Experience Travel and Living Volume 3 Number 2

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EXPER IENCE TR AV EL A ND LI V ING // Vol. 3 No. 2 // 2016


The better alternative to city dwelling.

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EXPER IENCE TR AV EL A ND LI V ING // Vol. 3 No. 2 // 2016

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EXPER IENCE TR AV EL A ND LI V ING // Vol. 3 No. 2 // 2016


contents EXPERIENCE Travel & Living // Vol. 3 // No. 2 // 2016


Living Well 12 16

A big heart for food Stem cell therapies as alternatives to surgery

Retreats 18

Service with a smile

Heritage 22 28

The man behind the camera Inside the seat of power

Celebrity Travel 32

35 40

Travel buddies

Travel Luxe A quaint city of keys Musings on Myanmar


Batangas for beginners 44 46 50 54 58 60 62

Parine na sa Batangas! 5 must-try Batangueño dishes A trip back in time Anilao’s underwater world Are you ready to take the plunge? A breath of cool air In the lap of luxury

Experience Travel + Living





Travel Lite 70 71 75 80 84

From highlands to islands A gem of an island Ranches and islands Going up where eagles nest On the Parrot's Beak

Pinoy at heart



This expatriate has finally come home


The Good Life



EXPER IENCE TR AV EL A ND LI V ING // Vol. 3 No. 2 // 2016










PHP200 / Vol 3 No 3

On the cover Outrigger bancas, locally known as sibid, are docked at the wharf in San Pascual, Masbate. Photo by Ma. Glaiza Lee


EXPER IENCE TR AV EL A ND LI V ING // Vol. 3 No. 2 // 2016


Experience editor's note


e all know that the Philippines is composed of 7,100plus islands. The country’s archipelagic nature has blessed it with countless beaches where we can bask under the sun all year round. But for many nature lovers, it is not just the white-sand shores that have been attracting their attention. We also have a surfeit of mountains and hills to challenge both novice and professional trekkers to their physical limits. This issue of Experience Travel and Living magazine focuses on this dichotomy in Philippine geography. From Highlands to Island zeroes in on some undiscovered locations that are worthy of our attention. The island-province of Catanduanes is known for being one of the few islands that is always in the path of typhoons during the rainy season. This challenging environment has kept much of the island’s beauty secret—until now. On the other hand, the island of Masbate is right at the center of the country. Its cattle ranches and coastline have given it the enviable position of being an adventure destination for many travelers. If you want to go up, the Sierra Madre mountain range in Rizal province offers a variety of trails for those who want to test their strength. Located just next door Metro Manila, its quiet towns are visited by weekend warriors who are up to confront their strength and fears. For something nearer, Mt. Pico de Loro in Maragondon, Cavite is proving to be popular among hikers and beginner mountaineers for the sheer thrill it offers; the climb up the so-called Parrot’s Beak provides pure adrenaline rush. We also turn the spotlight on Batangas province and some of the attractions that can be found there—its food, its history, and a popular place for adventure seekers. It is also home to the worldfamous Taal Volcano, the only volcano within the lake in the world, which is best appreciated from Tagaytay Ridge in nearby Cavite. Whether you plan to go on a daytrip or a long weekend, the CaviteBatangas route offers thrills and accommodations that the whole family will enjoy.

Joseph Cortes


On last issue’s cover The image on the cover of our February issue was photographed by Antonio Rojas, a member and past president of the Photographic Society of Iloilo. It won grand prize in the recent Dinagyang Festival. We would like to express our appreciation to the Iloilo Dinagyang Foundation, Inc. for allowing us to use the image. Our apologies for any omission.


EXPER IENCE TR AV EL A ND LI V ING // Vol. 3 No. 2 // 2016

EXPER IENCE TR AV EL A ND LI V ING // Vol. 3 No. 2 // 2016



JOSEPH CORTES Editor-in- Chief

MITCH M. ARCEO Associate Editor


ANGELA M. DENILLA Editorial Assistant


Cont ribut ing Editor




Admin and Circulat ions Manager


Online and Creat ive Group Manager



US Liason Of f icer/Authorized Dealer

Ex perience Travel and Living is published bi-monthly by

MODE DEVI PUBLISHING, INC. Manila Address: Suite 205 Corinthian Executive Regency Sapphire Road, Ortigas Center, Pasig City U.S. Address: Suite 535 West 2155 th Street, Carson, California 90745 LILIAN SIA SENGIA, Chief Finance Officer DENNIS SIA, Vice President

Visit www.experiencetravel.ph

Email: experiencetravelandliving@gmail.com Like us at www.facebook.com/ExperienceTravel.Ph Instagram: ExperienceTravel.ph Twitter: @xptravel.ph 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.


EXPER IENCE TR AV EL A ND LI V ING // Vol. 3 No. 2 // 2016

EXPER IENCE TR AV EL A ND LI V ING // Vol. 3 No. 2 // 2016


Experience contributors 1



3 9




10 8




13 11

16 Dolly Dy-Zulueta (1), former editor of Flavors Magazine, runs her own food, travel and lifestyle weblog (www. flavorsoflife.com.ph). She handles the Weekend Chef column on TV5’s www. interaksyon.com/lifestyle and regularly writes for Asian Dragon Magazine, Business Mirror, and Manila Bulletin, among others.

Ma. Glaiza Lee (2) is a self-

proclaimed traveler. Every person she meets, every adventure she does, and every little experience shapes her perception of the world around her. She looks forward to devouring sumptuous dishes, meeting interesting people, and enjoying life to the fullest.

Vince Borromeo (3) and Reggie Rullan (4), are both legal eagles who

decided to pursue lifestyle writing as a poignant relief to the burrows of legal technicalities. Vince is a composer, acoustic performer and martial arts artist, while Reggie is a home cook and a foodie at heart. They travel with an eye for the extraordinary in different ways of life, succumbing to the simple and divine pleasures that each locality offers.


Ginggay Hontiveros (5) is the cofounder of The Extra Mile Productions where she is producer and managing director. She is an avid traveler, writer and photographer, having focused her work mainly on the documentation of indigenous sites, culture and people in the Philippines and around the world. As chief photographer of Flavors Magazine for 14 years, Rafael R. Zulueta (6) has mastered the art of food photography. He regularly contributes to a number of publications and online portals, and among his clients are the United States Potato Board, the California Milk Advisory Board, and the Raisin Administrative Committee.

Suzette Jessica (7) is a veteran public relations practitioner. Ruth Manimtim-Floresca (8) is a writer and editor who loves to travel because it is a great way for her to discover interesting places, meet new friends, and learn more about other cultures. Ruth enjoys writing about various topics on her 13-year-old blog http://mommywrites.blogspot.com.

EXPER IENCE TR AV EL A ND LI V ING // Vol. 3 No. 2 // 2016

Just like most kids her age, Eunice Rodriguez (9) likes to climb and travel. Her very first mountain that got her addicted to mountaineering was Mt. Gulugod-Baboy in Mabini, Batangas.

Nonoy B. Floresca (10), is a barefoot marathoner who chronicles his fitness journey in his blog, http:// trailsunlimited.blogspot.com, and takes pleasure in using his photography skills when accompanying his wife, Ruth, on travel writing assignments. Arvin Ligon (11) heads a

photography group known as Shutterplus, which specializes in weddings, corporate events, themed parties, portraiture, product shoots and also covers a wide range of photography services. He has done a huge variety of photography services and has collaborated with famous designers and print ad models.

Karl Orit (12) usually documents his trips using film cameras he got from Quiapo, flea markets, or surplus warehouses. Sometimes he puts his experiences and thought from a trip on paper, and writes fiction pieces inspired by his trips.

Since getting certified as an open water diver 2 years ago, scuba diving has become an obligatory activity for Bernard Supetran (13) when traveling around the country. He also volunteers for underwater cleanup and conservation projects, notably Metro Pacific's Shore It Up and Sangkalikasan Reef Buddies.

Stephanie Tumampos (14) is a

freelance photojournalist based in the Philippines. She has contributed in national publications such as Business Mirror. She is also a physicist-engineer and an advocate of science education, especially astronomy in the country.

Pablo Tariman (15) is a veteran culture and entertainment writer. He is also a part-time impresario, bringing classical music and artists to the province of Catanduanes and various cities around the country. Anson Yu (16) is an occasional photography junkie who loves to walk for long hours on end and write freelance. He loves everything about Manila, a fascination born out of the very place where he grew up and worked in.

EXPER IENCE TR AV EL A ND LI V ING // Vol. 3 No. 2 // 2016



EXPER IENCE TR AV EL A ND LI V ING // Vol. 3 No. 2 // 2016

EXPER IENCE TR AV EL A ND LI V ING // Vol. 3 No. 2 // 2016


Experience living well

A big heart

for food Cuore serves up Italian favorites with a touch of whimsy... and cute names Words by Kid Orit // Photos by Arvin Ligon Childhood Sweetheart, four-cheese pizza


Fab Mama’s Fave, shrimp and vegetable aglio olio

he word “cuore” is Italian for heart; it is also the name of a new restaurant in Makati City. Five young and dynamic partners opened Cuore Bistro and Social Lounge to serve hearty food that is inspired by their travels around the world. There is a sense of warmth in this restaurant. The rustic-style wooden furniture stands out against the blue brick wall, the tungsten lighting, and the view of the bar filled with bottles of your favorite tipple to calm your nerves at the end of a busy day. The piped-in music is also not intrusive to let you enjoy a heart-to-heart talk. The menu is the real star of the place. Most of the dishes are based on Italian favorites, but they have given fancy names that are fodder for idle chatter, which is a good way to know more about your date.


EXPER IENCE TR AV EL A ND LI V ING // Vol. 3 No. 2 // 2016

Sweet Stolen Kisses is the name of the salad of wild arugula and Parma ham. It is tossed with grape kisses and candied walnuts, and is dressed with raspberry vinaigrette. The balance between the sweet and sour raspberry highlights the crunch of the arugula and the ham’s savory flavor. It is healthy, yet a bit indulgent, much like getting a surprise kiss from your loved one. On the other hand, Love Me Tender is a dirty panini with grilled chicken pesto that is slathered and oozing with mozzarella cheese. The chicken is definitely tender, and because it is a dirty panini, it has more than enough filling that slides off the sides of the sandwich with every bite. Childhood Sweetheart is the restaurant’s take on the classic fourcheese pizza. All My Love is a combo

of potato wedges, salad, and a roast chicken half; the portion is big enough to be shared by two. My Kind of Man is a creamy carbonara with four kinds of meat and generously topped with cheese flakes. You’re Kind of Hot is a pasta dish of chorizo and loads of garlic. To finish the meal, go for Dolce Maria, a generous serving of churros with a side of salted caramel and vanilla ice cream. It is pretty straightforward and delicious with every bite. Dinner is not all about the food. It is best accompanied with a cold drink, and Curoe has a lot to offer than just beer and wine. The Best Sangria is exactly what it claims to be, while Elegant Mojito is a fruity version of this popular drink. And those looking for something with an extra punch should try Your Bitter Ex, which is a fortified beer. A meal at Cuore is a fun dining experience, especially since the waitstaff are only glad to help you out. And surely, you will find yourself happier when you step out than when you stepped in the place.

EXPER IENCE TR AV EL A ND LI V ING // Vol. 3 No. 2 // 2016



EXPER IENCE TR AV EL A ND LI V ING // Vol. 3 No. 2 // 2016

EXPER IENCE TR AV EL A ND LI V ING // Vol. 3 No. 2 // 2016


Experience living well

Stem cell therapies as alternatives to surgery Words by Ma. Glaiza Lee // Photos by Carlo De Guzman


hen it comes to healing, stem cell therapy, or regenerative medicine, is a medical procedure widely sought out for its promising results. It is not yet considered a cure-all for organ damage caused by certain diseases or aging. As more research and clinical trials continue to be done, many doctors are considering it as an alternative to surgical treatments. Several years back, Filipino patients had to fly to countries in Europe or the United States just to get access to this therapy. But select medical institutions in the Philippines are now offering these treatments. Stem cell therapy can either be autologous or allogenic. In an autologous procedure, the patient's own blood or fat cells (adipose tissue) are taken and the regenerative stem cells are extracted and are reintroduced to his body. An allogenic procedure requires the use of a donor or another person's blood or fat cells. A bone marrow transplant is the most common stem cell therapy


EXPER IENCE TR AV EL A ND LI V ING // Vol. 3 No. 2 // 2016

procedure. However, many medical institutions in the country now offer procedures using the patient's own blood or fat cells. The most common cellular therapy using the patient's blood is called photoactivated platelet-rich plasma therapy or PRP. Stem cells in the blood plasma taken from the patient are extracted using a light device. Then, the stem cell serum is injected back to the patient. This medical procedure is usually done for aesthetics, such as hair growth and facials, as well as wound healing. Another cellular therapy is mesenchymal stem cell therapy. It makes use of extracted stem cells from the blood combined with stem cells from fat tissues of the patient. This combined serum is said to be more effective, and is used for treating damaged organs resulting from diseases such as diabetes. One of the new developments in cellular therapy is called immunoexosomes therapy. The procedure uses the combined blood

Ricardo Colayco of LC Regenerative Clinic

and mesenchymal stem cell serum, which is placed in a special culture media where it will be induced to release their regenerative exosomes. "In comparison, mesenchymal stem cell therapy is like introducing hens inside the body to lay eggs that carry the regenerative cells. On the other hand, in immunoexosomes therapy, the serum is already a whole stack of eggs ready to be used in the body," says Ricardo Colayco of the LC Regenerative Clinic, which is located at the Centuria Medical Center in Makati City. This new stem cell therapy is said to be more effective in terms of regenerating damaged or injured organs and is ideal for patients with cancer. Colayco said that while the treatment is not considered the ultimate cure for many degenerative diseases, the clinic might soon offer a new treatment that could cure cancer once further stem cell procedures are created.

The Art of

Skin Rejuvenation

Find confidence to face the world with an image that spells success. At the Zen Institute, we have an array of programs and procedures that will guide you in your journey to success.

Skin Revitalizing Scrub/Skin Whitening Scrub/Healthy Glow Scrub

Ultra Hydrating Gel Therapy for Face & Body

A relaxing skin exfoliation treatment that rids you of dead skin cells responsible for making your skin appear lacklustre at the same time brings back that youthful glow.

Finally, a medical innovation for both men and women! Introducing, Ultra Hydrating Gel Therapy for Face & Body. It uses carbon dioxide gel applied to the skin surface. sBetter skin elasticity sImproved blood circulation sEncourages collagen repair sDestroys localized fatty deposits sImproves the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles sImproves the appearance of cellulite

Alpha Hydroxy Acid Peel

A quick treatment that involves the application of a mild solution to aid in the shedding of the old layer of skin in order to bring out the newer younger looking layer.

Skin Buffing/Epi Scrub/Ebi Buff

Also known as Micro Dermabrasion, this procedure involves the introduction of rough particles to the surface of the skin in order to buff away the dead layers.

Dermapoint Treatment

Using the skin needling technique, this treatment infuses skin with collagen to firm up the skin and make it look younger and feel smoother.

Deep Collagen Treatment

A non-invasive skin rejuvenating treatment that is administered via intra dermal infusion (injected under the skin) of non-crossed linked Hyaluronic acid and Vitamin C. This beauty mixture, both having the same molecular structures as substances produced in the body, induce the increase of collagen production- aiding in maintaining the skin’s firmness and strength.

Anti-Oxidant Mix/Anti-Oxidant Elixir

A total body treatment that allows the infusion of anti-oxidants such as glutathione, vitamin C and placenta intravenously which helps whiten skin and boost the immune system while delivering anti-ageing benefits.

Carbon Laser Treatment (N-DYAG Laser)

A safe and effective way of removing the damaged, deeper layers of skin to allow younger looking skin to regenerate. It also stimulates collagen to improve skin elasticity and decrease pore size. It is also used to lighten skin and remove tattoos.

The 4 Rs sSkin Benefits sReduces fine lines and wrinkles sReverses the effects of skin aging sRestores the natural volume of youthful skin sRemoves facial wrinkles Recommendations: sIt is recommended that Deep Collagen treatments be taken in combination with Resonax for ideal results. sMaintenance treatments of once per month is recommended.

O2 Skin

Give your skin room to breathe with a facial that infuses oxygen into your skin restoring the balance it needs to look and feel young.

Dra. Mary Jane “MJ” Torres Aesthetic Medicine Italian Society of Aesthetic and Surgery International Society of Mesotherapy French Society of Mesotherapy

Discover how the art of beauty, perfected from within can also be yours. For inquiries, call or visit The Zen Institute, 69 Scout Rallos St., Tomas Morato, Quezon City (441-1712; 412-2528), with branches at Ground Floor, Bonifacio Technology Center, 31st Street corner 2nd Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City (856-2027), and at the St. Frances Cabrini Medical Center, Maharlika Highway, Barangay 2, Sto. Tomas, Batangas (+43) 778-4811 For more information about The Zen Institute, visit http://www.thezeninstitute.com. Like us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/ZenMedicalSpa


EXPER IENCE TR AV EL A ND LI V ING // Vol. 2 No. 3 // 2015

EXPER IENCE TR AV EL A ND LI V ING // Vol. 3 No. 2 // 2016


Experience retreats

The imposing lobby of Vivere Hotel brings the outdoors inside.

