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2017 DISCOVERY 57 131 THE YEAR OF

OVER

DESTINATIONS AND

CZECH REPUBLIC ARMENIA NEPAL ICELAND PERU NEW ZEALAND DUBAI

AND MANY MORE

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EAT STREETS 5X[[h^daQT[[hX]7^]V:^]V P]SCPX_TX

TIPS TO MAKE YOUR ULTIMATE TRAVEL YEAR


Contents JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2017

Take OďŹ&#x20AC; 12

25

Page 48 Zebras grazing with wildebeests at the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya, Africa Special thanks to Regina Laquindanum and Lizette Jocson of Kenya Airways PH

2

VOLUME ONE 2017 | TRAVEL NOW

ENVOYâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S KEY Japanese ambassador Kazuhide Ishikawa shares his recommendations about his home country Japan, including the old, the new, and the in-betweens

28

TRAVELOGUE Dusit Thani Manilaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s General Manager Bruno Cristol shares why travel is in his familyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s blood

30

FLIGHT TRACK Turkish Airlines shows passion for service as it gives emphasis on value and customer satisfaction

On the Cover KENYA, EAST AFRICA Photographed by Marbee Shing-Go

JOURNAL NOTES Where to go, what to bring, and what you need to know on your next trip

32

33

34

Philippine Airlines continues to reign in the local aviation industry as it launches additional Boeing 777-300ER planes Emirates brings back the glory of air travel with its stellar service Jetstar Airways proves that being a low-cost carrier does not mean having low quality safety standards

36

SUITE LIFE Have a diďŹ&#x20AC;erent Cambodian experience at RaďŹ&#x201E;es Grand Hotel dÍ´ Angkor

38

LANDMARKS 101 Check out The Little Mermaid statue in Denmark and see how it is more than the simplicity that it bears

In Every Issue 5

editorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s note

6

staff picks

8

contributorsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; page

10

readersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; page

112 e v e n t s 

114 postscript


Smart Travel 40

Practicing responsible tourism

42

Avoid being duped by learning about these online scams

44

Keep your travel memories alive with these TRAVEL NOW tips

45

TRAVEL NOW lists smart packing hacks to get through the airport hassle-free

46

Learn about co-living and how this new movement is the next big thing in travel

Destinations 48

PHOTO ESSAY Journalist Atom Araullo witnesses wildlife in its raw and full glory as he explores Kenya in South Africa

60

Join Klara Iska Añonuevo as she revisits the basics of Taipei

64

Discover Chiang Mai and how the city acts as a strong cultural melting pot of Thailand

68

Be impressed with the ever prosperous city of Dubai through the stunning images of Erron Ocampo

92

See Czech Republic’s wine region as Liz Villaseñor visits South Moravia

96

Jamille Domingo explores Kota Kinabalu in Sabah for the first time, and gets a glimpse of a new side of Malaysia she has never seen before

78

SPECIAL FEATURE TRAVEL NOW lists down the top emerging and non-mainstream destinations as recommended by travel experts

106 Check out the travel must-haves of

your favorite celebrities! MO R E FU N IN T HE PH 100 Uncover the beauty

SOCCKSKARGEN (now SOX) and see how the region is a paradise that’s more than ready to be discovered G O U R ME T 108 Take on a gastronomical journey in

Hong Kong and remember why the city is the ultimate food mecca in Asia PARTING SHOT 116 Rochelle Romero shares how she

likes to love her life to the fullest with her latest trip to San Diego, California

VOLUME ONE 2017 | TRAVEL NOW

3


editor-in-chief MARBEE SHING-GO

managing editor

B 6 3  E = @ : 2  / E / 7 B A

KLARA ISKRA AĂ&#x2018;ONUEVO

editorial assistant JAMILLE DOMINGO

art graphic designers ALEX MANLANGIT MIA CATEDRILLA

creative director PATRICK KASINGSING

ďŹ nal artist M ARK XAVIER P. V IL L ANUE VA

contributors writers Atom Araullo, Gretchen Filart Dublin, Aileen Frugal, Zoe Gabe, Marky Ramone Go, Klay Tan, Ma. Glaiza Lee, Erron Ocampo, Maricel Laxa-Pangilinan, Mirra Reyes, Liz VillaseĂąor photographers Toni Gozum, Vinz Lamorena, Ed Simon of Studio 100, Frantisek Thorz illustrators Valerie Mae Ong, Shy Cabajar, Bea Villanueva special projects & creative services head Marga Medrano-Tupaz associate creative director Red de Leon copy chief Stephanie Puyod copywriters Francesca Pangilinan, Gabe Fernando, Rione Palacios graphic artists Mia Catedrilla, EJ Kampitan, Den Fajardo coordinator Alyssa Papna editorial admin associate Erica Luna

vice-president â&#x20AC;&#x201C; magazine & print business suki salvador

group publisher ryan ros calmante

ONE MEGA GROUP chairman j. tiu

executive vice president Archie Carrasco operations admin associate - sales & marketing Angela Jacob sales publishers & group advertising directors Maite Tamparong-Uy, Ryan Ros Calmante advertising sales support head James Leonard Cruz

studio 100 head photographer Ed Simon photographers Mark Jacob, Floyd Jhocson, Yukie Sarto, Juan Miguel Abesamis videographer April Manucot oic for studio 100 rental Marga Medrano-Tupaz technical custodian JR Ramirez circulation circulation manager Piero Talag, Paul Sison key accounts executive Darlito Taglay Jr.

key accounts sr. key accounts managers Carmelli Daet, Chattie Saludo, Kathleen Amante key account managers Bianca Bernardo, Maureen Alexis Busto, Mike Cabbo

retail 100 oic Lynn Niduaza

direct accounts direct account executives Faye Abuyo, Fons Martinez, Borj Sandoval, Krissa Manuel

it it supervisor AR Sanchez it support Waren Gasmen, Julian Domingo

sales support advertising traďŹ&#x192;c assistant Eunizel Carbonell

human resources oic Marian Rodriguez payroll executive Kate Barba hr supervisor - recruitment and employee relations Nique Manalansan

marketing communicatons ad & promo associate Marga Plana pr associates Angela Jacob, Mikko Abello community manager Angel Yulo pr assistant Sabrina Soco multimedia artist Joshua del Rosario internal events events supervisor Arriane Sanchez events assistant director Marvin Mancera copywriter AJ De Las Alas events associate Gian Malizon events assistant Kathleen Mendoza digital media head of digital media Anne Bernisca digital media admin associate Emerence Camazuela senior web developer Yasmin Oplado junior web developer Benedict Payot web graphics designer Gio Pentinio digital marketing & social media associate Dani Tobias digital creative services lead Colleen Atienza digital creative services content writer Louise Sicat digital creative services multimedia artist Carmina Aglipay production production supervisor Allen de Guzman ďŹ nal artist GeoďŹ&#x20AC;rey Julian quality control associate Rodel Tutor quality control assistant Mylin Montealegre

oďŹ&#x192;ce of the ceo senior executive assistant Avy Lagarto

library library & information oďŹ&#x192;cer Paola Melgazo ďŹ nance senior ďŹ nance manager Jonah Vacio senior treasury sr. associate Maileen Capilitan contract & billing supervisor Cecilia Templo billing assistant Cass Contreras ďŹ nancial analyst Winter Monedo accounts payable specialist Charkae Catindig jr. accountant Kristabelle Peralta credit & collection supervisor Nainine Buenaobra credit & collection sr. associates Marivic Baltazar, Christine Castillo purchasing oic Avy Lagarto administration admin supervisor Lynn Niduaza admin assistant Meldie Diente logistics logistics manager Piero Talag logistics assistant Mariel Moreno warehouse assistant Erwin Nicolas

founder & ceo sari v. yap

founding creative director lorraine belmonte

TRAVEL NOW

tv 100 tv head Michael Carandang producers Vani Altomonte, Franco Daza, Ruth Madrid graphics editor Jenno Contreras video editors Jasper Bermejo, Mark Legaste, Miko MigriĂąo tv admin supervisor Alyssa Quijano

IS PUBLISHED BI MONTHLY BY THE ONE MEGA GROUP: 18/F STRATA 100 BLDG., F. ORTIGAS JR. ROAD, ORTIGAS CENTER, 1605 PASIG, METRO MANILA, PHILIPPINES. P.O. BOX 12762, ORTIGAS CENTER, 1652 PASIG. TEL. NOS. TRUNKLINE (+63 2) 631 2859; ADVERTISING (+63 2) 635 2883; FAX NO. (+63 2) 631 2862. <CUSTOMERSERVICES@ONEMEGAGROUP. COM> UNSOLICITED MANUSCRIPTS AND PHOTOGRAPHS MUST BE ACCOMPANIED BY A SELF ADDRESSED STAMPED ENVELOPE. WHILE EVERY REASONABLE CARE WILL BE TAKEN BY THE EDITORS, NO RESPONSIBILITY IS ASSUMED FOR THE RETURN OF UNSOLICITED MATERIAL. OPINIONS EXPRESSED IN THIS MAGAZINE ARE SOLELY THOSE OF THE WRITERS AND NOT NECESSARILY ENDORSED BY OMG. REPRODUCTION OF PHOTOS AND ARTICLES IN FULL OR PART IS PROHIBITED, UNLESS PERMISSION IS SECURED FROM THE EDITORS.

4

VOLUME ONE 2017 | TRAVEL NOW


editorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s note

couple of months ago, I set off with my college friend May to one of the most epic trips weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve hadâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;to Kenya. It was a journey to remember as it opened us more to each other as friends and travel companions, as well as to ourselves as individual travelers. We were blessed with sightings of not just the Big Five (elephant, rhino, cape buffalo, lion, and leopard), but also the Big Nine (the Five plus the cheetah, giraffe, hippopotamus, and zebra), and so much more. We stayed in tents without locks, listened to animal sounds before we slept, and woke up early in the morning trying to guess what those animals are. Even though we traveled long hours on rough roads, we were rewarded with beautiful sunsets, as well as delicious local cocktails at each of the lodges we stayed in. All in all, the journey was uniquely awesome and definitely beyond the usual. Even one of our travel companions, Atom Araullo, noted the distinct experience heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s had in Kenyaâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;

A

AROUND & ABOUT

which he shared through his beautiful photographs on page 48. This 2017, we at TRAVEL NOW aim to inspire you, our readers, to take on such uniquely awesome adventures. We want to encourage everyone to go beyond the usual globetrotting experiences that will open you up to a whole new meaning of travel. Whether it be a safari drive in Africa, a mega food trip to Hong Kong or Taiwan, a wine-tasting sojourn in Czech Republic, an immersive trip to the lesser explored parts of Malaysia and Thailand, a desert adventure in Dubai, or a cultural trip to the non-mainstream cities of Mindanao, we want you to go and TRAVEL NOW. Because thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s what travel is all about in the first place, having the joy of exploration and discovery. To realize that even though the best trips (such as these beyond the usual travels) end just like the shelf life of an Instagram story, the memories will stay onâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;and such experience becomes the best travel souvenir.

@gomarbeego



&

marbee shing-go Editor-in-Chief marbee.go@onemegagroup.com gomarbeego

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VOLUME ONE 2017 | TRAVEL NOW

5


staďŹ&#x20AC; picks KLARA, managing editor Before the year ended, I was treated to a weekend stay at Shangri-La The Fort. To make it a true staycation, I decided to stay inside the hotel for the whole stay, and when I ďŹ rst walked into Kerry Sports Manila, I knew one weekend wouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t even be enough to fully explore the over 8000 square-foot sports facility. The gym is open 24 hours a day, and most of the other facilities (including basketball, tennis, and squash courts, and a lap pool) are open from 6 AM to 10 PM, giving hotel guests plenty of time to visit it. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s heaven for those like me who like to keep an active lifestyle. Even non ďŹ tness-buďŹ&#x20AC;s will enjoy Kerry Sports Manila, as it has a sauna, a steam room, and vitality pools where one can sit or lie down and get a massage from the water jets. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m glad I stayed in the hotelâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;I canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t wait to go back!

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A TIME FOR

DISCOVERY

Kerry Sports Manila is located at levels 5 and 6 Shangri-La The Fort, 30th Street corner 5th Avenue Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City. For bookings and reservations, phone (+63 2) 820 0888 or visit <shangri-la.com/manila/shangrilaatthefort>

I recently returned to Japan with my siblings to visit our mom, and she brought us outside Tokyoâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;particularly in Yamanashi Prefecture. We visited Fuji-Q Highland and Fuji Safari Park, two of the main attractions near the famous Mount Fuji. On the way there, we noticed this beautiful ďŹ&#x201A;ower garden located a little beside the highway. It was so beautiful and colorful that we had to pull over and see it up close and personal. The locals call it Yamanakako Hanano Miyako Koen. As it turned out, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a ďŹ&#x201A;ower garden in the highlands over a thousand meters above sea level. Fields upon ďŹ elds of diďŹ&#x20AC;erent ďŹ&#x201A;owers greeted us, and the view of Mount Fuji added to the already breathtaking sight. There werenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t many people in the area even though it was a weekend. In fact, I believe it was just us in the park that time. We were told that not everyone gets the chance to see it, since almost every tourist is busy heading out to the more famous Fuji attractions. I was just thankful that I have a family as curious as I am, otherwise, I would not have had the pleasure of discovering this paradise.

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World Traveller Linz Hard Case luggage are available at The Travel Club stores nationwide

ALEX, graphic designer Amidst the usual tourist attractors like temples and bustling shopping districts, Bangkokâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s thriving underground art scene has been my favorite discovery as of late. I dedicated one afternoon to explore the fairly new Museum of Contemporary Art in Siam. I was glad to get some burst of inspiration seeing all the focus that the art and design center has devoted to underground artists, especially those who have been using new media for their work. Ranging from age-old tattoo designs (married with more contemporary concepts) to experimental ďŹ lms, MOCA Bangkok is a promising gem for the South East Asian art scene. Aside from the intriguing art pieces and performances on showcase, MOCA also houses unique souvenir shops, supplies stores, an independent publishing house for local poets and novelists, and an extensive collection of art and design books. Concept cafĂŠs and restaurants complete the immersive experience for a ďŹ ne afternoon full of creative inspiration. With its unconventional design, the structure itself is a refreshing discovery for architecture enthusiasts.

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VOLUME FIVE 2016 | TRAVEL NOW

PHOTOS COURTESY OF SHANGRI-LA THE FORT, WORLD TRAVELLER, AND PENTEL. ADDITIONAL PHOTO BY ERRON OCAMPO

JAM, editorial assistant


contributors’ page

MARKY RAMONE GO Travel Blogger Soaked in the culture of Chiang Mai on page 64

why should people visit chiang mai? Chiang Mai is a laid-back place teeming with culture that attracts travelers from all over. It is also a good choice to set up a base for exploring the rest of South East Asia.

what is your favorite recent travel discovery? ATOM ARAULLO Journalist Explored Kenya on page 48

I recently experienced cruise ship traveling and discovered it is not only for the groovy retirees, because it also appeals to the younger travelers. There are heaps of ship-happenings and off-shore destinations to enjoy, as well as a diverse crew, which make the ship a cultural melting pot. All of these provide a unique travel experience.

why should people visit kenya? I think Kenya should be in the bucket list of anyone who likes to travel. While you need to prepare a few things before you go there, and consider many factors like distance and fees, it’s really perfect and tourist-friendly. Even kids will love it. They would really go wild because imagine seeing all those animals just walking around. The people are also friendly, and the food is nice.

what is your favorite recent travel discovery? We went to Victoria Falls Hotel in Zimbabwe, and I think it’s one of the best hotels I’ve discovered and stayed at because it is situated near the Victoria Bridge. The architecture is also colonial. It’s like a throwback—as if you’ve traveled back to the period of the free explorers in Africa. The room was absolutely beautiful and the details are quite stunning.

what do you do to be a responsible tourist? I try to be respectful of the culture so I always research about the place before I go there. I try not to pass any judgment because their situation may be completely different from ours. I try to talk to locals, not just regarding tourism, but also about their politics and way of life—I really enjoy those discussions. For the most part, I try to collect a lot of pictures and maintain the beauty of the place by not throwing trash, not picking flowers, or not bringing home things that should not be brought home. And then I tell other people about it, spread the word, and encourage them to go there to help the local tourism.

what do you do to be a responsible tourist? I make sure to lessen my traveling footprints as possible. This would mean using minimal amount of water and electricity, and leaving no trash behind, among other things. Other ways include raising awareness about being a responsible traveler, which also means respecting the local culture and traditions.

where are you traveling to next? To the highlands of Cordillera, because I plan to join an outreach trip to Banaue, Barlig, and Mount Bontoc.

GRETCHEN FILART DUBLIN Freelance Writer Interviewed the Japanese Ambassador on page 25

why should people visit japan? I think what makes Japan so enticing is that it offers two polar worlds in one. On one hand, you have hip and ultra-modern Tokyo and its pop culture, but on another, you have well-preserved centuries-old shrines and geishas. Also, the low crime rate.

what is your favorite recent travel discovery? Samar’s Ulot Torpedo Boat Ride Adventure is one wild and crazy white water rafting ride, yet only a few know about this! I am also awed at the true-to-Oriental design of The Oriental Leyte Hotel, a newly renovated and re-launched hotel along Palo’s Red Beach. Eastern Visayas, as a whole, is full of amazing surprises, and I think it deserves more attention from travelers.

what do you do to be a responsible tourist? I go by LNT (leave no trace) principles and try to raise awareness about it whenever I can. I also prefer (and encourage people) to go to places that are off-the-beaten track to lessen the impact on tourist-heavy destinations.

where are you traveling to next? I might visit my friends in the US but this time around I want to do something different, I want to explore more cities and towns. I also want to see the outdoors of the US.

8

VOLUME ONE 2017 | TRAVEL NOW

where are you traveling to next? Singapore! Because Sigur Ros will be performing there and seeing them perform live is a dream, and we should follow our dreams.


readersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; page

WHERE YOU TOOK AND WHAT YOU SAID ABOUT OUR PREVIOUS ISSUES

Another great issue from @travelnowmagazine! The stories are great and make me remember the feeling of bliss during my own travel. iambkf

Reading before bedtime #travelnowmagazine #redwine mixed with #sparklingwine (â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;cause I canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t handle pure red wine) sweetcrazymlene

I got my copy in the mail! thorzf

WIN!

WINNER!

Co ongratulations to Micaela Pineda fo or winning a power bank from Timberland! I have been to a lot of places in the Philippines already, but perhaps the one o I consider my favorite would be the Ilocos provinces. Both Ilocos Norte and a Ilocos Sur gave me the chance to a appreciate the heritage and culture of Ilocanos more. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve visited all the museums and there, I saw a diďŹ&#x20AC;erent side of history and witnessed how Ilocanos are loyal to their cultural roots. It made me realize how that should be the same for all Filipinos when we talk about the Philippines as a whole. The country has so many things to oďŹ&#x20AC;er, from beautiful beaches, to exciting things to do, down to the rich culture. I learned from that trip that we must also stay loyal to our roots, and not overlook the beauty of our own country.

if you missed last issueâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s prize, you still have another chance to win a power bank from Timberland! All you have to do is send us a photo of your Christmas or New Yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s vacation and tell us how the trip helped make your 2016 better. Email your answers along with a high-res (at least 1MB) photo of you in one of your travels to <travelnow@onemegagroup. com>. Put in the subject box â&#x20AC;&#x153;Timberland power bank.â&#x20AC;? Deadline of entries is January 31, 2017.

Send us an email at <travelnowmagazine@onemegagroup.com> for instructions on how to claim your prize.

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VOLUME ONE 2017 | TRAVEL NOW


Take OďŹ&#x20AC; everything you need to know and bring when you travel

While the temples around Angkor are worth exploring, it is also a must to make time to enjoy the splendid oďŹ&#x20AC;erings of RaďŹ&#x201E;es Grand Hotel d Angkor. You can enjoy the food, take a dip in the pool, experience the spa, watch a cultural show while having dinner, or just marvel at the hotelâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s grandeur. A stay in that hotel is like a diďŹ&#x20AC;erent vacation in itself A GRAND SANCTUARY PA

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6


journal notes

BRIGHTFUL AT 20 Camp John Hay celebrates its 20th year by lighting up the Baguio sky written by JAMILLE DOMINGO photos courtesy of CAMP JOHN HAY

onsidered by many as the corporation that gave tourists the perfect place to feel the vibe of the real baguio city, Camp John Hay Development Corporation (CJHDevCo) recently celebrated its 20th anniversary with a spectacular fireworks and light show. Giving tribute to its number of years in operation, the fireworks display and lightshow each lasted 20 minutes at The Manor Hotelâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s gardenâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;with over 600 guests serving as witnesses to the corporationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s monumental feat. In his speech, guest of honor and Lone District of Baguio Representative Mark Go praised Camp John Hay for preserving the Baguio that his generation knewâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;saying that the attraction is probably the last place to still experience the old Baguio, where the air still smelled of pines. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It is undeniable that in Camp John Hay, the air is fresher, and the temperature cooler. You feel that it is safe to roll the windows down and let the air in your car. You drive slower to appreciate the greenery, and you breathe deeper to soak everything in,â&#x20AC;? he said. Mark added that Camp John Hay is not only a beautiful place to go to, it is also a vital component of the city. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The forest cover of Camp John Hay alone accounts for about half of the forest cover of the entire city,â&#x20AC;? he said.

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on coďŹ&#x20AC;ee table book and camp john hayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s developments As part of its 20th anniversary, CJHDevCo also launched a coffee table book highlighting the developments of Camp John Hay. The book documents the progress of the placeâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;from being an American base, to being a tourist attraction when it was turned over to CJHDevCo. 12

VOLUME ONE 2017 | TRAVEL NOW

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The Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) entered into a Lease Agreement with CJHDevCo in 1996 for Camp John Hayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s development into a world-class destination with an eco-friendly residential community. Since its signing, the corporation has built tons of amenities that aim to satisfy the great demand of tourists. These include a world-class golf course designed by world renowned golfer Jack Nicklaus, The Manor Hotel, The Forest Lodge, a major business convention center, residential log cabins, country homes, and a shopping center. It has also maintained an ecotrail with over 400,000 pine trees, and 60 hectares used for planting arabica beansâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s local premium coffee. feast for a king Aside from the fireworks display and light shows, guests were also able to enjoy a buffet dinner prepared by Chef Billy King of Le Chef at The Manor Hotel. Fifteen food stations were spread throughout the hotelâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s gardenâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;among which included oysters, sushi and sashimi, Norwegian salmon, lobster, Wagyu beef, and Filipino food and dessert station. He also served a 20-kilo USDA prime steamship steak and a giant birthday cake for CJHDevCo. For more information, visit <campjohnhay.ph>

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journal notes

CONQUERING THE SOUTH The Ascott Limited opens Somerset Alabang Manila, its ďŹ rst property in the south written by JAMILLE DOMINGO photos courtesy of THE ASCOTT LIMITED

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he ascott limited recently marked another accomplishment as it opened its first property in the southern part of Metro Manila, and its sixth in the Philippines: the Somerset Alabang Manila. The new international serviced residence, the countryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s third for the Somerset division, is located within the integrated business and commercial district development of Filinvest City in Alabang. Somerset Alabang Manila is a 150-unit development that offers various prime apartment choices including studios, one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments. The spacious units offer contemporary interiors with all the conveniences of a home, such

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as a well-equipped kitchen, separate working and living areas, a home entertainment system, and broadband internet connection. Residents are guaranteed to further love the charmed quiet and relaxing ambience of the south, as Somerset Alabangâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s apartments also have a balcony where dwellers can enjoy the spectacular view of the vibrant cityscapeâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;including Laguna de Bay and the pockets of green surrounding it. Various recreational areas are offered too, among which include a lap pool, a fullyequipped fitness center, a premier restaurant, a pool bar, and a kidsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; play area called Cubbies Room. Apart from the amenities, Somerset Alabang Manila also boasts of a great central location, with malls, cafĂŠs, restaurants, and fitness and wellness parks just minutes away.

