EXP Locale Anniversary Issue - Stanley Ng

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Stories Thai Elegance with Filipino Hospitality at Dusit Thani Mactan, Cebu Discovering the Enchanting Beauty of Palawan 14 20 See the Philippines Through the Eyes of Philip Dizon 22 20 10 IN THIS ISSUE Amuma Kind of Love 28 The ‘Crown’ Jewel of Cebu City 32 10 Cover Story: The Face of PAL & SKAL International Makati Iloilo: Where the Past is Always Present 34 Camiguin, Isle Be There 42 22 34 42 EXPERIENCE LOCALE | VOL. 2 NO. 1 | 2024 2

One Decade of Experience

As we celebrate ten years of Experience Travel and Living, I find myself reflecting on the journey that has brought us here. When I first acquired the magazine back in 2014, I was unfamiliar with the world of publishing. However, the title itself, “Experience”, captivated me enough to fully embark on this exciting venture.

Experience is a concept that transcends time and place. It has the power to adapt and evolve, resonating with readers in different ways. As we approach our 10-year milestone of storytelling, I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to our partnersincluding hotels, resorts, tourism brands, and travel associations- who have supported us throughout this incredible journey.

The past year has been particularly challenging as the pandemic tested our resilience. There were moments when I felt like giving up, but it was faith that kept me going. Along the way, I have met individuals who have either uplifted or challenged me, reminding me of the power of human connection.

From the diverse experiences we encountered and the connections we have forged, now is the perfect time to redefine what the new experience means in this digital age. We strive for a balance of exceptional content, both in print and digital formats, as we introduce EXP IT and EXP locale. These platforms embody the essence of living and personify the actual experience itself.

In our special 10th-anniversary issue, we are honored to feature Captain Stanley Ng, President of Philippine Airlines and SKAL International Makati. His leadership and contributions to the travel industry serve as an inspiration to us all.

Thank you for being part of our journey. We look forward in sharing amazing stories and experiences with you in the years to come.


Leap of Faith

“Why don’t I get you as my Editor-in- Chief,” the Experience Travel and Living Publisher said to me, then a contributing writer. Fast forward to one and a half years and three magazines later, I cannot picture myself doing anything else.

Our team is ecstatic to present this magazine- our 10 th anniversary issue. To have survived this long in the digital era is truly a blessing. For this, we acknowledge the guidance and grace of the Almighty.

In this milestone edition, we unravel our cover story - the inspiring dual leadership role of

Captain Stanley Ng, the man of the hour in the tourism and hospitality industries today.

May you savor the pages of this magazine with the same love we have crafting it for you.


Editor In Chief:

Editorial Assistant:

Creative Lead:

Digital Associate:

Sales and Marketing Team:

Business Development Consultant:

PR Consultant:

Marketing Consultant:

Contributing Writer:

Contributing Photographer:

Digital Content Contributors:

Cesar Cruz Jr.

Melany G. Simbul

Maynard Villadolid

Joanna Sherina Garingarao

Jun Escuadro, Cez Cabiles, Carlo Guison

Marvin Estigoy

Pete Dacuycuy

Rhoda Luna

Kenneth Del Rosario, Aph Cruz, Bianca Pray, Bernard Supetran, Kuku Samson, Dante Nico Garcia

Marco Dennis Esplana, Philip Dizon Alexander Percival Española, Fra and Quimpo

Leila David, Andrea Lalaine Cruz

Experience Travel and Living is published bi-monthly by


Unit 303, Lazcano Residence, Scout Lazcano, Tomas Morato, Quezon City


UK and London - Gel Bayona

Dubai, UAE - Reysan Jaramillo

Malaysia - Ana Karina Jardin


Palawan - Dante Nico Garcia

Nueva Ecija- Jhie Tinio

Iloilo - Vincent Van Gold

Angel Santos, Business Development & Partner

Leonila Acosta , Finance Head

Visit www.exptravelph.com

Email: info@exptravelph.com

Like us at www.facebook.com/exptravelph Instagram: exptravelph

The magazine and its editors assume no responsibility for all manuscripts and photographs submitted. While every reasonable effort is made to verify information, facts and figures, the magazine and its editors assume no responsibility for errors or misrepresentations that may appear in the publication. Opinions expressed in Experience are solely those of the writers and not necessarily endorsed by the company and its editors. Printed in the Philippines. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

No part of the magazine may be reproduced in full or in part without prior written permission from the editors.

ThE FacE oF

PaL & SKaL

INTERN aTI o N a L M a K aTI

The role of a president of an organization is serious business. Leading the officers and its members can significantly impact the bottom line for better or for worse, not to mention its mission for existing in the first place. The job is not for the faint of heart, especially when the company is high profile. Needless to say, it would take a big man to fit this bill. Meet Stanley Ng, who has been appointed head honcho of the flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) in 2022 and in 2023, the leader of SKAL International Makati, an active member of SKAL International—the world’s largest global network of tourism professionals.

Stanley Ng is not only the current president and chief operating officer of PAL but also a pilot captain of the airline as well. Interestingly, the last time someone held this dual role was way back in 1963. As a feather in his cap, Stanley holds the distinction of being the pilot-in-command to the President of the Republic for the ASEAN 2022 Summit.