One of the hotel’s suite rooms

Service with a smile

Vivere Hotel in Alabang boasts marvelous rooms and luxury amenities, but its impeccable personalized service makes it a winner

Words by Joseph Cortes // Photos by Art Concentrix


hen we speak of luxury, we talk about comfort, elegance or pleasure that is rarely experienced or obtained. It could be a priceless cache of jewelry, perhaps heirloom pieces handed down by your ancestors. It could be a fancy car, the latest model, sleek, fast and simply eyecatching. It could be a luscious meal fit for a king that satiates taste experiences you have never known. It could also be a dream vacation in a faraway destination


that people only dream of, where you are pampered to your heart’s content. For many people who regularly drive along the South Luzon Expressway, they see an imposing brown tower in the Alabang area, the one with the weird rooftop that defies description. Little do they know that within its four walls lies luxury as experienced by those possessing discerning tastes. The structure is the address of Vivere Hotel, a 31-story accommodation that has proven

EXPER IENCE TR AV EL A ND LI V ING // Vol. 3 No. 2 // 2016

The Lama lap pool on the fourth floor

Turn any occasion into a celebration at the hotel’s function rooms.

Greet the morning with breakfast at The Nest.

Vivere Hotel and Resort General Manager Elvie Sanchez-Quiazon

All rooms follow the tropical feel that you experience at the lobby. to be a favorite home-away-fromThe color palette is neutral, often home for both business and leisure following natural colors of wood, You cannot help but be awestruck travelers at this side of the metropolis. bamboo, jute and the like. In some when the doorman opens the doors Its striking presence signaled the rooms, there is a sense of pristine of Vivere Hotel. Its lobby is as grand development of grand lodgings that calm as they are awash in white, with as you can imagine. While it may not have developed in the area, having strategically placed décor adding color be spacious in terms of size, the high started operations in 2001. Indeed, it to the room. ceiling and the scattering of sofas has the distinction of being certified Room sizes range from 35 square and armchairs that are arranged in as the first five-star deluxe hotel in meters to a luxurious 150 square separate settings provide a sense as Alabang. meters. And did I fail to mention that if you have entered a multi-roomed Vivere’s general manager they are all suites? hall. A tree with glass leaves is the Elvie Sanchez-Quiazon attributes The Vivere GM says all rooms centerpiece of this space, bringing the popularity of the hotel to the have more than just the basic inside what is normally outside. personalized service its staff offers. amenities a guest would need. Since Under this tree is a koi pond; the From the moment you step through the hotel attracts a large share of refreshing sound of gushing water its doors, you are assured that you executives, all desks come with an relaxes you as you wait to be taken to are in the caring hands of people who adequate supply of stationary and your room. prize your appreciation of the good office equipment. Vivere has 200 well-appointed things in life, while providing you For longer staying guests who with the utmost in security. Here, you rooms in 16 different categories, and prefer to prepare their own meals, the not one is alike. Quiazon says this is are not just a guest—you are part of kitchen and dining room setups come one of the hotel’s charms. the Vivere family. with cookware, utensils, tableware “We have returning guests who “We ensure that you have the and flatware. request the room they had the last most memorable experience during It is this anticipation of a guest’s time they stayed here. Sometimes, your stay with us,” says Quiazon. needs that have the hotel a favorite they would request to be billeted in a “And we do that with our personalized among its loyal clientele. totally different room,” she tells. service.”


A variety of breads and cookies

Indulge on cocktails and some pica-pica at the Executive Lounge.

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Experience retreats

Suite rooms with bigger space come with separate living and dining areas


But more than its beautiful rooms, the hotel takes pride in providing a well thought out security system that has its guests sleeping soundly at night. Quiazon explains that more than just secure room keys, all hotel floors have a unique pass system that restricts access to any floor other than your own. It is impossible for anyone to just accidentally wander around. When the elevator door opens—provided you gain access to a floor other than yours—you would still need a separate keycard to access a gate that bars access to any room on that floor. She says a survey of hotel guests asked them what feature they valued most in any hotel. Security was the first concern, followed by service and cleanliness. “Guests are assured that their children are safe in their rooms should they need to leave them for a short while,” she adds.


But if the hotel has one winning asset is its staff. Quiazon is proud that at Vivere Hotel, it is always service with a smile. “From the moment you enter our doors, as you check in at the front desk, and as you enjoy your stay here, our staff is only willing to meet your every needs,” she says. This is most apparent in the way the management anticipates the needs of each and every guest. The requirements and requests of each visitor are carefully considered to give them the best possible service. There are a number of simple touches to provide maximum convenience among its guests: free shuttle service around the Alabang area, a dedicated playroom with nanny service for children, butler service for some of the more luxurious rooms, a wide selection of food, and tour services for guests needing a break for the weekend.

In fact, the hotel is now home to a number of guests who have stayed with them anywhere from five to nine years. These loyal guests are already addressed by their first names by the entire staff. While a larger part of the hotel’s clients are businessmen, weekends, particularly long ones, are busy with staycationers. In a way, Alabang is the closest out-of-town destination, with the hotel offering the five-star service many travelers require. Some of their long-staying guests can very much afford to rent a house at nearby Ayala-Alabang, but the hotel GM says once they have stayed at the hotel, they realize it offers better service at almost the same price. “They may have the privacy and security in their own house, but we offer that, too,” she says. “The plus about staying here is that they become part of the Vivere family. They become one of us.”

Vivere Hotel is located at 5102 Bridgeway Avenue, Filinvest City, Alabang, Muntinlupa City. For more information, call (632) 771-7777, fax (632) 771-0158, or e-mail info@viveresuites.com. Visit its website at www.viverehotel.com.ph.


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Experience new tastes at Dome Café Manila Dome Café Manila, the lifestyle restaurant situated at Shangri-La Plaza Mall, is known for its coffee beverages and signature dishes, such as pot pies and panini sandwiches. It is also the best place for a meeting or just a casual dinner with its cozy and relaxed atmosphere. With all these, guests surely come back for more. Dome Café is an Australian franchise with branches around the world such as Dubai, Singapore, China, Indonesia and Malaysia. In 1998, the café chain arrived in the Philippines, bringing the “World’s Finest Coffee” to Manila. Since then, it has continuously provided customers with a comfortable and friendly dining experience that is both appetizing and affordable. Just recently, it added eight new items on their menu to give its regulars options. These include sandwiches, pasta, rice meal and a sausage platter. Also new are the coolers to keep guests refreshed this summer season. Food is best when shared with someone else. The mixed grilled sausage is a winner, with its combination of grilled Italian, cheese Hungarian, Nuernberger, and

breakfast sausages. It comes with three different dips of your choice. Those who are conscious of their figures should try Dome Café’s sweet and spicy grilled salmon. The salmon is glazed with a sweet and spicy mayo, and comes with rice pilaf and asparagus. Pasta lovers will enjoy the classic primevera pasta, which comes with broccoli, zucchini, asparagus and cherry tomatoes in creamy Parmesan sauce. You can never go wrong with Dome Café’s sandwiches, and these new offerings will proved to be delightful options: classic burger with bacon, American cheese and a side of potato chips; vegetarian sandwich

with roasted vegetables with basil pesto and feta cheese; Hungarian Sausage with tomato salsa and Gruyere; and salmon and egg mayo sandwich on ciabatta. These sandwiches are definitely must-tries. Aside from its hot and cold coffee beverages, Dome Café has added cool and refreshing drinks that are perfect for this time of the year. These include the Everest Cocktail, Blue Sky, Jamaica, Summer Delight, and Fresh Lemonade with Mint.

"Great new food items plus the warmth of the staff, create more excitement about Dome!"

Dome Café’s new offerings are now available, along with its all-time favorite, to satisfy every craving. To experience this new taste, visit Dome Café Manila at L1 Shangri-La Plaza Mall, EDSA corner Shaw Boulevard, Mandaluyong City. For reservation and inquiries, call +632 635-9625 or +63918 9336 548.


Combination of grilled Italian sausage, cheese Hungarian sausage, Nuernberger sausage & breakfast sausage with 3 dips of your choice!


Broccoli, zucchini, asparagus, & cherry tomato tossed in butter, parmesan cheese, cream sauce on linguine


Grilled salmon glazed with sweet & spicy mayo, served with rice pilaf & asparagus




Dome’s very own flavorful beef patty with American cheese, fresh tomato, fresh onion & bacon served with sweet potato chips


Open faced sandwich on pizza bread with roasted vegetables (tomato, onion, zucchini, bell pepper & mushrooms) drizzled with basil pesto & feta cheese. Served with sweet potato chips.


Grilled Hungarian sausage, tomato salsa spread & gruyere cheese on herb ciabatta served with sweet potato chips


Smoked salmon, egg mayo spread & asparagus on herb ciabatta served with sweet potato chips

EXPER IENCE TR AV EL A ND LI V ING // Vol. 3 No. 2 // 2016


Experience heritage

The man behind

the camera Veteran photojournalist Pinggot Zulueta shares his passion for images

Words by Mitch M. Arceo // Photos by Pinggot Zulueta


very child has a dream, but not everyone gets to fulfill it when they grow up. For photojournalist and artist Pinggot Zulueta, there was no other way but to chase his dream and embrace his passion. As a child growing up in the province, Zulueta was exposed to the world through photographs and stories published in local newspapers. Even as a young boy, he was fascinated with the truthfulness and story behind every photo. It was not just simple admiration, even as he familiarized himself with the names of the people behind the images. His early exposure to news photography inspired him to follow the footsteps of his early influences during the ’70s and ’80s, such as Ed Santiago, Manny Goloyugo, Ramon Vecina, Jun de Leon and Noly Yamsuan, who would later become his colleagues.

Photojournalist Pinggot Zulueta


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Washington, D.C., 2005 Krishna. Auckland, New Zealand, 2004

of study was painting and the creative arts. Photography is a creative art. Therefore, it was only a matter of time before I got hooked on it. I have always been inspired by interesting, artistic and affecting images around me.” Cheska and Doug Kramer, 2009 Every photo has a story to tell, and for Zulueta, people A LOVE FOR THE ARTS will always be his favorite subject: “They could be rich His interest in photography stemmed from his love or poor, powerful or ordinary, young or old: they always for the arts, particularly painting. In college, he took Fine make the story.” Arts-Major in Painting at University of Santo Tomas The veteran photographer regularly reads (UST). There, he worked as an artist for UST’s Varsitarian international publications, such as Time, National newspaper. Geographic and Life, and these have influenced his focus “I was surrounded by friends and colleagues who and style. He admires the works of Steve McCurry, who were seasoned photographers in their own right, and rose to greater heights for his image of an Afghan girl my regular interaction with them nurtured my love for that became a cover of National Geographic, celebrity photography,” he related. “I have always had a natural photographer Annie Leibovitz, war photographer Robert affinity for photographing, not only current events and Capa, and documentary photographer Mary Ellen Mark. lifestyle motifs, but also the intricate details of people’s After earning a college degree, he worked as a political daily lives.” cartoonist at Midweek Magazine and Abante. He also Although he did not formally study photography, joined group exhibitions, both here and abroad. Later, he absorbed ideas and techniques he read from many he worked as a news and lifestyle photographer for the photography books and magazines: “My academic field Manila Bulletin, the oldest newspaper in the Philippines. EXPER IENCE TR AV EL A ND LI V ING // Vol. 3 No. 2 // 2016


Experience heritage

Luneta Grandstand, 2001


Being a photographer is not easy as it is not just about finding an angle and clicking the camera. He says you should show the whole story in one photographic presentation, and this can be mastered through experience, such as working as a news photographer in a daily. “I have had the opportunity to work with mainstream newspapers, and found that a photograph that tells the whole story often landed on the front page of these papers,” he noted. Photography requires patience, imagination, passion, determination and endurance. As a photojournalist, Zulueta has found himself in risky and dire situations, but his determination never wavered. “In 1991, I crossed the lahar-flooded highway of Bacolor, Pampanga in order to bring the photographs back to Manila. There was no internet at that time, and it meant that I had to physically bring the photographs back to the office in Manila. All transports were being stopped by the military as it was very dangerous to cross the highway. Soldiers manning the highway did not want to let me cross because of the rampaging lahar flow. We were fortunate to have been able to track and pass through the cemented road," recollects Zulueta.


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Thailand, 2008

Ramadan. Manila, 2002

Taguig Demolition, 2008 (Special Award in the Rotterdam Institute of Housing and Urban Development Studies' photo competition in 2008)

May 1 Siege. Manila, 2001

Hare Krishna. Auckland, New Zealand, 2004

Auckland, New Zealand, 2003

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Experience heritage

Diwali Festival, New Zealand. 2004

Quiapo, Manila. 2002


From when he was young and up to today, photography has and continues to play a big role in his life. He sees himself as a chronicler of his generation, after having witnessed and personally been involved in important events that shaped his time: “I feel immensely privileged to have performed this role in society, and to do this work for a living." In the future, he dreams of publishing a book containing images close to his heart that depict a timeline of events and his journey as a photographer. Although he has made a name in the field of photography, he continues to fuel his passion for the arts by being an exhibiting artist. After all, he is a visual arts graduate. Just recently, he held the solo exhibition


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Sky City Auckland,NZ 2005

“Incepto: Ink Drawings” at the Art Cube Gallery in Makati. The exhibition featured paintings that represent the trials he has experienced in the past. In the next five years, he wants to establish himself as an artist with a style that is distinct from the rest. “I have a desire to create aesthetic and inspiring images, and to share them with others. Through my photographs, I can express myself—what I see and feel, and how I interpret my surroundings from my own perspective. I am reminded of what the great photographer Ansel Adams said, ‘There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer.’ I would like to think that my photographs are and would be an inspiration to others, and also to the next generations who would come across my work,” he stated.

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Experience heritage Malacañang Library and its collection of memorabilia

Inside the

SEAT OF POWER The Malacañan Palace Museum and Library offers an up-close peek at how the country was run by 14 past presidents

Words and Photos by Anson Yu


ery few landmarks in the country inspire awe among Filipinos as Malacañan Palace. From the Spanish governor-generals to the presidents of the Philippines, it had and continues to serve as the country’s official seat of power since the 1860s. Because it is such a highly revered place, you might think that it is off limits to the general public. But there is one part of the presidential compound that is open to the public, and that is the Malacañan Palace Museum and Library. The museum is located adjacent to the palace itself in a two-storey structure that was once called the Executive Building, and later renamed as Kalayaan Hall. It was commissioned in the late 1910s by American GovernorGeneral Francis B. Harrison to serve as his office to spare himself the trouble of commuting to his official office inside Intramuros.


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Kalayaan Hall where Malacañan Palace Museum and Library is located

The design for the Renaissance-inspired building was the result of a collaboration between American architect Ralph H. Doanne and Filipino architect Tomas Mapua. Since it was completed in 1921, it has been used by various Philippine presidents for a number of reasons, including as a workspace or for entertaining visitors. It was during the administration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2002 that it was decided that it would become a public museum and library dedicated to the Philippine presidency. Efforts were then made to restore the building’s original architectural details such as the wood panel carvings by Filipino sculptor Isabelo Tampinco.

the old waiting room, which is now devoted exclusively to President Corazon Aquino

The bust of President Ramon Magsaysay

a bust of President Manuel Luis Quezon

significant was Proclamation 1081 that was signed into law by President Ferdinand Marcos; this ushered in martial law in the Philippines. Among WHERE LAWS WERE others, this law was used to curtail ENACTED press freedom and suspend the writ The exhibit covers 11 rooms. On of habeas corpus. To highlight the display are artifacts and furniture importance of this proclamation, used by the different presidents, the original television broadcast as well as archival photos and art of Marcos declaring martial law objects. Even if the museum gives out is shown on a refurbished TV set a brochure on the display, it is best to from the 1960s in the room. If you request a guide or join a tour group watch carefully, the chair where the as they can provide the story to story president sat in the telecast is the behind the items on display, as well as same chair that now stands behind an overview of Philippine history. the desk. Some of the rooms inside the While I like the museum’s policy museum are distinguished by a to not be judgmental when it comes specific topic or theme related to to presenting facts, I feel this is one the presidency. For example, the instance where they could have former Governor-General’s office is mentioned how various laws affected now dedicated to the laws that were Philippine society. This way, visitors enacted or proclaimed by various can have a better appreciation as to Filipino presidents, of which the most the effectiveness of past presidents.

the former Governor-General’s office recreated to look like the room where President Ferdinand Marcos recorded his statement on martial law


This is not the first time that the Palace opened its door to the public. President Ramon Magsaysay opened the palace grounds in the 1950s, while President Corazon Aquino opened the palace for public viewing in the 1980s. But unlike before when you could just walk in unannounced, you have to schedule your visit by applying with the official Malacañan Palace website; foreign tourists would need to send a scan of their passport with their application. An email confirming your reservation will be sent within seven to 10 working days. If that sounds like too much work, you can just book a tour of the museum with either the walking tour group or Old Manila Walks or with Casa Roces restaurant.

