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south e ast asian airlines on - board maga zine

april - may 2009

A chef’s tour of Boracay Get the best of the island with our culinary hot list Holidays in heaven& hell Party man Mark Reyes talks about his travels •

Cool resorts From Shangri-La’s Tanjung Aru Resort and Spa, The Tides Boracay, to Shangri-La’s Boracay Resort and Spa

A Green Dream Palawan

residents launch enchanting eco tours

i n f l i g h t // a p r i l - m ay 2 0 0 9


IN PLACES 41 InsandOuts

A mini guide to Clark, Pampanga

Iwahig River: Home to a rich ecosystem

46 A Green dream

Palawan residents launch enchanting eco tours

60 A Chef’s Tour of Boracay Get the best of the island with our culinary hot list

88 InFocus

Philip Sison’s Puerto Princesa

april - may 2009 I SEAIR InFlight


i n f l i g h t // a p r i l - m ay 2 0 0 9 IN FRONT 09 Editor’s Note



10 InFormed

What not to miss in April and May

13 Inthenews

WWF launches heritage tours

Plus new resort bling in Siargao

16 InTalk What’s Your Secret Find?

Locals reveal their favorite places, from vintage haunts to 1950s houses turned art galleries

28 InPerson

Club promoter Mark Reyes on his heaven and hell holidays


IN vogue 19 Intheshops Gear up for summer fun with our choice of cool headgears, bags and shades

22 Inmybag

DJ Joseph Javier‘s travel essentials


Hot resorts: Shangri-La’s Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa, The Tides Boracay, and newly opened Shangri-La’s Boracay Resort & Spa


38 InDulge Japan meets France in tasty dishes served up at Ninyo in Quezon City

PLUS: seair • News • People • Guide

19 Cover concept by SEAIR InFlight Art direction by Jocas A. See Cover photo by Carlos Legaspi Fashion styling by Guada Reyes Hair and makeup by Joel Acebuche using Sheercover Modeling by Jonavi Quiray Gown by Danilo Franco; earrings by The Cayenne Company Cover location: Ugong Rock

april - may 2009 I SEAIR InFlight


Publishing Director and Executive Editor

Nikos Gitsis Editor

Giselle Javison managing Editor



Art Director

Jocas A. See Editorial Production Inquiries

editors@f • inf lightinbox@f Contributing photographers

Mike Alcid, Mario Babiera, Bien Bautista, Parc Cruz, Ferdz Decena, Alan Fontanilla, Wacky Gochoco, Oggie Ramos, Philip Sison, Jeffrey Sonora, Daniel Soriano Contributing writers

Jose Marte Abueg, Vicki Aldaba, Yasmin D. Arquiza, Catherine A. Calderon, David Dalton, K. Grace Fonacier, Jan Lao, Michael Marasigan, Andrea Pasion, Ces Rodriguez, Claude Tayag advertising Sales  marketing

Group Sales and Marketing Director

Delza Apostol Advertising Executive

Joy Gutierrez

Advertising Traffic and Circulation

ARTHUR VALENCIA Advertising Inquiries

inf lightads@f editorial board


South East Asian Airlines Seair Chairman

Iren Dornier Seair Director

Nikos Gitsis InFlight Editor

Giselle Javison InFlight Group Sales and Marketing Director

Delza Apostol Seair Legal Counsel

Bernard Bandonell philippine Copyright©20 08

South East Asian Airlines, Inc.

SEAIR InFlight Magazine: Units 304 & 306, La’O Center, 1000 Arnaiz Avenue, Makati City 1227 Philippines Tel.: +632 840 2802 (Editorial) • +632 840 2803 (Advertising) Fax: +632 840 2805 URL:

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I April - may 2009

editor’s note

people. places. a dv entur es.


t don’t mean a thing if it ain’t green.

And Puerto Princesa, capital city of Palawan, has turned a good shade of green. With private sector initiative and government and community support, the city has just about stopped rampant mangrove cutting and illegal fishing in its area. It has done this by giving local folks a new way of life – running no-ordinary eco tours (see our cover story on pages 46 to 57). No, the locals haven’t turned into Thomas Cook operators. Instead, village moms and pops organize and run the tours with kids and grannies pitching in, allowing tourists not only to see some of the wondrous and unspoilt sights of Palawan but in the process giving them the chance to mix with local people. Local residents benefit by earning good income. So what are you waiting for? Book an eco tour now. If partying is more your thing, Boracay beckons this summer. Instead of our usual beach lover’s guide, we thought it would be a good idea to show you a different, just as important facet of Boracay: it’s food. Managing editor Monica De Leon helped get the story on its way with a long chat with Boracay’s food expert, Dos Mestizos owner Binggoy Remedios, a respected restaurateur, who helped us by giving his input on the top 10 restaurants on the island among a list of about 200! We also asked Swiss-trained chef Melissa Sison to pitch in by acting as our food taster. Chef Sison gamely went on a chef’s tour of Boracay with Binggoy and our writer Ces Rodriguez. The result? An interesting culinary guide to Boracay. It’s not a Michelin-star review, but it’s one packed with expert commentary and substance. Resort news is rather big this issue as resorts bling into our lives. If you do end up in Boracay this summer, check out the hottest blings: Tides Resort and the newly opened Shangri-La Boracay. We also reviewed Shangri-La’s Tanjung Aru Resort and Spa in Kota Kinabalu, SEAIR’S first regional destination. For more travel news and update on resorts, check out InRoom on pages 31 to 37 and InTheNews on pages 13 and 14. For more things to do on holiday, join Palawan’s Baragatan Festival celebrated with trade and food fair and colorful parades, usually held in late May and runs through June in Puerto Princesa. For more info, call +6348/ 433 2968. Plus, there are exciting new promos and discounts for SEAIR passengers (see page 83) as we celebrate SEAIR’s 14th year anniversary this year. (For more info, visit Enjoy your flight!

giselle javison Editor

InFlight model Jonavi Quiray right outside ugong Rock. Below: Bacungan River at sunset

What not to miss in

April& May by Margie Francisco





Spelling Bee

Songs for a New World

Atlantis Productions kicks off its 10th anniversary season with the Tony Award winning musical comedy, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, a hilarious tale of six adolescent overachievers vying for the spelling championship of a lifetime. Spelling Bee features some of the country’s finest musical theater performers including Joel Trinidad, Cathy Azanza, Carla Guevara-Laforteza, Felix Rivera, Rycharde Everley, Noel Rayos, Thea Tadiar-Everley, Johan dela Fuente and Phoena Baranda. Directed by Bobby Garcia. Each night, two members of the audience are asked to join the cast on stage as guest spellers. Visit For tickets, call Atlantis Productions at +632/ 892 7078 or 840 1187

After its successful show in August 2008, Songs for a New World, a musical on how people live, adapt to different circumstances and make the most of what’s presented to them, is back on stage. The cast consists of Felix Rivera, Caisa Borromeo, Anna Santamaria, Harold Cruz, Carla Guevara-Laforteza and Pinky Marquez. Produced by 9 Theatrical Works and directed by Robbie Guevara. Tickets available at Ticketworld. Call +632/ 891 9999 or visit


11 & 17

Easter Weekender 2009 in Boracay Pack your bags, leave the city behind and jump on the next plane to Boracay! Premier party concepts Big Fish Manila is organizing a two-part Easter Weekender 2009 in the party island. The party on April 11 will be topbilled by DJs Blake Jarell and Erwin Edralin at Hey Jude! while the April 17 event will have DJs Andy Norman and Jamie Richards. For more information, call Big Fish at +632/ 634 8238 or e-mail To book a flight, visit www.flyseair. com or call +632/ 849 0100



Akon Live in Manila Hiphop singer-songwriter-record producer Akon is performing live at the Araneta Coliseum together with the country’s own hiphop/R&B artist Billy Crawford. The Senegalese-American artist rose to fame following the release of his single “Locked Up” from his debut album Trouble and has earned a Grammy award nomination for the single “Smack That” from his second album Konvicted. He is the first solo artist to hold the number one and two spots simultaneously on the Billboard Hot 100 charts twice. Akon Live in Manila is produced by ALV Events International and co-presented by OctoArts Entertainment and Regal Multimedia, Inc. Tickets available at TicketNet. Call +632/ 911 5555 or visit

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Iwahig River. Opposite, spelunking at Ugong Rock

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t r av e l


a r t s A N D fa sh i on

And m o r e !

book Now

WWF launches heritage tours

Tubbataha ranger station photo by Neil Oshima

WWF Philippines is launching exciting new tours in April and May, taking tourists on board its research vessel, MV Navorca, to explore three UNESCO World Heritage Sites from Palawan to Iloilo in the Visayas. The tours, which will include a five-day trek across five locations, will feature Puerto Princesa’s Underground River, Tubbataha Reef and Iloilo’s Miag-ao Church, all declared UNESCO World Heritage Sites, as well as a visit to the Palawan municipality Cagayancillo. Those joining the tour will cross the Underground River, located some 81km north of Puerto Princesa City, by boat. The river is the longest underground river in the world and is famous for its

limestone or karst formations. Travel to Tubbataha Reef, home to some of the most beautiful coral reefs and a sanctuary to over a thousand species of marine life from hammerhead sharks to pawikans (sea turtles) and lion fish, will offer participants the chance to snorkel in crystal-clear waters and engage in bird watching. In Cagayancillo, a remote island situated centrally in the Sulu Sea, the main attractions are the limestone façade and Liyang Cave archaeological site where participants can go spelunking, snorkeling, paddle boating in the marine lake and join a historical tour of the town. The Miag-ao Church located in Iloilo was built in 1786 primarily as the town’s defense front against the Moros. One of the main

attractions of this stop is shopping at Sinamay House and Iloilo Trade Pavilion. The package rate for the expedition is P39,600 per person. For tours’ schedule and reservations, call Elma Bianca Ramos at +63918/ 936 7406 or e-mail

Tubbataha Reef Photo by Lory Tan

-- Margie F. Francisco

APRIL - maY 2009 I SEAIR InFlight



French designer resort chic in Siargao Newly-opened Kalinaw Resort in Siargao, set in a one-hectare property fronting the sea, offers luxury rooms combining minimalist modern chic, rustic warmth with use of native materials and modern comforts. Kalinaw, meaning peace in Visayan, has a 140-meter beachfront dotted by villas that overlook the Pacific Ocean. The place is 500 meters away from the world-famous Cloud 9 surf spot. Each villa has its own spacious terrace, a beachfront view, and a private modern bathroom. The 170sqm family suite has two rooms and two bathrooms, a 56sqm beachfront, and a jacuzzi that can house six people. The 90sqm deluxe villa, which can accommodate four people, is just as luxurious. The resort is also one of the few spots in the island that provides unlimited wireless internet access. Massages are available all day. Kalinaw is owned by Fred de Backer and Pierre Zappavigna, French designers who left Paris for a life in the tropics. The resort is located in General Luna, Siargao and is 40km or some 15 minutes away from the newlyrehabilitated Sayak Airport in Del Carmen, also within Siargao Island.

It’s not just a decorative piece on the table. A Coffee Journal, a 208-page coffeetable book, takes you on a coffee journey through coffee expert Roberto Francisco’s collection of photos depicting his love affair with coffee and his coffee travels across the country. He traces how coffee from Europe reached the Philippines and thrived here, and how the country’s different provinces processed coffee. The book also offers an insider’s take on the story behind the Alamid coffee and how wild creatures are exploited in making the most expensive coffee in the world. Francisco is president of Boyd Coffee Philippines and co-founding member of the Figaro Coffee Company.