As high as he is on the corporate ladder now, the mild-mannered captain earned his stripes through dedication and hard work. After just a year of learning the ropes of the trade as an airport staff member, he joined flight school. The experience instilled in him the discipline of being a pilot. “In life, you go through a lot of difficulties.

Difficulties, exactly like in a flight, there are some unexpected scenarios that might happen as well. So, you just have to have situational awareness, the presence of mind. I always say that’s the most important thing as a pilot,” he added.

Aside from foresight, Stanley gives importance to customer focus. He is attuned to their pain when flight disruption happens, as this would inadvertently affect their vacation plans. The captain can empathize with their frustrations.

With regard to managing his team, this leader espouses the value of having high standards to provide the quality of service that passengers deserve. For

Image courtesy of PAL
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him, it all boils down to knowing one’s identity because with it, one can always define one’s product and service level.

“People are willing to pay a premium as long as they are given a higher level of comfort and care. It’s really value for money instead of competing in a price war,” the youngest PAL president uttered.

Likewise, as a way of looking after the well-being of its people, the airline supports its employees through various programs that educate and support physical and mental health. In fact, the captain shared that they have signed with LinkedIn Learning to gain access to thousands of enriching online courses. While fully aware that some jobs might

become obsolete in the future, the importance of having a continuous learning mindset and reskilling oneself cannot be overemphasized by this man.

Busy As a Bee

Having a lot on his plate, though, did not deter him from accepting additional responsibilities. Given the overwhelming support of the members and board of SKAL International Makati, Stanley took on the role of being their president. The man with a plan believes in growing the number of its members and for them to see the value of joining SKAL. “If we have more members, we can also capitalize on their expertise in certain fields. Because right

now, it’s more of the hotel industry, but when we talk about tourism, there’s so much of it—sports tourism, food tourism, medical tourism. We need to create a complete ecosystem. Then, you can assign some champions to head those departments. That’s going to help a lot. And using Philippine Airlines, we can promote also the Philippines as a whole,” he voiced.

Brimming with all these creative ideas, Stanley attributes the Financial Management Program he took at Harvard Business School for being the catalyst that totally changed his mindset into carrying out his purpose first over profit. He was able to find himself after the enlightening experience.

As for his educational attainment, Stanley holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a major in Computer Application from De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde.

Beautiful Philippines

On the subject of Beautiful Philippines, it goes beyond world-class scenic spots in the country for this man. Stanley beams with pride as he points to our people as a contributing factor that endows the Philippines with the charm it possesses, even noting that wherever he travels, he receives compliments on Filipinos as being among the world’s friendliest and the preferred workforce abroad.

As part of loving the Philippines, he sees investing in infrastructures and a shift in safety perception as the main drivers in making the country more attractive to tourists. “It is not difficult for people to love the Philippines. It is easy but we still have to work hard, not just in marketing and promotions,” the captain said with conviction.

With his resilience and sharp perception, Captain Stanley could only chart a course for excellence that will elevate Philippine Airlines and SKAL International Makati to the top of their game.

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Is back and blooming at SM Aura!

Everyone’s favorite dining destination – Food On Four at SM Aura – is back, and as the city’s newest food and market hall, it’s springing up exciting new flavors and elevated culinary experiences.

Food On Four’s stunning transformation features bright, contemporary, and inviting interiors, almost reminiscent of springtime, with décor inspired by the season: vibrant wildflower blooms, pockets of lush foliage and potted palms, and delightful hummingbird hologram installations. An impressive central skylight and floor-to-ceiling windows bathe the space in light.

Puffy’s Souffle Pancake Café’s bestselling Oreo Cheesecake Pancake Le Chon Prime with their Cebu Le Chon belly Delimondo Café’s assortment of delicious pastries and buns.

Diners are spoiled for choice with Food On Four’s exciting lineup of tenants, catering to every craving and palate – from chef-driven concepts to exciting new players and returning crowd favorites.

Food enthusiasts are in for a gastronomic treat with chef-driven concepts: Deli by Chele by Chef Chele González and Chef Carlos Villaflor, a New York-style deli bringing to Manila its signature pastrami and artisanal sandwiches; Kevin Ong Patisserie by Chef Kevin Ong renowned for his exquisitely handcrafted chocolate bonbons, choux pastries, and mirrorglazed mousse cakes; Nadai Fujisoba by Japanese Chef Yoshiaki Kudo, casual Japanese dining specializing in authentic soba noodles; Le Chon Prime by Chef Happy Ongpauco-Tiu

who brings a different twist to the usual lechon by incorporating French techniques and flavors to the beloved Filipino dish.

Soon to open is Diggy’s California Style Pizza, headed by Chef Carlos Garcia, who has over 14 years of experience at Michelin-starred restaurants in Madrid and London.

Diggy’s California Style Pizza’s SM Aura branch will be first in the market; and Delimondo Café by Chef Hermogenes Hernandez serves up all-day comfort food such as rice bowls, pasta, and coffee.