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Experience heritage


The most fascinating part of this museum has to be the library section on the second floor. It was here that a significant historical event took place. In 1986, President Marcos and his family stood at the front west balcony to take his final oath of office. It would be his final public appearance before he and his family were flown out in exile to Hawaii. Today, the library is where museum goers can get better acquainted with the 13 Filipino presidents. A display of memorabilia, as well as an item of personal clothing, such as a tuxedo, gown, suits or barong Tagalog, mark each section devoted to each president. Instead of presenting them chronologically, the museum has decided to arrange the presidents based on their career background, such as law, military, economics and show business. If you are well acquainted with Philippine history, you might notice that only 13 past presidents have their respective sections; the correct number should be 14. This is because President Corazon Aquino has her exhibit in a separate side room, since she is credited for having help start the People Power Revolution that led to the overthrow of President Marcos, as well as being the mother of the present president. It would be interesting to see if the Aquinos will finally be joining the other presidents once President Benigno Aquino III’s term ends this June. A tour of the Malacañan Palace Museum and Library is not complete after you have picked up your bags from security. There is a small kiosk near the entrance where you can buy souvenirs with the official Malacañan logo. It will be an interesting way to share with your friends and family your visit to the presidential palace.


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Memorabilia of President Carlos Garcia

The Osmeña room

The Quirino room

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Experience celebrity travel

Travel buddies

A friendship born out of business happened between actor Robin Padilla and MoneyGram country manager Alex Chan Lim Words by Mitch M. Arceo Photos provided by Vidanes Management

A tour is not complete without a jumpshot with Robin, Beth(his manager), Alex and the team from MoneyGram


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Actor Robin Padilla and MoneyGram country manager Alex Chan Lim, two men with the same advocacy, make perfect partners in achieving their goal of serving and doing something for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) through travel, immersion and shows. In 2012, MoneyGram tapped Padilla to be its celebrity endorser. They both had qualms at first, but after learning they were both providing service for Filipinos, OFWs in particular, the two agreed to become “partners.” “When they approached us, my first question was, ‘Will this be of any help to the Filipinos?’, and I was shocked that it was an international brand. They said MoneyGram provides service for OFWs,” said Padilla. “Incidentally, that is also my advocacy. I do not accept commercial endorsements just because I get paid to do it, but because I believe in it.” Even before becoming part of the MoneyGram family, it has always been the actor’s advocacy to reach out to OFWs. He admits that he could relate to them in a way, because he earns here and sends the proceeds to Australia. The only difference is that he is here with his family and friends, while most OFWs do not have their families beside them. “I am amazed at how strong they are,” he admitted. “They are really the heroes of the country. Because of them, Filipinos have a good image in other countries. Filipinos working abroad are hardworking and very efficient. It is something that we must be proud of.” When Chan Lim explained what the company is offering, the actor listened earnestly and shared some of his opinions. “Anyone can claim that they are the fastest, cheapest or best, but at the end of the day, only MoneyGram does not deduct from the remittance. If you send this much, your recipient will receive the same amount. If you send it now, the recipient can claim it almost immediately. We offer transparent service that keeps on improving. In some countries, senders can send money via a mobile app.

For us, we want to make sending money to loved ones easier and more accessible,” relates the MoneyGram country manager. He said he was really impressed when he first met Padilla, because of his sincerity and honesty. “When he says he will do it, he will definitely do it. He has a very good memory,” he explained. “In one of the shows, I told him key information about MoneyGram just right before he went onstage. When it was time for him to face the audience, he was able to relay the message immediately in his own way of expressing it. He is really close to the people and will go out of his way to talk to them. Getting an endorser is easy. But how to effectively use the endorser to generate revenue and, at the same time, use the endorser to touch the hearts of the people, I think, for Robin, we do all of it.” Chan Lim shared that when they bring him abroad, the actor talks from the heart. Despite his past shortcomings, people still love him. They often go to different countries,

not only to promote MoneyGram, but also to make OFWs happy by giving them a free show. “All the shows sponsored by MoneyGram are free. We do not sell tickets,” he added. After a show, Padilla is allowed to stay on and meet with his fans. Even when they are in a restaurant, they stay on even if people gather around. “We are already there, so we might as well maximize our stay.” MoneyGram is already an established brand, so we do not really need to do hard-sell promotion. For us, we just want to make OFWs feel that we are here and we want to make them happy, even for an hour or two.” For a fan, a photo with his idol means a lot. Fortunately, his fans would not find it hard to have his photo taken with Padilla. He actually goes out of his way to please his fans. “If you see him taking a selfie with people, you would be amazed. Robin would even check if the photo is okay, and would take one again if it is no good,” said the executive.

Top Photo: Robin attends Alex’s art exhibition at SM Mall of Asia. Below: Robin takes a selfie with a fan before boarding a plane at the airport.

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Experience celebrity travel MEET-AND-GREETS

War did not stop the two from going to Lebanon. Amid the danger, they braved the chaos and went through with a show. “Upon arriving at Lebanon, we were welcomed by the consul,” Padilla narrated. “The consul said that nobody ever came there for a show because of the war. Still, we went there and received a warm welcome from 10,000 people.” On their way to their lodging, they recalled seeing tanks on the side of the road. It was a sight that they will not forget. Despite the situation, people camped outside the venue early in the morning, even if it was an evening show. It was worth all the effort. Some 10,000 fans went home that night, with smiles of their faces, having had the chance to see the actor up close. “The picture-taking was even longer than the show itself,” the executive recalled. “A foreigner even said he has never seen a celebrity who would go through all that for his fans.” While photo opportunities are common on these MoneyGram road show, a number of occurrences have prompted to compromise on this aspect of the shows. During an event in Japan, fans unknowingly tore down the show setup just to get close to the actor; at the end of the event, their booths had literally been destroyed. In Saudi Arabia, fans rushed towards him causing a stampede; they had to stop the photo session. However, the actor did not want to disappoint his fans. The actor was taken to a more secure location, and the audience was asked to line up if they wanted to have a picture with him. He has no qualms giving in to fan requests: “Whenever I meet Filipinos abroad, it is always touching and overwhelming. They really appreciate your presence.” On that trip, a Filipino room boy was starstruck upon seeing Padilla when he was called for room service. To his delight, he brought more food than needed. As a token of


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A trip is not complete without Robin showing off his knack for photography

appreciation him his precious worship cloth. “When I was inside Bilibid, I used that shirt whenever I pray,” he said. “Many people asked if they could have that shirt, but it was only when I met this Filipino hotel staff in Saudi that I decided to give it away.” Aside from that shirt, he also let the room boy stay on in his room for chat, which lasted for almost four hours. In Qatar, when Filipinos heard that they were coming for a show, they stayed on after work just to greet them. At a revolving restaurant in Doha, when the pianist saw the actor in the crowd, he played the theme songs to most of his movies. In gratitude, he came up the stage to thank the pianist, and ended up singing duets with him. “OFWs are really appreciative. I still receive gifts from them. They ship their gifts to the Philippines,” he said.


Traveling the world for MoneyGram has not been a difficult task for both Padilla and Chan Lim. They found a commonality that has served to bond them together: photography. Unknown to many, the actor is a photography enthusiast; when he is out of the country, you will often

All clad in native Filipino and Chinese clothes

find him behind his camera directing the executive on how to pose for the camera. “One time, we were looking for a place to eat in Japan. We needed to find a place that accepts credit cards, because I was not carrying any cash. But Robin insisted that he would just pay for our meal,” said the MoneyGram country manager. “After eating, we found a motorcycle outside the restaurant. Once again, the photographer in Robin surfaced, and he told me to pose while he took photos.” It is because of this bond that they have become good friends. Once, when the star got sick, the businessman and his wife went out of their way to bring him to the hospital. “Even if they were out of the country, they still sent Marielle a text to ask if I had taken my medicine. That is how close we have become,” he said. Chan Lim said it best: “He is a real person. He is an asset as an endorser and as a friend. For me, I would like to keep him forever!”

Experience travel luxe An aerial view of the city of Leiden

A quaint city of keys

Leiden might be a small city but it is home to Rembrandt and a host of numerous scientific discoveries

Words and Photos by Stephanie Tumampos


eople often the busy nightlife in Amsterdam and the beautiful Holland tulips in springtime, yet the city of Leiden might be small in comparison, but it has a rich history, home to the oldest university in the country. A trip here gives you more than just your ordinary daytime tour: it opens you to culture, art and science. Its cobbled streets take you back to the time when kings fought and wars prevailed in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. I have always known that big stone-wall fences make for a strong fortress, but never have I heard of water canals serving as fortification until I learned it in this city. Leiden is a 30-minute train ride from Amsterdam. Built on an artificial hill called a motte on which a small castle called Burcht van Leiden was erected, it is strategically located at the junction of the Old Rhine. This citadel is open to the public, and since the city is unusually flat, you get a breathtaking view of the place with all its churches, canals and beautiful, old Dutch houses. EXPER IENCE TR AV EL A ND LI V ING // Vol. 3 No. 2 // 2016


Experience travel luxe THE SIEGE OF LEIDEN FESTIVAL

Interestingly, Leiden has the most number of canals in the Netherlands. Its 88 bridges were built across these waterways to let residents move from one part to the other. However, these waterways were not built for tourism. As most of Holland is below sea level, the Dutch flooded the land to serve as a defense against the Spaniards who wanted to conquer the country. In fact, it turned out to be the best solution in freeing the city from the Spanish. On the 3rd of October 1574, when the Spanish besieged Leiden and built dikes on these waterways, the river’s water level rose and overflowed, allowing the Dutch fleet to row their boats in and free the city. It was also on October 3 when I arrived in Leiden. At the back of my head, I have set my mind on it being the usual European city, but I was wrong. As soon as my friend fetched me at the airport, he told me to wake up my groggy self from the red-eye flight and prepare my lifeless body, as we will walk the streets in Leiden and enjoy the day’s Leidens Ontzet of the Siege of Leiden Festival. After leaving my luggage at the apartment, we headed straight to the city center. As we walked on the cobblestoned roads, a huge crowd was going in and out of the city. My friend started talking about a certain tradition the people of Leiden observe. For almost five centuries on this day, white bread and a piece of Dutch herring are given free to everyone at 7:00 a.m. at the Weigh House. This tradition goes back to the day of Leiden’s liberation from Spain, when Prince William of Orange offered bread and herring as everyone had starved during the siege. Markets, fairs, a parade, and road parties, all these were all happening on that day. Main roads were closed, and there was nothing else to do than just eat, discover and enjoy.

Cruising along the canals in Leiden and maybe taking a sip of coffee after

The Leiden Ontzet Festival with the De Valk Windmill and museum at the background


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More than just a small city, Leiden brags itself as a city of windmills. One notable landmark is the De Valk Windmill, which is also called “The Falcon.” The De Valk Windmill Museum is one of the 19 windmills that stood on the ramparts of Leiden, which were built in the 18th century to replace old wooden windmills. It is 29 meters in height, and is surely hard to miss when you walk down the city streets. It has seven floors, and is a functional windmill. What makes it remarkable is the machinery inside this museum. You do not only learn the history of the mill, but you also learn how it was operated

during the old days, as well as the life of the Dutch before newer technologies were invented. The De Valk Windmill is a flourmill. You will see old tools and millstones that were used to grind wheat into flour. From the fourth floor attic, millers looked out to observe the changing weather, while on the ground floor was where one may experience how they lived in those days. The windmills are not just for grinding flour. They have different purposes. Among the nine windmills within the city borders, two are grain mills, another two are saw mills, and the rest are polder mills that kept seawater from flooding the city. One of these polder mills is still in operation. Leiden's Town Hall

The De Valk Windmill and Museum, with a Ferris wheel of lit up at night EXPER IENCE TR AV EL A ND LI V ING // Vol. 3 No. 2 // 2016


Experience travel luxe

The bust of Carolus Clusius, one of the pioneering botanists of the 16th century who helped develop Leiden’s Hortus Botanicus, the oldest botanical garden in Netherlands


Though most of us might have hated math, physics or art during our school days, wouldn’t it be interesting to be in the place where the arts and science flourished? Many of these were made here, including the discovery of Saturn’s moons to Albert Einstein receiving the good news that his theory of relativity has been confirmed. It was also the place where Rembrandt was born, taught himself how to paint and became one of the best painters during Europe’s Golden Age. Walking down its streets means that you walk where these geniuses of the past also strolled. It was here where Einstein started his journey to gain the Nobel Prize. It was also here that Kamerlingh Onnes, also a Nobel Prizewinner, liquefied helium for the first time at approximately 1.7 degrees above absolute zero temperature. It is this knowledge that led to superconductivity, which is the science behind Japan’s bullet trains. These might be a little geeky for an ordinary person’s mind to grasp, but these are worth noting. As you walk around, you also notice the colorful walls of buildings and houses that serve as a canvas for poems written in different languages. Over a hundred of these are scattered throughout Leiden. They vary from Japanese kanji to literary snippets by Shakespeare.

A bike city for everyone in the family: cycling by Pieterskerk, a church in Leiden

Meat overload at Leiden Ontzet festival


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On top of many of the buildings in Leiden, you will see the image of two crossed keys in red on a white background, representing the city’s coat of arms; in fact, this detail earned it the moniker as being a city of keys. These are believed to represent the keys to heaven that are under the safekeeping of St. Peter. Among places of worship worth seeing on your visit is the Pieterskerk, one of the largest churches, and Hooglandse Kerk. Marvel at the intricate designs on these churches’ exterior that tell stories of the past. With all that strolling around, a day in Leiden must be on your bucket list. As for me, I have left a part of my heart there, as I roamed around this little city of keys, a city of both history and discovery.

Leiden's coat of arms

A cozy area inside Burcht van Leiden to gather with friends

The gates of Burcht van Leiden EXPER IENCE TR AV EL A ND LI V ING // Vol. 3 No. 2 // 2016


Experience travel luxe Towering Buddha images dwarf visitors at a temple.


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Musings on

Myanmar Time has come to a standstill in this Asian country, retaining its old-world charm

Words and photos by Ginggay Hontiveros

Monks pray in a temple.


did not want to look up at the expansive sky as I made my way down the narrow temple steps. Clutching tightly on makeshift bars, I descended the steep incline slowly, deliberately, my bare soles already tingling and starting to burn with every step on the sun-baked brick stones. Then I saw her, waiting at the bottom of the steps. A lass not more than 15, with happy almond eyes, cheeks covered with sandy white powder, full lips on her round face. She was a local beauty in this hot, dry land that is surrounded by ancient temples. She wanted me to take some of her wares, lovely silken cotton cloth made into colorful garments with undulating graceful designs. In exchange, she wanted no money, but only my lipstick, a cherry-colored tube to stain her lips. Such a simple thing was a novelty here. As she played with her newfound treasure, I pointed to the white pattern on her cheeks. She smiled and

breathtaking, and exceedingly so at dusk, when the sun begins to set and the heavens are flushed with a brilliant orange, bathing everything in its light. Mountains in the distance frame the arid landscape, with the dry wind occasionally blowing amid cotton trees and willowy palms. In the silence of temple halls, towering Buddha images dwarf me, and I quietly resist the urge to run my fingers across centuries-old archaic wall paintings. Monks are settled on the tiled floor, deep in meditation, oblivious to the sound of outsiders passing by. A horse-drawn cart driving on a lazy afternoon brings me motioned to the ground. It was from the fine earth, mixed into a thick paste to the nearby village, where there are quaint makeshift stores and eateries and slathered on to protect her skin by the dusty roadside. Bicycles lie in from the harshness of the sun. She spoke in broken English but we could wait at almost every corner, adding to the antiquated appeal. understand each other, our smiles conveying what words could not.


I felt cut off from the rest of the world. In Myanmar, time had come to a standstill. Because of decades of self-inflicted isolation, it had retained much of its old-world charm, and this was evident everywhere. It is a land of a thousand pagodas—holy places fashioned from carved stone: some a simple gourd-shaped stupa containing a single room to worship Buddha; others several meters high with elaborate tiers and niches, a cluster of gazebos evolved into a highly complex structure. These are the sacred temples of Bagan on the banks of the Irrawaddy River, some dating back to as early as the 11th century. There is much to take in when visiting this part of the world. The spire-dotted skyline is simply

A pagoda rises up in the sky. EXPER IENCE TR AV EL A ND LI V ING // Vol. 3 No. 2 // 2016


Experience travel luxe

Pagodas dot the plains of Bagan.