For room rates, e-mail or call +63921/ 320 0442. Visit

Retails at Powerbooks for P2,600. Call Boyd Coffee Company at +632/ 746 3231 to order.

check Out

Coffee journeys

-- LAC

-- Catherine A. Calderon

Lanvin releases its first eyewear collection LANVIN’S first ever collection of sunglasses is now out. Its latest women’s collection includes the Diademe, acetate sunglasses with studs at the front rim and comes in pink, blue, and green, set against a 50s inspired frame. The bold and elegant look of the female collection was created by fashion director Alber Elbaz while the trendy and varied men’s set was designed by primo design innovator Lucas Ossendrivjer.

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I APRIL - maY 2009

Lanvin eyewear is available at Sarabia Optical in Powerplant Mall (Tel: +632/ 898 2501) -- LAC

cool Buy

APRIL - maY 2009 I SEAIR InFlight


What’s your secret find?

From vintage haunts to 1950s houses converted into art galleries, locals tell us their favorite places Interviews by Jan Lao Illustration by randy r. rey

Segunda Mano (Tel: +632/ 844 8434) in Makati Cinema Square is one of my favorite haunts. It’s a veritable Aladdin’s cave of treasures, albeit preloved objects and furniture. Previous jackpots include alabaster ashtrays, hardwood office desks from the 30s, an Abueva-ish sculpture in wood, vintage rings and watches, and a magazine from the 60s featuring the election campaign of Marcos, Macapagal and Manglapus.

- Gerry Torres

Architect/ Dean of College of Saint Benilde School of Design and Arts

Among the long stretch of motels and nightclubs along FB Harisson Street in Pasay City exists a compound (2680 FB Harisson Street) not known to many, featuring houses that date back to the 1950s, now converted into art galleries, showrooms for one-of-a-kind hand finished furniture, houseware and an atelier of Manila top designer Jojie Lloren.

- Jo Ann Bitagcol Photographer/ model

My secret city find is definitely the traditional Filipino massage by Blue Water Spa (Tel: +632/ 817 3126). Though this establishment has existed for quite a number of years, not a lot of people know about this wondrous two-hour treatment. And for a minimal price tag (P950 inclusive of private room), you’d get to enjoy the calming and tender strokes of this internationally renowned massage plus the ultimate privacy you’d been longing for. It’s really a blissful experience that I always look forward to whenever I have my me-time.

- JR Isaac

Circuit Magazine editor-in-chief/ Philippine Star and Preview Magazine society columnist

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I april - may 2009

Luisa Fried Chicken (+6334/ 709 8820) in Bacolod City. Their mouth-watering deepfried whole chicken that’s like peking duck/ lechon manok (with their secret Chinese-style dipping sauce), and their deep fried spareribs with whole chunks of garlic cloves. Quite deadly, but simply amazing! They’ve been around for over a decade now and have been playing a very successful and very low-profile business. A hole-in-the-wall gem only locals know of.

- Richie Gamboa

21 Restaurant chef and owner

I recently chanced upon a hole-inthe-wall called Top Meals restaurant (Tel: +632/ 895 1249) along a very quiet residential street in Makati. Totally unpretentious, the place has a feel of a cheap but artsy college-budget type roadside eatery, the perfect backdrop to enjoy its authentic Bikolano specialties. If you like it coconut-rich and spicy, this is the place!

- Ivan Man Dy

Cultural guide and founder of Old Manila Walks

april - may 2009 I SEAIR InFlight


i n t h e sho p s

i n m y b ag

Cover up

This summer, wrap your head in a scarf, or put on some beaded headband or hat, don the shades, pull out the beach bag, and enjoy the sun Photos by Jeffrey Sonora Styling by KC Leyco

For him: Trilby black hat (P3,798), plain visor red (P1,698), both from Fred Perry; gray cap (P892) from Springfield For her: Mini polka dot and total scarf (P3,798) from Fred Perry; black beaded headband, made to order at www.

april - may 2009 I SEAIR InFlight



cov e r u p

For him: Fifty pack black backpack (P2,995) from Oakley; messenger colorblock bag (P1,950) from Springfield For her: Manila Royale black tote from Team Manila; striped tote bag (P14,950) from Kate Spade

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I april - may 2009

For him: Frogskin crystal clear (P6,995) from Oakley; black rectangular frame Nero Fumo (P5,950) from Kenneth Cole For her: Sophia black eyewear and Sybl purple eyewear (P4,980 each), both from Evita Peroni

For store location and contact details, turn to

on page 72 april - may 2009 I SEAIR InFlight



Mojo Jojo’s world

Magic 89.9 dj Joseph Javier has a bright, sporty, pared down travel style by Margie Francisco PRODUCT Photo by Mario Babiera

01 02

03 04




09 08

10 11

1 Crocs Messenger Bag (P2,690) 2 Adidas Philippine flag jacket 3 Adidas Original Cap (P995) 4 Dungeons and Dragons (P1,750) 5 An Anarchy of Families (P585) 6 Crocs Santa Cruz (P2,900) 7 Lenovo Ideapad S10 (P26,000) 8 Samsung Emporio Armani M7500 (P21,000) 9 Sony Cybershot T77 (P25,999) 10 The Body Shop Vitamin C Energising Face Spritz (P695) 11 The Body Shop Maca Root Energetic Face Protector (P895) For store location and contact details, turn to

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on page 72

L ov i ng t h e pl a n e t

Saving the barako Coffee lover Pacita Juan went in search of good local coffee and ended up championing an industry on the brink of extinction

INTERVIEWS by Margie F. Francisco

april - may 2009 I SEAIR InFlight


inTune S a v i n g

the b ar ako

Clockwise from top left: Coffee beans waiting to be harvested; barako advocate Chit Juan with Gen. Aguinaldo mayor Danilo Bencito during a barako tree planting project in 2007; and tree planting activity

acita Juan, or Chit to most people, dreamt of running a coffee shop serving good local coffee in a relaxed environment. In 1993, years before the American chain Starbucks and Coffee Beans opened in the country, she and a group of friends opened Figaro coffee shop.

Today, she has 60 branches of Figaro in the Philippines and two in China, a success that is even more remarkable in the face of strong competition from American coffee chains. Figaro has a special niche. Not only is its coffee reasonably priced at P75 a cup of cappuccino or P70 for a cup of barako, it also serves much better coffee than the stodgy blend of some of the Makati five star hotels. Unwilling to import her coffee beans for Figaro and face endless importation woes, Juan travelled across the country to find coffee farmers and good coffee beans. In 1997, traveling to Cavite with Tony Reyes of the International Coffee Organization Certifying Agency, she met her mentor, Fr. Roger Bag-ao, a priest who introduced her to the coffee farmers of Amadeo, Cavite. The farmers at that time felt there was no future for local coffee because no one wanted to buy it. There was no demand. Thinking fast on her feet, Juan made a deal with the farmers. If they planted barako coffee trees, she would sell the coffee beans at all her Figaro branches. There were about eight at that time. It was an offer that was hard to refuse. Barako, although commonly associated with coffee beans grown in Batangas, refers to Philippine liberica, a coffee variety characterized by large

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beans that produce the largest cherries. It’s the common man’s brew noted for its strong and distinct earthy flavor. The deal with the Cavite farmers was just the start of Juan’s fight to save the local coffee industry. Two years later, in 1999, she set up the Figaro Foundation Corporation along with the “Save the Barako” program. The country had already lost some 80,000 hectares of coffee farms. Coffee-producing lands were being converted into commercial and industrial lands. Landowners were left with no choice but to sell their property. When Figaro Foundation came into the picture, it arrested the decline in land planted to coffee. Coffee farms are now maintained at 70,000 hectares around the country. Most of these farms are found in Batangas, Bukidnon, Cavite, Kalinga Apayao, Davao and Claveria. Dr. Alejandro Mojica of Cavite State University, a coffee expert who helped the foundation in its research on the barako, said Juan’s effort in convincing farmers to plant the barako again was crucial in saving the industry. Three years after the foundation opened, then executive director of the Makati Business Club, Bill Luz, appointed Juan to co-chair the coffee rehabilitation program group that later formed into the Philippine Coffee Board with the help of the Department of Agriculture (DA) and some of the biggest names in the Philippine Coffee Industry. The board rehabilitates and certifies coffee farms, and markets and promotes Philippine coffee industry. In 2008, incumbent DA secretary Arthur Yap gave Figaro Foundation a P150 million grant to help meet Juan’s vision to make the coffee industry selfsufficient by 2015 by rejuvenating and rehabilitating more than 1,000 hectares of coffee farms and increasing their yields. Since the creation of the Board,

another 22,000 hectares of land became active coffee farms. Thanks to the initiative of eco hero Pacita Juan. Juan has also teamed up with GMA Foundation to set up coffee carts called “Bean Aid” kiosks during events sponsored by Figaro and GMA Foundations. The kiosks distribute leaflets on the ongoing campaign to save the barako and sell Figaro’s own barako blends. Proceeds from these “Bean Aid” kiosks go to the Foundation’s projects and programs. In 2003, Juan went on further to launch the Adopt-a-Coffee Farm program with the help of the municipal government of Amadeo in Cavite. A lot of people were selling their lands and Juan thought if they could get people to “lease” the land, to adopt a farm for P1 per square meter per year, they

There was no future for local coffee because no one wanted to buy it. Juan made a deal with the farmers. If they planted barako coffee trees, she would sell the coffee beans at all her Figaro branches could actually save these coffee farms. Juan adopted Amadeo mayor Albert Ambagan Junior’s 1.7-hectare land and used this to start an organic coffee pilot farm. Juan says the fight is not over to save coffee farms and agricultural land. Though there are already coffee farms in provinces such as Benguet, Batangas, Palawan and Sultan Kudarat, Juan said farmers still have to be educated and encouraged to rehabilitate their farms.

Every year, during harvest season of coffee beans between January and March, Figaro organizes the Figaro Heritage Tour, taking coffee lovers to farms in Benguet, Cavite and Tagaytay, educating them in the history of the barako, its nearly extinct state in the past and its revival. Tour participants also join in the harvesting of coffee. To help patronize barako, go to Kape Isla (Tel: +632/ 901 3485) and buy coffee. With the existence of Philippine Coffee Board, farmers will be able to get technical assistance that they need in harvesting coffee. Philippine Coffee Board imparts new technology and improves post-harvest processing techniques that give the farmers more value for their coffee

april - may 2009 I SEAIR InFlight


Mark Reyes grew up in California in the US, but came back to his native Manila years ago, establishing himself as a club and party organizer in Manila and Boracay. Reyes and his group are throwing a party at Juice Bar on the week of April 6. He also promotes Fiamma on Jupiter Street every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and Club Bureau at A Venue on Makati Avenue every Thursday (lounge) and Saturday (actual club). For more details about his parties at Fiamma, log on to www.

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My heaven & hell holidays Club promoter Mark Reyes speaks frankly to Monica De Leon about memorable holidays and miserable ones Photo by CARLOS Legaspi Shot on location at Club Bureau

Which was your best holiday? My first Christmas here in the Philippines back in 2000 because all my friends and family flew in from the States. My very first New Year’s party in Boracay back in 2003 was also pretty memorable. We did the countdown at Seawind. My whole group of friends was there – my football team, my dance group. There were about 50 of us so we had a really good time.