The property also has facilities and spaces available for lease. It has 11 serviced offices and parking areas that are now ready for operation. It also offers two function rooms that are collapsible into two and three smaller function or meeting rooms (which can be booked for corporate and social events), as well as two boardrooms. Somerset Alabang Manila is managed by The Ascott Limited, the largest international serviced residence owner-operator with more than 290 properties in over 100 cities spanning more than 25 countries. Somerset Alabang Manila is located at 3409 Spectrum Midway, Filinvest City, Alabang, Muntinlupa City. For bookings and reservations, phone (+632) 550 3200 or email <enquiry.manila@the-ascott.com>

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journal notes

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WHATâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S NEXT, CALABARZON? Find out whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s in store for Region IV-A in 2017 written by MA. GLAIZA LEE photos courtesy of DEPARTMENT OF TOURISM REGION IV-A

or the next six years, the CALABARZON (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon) region will focus its attention on creating a better tourism climate by developing diverse tourism products that highlight the regionâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s cuisine, heritage, arts, and cultureâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;increasing the number of stakeholders and creating a better condition for tourism investments. This new thrust by Department of Tourism (DOT) Region IV-A is said to be in line with the National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP) for 2016 to 2022. During the third CALABARZON Tourism Summit, Tourism Undersecretary (for Regulation, Coordination, and Resource Generation) Alma Rita Jimenez said that DOT created the new tourism roadmap after scrutinizing the previous NTDP for 2011 to 2016. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Only about 65% of the programs and projects under the previous NTDP has been completed. The biggest tweak we made was that instead of motherhood statement on the results, we actually defined outcomesâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;such as increase in tourist arrivals, receipts, and number of destinations developed. Our consultation will show we have really drilled down the numbers,â&#x20AC;? she said. Under the new NTDP, DOT targets to increase international tourist arrivals to 12

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million by 2022, from 5.36 million in 2015. They also plan to improve underdeveloped destinations and provinces to promote inclusive growth. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The new NTDP will be more realistic, more grounded, and it will not depend on the outcome of others to be able to accomplish anything,â&#x20AC;? said Rita. In line with this, the DOT Region IV-A, under Director Rebecca Labit, will be focusing on offthe-beaten-track destinations and underdeveloped towns while strengthening its relations with the regionâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s local government units. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The tourism climate has changed through the years. Travelersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; preferences have changed. When we ask them to come back, they will ask whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s new. So we have to diversify our tourism products as we cannot just depend on one attraction anymore,â&#x20AC;? Rebecca said. CALABARZON recorded a total of 21,613,300 same-day visitor arrivals in 2015, resulting in an average growth rate of 38.6 % in the last three years. Quezon drew in the biggest volume of arrivals, with a total of 5,287,718. Laguna placed second with 5,140,230, followed by Caviteâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s record of 4,070,495 arrivals. Batangas and Rizal each has a total of 16.9% and 16.02% share respectively, with the help of pilgrimage sites like Regina Rica in Tanay, Rizal and Padre Pio Shrine in Santo Tomas, Batangas. For overnight tourists, the region recorded a total of 4,318,625, enjoying an average growth

of 41.22% since 2013. Increase in arrivals has been attributed to stronger marketing and tourism promotional campaigns, as well as vacation seasons like Christmas, Holy Week, and summer. â&#x20AC;&#x153;With its proximity to the National Capital Region, CALABARZON gives tourists diverse choices. The DOT Region IV-A knows the importance of data gathering and reporting to better understand the tourism market. So, we urge the local government unit to provide accurate data,â&#x20AC;? said Rebecca.


journal notes

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MARK YOUR TRAIL! New trails with Czech trail marker systems await travelers and hikers at Mount Kanlaon Natural Park in Negros Occidental written by JAMILLE DOMINGO photos courtesy of THE EMBASSY OF CZECH REPUBLIC IN THE PHILIPPINES and EDDIE BAUER

imed at bolstering tourism in negros occidental, along with further enhancing its relationship with the Philippines, the Embassy of Czech Republic recently unveiled new international trail marker systems in Mount Kanlaon Natural Park in Negros Occidental. The marker systems were made possible with cooperation of Mendel University (a Czech university), Rafael Salas Park and Nature Center (a nature park in Negros Occidental), and support from Philippine Ambassador to the Czech Republic Carmelita Salas. The trails are coded by the colors of the Philippine flag, opening from Guintubdan to Buslugan Falls in red, to Oro Falls in yellow, and to Salas Park New Pavilion in blue. While still new in the country, the markers (which are basically just three stripes painted on surfaces along the trail) are already unified across a number of countries. The trails were opened by Mendel University president Ladislav Havel and Czech Embassy deputy head Jan Vytopil.

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According to Jan, the said marker system is the most widespread unified system on the world. Ladislav added that it is because of the â&#x20AC;&#x153;the ease of marking and its low cost.â&#x20AC;? In Europe, where hiking is a popular hobby for everyone, the markers are usually seen across its trailsâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;and they are commonly marked by volunteers. But because of the increase in inbound international tourists from the said region to the Philippines, the need for international markers further aroseâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;with the goal of creating a simple, economical, nationwide, and unified system of tourist markers. Czech Ambassador Jaroslav OlĹĄa, Jr. shares, â&#x20AC;&#x153;The project aims to let both domestic and foreign tourists easily explore the other beautiful but lesser known parts of the Philippines.â&#x20AC;? The trail usually starts at an easily reachable public place (like a square or park entry), where the initial guidepost is located

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with directions marked by colored arrows and distances. The trail is then marked with basic markers. Each rectangle-sized basic marker consists of three stripesâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;white, a color, and another white. Four colors are usually used in between the two white stripesâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;red and blue to indicate longer and difficult trails, red for summit trails, and yellow and green for easier and interconnecting trails. The color reference is used to ease the identification of trails, and to forego any confusion with similar colors appearing repeatedly. The markers are recommended to be painted on fixed objects like trees or stones along the tourist paths. For more information on the Czech Marker System, visit: <expats.cz/prague/article/czech-tourism/hiking-in-the-czechrepublic>

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journal notes

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RESPONSIBLE COOKING FOR A BETTER WORLD Chef Jose Luis â&#x20AC;&#x153;Cheleâ&#x20AC;? Gonzalez of Gallery Vask commits further to sustainable cooking through his partnership with Breville written by JAMILLE DOMINGO photos courtesy of BREVILLE

side from the actual attractions, food is also one of the major things that people take note of whenever they travel. Local cuisine is one of the best ways to further get to know a place. A beautiful way, in fact, because it doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t even need language or a common tongueâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;all it needs is a palate thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s open to anything new and distinct. For immersive and eco-minded tourists, not only are local dishes a must-try, these must be prepared in the most responsible way as well, especially now that the world is facing the dangerous consequences of global warming. Fortunately, many cooks and chefs are now trying their best to go 100% sustainable in their cooking methods, like

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Chef Jose Luis â&#x20AC;&#x153;Cheleâ&#x20AC;? Gonzalez of Gallery Vask. Being a fan of the environment, especially the ocean, Chef Chele has developed a great respect for underwater inhabitantsâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;a reason he has become one of the people in the country to advocate sustainability in the way we acquire our seafood. â&#x20AC;&#x153;In about 50 years, we will see a big difference in the environment, especially the ocean, if we start to be responsible. Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s an obligation for us chefs to share what we can as we face this situation, and make people understand our responsibility with regard to the ocean,â&#x20AC;? he said. Proving how committed he is to responsible cooking, Chef Chele once again signed a new agreement recently with Australian small kitchen appliance maker Breville. Established in 1932, Breville is known for its unique and elegantlydesigned small kitchen products. The brand even selects partners with social and sustainability commitments at their priorityâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;giving assurance that it is dedicated to meet the demands of todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s kitchen. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We have a very good partnership with Breville since we opened in 2012. They trusted me and they believed in

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me even before the success of Gallery Vask. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s something I value very much,â&#x20AC;? said Chef Chele. Breville is also lauded for its ethical and sustainable conduct in its businessâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;with practices that help better the environment and the culinary community. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I love the durability, efficiency, and innovativeness of Breville equipment, and for a chef, these values are important,â&#x20AC;? he said. According to Chef Chele, the way people treat the environment greatly affects humanity in terms of food production. In this time of crisis, the little things we do open a road to a great start, such as using sustainable products like Breville. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Sustainability is for our own survival as well. I believe it should be taught in schools, and the future generation should try to work on this to make sure that we will have a future,â&#x20AC;? he said.

For more information about Breville products, visit <breville.com.ph>


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journal notes

OUT WITH THE BROS Entertainment and sports channel Kix launches new reality series The Ultimate Brocationâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;a show centered on the great Hong Kong tour without girlfriends, kids, and sleep

The Ultimate Brocation n airs every Wednesday att 9 PM on Kix.

written by JAMILLE DOMINGO photos courtesy of KIX

ction and entertainment channel Kix gives a glimpse of what it is to travel like a man as it debuted its new reality show last December, The Ultimate Brocation. The five-episode series follows four famous celebrities from Southeast Asiaâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;who barely know each otherâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;on an unforgettable macho-filled vacation in Hong Kong. The four stars include Billy Crawford, award-winning Malaysian artist SoneOne, Thai DJ and TV host P.K., and Singaporean celebrity chef Bjorn Shen. Together with Hong Kong martial arts movie star Philip Ng, all of them venture on an all-expensespaid trip full of authentic and tailor-made experiences offering the best of the city. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Ultimate Brocation is a fun-filled ride that guys will relate to and ladies will laugh at! The show captures how four guys who donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know each other can bond over shared experiences in a foreign land. I think our viewers will really enjoy the brobantering between Billy, SonaOne, P.K., and Bjorn. Their antics on this brocation are truly hilarious.â&#x20AC;? said Celestial Tiger Entertainment Senior Vice President of Advertising Sales, Marketing, and Original Productions Andy Chang. Simon Wong, Hong Kong Tourism Board Regional Director for Southeast Asia,

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also hopes that the series will inspire the target audience to pack their bags and book the next flight to Hong Kong. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We are glad to work with Kix and Endemol Shine Group on the production of The Ultimate BROcation. We believe that the brosâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; unforgettable fun times in Hong Kong will inspire the audience to experience the best and most authentic shopping, eating, and playing options Hong Kong has to offer,â&#x20AC;? he said. Billy shared his experience doing the reality show, saying that the activities they did in Hong Kongâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;from a wild night on a yacht, to wine-tasting on a tram, to flyboarding on the south side of the island, to tasting some authentic Hong Kong dishesâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; made them develop a special bond with each other. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It was a different yet fantastic experience to be able to bond with bros I barely knew. But in all honesty, we all hit it

up pretty well. Also, what I really loved most about this experience is the fact that it was done in Hong Kong, one of my most favorite cities in the world,â&#x20AC;? he said. BVSP`]abOabW\Ua][S ]T6]\U9]\UaRWabW\Qb RWaVSa

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VOLUME ONE 2017 | TRAVEL NOW

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journal notes

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CELEBRATE IN KANDAYA

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Celebrity mom Maricel Laxa-Pangilinan brings the whole family to Kandaya Resort to celebrate the birthday of one of her daughters photos courtesy of MARICEL LAXA-PANGILINAN other photos courtesy of KANDAYA RESORT and HERSCHEL

y daughter, Hannah turned 16 and we opted to celebrate her birthday in Kandaya Resort. We had heard of Kandaya Resort before and we looked forward to having a quiet time as a family to make Hannah feel special. The minute we boarded our Cebu Pacific flight and the attendants found out it was Hannahâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s birthday, they didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t hesitate to include a song for her during their customary inflight games. It came as a surprise to Hannah who was half awake and a bit embarrassed by the greeting, but she was truly warmed by their sweet gesture. It was a hit on my Instagram post as the video was viewed 82,506 times! It was a smooth flight to Cebu and we were whisked away by Kandayaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s shuttle that included lots of amenities to keep us comfy, well-fed, and entertained for the four-hour journey to the resort. It took a bit longer than expected to get there because of the rain and traffic, which we soon forgot about when we stepped inside the Kandaya lounge. We were welcomed

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with refreshments and a cold towel. The staff, including General Manager Fritz Sommerau, all sang for Hannah and presented her with a cake and candles. We knew then that we were in for a special time at Kandaya. We stayed in two Ocean Villas, which became our home for the weekend. We were gifted with MoĂŤt & Chandon, which was perfect to unwind before bed. It was quite difficult for us to get out of bed the next day because the villa was so cozy and it opened up to a private pool overlooking the ocean. My youngest daughter Solana had the most amazing time swimming with her siblings in the pool that it took a lot to round up everyone to do anything else. We had our plate full of activities and places to conquer. The first stop was The Kusina restaurant. Its menu provided us with interesting Asian and Western choices that left us so full that we were almost unable to walk back to our villas. I am so glad that they had a variety of nutritious options for vegetarians like me as well. One thing that made an impact to me in Kusina was its design and the staffâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s impeccable service.

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The children enjoyed their time, kayaking, paddle boarding, Hobie cat sailing, horseback riding and non-stop swimming. We had a relaxing time during a sunset cruise where we had a quiet time together as a familyâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;we lounged around and had a nice afternoon champagne with hors d'oeuvres. On our way back, each one of us found our own spot on the boat as we were lulled to sleep by the wind, the view, and the serenity of the moment. After dinner, my husband Anthony and I enjoyed a relaxing massage. I went off to bed with the baby soon after, but Anthony, together with our children, enjoyed a night of karaoke with our friend Ferdie, as well as the resortâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s owners, Carla and Martin Yeung. We started the next day early with a trip to Malapascua where we enjoyed a nice barbeque lunch, and were able to swim briefly in the pristine waters. Despite having just a few moments to enjoy the island because of the weather, it was very much still worth our while to experience. It was quite an adventure heading back to the resort because of the weather but we were brought back safely by an amazing crew. Another journey for the books!

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Kandaya Resort is located at Agujo, Daanbantayan, Cebu. For bookings and reservations, phone (+63 32) 260 6006, email <reservations@ kandayaresort.com>, or visit <kandayaresort.com>

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MARICEL'S BEACH MUST-HAVES

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VOLUME ONE 2017 | TRAVEL NOW

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journal notes 1^]SX]V^UcWaTTVT]TaPcX^]bPb _W^c^VaP_WTSQh?TVVhBXa^cPX] ((%

A CAMPAIGN FOR GENERATIONS Patek Philippe celebrates the 20th anniversary of its Generations campaign written by JAMILLE DOMINGO photos courtesy of PATEK PHILIPPE

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wiss watch manufacturer patek philippe recently celebrated the 20th year of generations, its advertising campaign centered on the emotions of the users of the brand’s watches. Subtly refined in the course of two decades, the Generations campaign still has a strong impact that matches Patek Philippe’s philosophy of creating bonds among family members. Launched in the autumn of 1996, the Generations campaign took an approach closer to the customers’ hearts, distinguishing itself from conventional watch advertising at that time. It accented the steadfast relationship between Patek Philippe watches and their owners, which is said to be long-lasting, and can reach many generations. The campaign, which was developed by London-based advertising agency Leagas Delaney, created a revolutionary advertising principle, centering on family relationships instead of the economic status of its target audience. It then presented a dynamic, forward-looking vision which came in the form of their slogan, “Begin your own tradition.” To visualize this innovative concept, the campaign relied on photographs that expressed the relationships between mothers and daughters, as well as fathers and sons. The photographs highlighted the times of togetherness between the generations, including moments of learning and sharing. They are depicted in black-and-white photos accompanied by the headline “You never actually own a Patek Philippe. You merely look after it for the next generation.” The photos were captured and signed by world-famous photographers, including Peggy Sirota, Peter


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Lindbergh, Jeanloup Sieff, Mary Ellen Mark, Ellen Von Unwerth, Marden Smith, Glen Luchford, Craig McDean, Veronique Vial, and Robert Wyatt. Through the years, the campaign evolved into being more informative about the products as well— while still making sure that the original message and the vision stayed the same. Some photographs made it possible to showcase certain watch collections, such as maritime visuals for the Nautilus models. The Generations campaign was able to contribute to the growing popularity of Patek Philippe, not only among connoisseurs, but also within the public at large, appealing to younger customers as well. In 2007, it was recognized by the Prix suisse de la campagne horlogère de l’année (Swiss award for watch advertising of the year). It reached the digital media sphere as well in 2013, with online videos showcasing family moments between fathers and sons, or mothers and daughters around the world. Four new ads (two for men’s and two for ladies’ watches) with photos featuring three generations were also released in the fall of 2016. Roughly one generation after its launch, this campaign has established itself as a role model for advertising longevity, enjoying a unique standing in the watch advertising segment and in the whole industry as well. Patek Philippe credits this success to its emotional impact, as well as its perfect congruence with the beliefs and values of Patek Philippe.

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PATEK PHILIPPE MAGAZINE Celebrating its 20th year as well is Patek Philippe Magazine, the official luxurious publication of the brand created for owners of Patek Philippe timepieces. Deemed a benchmark in its genre, the magazine is published twice a year in eight languages (English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, traditional and simplified Chinese, and Japanese), and boasts of a circulation of 285,000 copies in nearly 175 countries. The idea of creating the magazine came from then brand president Philippe Stern. He wanted to share the values upheld by the company with its customers. It provided access to world famous contributors, journalists, writers, and photographers, making it possible to create a magazine at the pinnacle of cultural and artistic quality. The luxurious publication is made for owners of Patek Philippe watches, addressing their main interests and upscale lifestyles. It covers a broad spectrum of topics including fine arts and architecture, fashion, design, craftsmanship, music, film, photography, science, travel, and personality profiles. Many topics are directly associated with the values of Patek Philippe, such as artisanship,

tradition, innovation, independence, and exclusivity. With its stylish design and intelligent content, the magazine has become a veritable collector’s item among customers of the brand. The Patek Philippe Magazine also offers its readers privileged access to the world and behind the scenes of the brand, featuring articles about its latest debuts and technical achievements, stories about its legendary timepieces, and the history of individual collections. In 2011, Patek Philippe took a step further and paired the print magazine with the online format named “Patek Philippe Magazine Extra,” accessible at <patek.com>. The content is developed to complement the print magazine, with features including interviews with artists, writers, and collectors; the-making-of videos; previously unpublished archive material; and exclusive encounters with key personalities of the brand, such as President Thierry Stern or Sandrine Stern.

For more information about Patek Philippe and its Generations campaign, visit <patek.com>

VOLUME ONE 2017 | TRAVEL NOW

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The UBE Express Bus offers premium shuttle service for travelers going to and from NAIA Terminals 1, 2, 3 and 4

ride on UBE Express has arrived to save you from airport hassle written by CHESKA PANGILINAN photos courtesy of UBE EXPRESS

ith the wave of people heading to and from Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), traffic and soaring tempers are the norm. It seems like a long stretch for travelers to make it to their next destination. While there are existing bus stops, cabs and vehicle booking services, people still look for an alternative where unending lines and long waits aren’t part of the deal. Enter UBE Express. Launched September of last year, the airport shuttle service is a project between AIR21, Department of Transportation (DOTr)

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and Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB). It aims to decongest traffic and turn that dreadful airport travel into a more enjoyable experience.

bus stations. The waiting game shouldn’t be a worry as buses certainly arrive every 30 minutes to pick you up or drop you off at your desired destination. ULTIMATE BUS EXPERIENCE

STOP BY STOP

Going to and from NAIA Terminals 1, 2, 3 and 4 takes a turn for the easy. For travelers, traversing the Metro on a daily basis becomes more of a pleasure as UBE Express takes you to the booming lifestyle districts. There are three key routes—Makati, Pasay and Manila—with designated stops at hotels, malls and other

UBE Express is a premium shuttle service that currently has 21 brand new Mercedes Benz MCV C 120 buses on duty. A way to decongest traffic, each bus can accommodate up to 24 passengers. It runs in Euro V and BlueTec Engine technology with fuel efficiency and low emission rate compared to taxis, sedans and SUVs. For passengers' comfort and


T R A V E L

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riding the ube express? The premium shuttle service operates from 7:00AM to 11:00PM. Get your bus tickets at a ďŹ xed rate of P300 per passenger.

safety, the bus is also built with high force absorption, smooth steering and powerful braking systems, and PWDfriendly features. There is a low entry ramp ready to assist those who have difficulty climbing the steps. As passengers aboard the UBE Express bus, they are more than welcome to lounge in the reclining and adjustable seats. Sit back and relax while checking or planning your itinerary using the free WiFi and mobile phone charging stations. The bus also provides ample room for the luggage with convenient racks and compartments. No baggage limit or additional fees will be charged. UBE Express has more things in store for travelers. Another fleet of 21

UBE operators are ready to bring the Ultimate Bus Experience to travelers

buses are expected to arrive this year. To further upgrade the service, UBE Express is working on its mobile tracking app and online booking system while also improving transactions to allow e-ticketing system and credit card payments soon.

For more information, visit <ubeexpress.com> or call (02) 234 3439. Like UBE Express on <facebook.com/UbeExpress> , and follow them on

Currently, there are 21 buses operating. Another ďŹ&#x201A;eet of 21 will arrive this year

<@Ubeexpress>


journal notes

HOW DO YOU FLY?

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AirAsia launches its #HowIFly campaign, a movement that calls for responsible travel written by KLARA ISKRA AĂ&#x2018;ONUEVO photos courtesy of AIRASIA

ith the rising interest in travel and tourism, it has become easier for wanderers to go on their own adventure, as airlines, hotels, tour operators, and even governments have hatched countless promotions to try and get their share of this still booming market. For some places however, this rise in tourism may give way to damage and deterioration if not handled properly both by the tourists and those in the industry. This is why AirAsia created the #HowIFly campaign. Launched last year, the campaign aims to promote responsible tourism by inspiring, enabling, and empowering travelers. Says Philippines AirAsiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s CEO Dexter Comendador, â&#x20AC;&#x153;#HowIFly calls for responsible travel, and the value of generating a positive impact on communities, wildlife, and the environment. Over 1.5 billion travelers are expected to travel each year by 2020, and we have the power to change our world by simply becoming aware of our actions.â&#x20AC;? As part of this campaign, AirAsia created three short films showing the effects of irresponsible travel to wildlife, nature, and local communities. These videos offer hope though, as they show also the beauty of these places, and how even small efforts from regular people can help minimize and combat the consequences of irresponsible

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tourism, and preserve these destinationsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; majesty. These three videos each represent one aspect of the campaign. The film on the recent forest fire in Mount Apo in Davao showed the effects of tourism in nature, and how these in turn affected the locals who depend on tourism for livelihood. The movie featuring Cebu focused on marine protection and wildlife conservation in the provinceâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s waters, as well as rehabilitation efforts on coral reefs. The last short film had Palawan at its center, as well as its community-based sustainable tourism initiatives. From what For more on responsible BVS/W`/aWO>6ab]`gbSZZS`a the team learned tourism, see page 40 eWbV/W`/aWOĂ&#x20AC;WUVbObbS\RO\ba making these films, AirAsia came up with the #HowIFly Travel Manifesto, which BE A VISITOR. was signed by Sibaltan Heritage Council Pay respect to every living thing you meet president Enrico Cabiguen, OceanQuest along the way. Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t feed the animals, feed Southeast Asia training director Reggie your soul. Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t stop and pick a flower, plant Reyes, DOT Assistant Secretary for a new one instead. Always remember that all Mindanao Eden David, and AirAsia CEO life is precious. Dexter Comendador. The manifesto has four main statements: BE AN EXAMPLE Be the story that people need to hear, and BE A TRAVELER. the action that people need to see. Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t just Go and have adventures. Be a local in be a tourist. Be a traveler. A responsible one, foreign places. See different people. Explore that is. other cultures. Know that there is beauty despite our differences. AirAsia also held a #HowIFly challenge through Instagram. Participants posted BE A PASSENGER. videos showing how they travel responsibly, Cherish the road and all the lessons it tagging three friends to do the same. Three teaches. Open up to new experiences. winners were chosen by the airline. Always say â&#x20AC;&#x153;Thank you.â&#x20AC;? Never forget to look outside the window. The trip is long, For more information, follow AirAsia on but the view is always worth it. and @AirAsiaPH, or follow them on AirAsiaPhilippines


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PARADOXICAL

JAPAN Brimming with aged temples, futuristic theme parks, and an upbeat pop culture, Japan is an Oriental paradox. Japanese ambassador Kazuhide Ishikawa shares with TRAVEL NOW his recommendations about his home countryâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;the old, the new, and the in-betweens. as told to GRETCHEN FILART DUBLIN photographed by TONI GOZUM additional photos courtesy of JAMILLE DOMINGO, KLARA ISKRA AĂ&#x2018;ONUEVO, and MICHELLE SANTOS

HE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE PHILIPPINES AND JAPAN is shaped by complex truths and paradoxes. Yet, today, these two countries share mutual respect, with Japan as one of the Philippinesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; strongest political allies and its biggest ODA (Official Development Assistance) donor. This admiration for the country also holds true for Japanese ambassador Kazuhide Ishikawa, who assumed the role in 2014. Having traveled to Cebu, Davao, Bohol, Tagaytay, and Baguio, the former Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan Department of Southeast and Southwest Asian Affairs Director-General finds that what makes the Philippines so endearing is its joyful spirit. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Philippines is a very vibrant placeâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;it never sleeps. Filipinos are always cheerful. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s also admirable that Filipinos are among the world leaders when it comes to gender equality.â&#x20AC;? Despite a few socio-cultural differences, he says Filipinos and the Japanese have more in common than they think. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Filipino and Japanese people both take pride in their hospitality to guests.â&#x20AC;?

T

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envoy's key

TOP PLACES TO VISIT IN JAPAN

HOKKAIDO

TOKYO It doesn't matter what your preferences are, you’ll surely find something for you in Tokyo. It’s a perfect combination of the old and the modern. There are shades of old Tokyo in the streets and temples of Asakusa. Foodies will enjoy the seafood in Tsukiji. Shibuya, Akihabara, and Harajuku are essential stops for young Japanese pop culture lovers. Tokyo Disney Resort is also a must-visit for people of all ages. OSAKA A cosmopolitan and dynamic city with many views and activities to offer (especially in terms of cuisine), Osaka was once known as the “Nation’s Kitchen.” KYOTO Kyoto was the former capital of Japan for over 1000 years and is known for its temples and shrines. Many historic sites like Kiyomizudera and Nijo Castles are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

TOKYO KANAGAWA OSAKA

KANAGAWA PREFECTURE This prefecture is quite close to Tokyo and offers a variety of unique sites, such as historic Kamakura and modern Yokohama City. Hakone is a great stop too if you want to try the onsen (hot springs) while enjoying majestic views of Mount Fuji. HOKKAIDO Japan’s northern island is known for its natural beauty throughout all four seasons. Perhaps the most well-known event in Hokkaido, the Yuki Matsuri or Snow Festival in Sapporo is held every February. Hokkaido is very cold in winter though, so come prepared.

NAGASAKI

NAGASAKI Nagasaki lies in Kyushu prefecture and is one of Japan’s major ports. When Japan declared a period of isolation for over two centuries, Nagasaki was one of the few ports to remain open, and the influence of foreign relations and trade can still be seen in the area.

TOP MUST-TRY DISHES RAMEN I love ramen personally, and I know many Filipinos love it too. There are different types of ramen from the different regions of Japan. SUSHI Sushi is one of Japan’s symbolic cuisines. The fresh ingredients are prepared skillfully and intricately. Like the Philippines, Japan is an island nation surrounded by the ocean, and seafood is always abundant. If you’re feeling brave, definitely try fugu (pufferfish). Chefs have to be trained and certified to prepare the dish since it is highly poisonous.

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TEMPURA Tempura is also famous worldwide for its savory taste and exquisite preparation. Aside from shrimp, many restaurants offer a variety of deep-fried battered seafood and vegetables. WAGYU AND YAKINIKU I noticed that Filipinos love their meat, so they should try wagyu. Grilling seems to be famous with Filipinos too, so I’m sure they’d love yakiniku as well. OKONOMIYAKI AND TAKOYAKI Visitors in the Kansai region must try their specialties, okonomiyaki and takoyaki.