Yangon's urban scenery is no different. It offers a graceful cityscape with old French colonial architecture, verdant greenery, and traditional Buddhist edifices. Through dense rain that fall every afternoon, I could smell the fresh air punctuated with the distinct aroma of pungent incense. A pretty park and placid lake just steps away from my room offered subtle invitations to simple pleasures. Driving along generous treelined boulevards, it was refreshing to note the lack of contemporary highrise buildings amid the pervading presence of automobiles from the 1970s. Instead of blue suits typical to a citified hub, longyi-clad men with their plaid shirts neatly tucked in walked the streets going about their everyday business. Looming large above it all is the gilded Shwedagon Pagoda, the city's shining pantheon. It casts a subdued glow on every soul that walked its hallowed grounds. No words were necessary, and I could indulge in an old childhood pleasure of just looking,

The gilded glory of Shwedagon Pagoda looms large over the city of Yangon.

seeing, and watching, without being mindful of time or space: no hurried pace, no missed details. I could linger and catch my breath, be present in the here and now, stop and revel in the little things that are often overlooked in the frenetic impetus of daily life. I found I could truly enjoy this quiet time, far removed from my ordinarily busy, hurried urban days. This is the way an unexplored place always presents the most beautiful possibilities: short sweet encounters, vivid images, and experiences that stay forever. Years of isolation have kept intact much of Myanmar’s temples.


EXPER IENCE TR AV EL A ND LI V ING // Vol. 3 No. 2 // 2016

EXPER IENCE TR AV EL A ND LI V ING // Vol. 3 No. 2 // 2016


Photo by Penn delos Santos

Parine na sa

Batangas! When people speak of Batangas, so many things come to mind: kapeng barako, the strong coffee that separates men from the boys, and tsokalate eh, the thick and very rich hot chocolate served only to esteemed guests during Spanish times; panutsa, the peanut brittle sold by ambulant vendors along the highway, and pakaskas, palm sugar candy; balisong, locally-made fan knives; tawilis, freshwater sardines endemic to Taal Lake, and sinaing na tulingan, tuna simmered in a broth of tamarind or dried kamias; hand-embroidered barong Tagalog fabric; Taal Cathadral, Lipa Cathedraland Mt. Carmel Church; and the world-famous Taal Lake and Volcano. Batangas is so many things, and is also one thing: it is a province rich in heritage that lives and breathes its history and culture every day.


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Your southern travels are covered at Microtel by Wyndham South Luzon Looking for a great hotel stay outside of Manila? The trio of hotels that comprise Microtel by Wyndham’s presence in the south – namely Batangas, Eagle Ridge, and South Forbes – stand out for their proximity to nearby industrial parks, leisure activities, and access to golf destinations. The hotels offer consistently clean, comfortable, and secure accommodation at value rates that guests have come to expect from Microtel by Wyndham. Microtel by Wyndham Batangas, a 2015 TripAdvisor® Travellers’ Choice awardee, is positioned neatly inside the First Philippine Industrial Park at Sto. Tomas, Batangas, which is home to dozens of industries and manufacturing plants. The hotel shares, in its own way, a conscious effort to stand out in the field of value hotels that offer international standard service and facilities. At Microtel by Wyndham Eagle Ridge, Cavite, you will find a “Golfer’s Paradise.” The hotel is right at the entrance of nearby Eagle Ridge Golf & Country Club, home to four world-class championship golf courses. Hit the green on courses designed by the likes of Isao Aoki, Andy Dye, Nick Faldo, and Greg Norman. Golfers are not the only guests that can enjoy a stay at Microtel by Wyndham Eagle Ridge. Their families can have a great time at the Eagle Ridge clubhouses where recreational facilities, such as billiards, bowling, basketball and swimming, are available. At the hotel, bikes are available for rent, enabling you to explore the expanse of the golf property.

Speaking of biking, Microtel by Wyndham South Forbes (near Nuvali) in Silang also rents out a colorful assortment of road bikes that guests can take around the winding concrete roads inside South Forbes Golf City, a 500-acre world-class township with residential, entertainment, academic, and sports components that encompass the Metro Sta. Rosa-SilangTagaytay growth corridor. Not to be outdone, Microtel by Wyndham South Forbes also has a nearby golf course: South Forbes Golf and Country Club. Only a few minutes away, the course was designed to test the skill of the most avid golfer. In the immediate area are beautiful clubhouses with gorgeous swimming pools such as the one at Chateaux de Paris, which hotel guests may access.

Book now! Call (02) 899 7171 or email reservations@microtel.ph. Visit our website at www.microtelphilippines.com. Follow us on Facebook at /MicrotelPhilippines, Instagram @microtelph, and Twitter @MicrotelPH. EXPER IENCE TR AV EL A ND LI V ING // Vol. 3 No. 2 // 2016



Experience Batangas for beginners

must-try Batangueño dishes A variety of meat dishes is this province’s most important contribution to Filipino cuisine By Dolly Dy-Zulueta Photos by Rafael R. Zulueta

Batangas adobo achuete to give it an orange hue.


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to go with fresh egg noodles. Diners like it because it contains a lot of ingredients. Aside from the usual boiled egg slices, it contains kikiam, maskara (pig face), meatballs and liver, and is topped with a sprinkling of crispy garlic. The roux used to thicken the broth is a combination of egg and cassava flour. It is so filling that it has become a favorite Batangueño merienda through the years, which explains why there are so many lomi eateries around the province.




atangas. It is the home of kapeng barako. It is also the home of lean and mean cattle that is turned into delicious, melt-in-the-mouth tender beef dishes. It is known for such distinct food, as bulalo, lomi and goto, which take advantage of the province’s bountiful beef supply. Drive down the major streets of Batangas, and you will surely find bulalohans and eateries specializing in lomi and goto lining the streets and enticing everyone to stop and enjoy the province’s unique delicacies. Its hearty cuisine is comfort food for many Filipinos, although it also offers a wide array of native delicacies such as tamales. For all the specialties that Batangas is truly proud of, there are five authentic Batangueño dishes that everyone must try when in the Southern Luzon province that makes up an important part of the CALABARZON region.


Distinctly Batangueño, bulalo is slow-cooked beef shanks boiled over low heat for long hours to bring out the natural flavors of the bone and make the meat so tender it literally falls off the (big!) bone. Its flavorful broth is much coveted, as it is boiled with aromatics, such as black pepper, garlic, onion and salt, as well as vegetables like sweet corn slices, cabbage and potatoes. Coveted, too, is its bone marrow, which diners fish out from the hollow part of the shank bones and relish along with the soup. It is not for the faint of heart, though, as the fatty treat is rich in cholesterol. So, go easy on the bulalo no matter how tempting it turns out to be.

Now this is different from the goto (or lugaw with tender ox tripe) that most of us know. Gotong Batangas has no rice; it is just broth with ox tripe and other internal organs of a cow. What it exactly contains are innards, ox tripe, intestines, skin and meat cooked by boiling over a low fire until the broth is perfectly savory. First-timers who order gotong Batangas in a local eatery will be surprised to find a goto cooked without rice. For diners who do not exactly relish the idea of eating beef innards with their broth, the gotong Batangas has a friendlier variation known as goto laman, which has cubes of beef with the broth instead of innards.


Unlike the regular lomi noodle dish, Batangas lomi has a delicately sweet and salty and rather thick soup

Gotong Batangas

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Experience Batangas for beginners


flattened bodies. When fried to a golden crisp, the really small ones can be eaten whole—head, body, tail and even bones. You will have to debone the slightly bigger ones as you eat Tawilis them, though. Fried tawilis is seasoned with salt, dredged with flour, and deepfried in hot oil most of the time, and TAWILIS is best eaten with a dip of vinegar Tawilis is a small, flavorful fish or a combination of soy sauce and that only thrives in Taal Lake. The calamansi. In place of daing, tocino, province boasts a bountiful supply of tapa, longganisa and danggit, fried freshly caught tawilis daily, and so it tawilis makes for an excellent has become a delicacy found on the breakfast in combination with egg and menu of most eateries and restaurants garlic rice. throughout the province. BATANGAS ADOBO In most markets, tawilis comes in Yes, every province in the two sizes—the really small ones that Philippines has its own version of are no longer than a finger’s length, adobo, that quintessential dish that and the slightly bigger ones with


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many consider to be the country’s national dish, and the Batangas version has got achuete (annatto seeds) to give it a nice orangey hue. In a recent Filipino food festival held at Pico de Loro, celebrity chef Myrna Segismundo drew inspiration from her Batangueña roots to whip up a delicious Batangas chicken and pork adobo with burong mangga. From inadobo, a cooking technique that stews chicken or pork or a combination of both meats in vinegar, comes the Batangas achuetelaced chicken and pork adobo with less soy sauce than the regular adobo that most diners in Metro Manila have come to know.

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Experience Batangas for beginners

A trip back

in time

The sleepy town of Taal was bustling with peninsular life during the Spanish colonial period Words by Joseph O. Cortes

The walls of the sala of the Villavicencio-Marella house are painted with a floral motif.


f you find yourself wandering into the town of Taal, Batangas one lazy weekend on a road trip down south, you might think this is just some sleepy town that time has forgotten. Except for a pilgrimage to the Church of Our Lady of Caysasay or to Taal Cathedral, there is not really much to do here. Its wonders are hidden within the centuries-old houses belonging to the town’s leading lights; you must find a way to get into those homes and hear the stories of la vida Batanggueña to give you a better appreciation of the place. For most people, the name Taal belongs to the lake and the volcano that is best viewed from Tagaytay Ridge. Very few associate it with a town that became rich from its coffee and sugar plantations during the end of the Spanish colonial era; the town was just as prosperous as Lipa, its fortunes rivaling those of many wealthy Lipeño families. In fact, there was no need for its residents to travel all the way to Manila—usually by boat from nearby Balayan Bay, a quicker and safer way than going by land—which was the center of commerce in the Philippines then. They just had to go to Lipa where most of the exclusive shops in Escolta had branches.


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Antique santos

This idea might be difficult to fathom now. The main shopping area in present-day Taal is the public market where you can buy longaniza and an assortment of embroidered fabric the town is known for. You need to find a local, a guide or a tour operator who will take you into the town’s heritage houses, all stunning examples of bahay na bato architecture, and hear the grand stories of the lives lived there during the turn of the century. Many of Taal’s wealthy families were supporters of the Philippine revolution. This detail might not be immediately apparent until you read up on the these families; pamphlets are readily available at most residences. At one of the homes of Gliceria Marella de Villavicencio—she had two, and they stand right beside each other, with a now long gone bridge that connected both homes spanning the wall separating the two properties—there is trapdoor at the end of the dining room where Katipuneros were said to have made a hasty escape when surprised by a visit by the Spanish. In her other home, known as the “gift house”—it was gifted to her by husband Eulalio Villavicencio on their wedding day— there is an azotea at the back that leads out to a huge backyard that is

planted with huge trees, offering the revolutionaries another opportunity for escape. The Villavicencio homes have been restored to their past glory by Gliceria’s great-grandchildren. They are examples of the period’s fascination with florid Victorian decor. In the first house, the walls are lined with canvas and painted on with trompe l’oeil architectural details, such as baseboards and moldings and iris patterns. The ceiling is covered with tin tiles, the rage then from Belgium, and imported from the United States. The items that made life during those times bearable are laid out in the house’s sala, as they would have been during the Spanish era. An upright piano is tucked away at the corner with portraits of family members arranged on the lid or hanging above it. An arpa stands beside the piano, now an artifact from the past. High chairs sit close by the window; in olden times, the house’s maidens sat there for ages watching the foot traffic outside their window, looking out for a swain they fancied. In the gift house, the layout is basically the same, except that here the walls are no longer lined with canvas. A pastoral scene decorates the ceiling in the sala, while the walls are given a similar treatment with laurel leaves and delicate blooms.

A collection of old photographs

Taal is known for its balisong

The imposing façade of Taal Basilica

Treasured statues of the Infant Jesus and saints are kept in display cabiets. EXPER IENCE TR AV EL A ND LI V ING // Vol. 3 No. 2 // 2016


Experience Batangas for beginners It is not until you wander into the bedrooms that you notice the lack of privacy in these homes. In both Villavicencio homes, a thin wall separates the main bedroom from the sala. To accommodate the growing family, additional bedrooms have been added, but doors, which connect one to another and into the living room, interconnect them. You look up over the doors and you notice a decorative air holes patterned after the town’s famed calado embroidery to let the air pass through—and to hear any ambient sound in the room next door. This same layout of interconnected rooms and a seeming lack of privacy could also be seen in the home of Don Gregorio Agoncillo, a renowned banker at the time and also a supporter of the Katipunan. The house is of wood and not the solid adobe blocks of the Villavicencio homes. However, this allowed the family to paint the house white— you will never miss this imposing landmark even from one kilometer away. In the Agoncillo house, rooms are also interconnected. The room of Maria Agoncillo, the daughter of Don Gregorio and wife of Emilio Aguinaldo—they eloped when Maria was in her 50s and Gen. Aguinaldo was in his 60s, hastily married at Malate Church at 4 a.m.—leads directly to the dining room, which in turn leads out to the house’s living room. When Don Gregorio’s family grew, the house acquired an annex. Behind Maria’s room, two more bedrooms were added, all dressed up in spare white, dressed with immaculate calado bed linens and decorated with altars decked with antique santos. In the children’s room, all china dolls are lined up on one wall. There is an eerie silence in the rooms as if they have not been lived in for a long time, as opposed to the welcoming openness in the Villavicencio homes, which is true. The Villavicencio great-grandchildren make the trip to Taal on weekends to enjoy the property; the Agoncillo home was boarded up again the moment we left it.


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The lives of Taal’s families are now cosigned to the footnotes of history. Casual travelers will not make much of it, but only after a visit to Taal’s heritage homes will you get an idea of how life was in a prosperous town during the end of Spanish colonial rule.

A four-poster bed that was standard in the homes of the wealthy

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Experience Batangas for beginners The Cathedral dive site in Anilao

Anilao’s underwater world This coastal town in Batangas is the closest playground for serious divers Words and Photos by Bernard L. Supetran


he Philippines is among the world’s top scuba diving havens, because of its location within the Coral Triangle, which is home to the most diverse concentration of the planet’s marine life. That is why it is no exaggeration when the video commercial of the Department of Tourism (DOT) proudly declared: “We have the most species in the least space of anywhere in the planet. Out of the earth’s 500 coral species, more than 400 are here.”


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With a coastline that extends almost infinitely and possessing of an awe-inspiring underwater playground, diving is a must-do in the archipelago. The nearest escape to the big city is the rustic town of Mabini in Batangas, more popularly known among divers as Anilao, a coastal barangay which serves as the entry point to Balayan Bay.


The area boasts around 48 validated dive sites, which embraces the neighboring barangays and the equally amazing island town of Tingloy across the bay. Anilao is home to the archipelago’s rare soft coral and boasts a wide diversity of coral, reef fish, bottom fish and pelagic fishes, as well as rare critters, which will surely delight underwater aficionados.

This photograph by A. Uichico won second in the Tourism Department’s Anilao photo competition (open class)

The jetty at Brgy. Bagalangit

Since not all its guests are divers, the resort has lined up an array of water activities, including an islandhopping tour to Maricaban Island, popularly known as Sepoc Beach Center, which has the longest sandy shores on Tingloy. The resort also offers glass bottom boats, so guests can marvel at the awe-inspiring coral gardens below. It Most of the dive spots here consist of coral slopes or also has kayak tours and offers snorkeling around the bay small drop-offs and shallow coral gardens among sandy that can be customized depending on the visitors’ needs. patches. The marine world abounds in small critters, like With the scores of dive resorts dotting Mabini’s shrimps, crabs, weedy and lacy scorpionfishes, gobies, and coastline, the town has become a culinary destination a variety of nudibranchs. making available an assortment of cuisines from all With its rich marine life, Anilao is acclaimed as the over the world—French, Italian, Spanish, American, world’s second top macro diving destination, sought after Mediterranean, Chinese, Japanese, Australian and by the world’s celebrated underwater photographers. Korean, to name a few. Of course, there is the signature Small wonder it was chosen by the DOT and the Batangas dish bulalo, which almost every other food Underwater Macro Photographers Group (UWMPG) to outlet offers, but with their own twist. be the regular venue for the annual Anilao Underwater Some food outlets go to extent of providing a full bar Photo Competition Festival. Last year’s event drew 122 to guest divers for a relaxing nightcap after an exhilarating underwater photographers from 15 countries, the highest plunge. turnout so far in the past three years. The expanse of the dive area has been declared a Marine Protected Area (MPA), and with the help of stakeholders, the growth in number of rare critters has been increasing dramatically. Among those taking the lead in this undertaking are the local Bantay Dagat, the Mabini Municipal Government, and Metro Pacific’s Shore It Up coral restoration program.