Any travel advice? Don’t travel without knowing where you’re going. Plan ahead. A couple of times I traveled without planning, got there and took care of things. But there were times things didn’t work out and turned into a nightmare. One time, it took me a full day to get a hotel. I was dragging my luggage around with me. I’ve never tried backpacking. I don’t think it would be me.

And the best hotel you stayed in? In Boracay, Seawind. I met people who lived in Europe, and they always traveled every year to Boracay to spend New Year’s and I would see them every year at Seawind. It’s family-oriented. Oh and I love the food there too. They have dinner buffet, grilled seafood. It helps that it’s a beachfront hotel. Shangri-La in Cebu is just classy. It’s a lot more upscale than ShangriLa here (Makati).

Where do you want to holiday next? I traveled to Camarines Sur’s CWC (Camarines Wakeboarding Center) and I was there for one day because it was a business trip. I have to go back there. Definitely. I wakeboard. I like activities. When I’m in Boracay I’m always snorkeling, jetskiing, banana boating. I don’t go there for the beach. I go there for activities and friends.

What for you makes for a perfect holiday? Having the right people around; no drama. What do you always take with you? Money, friends, my shoes. I’m a very light packer. If I stay in Boracay for four or five days, I take two board shorts, three shirts and my toiletries. That’s it.

Have you spent Holy Week in Boracay? Yes, many times. People say it’s congested but it’s not to me. I find it fun. I never had a problem going there on Holy Week and I like going there on Holy Week because it’s party time.

The worst hotel you’ve stayed in? I’d rather not say the name. My friends know exactly which one it is because on our last night, we annihilated the place. We broke almost everything in the room and I ended up spending like P10,000-P15,000 for repair. I took my friends with me on that trip and out of politeness, we ended up switching rooms with the girls because their room was really bad. The place was in Boracay, not by the beach or anything. When we stayed there, there was brown out every hour, every other hour no running water, mosquitoes all the time, no TV. It was endless headache. On our last day, we had an early start because our flight back to Manila was at 6am. As I was showering the water turned off so I had soap all over me and then another power cut. My friends were so hot. Everyone started screaming. We became monkeys and we broke the place – the bed, chairs, the air-conditioner, which we pushed out the window. We went crazy and then paid for it. No jail though. Any favorite restaurant in Boracay? For buffet, I love Seawind’s. For ribs I love Hawaiian Barbeque. That’s a must. And definitely Zuzuni’s for dessert.

Any tip for anyone eyeing Boracay on a peak time? Buy your tickets in advance. Your biggest packing mistake? Overpacking. I like to buy things and souvenirs when I travel so when I overpack I don’t have enough room to put all the things that I buy for people.

april - may 2009 I SEAIR InFlight




book Now

Tropical comfort

Monica De Leon enjoys sea views, good food, and five-star treatment at Shangri-La’s Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa Photos courtesy of Shangri-La’s Tanjung Aru

View of one of Tanjung Aru’s infinity pools that overlooks the sky, sea and outlying islands

april - may 2009 I SEAIR InFlight


Chi Spa Villa’s warm interior

S h a n g r i-L a’ s Ta n j u n g A r u

R Location

ight off Tanjung Aru Beach, bordered by the South China Sea, and set in 25 acres of landscaped gardens, facing five tropical islands a few minutes away by speedboat. Rising from the distance is Mt. Kinabalu, the tallest mountain in Southeast Asia. The resort is only 10 minutes from the international airport and from Kota Kinabalu’s (KK) commercial district in Sabah, Malaysia. CHARACTER This 492-room resort was built in 1983, ostensibly to cater to royalties. The resort’s interior is a mix of modern and native influences, with use of warm Bornean colors. Views of the sea and nearby coral islands give the place an overall relaxing feel. Guests here are a mix of leisure and business travellers. ROOMS Tasteful traditional meets modern. Various textured fabrics adorn the walls and wooden furniture. My bed is king size and comfortable, fitted with blue and green sheets, and has a verandah. I’m in the Kinabalu seaview room and have a wonderful view of the sea and outlying islands. Like most Shangri-Las, rooms have all the modcons like cable TV with satellite programs and in-house movies, IDD telephone with bathroom extension and energy and environment saving devices. There’s wifi internet access but you have to pay for it. The toilet and bath are immaculate. fOOd Café Tatu’s cooking stations where chefs prepare food right before your eyes ensure you get your meals piping hot and as you like it. Don’t miss out on the


Asian dishes – Mongolian, tandoori, Asian noodles, curries – as these are quite good. For authentic Chinese making use of Kota Kinabalu’s fresh seafood and veggies, try Shang Palace. And if you like pasta, pizza or panini, go to the award winning Pepito. WE LIKE Great location. Restaurants, shops, banks, money changers, and amenities are just about 10 minutes away. Rooms are well equipped for both leisure and business travellers. NOT SO KEEN The 150 meter patch of beach can get crowded at times; but don’t despair. Retreat to either of the resort’s two freeform swimming pools, or relax by the sunset bar, or better still get some pampering at the in-house spa, the 4,161sqm Shangri-La’s Chi, The Spa, the largest in Kota Kinabalu.

essentials HOW TO GET THERE To book, call +6088/ 327 888, visit Room rates start from RM720++ (about P10,080). For packages that include flights, call SEAIR LEP at +632/ 843 7308.

GETTING THERE SEAIR flies once a week from Puerto Princesa to KK connecting via Clark and Caticlan. (Visit or call +632/ 849 0100 to book a flight) From Puerto Princesa, it’s about an hour’s flight to KK. Upon arriving at KK’s airport, hop on a cab (fare a fixed rate of RM10 or about P140), and in 10 minutes, you are right at the resort’s doorsteps.

april - may 2009 I SEAIR InFlight


One of the rooms of Shangri-La’s twobedroom villa

posh Stay

Shangri-La’s Boracay Resort & Spa

story by Catherine Calderon Photo courtesy of Shangri-La’s Boracay Resort & Spa


O Location

n the northwestern part of Barangay Yapak, the quieter patch of Boracay Island. It is about five minutes away from Fairways and Bluewater Resort, and 15 minutes away from the shopping center and rows of restaurants on Boracay’s White Beach. CHARACTER Secluded setting with its 350 meters of beachfront and a 12-hectare sprawling ground. At the lobby, guests are greeted by the sight and sound of water gently trickling from the spout of the fishshaped sculptures down to a dark pool in the hall. From the reception desk you get a good view of the sea. The lobby is an open, airy area, making you feel connected to the sea and the outside space. At about 5:30pm, keep an eye out for flying foxes and endemic birds. ROOMS A surprise mix of contemporary and local influences greet you as you open the door to the deluxe room. It is homey and definitely comfortable. The resort’s 219 rooms and 36 villas make good use of indigenous materials such as abaca, capiz shells, rattan, habis and wood. Tribal artifacts like headdress and bangles of the T’boli tribe or boat paddles with carved handles decorate the rooms and give it an exotic feel. All rooms here connect to a balcony with views of the White Beach and the winding gardens. There is more than enough room to swing a cat, or a buffalo for that matter. Room size ranges from 60sqm for a deluxe and up to 220sqm for a villa which comes with all the luxury of a private lap pool, outdoor shower, pergola for outdoor dining, and a day bed for relaxation or massage. If you decide not to see a soul and just be holed in in your villa, you won’t feel closed in at all. There’s butler service to boot. And yes, the king-size bed uses bed sheets with 800 thread count and

goose feather pillows. All the requisite techno blings come with the room. FOOD Five of the seven restaurants and bars are now open: the Vintana is for allday al fresco dining. The buffet offers Chinese, Japanese, Italian, Filipino, steaks, and desserts. All are scrumptious as fresh ingredients are flown in everyday from different places to ensure the quality of the dishes. A must try at Sirena is its mouthwatering lobster ala thermidor or tempura and other fresh seafood. Italian restaurant Rima has really nice and light dishes like crab cakes and the soup paella in seafood sauce. The Solana Sunset Bar and the Alon Bar serve cocktails and other beverages by the beach. WE LIKE The staff are friendly and efficient. Location is unbeatable – secluded yet just a few minutes away from Boracay’s row of restaurants, bars, and shopping.

essentials HOW TO GET THERE Visit; deluxe rooms start at P21,900++ and the pool villa at P39,700++. For packages that include flights, call SEAIR LEP at +632/ 843 7308.

GETTING THERE Book SEAIR which flies you from Manila to Caticlan Airport in just 35 minutes. Shangri-La’s resort staff will be on hand to greet guests at the exit. A van takes guests to the Mabuhay Lounge only two minutes ride away from the airport for a welcome drink and cold towels. Then it’s off via speedboat from the lounge straight to Shangri-La’s own jetty port in about 10 minutes.

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inFlight Escape

T h e T i de s Ho t e l Bor ac ay

Exceptional room

must Try

The Tides Hotel Boracay

story by Catherine Calderon Photo courtesy of The Tides Hotel Boracay


T Location

he Tides is between Boat Stations 1 and 2, smack right in the middle of Boracay’s D’Mall shopping center. With an inconspicuous façade and a small entrance by the corner, you can easily miss it. It’s between Heidiland and the colorful ferriswheel, 10 meters across the door of The Tides. CHARACTER The four-storey Tides Resort is one huge white monolith structure in central Boracay, the island’s hub for partying. The architecture is simple and modern complementing the interior, which is sleek and likewise modern, using a neutral palette, mostly whites, accented by black and subtle brown. The resort’s courtyard feels like a surrealist gallery, using wood panels for one wall. Windows and doors to the 60 rooms of the resort are all visible from the dreamlike courtyard. And the resort is only a few minutes’ walk to the beach. ROOMS The spacious rooms are updated retro chic. Straight lines are softened by the circular design pattern on the wall and added color breaks the monotony of the black and white. Every room has a slight variation in the layout so that no two rooms are identical. The bath tub has a rain shower head. The bed is king-size and comfortable. Other amenities include wi-fi access, plasma television with cable access, magnetic key card security system, and in-room safety deposit box. Guests without their laptops can access the internet by using any of the two computers near the reception area. FOOD The resort’s restaurant called Kaon, which is Visayan for come and eat, serves delicious Filipino regional favorites with a twist. Chef Fernando Aracama heads the kitchen. The bowl of mongo soup served with a heap of bittermelon leaves arranged in the middle and topped with shrimps looks so gourmet. Traditional sizzling sisig (a mixture of minced pork meat, pig’s

cheeks and ears and spices) is served in a non-traditional way, wrapped up and fried, spring roll style. Not to miss is the Queen Dory of the Tides, slightly-fried dory fish fillet topped with marbled potato, candied tomatoes and sour cream sauce with pickled vegetables. WE LIKE The Tides is known to be the place of choice for many celebrities like Anne Curtis, Kc Concepcion, Paolo Paraiso, JM Rodriguez and Marc Nelson, so you can hobnob with exciting people if that’s what you want. The resort is also known for throwing terrific themed parties. It’s a great venue for special occasions and private gatherings. One of the resort owners is young businessman Erik Cua, the man behind the ‘institution’ Embassy. NOT SO KEEN You will have to crane your neck for a glimpse of the sea from the top floor, and even then you’ll only see a teeny view.

essentials HOW TO GET THERE To book, call +6336/ 288 4517, +632/ 725 3411 or visit www.; rate for Essential Room starts from US $140 (about P7,000), Exceptional Room is from $180. Additional $25 for extra person. SEAIR also has a special package with The Tides that includes airfare. Call +6321/ 843 7308.