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TOP MUST-TRY ACTIVITIES EMBARK ON A FOOD ADVENTURE. Traditional Japanese food is known worldwide and is a wonderful experience in itself. Sukiyaki, tempura, sushi, sashimi... I could go on forever! Every city and prefecture also has their own specialty that should be checked out to complete the travel experience. TAKE THE BULLET TRAIN. Japan is well-known for its efficient transportation. The transport system always runs on time and you can go anywhere easily, plus it gives you a glimpse of the daily lives of Japanese people. The shinkansen or bullet train is known for being very fast and highly efficient. DIP IN A SOOTHING ONSEN. I definitely recommend the onsen or hot spring especially during the colder months. Filipinos may find it daunting to join the public baths, but now, many also offer private hot springs.

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GO SHOPPING! Japan offers lots of high-quality products from both local and international brands. Many go to Japan to shop for the latest trends in fashion and electronics. Budget-conscious shoppers will love outlet malls, 100-JPY shops, and flea markets too. Foreign travelers in Japan also enjoy tax-free shopping. EXPLORE THEME PARKS. Theme parks in Japan are a must-try. The most popular ones are Tokyo Disney Resort and Universal Studios Japan. Rollercoaster lovers should also check out Fuji-Q Highland in Yamanashi Prefecture. VISIT CHRISTIAN CHURCHES. Japan might not be the first place youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll think of when it comes to Christian pilgrimage, but they are becoming more famous now especially among Filipinos, most notably in Akita and Nagasaki prefectures.

SPECIAL EVENTS TO TAKE NOTE OF Hanami or sakura-viewing season is always famous with tourists. Sakuras in full bloom are beautiful to see, but they also hold a special meaning for the Japanese people as they symbolize the impermanence and beauty of life. Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s something special to see in every season. Visitors will enjoy seeing the snow and doing winter activities like skiing. Then thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the romantic koyo or autumn foliage. In summer, fireworks festivals also take place all around Japan.

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JAPAN TRAVEL TIPS Traveling within Japan can be overwhelming at first, but I can assure you that it will be a great experience. To make your trip more convenient, we have introduced several services such as the Japan Rail (JR) Pass, which allows unlimited travel on JR lines throughout Japan for a set number of days. One-day passes are also available for many famous cities.

For more information, visit <seejapan.co.uk>

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travelogue

WORLD CLASS TRAVEL Dusit Thani Manilaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s General Manager Bruno Cristol shares some of his most memorable travel experiences and explains why travel is so important to him interview by ZOE GABE photographed by ED SIMON OF STUDIO 100 photos courtesy of BRUNO CRISTOL

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runo Cristol has traveled a long way to get to Dusit Thani Manila, where heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s been the general manager for two years. Born in France, Brunoâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;who describes himself as an outdoor enthusiast and an avid travelerâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;has lived in at least 14 different countries. In this interview with TRAVEL NOW, he takes the time to talk about why travel is in his blood.

How did you get started on traveling? My dad was in the airline industry. He used to work for Air France so we moved a lot in Europe, and I started traveling at a very early age for free. My first trip by myself was when I was seven years old, and it was to learn English in Ireland. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not far because we were in France, but the flight to Ireland was what I really considered my first trip. My mother put me on a plane and said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;You go to Ireland to learn English.â&#x20AC;? It was the best experience. I remember to this day the smell, the look, the noise, and obviously, the English. I knew of course a bit of English, but not that well so it was quite that interesting because I think part of traveling is discovery, and that was my first discovery. It was a bit daunting but I loved it. It was fun. How many places do you get to visit each year because of work? Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve been married for 23 years and weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve moved 14 times. I travel as well to other countries with my wife and kids, so traveling is in our blood. As a matter of fact, my friends in France used to call me â&#x20AC;&#x153;the gypsyâ&#x20AC;? because I was always with a backpack going around. Once, I wanted to go to Mexico by myself and they said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;What? Are you crazy?â&#x20AC;? and I replied, â&#x20AC;&#x153;No, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s fine.â&#x20AC;? I also went to Australia by myself without knowing anything there, and I started working there. 28

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Do you prefer solo travel or group travel? I think I prefer group travel, especially if itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s with my kids and family. I think itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s amazing for the kids to discover and experience another culture and love different things. For instance, I lived in Malaysia for four years where we learned another culture because itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a Muslim country, and it was something I wanted the kids to experience and see. Travel is very powerful, because it has enriched their minds and taught them patience because they understand each country. Youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve lived in the Philippines for two years, what places have you been to in the country? The first one was in Mactan, and after that, we went to Boracay and Coron in Palawanâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;my favorite spot. We also went around Manila, as well as Antipolo, Tagaytay, Punta Fuego, Baler, and La Union. My family is very outdoorsy. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m a former sailing instructor. I like sailing and I like anything with water and so do my kids, which is why we always go outdoors. Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re not

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really country people. We love the countryâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; farms or whateverâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;but we prefer the beach, the mountains, and everything that has to do with water and sports like surfing or skiing. I think these things are amazing and the kids believe so as well. What are some of your favorite places worldwide? Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a lot in each country but thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s always something I likeâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;a particular city or location. However, we lived in Italy a long time, so Italy is one of my favorites. My relatives in my motherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s side are mostly Italians so my favorite would be Lake Como. Why? Because itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a very special place. You have everything thereâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;the water, the sparkling lake, and the amazing colors. You even get to see a bit of Switzerland and the snow on the mountain peak, depending on which time you go. The food is also amazing there, and the people are lovely. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s very green, with a lot of mountains and valleys. The road going there is amazing as well, especially when you arrive in that lake. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s just incredible. There are also a lot of little churches, restaurants, and bars to go to. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s very touristy but there are also parts that are not mainstream. Since youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re from France, what places in the country would you recommend to travelers? Of course, Paris. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a very romantic cityâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;very charming. At night, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s just amazing. Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s no other city like that. Aside from that, I also like Cap Ferret. I spent my youth there and I took my kids there when they were young and they loved it. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a very special place. The place also

has sand dunesâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;the highest in Europe. A climb there also provides very good exercise. And you can go sand surfing, as well. The view is amazing too because you get to see a glimpse of the Atlantic Ocean and itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s very pleasant. What places are you still looking forward to visiting? I want to go to Canada, Alaska, and Tasmania. I also want to see Maldives, even just once. And though Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve been to New Zealand and Sri Lanka, I still want to go back there. 1ad]^bSPdVWcTaX]^]T^U cWTXacaPeT[bX]4da^_T

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Why do you think travel is important? I think itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s two things: discovery and sharing. You share your knowledge, but people share to you as well their country, their language, their habits, their behavior, and their cooking methods. And itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s really hitting the right spot in your life because you get so much from that. You become, hopefully, a better person because you understand the culture, you understand what people do, and obviously, it can be helpful in the business. I like to share this with the kids as well. My son is now 20 and heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s been to a lot of cities. My two girls have been to a lot of places as wellâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;having friends from Korea, Japan, Philippines, Turkey, and Brunei. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m very proud that I gave them this passion of traveling because they understand everybody and theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re very patient. VOLUME ONE 2017 | TRAVEL NOW

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WORLD-CLASS TURKISH SERVICE ABOVE THE SKY Turkish Airlines sets the benchmark for quality flights as it gives emphasis on value and customer satisfaction written by MA. GLAIZA LEE photos courtesy of TURKISH AIRLINES and MARBEE SHING-GO

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ith the ever-changing and challenging air transport environment, the competition in the airline industry has become quite intense. Through the deregulation on commercial aviation, airline companies gain freedom to change their fare matrix and provide competitive packages in response to the competition and tourist demands. As the competitive landscape gains momentum, passenger preferences evolve with it. Not wanting to get in between a passenger and their travel, airline companies nowadays have to consider how passengers define value. Business travelers, for instance, take much thought on flight schedule and expect great services. Compared to long-haul travelers,

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short-haul travelers put emphasis on ticket fares. Leisure travelers, meanwhile, tend to mind ticket prices, and can be less demanding about onboard services. key elements for discerning travelers Filipino travelers, meanwhile, pick airlines that bring comfort to their experience, putting much thought on the flexible, convenient routes and schedules. But the bottom line for Filipino travelers, or any traveler, is still traveling without breaking the bank. “Customers are now price-sensitive, resulting in canvassing of fares from different airlines. Most passengers would look at the price of the flights, and then the comfort they can get while flying with the chosen airlines. It should not be just about this. It should always

be service over price and get the right value for your money,” said Turkish Airlines general manager Erhan Balaban. Established in 1933, Turkish Airlines is a four-star airline with a fleet of 304 passenger and cargo aircrafts flying to over 284 destinations (235 international and 49 domestic) worldwide. Aligned with its vision to become the preferred leading European air carrier with a global network, Turkish Airlines strictly prioritizes flight safety, reliability, and service quality, while maintaining its identity as the flag carrier of Turkey. Since customer preference is the ball of the game, Turkish Airlines has grown adept at giving exactly what travelers will pay for— safe travel, a substantial route network, and premium customer services and amenities.


safety is a top priority Turkish Airlines believes that safety must never be compromised since it plays a significant role in the provision of an efficient, effective, and sustainable air transport operation. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Flight safety will always be our first priority, and the satisfaction of our passengers who prefer Turkish Airlines for their travels will remain our essential goal,â&#x20AC;? said Turkish Airlines CEO Bilal Eksi. Erhan added that â&#x20AC;&#x153;Turkish Airlines fosters and encourages a safety culture. It is of the utmost importance to increase the awareness of the role of safety within all activities and the resulting responsibility of each individual. With regard to national and international requirements, Turkish Airlines aims to continuously develop safety and quality standards that exceed industry best practices.â&#x20AC;? new destinations and routes Travelers nowadays are always in search of new destinations, which they can find in Turkish Airlines. â&#x20AC;&#x153;With the wide network of Turkish Airlines, we are the airline with the most international destinations than any other airline. From our location at the new center of the world, we fly to new worlds every day. The most important thing is connecting people, ideas, businesses and opportunities. Turkish Airlines connects those as always,â&#x20AC;? said Erhan. Using Istanbul Ataturk Airport (IST)â&#x20AC;&#x201D; which was named the fourth busiest airport in Europe in 2014â&#x20AC;&#x201D;as a hub enables Turkish Airlines to utilize a narrow body fleet, thus providing a considerable cost advantage, and contributing to competitive superiority. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Istanbul as a transfer point on global routes reduces flight time and introduces the

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flexibility to use a variety of aircraft of diverse capacities. Istanbulâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s new airport is set to reach operational stage by early 2018, and it will accommodate 90 million passengers annually when the first phase is completed. After the second phase, the airportâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s capacity will reach 150 million people per year,â&#x20AC;? he added. With this development, Turkish Airlines is looking at expanding its operations. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Turkish Airlines now has one of the youngest fleet in Europe. The upcoming aircraft orders will further reduce the age of our fleet, while continuously upgrading service quality. We are continuing to expand the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s most comprehensive route network. We keep on growing,â&#x20AC;? said Erhan. premium onboard services Erhan also noted the big market potential of the Philippines, observing that many Filipinos have been traveling annually, regardless if it is for leisure, business, or incentive. â&#x20AC;&#x153;With the enormous Filipino population, there is a big potential when it comes to traveling depending on price and service levels. There will be a continuous increase in the number of Filipinos traveling around the world. The millennial population

is high, and this generation is eager to travel,â&#x20AC;? he said. To entice flyers, the airline company dishes out services that make them stand out from the rest, such as having a flying chef on board, a candle-lit dinner above the skies, and a CIP lounge in their Istanbul Hub. Living up to its name as the Turkeyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s flag carrier, it brings Turkish culture to the air by offering Turkish cuisine to its passengers. The business passengers get to enjoy Turkish coffee and Turkish delights. Turkish Airlines pays attention to its hors dâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;oeuvres and soup service, which is an important part of any Turkish dish. With its consistent delivery and services exceeding customersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; expectations, Turkish Airlines has been named as â&#x20AC;&#x153;Europeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Best Airlineâ&#x20AC;? for six consecutive years since 2011 by Skytrax. It has also gained the reputation as the â&#x20AC;&#x153;Best Airline in Southern Europeâ&#x20AC;? for seven consecutive years, and received numerous accolades, including the â&#x20AC;&#x153;Best Business Class Dining Loungeâ&#x20AC;? and the â&#x20AC;&#x153;Best Business Class On-Board Catering.â&#x20AC;? For more information about Turkish Airlines, phone (+632) 894 5416, or visit <turkishairlines.com>

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Philippine Airlines launches additional B777s for North American ďŹ&#x201A;ights written by MIRRA REYES photos courtesy of PHILIPPINE AIRLINES

hilippine Airlines proves its dominance in the industry once again, as it launches additional Boeing 777-300ER planes. The new aircraft cabins boast of a design by LIFT Strategic Design headed by Daniel Baronl, who also handled the airlineâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s first six B777s. This time, LIFT further aligns the interiors with PALâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s integral theme and motto, â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Heart of the Filipino.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;It is an immense honor and pleasure to be working with Philippine Airlines again. LIFT is committed to supporting our good friends at PAL in their quest for five stars, and I believe in their potential to achieve that goal,â&#x20AC;? Daniel says. Passengers boarding the aircraft will enjoy Philippine-themed interiors with matching nature-oriented colors and traditional patterns. Business class passengers will experience a premium, modern take on local handicrafts and beaches. The walls are designed with a seato-sand gradient effect. The carpet and seat fabric are inspired by the local banig or basket weave, as both showcase hand-woven designs in deep sea blue. Economy-class passengers, on the other hand, will enjoy a color-change effect for the fabric used in their seats, representing the local tropical weather and energy. Colors can play from turquoise to a hue of sunshine orange with the sides of the seats covered in a traditional cloth weaving pattern. The PAL group will have 80 servicing planes by the end of the year. Two of the

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eight B777s feature WiFi connection for passengers as well as in-flight entertainment with an expansive variety of movies, TV shows, and music for everyone to enjoy. Because of its additional Boeing 777300ER acquisitions, PAL has also started offering more flights to North America last December. From 10 flights every week, PAL has increased its Manila to and from Los Angeles routes to two flights daily. The flagship airline also added more Manila to and from Vancouver flights, now having 10 trips weekly. Passengers will also enjoy Manila to and from Toronto flights increased to four times weekly. PAL President and COO Jaime J. Bautista emphasizes the importance of more options for their passengers. He shares, â&#x20AC;&#x153;With additional seats come additional capacity, which now enables PAL to increase frequencies on its transpacific flights to the US Mainland and Canada. Our passengers

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can now choose from a wider variety of schedules and at the same time, experience service with the heart of the Filipino.â&#x20AC;? For more information, phone (+632) 855 8888 or visit <philippineairlines.com>

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flight track

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love is in the air Emirates continues to offer services that touch the heart of its customers, further keeping the glory in flying written by JAMILLE DOMINGO photos courtesy of EMIRATES

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t was almost half a century ago when the golden age of aviation is said to have started, with photos of glamorous passengers flying with their top-of-the-line suitcases and accepting first-class drinks on their flight. It heavily inspired so many entities in the travel industry, and through the years, it became an inspiration for these institutions and corporations to provide world-class services to its customers. Today, in a time when traveling has become more and more usual among people of all ages (whether they’re millennial backpackers, business and luxurious travelers, or globetrotting retirees), the golden age of air travel is believed to be in the middle of resurgence once again. Many airlines including Emirates are coming out with more travel options, continuous aircraft innovations, and five-star inflight service. For its Philippine flights alone, the airline provides its customers comfort and world-class traveling luxuries to passengers from Manila, Clark, and Cebu bound for Dubai and beyond. Aboard an Emirates flight in economy class, passengers can stay connected through free WiFi and in-seat power. Comfort is also a priority, as each seat offers ample leg room— one of the airline’s sought-after features. Dining on gourmet dishes is also possible in economy class, with delicious dishes

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inspired by the destination’s culture. Comfort Filipino dishes such as adobo are available as well. You can even match them with a glass of wine, or any of the complimentary beers, spirits, and hot and cold beverages. Meanwhile, Emirates’ business class is designed to keep passengers in the mood to either relax or work. The seat reclines into a fully flatbed topped with a comfortable mattress, and has an in-seat power and a side table space, perfect for passengers who want to do some work. For refreshments, they only need to turn to their personal mini-bar. In both classes, passengers can explore over 2500 channels of entertainment on Emirates’ award-winning in-flight entertainment system, ICE (Information, Communication, and Entertainment). From hit music and TV series to blockbuster movies, games, and audiobooks, ICE keeps customers relaxed and preoccupied from takeoff to touchdown.

The Emirates lounges (available at selected airports) also offer these amenities to business and first class passengers, with the additional bonus of a chauffeur from the travelers’ hotel to the airport. Emirates flights from the Philippines to Dubai connect Filipino travelers to 154 destinations in 82 countries and territories. The airline currently operates 25 weekly flights from the Philippines to Dubai: 18 from Ninoy Aquino International Airport (MNL) and seven from Mactan-Cebu 6dTbcb RP] International P[b^ _[Ph VP\Tb ^] Airport (CEB) cWT XVWc and Clark International Airport (CRK).

For more information about Emirates, visit <emirates.com/ph>

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KDYH D VDIH äLJKW Jetstar Airways i gets rid d off the h stigma on low-cost l flying with its high regard for safety and service written by JAMILLE DOMINGO photos courtesy of JETSTAR GROUP additional photo courtesy of JAMILLE DOMINGO

hen it comes to flying, low-cost carriers do not always get positive reception among travelers and fliers. For many people, flights, just like everything else, come with a price. The more you spend, the better quality or service you will get. And even though there is no solid evidence of this claim, it has created quite a connotation in the aviation industry. While many believe that this is the type of prejudice that can be difficult to get rid of, Jetstar Group proves otherwise as it stresses its number one priority when it comes to operation—safety. The whole group is a subsidiary of Australia’s flag carrier Qantas, with Jetstar Japan sharing ownership with Japan’s flag carrier Japan Airlines, and Jetstar Pacific Airlines with Vietnam’s flag carrier Vietnam Airlines. Qantas and Japan Airlines are included in the twenty safest airlines in the world for 2016, according to world-class rating system Airline Ratings—with Qantas being ranked first

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for the third year in a row. Jetstar has more than a hundred years of these full service carriers’ (FSC) combined aviation experience, and currently has over 40 interline and codeshare partners—all of which are also FSCs. “This shows that even FSCs have confidence in our products, service, and safety standards,” said Jetstar Group Senior Communications Manager in Asia Robin Goh. “Safety is our number one priority and we will continue to uphold this record that we have become well-known for.” Robin added that since it is Jetstar’s top priority, the airline operates under the mission of “setting the standard for everyday low fares, fun travel, and great value.” “We will never compromise the safety of our customers and crew. We comply with the regulators’ highest standards of operations and continue to ensure that our standards are up to par. We strive in making travel safe and more accessible for our customers, whether it

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is to visit loved ones or to go explore a part of the world they’ve never been to,” he said. Another thing Robin pointed out about Jetstar is how much it resonates with the values Filipinos uphold when it comes to traveling. According to him, Filipinos are “smart travelers” because while they like looking for the best deals, they are also particular about quality and security— which Robin says is what the group is known for. “We are confident that our services will fit with Filipinos who are into the traveling lifestyle,” he added. “We assure safety, service, and quality because this is a commitment we have to our customers.” For more information about Jetstar Group (Jetstar Airways, Jetstar Asia Airways, Jetstar Pacific Airlines, and Jetstar Japan), visit <jetstar.com>


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suite life

A GRAND SANCTUARY Siem Reap definitely gets the heart of everyone with its majestic and breathtaking temples, but Raffles Grand Hotel d' Angkor also promises to provide travelers an entire Cambodian experience in itself written and photographed by ERRON OCAMPO

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the welcome We arrived at the hotel past midnight and we were welcomed by doormen wearing palace-inspired uniforms. After our welcome drinks, we headed to our room via the original old cage elevator—it’s almost a century old and it’s still working! It instantly became one of my favorite features of the hotel. the scene The hotel is also convenient for those who want to explore the temples and other attractions in Siem Reap. The Royal Palace, for instance, stands just right across the hotel. Also, it would only take ten minutes to reach the Angkor Complex—where you can start exploring all its temples. However, you might need to stay at least three days to see the city’s major temples without rushing. Aside from that, you can also visit the old market where you can buy souvenirs and Khmer handicrafts, King’s Road where you can shop and dine at, Pub Street where you can explore all the bars and pubs, or Phare Circus Ring Road where you can watch the Cambodian Circus.

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the room I really love the colonial, old-world feel of Raffles Grand Hotel dʹ Angkor, and it doesn’t stop at the lobby. As I went to my suite, I noticed that it has that warm atmosphere from the wooden floor and the carpet around the bed. A fruit basket was also in place, along with a welcoming note. And since one of the things I always enjoy in hotels are rooms with a balcony, I was so delighted to see that my suite had one with a view of the swimming pool. I always like seeing a little of the outdoors from the comforts of my room. the food On our first night, we ordered room service, and we tried a dish called Beef Lok Lak which instantly became our favorite from the hotel. We would always order that dish every time we could at the restaurant. I also loved their champagne breakfast buffet, which included several local dishes, an omelette station, a crepe station, and a bunch of fresh fruits and juices. The bread selection is also quite impressive, my favorite of which was their pain au chocolat. Lastly, our Royal Khmer dinner prepared by Executive Sous Chef Ngin Chantha at the Restaurant Le Grand was also phenomenal.

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the activities Raffles Hotel dÍ´Angkor is the only hotel in Cambodia that offers the Royal Cuisine Cooking Class. We started the day with a trip to the local market, where Executive Sous Chef Ngin Chantha showed us how to choose the best ingredients for local dishes, and helped us get spices and local produce that we can bring back home. When we got back to the hotel, we learned how to prepare some of the Royal Cuisine dishes and we were thrilled to learn how to cook Beef Lok Lak. Afterwards, we were presented with a certificate for the course, together with a recipe book especially created by the hotel. the pool Raffles Grand Hotel dÍ´Angkor boasts of having the biggest swimming pool in Cambodia. It dominates the inner garden, which makes it so inviting. The pool was also inspired by the royal bathing pools of Angkor, which is why a stay in the hotel wouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t be complete without enjoying it. As I settled on one of the poolside chaise lounge chairs, a friendly staff brought me a chilled fruit skewer to help with the warm weather.

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the service Every time we returned to the hotel, the courteous doormen would offer us cool towels to help us beat the heat of the outdoors. Also, requests were effectively attended to with the biggest smiles from the staff. I also appreciated the turndown service, because every time I got back to the suite, I would find everything neatly in place. at checkout Since our flight was not until late in the evening, we were allowed to check out late. Some of us went crazy shopping for local exotic handicrafts so you can just imagine the additional baggage they brought home, but the staff happily assisted us with all our luggage. the verdict While the temples around Angkor are worth exploring, it is also a must to make time to enjoy the splendid offerings of Raffles Grand Hotel dÍ´Angkor. You can enjoy the food, take a dip in the pool, experience the spa, watch a cultural show while having dinner, or just marvel at the hotelâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s grandeur. A stay in that hotel is like a different vacation in itself. RaďŹ&#x201E;es Grand Hotel dÍ´Angkor is located 1 Vithei Charles de Gaulle, Khum Svay Dang Kum, Siem Reap, Cambodia. For bookings and reservations, phone (+855) 63 963 888, email <siemreap@raďŹ&#x201E;es. com>, or visit <raďŹ&#x201E;es.com/siem-reap>

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landmarks 101

THE LITTLE MERMAID Despite being a simple statue positioned in an insignificant spot, Edvard Eriksen’s creation has gained visits from millions of tourists hailing from all over the world, most of who are there to take a photo with the world’s most famous mermaid statue

DID YOU KNOW? The statue currently in display at the Langelinie Promenade is actually just a replica of the original. The original sculpture is being kept by Edvard Eriksen’s heirs at a secret location. However, the statue in display is the only exact true copy, as Edvard has stated in his will that only smaller copies of the original may be produced.

written by KLARA ISKRA AÑONUEVO photo courtesy of IDAMKILDE via PIXABAY

A BIT OF HISTORY In 1837, Danish author Hans Christian Andersen introduced to the world the story of the Little Mermaid. In 1909, decades after the fairy tale was published, Carl Jacobsen, the son of the founder of Carlsberg Group, was so inspired after watching a ballet based on the original story that he commissioned sculptor Edvard Eriksen to create a statue as a gift to the city of Copenhagen. Edvard asked the ballerina from the show, Ellen Price to model for the statue, but she did not want to model in the nude, so Edvard used his wife Eline as a model instead. Historians differ in their accounts of whether Eline was the model for the whole statue—some say that the head was modeled after Ellen. In August 23, 1913, the statue was finally unveiled. Since then, it has evolved into a symbol for Denmark. Because of this, it has been the subject of plenty of vandalism and defacement, both politically-motivated and not. In 1964, the head was sawed off and stolen, never to be found. It was later replaced with a new one. In 1984, its right arm was removed, but was later returned. Its most bizarre decapitation story was in 1998. The perpetrators were never found, but the head was later returned anonymously via a TV station. In 2003, explosives knocked the statue off its base.

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The statue was later recovered in the water. In 2005, it was covered in green paint, and a dildo was attached to its hand. “March 8” was also written on the statue, leading to speculations that the vandalism may be connected to International Women’s Day, which falls on March 8. The local government has announced in the past its plans of moving the statue away from dry land to prevent more vandalism, but the statue still remains in its original location.

CARBON COPY While authorized replicas may be purchased from the Eriksen heirs via <mermaidsculpture.dk>, there are over a dozen smaller ones on display all over the world, including those found in Michigan, Iowa, Utah, Connecticut, and California in the USA, Shenzhen in China, Brasilia in Brazil, Madrid in Spain, and just unveiled last October, Seoul in South Korea. There is also a half-sized replica of the statue in the Carlsberg Breweries in Copenhagen.