One of the staging points in exploring the area is Eagle Point Beach and Dive Resort, a pioneer that has become synonymous to diving itself when it blazed Anilao’s uncharted waters in the 1980s. So-called because of the eagles that nested in the nearby mountains, it is now an iconic establishment that offers the definitive Anilao experience.

Some of the culinary specials serves at Acacia Dive Resort

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Experience Batangas for beginners

Comfortable accommodations at Bontoc in Batangas Bed and Breakfast Other leisure options available in Anilao include kayaking and windsurfing


A unique and noteworthy hideaway is Bontoc in Batangas Bed and Breakfast, a cozy accommodation that seems to have been transplanted from the Cordillera mountain ranges with its upland tribal-themed architecture. Named after the capital town of Mountain Province, it is punctuated with carved anito wooden posts, red woven table runners, colorful glass bead curtains, and Igorotinspired designs that spill into the rooms. At the outdoor view deck and dining area, guests are treated to a soothing view of Balayan Bay and the peak known as Mt. Gulugod Baboy (Pig Spine). The resort can arrange treks to the scenic mountain, which offers an unobstructed view of the land masses of Batangas and Mindoro on the horizon. The climb to the peak is considered moderate and ideal for newbies. The menu at Bontoc in Batangas Bed and Breakfast is as fluid as the underwater currents, as it attempts to offer diverse fusion food combining influences from the Cordillera to our Asian neighbors. But at any given time, you can order a peppery dinakdakan (grilled pork), a staple delicacy in northern Luzon. It also boasts a splendid house reef just a few meters from the resort where the rare mandarinfish can be sighted late in the afternoon before dusk.


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In addition to diving, you might want to try your hand at windsurfing, another watersport that has found a refuge in Mabini for more than 30 years now. The area is the best destination for windsurfing because of the perfect combination of wind-strength and wave action in nearly all beaches. The breeze of the amihan, or the northeast monsoon, is predictable and varies from moderate to strong on most days. This has attracted windsurfing enthusiasts from all over the world to come here. In fact, the Philippine Windsurfing Association considers Anilao’s water to be its playground as it gears up for international tourneys. With a vast stretch of sleepy shores, the options for adventure in Anilao, both on the surface and underwater, is almost infinite, for it is indeed a wondrous waterworld.

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Experience Batangas for beginners


Our science classes told us that two-thirds of the earth is made up of water. Diving exposes you to the more exciting portion of the world, which only a fraction of the 5 billion-plus population is able to appreciate. The marine kingdom is among the world’s most diverse ecosystem, which scientists have yet to fully explore.

Are you ready to take the plunge?


Having said that, divers are a class of their own, because of the rigid training one undergoes to receive international certification. Any person can be a runner, biker, golfer or mountaineer, but not all can be a scuba diver. Add to this the costly certification that is processed Diving is not just a sport or hobby, but a way of life abroad (at least P15,000 for a threeday course), and the succeeding dives Words by Bernard Supetran // Photo by Leonard G. / Wikipedia at out-of-town destinations (around P1,200 per dive). This is not to say f you can breathe, you can dive. it is at the surface, because of that divers are a cut above the rest, This is the reassuring slogan you buoyancy. Therefore, it is not will see in almost all dive centers impossible for non-swimmers to learn but they surely bear a certain badge of prestige. around the world, or what the how to dive before they learn how to dive instructor will tell you before swim. But just like any extreme sport, DIVING BRINGS OUT your first foray underwater. Scuba you need a great deal of confidence as THE EARTH WARRIOR diving is easier than you think. But diving is a mind game. IN YOU just like any other sport, it takes a DIVING IS A SUPERB Once you are into the sport, good amount of training, dedication, your concern for the environment and practice. EXERCISE is kindled, and you automatically Here are some pointers for diving Diving is an excellent full body become an advocate for Mother beginners, if only to help you conquer workout, which pushes your lower Nature. The marine world is such an fear of the water. half, toning your abdominals, thighs, amazing dimension, and you would and calves. You might not notice it, DIVING AND want it to be preserved. It would pain but divers perspire as they kick their SWIMMING ARE TWO way beneath the surface, burning you to see non-biodegradable waste, around 500 to 700 calories per hour. plastic, bottle and rubbish on the DIFFERENT THINGS seabed that you would want to clean Add to this the effort of carrying The greatest misconception that them up. your oxygen tank, climbing into the discourages people to try diving is their inability to swim. While knowing boat, and kicking on the surface. The So, what are you waiting for? Don beautiful thing here is you enjoy the how to swim is helpful, it is not a the mask, put on the scuba gear, and workout with a visual treat, minus the prerequisite to enjoy diving. Human plunge into the deep. boring gym routine. kinetics is different underwater than



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EXPER IENCE TR AV EL A ND LI V ING // Vol. 3 No. 2 // 2016


Experience Batangas for beginners

A breath of cool air Taal Vista Hotel in Tagaytay City is a popular retreat for those seeking a respite from hot summer days Text by Ruth Manimtim-Floresca Photos by Nonoy B. Floresca


very time the weather gets unbearably hot in Metro Manila, only two cities come to mind: Baguio and Tagaytay. Both are well known for their cool weather, and are popular destinations for those who want to get away from Manila’s heat. Going to Baguio, however, takes a lot of planning because it is several hours’ drive away. Tagaytay, on the other hand, can easily be reached in less than 90 minutes from Alabang via the South Luzon Expressway and Santa Rosa-Tagaytay Road. Aside from the cool air, Tagaytay is famous for Taal Lake where you can find what is described as a volcano within a lake within a volcano within another lake. Mind-boggling, huh? Taal Volcano can be seen easily while you are passing through the Emilio Aguinaldo Highway, but it is better appreciated at Taal Vista Hotel.


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Taal Vista Hotel’s history dates back to 1939

The best view of Taal Volcano can be seen from the hotel’s view deck

The hotel’s Taza Fresh Table sources most of its ingredients from local suppliers.

pictures taken in many of the beautiful places inside and outside the hotel. We loved the expansive View Deck with its manicured lawns dotted with benches and trees that provide shade. I should not forget to mention the free and fast Wi-Fi that enabled me to easily upload photos online.



Taal Vista Hotel has a very colorful history. It was Commonwealth President Manuel L. Quezon who expressed interest in developing Tagaytay as a tourist destination, and suggested that Manila Hotel build a lodge and golf course in the area. Formerly called Taal Vista Lodge when it was constructed in 1939, the place became an officers’ quarters for the Japanese during World War II. It was there on Tagaytay Ridge where US Army officers parachuted in 1945 when they arrived to assist in liberating Manila. After the war, Tagaytay was soon promoted as a major tourist destination, with the lodge as one of its leading attractions. According to stories, a certain hotel guest would often stay there and choose a particular spot from which to dream. That young man was Henry Sy, now the tycoon behind SM Investments Corporation, which would later acquire the property. In 2002, Taal Vista Hotel was renovated to resemble the original lodge with extensions added to provide more facilities for both business and leisure activities. Two years later, it opened its doors once more to welcome guests looking for, literally and figuratively, a cool place to unwind.

What we also sincerely appreciated at the hotel was the food at Taza Fresh Table. This restaurant’s name was derived from taaza, an Arabic word that means fresh. I love its tagline: “Sustainable. Single origin. Straight to your plate.” Chef Jayme Natividad shared that while they offer innovative international cuisine, they use highquality ingredients meticulously sourced from local suppliers. Thus, GREAT AMENITIES, it is good to know that they are IDEAL LOCATION committed in ensuring they come up Travelers who want to experience with dishes that showcase organic, what Tagaytay has to offer would love single-origin, and sustainable staying here. It is accessible to a lot of ingredients on every plate they serve. It was Chef Jayme who told us attractions and activity areas, such as Sky Ranch that is practically next- that Wagyu cattle are now being successfully raised in the Philippines, door, the popular Mushroom Burger and that the restaurant sources these just a few minutes’ walk away, and tender and intensely marbled beef Casino Filipino across the street, from Bukidnon. Also, the pork and among others. chicken used in their dishes were With more than 200 rooms raised with natural feeds, without available, guests may choose to stay hormones and antibiotics. I think that at the Lake Wing, with windows and is why our dinner was flavorful. balconies facing either Taal Lake, Another interesting tidbit is Sky Ranch, Aguinaldo Highway, or the hotel courtyard, or the Mountain that they use artisanal cheeses from Wing, with partial views of Taal Lake Malagos Farms in Davao, while and Tagaytay Ridge. dairy products, such as fresh milk The numbers and sizes of beds, as and kesong puti, come from nearby well as the sizes of the rooms, vary to Laguna. They also serve black rice suit guests’ needs. My family stayed grown on the rich soil of Mount in premier deluxe queen rooms with Kanlaon in Negros, and use tablea double and single beds each. from Alfonso, Cavite’s cacao trees to One of the best features of our create chocolate-based desserts. room is the balcony with its Photo opportunities, comfortable unobstructed view of Taal Lake and amenities, a spectacular view of the Taal Volcano. It was breathtaking to outdoors, and great food aside, our behold the beautiful scenery stay at Taal Vista Hotel would not surrounding the hotel, which have been as wonderful without the undoubtedly proved how apt the friendly and helpful staff members name Taal Vista is. If the wind were who were always ready to answer our not blowing so coldly, we probably questions with a smile. Frankly, this would have stayed on the balcony for is one of those places I can genuinely hours. consider a home away from home. Needless to say, almost every Taal Vista Hotel is at Kilometer corner of Taal Vista is a great spot for 60, Aguinaldo Highway, Tagaytay photo opportunities. My family City, Cavite. For inquiries, email grabbed the chance to have our reservations@taalvistahotel.com. EXPER IENCE TR AV EL A ND LI V ING // Vol. 3 No. 2 // 2016


Experience Batangas for beginners Discovery Country Suites offers only seven suites for the utmost in pampering.

In the lap of luxury Discovery Country Suites in Tagaytay offers not just bed-andbreakfast, but also personalized service Text by Reggie Rullan and Vince Borromeo Photos by Gabrielle Borromeo


t is hard to pin down the exact inspiration behind the look of Discovery Country Suites. This luxe hideaway in Tagaytay feels homey yet modern, too. The ambience of the surroundings—the cool weather, the greenery, the fantastic view of Taal Lake outside—are combined with modern conveniences that today’s travelers expect from any hotel. Its seven suites are suffused with light and warmth that nourishes tired souls needing a restorative from the city’s frenetic pace. Even the location of the outdoor Jacuzzi has been carefully planned according to the way the breeze swirls through the


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The hotel’s Jacuzzi is strategically positioned to shield guests from strong winds.

garden and sunlight falls over it. Such treat, there is a tray of tropical attention to detail sets the seal to the fruits, a wine and cheese platter, and design architect Isabel Berenguer pineapple mint shake served in mason Asuncion made for the property. jars. ALL SUITES DCS resident manager Rhea Discovery Country Suites takes Castro-Sycip personally welcomes pride in its personalized service. guests as they walk in through the Details that a guest provides upon door. A pastry chef at heart and by reservation are taken note of. training, she runs the hotel the same Returning guests are even treated way she keeps her house. Guest to pillowcases that are embroidered preferences are strictly observed. If a with their names, as well as a bedside guest has a special request, as long as frame with their photo. As a welcome the kitchen has the ingredients,

Most suites come with a fireplace.

she can make it for them. Dietary restrictions are also strongly followed. The hotel only has suites, and they epitomize the pampering on offer. Oxford is the roomiest at 67 square meters; true to its name, it has an English feel to it. Details include a queen-sized bed, overhanging beams, window-frame headboards, a fireplace and a stunning view of Taal Lake. Nantucket is inspired by Cape Cod, and the look follows a nautical feel with its seashell décor and frames of sailboats and lighthouses. Smaller suites include Nara, a Japanese inspired room with tatami mats, geisha dolls, and paper lanterns; Siam, with its red headboard and subtle touches of Thailand; and Ceylon, with its sculptures of elephants, metal vases, and framed metal works.

and duck fat biscuits. If you hanker for something traditional, the selection includes chicken pork adobo, fried marinated bangus belly, and Lucban longaniza. Breakfast is the best time to enjoy the delights the hotel has to offer. The verandah of Verbena Restaurant is shrouded by mist early in the morning. As the sun rises, the sight of Taal Volcano can be seen clearly from the distance as you enjoy your cup of coffee. The rooms beckon you to be lazy just for this day. The soft down feather comforter and fluffy pillows relax the mind and body as you contemplate the view outside. All

Discreet artwork and décor add a touch of class to rooms.

rooms are fitted with double glazed windows and glass doors to keep extraneous noise out of the suites. While the stunning lakeview and the tony apartments are good enough reasons to plan a getaway here, the food is also a big draw. The meals are worthy of a daytrip. When we visited, the spread was simply profuse. Salad choices included arugula and goat cheese with raspberry vinaigrette, and tender fried shrimp with citrus vinaigrette. To warm up from the cool weather, soup was a veloute of corn with smoked pork belly chunks.


True to its appellation as a bed and breakfast place, Discovery Country Suites does offer an all-day breakfast menu that comes with a buffet of assorted fruits, juices, bread and cereals. You can opt for international choices such as the breakfast steak of US beef short plate with Tagaytay greens and caramelized onions, waffles, pancakes, French toast, or omelet with your choice of fillings. A classic that never fails to satisfy are eggs Benedict, served with honey ham and organic arugula, with sautéed fresh shiitake mushrooms

Breakfast steak of US beef short plate with Tagaytay greens EXPER IENCE TR AV EL A ND LI V ING // Vol. 3 No. 2 // 2016


Experience Batangas for beginners

Arroz Loco

Mango Panna Cotta Red Velvet Naked Cake

Lechon Roll


As part of Discovery Country Suites’ advocacy, it uses heirloom rice in its bestsellers. All orders of risotto are made with Tinawon rice, a short grain rice variety from the Cordilleras. It has the same quality as Arborio rice, which is the choice for Italian risottos. In the duck confit risotto, it gave the dish a rich, creamy texture, while in the risotto of octopus ink with Chilean sea bass, mussels and prawn, it complemented the recipe’s savory flavor. The Arroz Loco takes its cue from paella; here, Tinawon rice is made rich with an abundance of Manila clams, herb baked oysters, Lucban longaniza, grilled chicken thigh, prawns, crispy pork belly, quail eggs, quezo de bola shavings, green olives, croutons and chicharon. Those who must have their meat will delight in the beef salpicao that uses choice US beef cut. Sous chef Adrian Liberato says the secret is in the balsamic reduction that gives this favorite an extra boost of flavor. There is also the baked marinated pork belly that takes its cue from the now popular Cebuano bellychon; it is served with dipping sauces of liver, spicy coconut vinegar and flavored soya.


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Make sure to save space for dessert. Choices include homemade sweets such as salted maple pecan bars, brownie pops, hummingbird cupcake, quezo de bola cheesecake, mango panna cotta, strawberry shortcake and naked red velvet cake. Most cakes may also be ordered in advance for those who want to bring home to Manila a taste of these sinful sweets. Of course, you do not just rush home to Manila at the end of your stay. It is best to have a snack to keep you filled up till you reach the metro for dinner. Recommendations for merienda include the country club sandwich, which consists of layers of country ham, aged cheddar and chicken salad, and a flatbread topped with sundried tomatoes, chorizo slices and shrimp on a sweet and tangy crushed tomato sauce. It is a comforting thought that Tagaytay is but an hour’s drive away from the city, quick enough to rush back to for much needed rejuvenation from a hectic workweek.

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A healthier alternative Good health is within reach as Dr. Cris Enriquez of Rapha Health Institute helps you reverse any disease and stay healthy Words by Mitch M. Arceo


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ealth is wealth, so they say, and no one can argue with this statement. When your body is healthy, you are as well-off as the richest person alive. When you are unhealthy, you are the poorest of all. At Rapha Health Institute, gaining back a patient’s health is top priority. It promotes alternative methods that reverse ailments to ultimately change the lives of its patients. Rapha Health Institute was founded more than 20 years ago in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida by cardiologist Dr. Cris Enriquez. He was a practitioner of orthodox medicine, even specializing in four different fields, including cardiology. However, he developed a heart problem during his practice in the United States, and this prompted him to undergo a bypass surgery. “During my healing time, it was very difficult and painful for me. I could not even fall asleep flat on my back. I did not want another surgery, and orthodox medicine did not have anything else to offer me. So, I started looking around. After attending seminars, Rapha was born. Since then, I have integrated my practice with alternative medicine,” relates Enriquez. Rapha Health Institute treats people with conditions, such as heart problems, diabetes, and cancer, among others. It offers non-invasive treatments and programs that are suitable for patients. It also limits the use of drugs in its programs. “I am against the abuse of drugs,” says the Rapha founder. “We only use drugs when there is an infection, because we want to kill the germs right away. Other than that, we can reverse all kinds of diseases, like diabetes, hypertension, and cancer. We can prevent diseases, too. But when the person is already sick, we can reverse the disease without using drugs. It is a mixture of prevention, changing the lifestyle of people, and reversal of diseases.”