Whetting our appetites are soon-toopen tenants: Saboten Express, coming straight from Shinjuku, Tokyo in Japan, Saboten is known for being one of the largest Tonkatsu chains, serving crunchy cutlets of pork, chicken, and seafood;

Pronto, an on-the-go food retail concept that specializes in serving epicurean dishes and wholesome meals.

They will have a retail row offering a curated selection of gourmand finds from wines, preserved goods, truffle snacks, and more. Pronto’s SM Aura branch will be the first in the market; likewise, Malabar is set to revolutionize traditional beverage offerings with their unique and innovative take on both cocktails and non-alcoholic options, opens its first branch at Food On Four.

Whether you’re craving classic comfort food or looking for exciting new flavors to tickle your palate, Food On Four is a culinary haven waiting to be explored.

Food On Four is located on Level 4 at SM Aura.

Chirashi with Sushi Norisalmon, tuna, tamago, kani, and ebiko with cucumber and nori strips. Authentic Japanese noodles are offered at Nadai Fujisoba, a renowned chain popular for its delectable offerings. Cinnabon’s swirls are packed with gooey cinnamon filling that harmonies with creamy frosting for a decadent treat. Teakha elevates traditional Chinese flavors with a contemporary touch. Kevin Ong Patisserie is renowned for its elegant handcrafted bonbons Bored & Hungry’s smashed patty takes your burger game to the next level. Unleash a wave of flavor and satisfaction with Sizzling Plate’s iconic meat dishes. Deli by Chele’s NY-Style Brisket Pastrami is a symphony of savory in every bite. Pepper Lunch Express’ appetizing Beef Pepper Rice in every bite. Frankie’s Classic Buffalo Wings, the OG recipe that keeps Frankie’s famous.

Thai Elegance with Filipino Hospitality at

By Kenneth M. del Rosario mactan cebu

Perched majestically on the pristine shores of Punta Engaño Peninsula, this idyllic retreat embodies a fusion of Thai elegance and Filipino hospitality resulting in an oasis of tranquility.

Dusit Thani Mactan Cebu is a resort for the tired soul, with every detail meticulously crafted to ensure a relaxing and memorable experience. From the moment you step into the open-air lobby, you get a glimpse of the beauty that awaits you, with the view of the ocean serving as the backdrop.

I found myself at Dusit Thani Mactan Cebu for the launch of Phonak Slim Lumity hearing aids, distributed in the country by Manila Hearing Aid. Amidst the idyllic backdrop of the resort, with its sprawling pools and private beachfront, business seamlessly intertwined with pleasure, as I attended to business in the expansive function rooms and enjoyed moments of relaxation amidst the natural splendor.

The food was remarkable, though it tends to be pricier than I’m comfortable with. The choices are diverse, too, with Thai and Korean restaurants. The breakfast buffet at Tradewinds restaurant was also memorable, with staffers going around offering local delicacies like taho and puto, complete with a dance number.


Cebu offers a plethora of activities to delight the senses and nourish the soul. They even hold a water aerobics class in the pool in the afternoon, which is a fun activity for guests.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to play beach volleyball as I had no one to play with (but guests can borrow a ball for free), but I was able to play table tennis, which allowed me to work out some sweat. I also enjoyed a morning run outside the property, which allowed me to explore the area while burning calories.

When it comes to choosing an accommodation in Cebu, Dusit Thani Mactan Cebu is ideal for those in search of serenity and indulgence.

Dusit Mactan
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Experience-led Social Living at lyf Cebu City

There’s a lot to love about lyf Cebu City, the perfect place for communal living and experiential hospitality. Located just several meters away from Fuente Osmeña Circle, lyf Cebu City promises a dynamic stay intertwined with local warmth and international innovation. The property offers a space to rest, as well as an immersive lifestyle experience.

From the onset, lyf Cebu City stands out thanks to its Instagrammable interiors, a playful fusion of pop culture and contemporary design. Each corner serves as a canvas for social interactions,

inviting guests to interact and create memories together should they wish to do so. Whether you’re a solo traveler seeking camaraderie or a group yearning for shared adventures, lyf Cebu City’s diverse range of apartment units ensures a space tailored to your needs.

The communal spirit permeates every facet of lyf Cebu City, from the vibrant Connect Coworking Space to the cozy nooks for solitary reflection. Bond over culinary escapades at the Social Kitchen (called, well, Bond) or unwind amidst breathtaking views at the rooftop clubhouse.

Strategically positioned to offer both convenience and immersion in the city’s pulse, I appreciate the fact that guests could cook their meals in the communal kitchen, wash their clothes in the laundry area, or play board games in the lobby.

The lyf Cebu City crew also deserves a shout-out for being one of the friendliest bunches I’ve encountered. That’s saying a lot, coming from someone who has stayed in many accommodations around the world.

For those craving connection and collaboration, lyf Cebu City would be a perfect choice.

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With its commitment to its core value of innovation, Hotel Sogo is pushing the envelope to serve its clients with the introduction of AI Tech Concept Rooms (ATCR). “We drew inspiration from the world of concept cars, where innovation and futuristic design converge to create something truly extraordinary. We wanted to create hotel rooms that embody the same spirit of innovation and forward-thinking. Our goal was to conceptualize and launch a space that not only meets but exceeds the expectations of our guests, offering them a stay experience unlike any other,” Corporate Marketing Manager of Global Comfort Group Inc. Sue Germiniano explained.