GETTING THERE SEAIR flies daily to Caticlan from Manila and from Clark. (Visit or call +632/ 849 0100 to book a flight) From Caticlan Airport you will be welcomed by the hotel staff at the exit and whisked off to the jetty port for the boat transfer. Drop off point is at Cagban Jetty where another shuttle awaits you for the trip to D’Mall. SEAIR also offers convenient island transfers from the airport to Caticlan pier all the way to Cagban pier, where you can take a tricycle to take you to D’Mall for a fee of about P60.

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must Try

Homey setting

An old house in Quezon city has been converted into a restaurant serving Japanese-French fusion. Yasmin D. Arquiza pays a visit Photos by Mike Alcid

N i n yo


This page: Ninyo’s homey interior

Left: The pathway leading to the main door of an old house converted into a restaurant


omantically lit at night, Ninyo is the kind of restaurant that sets the right mood for relaxed dining. Tea candles inside brown paper bags light up the pathway, and wispy vines hang loosely from the trees framing the garden, a koi pond at the main door to the old house, and inside, a jumble of antique collectibles. I found our reserved table on the second floor quite cramped for three people. The 20sqm dining room is packed full with four tables — a huge one for four and three tables for three. Not much for privacy here. A celebrity couple beside us wisely transferred to the spacious gazebo in the garden, a nice spot at night but one to avoid at lunch hour, when the busy street outside fills up with spillover traffic from Katipunan in front of Ateneo University. Ninyo has just reopened in January this year after owner and chef Niño Laus bought it and renamed it Ninyo, from Inyo. Food served now is mainly fusion, a blend of east (mostly Japanese) and west (mostly French). For starters, we had sushi-style prawn rolls (P410), oven-baked and

served with salad greens. Difficult to imagine one of my favorite seafood inside a seaweed roll – no rice. It tasted more like mixed seafood than just prawns. Each roll was topped with a tiny bit of caviar, which was gone before we even got as much as a hint that it existed. My drinking buddy Mac tucked into chunks of US hanging tender steak, grilled medium rare with red wine sauce (P570). It came with pumpkin risoni, a rice-like pasta. Mac thought it was too heavy a side dish to pair with the steak. Our companion Eli enjoyed his duck leg confit (P580), slow-cooked to a crisp but still juicy inside with just a teensy bit of gaminess. The mango pilaf complemented it nicely, along with the smattering of buttered asparagus spears and cherry tomatoes. But the grilled pineapple skewers seemed out of place. I chose the oven-poached lapulapu (P570) that arrived impressively in a cloud of foil wrap. Two waiters ceremoniously sliced it open to reveal a mélange of assorted mushrooms, clams, and thin slices of Chinese chorizo around the fish fillet. The mild flavor of dashi broth, a Japanese soup stock made from fish and kelp, balanced the tartness of the leafy vegetable in the mix and made the soup person in me quite happy.

We had a huge slice of mango pavlova (P225) for dessert – or actually, just the mango slices on top and the deliciously chewy outer layer. We discarded the fluffy meringue. Ninyo’s signature iced tea (P65) seemed sickly sweet at first, but I found out the trick was to wait for the mango and citrus sorbet floating in the drink to melt, allowing the subtle taste of the fruit to come out and blend with the freshly brewed tea. Patience and good company are required at Ninyo; the waiter said it would take 30 minutes to prepare the poached fish, but it actually took an hour. The food is good but the star of the show are the presentation and ambience. Other recommended dishes are oyster appetizers (P300 to P450; baked, fried with wasabi, Rockefeller), grilled Chilean sea bass in French stew (P980), and wagyu top blade on mushroom risotto (P970).

Price per meal (three dishes) will set you back P1,000. Open from Tuesday to Sunday from 11am to 2pm and 6pm to 10pm. Ninyo Fusion Cuisine is at 66 Esteban Abada, Quezon City. To reserve, call +632/ 426 0301, 928 6459. april - may 2009 I SEAIR InFlight


ins & outs

c ov e r s t ory

insider’s gu ide

Puning Hot Springs

in focus Clark Hostel

Holiday Inn

This photo by Michael Marasigan

Ins and outs of Clark

Once the biggest military base outside the US, Clark Freeport Zone is a great place for a weekend break. Check out spa breaks treks to the famous Mt. Pinatubo by Ces Rodriguez

STAY IN Holiday Inn. Full service with high marks for customer care. It offers guests Clarky Adventure Camp for kids featuring rock climbing. It also has a full service spa. Located five minutes from the airport and the duty free shops and two minutes from the Mimosa Golf and Country Club. Mimosa

Drive, Mimosa Leisure Estate, Clark. Hotel Front Desk: +632/ 845 1888. Rooms start at P4,450.

Clearwater Country Club. Lakeside country-style family accommodation (from two to six persons) including a choice of air-conditioned tents. Overnight accommodation, with brunch and dinner

for two at the Yats Restaurant and Wine Cellars, costs P3,900 for weekdays and P5,500 for weekends and holidays. Limited accommodation for non-members so call to reserve. Gil Puyat Ave. cor. A. Soriano St., Tel: +6345/ 599 6971.

Hotel Stotsenberg. Laid back but close to april - may 2009 I SEAIR InFlight



clark Hotel Stotsenberg

C Italian Dining

This photo by Erik Liongoren

the nightlife. Gil Puyat Ave., cor. A. Soriano Street, Clark Freeport Zone. Tel: +6345/ 499 0777. Rooms start at P4,521.75.

Clark Hostel. Boutique hotel with extended stay discounts. Walking distance from the casinos. Coffee shop, bar, grill, massage services. Ninoy Aquino Ave. cor. M.A. Roxas Highway, Clark Freeport Zone, Philippines. Tel: +6345/ 499 0695. Rates start at approximately P1,900. STAY OUT The Marathon and Decathlon area will appeal to those who want to run and jog in the unpolluted outdoors. Site of the annual Offroad Decathlon. The Fontana Water Park located at the Fontana Leisure Park and Casino. The park has swimming pools, slides and an electronically operated water pool that churns its own waves. P250 entrance weekdays; P300 weekends. Or, spend the day at the greens. Check out your golfing options at the Mimosa Golf & Leisure Resort (Tel: +6345/ 599 5411) or inquire at the Tourism Office. You might want to explore Nayong Pilipino, a cultural and historical theme park showcasing the country’s pre-colonial and colonial periods, or the Paradise Ranch, an eco-tourism attraction. Interestingly, the access point to the outdoor delights of the famed Mount Pinatubo is in Tarlac, the province next to Pampanga. But the Clark Tourism Office will help with your itinerary and endorse you to a qualified guide. Must try activities: a plane ride 6,000 feet above the volcano to see the lake within the crater (inquire at the Tourism Office for best rates and schedule), the trek (from P1,500-P3,500), the volcanic ash treatment and swimming in the blue green volcanic waters.

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REJUVENATE Otherwise, the Puning Hot Springs in Sitio Target, Sapang Bato is no slouch. It recreates the Mt. Pinatubo spa experience. A 30-minute drive via a 4x4 gets you there. If indoor pampering is your thing, try the New Well Being Spa, the biggest Korean-standard cold room and sauna in the Philippines. Located within the Lohas Hotel E. Aguinaldo Street.

ROLL THE DICE For gambling action, there’s the 2,000sqm Fontana Leisure Park and Casino (Tel: +6345/ 599 5000, 524 9313), the Stotsenberg Leisure Park And Casino (Bldg. 4081 Centennial Roads, Tel: +6345/ 599 5949) and the Mimosa Leisure Park & Casino Filipino – (Mimosa Drive. Tel: +6345/ 599 6004).

SHOP There are still about five duty-free shops within the hub, for a spot of retail therapy. Otherwise, what’s best about Clark is that you can forget packing the kitchen sink. The SM mall, a 10-minute drive from Clark, is convenient for picking up groceries or the forgotten swimsuit.

EAT Within Clark itself, there are 10 restaurants that serve up every kind of cuisine you like. Just outside the zone, however, the most celebrated is C Italian Dining run by a SwissItalian chef. Must try: the original panizza, a thin crust pizza-like dish rolled and eaten with arugula. 1210 Don Juico Ave., Clarkview, Balibago, Angeles City. Tel: +6345/ 892 4059. You’ll also have to drive out of Clark to sample Pampanga’s legendary cuisine. To go for the best, sign up for the Culinary Tour (approximately P5,000), which includes stops at Chef Claude Tayag’s Baledutung Restaurant and

an architectural drive-by through some of the city’s old houses. Clark Freeport Zone is located in Angeles City, Pampanga, around 80km north of Manila. It’s an hour-and-a-half drive from Manila through the North Luzon Expressway. If you hate traffic, book SEAIR (, +632/ 849 0100). SEAIR flies daily from Caticlan to Clark.

Unless indicated, all tours, bookings, inquiries can be made through Clark Tourism and Cultural Affairs Office. Tel: +6345/ 599 2854, 599 3222, 599 6235.

Cover Story

The cruise down Puerto Princesa's Iwahig River at dusk to witness hundreds of glowing fireflies is one of the five eco tours ran by local residents

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A GREeN DREAM Green tourism is alive in Palawan as residents take up the challenge to run their own eco tours, says Yasmin D. Arquiza

Photos by Oggie Ramos

map illustration by marlon a . see

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Clockwise from top left, this spread: Floating restaurant moored at San Carlos pier in Bacungan River; village youth explaining the importance of mangroves to guests; white egrets flying home to roost in the mangrove forest; and a mangrove boardwalk along Bacungan River


On a cruise down Bacungan River

in Barangay Bacungan, home to hundreds of hectares verdant mangrove forest, village wives and their family members prepared and served lunch to tourists on board, while the village youths took turns giving a short lecture with visuals about mangrove ecosystems. It’s not exactly what you’d expect out of a holiday package, but this was no ordinary tour. Those organizing the tour are residents of Bacungan, some 20 kilometers north of Puerto Princesa City, capital of Palawan. Most of them had been involved in cutting down the very mangroves they are now protecting and showing off to visitors. Under private sector ABS-CBN Foundation's Bayanijuan project, local folks are finding new ways of earning a living the eco friendly way. The foundation has helped organize communities and provides funds for equipment to get locals started. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are also supporting similar projects. As a result, five eco tours, including the Bacungan River tour, are successfully being operated by local people. In Bacungan, residents abandoned mangrove cutting soon after the Environmental Legal Assistance Center (ELAC), an NGO engaged in environmental advocacy in Palawan, started a series of talks to villagers about the adverse effects of destroying the mangroves, a rampant practice because profit can be had from selling mangroves as charcoal. In 2003, ELAC’s efforts were helped by the government when it awarded the Bacungan Coastal Development Residents’ Association a 25-year government lease covering all 379 hectares of mangrove forests. This award put the association in charge of

Cover Story

managing the forest and protecting it from illegal activities. The break in mangrove-cutting activities – hopefully a permanent one – encouraged white egrets to come back and resulted in more fish in the river, according to Agustin Mapa, former charcoal gatherer who now heads the Bacungan Coastal Development Residents’ Association. Building on ELAC’s organizing efforts, Bayanijuan helped the community develop the eco tour. One of the five eco tours now on offer, the mangrove cruise tour itself is an enjoyable two-hour travel with a stopover at an 85-meter boardwalk where you get to see the mangroves up close. The cruise is on a floating restaurant, a platform mounted on two boats, catamaranstyle, towed by an outrigger boat. Tourists get on the boat in Sitio San Carlos, welcomed by young children in native costumes performing local folk dances while a string band played Cuyunon music. A sachet of insect repellent to ward off sand fleas known to swarm in mangroves were passed on to everyone. Lunch consisted of jackfruit salad, chicken soup, fish stew with fresh tomato dip, crabs caught from the river, and rice in banana leaves. The serenity of the mangrove river lulled some of the guests to sleep during the lazy Sunday afternoon cruise. The tour costs P3,500 for a minimum of 10 people, and includes native snacks and fresh buko (young coconut). Buffet lunch is an additional P150, a bargain for such a feast. Every trip, 14 households earn extra income from organizing the tour. Everyone from the children to the parents help out in cooking, entertaining, and briefing visitors. april - may 2009 I SEAIR InFlight


