). It’s not really authentic Thai food because there’s a modern twist to it, a little bit of Euro flavor, with dishes that are not so spicy. I really like their prawn pomelo and coconut salad. Colin Mackay is just a very hands on guy; he’s a chef; he’s the owner…I don’t know, probably also the dishwasher! He’s just very involved in everything in the restaurant, up to the littlest detail.

Chef J Gamboa

Owner and executive chef Milky Way, Cirkulo, Azuthai, Tsukiji Director, Les Toques Blanches Philippines If I want to eat crabs, I go to Mr. Sunmoon Seafood House (+632/ 470 1257) in Greenhills. They have delicious fried crab and crab with sotanghon (noodles). The fried squid is excellent. The place isn’t fancy at all. It’s really noisy and crowded there but the food is delicious and I usually take my family there. You get to choose the crabs. For a group of five to eight, we’ll get two big crabs. For the sotanghon crab, we get the female crab because it’s fatty. For fried crab, we get the male because it’s meatier. That’s all we’ll get and it’s jackpot! I really like Chinese food. My favorite fancy Chinese restaurant is Shang Palace (+632/ 840 0884) at Makati Shangri-La. But for dimsum, I really like the dimsum at Summer Palace (+632/ 633 8888 ext. 2738/2739) at Edsa Shangri-La. For me it’s the closest thing to Hong Kong; it’s real Chinese food done the best way they can. I like going to Lolo Dad’s (+632/ 522 2941) in Malate. The place is so nice; it’s an old house. My good friend Chef Ariel Manuel has done a good job. It’s like going to their old house and having a beautiful and delicious dinner, whether it’s sea bass or roast saddle of lamb. I usually take my wife there or friends. It’s a nice, quiet place in Malate.

Oysters at Lolo Dad’s

Chef Niño Laus

Owner and executive chef Ninyo Fusion Cuisine Bistro Filipino by Chef Laudico (+632/ 856 0634). I’m a liempo fatty lover, a high cholesterol lover! It’s a family place, but it’s also great for dating. I got into the culinary trade because of Chef Laudico. I’m a buffet lover as well. I love Sofitel’s Spiral (+632/ 551 5555)! They have the widest variety of food, and it’s beside the bay, and it’s accessible. It’s pricey but hey, it’s really worth it. I also love going to Sugi Restaurant (sugirestaurant@gmail. com) in Greenhills. For me, it has the best traditional Japanese dishes. I love their sushi selections. Food is authentic, the service is really good. What more could you ask for? ■ Bistro Filipino

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Your gateway to a magnificent wonder.

Uyami’s Greenview Lodge & Restaurant Facilities & Services: Accommodation • Restaurant • Souvenir shop • Conference hall • Laundry • Tour assistance • Wi-fi access • Van rental Poblacion, Banaue, Ifugao Province 3601 | Tel. no.: (074) 386 4021 • E-mail: •


In The Fr ame

Rakel Natividad

First female tattoo artist in the Philippines b y M a r gie F r a n ci s co

Rakel Natividad, 30, is recognized as the first female professional tattoo artist in the Philippines. Her female perspective has brought success, winning more than 20 awards, including eight National Champion awards and one International Champion award in Saipan. Fresh out of college with a degree in elementary education, Rakel made regular visits to Manila to study for her teaching licence. But her true passion was art. It wasn’t long before her interest was piqued by Manila’s underground tattoo scene. Against her parents’ wishes, she spent time in tattoo shops in the Recto area of the city, educating herself in the tools of the trade. When her husband sold his beloved Marshall amplifier to fund her first tattoo kit, Rakel finally gave up teaching and pursued a full-time career in tattooing. In 2001, when Rakel was starting out, most reputable tattoo artists were based in cities, not in provinces such as Laguna, south of Manila, where Natividad lived. And the tattoo community had no female presence. But Rakel was determined. She took an apprenticeship at the tattoo shop of Mel Lacanilao, a respected tattooist. “As my mentor, Mel prepared me for life in a man’s world,” Rakel says. Soon after her apprenticeship ended, Rakel opened her own tattoo shop in her hometown of Santa Cruz, Laguna. She also began competing at tattoo conventions around the country. She remembers: “More often than not, I was the only female in the competition. But I really wanted to prove to other people and to myself that I could do this.”