The integration of AI into the guest experience means privacy and efficiency for clients. They can do the booking via an automated machine that accepts cash and alternative modes of payment. A QR code is then printed with the receipt. This serves as the keyless entry to the ATCR. Guests can control room functions using voice command. The hands-free approach adds a touch of sophistication and modernity to the guest experience. They can control the temperature setting, open or close curtains, and play their favorite music or movie. With high-speed internet access and seamless connectivity to personal devices, guests can stay productive and connected from the comfort of their room.

Sue Germiniano Corporate Marketing Manager of Global Comfort Group Inc.

Discovering the enchanting beauty of


The stunning province of Palawan is a paradise that invites travelers from all corners of the globe to experience its pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and breathtaking landscapes.

The crown jewel of the Philippines, Palawan boasts some of the most stunning natural landscapes and attractions for a wide variety of travelers.

Let’s take a closer look at what has endeared these world-famous places (hint: gorgeous beaches) to lovers of island life over the years.

Puerto Princesa: Nature’s Wonderland

Puerto Princesa, the gateway to Palawan, is home to the famous Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Puerto Princesa is a city brimming with life and culture, with lively streets full of local delicacies to try and warm locals to talk to. Visitors can opt to go on an exhilarating Honda Bay islandhopping adventure or join a city tour that allows them to visit the place’s most important landmarks, such as the Plaza Cuartel, Immaculate Conception

Photo by Kenneth M. del Rosario
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Photo by Marco Dennis Esplana

Coron: Dive into History and Nature

A haven for divers, beach enthusiasts, and history buffs alike, Coron is a tropical paradise known for its crystal-clear waters and vibrant marine life. Travelers can explore the famous Kayangan Lake, often referred to as the cleanest lake in Asia, and snorkel or dive among the stunning coral reefs, its emerald waters surrounded by towering limestone cliffs—a scene straight out of a dream.

Coron’s charm extends beyond its underwater wonders. It’s also a place where visitors can hike to breathtaking viewpoints or savor the freshest seafood delicacies in local eateries.

El Nido: A Coastal Paradise

El Nido is a picturesque town embraced by towering limestone cliffs and turquoise waters. A coastal paradise, El Nido is known for its many lagoons, islands, and hidden gems. This includes the Secret Lagoon and its secluded wonders, the Small Lagoon’s serene beauty, and the Big Lagoon’s majestic cliffs. Cliff diving at Matinloc Shrine and Taraw Cliff promises adrenaline-pumping thrills amidst panoramic coastal vistas.

San Vicente: Serenity by the Sea

San Vicente, on the other hand, offers travelers a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. With its pristine white sand beaches and lush tropical forests, travelers can

unwind in harmony with nature.

Long Beach, for starters, stretching as the longest white sand beach in the Philippines, invites leisurely strolls, sunset gazing, and blissful moments under swaying palms. Another place to discover is Barton’s coastal charm, where fishing villages blend with pristine reefs and marine sanctuaries. If there is a paradise on earth, it’s Palawan. With its stunning landscapes, vibrant marine life, and luxurious resorts, Palawan is a destination that is bound to capture the hearts of visitors— and one that makes Filipinos realize how beautiful, stunning, and captivating the Philippines truly is.

Cathedral, Baywalk, Crocodile Farm, and Baker’s Hill. Photos by Kenneth M. del Rosario Photo by Marco Dennis Esplana Photos from a press release from Holiday Suites Port Barton
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Photo by Marco Dennis Esplana

See The Philippines Through The Eyes of

PhiLiP DizoN

Visionary CEO, entrepreneur, and internationallyacclaimed photographer Philip Dizon introduces @PhilipDizonOfficial to a global audience through Philippine television and YouTube. Since the inception of his photo studio in 1983 (then called Voyeur Visage Studios), Philip has been making moves in the photo world.

More recently, Philip has been leaning into fine art landscape photography, traversing breathtaking locales around the world and capturing their unique essence through his distinctive lens. In the Philippines, his featured topographies include Mayon, Batanes, Mt. Pulag, and Boracay. Philip’s photography portfolio, featured on his website’s dedicated page, encapsulates the essence of art, lifestyle, and travel, inviting viewers to embark on an immersive visual experience.

Pinatubo InfraRed
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Philip’s artistic journey has been celebrated through prestigious exhibitions, notably his 2016 “Philippine Faces and Places” showcase at the Philippine Consulate on Fifth Avenue and at the Hyatt Grand Central New York, both hosted by the Philippine American Chamber of Commerce. The two exhibits were attended by luminaries such as Loida Nicholas Lewis, Mayenne Carmona, Albert Andrada, Jaki Peñalosa, and Mila Sering.

Explore PhilipDizonOfficial’s YouTube channel @philipdizonofficial to delve into his captivating adventures and witness the beauty of his landscape and portraiture photography, firsthand. Visit www.phildizstudios.com to discover a world of awe-inspiring experiences, artistry, elegance, and more.