Cover Story


This page: Cruising along Iwahig. A little turn to the right brings you to Puerto Bay

Opposite page: A section of Iwahig's riverbank that's made into a jumpoff point for boat tours

Firefly watching in Iwahig

At sunset, I joined another eco tour. This one was down Iwahig River, about 20 kilometers south of the city proper. It’s ran by the Iwahig Community Ecotourism Association, organized by Bayanijuan last year. More than a dozen youth, all children of the Iwahig Penal Colony’s employees, are now earning up to P1,000 a month in running the tours on rotation basis. A section of the riverbank near the Iwahig bridge has been cleared for the tour and there are stone pathways and grass huts as well as a pavilion for big tourist groups. As soon as it gets dark, tourists are asked to put on insect repellent, life vests and a salakot (native hat) before boarding the paddle boat. Our first stop was to view nilad, a favorite host plant of fireflies, along with nipa and tabigi, two other mangrove species, according to our boatman. Swarms of lightning bugs lit up Nilad, a wondrous sight to behold. Manila was named after this same plant which once thrived in its waters. I started to imagine what Manila Bay looked

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like when these mangrove trees still lined the coast. We spotted a few more isolated trees where the lightning bugs flashed on and off, the quiet swish of the oar in the water soothing the senses on a moonless night. Finally, we reached the high point of the tour – an island where hundreds of fireflies glittered in the trees. They twinkled like Christmas lights in the dark night, echoing the twinkling of the stars in the sky. The two-hour cruise costs P600 per boat, which is good for three people. Rice cake snacks are included, along with an interpretative tour of the mangroves. In the dark, however, it is difficult to appreciate the boatman’s spiel about the mangroves as you can hardly see anything. Guests may reserve buffet dinner in advance for P150 each. We were treated to a local delicacy called tamilok, a bivalve from rotten mangrove wood whose body resembles a worm. It’s supposed to taste like shellfish, but this time I passed.

Spinner dolphins cut across Puerto Bay's waters year round and sightings are almost always guaranteed


Cover Story

Dolphin watching in the bay

Eco tour three starts early. We were up before daybreak the following day hoping to catch a glimpse of dolphins, which are most active after sunrise and before sunset. Unfortunately, amihan (northeast) winds were still blowing heavily in late February, and we had to turn back after encountering 20-foot swells at the mouth of Puerto Princesa Bay. The dolphin-watching tour is ran by the Barangay Tulingan Fishermen’s Association organized by the Bayanijuan Palawan last year. To get the association started, Bayanijuan gave them a boat they could use for their tours. Each of the 58 members, who serve as spotters, was also given a mobile phone so they can inform the tour guides about the location of the dolphins. Tuna fishermen are a good help in dolphin sightings because dolphins like to swim along their boats, feeding on smaller fish that the tuna also prey on. Dolphin watchers pay P600 each for a three-hour trip; 50 pesos is shared by the spotters while community guides get 25 pesos. Sightings are almost always guaranteed year-round but the best time to go is from March to May when the seas are calm. One of the fishermen's association members, 24-year old Albert Oja, said many fishermen used to think of dolphins as food. Now they see these gentle creatures as important to the ecosystem and to their livelihood. Many dolphins die from ingesting trash thrown into the sea, so the association has started a monthly coastal clean-up during the full moon, when tuna are scarce. The city government provides P1,500 for each fisherman as incentive – half of the money goes to the fisherman for clean-up and the other half goes to the association for boat maintenance. Photo on this spread page by Philip L. Sison

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Clockwise from top left: Inspecting pottery shards in one of the caves in Ugong Rock; guide assisting InFlight writer Yasmin inside rocky labyrinth; and panoramic view of Tagabinet's farmlands from cliff top deck. Opposite: Village guide Rommel Ortega in one of the cave's chambers

Ugong Rock

The most challenging eco tour in our itinerary was a cliffhanger-type adventure up a limestone outcrop near the popular Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, which boasts of the longest underground river in the world. We drove some 60 kilometers northwest of the city proper, some of it on unpaved roads, to reach the village of Tagabinet. Tour guides in mint-green uniforms, most of them women, welcomed us with bead necklaces made of seeds. The Tagabinet Community Tourism Association, which ELAC helped organize in 1999, run the tour. Bayanijuan helped with the project, providing safety gear for climbers and funds for visitor facilities. We started the tour by gearing up, donning hard hats and rubber-lined gloves so we could get a better grip of the ropes and rough surfaces. I had some problems with the helmet, which skewed my eyeglasses, without which my eyesight was pretty much useless in the dimly-lit caves. We entered through a dark passage, climbing and wove our way in and out the rocky labyrinth, stopping for a moment midway up to tap the vertical formation

that made a drum-like sound (literally, ugong). At one point, we had to rappel up a sharp incline, and in some places, squeeze our bodies through sharp crevices. When we reached the peak, a most pleasant surprise awaited us. “I’m impressed!” was all I could blurt out when I saw the view deck perched on the ledge. Our lady guides were with cold towels in hand. We savored the panoramic view of rice fields, limestone cliffs, forested hills, and Mount St. Paul while the guides told us how they built the view deck by hauling up each piece of bamboo up by pulley and manually, all in 15 days! Back in the valley, a glass of calamansi juice with honey and a slice of cassava cake were a welcome treat after the climb. It takes about 45 minutes at an easy pace to reach the top, estimated at 80 meters. Fees are P100 per person; 60 per cent goes to the tour guide while the rest is remitted to the association. Bayanijuan project manager Gerry Ortega says they are hoping to capture the tourist market going to the Underground River. When there are no guests, the tour guides weave grass baskets that are sold as souvenirs.

"At one point, we had to rappel up a sharp incline, and in some places, squeeze our bodies through sharp crevices. When we reached the peak, a most pleasant surprise awaited us" 54 SEAIR InFlight

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Cover Story

This photo by Philip L. Sison


Clockwise from top: Tourist platform with roof of hawksbill turtle made by the fishermen; and Honda Bay fishermen making buoy markers for Pambato Reef

Pambato Reef

Our final destination was another overlooked spot in the tourist trail. Island hopping at Honda Bay is a mustdo in any visit to Puerto Princesa, but boatmen often just skirted the shallow offshore reef near Lu-li Island, unaware of its potential for snorkeling. Gerry worked with another group organized by ELAC, the Honda Bay Boatmen’s Association, in developing tourist facilities near the coral reef they called Pambato (contender). It has been dubbed a “mini-Tubbataha” so I had to see for myself whether it could really compare with the World Heritage Site in the Sulu Sea. The reef was teeming with live corals – a field of mushroom corals, a cluster of table corals, and branching corals everywhere. But I was disappointed to find only a few fish, not even a clownfish near the sea anemones. There were parrotfish, surgeonfish, and some angelfish but it was definitely nowhere near the diversity of Tubbataha. What makes Pambato Reef a delight, however, is the floating platform with a roof in the shape of a hawksbill turtle. Made of fish nets and metal pipes, the artistically designed structure provides good air flow and is sturdy enough to withstand a typhoon. Bamboo chimes flutter in the wind, and a matching baby turtle floater is used to ferry swimmers. The entrance fee of P50 per guest adds to the boatmen’s income. Sweat equity In every eco destination, local partners put in labor and creativity as their “sweat equity” in developing tourist facilities, says Bayanijuan's Gerry. Major supporters of the venture are the Department of Tourism, which provided P1 million, and the city government, which gave an additional P2.5 million. Gerry also tapped the local academe and environment experts for the educational modules, the City Tourism Office for training tour guides, and the Palawan NGO Network for marketing the tours. “We became the catalyst,” said Gerry. What’s unique about Palawan is that it is easier to collaborate among groups in working towards environmental goals. High awareness about ecology among residents is also helping the project achieve its triple bottom line: to benefit the community, protect the environment, and make the guests happy.

essentials WHERE TO BOOK PACKAGES For the five eco tours, e-mail Pasyar_palawan@ or call +6348/ 723 1075. Tour packages are also available at php?pd=23. SEAIR’s Leisure Escape Packages can also provide tours that include airfare and accommodation. Call +632/ 843 7308.

WHERE TO STAY If eco friendly lodging is your thing, the homey Casa Linda Inn will surely appeal to your taste. It’s been the favorite of backpackers for two decades now, and the 12 rooms that surround a lush garden fill up easily so better reserve early. Located on Trinidad Road, Rizal Avenue. Call +6348/ 433 2606 or +63917/ 241 3144, e-mail Rates are P550 (single fan room) to P900 (double aircon room). If you’re out of luck, try Pagdayon just across the fence, which has similar native-style cottages. It’s a newer place that boasts of cable TV in rooms. Located on Rizal Avenue Extension. Call +6348/ 434 9102 or +63909/ 211 3677. Rates are P800 (single room) to P1,100 (twin deluxe). For creature comforts, the best value for money in town is Balay Inato, a new guest house near the airport. It has hot and cold shower, spacious parking, an adjacent restaurant that serves the best grilled chicken in Puerto Princesa, and wi-fi. Located at 294 Manalo Extension. Call +6348/ 433 8595 or +63926/ 617 2007 or e-mail Rates are P950 (double room with breakfast) to P1,200 (family room).

GETTING AROUND in Puerto Princesa, most inns offer free airport pick-up so ask when you book. Tricycles are the main mode of transport downtown, and tourist vans may be hired for most trips listed here. The City Tourism Office right beside the airport has rates for the most popular destinations. Call +6348/ 434 4211

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A chef’s tour OF BORACAY A restaurateur and a Swiss-trained chef give Ces Rodriguez a taste of the island P h o t o s b y M i k e Alcid m a p i l l u st r a t i o n b y m a rlo n a . see

About Our insider For 12 years, Binggoy Remedios worked in kitchen production and food & beverage management in kitchens across Karachi, Dubai, London, Paris and Honolulu. At 50, he retired and settled in Boracay, overseeing the traditional Spanish restaurant he opened some five years ago, Dos Mestizos. He insists on using only authentic ingredients and shopping for fresh produce every day. Because all the food that’s served in Boracay is flown in or ferried from elsewhere, Binggoy is now raising Cornish hens and plans to cultivate an organic farm on the main island of Aklan

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High tea under the palms: Chef Peter San Diego (with back to camera) of TBraz Creperie and French Bistro with (from left) InFlight writer Ces Rodriguez, restaurateur Dennis Gan with partner, Chef Melissa Sison

About Our touring chef Chef Melissa Sison studied hotel and restaurant management at Ecole les Roche in Switzerland. She also trained at La Santana restaurant in Nice, France and worked in the kitchens of restaurants like Pascale, Zov’s and the Yard House in Los Angeles. In 1997, she went back to Manila to open Salumeria In Makati, a deli and cafÊ popular with executives in the business district. In 2004, she opened MyLK at Greenbelt 3, a showcase of her comfort food fusions. With partner and boyfriend Dennis Gan, Chef Sison now runs a group of restaurants including Mr. Rockefeller, an oyster bar in Greenbelt 3, and SoCo, a by-appointment-only restaurant in Pasig

Walking the four-kilometer stretch of White Beach for a meal. From left, Ces Rodriguez, Dennis Gan, Chef Melissa Sison and restaurateur Binggoy Remedios

A c h e f ’ s t ou r of Bor ac ay

ome say there are now 200 restaurants in Boracay, many sitting cheek-by-jowl along the four kilometer stretch of the island’s famous White Beach, battling for a slice of that evergrowing tourist. At peak time – mainly Holy Week and the Christmas holidays – about 80,000 tourists from all over the globe come to the island to have a fun time. Good food and drink is very much on everyone’s agenda and with so many restaurants to choose from, where does one start? I turned for help to an expert: respected restaurateur Binggoy Remedios, long-time Boracay resident and owner of Dos Mestizos, an authentic Spanish restaurant recommended by most guide books as one of the must-visit restaurants in the island. It’s famous for its tapas, among other things. Book a table and perhaps find yourself seated in the company of Iñigo Zobel or Shangri-La owner Robert Cook or members of the Manila Yacht Club. Binggoy who worked in kitchen production and food & beverage management in kitchens across Karachi, Dubai, London, Paris and Honolulu, left the frenetic pace of the cities to retire in Boracay at age 50, 10 years ago. He hasn’t looked back since. His restaurant’s longevity and popularity lies on his personal attention to detail.