IN NUMBERS

1.25

2

Height of the statue in meters Number of times that the statue was decapitated, the first time in 1964, and then in 1998. There was also a failed attempt in 1990

385

Weight of the statue in pounds

1913

The year it was unveiled, on August 23

5 MILLION

Number of photos of the statue estimated to be taken every year by tourists, making it the most photographed statue in Denmark

OFFICIAL NAME Den lille Havfrue

LOCATION Langelinie Promenade, Copenhagen, Denmark (Coordinates: 55.692861° N, 12.599278° E)


Smart Travel tips and techniques to become the best traveler

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Explore New Zealand the Lord of the Rings way as Tourism New Zealand launches â&#x20AC;&#x153;Middle-Earth Travel,â&#x20AC;? a unique NZ quiz for travelers designed to discover which LOTR character (a hobbit, an elf, a dwarf, or a wizard) ďŹ ts them the best. The tourists are then provided with a character-inspired itinerary throughout the country. The quiz can be found at <newzealand.com/int/campaign/ middle-earth-quiz>. Wizards can have the magical experience of stargazing at the Dark Sky Reserve or seeing the underground majesty of the Waitomo Glow Worm Caves. Dwarves, on the other hand, are perfect for New Zealandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s cultural immersion trip. For the Hobbit tourists, the itinerary includes New Zealandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s best food and wine. Elves, meanwhile, will have a trip thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s all about the luxuryâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;including spas, wine, and sailing activities.

IN THIS ISSUE LEARN HOW TO TRAVEL RESPONSIBLY PAGE 40

AVOID ONLINE SCAMS PAGE 42

KEEP MEMORIES ALIVE PAGE 44

For more information, visit <tourismnewzealand.com>

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PACK WISELY FOR THE AIRPORT PAGE 45

COLLABORATE ON YOUR TRIP THROUGH CO-LIVING SPACES PAGE 46

PHOTOS COURETESY OF MILES HOLDEN AND FIORDLAND TOURISM HOLDINGS, INC.

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smart travel

TRAVELING WITH Ensure that the next generations can see and experience the destinations we’ve come to love by practicing responsible and sustainable tourism. TRAVEL NOW lists some tips

In 2002, a conference on responsible tourism was organized in Cape Town, South Africa. Attended by 280 tourism industry representatives from 20 countries, the conference gave birth to the Cape Town Declaration on Responsible Tourism, a call to action for all those in the tourism sector, including tourists, “to take responsibility for achieving sustainable tourism, and to create better places for people to live in and for people to visit.” Fifteen years later, people’s love for travel is more massive than ever. The 2016 mid-year report of the World Travel and Tourism council estimated a 3.1% economic growth in the tourism sector worldwide, with Asia sitting strong with a 4.7% rate. With this growth, it has even become more important for both tourism stakeholders and travelers themselves to practice responsible and sustainable tourism, as even the smallest trivial action can have a great impact when multiplied a thousand, or even a million times. For example, while collecting seashells or sand from different beaches may seem insignificant decades ago, today, consciously responsible tourists know that this is irresponsible behavior. Just imagine how your favorite beach would look like if every single visitor took home even just one shell or one jar of sand. Of course, with aircrafts as the main means of transportation for traveling, it is very unlikely to travel the world with zero-impact. What we can do as travelers is to try and lessen our effects on the environment, and—since responsible tourism also aims to protect the economy and culture of a destination—help the local businesses and support the cultural continuity of our chosen destination. In short, we must aim not only to lessen the negative impact we have on a place (which includes both the environment and its inhabitants) but also strive to leave a positive influence when we depart. As locals, we also have a responsibility to push for sustainable practices from our own communities. Most of the tenets of responsible tourism are hinged on common sense, but since recent travel developments have shown that common sense may not be so common after all, here are some basic tips on how to become a responsible traveler:

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CARE written by KLARA ISKRA AÑONUEVO illustrated by BEA VILLANUEVA

choose your bookings wisely. If you’re a traveler with different options available, consider supporting hotels, tour groups, activities, and other companies that take into consideration their carbon footprint. Some countries award certifications to those who take the environment into consideration, and supporting them is a small step towards making being eco-friendly an industry standard. Specifically, choose those who have fulfilled ISO 14000 standards.

leave no trace. There’s this overused quote: “Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints, kill nothing but time.” It’s a cliché because while you’d think it should be already ingrained in every traveler, it’s still being posted in parks and trails as a reminder to do the right thing. So when enjoying nature, refrain from taking home anything, and dispose of your trash properly. In short, respect the environment.


research on your planned activities. What may seem harmless at first may cause damage to the environment. Jet skiing, for example, can pollute the waters, and even the sound its engine creates can be harmful to marine life. Downhill skiing is also known for its notoriously large environmental impact: A ski resort consumes a lot of electricity and water, not to mention the forest clearing required to create some of the ski slopes. Recently, there have also been environmental concerns with activities that involve wildlife interaction. Of course, some of the providers of these activities have switched to more responsible and sustainable practices, and if you’re dead set on trying them, you should look for those that are less harmful to the environment. Also remember to strictly follow the rules and guidelines you may be given to ensure the safety of the environment and yours as well.

treat all locals with respect. As you travel to different places, you’re bound to encounter people with drastically different beliefs, views, and practices as yours. Remember, you’re there to soak in the culture, not to prove a point or push an agenda, so take everything in with an open mind. Who knows, you may not just only learn something about another culture, but you may gain some new insights about yourself as well. Bottom line: be culturally sensitive.

support local businesses. As much as possible, make sure to pour your money into local businesses, whether big or small. This means staying at local hotels and inns rather than multi-national chains, dining at mom-and-pop restaurants, and buying souvenirs from local artists. A note on haggling: refrain from excessively doing so, especially if you believe in your heart that the product or service is already worth the first price. Instead of thinking that you missed out on savings, ponder on the fact that you may have helped a local business survive for another day.

walk. I, personally, have been an advocate of walking explorations, as not only is it good exercise, but it also has very little environmental impact, especially compared to other modes of transportation. As a bonus, walking also affords you a more intimate tour of a destination, as you don’t whizz by potential points of interest.

visit historical places. While some may argue that museums and other historical landmarks can be tourist traps, some of these institutions rely on visitors to stay open. Exploring these places will not only provide you some insight about the history and culture of a place, but it will also contribute to the continuing existence of these treasures.

demand sustainable practice from the industry. We travelers are also stakeholders in the global tourism industry, and the drastic consequences of irresponsible and unsustainable practices will affect the beauty of our favorite destinations. As such, it also falls on us to call out careless policies, whether from tour guides, hoteliers, or even governments.

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smart travel

BEWARE! 5 ONLINE TRAVEL SCAMS TO WATCH OUT FOR

Travel scams are everywhere, and sometimes those in your phone or computer can be much more horrible than those in the streets written by KLARA ISKRA AÑONUEVO illustrated by VALERIE ONG

Nowadays, traveling is on a lot of people’s minds, regardless if their schedule or bank account will permit it. So it’s easy to see why a lot of people will fall prey to scammers who lead would-be travelers to believe that they can give them the world… in half the price or even less. Instead of being duped before you even leave the house, take note of these travel scams so you know how to avoid them.

THE FREE FACEBOOK GIVEAWAY You see it on your timeline: a friend has shared on their wall a contest with a dream prize. Whether it’s a pair of round-trip tickets to a bucket-list destination or a stay at a five-star hotel, it’s enticing enough to make you want to click it… and it says you can win by simply sharing the post? Why not? What do you have to lose? Well, in some cases, nothing, as some of these pages only want to troll people for likes. But for some other cases, just simply liking or sharing these pages can make you vulnerable to cyber criminals who want to mine your personal information which they can then use for their own benefits. And that prize? No one was actually going to get it.

how to avoid it? Check the original page that posted it. Is it the official Facebook page of the company that is supposedly running this giveaway? Is it a verified page? Another telltale sign of fishy intentions are the spelling and grammar. Legitimate official Facebook pages of airlines, hotels, or travel agencies will take time to make sure the text is clean.

THE "HELP! I'M STRANDED" CON A play that relies on the emotions of the victim, this scam starts with you receiving a message from your friend or relative. One variation of the story is that they were mugged during their travels and have lost all their money. One point is clear: they need your help, and they need it right now. So can you kindly wire them money into this account of a kind stranger they’ve met who has promised to help them? They promise to pay you back of course. But when your friend comes home, you’ll realize they were just hacked and weren’t in any trouble at all, and you were just duped.

how to avoid it? You don’t need to be a bad friend or family member to be spared from this. Just double check with their next of kin, or contact them using another means (if you were sent an email, try getting through via their Facebook, Viber, Telegram, or other messaging accounts) to verify their status. If they were able to send you one email, they should also be able to update everyone else via their social media accounts.

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THE POSER WIFI CONNECTION A connection to the internet is crucial for a lot of travelers, as this can provide endless tools to make a vacation more enjoyable and hassle-free. So you leech off every free WiFi connection you can get. Even those you’re not familiar with. But connecting to malicious hotspots can leave your phone open to hackers who could steal the information stored there.

THE “CONGRATULATIONS! YOU WON A PRIZE!” EMAIL SCAM

how to avoid it? Don’t be a cheapskate! Get a local traveler’s sim or rent a pocket WiFi router from a reputable service provider. If you’re really traveling on a budget, connect only with official WiFi connections of establishments like hotels and restaurants. But these may be falsified as well. Check the spelling and format of the WiFi name, or to be absolutely sure, ask the staff for verification.

If you don’t remember joining this particular contest, receiving such an email should be your first red flag. The sender will congratulate you on your luck on winning an all-expenses paid cruise or holiday… but before you can claim your prize, of course they need your complete personal information, plus your credit card details so they can charge you a minimal contest fee. Except it turns out that this fee isn’t minimal at all, and you end up giving the crooks your money in exchange for nothing.

SHADY ONLINE TRAVEL AGENTS With the countless online booking services and travel agents, the genuine ones can get lost amongst those fake ones whose only goal is to prey on unsuspecting travel enthusiasts. These websites will pose as legitimate ones, sometimes even copying or imitating the name and the design of popular booking sites to lure victims in. They’ll offer incredible deals, with prices so irresistible. After you’ve transacted with them, they’ll take your money without actually having booked anything, and what’s worse, after several weeks or just days, the website will just vanish, leaving you no trace of your booking or your scammers.

how to avoid it? Get recommendations from friends who frequently travel on which websites to book from. If this isn’t possible, check how old the website is, and look for reviews of their services. If you still can’t be sure, just book directly with airlines and hotels. Sometimes the cheapest offers can be found through them anyway.

how to avoid it? No one is THAT lucky that they can win contests they didn’t even join. Ignore the mail completely, and don’t even think of clicking any link from that email.

DON'T RISK IT! be careful of what you share on your social media accounts. Sure, we’re all excited to boast of our trip to evoke envy among our social media friends, but be careful with what you post, especially if you have public accounts. Blur any barcodes and important information from photos of travel documents. You never know who could be seeing your posts, ready to use your personal information for something malicious. If you live alone, don’t flaunt on social media that you’ll be out-of-town on specific dates, as these might up the chances of your place being burgled while you’re away.

if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Think about it. If it were that easy and that affordable to plan a dream trip, everyone would be doing it right now. If you think you’ve hit the jackpot with dirt-cheap deals and free add-ins, it wouldn’t hurt to triple check of the promo’s legitimacy.

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smart travel

MAKING MEMORIES COUNT

In this day and age, it’s easy to keep track of past adventures because of social media apps, but there’s still something special about creating stories about your travels so you can look back at them easily in the future. From scrapbooking, to dedicated apps, and everything in between, TRAVEL NOW gives you tips on how to create the ultimate trip remembrance written by KLARA ISKRA AÑONUEVO illustrated by SHY CABAJAR

MAKE A SCRAPBOOK Do it the old-school way: by buying an empty scrapbook and filling it with mementos from all your travels. You can include anything, from boarding passes, theater tickets, photos, postcards, and even dried leaves and flowers— your own creativity is your only limit. You can fill up one big scrapbook for all your travels, or if you’re a real travel junkie, it may even be better to have a small scrapbook for each trip. To better relive your memories in the future, write notes for special items, like an anecdote on how it came into your possession, or even just a short phrase that you can associate with the moment. See how many scrapbooks you can fill in a year! If you have amazing photos and have money to spare, upgrade the usual scrapbook into a photo book—those made by reputable companies will last longer.

CREATE SHADOW BOX DISPLAYS

document it via app

If you like seeing your travel mementos constantly, making shadow box displays out of them will not only let you accomplish this, but will also add a lovely accent to your home. Shadow boxes also protect their contents from the elements, making sure your keepsakes will be preserved. Shadow boxes come in different shapes and sizes, so buy (or build) one that will fit the items you want to display, and embody your trip. As much as possible, come up with a mix of flat (like subway cards) and chunky items (like figurines) so you can create textured layers. Make sure you secure the items to box before putting it on display.

If you’re one of those people who just can’t tear themselves away from the digital world, then you’re in luck, as there’s an app dedicated to keeping your travel stories. New app Journi makes it easy to create your own digital travel journals, and share them with your friends and family. A quick browse through <journiapp.com> will show you why it has become a favorite documenting tool among avid travelers: It allows users to upload photos, and tag them with notes, which will then be connected to the location. Journi then creates a map of a user’s trip route, and friends and family can actually get updated real time, or wait before the entire story is finished before checking it out—they can see your journi even if they’re not registered users. It’s like having your own travel blog but with very minimal fuss. Our two favorite things about the app? 1.) You don’t need to be online to create a story. You can create entries while offline and the app will sync your moments once you’re connected, and 2.) You can collaborate with friends and save your travel story in one place.

BUILD A WORLD WALL MAP The ultimate #humblebrag displayed on your wall, a world map display will not only let visitors know of the countries and cities you’ve visited, but you can also show photos from your trips, and tag them to the location on the map by using some string and some tacks. Think of it as a version of Instagram’s now-defunct Photo Maps feature, only bigger and IRL. You can even make it more fun by purchasing a scratch map from Luckies so you can see how much of the world you’ve yet to conquer.

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Journi is compatible with both iOS and Android operating systems. For more information and to download the app, visit <journiapp.com>


smart travel

PACKING TIPS

FOR A HASSLE-FREE AIRPORT EXPERIENCE

We’ve already heard of the countless packing tips that people have come up with (and you might even have a couple of personal hacks of your own) to suit different destinations, baggage allowances, and even bag types. But what about those that can make going about the airport a breeze? TRAVEL NOW lists packing tips

CHOOSE A BAG WITH SECURE POCKETS. It’s easy to misplace or lose important items especially when you have to follow all the rules that come with security checks (like putting your cellphone inside your bag, or putting your laptop or tablet in a separate tray). Bring a bag with a secure pocket where you can store essentials like your mobile phone, passport, and travel documents in. That way, you don’t have to rummage for them when you need it. If like me, you like holding on to these while inside the airport, you can use these pockets for temporary storage as you go through security. This ensures that you won’t leave anything on the tray behind.

MAKE YOUR BAGS STAND OUT. Whether it’s in a baggage carousel or in a crowded waiting area, it’s easier to spot bags that are unique and colorful. Not only will this save you the trouble of having to search for it through a sea of black and grey bags, but it will also lessen the chance of someone accidentally mistaking your bag for theirs and running off with it. With the attention a colorful bag gives, it also makes it a deterrent for thieves.

FOLLOW THE 3-1-1 RULE. To be fair, some airports around the world have been less strict about this rule, allowing passengers through security as long as the liquids in their carry-on don’t exceed 100ml— even without the quart-sized clear resealable bag. But I’ve seen fellow passengers stopped at the final security check and being asked to purchase a resealable bag for their liquids, or be forced to turn them over to airport security. This will not only delay you (or make you give up your perfume and cosmetics, depending on your choice) but you’ll also hold the line and hassle other passengers. There’s no harm in just following the 3-1-1 rule: Liquids in containers of 3.4oz (or 100ml) or less may be put in a 1-quart transparent resealable plastic bag. Each passenger may only bring 1 bag each.

BRING A PEN. Most countries require you to fill out and sign documents before leaving or entering, so having a pen is essential when traveling. You don’t want to have to buy an expensive pen at the airport or delay a fellow passenger by borrowing theirs, do you?

DON’T WEAR TOO MUCH CLOTHES. You’ve probably heard of the advice to wear your heaviest clothes and shoes, and while that may save you baggage space and kilos, it could mean spending more time at security checks. Remember, heavy jackets, big accessories, belts, and large shoes that you are wearing may need to pass through the security scanner individually, meaning you have to remove them all and put them back on again. If there’s room in your check-in bag, leave the bulky clothing there. Unless it’s freezing where you are or at your destination, just bring a light jacket.

written by KLARA ISKRA AÑONUEVO illustrated by SHY CABAJAR

PACK A FOLDABLE BAG. Even if you’re not a shopper, you’ll never know when you’ll spot an item that you definitely must have! Always have a packable extra bag in your carry on for sudden shopping moments. Sure, the shops will likely provide you with their own shopping bags, but putting all your finds in a roomier and sturdier bag will keep you better organized and will give less risk of breakage.

USE POUCHES. Sort your carry-on items into pouches, so you can easily access things you need while waiting at the gate or inside the plane, like a lip balm or a power bank. Pack them into different pouches (for example, pack all chargers and cords in one pouch, and cosmetics into another) so they won’t get lost inside your bag. If you have items that you probably won’t need at the airport or in the plane (like an extra change of clothes), pack them at the bottom.

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CO-LIVING A GUIDE TO THE NEW TRAVEL TREND TRAVEL NOW gives you the basics of this new movement slowly sweeping across the worldwide travel community written by KLARA ISKRA AĂ&#x2018;ONUEVO photos courtesy of ROAM COLIVING

WHAT IS CO-LIVING? The simple explanation is this: A co-living space is like a cross between hostels and co-working spaces. Like hostels, these spaces oďŹ&#x20AC;er its residents apartments (some shared, some private) that come with communal areas like a bathroom, a lounge, a kitchen, and a dining room. Like co-working spaces, they oďŹ&#x20AC;er its tenants the chance to collaborate on projects and ideas. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s like its own creative global community, where the members are ever-changing. The movement started in the United States, but has since been practiced in diďŹ&#x20AC;erent parts of the globe, including the United Kingdom, France, Spain, and Japan. And while most of these co-living spaces are in big cities, there are already those in typical tourist destinations like Bali, Indonesia. HOW DOES IT WORK? Residents can rent apartments for a given amount of time (which can range from a single day to several months). Depending on the spaces themselves, they can also come with computers, a WiFi connection, a garden, and even a swimming pool. Most living spaces also oďŹ&#x20AC;er activities like ďŹ lm showings and yoga sessions, to help tenants get to know each other and facilitate collaboration. WHY IS IT SUDDENLY A TREND? Not all co-living tenants are globetrotting entrepreneursâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;some of them are locals themselves, and thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s also a key factor in co-living communities, as travelers can connect with locals who can help them navigate the ins and outs of a destination, while locals can enlist the help of these nomads to help spread their ideas, products, or services outside of their own cities. Of course, travelers can also connect with their fellow travelers. It helps the members build a large, possibly global network, all under one roof, and this idea can prove irresistible to many people. To some, it also helps combat the loneliness that comes with being a nomad, as it instantly connects them to people with the same lifestyle. Some of the payment schemes arenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t bad either. Roam, for example oďŹ&#x20AC;ers a rate of $500 a week (or $1800 a month) for any of their co-living spaces in Bali, Miami, Madrid, London, Tokyo, and San Francisco. You can even divide your paid-for rent among their diďŹ&#x20AC;erent locations.

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INTERESTED? START WITH THESE WEBSITES <roam.co> A network of co-living spaces with places in Asia, Europe, and the United States, all of which can be accessed with just one payment scheme. <nomadhouse.io> Nomad House oďŹ&#x20AC;ers a diďŹ&#x20AC;erent twist to co-living: Each â&#x20AC;&#x153;retreatâ&#x20AC;? only lasts 10 days, and only hosts 18 people. <outsite.com> Outsite oďŹ&#x20AC;ers four spaces across the United States, which may be rented via diďŹ&#x20AC;erent membership plans (including guest memberships for those who want to try it out ďŹ rst) to ďŹ t diďŹ&#x20AC;erent kinds of budget and timeframes. Bonus: one of their core beliefs is sustainability so their coďŹ&#x20AC;ee, tea, and condiments are sustainably sourced, and they also promote the use of bikes, public transportation, and car-sharing.

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Destinations FEATURES KENYA: AN EXPLOSION OF LIFE PAGE 48

MAKING TRACKS IN TAIPEI PAGE 60

CHIANG MAI: A LAID-BACK HISTORICAL GEM PAGE 64

DUBAI: THE GOLDEN CITY PAGE 68

GLORIOUS DISCOVERIES PAGE 78

Kenya should be in the bucket list of anyone who likes to travel because it’s hard to beat the game drive and reserves that the country offers. It’s also the only place where you can see lions and cheetahs running around, observe zebras chasing each other, and witness such a marvelous sunset. I think there is nowhere else in the world where you can see that kind of scene

DRUNK ON SOUTH MORAVIA: DISCOVERING CZECH REPUBLIC’S WINE REGION PAGE 92

KOTA KINABALU SERENDIPITIES PAGE 96

SOX: UNLEASHING THE 12TH PARADISE PAGE 100

TRAVEL BUDDIES PAGE 106

QUEST FOR A DELICIOUS HONG KONG PAGE 108

PARTING SHOT: SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA PAGE 116

KENYA: AN EXPLOSION OF LIFE PAGE 48


photo essay

K E N 48

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An Explosion of Life Journalist Atom Araullo gets a taste of the real wildlife as he discovers the bursting beauty of Kenya written by JAMILLE DOMINGO photographed by ATOM ARAULLO

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photo essay

KENYA

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OR NATURE AND ENVIRONMENT ENTHUSIASTS, Africa is considered by many as the ultimate dream destination. It’s a huge part of the world with interesting native fauna waiting to be discovered. Although Africa is known worldwide for its wildlife scenery, not a lot of tourists and travelers brave the journey to discover it—a reason it is still not considered a mainstream place, and a reason it is the ideal destination for adventurers. Kenya, in particular, consists of so many game reserves (large areas of land where wild animals live safely or are hunted in a controlled way for sport) that are real game changers when it comes to adventure—something that every traveler would jump into experiencing right away. For journalist and seasoned traveler Atom Araullo, this is the country that truly reflects what the continent is known for. “Kenya should be in the bucket list of anyone who likes to travel because it’s hard to beat the game drive and reserves that the country offers,” he said. “It’s also the only place where you can see lions and cheetahs running around, observe zebras chasing each other, and witness such a marvelous sunset. There is also hardly any place in the world where there are elephants to your left and giraffes to your right, and where countless hippos and crocodiles swarm many rivers. It’s an explosion of life, and it’s unbelievable. I think there is nowhere else in the world where you can see that kind of scene."

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Contrary to popular belief, Kenyaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s weather is generally fair for most of the year. Atom said that the countryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s temperature is not too hot or too cold, making it an enjoyable place to go around. â&#x20AC;&#x153;When we landed in Nairobi, the first thing I noticed was that it was quite chilly. The weather was a little bit cold, comparable to Tagaytay weatherâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;something I didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t expect,â&#x20AC;? he said. The landscape is also completely different from the Philippines. While our country boasts of so many mountains, fields, and verdant greenery, Kenya has much more of a yellow environment sceneâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;with a lot of grass, small trees, and bushes. Although it has a few mountains, the countryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s landscape is generally flat.

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There VIA KENYA AIRWAYS

Kenya Airways, three-time winner of Best Business Class Airline from the Africa World Travel Award, takes pride in being at the forefront of connecting Africa to the world and vice versaâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; recently setting its goal to get more Filipino travelers to visit the continent. To achieve this feat, the airline oďŹ&#x20AC;ers Africa group packaged tours centered on the countries of Kenya, Botswana, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Tourists can choose from its 11-day jam-packed tour in Botswana, Kenya, Zambia, and Zimbabwe; an 11-day tour in Kenya, Zambia, and Zimbabwe; and a week-long tour focusing only on Kenya. The packages include roundtrip tickets with taxes, accommodation on full-board basis, meet and greet services, transportation, park entrance fees, and an English-speaking tour guide, among others.

For more information about Kenya Airways and its group tours in Africa, phone (+63 2) 759 2191, (+63 2) 759 2192, (+63 2) 836 8975, email <info@kenya-airways.ph>, or visit <kenyaairways.ph>

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photo essay

KENYA

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g n i t i c x E e h T

e f i l Wild Kenya’s sheer volume of wildlife will not only astonish travelers, it will also exceed every expectation they have of the country. Atom shared, “When we first got sightings of zebras, cape buffalos, and lions, we were psyched because it was the first time we saw them out in the wild. But after a while, we realized that they are all over the place. It was certainly a treasure, and quite a view to behold.”

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"KENYAâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S SHEER VOLUME OF WILDLIFE WILL NOT ONLY ASTONISH TRAVELERS, IT WILL ALSO EXCEED EVERY EXPECTATION THEY HAVE OF THE COUNTRY"


photo essay

KENYA

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This game reserve is known not only for the lake and the greenery around it, but also for its flamingo migration season. The view of Lake Nakuru also opens up to a very fascinating landscapeâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;with dead trees that are, interestingly, a result of the lakeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s salty water. â&#x20AC;&#x153;As an inland basin, they said that the lakeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s water is mostly collected from the rain and does not drain to an ocean,â&#x20AC;? he said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Since there is no outlet going to the ocean, the water leaves behind all the salt when it evaporatesâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;making the lake more concentrated. Grass and trees, therefore, do not survive.â&#x20AC;?