The success of the first clinic led to the opening of other branches in the US and other countries. In 2010, Rapha Health Institute opened its first branch in the Philippines. Located at Greenbelt 5 in Makati City, the institute continues to gain attention from people from all walks of life. Other branches soon opened in Quezon City, Antipolo, and Batangas City, while a branch in Tagaytay City is set to open by September this year. However, the company’s growth does not stop there as they plan to build 153 more clinics nationwide. Enriquez notes that prevention seems to be low on the list of priorities in the country. He says most Filipinos go to the doctor only when they are already sick. Among his patients, most suffer from heart problems and diabetes. The doctor adds that the top cause of death in our country is heart attack, while the high number of diabetics has made the Philippines the diabetes capital of Asia. But he says that there is no need to worry as these are very easy to treat as long as patients follow their program. “We are very aggressive in preventing heart attacks. For those with heart problems, we give them chelox, a combination of chelation, hydrogen peroxide and vitamins. The chelation therapy cleans up all the junk in the blood vessels and makes it

more elastic, so blood can flow easily and you do not develop heart attack or stroke,” he says. Patients are given hydrogen peroxide intravenously, and when they return, they get three successive chelation therapies. The fifth treatment is solely of vitamins. Those with heart diseases need to undergo 40 treatments, between one to three times weekly. To treat diabetes, Rapha Health Institute modifies a patient’s lifestyle, especially his diet. “A lot of people tend to overeat when they are hungry, so we tell them to eat protein first before eating something else. This way, they will not get hungry easily,” he says. Diabetics are not allowed to eat high glycemic index food, like white rice, white bread, white pasta, and white potato. He recommends black rice for diabetics, stressing that is the best choice when it comes to rice. It is generally believed that eggs should not be eaten often and in large amounts because of fear of raising the level of cholesterol in the blood. However, Enriquez negates this and says that you can eat as many eggs as you want, though it is advisable to eat it every other day. He says that eggs have cholesterol, but also contain a substance that prevents cholesterol from being absorbed in the body. “You can eat as many eggs as you can, but if you eat it every day for a

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hormones, the body develops all kinds of health problems, especially inflammation, which is the common denominator of all diseases.


long time, you may develop food sensitivity, which means that your immune system will be affected by it, and may cause other problems, but not heart attack,” he recommends. Stress is also a problem in many patients, and it can also be solved at Rapha Health Institute through an intravenous injection that contains a safe concoction that reduces stress.


Apart from all these common conditions and diseases, there is one that Rapha Health Institute focuses on: hormone deficiency in men and women. At the age of 35, both men and women suffer from hormone deficiency, and many often ignore its symptoms. “A lot of things are due to hormonal problems. In women, they


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get symptoms of menopause, such as night sweats, hot flashes, insomnia, mood swings, no desire for sex, and more. Menopausal women often go to a doctor and receive synthetic hormones. Though effective, these come from the urine of pregnant mares or horses, and later, causes increased incidence of heart attack, stroke, breast cancer, and cervical cancer,” Enriquez explains. Rapha Health Institute offers FDA-approved bio-identical hormones as an alternative. Bioidentical hormones are plant-based. Their molecular makeup is the same as what the body produces. “It is very effective, and shows no side effects, no increase in the chance of suffering from a heart attack, or developing cancer, breast cancer or other diseases,” he assures. When you are deficient in

Rapha Health Institute aims to educate its patients and guide them to lead healthier lives, whatever their status in life is. “We accommodate people from all walks of life, from those who do not have too much money to the richest person in the Philippines. I want everybody to have the same opportunity as everybody,” Enriquez explains. His patients come from as far as Basilan, Davao, Iloilo, Bacolod, Ilocos, Pangasinan, Cebu, Agusan, Cagayan De Oro and Zamboanga, and even from foreign cities and countries like the United States from Hawaii, San Francisco to North Carolina, Florida, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia, Guam, Saudi Arabia, Dubai, and other Middle Eastern countries and London, Austria, France, Switzerland, and many others. The founder’s vision for Rapha Health Institute is to open more clinics and lower the prices so that everybody can afford the treatments. To achieve this, he is now producing some of his products here and importing less from the US. Once all their products are manufactured here, more people will be able to have access to this alternative medicine that could make a great impact in their lives. Rapha Health Institute is located at Level 4, Greenbelt 5, Ayala, Makati. The clinic is open Monday to Friday, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and on Saturday, from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. For inquiries, call (632) 757-3335 or email info@raphahealth.ph.

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(Photo by Ryan Marifosque)

From highlands to islands 70

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The Philippines is a country blessed with a diversity of vistas: from beaches and coves, lakeshores and riverbanks, to plains hills, mountains and valleys. No matter where you cast your gaze, scenery, often unspoiled, catches your attention. While attention is focused mostly on seaside destinations, with its white sand, turquoise waters, and abundant marine life, there is much to see inwards. With the country’s archipelagic nature, the emerald islands that dot its seas are blessed with enough thrills to satisfy the fancy of travelers: beaches and mountain peaks, busy cities and sleepy towns, and everything in between. Here are some destinations that showcase the variety of sights that are on offer.

A gem of an island You can see forever on Catanduanes as it faces the endless sight of the Pacific Ocean

Words by Pablo A. Tariman

Maribina Falls (Photo by Bernard Supetran)

wide, seemingly endless span of the Pacific Ocean in all its natural glory.


On a clear day on the island, you can see forever. Looking at its location on the map, you can confirm that it is the country’s 12th largest island with more islets and rock formations surrounding the mainland. Over at the north near Viga and Panganiban towns, a string of islets around Panay Island is a must for Historic Bato Church. (Photo by Mel Cortez) visitors. “If you try, you'll find me On the other side fronting Where the sky meets the sea. Caramoran town, there is a new Here am I your special island, tourism destination called the Come to me, come to me…" — Palumbanes Island, which has “Bali Hai,” from South Pacific nothing to fear from the lures of A stirring song number from Batanes or the now very popular “South Pacific” best describes the Caramoan islands of nearby island province of Catanduanes in the Camarines Sur. But the island’s Bicol region. glorious appeal is its natural beauty, Like the island called Bali Hai still unspoiled by the tourism boom. in the popular Broadway musical, Less than an hour away via Cebu Catanduanes is a special island where, Pacific—flights are limited to Monday, indeed, the indigo sky meets a wide Wednesday, Friday and Sunday—and expanse of the wide blue sea. From a good 15 combined hours by bus and the now popular Balacay Highland boat from Manila, the island beckons Point in Baras town, you can see the to visitors sure of its natural charm

and unapologetic over what it has and does not have. A weekend adventure is highly recommended for the visitor with an eye for the unspoiled. Flying in on an early Friday morning—the plane leaves Manila at 5:45 a.m.—you can check in at Marem Pension House from the airport in Virac and have a choice of inexpensive package tours. Other recommended accommodations are those offered by Catanduanes Midtown Hotel and Kemji Resort, among others.


For a glimpse of the island’s past, you can start your tour with a visit to Museo de Catanduanes in the capital town. If you do not know it yet, the island is the home province of the Veras of Pandan who founded the Vera-Perez film outfit, also known as Sampaguita Pictures. On exhibit are the window panels dating back to 1895 from the ancestral house of Don Ariston Sarmiento, including his antique typewriter belonging to the same era; a 1914 baul donated by Maria Magno; old photos, like the 1928 wedding of Jose Surban and EXPER IENCE TR AV EL A ND LI V ING // Vol. 3 No. 2 // 2016


Experience travel lite

Sunrise at Puraran Beach in Baras, Catanduanes (Photo: Karen Capino)


Carmen Arcilla of Calolbon (now San Andres town), along with the 1938 Ballesteros-Santelices nuptials. Clearly reflected in those photos is the lifestyle of the island's middle class. The gentlemen were in white suits, while the ladies looked like characters out of The Great Gatsby. This must have been the era when the island was a virtual rainforest, when deer roamed the island and the houses of the middle class families, notably the Sarmientos and the


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You can then head to Balacay Highland Point in Baras town and get an unimpeded view of the Pacific Ocean. Alcalas, reverberated with the music Clearly, this new tourist of Bach and Beethoven. destination is the heart and soul of After an hour or so at the the island. From atop this glorious museum, you can move on to Bato hill, you see the wide, seemingly town where the glory of Bato Church borderless expanse of the Pacific awaits you. After crossing the Bato Ocean and get a glimpse of islets River, the St. John the Baptist Church and more rock formations along the greets you with its stone facade coastal areas. reeking of its historic past. It was built From this hill, you can go down in 1830 and finished in 1883, with to nearby Puraran Beach Resort, and local islanders figuring in the then this is where you can try surfing under prevalent practice of polo, or forced the watchful eye of local instructors. labor. If adventure is your cup of tea, you

A view of the Pacific Ocean at Binurong Point in Baras, Catanduanes. (Photo by Ferdie Benavidez A viewOcol) of the Pacific Ocean at Binurong Point in Baras, Catanduanes. (Photo: Ferdie Benavidez Ocol)

can drive to nearby barrio of Guinsaanan, also in Baras town, walk for half an hour, and experience the beauty of Binurong Point with more stunning views of the sea and assorted rock formations. As it is, some islanders wanted to keep what was left of the island’s natural and cultural heritage.


A new tourism watchdog called Tropang Turismo is all set to discover new tourist destinations on the island-province. Moreover, its head, Ferdie Benavidez Ocol, and his fellow island photographers document not just the newly discovered tourist spots, but the remaining bird species in the island. He said there is still what he calls the “little Mindanao” in

Viga town, and in one sojourn, he replayed recordings of bird sounds. To our surprise, the live birds in the area responded. For now, preserving what is left of the island’s pristine beauty is the priority of Tropang Turismo which guards against invaders who can destroy the island’s natural attractions.


The late island poet Jose Tablizo sums up the old Catanduanes before the advent of cell phones and internet cafes: “There are many things we do not have— A few things we do have. We have no hustling, wide, cement boulevards

Puraran Beach at dusk (Photo by Karen Capino)

With glittering streetlights; no sinful women On the boulevard under the street lights, We have no traffic jams, no ticket fixers, We have lazy narrow roads—and lazier streams. We have devastating typhoons and generous seas. For what we do not have, we are proud: For what we do have, we are humble.” EXPER IENCE TR AV EL A ND LI V ING // Vol. 3 No. 2 // 2016



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Experience travel lite

Ranches and islands It might be off the beaten track, but San Pascual town in Masbate has wonders to delight travelers

Words and Photos by Ma. Glaiza Lee


he booming sound of galloping horses woke us from our deep slumber. Peeking out the window, we saw the animals trotting down towards the quaint town plaza of San Pascual in Masbate, which was located just in front of the inn we were staying; serene, picturesque Burias Pass was on the foreground. Riding on the horses’ backs were cowboys who donned long-sleeved button-down checkered tops, complete with roper-style boots and felt hats. With just a light pressure on the reins, the horses followed their riders' subtle command and settled down at town plaza. Noticeable were the short belts with loops hanging from a long wire tied around two posts.

The cowboys were sizing up their fellow riders. Feeling the palpable anticipation and excitement, the masculine beasts whinnied and neighed. There was no denying the competitiveness in the air. They were ready to do battle in the Carrera de Cintas, one of the exciting activities during the Isla Rancho Festival. As soon as the signal came, the cowboys on horseback rode with the wind and scampered on, trying to capture as many belts as they could, while maintaining their balance. Maneuvering the horses while trying to put a peg through the loops is not an easy feat, but the horsemanship was quite evident. The experience and skill learned from working in ranches came in handy.

The curtain wall of sandstone in Animasola Island EXPER IENCE TR AV EL A ND LI V ING // Vol. 3 No. 2 // 2016


Experience travel lite THE ISLAND OF RANCHEROS

Horses and cattle are ordinary sights in San Pascual town. They are part of the daily grind. Masbate Province, where the town of San Pascual is located, is known as the Cattle Capital of the Philippines and, subsequently, Home of Philippine Rodeo. The rolling, lush terrain and cool weather are simply perfect for the livestock industry, which plays a huge role in the economy of the province. Among the Bicol provinces, Masbate has the largest increase in cattle production per year, about 3,790 heads. In San Pascual alone, there are about 15 ranches of varying land sizes; the cattle ranches took up about a third of the town's total land area. The smallest has about 100 hectares, with a herd of approximately 100 cattle. History has it that the cattle industry here dates back to the 16th century, when the galleon trade was still thriving. The animals were imported from Mexico and brought to the country via the Manila-Acapulco route. During that time, the islandtown became the sanctuary of Spanish forces against the Dutch and Moro pirates. When we visited San Pascual recently, we saw some real cowboys in action. At the Gois Ranch, located at Sitio Landing in Brgy. Bolod, the cows were frenetically running around the corral. At the center of the spectacle was a cowboy, tossing a lasso in the air. Like a predator waiting for his prey, the man took his time before throwing the lasso towards the herd of cows. With a sweeping move, it captured a bull by its neck. The beast struggled to escape, but the cowboy grappled with the bull with all his might until the animal stumbled to the ground. With a quick movement, the man was able to securely tie its legs with a rope. While some may find the rodeo cruel, the ranchers do not think that way. The skill they demonstrated on the rodeo was the same action they used every day to handle the cattle in the ranch. They find the competition as a way to improve their ranching skills. This is, after all, their way of life.


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A local cowboy

Herding cattle at Gois Ranch

Boats with colorful sails compete in the Bangkarera

Fishermen fix their net at the end of the day.

The local hangout overlooks Burias Pass


Aside from ranch way of life, the people of San Pascual live off the bounty of the sea. Occupying the northernmost tip of the Burias Island (one of the three main islands of Masbate), San Pascual town is home to breathtaking islets, pristine white-sand beaches and sandbars. Situated in Burias Pass, the town has enjoyed bountiful harvest throughout the years. During the Isla Rancho Festival, the fishermen's boating skills are put to the test in the Bangkarera, a portmanteau of bangka and karera. Just as the name suggests, the boatmen race against each other on a sibid, a manually propelled banca, towards a designated point and return back to the starting line. The first to reach the finish line wins. The game seems fairly simple, but manually propelling the boat using just a paddle takes lots of strength and stamina. At some point, the wind blows opposite the direction where they are headed, which proves to counter their sails. But the boatmen are up to the challenge. The stake is high—a muchneeded boat engine. It is a tight race between competitors, until one emerges the winner.

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Experience travel lite

A boat is anchored at Tinalisayan Island Boats are moored at the landing at San Pascual town.


Let's face it. San Pascual, or Masbate, in general, has never been in anyone's bucket list. We have heard about Masbate, but it is not a place we think of when we say summer vacation. But this is certainly a notion that needs to be corrected. This fascinating town (and province) has lots to offer: panoramic islets, unspoiled white-sand beaches, untouched caves, and historical sites, among others. What did we find fascinating about the island town? Each islet has different features. If these islets were real persons, they would have different personalities. Take, for example, Animasola Island. Coral fragments cover the entire island, but what draws people here are its spectacular towering rock formations and cliffs. A stunning wall of sandstone stretches along its coast. At one end of island are towering boulders, naturally embellished with horizontal lines in different shades— definitely, a masterpiece by Mother Earth. Not to be missed is Tinalisayan Island. It is characterized by rust-colored cliffs and boulders, and a white-sand beach. A plateau carpeted with a bed of amor seco overlooks the long strip of stunning white sandbar. A few nautical miles away is Sombrero Island, named after a rock formation that resembles a hat. Here, one can spend a night or two in cottages that are available for rent. Take a relaxing dip at Busing Island, which is known for its long and winding white-sand coastline. But if you are a bit adventurous, head on to Dapa Island, also known as Snake Island. Unlike other similarly named islands in the Philippines, this does not take its name after the shape of the animal, but rather it is really home to sea snakes.


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Aboard a tiny fishing boat, cruise along Mapanique River. Along its banks, one can find hundreds of large fruit-eating bats, dangling from the branches of calumpang trees. The river has a rich biodiversity. Occasionally, we would see wild ducks flapping their wings, colorful birds perched on tree branches, and small fishes swimming beside the boat before disappearing into the deep water. Another interesting sight is Balinsasayaw House, where about 80,000 balinsasayaws, or swiftlets, live harmoniously with people. Eddie Espares, who owns the house, shared that when they started constructing it in 1991, a pair of balinsasayaws took refuge in their basement. Soon, the number of birds in their basement started to grow. The cave-like temperature below seems to draw the birds to their house.