“Sili Farmer”, Mayon, Albay Fisherman, Boulder Beach, Batanes Madona and Child Pinatubo “Miagao Church” Iloilo
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“Lake Caliraya”, Laguna

OLet The Puerto Princesa uNdERGROuNd RivER Rest

n November 11, 2011, the Puerto Princesa Underground River in Palawan gained global recognition as one of the 7 New Wonders of Nature. The honor has brought immense attention and tourism to the area. Likewise, it also sparked a conversation about the need to balance conservation with the demands of visitors. Film Director Dante Nico Garcia, a supporter of the arts and environmental preservation, found himself at a crossroad.

Dante’s dream was not just about showcasing the beauty of the underground river but also about giving it the opportunity

to rest. He envisioned an art center near the river, a space where creativity and nature could coexist harmoniously. However, his efforts were initially overshadowed by the frenzy of tourist activities focused solely on the underground river experience.

Realizing the urgency of the situation, Dante proposed a groundbreaking idea to the local government: to temporarily close the underground river to visitors for several days, allowing the ecosystem within the cave, home to swiftlets and bats, to recover from human activities. With the support of Elizabeth Maclang, the Superintendent of Puerto Princesa Underground River since 2011, Dante’s vision took off.

Beautiful lagoon, the beginning of the longest navigable underground river in the world. Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Philippines.
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The first step was to buy out all the tickets to the underground river, effectively closing it for a brief period. Although initially faced with challenges in raising funds for this ambitious endeavor, Dante’s determination caught the attention of Lucilo Bayron, the mayor of Puerto Princesa, who allowed the initiative.

The culmination of these efforts led to the establishment of the lsDa Revolution: A #LetTheRiverRest Festival in 2015, a three-day festival celebrating art, conservation, and sustainable tourism. (IsDa revolution is meant to be Filipino sounding for “this is the revolution”). International performers graced the event, highlighting the global

significance of preserving such natural wonder.

Subsequent years saw the continuation of this initiative, with the Protected Area Management Board of Palawan officially endorsing the practice of letting the river rest annually. However, the onset of the pandemic disrupted these plans.

The Revival

Dante is now gearing up to bring back the movement from June 30,2024 to July 3, 2024 at Sabang Beach in Palawan. This event aims not only to raise awareness but also to gain support from individuals and organizations with the same objective. His foundation,

Lyrics and Sheets, is spearheading these efforts, emphasizing the importance of self-sustainability in conservation initiative. The festival will serve as a prelude to the goal of #LetTheRiverRest Festival for three days in 2025.

The upcoming festival will feature a range of activities, including the screening of Dante’s acclaimed film “Ploning” by the beach and the unveiling of new artistic projects.

“Our goal is not just to stage events but to launch a movement towards responsible tourism and environmental stewardship. #LetTheRiverRest Festival is not a temporary fix; it’s a commitment to safeguarding our natural heritage for generations to come,” the film director voiced.

Inside view point of Puerto Princesa Palawan subterranean underground river at exit sideAdventurous exclusive Philippines destinations - Dark lighting with real feelings from visitor perspective
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Amuma Kind of Love

The hospitality of Filipinos is second to none in the world. We love our guests like family. We love them like we love ourselves. Foreigners cannot get enough of this heartfelt, distinct Filipino trademark.

A recent visit to Bluewater Maribago Beach Resort in Mactan has exposed this writer and opened his eyes to the culture of hospitality that permeates the holiday spot.

At Bluewater, the staff refer to their brand of caring as Amuma- a Visayan word that takes on positive shades of meaning. It could refer to being compassionate, nurturing, and tending. Often, Amuma is likened to a mother’s care for her child.

From the moment our Experience team stepped onto the popular tourist destination, we experienced Amuma without end.

After a refreshing round of lemongrass-calamansi juice in the lobby, we were brought via golf cart to our rooms. Our jaws dropped when we were led to the most coveted place to stay – a Royal Bungalow. A pleasant surprise in the spacious bathroom came in the form of a clawfoot tub. Another notable feature of the bathroom was the translucent ceiling in the shower area, evoking an outdoor feel.

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After settling our things in the room, it was time for lunch at the Allegro restaurant of the resort, which had a good reputation for serving tasty meals. Here, Caryl, Corporate Copywriter of Bluewater Maribago, welcomed us with a blue-green island necklace to make us feel at home. Among the delectable items in the buffet, the well-made kimchi, in particular, stood out for me. This one has apple, pear, and pineapple mixed in it.

A sign of the ‘Clean Plate Challenge’ exists on every table to remind customers to take only what they can consume as to avoid food wastage.

A tour of the property soon followed. Remarkable was the balete tree on the property, which came from the roots of the balete tree in the Basilica of Santo Nino, Cebu.

As night fell, it was time for a soothing massage at Amuma Spa. One gets to choose the kind of oil to be used and even the music to be played. In my case, it was ylang-ylang oil and sounds of nature. The full-body massage was so relaxing that I found myself drifting in and out of consciousness. The experience was a subtle reminder to take a breather in the fast-paced world we live in.