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MAASAI MARA NATIONAL RESERVE

One of the most popular destinations in Kenya, Maasai Mara National Reserve is known for its massive land areas that go on for miles. This game reserve is where Atom said he had the most encounters with all sorts of wildlife. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We were also lucky to see Africaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Big Fiveâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;the lions, cape buffalos, leopards, black rhinoceros, and elephants. The place is truly amazingâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; we went around, got really close to the animals, and they didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t even mind,â&#x20AC;? he said. Atom pointed out, however, that visitors are not allowed to go outside the vehicles, as well as feed and taunt the animals. Tourists can only take photos from the window, and act like quiet observers.

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photo essay

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KENYA

VOLUME ONE 2017 | TRAVEL NOW


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dition a r T and Way of Life Within Maasai Mara, tourists can visit Maasai villages to engage in the tribe’s distinctive culture. The ethnic group is one of the most recognizable ones in Kenya, according to Atom, because of its simple yet unique way of life—from the way they dress, the way they still hunt for their food, the way they raise cattle, to the way they practice their traditions. One example of the tribe’s unique tradition is doing a song and dance performance, where male members of the tribe jump as high as they can. The jump is said to be a measure for their strength as warriors, and the one who jumps the highest gets a wife as a reward (Maasai practices a polygamous society). The Maasai homes are also unique, Atom shared that their houses were “made out of branches and twigs, put together by a mixture of mud and urine.” The materials make an odd but working technology as it makes the temperature inside the house cool during the day and warm during the night.

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photo essay

KENYA

ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPHER

One of the country’s most esteemed journalists, Atom Araullo has developed a great interest in traveling as a result of his extensive knowledge about current events and worldwide happenings. He has been traveling locally and internationally for quite a long time now, while elevating his already flourishing career. He is currently a TV host for ABS-CBN, appearing in shows like Red Alert and Umagang Kay Ganda.

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According to Atom, many of the dishes in Kenya are centered on protein because meat such as beef is very cheap in the continent. There are so many opportunities as well to eat and sample local food, and it can be done by visiting one of the recommended restaurants in Kenya: Carnivore. Atom said that the open-air restaurant specializes in meat, serving not just beef, chicken, and pork, but also crocodile, ostrich, and buffalo meat, all cooked in so many different ways. He added that there are other Kenyan delicacies that are made from available starches, as well as those made from ground beans and root crops. “The country’s cuisine really offers an interesting diet, absolutely different compared to our country,” he said.


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s l a c Lo Aside from the animals, the locals of Kenya are tourist-friendly and warm. Atom said that they are easy to get along with, making his stay in the country a lot more memorable. He even compared them to the hospitable personality of the Filipinos, saying â&#x20AC;&#x153;Just like us, Kenyans are not very reserved. They also enjoy talking to people, chatting tourists up, singing, and dancing.â&#x20AC;?

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feature

MAKING TRACKS IN

TAIPEI

With relaxed travel requirements and additional budget flights from Manila and Cebu, Taipei is now as accessible as ever to Filipinos wanting to explore it. Revisit the basics of Taiwan’s capital city with Klara Iskra Añonuevo photographed by KLARA ISKRA AÑONUEVO special thanks to AIRASIA

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ULL DISCLOSURE: Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve always loved Taipei. To me, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the type of city that you can visit over and over again but never get tired of, even if you visit the same placesâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; not just because these places are special, but also because Taipei is a city that is ever-evolving, so every visit can somewhat still feel like the first time. So it was with my recent trip to Taipeiâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;everything felt so new, yet so familiar.

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As I was with first timers in the city, we hit the usual tourist spots, and I was happy to provide my travel buddies with information on the history of the places, or the location of secret spots which produce the best angle for photos. Our first stop was the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall, a monumental tribute to Chiang Kai-Shek, who is considered as the father of Taiwan. To better understand the history of the leader and his country, visitors can explore the museum inside the main hall. The whole complex is also home to the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Park, the National Concert Hall, and the National Theater, which provides a spectacular view when seen from the main hall itself. Another historical spot is the National Palace Museum, not just because of the artifacts and pieces it

HASSLE-FREE TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION CERTIFICATE APPLICATION If youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re a Philippine passport holder with a valid visa (or even one that has expired in the last 10 years) to Australia, Canada, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, any of the Schengen countries, the United Kingdom, or the United States, you can apply for a travel authorization certiďŹ cate and have it in minutes. Just visit <niaspeedy.immigration.gov.tw/ nia_southeast>, ďŹ ll out the necessary requirements, print the certiďŹ cate, and youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re good to go. Don't forget to bring the passport with the visa if itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not in your current valid passport.

holds inside, but because of its own history as well. The original museum was actually founded in Beijingâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Forbidden City, but the museum and its pieces were moved to Taiwan upon the orders of Chiang Kai-shek himself, after the relocation of the government of the Republic of China. Today, the museum is known to host the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s largest collection of Chinese art treasures, a collection that spans 5000 years. If you want to really get a feel of how the locals live, a visit to Longshan Temple will give you a preview. Although already famous as a tourist destination, the temple is also usually full of devotees, as it is actually a worshipping ground for several deities. The temple was originally built during the Qing Dynasty, but natural and man-made damages have resulted in its countless renovations. Before we entered the temple, our guide cautioned us to only enter through the Dragon Door, and exit via the Tiger Door, supposedly for good luck.

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HOW TO GET THERE:

FLY AIRASIA Last November, AirAsia launched their Manila â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Taipei and Cebu â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Taipei ďŹ&#x201A;ights, making it easier than ever to get to the capital of Taiwan. Since then, there have been daily Manila â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Taipei ďŹ&#x201A;ights, while the Cebu â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Taipei route ďŹ&#x201A;ies three times a week. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We have introduced amazing connections for our guests to enjoy, and we are aiming to go further across Asia by strengthening AirAsiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s presence in Taiwan. Today heralds brighter and much closer ties between the two countries to improve trade and tourism,â&#x20AC;? said Philippines AirAsia CEO Captain Dexter Comendador onboard the maiden ďŹ&#x201A;ight which took oďŹ&#x20AC; from Manila on November 21, 2016.

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feature

TAIPEI

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While Taipei is rich in history, it is also filled with contemporary creations and comforts. The most significant of these are Ximending, Shilin Night Market, and the world-famous Taipei 101. Ximending, a bustling district, is home to dozens upon dozens of shops, which attract many tourists, as well as young locals. On certain days, the neighborhood is also a venue for musical, artistic, sporting, and other cultural events. Be warned however, that the prices of the goods sold here aren’t usually cheap. For bargains, you might have better luck in Shilin Night Market, one of the largest night markets in the city. It is not only famous for the clothes, accessories, and other trinkets that you can buy from shops, stalls, and pop-up vendors, but also for its food, which include pancakes, Shilin sausages, and stinky tofu. Of couse, if it’s your first time in Taipei, you have to visit Taipei 101. The skyscraper was the tallest in the world during its completion in 2004, but was dethroned by Dubai’s Burj Khalifa in 2009. The lower levels are home to a bustling food court and a shopping mall, but what tourists really come for is the observatory deck, located at the 89th floor of the building. From the fifth floor, it only takes 37 seconds to get to the 89th floor via the high-speed pressurized elevators. The deck provides a breathtaking bird’s eye view of the city. On days with clear weather, guests can head to the outdoor observatory deck at the 91st floor. On the way down, you can inspect the building’s famous damper on the 88th floor. The largest in the world, Taipei 101’s damper weighs 660 metric tons, helping the entire building stay stable during bad weather, and ground movements.

NEAR THE CITY Just about an hour drive away from Taipei are these quaint destinations that are also must-visits: NANYA ROCK FORMATIONS Located along a coastal highway, these natural rock formations are famous for their picturesque, almost painting-like patterns. Formed by the powerful waves and the weather eroding the sandstone that lines the shore, and accentuated by stripes caused by the oxidation of iron ore in the stone, these rock formations, along with the waves in the background offer a unique vista. Tip: on colder 9dbcb^\T^UcWT months, bring a jacket and tie a^RZU^a\PcX^]b your hair as it can get very windy Pc=P]hP and cold here. BAY OF TWO COLORS Just near the Nanya Rock Formations is the Bay of Two Colors (also known as Yin Yang Sea), which, as its name suggests is a bay with two colors: blue and yellow. This is caused by a stream in the nearby closed gold mines, which has gradually brought traces of pyrite and other chemicals into the bay.

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JINGUASHI GOLDEN WATERFALLS Another beautiful sight that is a result of mining in the area, the Golden Waterfalls are a favorite among tourists and photography enthusiasts as heavy metal deposits have caused the riverbed and the water to have a gold tint. While the view is beautiful, the water is toxic that even touching it is highly discouraged. It is said that the water from these falls are connected to those in the Bay of Two Colors. JIUFEN A town located in the mountains of north Taiwan, Jiufen is known for its alleys and streets full of vendors selling different types of food and handicrafts, as well as the view of the nearby bay and mountains that it provides. It has also been rumored that certain scenes from Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away was inspired by the town, particularly the 100-year old A Mei Tea House. As exploring the town requires a lot of walking up steep stairs and alleys, wear comfy clothes and shoes on your trip.

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FOOD FINDS AT YONG KANG STREET Yong Kang Street is famous for its food, and it would require another article to fully discuss all the delicious creations you can find in there. For starters though, you have to try these four Yong Kang Street staples: XIAO LONG BAO If you’re a fan of these soup dumplings, you can try having it at the original Din Tai Fung here. There’s always a line up front, but the queuing system is so efficient that you won’t really have to wait that long. If you’re too impatient, you can try your luck at nearby Kao Chi.

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does not join the local contest for the best beef noodle soup in Taipei to give other restaurants a fair shot. SCALLION PANCAKE Deceptively small in serving but very filling, scallion pancakes are the best snacks while walking around Yong Kang Street as you can easily eat it with one hand. If you are to go by the long lines, the best ones have to be from the vendor positioned beside Than Ky’s Pho.

BEEF NOODLE SOUP There are many beef noodle soup restaurants in the area, but arguably the most popular is Yong Kang Beef Noodle Soup. CNN has deemed it one of the best places to get beef noodle soup in Taipei, and rumor has it that it purposely

WHERE TO STAY:

HEDO HOTEL KAIFENG

This three-star hotel has the basics covered: clean rooms with en suite bathrooms, a decent breakfast buffet spread, and free WiFi. But the best thing about Hedo Hotel Kaifeng is its location—it’s a short walk away from attractions like Ximending and the 228 Peace Memorial Park, as well as commercial establishments. It is also just about 600 meters the Taipei Main Station, where tourists can board trains and buses that have routes all over the city and the rest of Taiwan.

MANGO SHAVED ICE Popular mango shaved ice place Smoothie House calls one of their concoctions Super Mango Snowflake Ice with Panna Cotta. Make sure you find someone to share with as the portions are definitely super.

Hedo Hotel Kaifeng is located at No. 35, Section 1, Kaifeng Street, Zhongzheng District, 100 Taipei

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We had some free time before our flight back to Manila, and I decided to spend some of it by visiting for the first time the 228 Peace Park, which was just a short walk away from our hotel. It is the oldest park in Taipei, and if you just went there without any knowledge of its past, you’d probably think it’s like any other park you’ve been to: green, clean, and serene. But the park has its own history: in February 28, 1947, protests against the KMT government were held here, and the government responded with military force. In 1996, the park was renamed 228 Memorial Peace Park (its former names include Taipei Park and New Park) to remember this incident. Despite this, strolling in the park or sitting in one of its many park benches will still provide one with a relaxing feeling—like being inside a pocket of calm in the middle of the bustling city. A visit to the park also provided me with a chance to quietly say “see you soon!” to one of my beloved cities. Yes, “see you soon!” and not “goodbye!” because with Taipei, you know you’ll always come back.

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Chiang Mai

A LAID-BACK HISTORICAL GEM Forever curious about what pulls digital nomads to this part of Thailand, Marky Ramone Go explores Chiang Mai and its famed street markets, cultural and historical sights, as well as the perfect hang-out places photographed by MARKY RAMONE GO additional photo courtesy of TOURISM AUTHORITY OF THAILAND

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t was past midnight and the open-air acoustic place set up at Ploen Ruedee Night Market where I was hanging out with a friend started to close downâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;so were the other nearby establishments. The once lively stalls lining up Chang Klan Road leading to Chiang Mai Night Bazaar were almost devoid of pedestrians and shoppers. Earlier that night, I met up with a friend Valerie, who was also in Chiang Mai. After a couple of rounds of Singha beers, we were joined by her friends she met in Myanmar: Feven, a beautiful girl with braided hair from Ethiopia, Michael, a Colorado native, and Gisele, a Puerto Rican.

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CHIANG MAI AFTER MIDNIGHT â&#x20AC;&#x153;I know a place so bad it is so good. It is called Zoe in Yellow, letâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s go there,â&#x20AC;? Michael told us. We rode a tuktuk and went our way. We realized that the night life in Chiang Mai immediately dies when midnight strikes. Zoe in Yellow turned out to be the same. However, we found a club that was still open that night: Spicy. Swarming with locals and foreigners alike, the place was pulsating with energy that will really make anyone dance. It was a half past 1 AM when Spicy closed for the night as well. As I boarded a tuktuk back to my hotel, I realized that the night life in Chiang Mai is just a tiny bleep in the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s otherwise more fascinating appeal. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s brimming with history, culture, heritage, and a laid-back atmosphere. While the nights were all about bar-hunting, the days were filled with discovery, learning, and realizing why the city is fast becoming a favorite among travelers.

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EXPLORING CHIANG MAIâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S ART AND CULTURAL SCENE The heritage houses and quirky holein-the-walls in Chiang Mai are made more appealing because of the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s bursting creative arts scene. Exploring this interesting aspect of Chiang Mai made up the most of our itinerary. One of the places we visited is the farming neighborhood of Ban Rai Kong Khing, where we learned about organic farming and the art of preparing traditional Northern Thai dishes. We were divided into three groups and we took turns learning to organize the ingredients and cook the following: Green Curry with Chicken, Khai Pam (roasted omelette grilled inside banana leaves), Khanom Jok (steamed coconut

FROM ONE TEMPLE TO THE NEXT Just like most cities in Thailand, no trip to Chiang Mai will be complete without going temple-hopping. Tucked within the residential and commercial establishments inside the old section of the city are pockets of temples that carry historical significance to Buddhism. We started our tour with a slow stride over the Saphan Nawarat Bridge, which took us to Charoen Rat Road and into the first Christian church in Chiang Mai. We also passed by some beautiful old shop houses leading to Warorot Market. An hour later, we arrived at Wat Ket Karam, a half-a-centuryold temple located in the middle of a small quaint neighborhood. The adjacent old house bearing traditional Thai architecture also got my attention, and I ended up taking photos of its picturesque balcony.

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pumpkin dough wrapped in a banana leaf pyramid), and Butterfly Pea Drink. The people also taught us to create some of their local handicrafts, such as herbal balls and Pandan Leaf Rosette (a leaf-flower bouquet). Capping off the afternoon was a soothing Yam Khang fire therapy massage, which is said to be a traditional Lanna (Northern Thai Kingdom) massage. We also visited Bor Sang Village, My personal favorite, however, was the Wat Sri Suphan, a stunning silver temple situated at the Wua Lai district. It bears a distinct design which features stellar silver engravings and rich textures plastered all over the interior walls. There was also a sign which states the odd rule banning the entry of women inside this temple. However, it was explained by another sign (written in English) found outside, which says â&#x20AC;&#x153;Beneath the base of Ubosotha in the monastic boundary, many precious things, incantations, amulets, and other holy objects were buried 500 years ago. Entering may deteriorate the place or otherwise the lady herself. According to this Lanna Belief, ladies are not allowed to enter the Ubosotha.â&#x20AC;? We missed the chance to visit other temples because of lack of time, but I told myself that those temples will be the first ones I will visit once I return to Chiang Mai.

where the locals carry on the long standing custom of umbrella-making that was started many centuries ago by a visiting monk from Myanmar. The intricate process involves the application of hand-painted art over materials made of silk, oil paper, and bamboo. As I walked around to observe each artist creating sketches on each umbrella, I was quickly drawn to the finished ones that were laid out on the lawn to dry under the sun. The wonderful and blooming colors instantly created an eye-popping visualâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;mirroring the talent of the villageâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s craftsmen. More local art immersion comprised the rest of our day as we dropped by the silk-producing town of Sankampaeng. The local artists deeply engrossed in the creations of Thai silk, silverware, lacquer-ware, woodcarvings, and gems welcomed us and showed us how they do their art. We concluded our arts and cultural probe at the Baan Kang Wat Artistsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Village, where classy shop houses fusing traditional and modern Thai architecture stand beautifully over well-landscaped grounds.

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TOP 10 THINGS TO DO IN

Chiang Mai 1 Temple-hop. Two to three days of exploring Chiang Maiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s temples should be enough for you to tick these beautiful temples oďŹ&#x20AC; your list: Wat Chedi Luang, Wat Phra Singh, Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, Wat Chiang Man, Wat Umong, Wat Suan Dok, Wat Lok Moli, and Wat Sri Suphan. 2 Visit the Elephant Nature Park. Feed, bathe, and play with rescued elephants at this sanctuary which treats and takes care of them until they are set free to the wild again.

THAI FOOD-TRIPPING AND NIGHT MARKET FINDS

3

Take a dip at Bua Thong Waterfalls. One of the great outdoor attractions surrounding Chiang Mai, Bua Thong Waterfalls is a gem of nature where one can spend half a day just dipping in its cold soothing waters.

Before traveling to Chiang Mai, I talked to some fellow travel writers who spent extended periods 4 Have a chat with the monks. Monks in this city. Most of them told me that the would love to talk to travelers so they can also city houses many cool cafĂŠs, restaurants, and practice their English. In return, you get to ask trendy joints perfect for when you want to just a lot of things about Buddhism and Thai culture relax and write in peace. in general. Every meal during our trip was certainly something to look forward to. Whether we 5 Bargain and shop at all kinds of were in a riverside joint or a formal dinner markets. There are so many local markets in cruise over the Mae Ping River, each bite of its Chiang Mai, such as Warorot or the Chiang Mai 1VWO\U;OWa\WUVbPOhOO` local meals gave me a satisfying gastronomical Night Bazaar, where interesting Thai ďŹ nds can ]TTS`aOZ]b]TQ]]ZÂż\RaacQV experience. OabVSaSaVW`ba be found at bargained prices. Brush up on your Gorging around town and sampling haggling skills because during weekends, more authentic northern Thai dishes really gave me night markets are set up across the city. a taste of Chiang Maiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s culture, so much so that I still remember that kick of spice, richness of taste, and 6 Take a day trip exploring the countryside. Tour operators the feel of textures until now. oďŹ&#x20AC;er day trips to various attractions located just outside of Chiang While daytime is for satisfying our taste buds with Mai. Visit the hill and long neck tribes, the Mekong River, and the the local Thai cuisine, nighttime was often spent pursuing golden triangle. interesting finds at the local night markets. Aside from the Ploen Ruedee Night Market, Warorot Market, and Chiang 7 Experience the /b1VWO\U;OW Mai Night Bazaar, pockets of weekend markets are also set Chiang Mai Night <WUVbAOTO`W Safari. Ride an open up near the old city walls. eVS`SOUW`OTTS QO[SQZ]aS air tram and pass by On our last night, our whole group bonded over bottles b]]c`b`O[ various animal zones, and of wineâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;we were all thankful for having the chance to Z]]YW\UT]`O the giraďŹ&#x20AC;es, or observe PO\O\O explore Chiang Mai. Until now, I still see myself going back from a distance other there in the near future. Who knows, I might be one of those interesting animals living digital nomads sitting on a cafĂŠ for hours while trying to freely in their respective harvest my writing mojo. Or one of those sipping Thai coffee zones. while amassing all the inspiration that comes with residing in Chiang Maiâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;a place that is rich in history, a city teeming 8 Explore the Underground Ancient City of Wiang Kum with fascinating culture dating back many centuries ago, and Kam. Situated south of Chiang Mai just along the banks of Ping a destination that is slowly being welded with modernity. River, this ancient city dates back to the eighth century. Check out the beautiful ruins featuring Buddhist art, architecture, and sculptures.

9 Visit Chiang Mai Rainforest Adventure. Hike into a mossy forest and view it atop towering century old trees, where zip line activities are also oďŹ&#x20AC;ered.

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10 Get a Sak Yant Tattoo from a Monk. Also known as â&#x20AC;&#x153;Yantra Tattooingâ&#x20AC;? which originated from Cambodia, this ancient form of tattooing consists of Khmer scripts believed to bless your body with health and luck. Buddhist monks armed with mai sak (pointed bamboo stick) and traditional ink usually apply the tattoo by tapping the stick into your skin.

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photo essay CWT3dQPXbZh[X]TPbbTT]Ua^\cWT a^^USTRZ^U?PaZATVXb:aXb:P]7^cT[


THE GOLDEN CITY See the stunning images of Dubai, and see how this desert emirate prospered into being an esteemed global hub written and photographed by ERRON OCAMPO

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HEN ONE THINKS OF DUBAI, TWO THINGS COME TO MIND: THE DESERT AND ULTRA-MODERN ARCHITECTURE. It’s certainly amazing how, despite being in the middle of a desert, it has flourished into a progressive and developed modern city, having the most advanced architectural and engineering wonders of today’s time—from futuristic buildings down to modern cars and a carefully planned public transportation system. Dubai may initially not give off that inviting vibe among every traveler worldwide, but its magnificence comes crystal clear once you’re already there, discernable in everything this emirate has to offer. One thing that you’ll notice when you get to Dubai is that it’s full of Filipinos. From the airport, to the hotel, to the restaurants and cafés, to basically everywhere you’ll go, there’s at least one Filipino who will greet you—making the city almost close to home as well.

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photo essay

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SanDs AND Adventure One of the best activities that you can experience in Dubai is the 4x4 drive, where you will get a good sampling of the way 4x4s are driven in the sandy dunes. Seatbelts are required however, and holding on to something is strongly recommended if you want to survive the ride. The dunes at sunrise are definitely a must-see, because it’s where you can actually feel the vastness of the desert. The best time to start would be just before sunrise as the sun is not yet hot and the sand is still a little cool. During this time, walking around the desert barefoot is such an exciting experience. Just keep your footwear beyond reach, though, because once it gets close to midday, the sand can instantly feel burning hot. Another recommended activity in Dubai is the desert safari, where you can ride a camel and roam around the massive sand dunes. Getting on these gentle creatures is easy, but when they stand up or sit down, that’s when it gets kind of tricky. You have to hold on tight and shift your body backward or forward to counter the uneven stand of the camels. However, it’s going to be all fun and leisurely once they start walking. You should take note as well that some camels rest during midday as the sun becomes hotter. Even if you go there on a winter season, it can still get really warm during the day.

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photo essay

DUBAI

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The Dubai Creek is a saltwater creek that has become a popular destination for both locals and tourists. This body of water is known to be the very reason for the existence of the city. The traditional abra or boat is a favorite way of getting from one side of the creek to the other. Up to 20 people can fit in each abra, but tourists may also opt to rent out the whole boat if they want a private cruise around the creek. There are also several ports along the Dubai Creek. Thousands of people access these ports every day to cross from the Bur Dubai to the Deira side. Tons of souks or markets are located as well around the area, including the textile souk, the gold souk, and the spice souk. Birds are also a common sight along the creek, since there is a bird sanctuary near the area. Aside from abras,the creek is also crossed by other water transportation such as water taxis, tour cruises, yachts, speedboats, and trade boats. The traditional trade boats lined up along the side adds to the whole charm of cruising along the creek and seeing Old Dubai.

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Al Bastakiya in Old Dubai is a historical neighborhood dating back to the 1890s. The remaining structures were beautifully restored and preserved, and now serve as a center for arts and culture. The Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood, on the other hand, is another great way to get a glimpse of Old Dubai. Here, you can see wind towers which served as the air-conditioning system of the city centuries before. The complex is also a labyrinth of small alleys, some even as narrow as when you open your one arm wide. Exploring the neighborhood of Old Dubai will also make you stumble upon quiet courtyards, restaurants, galleries, and shops that feature local artisan works.

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photo essay

DUBAI

Bustling Modernity

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One of the recommended hotels for travelers who want to experience the best of Dubai’s luxury is the Park Regis Kris Kin Hotel in Burjuman Center. What’s perfect about this hotel is that it offers arguably the most beautiful skyline view of the city—and you can see it from its roof deck swimming pool area. Dubai is replete with so many ultramodern structures, the most famous of which is arguably the Burj Khalifa—a skyscraper said to tower above the whole city, and the whole world. Preceded by Taipei 101, this mega-structure stands mighty at 828 meters with 163 floors. You can feel on top of the world by going up the observation deck during the day. And when the night falls, you can enjoy several beautiful light shows throughout the skyscraper. Even if you’re at the Dubai Mall, you can still watch and enjoy these water and light shows. One of the first architectural wonders of modern Dubai is the Burj Al Arab. The sailshaped hotel—which is complete with luxury design and extravagant offerings—stands on a man-made island, and is best viewed along the 76

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ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPHER

Jumeirah Beach. Lastly and surprisingly, Dubai is also known for having a lot of lavish yachts. For a desert city, this fact amazes a lot of travelers, especially those who visit the Dubai Marina. This district is one of the best places to see many of these yachts, especially during the night, while enjoying an al-fresco dinner with friends or loved ones.

Erron Ocampo is one of the Philippines’ top destination wedding photographers, and is a principal partner at Metrophoto—a renowned and popular wedding photography company in the country. His profession has already brought him to various destinations locally and internationally, including Dubai, which further fueled his love for traveling. Pure and unconventional images are what make Erron sought-after in the photography industry, fusing his passion for the craft with creativity and artistry.