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BODY OF ART: Christian Buddha tattoo by Natividad

Rakel has won honors at many competitions over the years, including second place in her first competition, Ink Xposure in 2002, first place in the 2006 Likha ng Pinatari (Creation of an Artist), third place Wall of Fame Artist in the 2007 Makabagong Sining sa Makabagong Panahon (Modern Art in a Modern World), and first place in the first Las Piñas Tattoo Showdown in 2010. As for what’s next, Rakel has plans to become a city girl. “I’m planning to bring my tattoo workshops to other cities, starting with Manila and Davao.” Rakel has done Nomad tattoo on Jamir of local rock band Slapshock, what she considers her most unique piece ever done because of its intricate design. ■

Natividad at work

For info on upcoming seminars and to book a session with Rakel, call +63917/ 368 5423. Visit her shop at 1007 Cailles Street, Sta. Cruz, Laguna.

w w w.inf

Wild North

Sand, sky, and sea in rugged ilocos

april - M ay 2011

w w w.theinf

december - january 2011

the islanders

Living la vida grande in el nido, boracay, and cebu

Singapore Fling

Crazy sales and high-tech parks at the lion City

Surf’s Up

Go loco over Zambales’ perfect waves

top 10 Places to Party in Boracay Fireworks display, all night dancing, and clubbing with celebs

Glug, Glug, Glug

Top 5 happy hour bars

anne curtis me and my Travels


el nido Memories el nido resorts’ big boss on early memories of the island

A 36-page pullout Guide to Boracay Restaurants, Bars, and Cafés

PLUS Seair LaUncheS fLightS to SingaPore

Missed an issue? Subscribe now! Call: +632/ 840 2802 or email:


store directory


Columbia Sportswear 3/L, The Podium, 18 ADB Avenue, Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong City Tel: +632/ 914 2148



Eairth 101 Bormaheco Condominium, Metropolitan Avenue, Zapote St., Makati City Tel: +632/ 519 1573

In My Bag

Beach Days in Samar

Designer Melissa Dizon on Eastern Samar’s dreamy coves and endless coast

Echostore G/F, Serendra Piazza, McKinley Parkway, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig Tel: +632/ 901 3485



“My favorite DeStination is Eastern Samar. I love the waves, the beaches and the people. There was one time when my then boyfriend Edvard asked me to go for a walk down a sandy, winding road in Samar. I asked where we were going, and he said, “to wherever the road takes us.” The road took us to a dreamy barren cove then to an endless coast. The beach was lined with thousands of rare, petrified shells, most of which were almost black. We stayed in a tree house, a simple shack with the most spectacular view of the ocean and horizon, right in front of the break. It was bare but it was most luxurious to me — solitude and space and fresh air. It was sunny in the day and rainy in the afternoons. I dream that someday I can map out a utopic life where one can have the bliss of Samar and still run a business.” – Melissa Dizon Eairth, fashion designer Stuff i take when i travel: 1 Eairth tiboli overnighter [duffel bag] (P5,895) 2 Bikini (P1,195) 3 Maui Babe coffee tanning oil (P585); Santa Maria Novella Verbana spray (P4,950); Organic tumeric tea powder (P450) 4 Bloomer shorts (P2,250) 5 Tees and t-shirt dresses (rates start at P5,490)

Turn to

page 66

For more ideas on travel gear and essentials, visit

for store contact info

26 | InFlight |

P R O D U c t S h Ot S B y DA N y U S Ay h A R V E y

juNE-july 2011

Divinubo Island, Borongan, Eastern Samar

R.O.X B3, Bonifacio High Street, 11th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig Tel: +632/ 856 4639 Rustan’s Essences 1/L, Glorietta 4, Ayala Center, Makati City Rustan’s Department Store 2/L & 3/L, Glorietta 4, Ayala Center, Makati City



Power Mac Center 2/L, Greenbelt 3, Ayala Center, Makati City Tel: +632/ 729 7087

Muji 2/L, SSI Building, Quadrant 7, Bonifacio High Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig Tel: +632/ 659 6731

The North Face Stall 225 R2 Level, Power Plant Mall, Amorsolo Drive, Makati City Tel: +632/ 895 2034

Pixel Pro Cyberzone, SM Megamall, Mandaluyong City Tel: +632/ 470 3903

Watsons 1/L, SM Makati Annex Bldg., Ayala Center, Makati City Tel: +632/ 816 6421

All That Buzz

Philippine Army Paddlers takes the lead in the dragon boat racing, men’s division