Like all people who are passionate of food, he places great importance on fresh ingredients, taking charge of the restaurant’s daily marketing, travelling to neighboring Aklan or Antique if he doesn’t find ingredients in the local market. Before our culinary trip to Boracay, InFlight managing editor Monica De Leon laid the groundwork by meeting with Binggoy in Manila, to get his input on the top 10 must-not-miss restaurants in the island. Then the plan was set to invite chef Melissa Sison, a graduate of Les Roches in Switzerland, who now runs Mr. Rockefeller at Greenbelt 3, an oyster haven, and the by-appointmentonly new cuisine SoCo in Pasig, to join me and Binggoy on a tour of Boracay, sampling dishes from the top 10 list. Chef Sison still remembers Boracay in the late nineties, when it took two hours to get served. “But we waited since there was no other choice,” she said. These days, Boracay has varied choices and cuisine, from Korean grill to French snobby-named dishes. The island is a magnet for aspiring young entrepreneurs who want to start life anew in the sun, dreaming dreams of opening a restaurant and living the beach life. “Eight or 10 years ago, the people who migrated here were older guys who wanted to retire,” said Binggoy. “Some were tourists who decided to stay and thought it was a good idea to open a restaurant. But in the past two years a lot of young couples have come to the island. They come, open up water sports and restaurants so we have a fantastic community here,” he said. april - may 2009 I SEAIR InFlight


insider’sguide A



Clockwise from top: Sampling TBraz’s mussels in pastis; Bolero manager Don Manapsal; and tucking into Bolero’s everything-on-it nachos. Opposite: Chef Sison tries out Kasbah’s brochettes

c h e f ’ s tou r of Bor ac ay

Our chef ’s tour

started with a late lunch at Kasbah, a Moroccan restaurant in Boat Station 1, beside Discovery Shores. It just opened last year and is run by Donna and her English husband Martin English. Donna studied Moroccan cooking in Marrakech and trained Kasbah chef Michael Sayson. Chef Sison said Kasbah’s lamb tajine (P815 to share, P445 solo), a stew slow cooked in the traditional tajine, a glazed terra cotta casserole with a funneled lid, had “the perfect balance of sweet, salty, sour and bitter.” “Nothing dominates the dish but the taste of the food lingers in your mouth and each time you chew, a new flavor comes out. In one chew you can taste the curry, another chew you will taste more of the cardamom…” Others to sample: kemia or cold appetizers with your choice of zaalouk (eggplant, tomatoes and cilantro at P125), mechouia (roasted mashed red bell peppers and tomatoes at P150) and hummus (mashed chick peas at P110). Or get all three for P330. To mellow you out, down the eats with fez, tea with mint leaves and rum. Call +6336/ 288 4790 or e-mail From Kasbah, it was an eight-minute walk to TBraz Creperie and French Bistro beside Café del Mar in Station 2. It was the former Café Breizh which was the originator of Café Breton. There were lots of French guests at the tables, so this must bode well for the place. The chef here is Peter San Diego, who has worked with the famous tv chef Wolfgang Puck. Peter’s sister, Chef Christine San Diego, owns the restaurant and also runs the bar Absinthe at Greenbelt in Makati, which Chef Sison said served “serious French Bistro fare.”

For appetizers, try the mussels in pastis (P240), cooked in pastis, a French liqueur with a licorice or aniseed flavor and served with rustic bread. Chef Sison said it was the perfect appetizer and was a refreshing change to the usual way of cooking mussels in white wine, served with chips. She said the roast chicken with mashed potatoes (P295) was moist and tasty. She also liked the best-selling crab, clam and shrimp boil (570), a hearty dish similar to a robust “bouillabaisse with Creole flavoring.” Also try: Crepe ala muscovado (P75), delicate and flavorful, with the sprinkle of raw sugar crunchy against the thin buttery crepe. Call manager Jimboy Torres at +6390/ 784 5174 or head of Dining Mary Hope Jollano 0918/233 6880. We ended Day One at Bolero Rum Bar and Mexican Kitchen located in the middle of Station 3, the quieter side of the island. Since restaurant owners are allowed to set up tables on the beach only after 5pm, we happily buried our toes in the cool sand to share platters of burritos (steak P290, beef P280, chicken P280 and seafood P320), beef and cheese nachos (P280), Columbian beef empanadas (three for P125 and five for P225) and chicarones Columbianos (P190). The moist burritos with grated cheese, beans and rice was a hit. Chef Sison also recommends pairing the everything-on-it nachos with a margarita or a daiquiri. Owner Dixie Mabanta, who also runs Café Mediterranean and Mexicali, opened the restaurant in June 2008. He says Bolero uses real Mexican tequila for their margaritas. Coming soon: a Latino-style parrilla where seafood and meats will be char-grilled on the beach from 5pm. Call +6336/ 288 5968. april - may 2009 I SEAIR InFlight


insider’sguide A

c h e f ’ s tou r of Bor ac ay



Clockwise from bottom left, this spread: Chef Sison dining with Smoke proprietor Rea Anchores; a dribble of olive oil on Aria’s salciccia as a platter of tagliatelle with white truffles, asparagus and prosciutto de parma waits in the wings; Courtyard Bistro serves the best Angus steak in the island and with a heaping of Zen; and Boracay transplant Freida Dario of Courtyard Bistro taking it light with Rodriguez

ay Two of the Food Tour began with lunch at Smoke, a hole-in-the-wall at Station 2’s shopping center, D’Mall, tucked inconspicuously on an alley and near Andok’s. It’s actually the second branch as the original one is right across the wet market. Except that Smoke isn’t your typical carinderia where pre-cooked food sit cold in serving pans. Every dish is cooked as it’s ordered. Its walls are decorated with the carved wood art of longtime Boracay resident and artist Nonet Pillora. The place is owned by Rea Anchores, who with her husband, Ancho, left their high-flying jobs in Manila in 2004 to settle in Boracay with their daughter. They opened Smoke in January 2005, proclaiming that their menu consists of “food we wanted to eat and was easy to cook.” Most dishes are served hot, in sizzling plates. “Real comfort food,” said Chef Sison. Try the adobo (P75 for the budget order or P150 per kilo plus the cost of the ingredients for “paluto” orders) which is served only on weekends. It’s braised with star anise and served with sweet potatoes. Chef Sison also found the fish salpicao (P95) a standout with tanigue cubes sautéed in oil, lots of garlic, soy sauce and paprika. Also try: the lechon kawali (P110) and the beef salpicao (P99). Smoke I is open from 7am to 10pm. Smoke II runs from 9am until 6am the following day. For catering and deliveries call +6336/ 288 6014.

Courtyard Bistro

“ is reputed to have the best tasting steak, Also try the twice-cooked chicken and pork adobo” We weren’t sure Aria was the best choice for a late afternoon tasting. Although Chef Sison found the insalata di cocomeno rucola e pinola (P480) made of organic arugula with watermelon and pine nuts in balsamic vinaigrette “very refreshing and great on a hot day,” the rest of what was generously served was a bit on the heavy side, including the tagliatelle contarfuto asparagi e prosciutto di parma (P460), a homemade pasta with white truffles, asparagus and parma ham. Centrally located at the front of D’Mall, Aria has been on the top of the list of most Boracay travelers as Chef Sison calls it a “safe choice if going with a big group.” While she raved about the salsiccia pizza (P560) made of Italian sausage, tomatoes and mozzarella, she likened dining at Aria to going to a hotel restaurant. “You are sure that the food you eat is clean, well-picked ingredients, no short cuts, well-cooked according to strict procedures, tasty enough, consistent – it will taste the same every time you come back and most of all, it will cost you!” Call +6336/ 288 5573. It was good to stray outside the White Beach area to get to Courtyard Bistro for dinner. A five-minute tricycle ride from the back of D’Mall (P10 per person),

the restaurant is located on Palomar, Bulabog, less than a minute stroll to Bulabog Beach, the stretch opposite White Beach and a windsurfer’s and kiteboarder’s sweet gusty spot. Proprietor Mark Santiago who opened the restaurant in December 2007 created a rustic Zen enclave, with low tables, large cushions, and chill-out zones. Chef Sison says its twice-cooked chicken and pork adobo (P180) is “braised, fried, braised.” The result: crispy on the outside and moist and tasty on the inside. And because the family of the owner also runs Melo’s, a chain of steak houses in Manila, Courtyard Bistro is supplied with the “best tasting steak in the island – grilled perfectly medium, not dry at all, just sprinkled with salt and pepper to enhance the flavor of the meat.” (Certified Angus beef rib eye P1,400 for 10oz served with mashed potatoes and vegetables.) When ordering the steak, request for the tostadong ttaba, trimmed fat pan fried to crackling, artery-clogging perfection. Open for breakfast from 7am to 2pm; lunch from 11am to 2pm; dinner from 5pm to 10pm. For inquires or reservations (for private or group functions), call +6336/ 288 4347 or +63915/ 487 4121. E-mail

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insider’sguide A



Clockwise from top left, this spread: Gan and Chef

Sison sharing Lemon Cafe’s shrimp and pomelo salad; trying out Island Chicken Inasal’s kansi; Chef Sison and Remedios in Dos Mestizos’ open kitchen; and architect and inn owner Adrian Bautista of Lazy Dog Bed & Breakfast at Dos Mestizos’ special seafood tapas night

c h e f ’ s tou r of Bor ac ay

sland Chicken Inasal at D’Mall serves up a star dish called kansi (P280), Bacolod’s version of a soup that’s a cross between bulalo or boiled bone marrow and sinigang or sour soup, recommended by Binggoy. Don’t bother ordering Iloilo’s famous grilled chicken inasal. The dish after which the restaurant is named turned out bland and the vinegar used for the dip wasn’t the authentic sinamak or aged palm vinegar. Chef Sison said kansi’s souring agent is “batuan”, a Visayan tamarind that gives the dish its subtle sourness. For its kansi alone, she said the restaurant deserves to be among Boracay’s top 10 restaurants. Island Chicken Inasal also has a branch on Scout Borromeo in Quezon City. For inquiries, email islandchickeninasalboracay@yahoo. com. Next to Kasbah, Chef Sison considers The Lemon Café her favorite restaurant on the island. “It’s the prefect cozy little café to spend the whole afternoon with girlfriends over a cup of coffee and dessert,” she said. Although its location is not entirely perfect, located in the central courtyard of D’Mall surrounded by fastfood outlets, Lemon Café projects the bright California vibe Chef Sison finds inviting. Co-owner and pastry chef Buddy Trinidad is top honcho when it comes to pastry making. He once headed the team making the fancy desserts at one of Peter Morton’s Oscar Awards parties. Chef Sison recommends mango madness (P120), which she found refreshing. She said the entrees, developed by