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Dinner was at Delfino’s as we ordered its trademark pizza and pasta dishes. Watching the band play catchy pop hits, we got to witness dining staff singing and dancing to the music, and also jammers strutting their stuff with amazing confidence. Likewise, politely asking for a little bowl of Balbaqua from the dinner buffet went a long way as a server came back with my requested food item.

During breakfast, the dining staff were like the Secret Service with their discreet earpieces as they coordinated the number of guests coming in with fellow staff. A staff, remembering our preference for indoor seats, led us to the airconditioned room. They even bring your drink of choice to your table. A popular option here is iced black coffee, especially among Korean tourists.

Lunch was at The Cove Live Seafood Restaurant which faces the Mactan channel. Chef Jay Intong expertly prepared a sumptuous meal more than anyone could ask for – lobster, crab, oyster, ceviche, and clam soup, served with a side of dried anchovies fried rice! The Cove strikes me as the perfect place to celebrate a milestone in life.

It was just a short overnight stay for us, but it left us with many stories of our interaction with the staff. We witnessed how they lived out Amuma- in keeping themselves presentable to guests, in coordinating with each other to assist their clients, in living out the U.N.’s sustainability goals, and in carrying out various social programs that benefit the community- and doing it all with a sincere smile.

At Bluewater Maribago, Amuma is not just a brand of hospitality. It is a philosophy. It is a lifestyle.

No wonder they are always fully booked.

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The ‘Crown’ Jewel of Cebu City

Cebu City’s rich historical heritage has shaped Philippine history in profound ways. The ‘Queen City of the South’ offers a treasure chest of experiences waiting to be explored. An ideal accommodation resting in the heart of Cebu City is Crown Regency Hotel and Tower, established in 2005. Its iconic Fuente Tower 1 stands tall at 520 feet, remaining a notable architectural landmark even today.

Crown Regency Hotel and Tower continues to hold its ground firmly in the market. Owned by J. King and Sons Company, Inc., a trusted homegrown brand, Crown Regency Hotel and Tower enjoys patronage from local government units and wholesaler agents.

Strategically located in the bustling center of Cebu City, the famous building appeals to business and leisure travelers alike. Exploring renowned landmarks like Magellan’s Cross, Basilica Minore del Santo Niño, and Fort San Pedro becomes effortlessly convenient. Then, indulge in Cebu’s flavorful street food at Punko punko sa Fuente, offering a delectable array of dishes like pork chop, crabmeat, chicharon bulaklak, and lechon kawali.

Booking a room at the hotel promises not just comfort but also breathtaking views of the city and the CebuCordova Link Expressway (CCLEX). Fully renovated guest rooms and hotel lobby ensure a delightful stay, matched by amenities like swimming pools, a spa, and a gym. For

Image courtesy of CROWN REGENCY
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the business travelers, there are wellequipped function rooms to host seminars, conferences, and corporate events. For a culinary adventure, Wang Shan Lo on the 20th floor of Tower 2 entices with its signature dish, the Dragon ball dimsum, and other delectable offerings amidst panoramic views of Cebu City.

Unique Selling Proposition:

“When visiting Cebu City, make sure not to miss the thrilling experience of the Sky Experience Adventure. It is set to reopen in the third quarter of 2024,” Crown Regency Director of Sales Catherine Dela Pena said.

The tourist attraction on the 38th floor is a highlight, featuring rides like the Edge Coaster, Skywalk Extreme, and the urban zipline, The Tower Zip.

Another advantage of the property is its proximity to Fuente Circle, a hub of activities during the annual Sinulog Festival. Its location makes the hotel a preferred choice for those eager to immerse themselves in the colorful festivities held every third Sunday of January.

With its strategic location, unique offerings like the Sky Experience Adventure, and its role during the Sinulog Festival, Crown Regency Hotel and Tower stands out as a gem attraction in Cebu City.

Other Crown Regency Properties in Cebu City:

- Crown Regency Suites & Residences: Perfect for business travelers and vacationers, near Lapu-Lapu City’s white beaches and the Mactan-Cebu International Airport.

- Crown Regency Residences Cebu: A short distance from Fuente Osmeña and Guadalupe Church, offering a relaxed countryside ambiance and comfortable accommodations.

For reservations and inquiries, please email at reservations@crownregency. com or call direct line: (+63 32) 5018888.

Catherine Dela Pena Director of Sales, Crown Regency Crown Deluxe Premier Room Function Room Magelan’s Cross
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Crown Regency Suites & Residences Mactan


Where the Past is Always Present

Preserving Tradition Amidst Modernity in the City of Love

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Dinagyang Warriors Words by Aph Cruz, photos by Alexander Percival M. Española

While Iloilo City has gained the reputation as a culinary destination, even being hailed as the first Creative City of Gastronomy in the Philippines by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)- it has more to offer than a steaming bowl of rich and savory batchoy and pancit molo or a cup of hot tablea paired with buttery biscocho.

Nestled in the eastern part of Panay Island in Western Visayas, Iloilo is a confluence of iconic cultural landmarks, well-preserved heritage structures, historical churches, immersive museums, and enigmatic ancestral houses.