While most people see gold from the swiftlet's nest, considered a rare and expensive delicacy in Chinese cooking, Espares and his family take care not to disturb them. At first, they took the whole nest and sold them. Eventually, they found a more convenient way: they just cut portions of the nest where the saliva is most concentrated. This way, the birds still have a place to lay their eggs and rest. There are more destinations in Masbate, including century-old houses, untouched caves, historical churches, and a mangrove plantation where tourists can plant seedlings. True, reaching San Pascual may be challenging—it is best to board a Naga-bound flight, then head to Pasacao Port via a two-hour boat ride—and its tourism infrastructures need to be improved, but its gorgeous natural wonders make the journey worth it.

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Experience travel lite A cave waterfall along the Marikina River flows around Hapunang Banoi and the rest of the four mountains in the area

Going up where eagles nest Mt. Hapunang Banoi in Rodriguez, Rizal is the first of five peaks that offer maximum thrills for hikers

Words and Photos by Stephanie Tumampos 80

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The journey starts at the registration office in Brgy. Wawa, Rodriguez, Rizal. There we are briefed about regulations while going up the mountain. After paying the necessary fees, we are assigned a guide: on this trip, we meet Allan. While the climb up the Sierra Madre is considered to be intermediate in terms of difficulty, the terrain is harsh even for veterans, because half the climb would be on sharp rocks. It is not as dangerous as you think it is, but with the proper attire and with the help of an experienced guide, you will find yourself enjoying the fresh air up there in no time at all. The first peak is Mt. Hapunang Banoi, which is 460 meters high. It is conjoined by Mt. Pamitinan, which is less difficult to climb by only a notch. The Tagalog word banoi literally means eagle, while “hapunan” refers to dinner; however, Allan explained hapunan also means the place where birds rest at the end of the day, or a dapuan. The truth is because of human disruptions, eagles can rarely be seen in the area. The bridge across Marikina River, the start of the trek to Mt. Hapunang Banoi

The view of Mt. Hapunang Banoi from its twin mountain, Mt. Pamitinan.


hen the weekend comes and the heart hungers for a bit of a challenge, a hike up the mountains is the happy pill that cheers me up. The Sierra Madre mountain range gives you a chance to conquer its peaks and reward you with the awesome splendor of Mother Nature before you, a contrast from the blight of the concrete jungle that surrounds you every day. If you have not given away your hiking shoes yet, this is the opportunity to use them one last time before you retire them from your wardrobe. The climb up the mountaintop takes you to the aerie where the king of the skies rests his wings before roaming around his abode, asserting his right over his domain. EXPER IENCE TR AV EL A ND LI V ING // Vol. 3 No. 2 // 2016


Experience travel lite

The jagged rock face of Mt. Hapunang Banoi shows you need gloves to reach its summit.

A couple spend quiet time by the Marikina River

One of the summits of Mt. Hapunang Banoi that offers a great shot to take home and share with friends


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Another summit to conquer atop Mt. Hapunang Banoi, with the seemingly endless Sierra Madre mountain range in the background


The approach to the junction where hikers can take a break before continuing their final assault to the top is quite steep, despite the tilled stairs carved out of the ground. We constantly stopped in several occasions to catch our breaths, as the way up was a challenging one; beginners might find this ascent twice as hard as experienced climbers. Professionals up for a challenge can also opt to climb the mountain’s rocky face if they brought ropes and carabiners. Surprisingly, you can have a simple halohalo to refresh yourself at the junction. Then, it was time to put on our gloves as sharp rocks lie in the oncoming part of the climb.


It would take you about two hours to reach the first summit. With the view it offers, you can start taking selfies or, better yet, ask your guide to take photos of you. They actually know the best spots and poses at each summit. The next summits provide a better backdrop as the environment turns green with thickets of bamboo. They stretch endlessly across the horizon. The final peak will leave you speechless as you are surrounded by limestone formations. You start marveling at how these land masses were carved by thousands of years of exposure to the element. The sight will leave you speechless. More than that, you can finally give yourself a pat on the back for making it this far.


Of course, the descent back to the junction is now easier. If you are up for a further challenge, you can continue on to Mt. Pamitinan from the junction. Allan said there are caves there where Bonifacio held meetings with members of the Katipunan; hence, the meaning of the mountain’s name. You will need just an extra hour to reach its peak, but all this will depend on your pace. Your knees might shake, your hands might get tired, and your grip might loosen at some point. The fear of falling is inevitable, and you might even earn your first battle scar on this ascent, but you just have to trust your own strength and ask for your guide’s help when you need it. You can ask your mountaineering colleagues to stop and rest, but the only secret to reaching your goal to the top is to keep on going. The old saying says it perfectly: “Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.”

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Experience travel lite

On the Parrot’s Beak Mt. Pico de Loro in Maragondon, Cavite is the nearest place to commune with nature

Words by Eunice Rodriguez

The Monolith, as seen during a summer climb. The grass on the rock column during this climb was browned by the sun. (Photo by Ryan Marifosque)


traddling the boundary of Cavite and Batangas is a mountain that Spanish conquistadors aboard their galleons saw as resembling a parrot’s beak, inspiring them to name it Pico de Loro, literally Parrot’s Peak. Today, it is a popular hiking destination because of its cool, verdant forest and its proximity to Metro Manila. A bus from the Coastal Mall terminal going to Ternate, Cavite, then a jeep or tricycle to the DENR station in Maragondon, which is the jump-off in point, will easily bring you to the foot of Parrot’s Peak, or you can drive down SLEX, exit at Carmona, and follow Ternate Highway until you see the sign for Magnetic Hill, where the DENR station is located.


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At 664 meters above sea level, Mt. Pico de Loro is a minor climb perfect for beginners. Most of the trail goes through a lush tropical rainforest that shield hikers from the sun while providing a perfect opportunity to commune with nature. While we all have different reasons for climbing mountains, I believe one of the things we share as hikers, climbers and mountaineers is our need for a reprieve from the hustle and bustle of city life. City living can get very impersonal, while mountains have a way of making us feel connected to ourselves and to the universe. The trail starts off the side of the concrete highway, marked by a long bamboo bench laid among the trees.

There are trail markers put up by the DENR and by past trekkers— signboards on trees, ribbons tied on tree trunks, rocks stacked on top of each other to resemble cairns—so, it is hard to get lost on your climb; but some people still do get lost. That’s why it is still advisable to hire a guide from the DENR station near the jump-off point.


While most of the trail is covered by shade, it still won’t hurt to wear arm sleeves, especially when you have to ward off a tangle of leaves that might prove to be scratchy later on. Comfortable, preferably dry-fit, clothes are also important, and one cannot stress enough how crucial trekking shoes are. You can take a

A view of the summit of Pico de Loro from the trail (Photo by Tasha Tanada)

hint from a friend of mine whose right shoe sole started coming loose only a few minutes after we started the climb up the mountain. A quick thinker, he tied it securely with his shoelaces, and it miraculously managed to sustain him until our descent, at which point the left shoe sole promptly came off as well. Two to three liters of water are enough for the hike, but, of course, it will depend on how much water you think you can consume. Trail food, a first aid kit, and a Ziplock bag to keep your valuables from getting wet in case of rain are also some of the things you might as well consider bringing. The hike from the jump-off point to Base Camp 1 is pretty easy, since the terrain relatively flat. Base Camp 1 is where you can buy water, soft drinks and souvenir items. After three river crossings, you will arrive at the next major landmark after Base Camp 1, the alibangbang tree. It is the midpoint of the hike, and it is another convenient spot where you can rest and refresh yourself. Mt. Pico de Loro is classified as an easy climb, but as Gideon Lasco of Pinoy Mountaineer explains, “Rating a mountain’s difficulty is inherently subjective: the actual experience of difficulty depends on the situation (e.g. season, weather) and individual factors.” That holds true for anyone who has ever climbed Pico de Loro or any other mountain during a rainstorm. Raincoats are useful and are a must-bring, but while they keep you dry on the outside, they can also make you sweat buckets. The rain drains your strength and makes the trail slippery and muddy, increasing the difficulty rating of a mountain by several notches. But the good thing about it is it makes you seriously believe that trees are God’s gift to humankind, because tree roots on the trail between the alibangbang tree and the summit campsite serve as natural railings that you can grasp on to pull yourself upward and prevent yourself from falling down in a heap of broken bones. EXPER IENCE TR AV EL A ND LI V ING // Vol. 3 No. 2 // 2016


Experience travel lite

Trek from the summit to the Monolith. This part of the trail is mostly covered in wild grass (Photo by Tasha Tanada)


Upon reaching the summit campsite, you can rest for a bit before tackling the assault to the summit. The view from the summit itself is beautiful, but the real star of the parrot is its beak. Called the Monolith, but also known as the Parrot’s Beak, it is a magnificent column of rock shooting straight up to the sky and is considered as the highlight of a trek up Mt. Pico de Loro. To get to the top of the Monolith, you’ll have to descend from the summit for several meters then ascend again. You do not actually climb the Monolith from the bottom; there is a ridge on the side of the rock column that can be reached from the summit after a 5- to 10-minute hike. From the ridge, the challenge is that you will have to rappel yourself up using a thick climbing rope; once the rope runs out, you will have to perform an incredible feat of scrambling up the sheer rock face that can send you crashing down to oblivion if you’re not careful. It can be terrifying, but all the fear fades away once you reach the top and you behold the stunning views of the South China Sea and nearby the mountains of Batulao, Talamitam and Mariveles. You can even make out Corregidor Island, which makes sense, since apparently Mt. Pico de Loro was used as an observation post for Japanese naval activities during the war. Up there, you will feel the sweat on your forehead drying in the wind, you will breathe in the sweet, cool mountain air, and, as cheesy as it may sound, you will get the feeling that the mountain has accepted you and has connected with you in ways that the city never can.

Fog caused by rain covers the trail. (Photo by Tasha Tanada)


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A friend strikes a pose on top of the Parrot’s Beak. (Photo by Tasha Tanada) EXPER IENCE TR AV EL A ND LI V ING // Vol. 3 No. 2 // 2016



EXPER IENCE TR AV EL A ND LI V ING // Vol. 3 No. 2 // 2016

Experience pinoy at heart

This expatriate has finally come home

British-Filipino tech-preneur Natalie Hunter searches for the next great innovation in the Philippines

Words by Cora Llamas


er blond hair, casual friendliness, and accent make her look and sound American. So does the bubbly enthusiasm that shines through every time the conversation turns to the burgeoning technology industry in the country. But Natalie Hunter, the executive director of Philippine Software Industry Association (PSIA), is actually BritishFilipino. Her dad was a mechanical engineer who worked for years for Saudi Arabia Air Lines, while her mom grew up in Isabela. And like some expatriate families, mother and daughter travelled with the head of the family wherever he was assigned. The Jeddah-based high school, which the young Hunter attended, operated according to the American educational institution, which explains the accent. The familiarity with all things American, not to mention the international exposure, certainly helped when the Hunters relocated to the Philippines in 1998. The call center industry, which would catapult the country into global competitiveness, was just in its infancy. After graduating from Brent International, she looked for work and found one as an agent at Telus International. In a couple of years’ time, she would be promoted a few rungs up to quality supervisor. At that time, only a few wanted to try their hand at a job that demanded careful, thorough, and perhaps perpetually cheerful attention to possibly complaining customers at an ungodly hour. “I just wanted to work,” she said. “I asked for the requirements, and I passed.” It was during her stint in the call center that she brushed up on her Tagalog, one of the several things she had to do to acclimatize to her new environment.

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Experience pinoy at heart


Living in Manila was a breeze compared to her former second home. “I did experience culture shock in moving to the Philippines after spending my childhood in Jeddah,” Hunter said. “In Saudi Arabia, women had to cover themselves. I wore the abaya, the black gown that covered your body, but not the headpiece. I could not go to the cinema. If I ventured outside the expatriate community, I had to be accompanied by my parents.” She paused, then smiled: “Obviously, it is different here.” At the same time, during the first few years, she admitted to fighting off the Pinoy tendency to stereotype foreigners, and sometimes she had to settle the record straight, albeit diplomatically. “People expect me to think or act a certain way, probably due to colonial mentality. Sometimes they would insinuate that I do not know how to do domestic chores. That is because here, you have household help. Abroad, you do things on your own while working multiple jobs. I do know how to wash dishes, and it is not above me,” she admitted. Exposure to other cultures as a child stretched her horizons and made her more open to what another country and people offered. The Zambia-born lady basked in the warmth of Greece and reacquainted herself with her father’s roots in Great Britain. In the Philippines, Palanan is still the go-to place for clan reunions. Baguio City is her favorite place to chill out, and Bohol is her haven for catching her breath.


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Getting out of town occasionally has its attractions, given the frenetic pace of the tech hubs that are flourishing in the Philippines. According to Deal Street Asia, venture capitalists and other investors have been exploring opportunities in the country the past couple years, and pouring money where they see technology, talent, and ideas. The ICT Office of the Department of Science and Technology intends to grow at least 50 start-ups between now up to 2017. It is an initiative that the PSIA actively supports. Working for a non-profit organization had always been a dream, and she took the chance when it was presented to her in 2014. PSIA’s vision is to “drive the industry to greater heights” through learning programs for its 160 members and partnerships that can develop mutually beneficial projects. Its sister organization, Spring, is focused more on start-ups: “ … to help them become more successful,” Hunter explained. “We work closely with the schools. We see to it that people have to be given greater knowledge to get employment.” “Finally, we focus more on the product side, to create a tech innovation that is Filipino-made. It does not have to be the next Facebook, but it is branded and something we can claim as our own,” she said. The affinity is genuine, especially when, throughout the conversation, her words are expressed in non-accented Tagalog. The effortless way with which she connects with her staff banishes all memories of the stereotype. The perpetual expatriate has made the Philippines her home.

Experience the good life 1.

1. Lexus Manila, Inc. president Danny Isla beside the 2016 Lexus LX570 2. Toyota Manila Bay Corp. president Yoshinori Hattori and Lexus Manila, Inc. chairman Alfred Ty 3. Mandy Eduque and Lexus International Strategic Education Support of International Market Enhancement Team national manager Paul Williamsen



Ultimate expressions of luxury


By Suzette Jessica

For many, cars are the ultimate expression of luxury, and this was proven during the recent launch of Lexus Manila, Inc., a respected company that produces the most reliable vehicles at its showroom at Bonifacio Global City. Taking center stage were the refreshed 2016 LX 570 and the all-new Lexus RX350 Premiere and F-Sport. Its flagship premier luxury SUV, the new LX 570 features aggressive and stronger styling, an eightspeed automatic transmission, and an expanded and lengthy list of amenities from dashboard to tailgate. Meanwhile, the Lexus RX350, a luxury crossover, has an emboldened overall demeanor, optimized interior space, advanced new redesigned hybrid and gasoline power trains, sophisticated safety technologies, and driver aids, making it one of the best Lexus sport-utility vehicles offered to date. Lexus Manila president Danny Isla said the latest product offerings are testaments to how Lexus can “combine elegance with modern expressions of boldness and fierceness without losing the sophistication and refinement of luxury.”



7. 4. Lorna Campanella, Kevin Chang, and Ravi Uttamchandani 5. Ishida Taiseisha Asia Pacific Co., Ltd.’s director Toshihiko Atsumi and president Nobuhiko Joe, with TMP EVP Yohei Murase and Ishida Taiseisha Asia Pacific Co., Ltd. senior consultant Kitti Simapornchai 6. Bernardino and Vivian Caramba 7. Mitsui & Co., Ltd. Second Motor Vehicles Division, First Business Dept. manager Taku Inoue, Hiroyuki Tsuda and Mitsui & Co., Asia Pacific (PTE. LTD. Manila Branch) Project and Machinery Division general manager Yoshihide Haneda

EXPER IENCE TR AV EL A ND LI V ING // Vol. 3 No. 2 // 2016


Experience the good life

American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Inc. (AmCham) chairman and director Don Felbaum, Belo Medical Group founder and medical director Dr. Vicki Belo, and AmCham executive director Ebb Hinchliffe

Being beautiful is part of success By Suzette Jessica

Beauty is not just for vanity. Those in business know how important it is to present an amiable and professional face to clients. This idea is not lost on the staff of the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Inc. (AmCham) during the talk “Reinventing the Workforce Value” given by Dr. Vicki Belo, one of the country’s foremost beauty experts

AmCham organizing committee (from left): Chet Guevara, Maureen Ortiz, Ron Rollorata and Pauline Santos


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and CEO and founder of the Belo Medical Group. Held at its headquarters in Makati City, the event was organized by the AmCham Health and Wellness Committee. Belo also discussed the most soughtafter procedures offered by the internationally-accredited clinic and various in-demand products, like ZO Skin Health, Belo Collagen Drink and Belo Herbal Diet Pills.