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PHOTO COURTESY OF RABI VIA PIXABAY

GLORIOUS DISCOVERIES Off-the-beaten paths often make very exciting stories for travelers and adventure seekers. So if you’re one of those looking for new things to discover and add to your treasure of exciting memories, check out these emerging places as recommended by travel experts written by JAMILLE DOMINGO additional photos and text on Central Europe by MARBEE SHING-GO

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special feature PHUKET

ne of the most fulfilling things one can experience when we talk about globetrotting is taking the road less traveled. While there is nothing wrong with giving appreciation to the mainstream and worldrenowned attractions (after all, they didn’t get such recognition if they did not deserve it), it’s a different kind of thrill when we set foot in a destination that is not braved by a lot of tourists. It’s such a rush, knowing that we are one of the very first travelers who have seen the beauty of a certain place and engaged in the real culture that it possesses. We get to go home packed with stories associated with the beauty of discovering it, and it gives us some sort of bragging rights. And in this age of adventurers, where traveling is now deemed an important lifestyle, conquering those yet to be discovered is now becoming more and more of a trend. Jaison Yang, general manager of accredited travel agency Travel Warehouse, said that people nowadays have basically seen all the famous places there is to see, and are now looking for new places to uncover and share to the world. “Travelers who want to go to undiscovered places are usually those who have been everywhere, and the nonmainstream places will give people looking for something new everything they want—less commercialization, affordable prices, and well-preserved cultures. It’s definitely a break from the tourist traps,” he said. Access Travel and Tours owner Angely Dub, meanwhile, said that while not a lot of Filipinos are looking for something lesser known, some of them have now become more openminded about places where urbanity and even social media can be unheard of. “In general, people are not yet ready to experience places like Nepal, Tibet, India, or Africa, but there are already some who are expressing interest about these destinations, and that’s a good thing. If you are not that open-minded, you will miss experiencing pure culture,” she said.

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on places that have emerged

Angely’s agency, along with the other ones in the country, has its fair share of promoting undiscovered places to tourists. In fact, this vision has helped increase Filipino tourist arrivals in some of the places that were not even on many traveler’s list years or decades before. Somehow, these places have emerged from being undiscovered to bucket-list destinations. “I remember Iceland not being a big thing three years ago when I first went there, but now, you can see Filipinos and other tourists everywhere,” she said. “Iceland has become the new dream destination for everyone.” Jaison added that Travel Warehouse introduced a lot of places to the Philippine market when it started selling those types of packages in 1999. “Years ago, Maldives was not really that popular, it was kind of a farfetched idea. We were the very first one to introduce it here, and when you look it up on the internet now, it’s a popular place and a mainstream destination among Filipinos already,” he said.

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PHOTOS COURTESY OF TOURISM NEW ZEALAND (TONGARIRO NATIONAL PARK), JAMES DALY (BHUTAN LOCALS), XUSENRU (TASHKENT) VIA PIXABAY, SASINT (FARMER AND LUANG PRABANG) VIA PIXABAY, AND KLARA ISKRA AĂ&#x2018;ONUEVO (TAIWAN)

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on living life to the fullest

Jeron Travel and Tours general manager Chal Chang Lontoc-Del Rosario said that they have been pushing further to spark interest about these types of destinations, saying that going to these places gives authentic experiences. â&#x20AC;&#x153;You get to enjoy the place more in a less-commercialized way, letting you get to know the place even better. Youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re there to really enjoy,â&#x20AC;? she said. Jaison however, said that while itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s time to conquer the road-less-traveled, travelers must still be mindful about culture and environment preservation. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Time will come that those destinations will be commercialized as well, so itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s best to see them while they are still undiscovered. But we should do so without destroying the placesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; culture, environment, and the heritage,â&#x20AC;? he said. Angely added, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s true that we will only live once and instead of doing what everyone else is doing, I think itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s time you do something different. Who knows, you just might start a new trend.â&#x20AC;? VOLUME ONE 2017 | TRAVEL NOW

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special feature EMERGING INTERNATIONAL DESTINATIONS 0UPa\X];dP]V?aPQP]V

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laos This country is considered the least visited in ASEAN, and itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s probably why it developed quite an interest among many seasoned travelers. Jaison said that more people are now booking tours in or expressing curiosity about this humbling country because of its numerous beautiful temples sans the selďŹ eabsorbed crowd, which are often observed in some of its more famous neighboring countries. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a spiritual destination, and when I say spiritual, I mean it. Because not a lot ďŹ&#x201A;ock Laos, its temples really exude that peaceful and Zen environment,â&#x20AC;? he said. It also gives an opportunity to interact with the monks, who go on an alms procession every sunrise.

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taiwan Taiwan has been on the side, if not, behind the shadow of other more famous Chinese regions like Hong Kong and Macau for so long. But now, Chal said that the island has its hands full with the great increase in tourist arrivals, thanks to social media. From rich cuisine found in the night markets, to cultural destinations like Jiufen, down to natural sites like ShiďŹ&#x20AC;en Waterfalls, Taiwan is now the ideal place for quick family and barkada getaways. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The airfare is much cheaper, ďŹ&#x201A;ights are easier, and the cold climate is really enjoyable. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s really worth traveling to,â&#x20AC;? said Chal. (For more on Taiwan, turn to page 60)

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PHOTOS COURTESY OF ANGELY DUB (BHUTAN), TOURISM NEW ZEALAND (NEW ZEALAND), SKEEZE (MT.EVEREST), AND LOGGER WIGGLER (UZBEKISTAN) VIA PIXABAY

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If undiscovered is what you really seek, Bhutan is deďŹ nitely the place to be. Where else can you ďŹ nd a Buddhist kingdom on the edge of the Himalayas? Or temples and monasteries perched atop cliďŹ&#x20AC;s and mountains? The serenity that it brings, coupled with dramatic landscapes that range from subtropical plants to steep mountains and valleys, as well as the almost non-existent internet reception, make it the perfect place to really feel the beauty of the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;and the peace that once came with it. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s mysterious and has totally no exposure yet,â&#x20AC;? adds Angely.

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nepal

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Just like its neighboring country Bhutan, Nepal is also blessed with a uniquely diverse landscape featuring the gorgeous Himalayan Mountains, hills, ďŹ&#x201A;at expansive plains, and deep gorges. The countryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s people are also one of its main attractions, with charisma and hospitality comparable to Filipinos. Angely said that Nepal is gaining popularity among Filipino tourists mainly because of the opportunity to be near Mount Everestâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s tallest mountain, and believed to be the birthplace of Buddha. â&#x20AC;&#x153;People are now focusing on Nepal because they seek the serene Kathmandu temples, as well as the thrill of trekking the base camp of Mount Everest,â&#x20AC;? she said.

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armenia This country has sparked the curiosity of seasoned tourists who are devout Christians or Catholics, according to Jaison, because it is the oldest Christian country in the world. It is where the religion was basically born. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Armenia has become an emerging destination because of its pilgrimage tourâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;which can also be historical for the devout. It boasts of having one of the ďŹ rst Christian churches in the world as well as Mount Ararat, where Noahâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Ark is located,â&#x20AC;? he said. VOLUME ONE 2017 | TRAVEL NOW

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uzbekistan

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This country may still have a lot to prove to be put on the bucket list of travelers worldwide, but Jaison said it is deďŹ nitely his answer to every touristâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s undying questions â&#x20AC;&#x153;Where should I go next?â&#x20AC;? and â&#x20AC;&#x153;What unique country can you recommend?â&#x20AC;? Many people are now asking more and more about Uzbekistan and what it has to oďŹ&#x20AC;er, thanks to the promotion of agencies and operators like Jaisonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Travel Warehouse. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s famous for the Great Silk Roadâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;an ancient network of trade routes used for centuries as the cultural interaction of Asian and Europe. Since Uzbekistan is located in the center of Eurasian continent, it played a key role in the transcontinental system of the Great Silk Road. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It is the best place to learn about the Silk Road, and also the ideal place to interact further with the Islamic community. It has many beautiful mosques,â&#x20AC;? said Jaison.

new zealand New Zealand is one of the best destinations for people who want to experience natureâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s most unique marvels. According to Chal, the country oďŹ&#x20AC;ers authentic experiences with natureâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;from green landscapes, to beautiful gorges and glaciers, down to glow worm caves. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s also cheaper than the USA, and yet it oďŹ&#x20AC;ers just as rich wonders that people look for the most,â&#x20AC;? she said.

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PHOTOS COURTESY OF ANGELY DUB (ICELAND, PERU, CLOUD NINE SIARGAO), JOSHUA BERIDA (NAKED ISLAND), AND ACE MARK DEL PILAR (BATANES)

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iceland Angely said that Filipino tourists are now bombarding her agency with questions and bookings about Icelandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s most famous phenomenaâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;the Aurora Borealis. â&#x20AC;&#x153;People are now crazy about the Northern Lights in Iceland, and surprisingly, there are now Filipinos everywhere whenever I go there,â&#x20AC;? she said. Jaison added that it is also the best destination to be with nature in Europe, with volcanoes, lakes, waterfalls, and glaciers splattered all over the country. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Where else in Europe can you see the Northern Lights and commune with nature at the same time?â&#x20AC;? he said.

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peru While many people know Peru even before because of Macchu Picchuâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;one of the seven wonders of the new worldâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;Jaison said not a lot had the courage to travel or book a tour there. But that was before, he said, when social media is still not yet prominent enough to inspire people to travel further. â&#x20AC;&#x153;There are more people going to Peru now. And our customers all appreciated the Peruvian cuisine, the Inca civilization, as well as the city of Cusco, a UNESCO Heritage Site.â&#x20AC;? It also doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t hurt that Peruâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s culture is similar to the Philippines, since both countries used to be under Spanish rule. VOLUME ONE 2017 | TRAVEL NOW

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batanes EMERGING LOCAL DESTINATIONS Batanes is considered by many as an expensive destination, so much so that even a trip to Hong Kong is said to be cheaper than going thereâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;and this is even without the abundance of resorts, hotels, and malls. It has somewhat created a private atmosphere, and has stayed as preserved as it should be. According to Angely, this is also the reason people want to go there even more, willing to spend so much just to see and experience the beauty of the province. She said that â&#x20AC;&#x153;many people are really curious about Batanesâ&#x20AC;? and â&#x20AC;&#x153;they want to see its green landscapesâ&#x20AC;? no matter how much it would cost them. Jaison, meanwhile, added that Batanes oďŹ&#x20AC;ers something completely diďŹ&#x20AC;erent from the rest of the countryâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;the topography, culture, houses, and churches are like no other. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s still the Philippines, but it doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t feel like itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re in the Philippines,â&#x20AC;? he said.

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siargao While famous because of its world-class surďŹ ng waves, Chal said that not a lot of tourists brave it because of the eďŹ&#x20AC;ort needed to go there. Nonetheless, it has created quite a community for surfers and backpackers. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I could predict it could be the next Bali if done rightâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;the culture of the surďŹ ng community is there, and the feel of laid-back lifestyle is there,â&#x20AC;? she said. Angely added that there are other things to do in Siargao, just like island-hopping in Naked and Guyam islands, and jellyďŹ sh interaction at Bucas Grande. 0c=PZTS8b[P]SBXPaVP^

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PHOTOS COURTESY OF JIMANGGRO (BOKBOK BEACH) VIA WIKI COMMONS, JAMILLE DOMINGO (APO ISLAND AND CAMBUGAHAY FALLS), MARLON PAUL BAYLADO (RIZAL BOULEVARD AND DUMAGUETE BELFRY) VIA WIKI COMMONS, CARMELO BAYARCAL (LAZI CONVENT) VIA WIKI COMMONS, AND PRIMER GROUP OF COMPANIES (BALER)

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san vicente, palawan No one can argue about the marvel that is Palawan. From Puerto Princesaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s underground river, to El Nidoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s lagoons and twin beaches, to Coronâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s clean lakes and marine sanctuariesâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s no wonder that the province was recognized as the best island in the world by many critics and travelers worldwide. And now, people are on their way to discovering another splendor of the province, the beaches of San Vicente. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The great thing about San Vicente is that aside from having pristine and unspoiled white sand beaches, the people are directed towards eco-tourismâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;assuring that with the right action, it would not be a disaster like other tourist-infested beaches,â&#x20AC;? Jaison said. Resorts are now being built there, but people can still enjoy the serenity of the area. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I hope they will develop it with environment protection in mind. But right now, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s still not commercialized, and thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s good for people who want to discover something new and beautiful.â&#x20AC;?

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dumaguete

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Hailed as one of the best places to retire in 2014 by Forbes, Dumaguete is a small town that oďŹ&#x20AC;ers big attractions for travelers of all ages. Chal said itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s perhaps the only city thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s beside or at least very near lots of sanctuaries that are arguably among the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s best. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Apo Island where you have an almost 100% chance of seeing pawikans, Manjuyod Island where you can see a beautiful sandbar, as well as hundreds of dolphins in one swim, and the twin lakes of Danao and Balinsasayao,â&#x20AC;? she said. Aside from that, people can also enjoy the lively yet peaceful vibe of the town, a perfect place for relaxation, according to Chal. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a very small town and cityâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;no big hotels but you have a lot of foreigners and younger people going there. You have that whole town-vibe with the water at bay. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s so quaint yet itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s still so alive.â&#x20AC;?

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baler This place is becoming more and more popular among surfers, weekend travelers, and adventurers mainly because of its proximity to Manila. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the ideal destination, Jaison said, for travelers who think spontaneously. He added that Baler is not a place that needs rigorous planning or itinerary making. â&#x20AC;&#x153;You can decide if you want to go there in just a snap. Like, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;I want to go to Baler now,â&#x20AC;&#x2122; you can just pack a bag and be on your way either through commuting or your own car. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not a diďŹ&#x192;cult place to go to. Even motorcycle riders go to Baler in a rush,â&#x20AC;? he said. Aside from the waves, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s also replete with churches and ancestral housesâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; ideal for history buďŹ&#x20AC;s.

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siquijor While Siquijor has been under a negative impression over the years, Filipino travelers, especially the young ones, have become more interested in going to the island. The province is blessed with diving sites, white sand beaches, as well as magniďŹ cent falls. Even the food is great, and, unlike what many people used to say, the locals are nothing but nice and warm. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the ideal destination for those who seek a quiet sanctuary, and itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s good that people are starting to let go of the stigma that once came with it,â&#x20AC;? said Jaison. CWTbT PaT b^\T ^U cWT aT]^f]TS PRRaTSXcTS caPeT[ PVT]RXTb P]S c^da ^_TaPc^ab ]^c Ydbc X] cWT ?WX[X__X]Tb Qdc P[b^ X] cWT X]cTa]PcX^]P[ bRT]T 5^a \^aT X]U^a\PcX^] PQ^dc cWTbT d]SXbR^eTaTS STbcX]PcX^]b _W^]T T\PX[ ^a eXbXc)  CaPeT[ FPaTW^dbT Pc %"! #& !$% P]S +X]U^/caPeT[fPaTW^dbTX]RR^\! 0RRTbb CaPeT[ P]S C^dab 8]R Pc %"! $"#  % P]S +caPeT[fXcWPRRTbbR^\"9Ta^]CaPeT[P]SC^dabPc%"!'$# ' "P]S+X]U^/YTa^]caPeT[R^\-

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RECOMMENDS: CENTRAL EUROPE

hen it comes to the richness of culture, one can never go wrong with Central Europe, having countries with heritage that dates back more than centuries ago. It is in this region that one can taste Europe’s identity in its raw and full glory, which can be credited to the fact that most of it are still under the radar. So for those looking for ways to discover more of Europe, check out these TRAVEL NOW recommended destinations in Central Europe—and realize that there is so much more than the usual Paris and Rome.

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prague prag pr ague ue Considered by many as one of the fastest emerging destinations in Europe, Prague is replete with churches, museums, castles, statues, and colonial buildings that all have a fair share of contribution to Czech Republic’s rich history. These are some of the things to see:

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1. charles bridge. Spanning across the Vltava River, the 600-year old Charles Bridge is a stone Gothic bridge constructed in 1357 with orders from Czech king and Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV. The bridge is believed to have been made with egg yolks mixed into the mortar to strengthen construction.

ALL CENTRAL EUROPE PHOTOS COURTESY OF MARBEE SHING-GO

2. old town hall tower. One of the most striking buildings in Prague, this tower gives the perfect view of the rest of the Old Town. 3. saint nicholas church. The Church of Saint Nicholas is a Baroque church in Prague built in the 18th century, dedicated to (of course) Saint Nicholas. 4. český krumlov. Český Krumlov is a place near Prague that has a castle that bears Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque elements, a huge garden, and an original 17th-century Baroque theater. The view at the top of its round bell tower is also great. 5. klementinum library. Said to be the most beautiful library in the world, Klementinum Library is the largest and one of the most historic complex buildings in Prague. Many of Europe’s great scientists, philosophers, and musicians have also studied and worked here. VOLUME ONE 2017 | TRAVEL NOW

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krak Ó w One unique thing about this Polish ancient capital is that while it exudes an old vibe as a result of its interesting history, it still managed to host a large population of young adults and students—with 16 universities and a huge density of bars and cafés suitable to the youth. Here are the destinations TRAVEL NOW recommends: 1. wawel hill. For many centuries, it was believed that a dragon’s lair lies in a cave at the foot of Wawel Hill on the bank of the Vistula River. Today, the dragon’s cave is considered a popular tourist stop where celebrations are often held. 2. kazimierz. A Jewish town established in the 14th century, Kazimierz is not only the second largest and most precious complex of Jewish historical sites, it is also a part of the original 1978 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. 3. kanonicza. Arguably the oldest street in Krakow, Kanonicza is known for being home to the city’s religious canons, which was how it got its name. 4. rynek główny or the market square. Located at the center of the city, Kraków’s Main Market Square or Rynek Główny is one of the largest medieval town squares in Europe, and one of the oldest. 5. glass muzeum. Kraków is also wellknown for its interesting stained glass history, which is why a visit to this museum is a must.

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budapest Budapest is a fusion of two Hungarian cities Buda (on the West side of Danube river) and Pest (on the East side), which means a trip to the city is tantamount to experiencing the best of both worlds. More than its natural sites, Budapest is also lauded for its bathhouses, unique cuisine, and its Roman ruins and contemporary postmodern design—which made it gain the nickname “The Paris of the East.” Check out these must-see spots: CPZT]Ua^\cWT?TbcbXST^UcWTRXch

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1. buda castle. This World Heritage Site boasts arguably the most distinct skyline in the city, with the huge green dome dominating the view. The palace is also is home to the Hungarian National Gallery and the Budapest History Museum.

5. heroes’ square and the city park. One of Budapest’s postcard-worthy landmarks, Heroes’ Square and the City Park showcase statues of Hungarian leaders, museums, and open fields where you can enjoy a peaceful picnic with your buddies.

2. széchenyi bath. While the city is dotted with dozens of thermal baths in Budapest, Széchenyi Bath is probably one of the very few that have the most stunning architecture. Its intelligently-designed hot thermal pool also makes it perfect for swimming even on the winter season.

6. budapest opera house. Considered one of the most beautiful Neo-Renaissance buildings in Europe, the horse-shoe shaped Budapest Opera House is lauded for its acoustics, which is claimed by international

3. saint stephen’s basilica and the parliament house. Take a political journey at the Parliament House near the Margaret Bridge, either through booking a 45-minute tour or by strolling around it yourself. 4. river banks of danube. It is the ideal place to see the beautiful panorama of the city either by day or by night. You can walk along both banks, or take a boat ride to enjoy the view. Another way to experience this beauty is by walking across any one of the central bridges, which offer the same breathtaking views.

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engineers as the third best in the continent (only after Scala Opera House in Milan and the Paris Opera House). It can accommodate 1200 people, and in front stands the statue of Ferenc Liszt, the composer of the Hungarian national anthem and the first music director of the opera house. 7. new york café. New York Café has been witness to the country’s revered moments in history, and it’s visible once you step inside. It bears eclectic Italian Renaissance-style, and showcases live gypsy music along with the multicultural cuisine of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. A stay here feels like traveling back in time but still having the comforts of modernity—perfect when you want to unwind after a day of walking around.

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DRUNK ON SOUTH MORAVIA 38B2>E4A8=62I427 A4?D1;82{BF8=4A468>=

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Take a trip to this quaint region with Liz Villaseñor and uncover a place that’s not only brimming with expertly-created wine, but also with picturesque views, warm locals, and fun festivities photographed by LIZ VILLASEÑOR and FRANTISEK THORZ

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I

ARRIVED IN SOUTH MORAVIA IN THE BEGINNING OF SEPTEMBER, just as the grapevine harvest season was beginning. At the time, I didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know how big a deal this was, but a few passionate conversations with locals soon gave me an idea. On my first weekend in the region, I was whisked off to a wine festival in Mikulov, a castle town in the middle of South Moraviaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s rolling fields and vineyards. It was the annual PĂĄlavskĂŠ vinobranĂ­, a weekend-long festival that transforms the usually sleepy town into a big wild street party. The train going there was packed with a rowdy crowd. Everyone was laughing and some were even singing. It was very different from the usual reserved European demeanor Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve been used to so far. The short walk from the train station to the town square was a scenic oneâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;the 13th-century stone castle dominated the town, visible from every angle, and the quintessential cobblestone streets reminded me that I was indeed in Europe, despite the almost-tropical heat. The strains of a distinctly Bohemian melody greeted us as we entered the town square. A stage was set up in the middle of the town square and groups of all ages took turns playingâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;from elderly men with accordions to school girls with violins. Everywhere I looked, people were enjoying a glass of wine. Most were carrying out lively conversations while deftly holding their glasses, while some had wine glass necklace holders around their necks, allowing them to eat potato pancakes and roasted duck while their wine glasses dangled in front of their chests.

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TALES OF WINE AND TERROIR The Czech Republic is almost synonymous with beer, the pilsner lager being one of its most famous contributions to the world. The Czechs also drink more beer than anyone in the world, having held this record for more than 20 years now. And what else goes best with a #wheninczech selfie but a big glass of pilsner? But while Moravians do enjoy their beers, they are most proud of their wines. Strike up a conversation with any friendly Moravian, and soon enough the conversation will turn to wine. They will probably ask you within the first five minutes if youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve tried the burÄ?ĂĄk, a regional specialty that is basically young wine. Freshly harvested grapes are crushed and fermented a little, which results into a deceptively light and refreshing grape juice, but with the alcohol content of a matured wine. (In the Philippines, we might call this a traydor, or traitor drink. By the time the alcohol kicks in, you may have already drunk a bit too many.) The locals are also incredibly well-versed in the viticulture and terroir of the region. Almost everyone I met knew exactly what made their wines goodâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;from the climate, to the soils, and to the food pairings that work best. Moravians have been growing and making wines since the 2nd century, but the centuries of political instability in the area have repeatedly disrupted winemakers and destroyed vineyards. The Thirty Yearsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; War in the 17th century, for example, destroyed much of the vineyards in the area, which took a century to replant. In the 18th century, Austrian vintners who feared the competition used

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SOUTH MORAVIA

their political influence to suppress the Moravian vineyards. In the 19th century, the Liechtenstein royal family began their reign in the region, and as they were wine enthusiasts, they constructed numerous wine cellars and developed the art and science of wine-making. By the end of World War II, however, the Liechtensteins were forced to leave Czechoslovakia and Moravian winemakers had to turn over their businesses to the communist state. The communist-run vineyards favored quantity over quality and the production became automatic and uniform. Centuriesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; worth of winemaking knowledge almost disappeared. With the end of the communist rule, the Moravians gained back their lands and renewed their businesses, employing modern wine-making methods on centuries-old vineyards and cellars. Today, South Moravians are making some of the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s best white wines, as well as notable reds. Their wines are getting international attention from wine connoisseurs worldwide, with their merlots and pĂĄlavas winning awards in top international wine competitions. /bbVS>tZOdaY{dW\]P`O\ If youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re keen on the wine culture, the eW\S[OYS`aRS[]\ab`ObSR beginning of fall is a great time to visit South V]ePc`tY]`g]c\UeW\S Wa[ORSBVSgQ`caVbVS Moravia, as the whole region comes alive U`O^SaO\RORRaSdS`OZ with the vintage season and the festivals. W\U`SRWS\bab]TS`[S\bbVS XcWQSbVS\W\dWbSSdS`g]\S Wine cellars and wine-tasting shops all over b]ÂżZZbVSW`UZOaaSaeWbV the region are open for visitors year-round. bVST`SaVZg[ORSeW\S

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THINGS TO DO IN SOUTH MORAVIA

1 Climb up the Holy Hill for a spectacular hilltop view of the castle town of Mikulov. At the top, youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll ďŹ nd several religious relics and a chapel, as well as small groups of locals and tourists enjoying a glass of wine while watching the sunset. 2 Try a glass (or more!) of burÄ?ĂĄk. This is young wine, a regional specialty available during the harvest season in September. Youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll ďŹ nd makeshift signs advertising the burÄ?ĂĄk everywhere, but itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s best enjoyed in one of the harvest festivals. 3 Imagine the perfect countryside wedding at the Hradistek in VelkĂŠ BĂ­lovice. If you love road trips, the road to VelkĂŠ BĂ­lovice is one of the most scenic ones, especially during summer and early fall. The most popular destination (and the most Instagrammable!) is the Hradistek, a white chapel built on a hill, which is famous among locals as a wedding destination and the setting of several Moravian movies.

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7 Go wine-tasting in Valtice, the wine capital of Czech Republic. The historical 15th century wine cellar underneath the Valtice château is open to guests year-round, oďŹ&#x20AC;ering the top-rated wines from all over the country.

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4 Walk around the forests and gardens of the LedniceValtice Cultural Landscape. This UNESCO-protected site is home to impressive châteaux, the largest garden in Europe, and forests dotted with historical and cultural monuments. A dayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s worth of walking around the well-maintained marked trails is a crash course in the history of the Liechtenstein royal familyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s reign in the region. 5 Hike up the tabletop mountain in Klentnice for great views of the Moravian countryside. Youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll also pass by the ruins of the Orphan Castle and several interesting limestone rock formations.