Standing as one of the most prominent churches in Iloilo province, the Santo Tomás de Villanueva Parish, also known as Miag-ao Church, was built in 1786 by Spanish

Augustinian missionaries. Flanked by two watchtower belfries, the Miag-ao Church showcases a blend of Spanish and native influences. In 1993, it was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site under the “Baroque Churches of the Philippines” listing.

Roughly two hours away from the city, Garin Farm Pilgrimage Resort is a popular tourist destination located in San Joaquin. It is known for its picturesque landscapes, recreational facilities, agricultural attractions, and religious elements. One of its main attractions is a hilltop chapel adorned with biblical sculptures depicting the life of Jesus Christ. Visitors can climb the “stairway to heaven,” a series of steps representing the path to spiritual enlightenment, leading to the chapel.

Dating back to 1587, the Jaro Metropolitan Cathedral, also

Heaven at Garin Farm Pilgrimage Resort Molo Church at Night
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known as the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Candles, is renowned for its stunning architecture, which features a blend of Romanesque, Gothic, and Baroque styles. One of the cathedral’s most notable features is its towering bell tower that survived numerous earthquakes and natural disasters throughout its history. The cathedral also houses the miraculous image of the Our Lady of the Candles, a revered Marian figure venerated by devotees

from all over the country.

Built in 1831, the Molo Church, formally known as the Church of St. Anne Parish, is recognized for its neogothic architectural style characterized by pointed arches. Owing to its historical and cultural importance, the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) declared Molo Church as a National Historical Landmark in 1992. The Molo Church is also commonly referred to as the

Feminist or Women’s Church due to the 16 statues of female saints adorning its walls.

The city also boasts a rich heritage that can be seen in its ancestral houses such as Casa Mariquit, Lizares Mansion, Nelly’s Garden, Lopez Boat House, and the Sanson y Montinola Mansion. Embracing the concept of adaptive reuse, some of these ancestral houses have been transformed and ingeniously repurposed into restaurants such as

Molo Mansion Museum of Philippine Maritime History
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Camiña Balay nga Bato, famed for its native chocolate and biscuits, and Balay Remedios, a newly opened restaurant serving Filipino-Spanish cuisine.

Another testament to Iloilo’s commitment to preserving arts, culture, and heritage is evident in its diverse array of museums. Among them are the Museo Iloilo, NHCP Museum of Philippine Maritime History, NHCP Museum of Philippine Economic History, National Museum of the

Philippines - Western Visayas, Iloilo Museum of Contemporary Art, Brandy Museum, University of the Philippines Visayas Museum of Art and Cultural Heritage.

Dubbed as the city where the past is always present, Iloilo is proof that tradition and history can meld seamlessly with modernity and innovation. Despite the rise of skyscrapers and modern townships brought about by rapid urbanization

and economic development, Iloilo still exudes a beguiling old-world charm reminiscent of its stature as the first Queen City of the South.

As the city embraces progress, it continues to pay homage to its rich and storied past, ensuring that its cultural heritage remains an integral part of its identity- never to be forgotten by generations to come.

Molo Church at Daytime
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If you could only have one, what would you choose - a healthcare package or the latest smartphone? Though most Filipinos would agree that health is wealth, medical checkups are not always seen as a top priority. Carmie De Leon, country general manager of Radlink Ph and Fullerton Health, is proud to introduce a breakthrough concept that is new to the Philippines. The Singapore-based healthcare company has the first-ever executive health screening facility in BGC. “What sets us apart is the kind of journey that the client will experience - all by appointment, no waiting time. We value your time, so we make sure you will be treated immediately and finished in three hours, like attending one of your many meetings,” Carmie voiced. Gone are the days when a patient would be lining up with sick people and waiting for long hours. In this modern approach, a dedicated executive-class pod will be assigned to each client. Their clients benefit from the seamless process because of the integration of their clinic management system with laboratory, radiology, and medical records. Worth noting is that medical results are explained comprehensively and in a friendly manner by their doctors. The results come with predictive analysis that states the kind of illness one is predisposed to when lifestyle change is not taken. Likewise, a lifestyle medicine expert will be guiding its clients through the process, even recommending some wellness interventions.



The global standard of Fullerton Health Singapore is replicated in the Philippines. As a result, it is constantly expanding its ecosystem as it works closely with doctors, even outside its network. Through the doctors’ valuable inputs and recommendations, the company aims to give its clients better service and a more holistic offering. Furthermore, Fullerton Health prioritizes preventive care and wellness programs to promote the health and wellness of its clients. “We take part in reinforcing wellness in the workplace. We work with HRs and CEOs to educate them on the value of having a more comprehensive approach. If you don’t know your numbers, if you don’t know what is happening to your employees, you cannot take one step ahead,” Carmie shared. The healthcare company is working with several institutions like the People Management Association of the Philippines, the group of HRs, and the group of CEOs.

Thanks to Fullerton Health, executive health screening is gaining renewed appeal. It has made its clinic more attractive to the young generation and even to senior citizens through its posh and homey ambience. In the process, it is slowly carving its niche in making their service a part of the lifestyle of every Filipino family.