Swedish chef Julia Lervik, were equally good. The soba noodles with ahi tuna (P280) was “petite but intense” and able to achieve a perfect balance of soy sauce and wasabi. The tiger prawns (P490), grilled and served with coconut risotto that had the surprising flavor of lemon peel were an overall refreshing dish. Also try: the Lunch Box (P450), a changing menu of soup, salad, sandwich and dessert. Business hours are from 7am to 11pm. Call +6336/ 288 6781 to 82. Email Perfect ending to Day Three was an evening of seafood tapas, sangrias and homemade chorizos (P280/P145) at Dos Mestizos, Binggoy’s restaurant. He recreates largely Spanish-Portuguese dishes from memory and insists, “I only do traditional dishes. I don’t do fusion. I use only original ingredients like olive oil. We don’t cheat. Just to get that taste. You eat in my restaurant and you’ll say, oh wow, this is how my grandmother used to make it. When I hear that, my day is fantastic.” Chef Sison said Dos Mestizo’s paellas (Valenciana, marinera and negra (at P620, P1,240 and P1,860 for small, medium and large servings, respectively) are “good, very moist rice, generous seafood and perfectly cooked broth.” The chorizos she finds sumptuous and the tapas (P550) served every Saturday night should not be missed. During the Seafood Tapas Night, the freshness of the produce and the ingredients were best demonstrated in the boqueroñes or fresh anchovies, dressed with nothing but olive oil. Located at the alley bear Balabag Plaza in Station 3. Call +6336/ 288 6789. april - may 2009 I SEAIR InFlight




This page: Remedios recommends Cyma’s roka salata, greens, crumbled blue cheese, shaved parmesan and candied walnuts Opposite: Cyma managing partner Sunshine de Leon (left); and the flaming dish of saganaki, an appetizer of mozarella drenched in brandy

A c h e f ’ s t ou r of Bor ac ay

f we thought it couldn’t get better, we found ourselves on Day Four at Cyma, tucked away like a happy surprise along a narrow alley of D’Mall, almost like the Greek tavernas you see in the movies. It is charming but the interior is humid because although the doors were open and the fans whirred full blast, the restaurant had no cross ventilation. Binggoy is impressed by their salads. The roka salata (P590) is a to-share platter of arugula, Romaine lettuce, sundried tomatoes, shaved parmesan, crumbled blue cheese, balsamic vinaigrette and candied walnuts. “Impossible for anyone not to like,” according to Chef Sison. She also loved the paidakia (P615), char-grilled lamb ribs served with Greek roasted potatoes, a dish which she said gives you that saltiness of the ribs and then leaves you with a milky aftertaste. Also try: the saganaki or flaming cheese (P225), an appetizer of mozzarella drenched in brandy and then whooshed in flames as the staff shouts, “Opa!” Served with pita triangles. Call +6336/ 288 4283 or +63928/ 506 9311.


essentials HOW TO GET THERE SEAIR flies daily to Caticlan from Manila and from Clark and provides free transfers (shuttle and boat) directly to Boracay. Tricyles are widely available at the island pier with rates starting from P60. To book, call +632/ 849 0100 or visit For packages, call SEAIR LEP at +632/ 843 7308.

GETTING AROUND To get around, walk the beach or take a tricycle (P10 per person) on the main road parallel to White Beach. For short trips, you can rent an entire four- to five-seater tricycle for P60.

april - may 2009 I SEAIR InFlight


Hurry! limited copies only

missed an issue? subscribe now!

In the shops pages 19-21

in the shops

i n m y b ag

• Evita Peroni 2/F Glorietta 4, Ayala Center, Makati City, Tel: +632/ 752 7065

• Oakley G/F. Greenbelt 3, Makati Avenue, Ayala Center, Makati City, Tel: +632/ 757 4977

Cover up

This summer, wrap your head in a scarf, or put on some beaded headband or hat, don the shades, pull out the beach bag, and enjoy the sun

• Fred Perry

Photos by Jeffrey Sonora styling by KC LeyCo

Greenbelt 5, Makati Avenue, Ayala Center, Makati City

• Springfield Rustan’s, Ayala Center, Makati City

• Kenneth Cole

For him: trilby black hat (P3,798), plain visor red (P1,698), both from Fred Perry; gray cap (P892) from Springfield For her: Mini polka dot and total scarf (P3,798) from Fred Perry; black beaded headband, made to order at www.

aPril - May 2009 i sEair inFlight


Greenbelt 5, Makati Avenue, Ayala Center, Makati City june - july 2008

august - september 2008

Mangoes, Malongs, anD the roMance of the rio granDe

Changing the “Last Frontier”

Palawan toP Man Joel reyes on the islanD’s facelift

siquijor’s seCrets

sorcery, healing anD beautiful beaches


south east asian airlines on-board magazine

south east asian airlines on-board magazine

3 Days in Cotabato

river wild Dornier 328s now fly 3X a week to the beautiful northern islanD

Why fighting davao’s rapids is the best Way to spend the day • •

seair launches batanes flights

june - july issue ‘08

G/F Greenbelt 3, Makati Avenue, Ayala Center, Makati City, Tel: +632/ 757 4570


• Team Manila 2/F Independent Lifestyle Section, Power Plant Mall, Rockwell Center, Makati City, Tel: +632/ 899 1570

ExplorE thE NorthErN paradisE BEforE thE Crowds ComE

• DMB Clothing Visit


simple pleasures of daet

BEaChEs, Big wavEs, & kitEs

badjao beckons

thE sEafood, thE viEw, & thE day a British priNCE CamE to visit

cool cruise

all aBoard iN a NEw liNEr to BoraCay aNd palawaN

• Kate Spade


An Afternoon with the King of ChAt,

Boy Abunda

In My Bag page 22


Mojo jojo’s world

• Samsung Emporio Armani M7500

Magic 89.9 dj Joseph Javier has a bright, sporty, pared down travel style By Margie Francisco PRODUCT PhOTO By Mario BaBiera

Digital Exchange, 3/F Glorietta 3, Ayala Center, Makati City

august - september issue ‘08

01 02


• Lenovo Ideapad S10 Asianic, Park Square 1, Ayala Center, Makati City Tel: +632/ 892 0831






• Sony Cybershot T77 october - november 2008


FeelGood Holidays

Three families talk about their homes by the sea & how they changed their lives

Sun, sea, & spa in Boracay

Plus a G u i d e t o w e l l n e s s c e n t e r s

Give your kids a break Top 10 days-out for the moppets

green mission Is Boracay ready for eco-rating? 3 days in batangas A horse-ride up the rim of Taal Volcano’s crater cohiba resort boracay Apartment living, beach style PLUS SEAIR lAunchES BoRongAn, SAmAR flIghtS

october - november issue ‘08 • •

south east asian airlines on-board magazine


december - january 2009

4 days in boronGan Hiking, caving, and surfing in Eastern Samar’s capital town

Where to Go for live music A hot list from cool people


island life Fruit bats, turtle hatchlings, and a luxury stay in Club Paradise



seair noW flies direct to boronGan, samar

december - january issue ‘09

to subscribe past issues from our archive, call:

+632/ 8402803 72 SEAIR InFlight

I december - january 2009

Avant Abenson, 2/F Greenbelt 4, Makati Avenue, Ayala Center, Makati City Tel: +632/ 758 2315-16


10 11

1 Crocs Messenger Bag (P2,690) 2 Adidas Philippine flag jacket 3 Adidas Original Cap (P995) 4 Dungeons and Dragons (P1,750) 5 An Anarchy of Families (P585) 6 Crocs Santa Cruz (P2,900) 7 Lenovo Ideapad S10 (P26,000) 8 Samsung Emporio Armani M7500 (P21,000) 9 Sony Cybershot T77 (P25,999) 10 The Body Shop Vitamin C Energising Face Spritz (P695) 11 The Body Shop Maca Root Energetic Face Protector (P895) For store location and contact details, turn to

• Crocs

on page 72

22 SEAIR InFlight I APRIL - MAy 2009

Bonifacio High Street Quadrant 7, 5th Avenue, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig Tel: +632/ 856 1358

• The Body Shop The Body Shop, 2/F Greenbelt 4, Makati Avenue, Ayala Center, Makati City Tel: +632/ 728 0375

• Adidas Adidas Originals Concept Store, 2/L TriNoma Mall, North Avenue, Quezon City Tel: +632/ 901 3620

• Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition Player’s Handbook Neutral Grounds Hobby Shop, 3/F Expansion Mall, Robinson’s Galleria Tel: +632/ 634 8982

• An Anarchy of Families: State & Family in the Philippines Powerbooks, 2/F Greenbelt 4, Makati Avenue, Ayala Center, Makati City Tel: +632/ 757 6428-29

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i oCtobeR - novembeR 2008

december - january 2009 I SEAIR InFlight


corporate g u ide

Vision To provide world-renowned domestic and international airline and aviationrelated services following the highest safety standards. Mission To satisfy customer needs and surpass their expectations and requirements. • To fulfill the requirements of shareholders, business partners, employees and suppliers, following ethical business practices • To foster an atmosphere of team building through commitment and dedication to employees’ welfare and to achieve the highest sense of company identity • To be a benchmark model in the application of Quality Management System in the aviation industry • Our philosophical outlook is to support environmental conservation and community empowerment through educational awareness and direct involvement Quality Policy To provide excellent, safe, and reliable air transport that exceeds customer requirements through continual improvement of the established Quality Management System. Basic Facts and Figures South East Asian Airlines (SEAIR) is a pioneer in Philippine aviation. Since 1995, we have been flying passengers to some of the most beautiful destinations in the world. Consistency, quality and reliability characterize SEAIR’s operations. • Awarded “Best Airline of the Year for two consecutive years (2002 and 2003) by the Philippines’’ Consumers Excellence Award • Serves a total of 15 destinations nationwide. We fly the most number of flights to Palawan and offer the fastest and most number of connections to Boracay • Employs over 200 people ready to provide excellent service to our passengers • Our fleet is made up of four Dornier 328s and six LET 410 UVP-E aircraft for use in scheduled and chartered flights.