From left: Gigi Piit, Nenette Graf, Cynthia Carrion, Ciely Buenviaje, Tootsie Ronnholm, and Candy Perez de Tagle

Philippine Army Paddlers Wins at 500m Dragonboat Race BGC Story Dragons wins third place in the women’s division

Sydney Fire Dragons, the women’s division champion, won in 2:25.10 seconds

Paddlers go neck-and-neck in the mixed division

The Philippine Army dragonboat Paddlers won their second straight crown in the 500-meter men’s race, while the Sydney Fire Dragons took the women’s 500m crown at the 5th Boracay International Dragonboat Festival held on April 29. During the last 30 meters, the army rowers finished in two minutes and 4.88 seconds, defeating the Fleet Marines who clocked in at two minutes and 5.43 seconds, taking second place for the second straight year. Boracay Guardians placed third (2:06.92), while AllStars took fourth place (2:09.72). Some 500 people lined the beachfront of Boracay Regency Beach Resort and Convention Center to witness the much-awaited race. The Sydney Fire Dragons finished in two minutes and 25.10 in the women’s 500m race, followed by Triton-Army (2:26.97) and BGC Story Dragons (2:27.85). Despite coming in second in the women’s race, Triton-Army won the mixed title in two minutes and 11.83 seconds; Boracay All-Stars was second with two minutes and 13.52 seconds, and Guardian Bumshells, third with two minutes and 15.38 seconds. The event was supported by Shangri-La Boracay and Fairways and Bluewaters, with partner airlines SEAIR and Zest Air. Other sponsors include Boracay Regency, Boracay Beach Resort, Knot Just Weddings, Nami, Boracay Realty, Hawaiian Tropic and Standard Insurance. ■

BGC Story Dragons’ drummer leads her paddlers during the race

Paddlers during the first leg of the men’s division

BGC Story Dragons in action

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d r a go n b o a t eve n t P hoto s b y h a r ve y t a p a n

SEAIR co-founder Nick Gitsis with the kids

Smokey Mountain kids at Manila Ocean Park’s interactive center

Gitsis received a framed illustration work from the Smokey Mountain kids

SEAIR ‘s COO Patrick Tan (center top), SEAIR pilots Capt. Caguan (extreme left) and Capt. Trinidad (center), and SEAIR image model Marc Nelson also participated in the day out Some 100 kids of Smokey Mountain got free lunch at Aristocrat

Seair Celebrates 16th Anniversary with Smokey Mountain Kids South East Asian Airlines (SEAIR) treated some 100 kids from the Smokey Mountain community in Tondo to a day of fun at the Manila Ocean Park, part of the airline’s charity event to celebrate its 16th year anniversary. SEAIR pilots and staff joined humanitarian organization WE International Inc.-Philippines on a tour of the park’s aquarium and marine life, and read to the kids in the educational activity area. During lunch at Aristocrat Restaurant in Malate, the kids presented SEAIR director and co-founder Nick Gitsis with their own handiwork, an illustration of all of them standing in front of a Dornier plane. The day ended with a swim at the Manila Ocean Park, an activity everyone was most excited about. “It was fun,” shares group marketing manager Patrick Pulumbarit. “It was an educational experience for the children and it just felt good to take the kids to Ocean Park.” ■

Kids were all smiles during the day

SEAIR and We Philippines at Aristocrat, Malate

We Philippines volunteers with one of the kids

s e a i r 1 6 th a n n ive r s a r y eve n t P hoto s b y cho y elci a r io

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Greenland (denmark)













St. Pierre and Miquelon (Fr.)














Bermuda (UK)







Western Sahara






































SEAIR Convenient flights to the best islands

SEAIR (Low Cost) The best in low cost deals










PHILIPPINES Clark, Angeles
























Turks and Caikos Islands (U.K.)


Airbus 319








ITI Green flights to the islands




p75 News Route Map The latest in the AUSTRALIA A visual guide industry to flight destinations EAST TIMOR






Falkland Islands (U.K.)

june-julY 2011

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South East Asian Airlines (SEAIR Domestic Islands)

Dornier 328

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


| InFlight | june-july 2011

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

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

• Singapore • Hongkong

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

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

Airbus 319

Dornier 228

SEAIR (Low Cost)

Island Transvoyager (ITI)