Booking an executive health screening is easy through the app, LiveFuller. Truly, health is in your hands.

Crimson Resort & Spa Boracay is a personal oasis in Station One

Spacious rooms, unobstructed view of the famous sunset, privacy, and exclusivity are some of the things that would make you want to stay here—and come back again and again

As a seasoned traveler with a penchant for luxury and exclusivity, I yearn for experiences that linger in memory long after the journey ends. Located on the pristine shores of Station Zero lies a hidden gem that embodies the essence of paradise: Crimson Resort & Spa Boracay.

The short journey from the airport to the resort’s exclusive wharf was a pleasant trip, guided by friendly staffers whose infectious warmth welcomed us like old friends.

Upon arrival at the resort, the vibrant rhythm of drums greeted us, played by a trio of musicians, setting the tone for what would be an unforgettable getaway.

Thoughtful touches adorned every corner of the resort, from the elegant tote bag to the straw hat, which awaited me at my bed when I entered my room.

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Art pieces dot the entirety of the resort. They even have a resident artist who holds art classes regularly. The resort has such high regard for art and artists, holding painting competitions they call “Art Warrior.”

Dining at Saffron became a culinary journey, each meal feeling like a celebration, a symphony of tastes that danced on the palate.

Amidst the luxury and extravagance, it was the little moments that left the greatest impression on me. Waking up to the sight of the sun-kissed beach from my suite window, or exchanging pleasantries with the ever-cheerful hotel staff—these were the memories that lingered, long after I bid farewell to Crimson Resort & Spa Boracay.

As I reflect on my time at Crimson Resort & Spa Boracay, one word comes to mind: gratitude. I am grateful for the privilege of experiencing such unparalleled luxury, for the warmth and hospitality of the staff, and for the memories that continue to make me smile long after I have come back to Manila.

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Mention the word island, and it will surely send sparkles in the eyes of wanderlusts yearning for that back-to-nature feels away from th e urban concrete jungle. And as an archipelago of 7,641 islands, the Philippines boasts of an infinity of idyllic hideaways of sun, sea and sky, and all the exciting things in between.

One such island which exudes the right mix of tropical vibe and basic modern amenities is Camiguin, a proverbial paradise in a nutshell because of its natural wonders in a tiny southern province.

So, when it launched its new tourism brand called “Isle Be There”, it was a grand coming-out party and invitation in a post-pandemic reboot of a tourism thrust. Alongside with the launch, the provincial government also put in place the Clean Camiguin QR code as part of its Smart Tourism digitalization for a secure and consummate travel experience.

The capital of Mambajao is the province’s aerial gateway with flights from Cebu and Manila, and also has a seaport which connects to Jagna, Bohol through a fourhour sea voyage.

The town is the tourism hub, being home to the many of Camiguin’s recreational establishments, must-see destinations, as well as the top resorts and restaurants. Not to be missed is the Instagrammable 200-meter long,

“You’ll surely come again in this isle of dream.”
Photo by Fra and Quimpo
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Photo by Fra and Quimpo

crescent shaped White Island Sandbar where guests frolic in the crystalline water powdery sand and marvel at the imposing Mt Hibok-Hibok.

Take a rejuvenating dip at the icy natural pools of Katibawasan Falls formed by its 100-meter drop, and at the warm natural pools of Ardent Hibok-Hibok Spring Resort which are both tucked in the mountain’s bosom.

In neighboring Catarman town are the Sunken Cemetery which is known for its the iconic giant white cross, the Old Church Ruins which was declared by the National Museum as a National Cultural Treasure, and the 1.5-km Walkway to the Old Volcano which is dotted by lifesize Stations of the Cross.

Katibawasan Falls

Another must-see is the marine biodiversity-rich Mantigue Island Nature Park in Mahinog, a haven for scuba diving, snorkeling and beach bumming in northern Mindanao.

Nearby is the Benoni Crater Lake which is dotted with seafood restaurants on stilts, and a center for watersports such as kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, and pedal boating.

Quaint boutique resorts, blend the tropical feel and modern comforts, such as Balai sa Baybay, Bintana sa Paraiso, Paras Beach Resort, and the newly-opened UNWND Boutique Hotel, the isle’s first hospitality chain brand.

Bask in the luxe Nouveau Resort, and revel in its high-end room features, delectable cuisine, and manicured landscapes.

Despite the logistical challenges, home-grown restos never fail to surprise guests with their gustatory offerings. Pizza and pasta food lovers can sink their teeth on these global staples at La Dolce Vita, Chills Beach, and Luna Ristorante prepared by Italian chefs who have settled here.

Other dining haunts are Kape Isla which offers all-time favorites in a repurposed ancestral house, Haruhay Eco-Beach Tavern which specialize in plant-based gourmet dishes, and Guerrera Villas and Restaurant which take pride in its Asian specialties.

An exciting time to visit is during Lanzones Festival every October which has a bevy of special events, street dancing, and tons of the sweet seasonal fruit being sold at rock-bottom prices.

With a consummate experience and sweet memories that is about to unfold, you’ll surely come again in this isle of dream.

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