The Belo Medical Group team: Annie Balalio, Trisha Gesilva, PR manager John Eric Ho, Milicent Silvestre, Dorothy Espiritu and Lovely Tajan

Frank Holz and Rhett Ramos

Rapha Health Institute president Dr. Cris Enriquez, Ebb Hinchliffe and Dr. Vicki Belo

Retirement and Healthcare Coalition’s Camille Anne Carpio and Lena Schandra

A new exquisite collection by Hoseki By Suzette Jessica

(Standing) Hoseki chief creative officer Knoi Esmane and operations manager Harold Co, (seated, from left) Lim Wun Chee, Hoseki founder Faico and wife, and Hoseki corporate affairs director Zabeth Co with son Stefan Co

Bert and Nonie Basilio with Shelly Lazaro

A private exhibit organized by Hoseki, the Philippines’ premiere jewelry salon, was held at the chic Vu’s Sky Bar and Lounge of Marco Polo Ortigas, Manila. Featured during the show were stunning, handcrafted pieces made from the finest materials and beautiful gems that showcased the remarkable artistry and excellent craftsmanship the company is famous for. Warmly welcoming the who’s who from the metro’s elite circles was the brilliant Hoseki team led by founder Faico, corporate affairs director Zabeth Co and chief creative officer Knoi Esmane. On hand to make sure everything went smoothly was the highly efficient Marco Polo Ortigas, Manila team led by general manager Frank Reichenbach.

Dr. Clare Palabyab, Roselle Rebano of Jayelles, and Marian Ong Baby Antonio with Beng Fores

Girlie Pe, Hoseki corporate affairs director Zabeth Co, Nene Pe Lim and Faico

Sheree Chua, Stefan Co, Eve Yukimtiao, Faico, and Cookie Caedo

Georgette Wilson, Marissa Fenton and Yoli Ayson Nini Layug, Hoseki corporate affairs director Zabeth Co, Elaine Rojas Villar and Dr. Clare Palabyab

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Experience the good life

Glam fashion for any occasion Finding the perfect outfit for an occasion may just be the most challenging thing a girl faces nowadays. But this is not so with BCBG Max Azria. Indeed, Linear Group Phils, Inc. managing director Kat Florencio said BCBG Max Azria has something for everyone. At its recent show at Shangri-La Plaza Mall, the popular fashion brand showcased outfits that covered various styles, from sweet and feminine to ultra-stylish and attention-grabbing pieces. A few exceptional pieces were saved for last for those extra special celebrations that might call for something extraordinary. And since a little bling never hurt anyone, show-stopping dresses from Hervé Legér were paired with exquisite jewelry by Diamantaire. BCBG Max Azria boutiques are located at the East Wing Atrium of Shangri-La Plaza Mall, City of Dreams, Greenbelt 5, and Resorts World Manila.

By Suzette Jessica

Gabriella Wegfahrt, Linear Group Phils, Inc. managing director Kat Florencio and Cassandra Hann

Dr. Elsie Pascua and Jennifer WeigelSarmiento

Serla Russell, Jennifer Weigel-Sarmiento, Hera Geriene, Irene Sandig, Len Olbes, Jemellie Gonzales, and Bianca Gauthier

Aida Cobankiat, Gabriella Wegfahrt and LetLet Taleon Go

Irene Sandig in a red Tatyanaa mesh-blocked halter dress


Julienne Yee, Len Olbes, Agile Zamora, and Hera Geriene

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Manolyne Taylor and Valerie Lim

Art Personas models Hana Dy, Zarah Lim, Irene Sandig, and Ivanna Pacis

Fashion accessory designer Ann Ong and Len Olbes

Experience postings

Get on that board and feel the trill of wakeboarding

Celebrities and media friends at Pradera Verde Summerfest

Spending summer

at Pradera Verde Words by Mitch M. Arceo

The sun shines gloriously, signaling the start of summer. For many, it is finally time to hit the beach. But if you think that swimming at the beach or a pool is a cliché, why not try something new, like wakeboarding? Wakeboarding is a sport that requires you to stand on a board and surf while being towed, either behind a motorboat or via cable wires. It may sound easy, but for newbies, expect several tumbles and falls before you perfectly find your balance on that board. If you are up for a challenge, a 350-hectare leisure park located just a couple of hours away from Manila is the place to go to. Pradera Verde at Prado Siongco in Lubao, Pampanga is slowly gaining attention from wakeboard enthusiasts and newbies alike because of its wakepark. The Pradera Wakepark features one lake for professionals and three lakes for beginners. The lake for pros comes with ramps where wakeboard riders can jump over to maneuver and display their skills. For beginners, a trainer can be requested in advance or upon booking. While wakeboard riders are busy with the sport, their companions can catch the action from the View Deck while sipping cold drinks or indulging in Kapampangan and international dishes. After a long day of wakeboarding, guests may relax in one of 95 duplex suites and villas. The comfortable soft beds come with feather toppers, duck-down duvet covers, highthread count bed linen and pillows to give guests a welldeserved rest. The rooms are also equipped with high-speed internet connection, so they can stay connected to their families and friends.

The members of the Blue Team rejoice after winning the game and receiving a GoPro Hero4 Silver each.

Pradera Verde also has a golf course (designed by Malaysian designer Mike Singgaran), and soon, the construction of the water park will be complete. “Pradera Verde consists of 350 hectares of land. As of now, we have developed 34 hectares of that. Out of 34 hectares, we developed the wakepark, the duplex and the 18-hole golf course. By October, we will open a 27-hole golf course. Soon, the future development will include a 2.6-hectare water park beside the wakepark: 1,000 square meters of it is the Wave Pool,” says Pradera Verde general manager Gil Velasco Jr. According to Pradera Verde’s sales and marketing head Fatima Khokhawala, future developments include a residential area. Meanwhile, Lubao Mayor Mylyn Pineda-Cayabyab says that unlike other parks, membership is not required to enjoy its amenities: “The park is not just for a selected few, but for everyone to enjoy.” Pradera Verde is also venue for many events such as the Lubao International Balloon Festival, and recently, the Summerfest where celebrities and the media overcame challenges, much like Amazing Race. Celebrities present during the said event included Jake Cuenca, AJ Dee, Vin Abrenica, Ervic Vijandre, Say Alonzo, Sophie Albert, Kelsey Merritt, Paolo Paraiso, and more. At night, DJ Tom Taus turned the beat up for everyone. Indeed, summer at Pradera Verde is nothing short of spectacular! EXPER IENCE TR AV EL A ND LI V ING // Vol. 3 No. 2 // 2016


Experience postings

Nautical party for Hotel Jen Windows by the Bay launch Hotel Jen Manila recently opened Windows by the Bay. Located on the 19th floor, the lounge is the perfect venue where guests can witness the breathtaking night views of Manila Bay daily, starting at 7:30 p.m., while enjoying freshly prepared appetizers paired with select wines or cocktails of your choice. At Windows by the Bay, all you have to do is to sit back, relax, and chat with friends as you enjoy the view. To add a more relaxing vibe, there is entertainment every Thursday night featuring a guitarist playing classic acoustic songs. This super simple formula will make you experience “That Jen Feeling.” The official launch of Windows by the Bay was a memorable night for all. The hotel’s media partners and loyal guests were the lounge’s first visitors. They were welcomed by friendly ushers to Kitsho Japanese Restaurant and Sake Bar to enjoy drinks and starters as they waited for the event to start. Director of Operations Frencie Duadua and Director of Sales and Marketing Meegee Yap assisted them to the express lift that takes guests to the venue. Hotel Jen Manila General Manager Edward Kollmer welcomed guests at the lounge: “Calming, breathtaking, inspiring, and magical. These are the moods that we want our guests to experience by the moment they enter Windows By The Bay.” Present during the launch were Kitchie Benedicto-Paulino, chairman/CEO of New Riviera Hotel Development Corp., and Pia de Leon Ongsiako, Chief Operating Officer of New Riviera Hotel Development Corp., who unveiled Windows By The Bay by spinning a ship’s steering wheel. As it turned, the curtains lifted to showcase the wonderful view of Manila Bay. Lights from Cultural Center of the Philippines added color to the majestic night view of Roxas Boulevard.


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DDE Phlippines President Chef Philip John Golding, Chef Romain Renard, Chef Works Manila's Geo Ramirez, Makati ShangriLa Executive Chef Paul Lenz, Bernard Flour, and other members and guests of Escoffier Manila

Breville Philippines inducted to Les Disciples d’Escoffier Philippine Chapter Cris Llamo, IAJ Wellness Corporation Vice President and General Manager and representative of Breville Philippines, was recently inducted as a member of the prestigious Les Disciples d’Escoffier (DDE) Philippine Chapter. The group is a non-profit organization based in France comprised of chefs, hospitality and F&B professionals and gourmands aimed at revolutionizing the culinary world through the transfer of knowledge. IAJ Wellness Corp., the exclusive distributor in the Philippines of Breville, the iconic small kitchen appliance brand, is the first corporate entity to be inducted into the society. Llamo said, “Being kitchen innovators, Breville has always believed that we must educate and share what we know about food and how our product can help make food processing easier, as well as make it taste better. We are fully supportive of DDE’s objectives and values and are

Cris Llamo, representing Breville Philippines, is inducted into Les Disciples d’Escoffier

very honored to be its first corporate member.” She said the brand and the organization shared the same four pillars, namely equality and appearance, knowledge and transmission of knowledge, culture and modernity, and generosity and unity. Chef Philip John Golding, Escoffier Philippine Delegation’s President said, “Escoffier is all about relationships and transfer of knowledge to the next generation. So, it was an obvious choice to bring in Breville as a corporate member.” Golding and Breville Philippines have a rich history of working together in various dinners and events aimed for the celebration of culinary art. The chef is also Breville’s first brand ambassador. Breville is available in all leading appliance stores nationwide. Log on to www.breville.com.ph for more information. EXPER IENCE TR AV EL A ND LI V ING // Vol. 3 No. 2 // 2016


Experience postings

Swiss education opening doors for local students Marco Polo Ortigas Manila General Manager Frank Reichenbach and Swiss Ambassador Andrea Reichlin

Swiss Education Group Chief Executive Officer Florent Rondez

The Swiss Education Group, together with Swiss Ambassador to the Philippines Andrea Reichlin, works together to promote top quality programs for aspiring hospitality students, through a special presentation that was held recently at the Swiss Residence. The number of tourists in the country has been growing through the years. In a recent study conducted by the Department of Tourism, tourist arrivals have increased to 5.36 million in 2015 from 4.83 million in 2014. Tourist arrivals mean an increase in business for the hotel industry in all parts of the country. It has been noted that the industry has been unstoppable in its growth. Recent studies have shown that the Philippines is the “world’s most promising hotel market” today, according to Kevin Wallace, managing director for Southeast Asia and Australasia at Plateno Group. Growth


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in the hotel industry means an increase in aspiring hospitality students in the country. The Swiss Education Group, being the world leading hospitality network, has set new standards in the hospitality industry, giving top quality academic programs that are balanced between practical and academic, delivered by internationally recognized educators. Different Swiss universities focused on hospitality courses, such as Cesar Ritz Colleges and Les Roches International School of Hotel Management, are just some of the universities that are part of this group. Schools, colleges, and universities collaborate for top quality programs to offer students. To promote this extensive training program to aspiring hospitality students in the Philippines, the SEG partnered with Ambassador Reichlin in presenting the goals, benefits, and opportunities with Swiss education.

Representing the group in the Philippines is Marco Polo Ortigas Manila’s general manager and SEG Panel of Expert Frank Reichenbach, who is tasked to create awareness and promote versatility in training and career the SEG group can provide via personal growth and global competitiveness. “Swiss education is known for its extensive training for hospitality. We believe that as students grow in their respective universities, it is also important for them to be globally competitive by obtaining training outside of their comfort zones from global experts. We aim to talk to corporate businesses and friends from the academe to seek their support, and hopefully help aspiring hoteliers to be able to deliver well, in wherever hotel they are in, as they enter the real world,” said Reichenbach.

French Ambassador Thierry Mathou with representative chefs from partner restaurants

French Ambassador Thierry Mathou with representative chefs from partner restaurants

Philippines joins worldwide celebration on French cuisine Eleven chefs from 10 restaurants in Metro Manila and Cebu joined thousands of chefs around the world in a celebration of fine French cuisine in Goût France/Good France held last March 21, 2016. In 2015, France attracted over 83 million foreign tourists. Of these arrivals, a third mentioned food and wine as reasons for choosing to visit the country. This rich gastronomic heritage was recognized when the “gastronomic meal of the French” was included in UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage List in 2010. This recognition of the interrelation between tourism and gastronomy is the spirit behind Goût de France/ Good France. Goût de France/Good France was launched in 2015 by French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and Chef Alain Ducasse to highlight the culinary tradition of France, which values high-quality, innovative, and environmentally responsible cuisine, while promoting France as a prime destination for tourists. Chefs and restaurateurs from all over the world were screened and chosen by a committee of experts led

L'Opera by Chef Paul Cottanceau of Spiral Manila

Duck cooked two ways by Chef Julian Koeberl of L'Aubergine

by Ducasse to offer a French menu in their restaurants with a traditional French aperitif, a cold starter, a hot starter, fish or shellfish, meat or poultry, a French cheese (or cheeseboard), a dessert, and French wines and digestifs, while remaining free to highlight their own culinary traditions and cultures. These menus were served to the public on March 21, 2016 in a French dinner prepared by 1,000 chefs from 150 countries all over the world, including the Philippines. Restaurants in the Philippines that participated in Goût de France/

Good France were: L’Aubergine (Taguig) with Chef Julian Koeberl, Le Bistro d'Agathe (Makati City) with Chef Michel Herbert, Bizu Patisserie & Bistro (Makati City) with Chef Alexander Tanco, Champêtre Boutique & Restaurant (Taguig) with Chef Marc Aubry, Impressions (Pasay City) with Chef Cyrille Soenen, Lemuria (Quezon City) with Chef Kevin Endaya, Enderun College's Restaurant 101 (Taguig) with Chef Justin Baradas, Sofitel’s Spiral Manila (Pasay City) with Chefs Denis Vecchiato and Paul CottanceauPocard, Hotel Benilde's Vatel Restaurant (Manila) with Chef Pierre Cornelis, and La Maison Rose (Cebu) with Chef Adrien Guerrey. As part of the campaign, French wine specialist Bruno Quenioux, also held wine tasting sessions at Vatel Restaurant and La Vie Parisienne in Makati City. EXPER IENCE TR AV EL A ND LI V ING // Vol. 3 No. 2 // 2016


Experience postings

Mad Rabbit Kicking Tiger pioneers eco-friendly sustainable bags What do you get when you combine borderless creativity and innovation with modern architectural design? An unconventional brand that stands head and shoulders above the rest! A brand like Mad Rabbit Kicking Tiger (MRKT). Two essential concepts fuel the brand: Mad Rabbit, for its vibrant design visions; and Kicking Tiger, for the drive to turn vibrant design visions into practical creations. For MRKT, trendiness is not a mere sign of the times, as it is anchored more on visionary concepts presenting an intelligent sense of urban design. To introduce its Spring/Summer 2016 collection, MRKT recently held its brand launch at White Space in Makati City. MRKT co-founder and managing director Shaun Nath flew in especially for this event. Since its inception in 2010 by Harvard-trained architect Tom Pen, MRKT has partnered with some of the biggest trailblazers in the retail industry, like Staple Pigeon and Raen, always pushing the limits on the design and materials that it uses in its


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Supr felt, in particular, was specifically created in its design lab. Its tightly woven synthetic fibers provide structure that allows it to hold its shape for a long time. The surface products. It holds stores in urban fibers were melted, which makes it streets all over the world, each resistant to pilling. It is also water and one inviting customers to embrace stain resistant, requiring very little their individuality and trendsetting maintenance, perfect for the busy modernist style with every product urban professional looking for the they create. right bag that fits his daily needs. The key to MRKT’s design is its Everything that MRKT uses are three-way approach to aesthetics— premium eco-friendly and sustainable architectural inspiration, distinctive materials that are extremely durable patterns, and vibrant colors. Its bags and functional without compromising stand out since they are designed its aesthetic appeal, an excellent using architectural methods; hence, alternative to many of the animal producing cutting-edge and clean dependent materials being used yet practical designs. Laser-cutting today. All in all, its material choices technology produces all of its make for the pioneering, yet practical, distinctive patterns, ensuring depth of character amid clean lines. Further quality that marks every single one of ensuring its eye-catching appeal is the their products. use of vibrant colors, which accounts Explore the world in style without having to settle for less. for the trend-setting character of its Follow @mrktphilippines on bags. Sophisticated precision, as MRKT Facebook and Instagram using #GiveIntoTheMadness to know more itself puts it, distinguishes much of about MRKT and its products. its bag designs. Material selection is MRKT is available in Bratpack essential to it’s identity, as all of its stores nationwide and is exclusively products are primarily made of six distributed in the Philippines by the signature materials: vegn leather, smrt felt, supr felt, thrmo resin, mcro Primer Group of Companies, Asia’s next retail giant. suede, and mcro leather.

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EXPER IENCE TR AV EL A ND LI V ING // Vol. 3 No. 2 // 2016

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