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

• Singapore • Hong Kong • Macau

Fleet • 2 Airbus A-319

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

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

Fleet • 3 Dornier 228

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

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AR SEAIR Route Map

ITI Route Map











Clark, Angeles





Tablas Island




Caticlan AKLAN El Nido

El Nido























Clark, Angeles MANILA











SEAIR (Low Cost) 74


| InFlight | june-july 2011 INDONESIA



El Nido Resorts' Mariglo Laririt receives the Gold Award for Environmental Education Programme from Pacific Asia Travel Association

El Nido Resorts Wins Environment Award in China

Clark-Macau for as Low as P999 South East Asian Airlines (SEAIR), is offering special online fares of as low as P999 one way net price on the newly launched Clark-Macau route. The special fare is available on Even lower fares are sometimes available online during selected periods. SEAIR started daily flights to Macau from Clark on May 27, using the 144-seater Airbus 319 aircraft. “The Clark-Macau route is SEAIR’s third international destination under the Tiger Airways partnership,” said SEAIR president Avelino Zapanta. “The new route offers similar ultra low fares as our Singapore and Hong Kong flights and serves as an important link between the Philippines and China for tourists, business travellers, and Filipinos working abroad.” Macau offers vacationers a unique mix of Western and Eastern influences through its baroque churches, Art Deco buildings, and Chinese temples. In 2005, the Historic Center of Macau was named a UNESCO World Heritage site. It consists of historic residential, religious, and public Portuguese and Chinese architectural legacies including the A-Ma Temple, Senado Square, Dom Pedro V Theater, Na Tcha Temple, Casa Garden, the Old Protestant Cemetery and the old headquarters of the British East Indies Company. In recent years, Macau has welcomed on its reclaimed land a number of big name casinos, including the Venetian and MGM Grand from the United States, making itself known in Asia as the “Las Vegas of the East”. Macau however still maintains its Old World charm albeit its own multicultural fusion. SEAIR departs from Clark to Macau daily on May 27 until June 30, 2011 at 2pm and flies from Macau to Clark daily at 4:25pm. From July 1 to October 29, 2011, ClarkMacau flights will be at 2:25pm, while Macau-Clark flights will be at 4:50pm. ■ SEAIR is the Philippines' second oldest airline, and is the first airline based in Clark. It has the reputation of having pioneered commercial flights to the country's fastest growing tourist destinations including Boracay, Batanes and northern Palawan. Now on its 16th year of operation, SEAIR is expanding its reach regionally with its current jet services to Singapore and Hong Kong. SEAIR is the first Tiger Airways Partner Airline in the Asia Pacific region. For more information, Join SEAIR Facebook Fan Page at for updates on promos and new routes.

Macau photo courtesy of Macau Government Tourist Office

The El Nido Resorts’ Be G.R.E.E.N. campaign won a Gold Award for Environmental Education Programme in this year’s Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) awards held in Beijing, China on April 11, 2011. Be G.R.E.E.N. is a five-course training program that educates all staff of El Nido Resorts on biodiversity, water and energy conservation, environmental legislation and ecological solid waste management. Since its launch in 2007, the campaign has trained more than 800 full-time and part-time staff. El Nido Resorts believes that as environmental advocates, the staff can encourage guests to be protective of the environment, said environmental concerns manager Mariglo Laririt, who heads the campaign. El Nido Resorts are located on Lagen Island and Miniloc Island in El Nido, on Apulit Island in Taytay, all in Palawan. ■ Visit

El Nido Resorts Appoints New President Ten Knots Development Corporation, owner and developer of El Nido Resorts, has appointed Laurent Lamasuta as its new president, effective March 1, 2011. Lamasuta represents Ayala Greenfield Estates of AyalaLand, the majority shareholder of El Nido Resorts. He has been involved with El Nido Resorts since 2010, when AyalaLand took sixty per cent of the shares of Ten Knots Development Corporation. Ten Knots Development Corporation upholds responsible tourism through long-term sustainable practices. ■ Visit for more info.

june-julY 2011

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A guide to spas, treatment centers and beauty shops

The Farm

featuring: S h u i H i l o t H e a l i n g S p a • T h e Fa r m • V i c t o r O rt e g a S pa • V M V