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Competitive Advantage EXPERIENCE. SEAIR has been a pioneer in aviation, flying foreign and local tourists to the most remote tourist destinations in the Philippines since 1995. MODERN FLEET. SEAIR operates one of the youngest fleet of aircraft in its segment in the industry. FASTEST FLIGHTS. Our state-of-the-art aircraft allow us to offer you the fastest flights in selected routes, including Caticlan (Boracay) in 35 minutes. HIGH LEVEL OF ENGINEERING AND MAINTENANCE SUPPORT. SEAIR is an International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) authorized third-party repair station. Its services include maintenance service for airframes, power plants, avionics and aircraft interiors. INNOVATIVE PRODUCTS. We continue to innovate in customercentric products that will make traveling more fun and convenient. Other Services Leisure Escape Packages (LEP) We offer one-stop shopping for your next vacation. Hassle-free and competitively priced, our fully packaged vacations include accommodation and air fare. Call us and book now at: Tel. +632 843.7308 E-mail: Charters Our aircraft may be chartered for special corporate and group travel. Our charter specialists will assist you in planning and arranging your special travel. For inquiries call us at: Tel. +632 849.0200 E-mail: Cargo We ensure a safe, secure and reliable delivery of your freight and parcel. For inquiries call us at: Tel. +632 851.5555 E-mail:

milestone 1995 Iren Dornier, Nikos Gitsis and Tomas Lopez founded South East Asian Airlines (SEAIR) with two nineseater DO-28 airplanes flying from Manila to Caticlan, and Taytay and Busuanga in Palawan. 1996 SEAIR took delivery of its first LET410 aircraft, a 19seater Short Take-Off and Landing (STOL) aircraft, ideal for the small runways of Palawan and other destinations where bigger commercial aircraft could not land. 1996 to 2003 With the success of the first LET410 aircraft operation and the commitment of SEAIR to fly on a regular basis, SEAIR gradually increased its fleet from one LET410 to nine. 1999 SEAIR embarked on a nationwide expansion program. It opened regional hubs in Cebu and Zamboanga and became the only airline to interconnect

the premier destinations in Palawan with its ManilaBusuanga-El Nido-Puerto Princesa service. 2001 to Present SEAIR established a base in Zamboanga in Mindanao. It continues to operate flights to remote Cotabato, Tawi-Tawi and Jolo. 2002 and 2003 SEAIR was awarded “Best Airline of the Year” consecutively by the Philippines largest ‘Consumers Excellence Award.’ 2003 SEAIR’s Quality Management System was certified ISO 9001:2000 compliant by the TÜV Rheinland Group. 2004 SEAIR reached the 1 million passenger mark. SEAIR also acquired its first Dornier 328, launching the “Fastest Flights to Boracay” campaign. 2006 SEAIR acquired its fourth Dornier 328. Its fleet size allowed it to operate up to 30 flights to Caticlan daily. • SEAIR introduced its online reservations and e-ticketing

system the first and only on-line system to offer e-tickets from Manila to Boracay and Busuanga. E-ticketing services later expanded to include Cebu, Clark, El Nido, and Puerto Princesa. • By December 2006, SEAIR’S transactions through its online reservations system reached a record high in Philippine e-commerce. 2007 SEAIR celebrated its 12th year in aviation, the longest running airline, next to Philippine Airlines. SEAIR now offers up to 41,000 seats a month throughout its network and flies up to 20,000 passengers to Boracay a month. 2008 SEAIR launched its first regional flight to Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia in November. SEAIR also started flights to Tablas in Romblon, Daet in Camarines Norte, Baler in Aurora, Batanes in northern Luzon and Borongan in Eastern Samar. 2009 SEAIR turns 14. This is vis-a-vis the launching of its first direct flight to Masbate in the Bicol Region.

april may 2009 I SEAIR InFlight



Dornier 328 The Dornier 328 is a German built, new generation aircraft with 32 passenger seats. It is one of the fastest and most advanced jetprop in the world. specifications Make: Dornier Powerplant: PW 119B Length: 21.28 m (69 ft 10 in) Wing Span: 20.98 m (68 ft 10 in) Height: 7.23 m (23 ft 9 in) Seating Capacity: 32 +z 3 crew Number of planes: 4 Max Take-off Weight: 13,990 kgs (30,843 lbs) Speed: 325 knots

LET410 UVP-E The LET410 UVP-E provides first class comfort, while simultaneously servicing both paved and unpaved airstrips. In the 19-seater class, no plane is better suited for short-haul transport than this aircraft. specifications Make: LET a.s. Powerplant: WALTER M601-E Length: 14.42 m (47 ft 4 in) Wing Span: 19.98 m (65 ft 5 in) Height: 5.83 m (19 ft 2 in) Seating Capacity: 19 + 2 crew Number of planes: 6 Max Take-off Weight: 6,600 kgs (14,520 lbs) Speed: 175 knots

Do-24 ATT No airport required! Let our unique amphibian aircraft bring you and your 15 closest friends to your choice of 7,107 islands in real style. For the latest update on this spectacular aircraft and its progress around the world, visit

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I april - may 2009

ro u te map Basco, Batanes

reservations Laoag

makati Ticketing Office Tel. +632 849.0100 San Fernando La Union

Sales Office Tel. +6302 849.0201 to 18 +6302 849.0219

Philippine Sea



Metro Manila Domestic Terminal Tel. +6302 851.5555 Fax +6302 891.8711


Clark, Angeles City Headquarters DMIA, Hangar 7224 Tel. +6345 599.2384 Fax +6345 599.2383

Philippines MINDORO

Angeles Sales Office Tel. +6302 851.5555 Fax +6345 323.6713

Tablas Romblon

Busuanga Boracay

Cebu Ticketing Office Tel. +6332 341.4879


South China Sea




El Nido



Boracay Caticlan Airport Tel. +6336 288.7360 +6336 288.7272 Fax +6336 288.7163




Sales Office Tel. +6332 254.9337 +6332 255.0801

SAMAR Masbate

Puerto Princesa



Zamboanga Tel. +6362 991.2225 Mobile +63919 333.8520

Sulu Sea






Kota Kinabalu


Cagayan de Oro



Puerto Princesa 399 Rizal Avenue Extension Tel. +6348 434.5272 +6348 433.2540



General Santos


Celebes Sea


Borneo Regular Route Seasonal Route

april may 2009 I SEAIR InFlight



Capt. Nilo Sumang Dornier training captain

"Five years from now I see myself flying SEAIR’s airbus" Interview by Margie Francisco Photo by alan fontanilla

I’ve always wanted to become a pilot. When I was young, I’ve always dreamt of being able to fly a plane to see many beautiful places around the world. My profession is one of the most challenging professions. It requires determination, responsibility and quick decisionmaking. I completed my Bachelor of Science in Aviation Electronics and Communication Engineering at PATTS College of Aeronautics and I took my flying course at Masters Flying School. I started as LET 410 first officer at SEAIR. After a year, I was promoted to captain and in less than a year I became chief pilot. I am currently a training captain of the Do328. I used to be flight instructor at Orient Aviation Flying School. I taught Filipino and foreign students to fly. Passing on what I learned to my students was challenging for me. Students have different attitudes so I needed to know how to handle them. As a pilot, I mostly enjoy travelling to different places and tourist spots. Frustrations? None so far. On the average, I fly four to six hours a day. My most fulfilling experience was when I was able to land successfully after a flight was struck by bad weather. That was last year. I was flying from Manila to El Nido, Palawan. There was heavy rain and we needed to land. The passengers clapped their hands after our safe landing.

My most memorable flight at SEAIR would have to be my first flight to Boracay. It was a mixed feeling of excitement and fear. It was also the funniest because it was my first time to talk to the passengers and I was tongue-tied. My worst day at work was when we had an unavoidable engine trouble just when we were about to fly. I had no choice but to delay the flight and this didn’t make my passengers happy. Passengers’ safety is my main concern. On days off, I play video games with my kids and read magazines about flying. I see to it that I spend time with my family at least once a week. I find time to talk to my kids. We watch movies, go shopping, have dinner together. Palawan is my favorite Philippine destination. I like it there because of its rock formations, hidden lagoons, caves, hot springs and white sand beaches. I am an easy person. I deal well with my superiors and colleagues. But I get upset when my subordinates don’t follow my instructions strictly. My wish in life is good health, happy family and success in my chosen profession – traveling the world. Five years from now, I see myself flying SEAIR’s airbus aircraft.

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SEAIR celebrates 14th year anniversary with special offers In celebration of its 14th year anniversary this year, SEAIR is treating passengers who buy SEAIR roundtrip tickets online with a P1,400 fare discount per ticket. The offer is valid from April 1 to May 31 and applies to all fare classes, seats and routes. The travel period covered is from June 15 to October 15.

To avail of the SEAIR 14th anniversary promo, book online at and type in the promo code iflyseair14 in the promo code field.

SEAIR flies daily to Batanes this summer SEAIR is increasing its flights to Batanes to daily, from five times weekly, following increased demand, projected to be even more intense in the peak season. Batanes, located in the northernmost tip of the Philippine archipelago, has proven to be quite popular both for local and foreign tourists because of its unspoilt charm and pastoral landscape. With daily SEAIR flights to the province, passengers can now enjoy more flexible travel plans. SEAIR uses its state-of-the-art 32-seater Dornier 328 planes on flights to Batanes, cutting travel time from two hours to a little over an hour.

For bookings, visit or call SEAIR reservations at +632/ 849 0100. You may also book packages at SEAIR Leisure Escape Packages by calling +632/ 843 7308.

Fly now and pay later Buy SEAIR Leisure Escape Packages (LEP) using your SEAIR Visa or Union Bank credit card at any SEAIR ticketing office and have the option of paying your bill on installment for a period of 12 months. This ‘fly now and pay later’ deal offers a .99% interest rate per month. The initial payment is billed three months after the transaction date.

For inquiries and bookings, call SEAIR LEP at +632/ 843 7308.

Boracay’s Bolero bar and Fishbar offer F&B discounts to SEAIR passengers

SEAIR launches flight to Masbate SEAIR has launched its first flight to Masbate on March 17. Onboard the flight were SEAIR vice president for operations Capt. Benedictine Barraquias, SEAIR LEP director Delza A. Gochoco, SEAIR domestic station manager Ed Bouffard, Masbate vice governor Vicente Revil, and Romblon congressman Eleandro Jesus Madrona, together with ATO inspectors and other staff and crew from SEAIR. Masbate is a province in the Bicol Region that’s tagged as the cattle country of the Philippines for being the biggest cattle raising province in the region. The island province celebrates Rodeo Masbateño every March, an event that showcases bullfighting and is participated by cowboys from all over the country competing in rodeo. Masbate will further boost the growing number of domestic and international destinations that SEAIR is tapping. It includes Manila, Caticlan (Boracay), Palawan (Busuanga and Puerto Princesa), Batanes (Basco), Clark, Camarines Norte (Daet), Aurora (Baler), Romblon (Tablas), Tawi-Tawi, Zamboanga, Jolo and Kota Kinabalu in Sabah, Borneo.

SEAIR passengers drinking and dining at Mexican bar Bolero in Station 3 and fish and chips restaurant Fishbar at D’Mall will enjoy a 10% discount. The two are the latest additions to SEAIR Hot Deals Boarding Pass Privileges Program. (See page 73 for more details) SEAIR passengers can also enjoy fastest flights to Boracay, shortest queues and check-in procedures at the airport, fastest baggage claim, and VIP transfers from Caticlan to Boracay and back.

For inquiries and bookings, call SEAIR LEP at +632/ 843 7308.

Watch out soon for the Masbate flight schedules. Visit or call +632/ 849 0100.

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Philip’s Puerto Princesa Investment banker turned photographer Philip Sison took this idyllic photo of a hut and bridge on stilts in Honda Bay on his first trip to Puerto Princesa in Palawan. Sison teaches photography at Xavier School and at the Ateneo de Manila University, and is a member of Chroma Philippines, a longestablished photography studio. He is also a co-founder of Ateneo Sports Shooters (, which covers University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) sports events. -- Margie Francisco For more of Philip’s works, visit:

Camera: Canon 1Ds Mark III Lens: 16-35mm at 21mm Aperture: f/4 Shutter Speed: 1/3200 sec. ISO Speed: 400

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Travel Publication Folio  

April - May 2009. Travel and Lifestyle Magazine.