8 Mingle with the locals at the pubs and cafĂŠs in Brno. The city houses many universities and attracts many digital nomads and expats, which bolster the food and drink scene. Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s always a new and hip cafĂŠ around the corner and pubs regularly host parties and events. Bonus: drinks are way cheaper here compared to Prague, Vienna, and Budapest. 9 Go swimming or ďŹ shing in NovĂŠ MlĂ˝ny. As a landlocked country, the Czech Republic may be lacking in beaches, but they do have beautiful lakes like the NovĂŠ MlĂ˝ny. During summer, a lot of tour companies oďŹ&#x20AC;er water activities. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s also a perfect place to watch the sunset. 10 Have a trdlojogurt! This is a yummy spin to the most popular Czech pastry, the trdelnik. The classic sweet rolled pastry is ďŹ lled with yoghurt and topped with chocolate and fruits for maximum indulgence. If all you do in South Moravia is change trains in the Brno station, pass by the trdlojogurt stall on Platform 1.

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6 Visit the Villa Tugendhat in Brno. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s one of the earliest and most impressive examples of functionalist architecture, which Brno is known for.

NATURE AND ADVENTURE Being a wine region, the endless vineyards in South Moravia is of course, a given. You can best appreciate this by going on bike trails that will take you up and down hills and through vineyards and rows of wine cellars. For less physically fit ones (like me), a drive around the countryside is also a great way to experience the region. We visited the town of VelkĂŠ BĂ­lovice, the largest grapevinegrowing town in the Czech Republic. We drove through endless vineyards with clusters of red and white grapes soaking up the sunshine, fields of yellow rapeseed flowers, and herds of goats grazing on the hills. The prominent sight, however, is the Hradistek, an ivory white chapel on top of a hill. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s really a postcard-perfect sight and popular for weddings among the locals.

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BRNO FOR THE HIP CROWD With wine and nature trails as its main selling points, South Moravia is understandably more popular among older travelers. But I think even travelers in their 20s can appreciate the Moravian capital city of Brno. For one, it is a lot more affordable than the surrounding cities of Prague, Vienna, and Budapest. In Vienna, EUR4 will get you a sausage and a piece of bread, which you will then have to nibble on while freezing on a park bench. Convert that into Czech crowns and you can enjoy lamb stew and a glass of red wine in one of Brnoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s trendy restaurants, where waiters will offer you a blanket if you want to eat al fresco. If you want to stretch your travel budget, take the train to Brno and watch as the prices drop, even for Czech standards. Brno is also home to a lot of universities, which means the city is dotted with a lot of cafĂŠs and artsy restaurants to cater to the student populace. This in turn attracted a lot of expats and digital nomads who made the city their home. Brno may not be popular in fastpaced tourist routes, but the expat community has certainly added a bit of cosmopolitan color to the city. At the very least, Brno is the perfect stopover if youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re looking for a laid-back city to chill in between the bustling cities of Prague, Vienna, and Budapest. Who knows? A drink with the Moravians may just make you linger for a week or more. VOLUME ONE 2017 | TRAVEL NOW

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KOTA KINABALU

SERENDIPITIES

Jamille Domingo explores Kota Kinabalu in Sabah for the first time, and discovers all the magic and beauty that the city offers photographed by JAMILLE DOMINGO and VINZ LAMORENA special thanks to TOURISM MALAYSIA and SABAH TOURISM BOARD

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EFORE MY VISIT TO KOTA KINABALU, my idea of this northern part of Borneo was not really extensive. All I knew back then was that it is famous among mountaineers because of Mount Kinabalu, said to be the highest peak in Southeast Asia. As an aspiring hiker, this is the only destination that actually somewhat piqued my interest—and it’s not even that great of a fancy. Not even on my bucket list. But as I boarded the plane going to that small city in the country, I couldn’t help feeling a tinge of excitement—as if it was a place I had wanted to set foot in for a long time. I was even told that apart from the popular mountain, there are still so many things to see and enjoy in Kota Kinabalu. Turns out, it’s a coastal city surrounded by a rainforest, varied wildlife and underwater marvels, stunning beaches, bustling markets, and beautiful places of worship. Nobody can say no to discovering all those things—at least not me. I peeked through the plane window and there it was, all shades of blue with hints of green and brown—an impeccable blend of the beauty of nature. When I got off the plane, the airport silence was immediately made up for by the friendly and welcoming smiles of the locals I saw along the way. I knew right then that it was going to be an enjoyable and immersive trip.

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MARI MARI CULTURAL VILLAGE: A PLACE OF IMMERSION Just like in first dates, the perfect way to get to know a place is to listen to its stories—the history, how it came to be, and what makes it important—a reason the first thing we did in the city was take the tour in Mari Mari Cultural Village. Located deep in the countryside, the village functions as an immersive museum that preserves Borneo’s heritage. The three-hour tour lets visitors experience the culture of the region’s indigenous ethnic groups. Mari Mari features various traditional homes of five different tribal communities of Borneo. These include the rice farmers of Kadazan-Dusun, the longhouse residents of Rungus, the hunters and fishermen of Lundyeh, the sea gypsies of Bajau, and the headhunters of Murut.

Mari Mari Cultural Village is a twenty- to thirty-minute ride from central Kota Kinabalu. Cultural tours are available for booking every 10 AM, 2 PM, and 6 PM. For more information, visit <marimariculturalvillage.com>.

Along the way, we were able to experience activities that represent the lifestyle they had back in the day. I was able to use a blow-pipe, the weapon they used when combatting enemies, which, I must say, is not as easy to use as it looks. I also witnessed my tour buddies getting traditional tattoos, and how tribes started fire before. We all experienced as well how the different Borneo tribes welcome strangers and guests into their communities. Lastly, we were able to see several tribal dance performances—including a bamboo dance reminiscent of our very own tinikling.

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KOTA KINABALU U

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THE THRILL OF KIULU RIVER Kota Kinabalu is a place of nature and wildlife, and while it offers a thrill for hikers with the famed Mount Kinabalu, I literally had no idea that it is also home to other adventurous tours like white water rafting and zip lining activitiesâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;which can both be experienced at Kiulu River. Located in Kiulu Village, Kiulu River is known not only for its rapids that make it ideal for rafting, but also for its clean waters. In fact, the river is so clean that the visibility can reach nearly ten feet! Not a lot of rivers in Malaysia are as clear as that, which is why it is considered a gem throughout Sabah, and a magnet among tourists. Water rafting is its most famous activity. Its rapids may not be as wild and as strong as those usually found in other rivers in Asia, but it is exactly the reason why it is suitable for family trips. This moderately adventurous activity is only rated as grade 1 or 2, meaning it requires only minimal maneuveringâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;great even for kids. The entire activity takes two hours and spans about 12 kilometers, with the starting point located approximately 40 Kiulu River is located at kilometers from the city. Kampung Pukak Kiulu, Aside from the water rafting, about an hour drive from other activities you can do at Kiulu central Kota Kinabalu. River and Park include zip lining, For more information quad biking, and river tubing. If about water rafting tours adventure is not quite your fancy, and other activities, visit you can enjoy the vast greenery <sabahtourism.com>. beside the river, where you can just lay down and relax. Whatever youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re in for, Kiulu River is worth the journey.

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LAZING AT MANUKAN ISLAND I am a huge fan of oceans and coastlines, so I always make sure to check out the best in the place whenever I travel. Given that Kota Kinabalu is surrounded by ocean and islands, it goes without saying that the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;or the entire Sabah stateâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;offers wonderful beaches to bask in. Certainly, Manukan Island did not disappoint. I knew I was going to fall in love with this island the moment I started to feel the thrill on the boat ride. It was just a few-minute journey from the resort but the boat drivers surely knew how to still make it fun. They maneuvered it so wildly that we felt as though we were in a roller coaster ride, with various â&#x20AC;&#x153;ohhhhsâ&#x20AC;? and â&#x20AC;&#x153;woosâ&#x20AC;? reverberating throughout the boat. When we arrived, there was this long dock leading to the shore of the island, and ;^RP[ the view it brought just left aTSQTP] me in awe. It looked like one _^_bXR[T U^d]S of the beaches in Maldives, TeTahfWTaT as if it was taken straight out X]cWTRXch TeT]X]Xcb of a postcard! The island has Xb[P]Sb everything one would want for a great beach getawayâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; white sand, turquoise waters, coconut trees, and different kinds of fishes and turtles. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s great for diving, swimming, hiking, or just strolling on the shore with either a cocktail or a popsicle on one hand.

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They say that if you want to see the place youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re visiting in its raw and pure state, the local markets should be your first stop. In Kota Kinabalu, tucked away from the posh malls and the rest of modernity, lies this night market where, I believe, the real Borneo atmosphere visibly exists. Luckily, I was able to personally visit it twice during my entire stay in the city. The first one was during the day, where I saw authentic Malay ingredients and fresh seafood (such as bugeyed breams, tuna, tiger prawns, red snappers, and many others) being sold. My second visit, however, is my favorite. It happened when my tour buddies and I were looking for a fun food trip place at three in the morning. At the northeast end of the market stands this sanctuary for the gourmandsâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;a huge hawker center where stalls upon stalls of Malay dishes thrive. This food haven offers a great opportunity to immerse your palate through the countryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s local cuisine. Every Malay food in the book can be tasted hereâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;from laksa soup, varieties of nasi goreng, bah kut teh, nasi lemak, to drinks like bandung and tetarik. The dishes we ordered all tasted great, and we instantly felt at home with the warmth of food vendorsâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;many of which are half-Filipinos. It was on the wee hours of the morning and the place was still very much alive, with TV screens showing either Hollywood films or local shows, and people talking through the night with beers and laughter. It was such a humbling sight, and we definitely felt one with the locals.

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THE STREETS AND PLACES OF WORSHIP I spent an entire night trying to discover more of the city through strolling around Gaya Street. Perfect for millennials and expats, this area is replete with hipster restaurants and coffee shops, quirky bars and stores, touristfriendly hostels, eccentric wall art, and many more. It seems as if the best of youth and adulthood were mixed together, and then splashed on every corner of the street for everyone to admire. It felt like a quiet and safe refuge, where people of all ages can come together and not feel out of place. Other attractions to visit in Kota Kinabalu are its places of worship. Two of the recommended ones are the Sabah State Mosque in Sembulan and the Kota Kinabalu City Mosque. The Sabah State Mosque in Sembulan, peppered with golden patterns and constructed in a park-like setting, was designed by architect Dato Baharuddin Abu Kassim and was officially opened in June 1977. The City Mosque, on the other hand, was opened in February 2000. With a maximum capacity of 12,000 worshipers, it sits on a sixhectare site at Pasir Road, on the shores of the city. It was

also coined as â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Floating Mosqueâ&#x20AC;? since it was partially surrounded by a man-made lagoon. One great thing about this mosque is that it may be visited by non-Muslims, except during prayers, provided they wear modest clothing. It has, therefore, become a common destination not just for tourists, but photographers as well. Kota Kinabalu was not on my bucket list, I admit that. It was not a place I was willing to devote midnights for booking with airlineâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s seat sale promos, and it was not something Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d prepare for so much. But from the moment I set foot in the city, up to the time I took a last glance at it inside the plane on my flight back home, I knew itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s something I was meant to see and spend time in. It has an old-world charm yet it possesses a rising potential for modernity. Its culture is opulent yet open to everyone. Its friendly locals blend well with its breathtaking beaches, and its culinary spectrum is rich yet continues to innovate. It wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t welcome you with a wow, but Kota Kinabalu will definitely grow on you once you really see what it has to offer.

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SOX U N L O C K I N G T H E 1 2 T H PA R A D I S E Visit SOCCSKSARGEN and let its numerous attractions, adventure oï¬&#x20AC;erings, and natural beauty show you that the region is more than ready to be discovered written by JAMILLE DOMINGO photos courtesy of PHILIPPINE TRAVEL AGENCIES ASSOCIATION additional photos courtesy of JAMILLE DOMINGO, DADA PERDIDO, REX SONGCAYAUON, and JOBELLE DOMINGO special thanks to PHILIPPINE TRAVEL AGENCIES ASSOCIATION and SOCCSKSARGEN TOURISM

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COMPARED TO ITS SISTER MAJOR ISLANDS (LUZON AND VISAYAS), Mindanao has remained quite under the tourist radar for the longest time. While some believe that it is due to the infamous connotation it has been associated with, it does not diminish the fact that the island is brimming with so many attractions that cater to travelers of all types and ages. The region of SOCCSKSARGEN (South Cotabato, Cotabato City, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, General Santos City) or SOX for instance, proves to be a breather from the hustle and

bustle of the metro, with tons of activities andd points of interest that guarantee a break from the urban. But the great thing about SOX goes beyond its beautiful attractions—it’s also the fact that it’s waiting to be discovered. It has developed quite a sense of personality that is eager and passionate about being known. The region is now emerging from the dark, seemingly coming out from a long slumber. And as if proudly thumping its chest out for everyone to see, SOX is making noise among adventurers that it is slowly getting rid of the stigma that comes with Mindanao as a whole. It has become a magnet of a destination, pulling every curious tourist in like vacuum.

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SOCCSKSARGEN Tourism recently created a new nickname to make Region 12 easier to recognize for today’s generation of travelers. From SOCCSKSARGEN, it can now also be referred to as SOX.

GENERAL SANTOS CITY

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GENERAL SANTOS CITY FISH PORT COMPLEX This complex boasts of being arguably the most modern port not just in Mindanao, but in the whole country as well, accredited with both USFDA (US Food and Drug Administration) and EUFDA (Europe Food and Drug Administration) standards. It comprises seven tuna canning factories with an average daily capacity of 750 metric tons per day, and its over 7800 plant workers help create an annual production volume of 2.4 million metric tons of tuna. THE PACMAN TOUR GenSan was further put on the map because of the rise of pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao in the international boxing scene. Over the course of his career, he has made billions of dollars, enabling him to build businesses and mansions in GenSan and other parts of the country. Two of his mansions are now open for tourists who want to learn more about his life. The first mansion, which he claims to be his childhood

Dubbed as “The Tuna Capital of the Philippines,” General Santos City or GenSan is considered one of the country’s most thriving cities—enjoying an annual growth rate of 3.53%. The seventh fastest growing city in the country also serves home to numerous MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences, exhibitions) activities for businessmen all over the Philippines, as well as several malls for fashion enthusiasts. More than that, it’s also the birthplace of several legends in the entertainment and sporting industry—the most notable of which is Manny Pacquiao.

dream house, now serves as a museum that houses all his belts and boxing memorabilia. His second mansion, on the other hand, is a bit more isolated since it’s where he and his family currently live. Aside from the two mansions, you can also visit the Wild Card Gym, the place where he started his boxing career (and where he still trains most of the time). The entire tour of his properties costs P500 per head, proceeds of which go entirely to his h ffoundation. d

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WHERE TO STAY Green Leaf Hotel GenSan One of the few upscale hotels in the city, Green Leaf Hotel GenSan offers convenience like no other. Its location is right in the middle of the city, with malls just in front or within walking distance. It’s also the only hotel in Mindanao powered with Solar Energy—assuring its regard for environment preservation. Most of all, the hotel also offers tours to GenSan’s top tourist destinations. Green Leaf Hotel GenSan is located at San Miguel corner Jose Catolico Avenue, General Santos City. For bookings and reservations, phone (+63 83) 552 1111 or email <info@ greenleafhotelgensan.com>

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SOCCSKSARGEN

SOUTH COTOBATO Home of the T’bolis, South Cotabato is fast becoming a popular tourist destination in SOX because of T’nalak Festival—a celebration that shows the actuality of arts and culture development in the province. It’s also appreciated by many because of its microclimate temperature, which makes going around more fun for travelers. CWTiX_[X]TXb^]T^U;PZT BTQdb\^bcUP\^db PccaPRcX^]b ;PZTBTQdb abcUP[[b ^dc^UbTeT]

WHERE TO EAT Bob Nowang This restaurant may look nondescript on the outside, but once you set foot inside, you’ll instantly fall in love. Unique interiors will greet you immediately, along with its quirky design and the cultural trinkets that adorn every corner of the restaurant. Aside from your eyes, your tummy will also get its own satisfaction, as it offers a wide range local food and drinks—including coffee, fresh juices, shakes, noodles, pork and chicken dishes, vegetables, salad, fish and seafood, and many others.

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Bob Nowong is located at Purok Rosas, Barangay Poblacion, South Cotabato. For bookings and reservations, phone (+63 917) 908 4236 or like them at Bob Nowong Lake Sebu

LAKE SEBU L Lake Sebu is slowly dominating the tourism map with its picturesque views, topped with blossoming lotus w flflowers that would make your day truly fulfilling. And since it’s a well-preserved ethnic community, it’s also a must to immerse with the T’boli locals either through m joining them in a community night or by appreciating ttheir world-renowned talent—traditional weaving. Meanwhile, Lake Sebu’s zip line, one of the highest in M Southeast S Asia, promises to give an adrenaline rush as it takes t you through the exhilarating views of seven falls— one o of the greatest highlights in South Cotabato.

A SIDE TRIP TO LAKE HOLON Peace P and quiet await the adventurers and travelers at Lake L Holon, as its clear waters, cold temperature, and d distance from the rest of the area is sure to provide that away-from-the-metro a vibe everyone is craving. Lake Holon is i considered one of Mindanao’s prized gems because of o its rich biodiversity and the fact that it is considered sacred by the T’boli tribe. The journey requires three to four hours of trekking under the canopy of trees. It may be strenuous, but the view of the grand lake is definitely rewarding.

SULTAN KUDARAT Once part of the Cotabato province, Sultan Kudarat has proven well that it’s worthy of the independence it was awarded decades ago—offering attractions that are among some of the most recommended in SOX. These stops may not yet be as acknowledged as those of its other neighboring provinces in the region, but they are definitely worth the trip. TACURONG CITY

Derived from Ilonggo word Talakudong which refers to a hat, Tacurong City serves as the gateway to four major cities in Mindanao: General Santos, Cotabato, Davao, and Cagayan de Oro. It was also declared the regional winner in 2012 for city category of the Gawad Pamana ng Lahi, an award given to local government units that showed excellence in governance. Since it was named after hats, the city also has its own festival—Talakudong Festival, which celebrates its attachment to hats. BARAS BIRD SANCTUARY

In Tacurong City also lies this haven where thousands of birds fly freely everyday. Baras Bird Sanctuary was initially not a bird park when it was built—it was just a simple farm owned by a Mindanaoan named Ray Malana. Then one morning in 1996, a few egrets flew over his trees. Over the course of five years, more and more species started flocking to the farm, until the numbers have reached over 20,000 per day. It has then attracted quite a number of nature enthusiasts and bird experts, and the sanctuary has since become a tourist attraction.

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SARANGANI Sarangani is considered the coastal zone of SOX, with white sand beaches and mangroves spanning a total of over 200 kilometers. Without a doubt, the province is blessed with tons of opportunities to either relax, or pound your body with its exhilarating adventure offerings. GLAN The town of Glan is blessed with white sand beaches, such as Gumasa Beach. And when we say white sand, it’s not just the usual white sand found on beaches near Manila, but the powdery kind comparable to Boracay and Palawan—sans the crowd. Even on a weekend, the beach is still peaceful and relaxing. 6d\PbP1TPRW

PARAGLIDING SIDE TRIP AT MAASIM Paragliding is becoming the next big thing in Sarangani, with international paragliding tournaments being held in this province. Its wind gravity and heatt temperature make the perfect environment for this sport—and that’s not even including the beautiful panoramic views that await every rider.

SIDE TRIPS IN SOX SULTAN HAJI HASSANAL BOLKIAH MASJID Located in Barangay Calanganan, Cotabato City, this mosque is said to be the grandest and largest in the Philippines—with minarets towering 43 meters high, and the entire structure occupying 5000 square meters of a five-hectare land. ASIK-ASIK FALLS Located in Alamada, North Cotabato o, Asik-Asik Falls is slowly attracting numerous backpackers all over the world because of its picturesque look. The waters of Asik-Asik are constantly released from the stone cracks of the mountain wall before the mouth of the river—which is how w it got its beautiful curtain-like look.

TUKA MARINE PARK Tuka Marine Park is one of Sarangani’s most famous attractions for snorkeling, fish feeding, and diving. Tons of underwater species can be found here, including huge corals that are thrice what you usually encounter in other diving sites! This is because the area is strictly preserved, and it’s one of the few places in the province where fishing is not allowed. For those who are not in the mood for an underwater adventure, you can just laze in the white sand beach. NEW LA UNION ECO PARK If you want to do something really different yet exciting, try river tubing at New La Union Eco Park. Unlike white water rafting, where you get to ride a raft and paddle your way through the rapids, this activity involves a ride out of only an air-filled tube or salbabida. And while the former lets you do it with friends, the latter makes you brave the rapids all alone with a guide. You don’t have any paddle to help you get through the river; the only way you can survive the activity is to just go with the flow where the rapid takes you.

WHERE TO STAY Coco Beach Resort One thing you are guaranteed at Coco Beach Resort is the experience of enjoying a white sand beach and crystal clear waters exclusively, while at the same time being accessible to neighboring resorts and areas of activity. This resort makes walking along the shore and lazing on the beach more fun as well, as its location provides arguably the best sunset view you’ll witness in the entire Gumasa Beach. Coco Beach Resort is located in Gumasa, Glan, Sarangani. For bookings and reservations, phone (+63 83) 893 0324, (+63 927) 823 7780, or visit <cocobeach-gumasa.com>

ABOUT PTAA The Philippine Travel Agencies Association (PTAA) is an organization comprising outbound and inbound travel agencies and tour operators, with the vision of fostering w unity in the travel industry. With u more than 500 members, PTAA m is one of the most prestigious travel associations in the ccountry—widely recognized by international airlines, hotels, resorts, insurance, and cruise companies. The organization also works closely with government agencies, including the Department of Tourism, w D Department of Foreign Affairs, Tourism Promotion Board, Bureau of Immigration, Ninoy Aquino International Airport, National Census and Statistics Office, and various embassies and consulates. S

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10

TOP THINGS TO DO IN

SOX

1 BUY TUNA AT GENERAL SANTOS CITY FISH PORT COMPLEX. GenSan is not called the countryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s tuna capital for nothing. Visit this ďŹ sh port complex and hundreds of human-sized tuna will come greet you with their freshness! Pick fast because chances are, many of them are already being eyed by importers from US and Japan. 2 DO THE PACMAN TOUR. This tour will not only remind you about the boxing greatness of Manny Pacquiao, it will also show you the success Pacman got because of this sport. For P500, you can visit his ďŹ rst mansion, which now serves as his museum; his second mansion, with its own basketball court and receiving area the size of a regular urban house; and Wild Card Gym, where his boxing career was born. If youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re curious about the price, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s their way of increasing the budget of his foundation. So youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re not just touring, youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re also helping. 3

GO ZIP-LINING ACROSS LAKE SEBUâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S SEVEN FALLS. This zip line does not only boast of being one of the longest in Southeast Asia, it also prides itself with having the most beautiful scenic view of the seven fallsâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;making it a popular activity for tourists.

4 BUY Tâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;BOLI-MADE PRODUCTS TO SHOW SUPPORT FOR THE TRIBEâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S WORLD-RENOWNED WEAVING SKILLS. South Cotabato is coined as â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Land of the Dreamweavers,â&#x20AC;? and they are really passionate about it. The quality of their woven products has attracted numerous fashion enthusiasts across the country, and itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not hard to see why.

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5 HIKE YOUR WAY TO LAKE HOLON. For adventureseekers, Lake Holon will not disappointâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;with its cold temperature and clean lake serving as the beautiful reward after three hours of trekking under the canopy of trees. 6 WATCH BIRDS AT BARAS BIRD SANCTUARY. Thousands of birds from around the world have made this farm their time-to-time residence, with numerous species ďŹ&#x201A;ocking over it every day. Trust us, there is hardly a time where you canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t see a sight of one in the sky. 7 DIVE AT TUKA MARINE PARK. With beautiful underwater views and aďŹ&#x20AC;ordable diving lessons, who would not want to give this marine park a chance? 8 LAZE AT GUMASA BEACH IN GLAN, SARANGANI. Gumasa Beach is probably one of the few beaches in the Philippines that still enjoy unspoiled beauty. Even on weekends, you can still enjoy its striking white sand in peace. 9 GO WATER TUBING AT NEW LA UNION ECO PARK. Brave the waters in a more daredevil way and try this activity that involves only a single salbabida and your ability to go with the ďŹ&#x201A;owâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;no matter how crazy the rapids are! 10 PARAGLIDE! This activity lets you be amazed with the beauty of Sarangani from above the sky, while having that thrill down your spine.


See the summary of TRAVEL NOWâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s trip to SOX, and be inspired to book the next ï¬&#x201A;ight to this multi-cultural and adventurous region!

UNLOCKING

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Follow TRAVEL NOW at @travelnowmagazine and Travel Now Magazine

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Jamille Domingo is the editorial assistant of TRAVEL NOW. Follow her at @sijampong

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special feature

TRAVEL BUDDIES

Everyone has their own travel essential that they can’t go without—even your idol. Check out what these celebrities and personalities consider their must-bring item whenever they go on trips! compiled by AILEEN FRUGAL and KLAY TAN

A B BY A S I S T I O singer I’m so in love with my classic white Tretorn shoes. They were cool back in the 80s, and they’re even cooler now. I love bringing them whenever I travel because they’re not just comfortable, they also look good whether I’m gallivanting in unknown cities in my casual wear, or in a formal and more chic look for special occasions. I just match them with a nice pair Tretorn shoes are available at of jeans, a sassy shirt, branches in SM North EDSA, and a blazer and I’m Robinsons Galleria, and Abreeza. For instantly ready for a more information, visit <tretorn.com> night out.

Delsey luggage are available at Delsey Paris Stores at Ayala Cebu, Fairview Terraces, SM City Davao, as well as all branches of The Travel Club and Flight 001 nationwide. For more information, visit <delsey.com>

M ARCO AND L AR A ALCAR A Z actor and actress We love to travel a lot and we love using our Delsey luggage. They’re spacious, fashionable, and have the security features that we need to keep our belongings safe.