Hilot, the ancient art of Filipino healing by touch, dates back to the first Philippine civilization in the 5th century. It was passed from generation to generation via tradition. It is derived from the Filipino word meaning massage. An integral part of Filipino culture, it is one of the first interventions sought when one is not well. The hilot’s concept of health and disease is based on the balance of init (hot) and lamig (cold) / hangin (wind). When balanced, the body is well. An imbalance results in a blockage in the flow of energy within the body resulting in disease. Several methods for locating energy blockages are used. Most common is palpitation. Sensitive hands locate sites of poor energy circulation or wind trapped in the body. They are felt as lumps, knots, tender areas or as differences in temperature. Being the source of all nerves in the body and the entry point of all energy, the hand is central to both diagnosis and healing. Hilot generally uses the thumb and a combination of the index, middle and ring fingers. Coconut oil is the pref erred medium. Being warm, it balances the body better. The word hilot can ref er to both the technique and the practitioner. There are several types of “manghihilot”. There is the comadrona who is an expert in post-natal massage; the bone setter; the acupressurist who aligns ugat (nerves) and balances electrical energy into the body; the reflexologist, who drains excess energy; and the herbalist, who uses herbs in healing. Hilot is also one of the hottest trends in spa industry today. In fact, it was nominated as the "Spa Treatment of the Year" at the 2005 Baccarat Inaugural Awards in Hong Kong. a foot therapy from the indigenous tribes of the Mountain Province. It uses sticks to massage the feet in rolling and scratching motions from the heel to toes to stimulate blood circulation before applying deep strokes or “hagod”. Coupled with soothing douses of virgin coconut oil and an indigenous organic oil extracted from healing herbs, this method reliev es f eet off aches and muscle tension. It is a great t herapy for high blood pressure, blood circulation, hormonal imbalance and depressive disorder or stress.

Dr . Gerry Sy is the CEO and founder of Shui Hilot Healing Spa. He has been practicing Naturopathy and Alternative Medicine in Davao, Southern Mindanao for the past decade advocating and bringing welleness to ever y family in the community. He has an extensive background of study with the Traditional healers of the Philippines, America, Germany and China. He is currently Chairman of Equipinoy, Inc. and ATHAG Training Center. A Naturopathic Health Practitioner and Homeopath under PINS accredited by IIPA, TESDA Accredited Assesor and Trainor of Hilot W ellness and Spa Massage. A TESDA Accred ited Certified Hilot Wellness NCII and Massage NCII, a spinal alignment therapists and a Life Coach certified by Diamond Coaching accredited with International Co aching Federation.


Victor Ortega spa Premiere A place to have a massage, sip tea, and enjoy a beautiful view A brilliAnt wAy to stArt A borAcAy islAnd holidAy is immersing in a one-hour full body massage at Victor Ortega Spa Premiere, then capping the treatment with a hot cup of tea by the balcony café, where you get a stunning view of the island’s world-famous White Beach. The full body massage, the spa’s specialty, starts with the massage therapist pouring oil on your back and gently kneading it all over your body, then off to long, smooth strokes while giving a firm yet gentle pressure on your back, neck, shoulders and legs. Victor Ortega Spa Premiere, which opened last week of April in 2011 on Boracay Island’s Main Road, beside Metrobank is an ideal choice for those looking for a quaint spa experience with value for money packages. The reception area is on the first floor where guests, as they register, are greeted by their assigned massage therapist. In a classy almost-all-white airy setup, the spa salon occupies the whole second floor of the building. Some 10 black recliners are carefully placed in the foot massage section, and there’s a respective male and female massage room. On offer at the spa are a variety of massages from full body massage to express massages to hand, feet and scalp massage, body treatments like whitening body scrubs, and nail pampering, and are served by 50 well-trained and certified masseuses and masseurs. Guests can also enjoy the sauna, fully equipped shower rooms for ladies and gents, and the café at the balcony. Verdict? Victor Ortega Spa Premiere is a great escape.

Victor Ortega Spa Premiere is located at the Boracay Centerpoint Building, Main Road, Station1, Balabag, Boracay Island. Call +6336/ 288 2044 for appointments or more details


Alona Beach in the south side of Panglao Island, Bohol, is just waking up to the light of day when George Esguerra captured this scene on camera. Known for its coral white sand stretching one-and-a-half kilometers long, Alona Beach is a favorite of both holiday makers and diving enthusiasts. There are at least 10 major diving areas around the island and there’s no shortage of accommodation either on the stretch of beach. For more on Bohol and some of the top 10 dive sites in the Philippines, visit For more of Esguerra’s work, visit

Camera: Nikon D40 Lens: 18-55mm Aperture: F/3.5 Focal length: 18mm Shutter speed: 1/90.7 sec ISO Speed: 200


| InFlight | june-july 2011


inlfight June-July 2011  
inlfight June-July 2011  

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