Whenever I travel, I make sure I have a luggage and a backpack I can trust, not just with style but also with durability—like that of Tumi! Having a kid in tow would want you to ensure everything is packed safe, and in style too!

J U GS J U G U E TA musician and host My pair of Dr. Martens shoes is my favorite travel buddy because it’s very comfortable to wear, yet it’s very durable as well. It’s a classic in such a way that it’s very fashionable but I know that its style will last a lifetime.

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Dr. Martens products are available at ResToeRun branches, Bratpack Greenbelt 5, and at General Ayala Cebu. For more information, visit <drmartens.com>

Roxy bikinis are available at R.O.X., ResToeRun, Bratpack, The Travel Club, Rustan’s, Stoked Inc., and The Grind branches nationwide. For more information, visit <roxy.com.ph>

Tumi products are available at all Tumi retail stores worldwide. For more information, visit <tumi.com>, follow them on @TUMItravel, or like them on TUMItravel

ROX A N N E BA RC E L O singer and actress If I had to choose my favorite, it would be my Roxy bikini. Roxy fits my laid-back, positive, outgoing, and chill lifestyle. I love the beach so I’m always rocking a Roxy bikini under a summer dress. If I could only dress like that in the city every day, I would! You know that vibe when you’re always ready to jump in the water? That’s how I live my life—always ready to ride that wave.

PHOTOS COURTESY OF PRIMER GROUP OF COMPANIES, ROXANNE BARCELO, MARCO ALCARAZ, ABBY ASISTIO, LJ REYES, JUGS JUGUETA, ALICE DIXON, TRACY GARCIA, MYLENE DIZON, FATIMA MARABAGO, HIDEO MURAOKA, ROXY, DELSEY, TRETORN, TUMI, DOC MARTENS, AND TOURISM NEW ZEALAND

L J REYES actress


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A L I C E D I XO N actress For long vacations and work travels, I cannot go without my laptop and Ethernet cables. I need both my virtual phone line and my ďŹ les. For sensitive information, I have learned to plug Ethernet directly instead of wireless connections. In this age of cyber hacking, I feel more secure on an Ethernet than on WiFi.

MY L E N E D I ZO N actress I cannot travel without my white sarong because it serves as my blanket, skirt, pillow, and scarf. It can also serve as a reďŹ&#x201A;ector for taking photos, because when I use it, the light bounced to the subject is perfect.

T R AC Y GA RC I A manager at GMA Artist Center In the recent years, my multi-USB charger has been very essential to my travels. It allows me to charge my gadgets such as my phone, power bank, and camera, all at the same time in one socket. I hardly need to charge all throughout the day when all gadgets are loaded!

FAT I M A M A R I BAG O A N D H I D E O M U R AO K A models My favorite travel essential is swimwear! I canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t travel without my maillots for everyday beach outďŹ ts, and bikinis for tanning. As for Hideo, his travel essential would be his camera, because he likes to shoot and take videos of everything thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s happening around in his or our trips.

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gourmet

THE QUEST FOR A DELICIOUS

HONG KONG See Hong Kong beyond its tourist attractions by taking on an epicurean excursion around the city! EXRc^aXP7PaQ^da

written by JAMILLE DOMINGO photographed by ERRON OCAMPO additional photos courtesy of JAMILLE DOMINGO, HO HUNG KEE, and YARDBIRD HONG KONG

When it comes to gourmet, it’s no secret that Hong Kong has some of the world’s best food offerings. The city is considered by many as the ultimate gourmands’ haven, housing more than 12,000 restaurants and numerous food finds. Its countless cross-cultural encounters have radiated all the way to their dishes, making it a favorite on the culinary map. So if you plan to visit Hong Kong, make sure to pamper your stomach by touring its numerous gastronomic destinations, starting with these stops.

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THE LOCAL FAVORITES Without a doubt, the best way to enjoy Hong Kong’s food scene is through its rich local dishes. Wherever you go, you will surely be spoiled with so many choices that it will be hard to determine where to begin. Which is why it is best to start by grazing your way through the locals’ staple eateries.

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TIM HO WAN Built in 2009 by dim sum chef Mak Kwai Pui, Tim Ho Wan started as a simple hole-in-the-wall in Hong Kong, eventually becoming arguably the most affordable Michelin-star restaurant. It is known for its dim sum dishes that have garnered multiple thumbs-up among food critics and culinary experts around the globe. However, aside from its famous dim sum, it is also a favorite because of its baked bun with pork barbeque which has a crumbly and fluffy exterior, and a flavorful and saucy interior.

DELICIOUS KITCHEN A trip to Hong Kong will be incomplete without getting a taste of Pork Rib Rice at Delicious Kitchen. The Pork Rib Rice is famous among food travelers because of its distinct taste that lasts on the palate. The best-selling dish is sweet and tangy, with juicy and oily breading served over a bed of fragrant vegetable rice—a masterpiece that has become hard to imitate.

Tim Ho Wan has various branches all over Hong Kong. For more information, visit <timhowan.com>

Delicious Kitchen is located at Shop B, Ground Floor, 9-11 Cleveland Street, Causeway Bay. For more information, phone (+852) 2577 8350

KAU KEE Never mind the bustling crowd because a taste of its beef brisket noodles will make everything else irrelevant. Kau Kee’s authentic local home-cooked Chinese beef brisket noodle soup has successfully gotten the tastes of locals and tourists alike since it was founded more than 90 years ago. Its flowing queues suggest just how good it is—the tendon and flank steak and the curry beef brisket are just hard to resist. Kau Kee is located at 21 Gough Street, Central. For more information, phone (+852) 2850 5967

LUXURY PICKS Hong Kong also has its fair share of fine-dining restaurants that will keep luxury travelers coming back for more. As proof of how Hong Kong is one of the world’s best places for fine-dining scenes, the city now has more than 60 Michelin-starred restaurants and various upscale food hubs featuring traditional cuisine and inventive offerings that involve multicultural concepts. MOTT 32 Mott 32 is named after a street in New York, the first location of the city’s original Chinese convenience store. Since it opened in Hong Kong over two years ago, the award-winning restaurant has shown its modern approach to Chinese cuisine with a strong principle of farm-to-table cooking. The sleek modern restaurant will first entice you with its dramatic interiors and East-West mix design, and will then sweep you away with its delicious varied menu, such as the barbecue prime Iberico pork with yellow mountain honey, the flavorful aged black vinegar sweet-and-sour pork, stir-fried prawns with salted duck egg yolk and pumpkin purée, and the Kurobuta pork quail egg and black truffle siu mei. 1^[S R^[^ab \PZT cWT aTbcPdaP]c [^^Z [XZT P R[Pbbh SX]X]V PaTP

Mott 32 is located at Standard Chartered Bank Building, 4-4A Des Voeux Road Central, Central. For bookings and reservations, phone (+852) 2885 8688 or visit <mott32.com>

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gourmet

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Ă&#x2030;PURE Luxurious is a word that will never leave the room once you enter Ă&#x2030;pure, a French restaurant that redefines contemporary dining with glamorously chic interiors and a meticulously-crafted French menu. Headed by prestigious chefs Nicolas Boutin and C. Y. Wong, Ă&#x2030;pure creates its dishes from the freshest seasonal ingredients imported from France. Some of the recommended ones include the lobster tomato salad, the roasted pigeon, and strawberry millefeuille. All these succulent dishes, paired with the restaurantâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s quiet ambiance and private seating, guarantee a dining experience thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s worth every cent.

HO HUNG KEE Ho Hung Kee has created a name for itself as one of the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s favorite wanton noodle restaurants since its inception in 1946 by Ho Wing Fong. The first of its kind to be awarded a Michelin star, Ho Hung Kee specializes in wanton filled with whole shrimp, parts of pork, and smooth egg noodles. It is frequented by Chinese celebrities and government officials, and a visit there would tell you why. Ho Hung Kee has two branchesâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;the ďŹ rst one is located at Hysan Place, 12th Floor, 500 Hennessy Road, Causeway Bay; and the second one is located at Hong Kong International Airport. For bookings and reservations, phone (+852) 2577 6060 or like them on Ě&#x153;á&#x2020;¤ĘŚ Ho Hung Kee.

AMBER Two Michelin-starred restaurant Amber is known to take full advantage of Hong Kongâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s distinctive intersection between East and West. This is because executive Chef Richard Ekkebus works under the principle that every dish is product-driven, and that innovation is key. His passion to merge French and Asian cuisine has materialized in his signature dishes like the Hokkaido Sea Urchin dish with lobster Jell-o and Mieral Bresse pigeon breast with wild cep mushrooms. Amber is located at 7/F, The Landmark Mandarin Oriental, The Landmark, 15 Queenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Road Central. For bookings and reservations, phone (+852) 2132 0066 or visit <amberhongkong.com>

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Ă&#x2030;pure is located at Shop 403, Harbour City, Ocean Centre, Harbour City, Tsim Sha Tsui. For bookings and reservations, phone (+852) 3185 8338 or visit <epure.hk>

YUNG KEE Established in the 1930s as a simple roadside stall selling roast meat, Yung Kee has grown to become one of the must-tries in Hong Kong. The multi award-winning restaurant is famous for its roast gooseâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;with crackling crispy skin, smoky breast, and flavorful braised sauce. Even world famous chefs and best-selling culinary authors like Ken Hom got hooked on this famous dish. Yung Kee is located at 32-40 Wellington Street, Central. For bookings and reservations, phone (+852) 2522 1624 or visit <yungkee.com.hk>

VEA When prominent chef Vicky Cheng and mixology master Antonio Lai opened VEA over a year ago, they also paved the way for exquisite cocktails and delectable food to be integrated in the smartest manner. The attention to detail and pure creativity of the menu deserves a thumbsupâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;from Antonioâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s drinks down to the stellar eight-course menu of Chef Vicky. These include Chef Vickyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s all-time signature dish raviolo with egg yolk, and Antonioâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s best-selling drinks How Many Carrots (beefeater gin mixed with the juice of carrots, yuzu, and orange) and Bone Marrow Old Fashioned (bone marrow fat-washed bourbon with dashes of Angostura bitters). While it is certainly not an everyday dining spot, splurging once in a while at this restaurant will definitely leave no regrets. VEA is located at 198 Wellington Street, Central. For bookings and reservations, phone (+852) 2711 8639 or visit <vea.hk>

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HIP AND HAPPENING FINDS Although the city is already home to thousands of restaurants and food districts, it still continues to give birth to more food hubs that give their own distinctive food experience. In fact, as time goes by, restaurants become more and more inventive, quirkier, and hipperâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; becoming the upcoming favorites for tourists and expats. JINJUU This newly-opened restaurant of Celebrity chef Judy Joo offers a unique Korean dining experience that has become famous around the globe since it first opened in London last yearâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; with the crispy and juicy Korean Fried Chicken and the varied Bibimbap taking center stage among gourmands.

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YARDBIRD If hip is the game, Yardbird is surely playing it well. The restaurant looks so humble and unassuming that itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s hard to imagine that tycoons and personalities dine here despite of its no-reservation policy, a rule that somehow created a type of democratic dining revolution. This new and happening restaurant has cozy and cheerful interiors, mixed with calm Michelin-starred dining rooms having sets of cutlery and street stalls for customers to chill at. Yardbird is famous for its succulent chicken yakitori braised in a savory-sweet and soy-based tare sauce, and the Korean Fried Cauliflower dipped in tangy chili sauce.

Jinjuu is located at California Tower, 32 D'Aguilar Street, Central. For bookings and reservations, phone (+852) 3755 4868 or visit <jinjuu.com/hk>

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Yardbird is located at 33 Bridges Street, Tai Ping Shan. For more information, phone (+852) 2547 9273 or visit <yardbirdrestaurant.com>

LILY & BLOOM Founded in 2010 by Hong Kong food and beverage specialists Buzz Concepts, Lily & Bloom mimics laid-back 1920s New York that will make you forget youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re in an Asian city and in the 21st century. So much attention has been put in its visual aspect as attractive trinkets adorn both the bar and the restaurant. Lily & Bloom offers meals such fried chicken with waffle, salt crusted whole market fish, lobster mac and cheese, and seafood platter. For drinks, you can wash everything down with a Mad Hatter (earl grey-infused geranium gin, sipsmith summer cup, lemon, rhubada, cardamom, and vanilla) or a London Fogcutter (bombays, sapphire, pusserâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s rhum, Henessy VSOP, elderflower, passion fruit, lemon, and apple). Lily & Bloom is located at 33 Wyndham Street, Central. For bookings and reservations, phone (+852) 2810 6166

BAR HIGH FIVE The success of Bar High Fiveâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s first pop-up bar earlier last year has paved way to recreate another one in Landmark Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong last September to October. The Ginza-inspired pop-up bar highlights specially crafted cocktails and the art of Japanese bartending. Founder Hidetsugu Ueno and his team of award-winning mixologists surely did not fail to showcase legendary and theatrical bartending approach, including caving giant blocks of ice into intricate diamondsâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;a reason it placed third in Asiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 50 Best Bars of 2016. For more information about Bar High Five, like them on

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events

FINALLY, A REPEAT

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In 2013, rock musical â&#x20AC;&#x153;Sa Wakasâ&#x20AC;? premiered at the PETA Theater Center in Quezon City. The production was based on the music of one of the Philippinesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; much loved bands, Sugarfree, and was co-written by Andrei Nikolai Pamintuan and Marian Abuan, musically arranged by Ejay Yatco, and produced by Charissa Pammit. The Fringe Manila show was a hit four years ago, and because of the countless requests for it to be restaged, the team has once again come together to bring the story of three individuals back to the stage. The story of â&#x20AC;&#x153;Sa Wakasâ&#x20AC;? focuses on Topper, Lexi, and Gabbi, three individuals learning how to balance their career, their dreams, and their relationships with one another. Beautifully unfurling with the songs of Sugarfree (plus a new song written especially for the play by Sugarfree vocalist Ebe Dancel called â&#x20AC;&#x153;Bawat Daan,â&#x20AC;? which recently won Song of the Year at 2016â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Awit Awards), the narrative is sure to tug at theater goersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; heartstrings.

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Some of the original cast members of â&#x20AC;&#x153;Sa Wakasâ&#x20AC;? have returned for the restagingâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;Vic Robinson will reprise his role as Topper, Caisa Borromeo will reprise her role as Lexi, and Justine PeĂąa will reprise her role as Gabbi. Also coming back as part of the ensemble are Abi Sulit and Hans Dimayuga. Joining them for the 2017 run are Pepe Herrera (Topper), Cara Barredo (Lexi), Maronne Cruz (Gabbi), Laui Guico (ensemble), and Moira Lozada (ensemble.) To create hype for the show, the producers set up a special press preview at Pineapple Lab in Makati. Present was the cast, who performed five songs from the musical: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Prom,â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;Mariposa,â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;Wag Ka Nang Umiyak,â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;Ikaw Pala,â&#x20AC;? and â&#x20AC;&#x153;Bawat Daan.â&#x20AC;? Afterwards, the guests were able to ask questions from the cast and crew, as well as enjoy drinks from The Breakup Bar. Sa Wakas will begin its second run in January 12, at the Power Mac Spotlight Theater in Circuit Makati. It will run until February 5. For tickets and more information, visit <sawakasmusical.com>

PHOTOGRAPHED BY KLARA ISKRA AĂ&#x2018;ONUEVO. ADDITIONAL PHOTO COURTESY OF SA WAKAS THE MUSICAL

2013â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s hit local musical â&#x20AC;&#x153;Sa Wakasâ&#x20AC;? will be restaged this January, and the cast and producers gave members of the press a sneak peak ahead of opening night


events

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FLAVORS THAT SAIL ACROSS THE SEAS! The National Museum, Embassy of Spain in the Philippines, and the Instituto Cervantes de Manila open Sabores Que Cruzaron Los Oceanos, an exhibition that highlights the connection between Philippine and Spanish recipes

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The Philippines and Spain takes its already flourishing relationship up a notch, as the Embassy of Spain, the Instituto Cervantes de Manila, and the National Museum organize Sabores Que Cruzaron Los Oceanos (or â&#x20AC;&#x153;flavors that sail across the seasâ&#x20AC;?), an exhibit that zeroes in on the Hispanic culinary spectrum in the country. Opened at the old Senate Session Hall of the National Museum last November 24, Sabores Que Cruzaron Los Oceanos is the product of a two-year old research on the history of Spainâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s cuisine in the Philippines. With the help of the Spanish Embassy, historian Antonio Sanchez Mora led the study. He also served as the curator of the event. The exhibit encouraged people to use their five senses in experiencing the exhibit, enabling them to discover and further enjoy the various flavors and ingredients of the dishes from the past. Gallery Vask chef Chele Gonzalez and his team participated as well by preparing and serving traditional Philippine-Spanish recipes, seeking to encourage culinary

innovation between the two countries. Funded by the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID), the exhibit also got the help of Spanish institutions such as the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport of Spain (MECD), the Spanish Tourism Office in Singapore, TurespaĂąa, the Spanish Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines, Mercado del Carmen in Huelva, and FicolumĂŠ. Some of the documents, photos, and relics of the exhibit are provided by the National Museum of the Philippines, the Archivo General de Indias, the National Archives of the Philippines, the Spanish National Library, the National Museum of Decorative Art of Spain, the Royal Botanical Garden (National Council for Research â&#x20AC;&#x201C; CSIC), and the Archivo Franciscano Ibero-Oriental.

PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE EMBASSY OF SPAIN IN THE PHILIPPINES AND THE NATIONAL MUSEUM

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Sabores Que Cruzaron Los Oceanos exhibition runs for free until February 5, 2017. For information, phone (+63 2) 527 0278, or email <museum.education.nm@gmail.com>

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postscript

FOR THE GREAT DISCOVERY! Before you go out there to discover the world, make sure to check out these travel essentials WHAT TO WEAR

Under Armour® Sport Wireless Heart Rate headphones

Freewaters Sky Slip-on Knit

Whether you’re an athlete or an adventurer conscious about your health, make workouts or adventures more fun with JBL-engineered Under Armour Sport Wireless Heart Rate headphones. Ideal for running, cycling, rowing, and other kinds of adventures you usually encounter in traveling, this product offers convenience and comfort by delivering heart rate tracking into your training, along with entertaining and energizing music. You can even view in-workout training analysis, hear spoken on-demand heart rate updates, and optimize your endurance training session with these headphones.

Travel the world in style while enjoying extreme comfort with Freewaters’ newly introduced Sky Slip-on Knit. Known for its quality products and passion for advocacy, Freewaters introduces this new product—which is included in its Fall 2016 collection—inspired by nature through its utilitarian and minimalistic sensibilities. The Sky Slip-on Knit is made with an engineered knit upper for superior breathability. It also has an instant tender fit with its minimalist welded design, insanely light features with its sponge lite construction, and soft feel with the super pillow insole.

For more information about Under Armour® Sport Wireless Heart Rate headphones, visit <jbl.com>

Freewaters Sky Slip-on knit is available in ResToeRun, Grind, and R.O.X. For more information, like them on Freewaters Philippines

Oakley Jawbreaker Who says your shades cannot stand out from the crowd? Oakley takes wearing shades to a whole new level by introducing products that can be customized—such as the Jawbreaker. Created to serve the demands of professional athletes around the world, Oakley Jawbreaker’s frames— just like other products of the brand—deliver optimal performance and comfort through lightweight and flexible materials, its renowned Three-Point Fit (which ensures that each frame makes contact only at the bridge of the nose and behind the temples, retaining optics in perfect alignment and eliminates discomfort), and impact

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Spud Webb’s Pony City Wings Sports enthusiasts and travelers are sure to find a new buddy with the return of Spud Webb’s Pony City Wings. Made famous in the 80’s by Spud Webb back when he won the NBA Slam Dunk competition, these sneakers are famous for its classic colors that include a combination of black, red, and white, as well as leather features that make the shoes sturdy to walk around in. Wear these as you explore the world, and you’ll instantly become an MVP of a traveler! For more information about Spud Webb’s Pony City Wings, visit <pony.com.ph>

protection. Now, you can even customize your own Jawbreaker in Oakley stores—from the color of the frame, to the lenses, to even the signature symbol of the brand on either side. There are also over 15 types of frames and an infinite amount of color combinations to choose from. The options are endless. The whole process will only take fifteen minutes, and after that, you can walk out looking like you have brand new pair created just for you. For more information about Oakley jawbreaker, as well as its shades customization offerings, visit <oakley.com>


WHAT TO USE Celeteque new matte lipstick Make your smile an instant head-turner as you discover the world with the latest CĂŠleteque matte lipsticks, with dermograde ingredients that not only leave a vivid matte color finish, but also keep sensitive skinâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;including your lipsâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; healthy. Co-created by dermatologists, the new matte lipsticks feature Tocopheryl Acetate or Vitamin E that moisturizes lips, Bisabolol that reduces flaking and restores suppleness, and Candelilla Wax that nourishes lip skin without the waxy feel. The effect? Happily healthy lips that let that gorgeous curve be even lovelier. The latest CĂŠleteque Matte Lipsticks come in three shadesâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;Nude, Ruby, and Wine. These are exclusively available in Watsons for only P595

WHAT TO DRINK Cocio Energy drink Traveling can sometimes take a toll on youâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;the exhaustion from all the walking, the stress from budgeting, and the hassle of itinerary-making. Most of the time, you need something that gets you going. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s what Cocioâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s new Cocio Energy is currently trying to doâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;push peopleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s energy further, so you can enjoy and discover the world better. Cocio Energy is the countryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s very first chocolate- and coffee-flavored energy drink, which contains the Amazonian plant guarana. The plant has twice the amount of caffeine found in coffee seedsâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;helping the drink give a powerful energy kick. Cocio Energy therefore guarantees to keep travelers energized throughout the day while still providing the same renowned taste it has been known for. Cocio Energy drinks are exclusively available at 7-Eleven stores. For more information, visit <cocio.ph>

WHO TO TRUST ABOUT YOUR CZECH TRIP Irene Bernadette â&#x20AC;&#x153;Menchieâ&#x20AC;? Gregorio

WHERE TO STAY

PHOTOS COURTESY OF CELETEQUE, COCIO, DUSIT THANI MANILA, FREEWATERS, JBL, MOUNTAIN HARDWARE, OAKLEY, AND EMBASSY OF THE CZECH REPUBLIC

Dusit Thani Manila

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2caWbBVO\W;O\WZOa This luxury hotel in Makati \Se2=A; has garnered multiple thumbs up among vacationers and critics because of its first-class service and amenities. And as a way of continuing this excellence, the property has upgraded its services yet againâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;from renovations and additional amenities, to its new head of sales and marketing. Leilani Merilo, Dusit Thaniâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s new director of sales and marketing, has been in the industry for 21 years, having been associated with several hotel chains throughout the country, as well as Indonesia and Thailand. During the course of her career, she has helped reach record-breaking revenues, occupancies, and top overall performance of most of the properties sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s worked at. This post is her first work back in the Philippines. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m very happy to be back, to be in my own culture, where thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s no communication barrier,â&#x20AC;? she said. Some of the things she looks forward to are the renovation of Dusit Thani Manilaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s rooms, the increase of function rooms in the mezzanine floor, and the big change in the Benjarong Restaurant (being an open kitchen).

Dusit Thani Manila is located at Ayala Center, 1223 Epifanio de los Santos Avenue, Makati City. For bookings and reservations, phone ( +632) 238 8888, email <dtmn@dusit.com>, or visit <dusit.com/dusitthani/manila>

If you want to plan your ultimate Czech adventure, make sure itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s with someone trusted by the traveling industry. Travel Excellence Corporation managing director Menchie Gregorio fits the bill. She was recently awarded the Medal of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic for her contribution to Czech-Philippine relations in the field of tourismâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; making her the perfect reference for everything related to the country. Presented by Czech Ambassador Jaroslav OlĹĄa Jr., the award is given to personalities who significantly helped develop the relationship between the two countries. Menchie proved herself worthy of the medal with her impressive record of promoting Czech Republic (as well as the entire Central Europe) to Filipino tourists. She has led the GSA (general sales agent) representation of Czech Airlines in the Philippines for more than two decades, where she started the trend of Filipino travel to Prague and the rest of Central and Eastern Europe. Aside from that, Menchie also represented Aerolineas Argentinas for almost two decades. Furthermore, she has also been the official representative of Aeromexico in the Philippines since 2011. Menchie is also an active member of the La Camara of Spain, the Philippine Italian Association, the Mexican-Philippine Business Council, and the Tourism of the ECCP-EU-Philippines Business Network. To contact Menchie Gregorio, and for more information on Central Europe and Czech Republic tours, phone Travel Excellence Corporation at ( +632) 892 6006, or email <travelexcellencecorp@yahoo.com>

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parting shot

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SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA written and photographed by ROCHELLE ROMERO

â&#x20AC;&#x153;The purpose of life, after all, is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x201C; ELEANOR ROOSEVELT

through the years, I have traveled to places, fueled by a simple obsession: To live life to the fullest. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m still pushing myself to try new things or go to places Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve never been. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s how deep my passion for life is. I will experience life every chance I get, in any place, in any weather, and in any time zone. Just like my trip to San Diego in the fall of November last yearâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;where this photo was taken. Experiencing the great outdoors provides an undeniable escape from what can be an otherwise stress-filled day. It gives one the opportunity to trade the outside environment of cars and other city noises in exchange for fresh air and the sound of birds, bugs, and trees rustling in the wind. I find that the change of scenery and being closer to Mother Nature provides a spiritual connection that is very grounding, healthy for the mind, and benefitting for the soul. And once we have rejuvenated our senses, we could just step out, ready to face reality and the challenges of the outside world. Be wild and free.

WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED DURING YOUR TRAVELS? Send us around 200 words about your insights to <travelnow@onemegagroup.com> for a chance to be featured on this page. Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t forget to include a high-resolution photo that you own!

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Travel Now – January/February 2017