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Volume 8 • Number 5 • 2012 ISSN 1908-2649

Php200/US$4 www.experiencetravelandliving.com

C R E A T I N G

Christmas IN

THE

City

CAPIZ RISING

At home in

Taal

C O N S E R V I N G T H E S E A B I R D S O F T U B B ATA H A CULTIVATING WELLNESS at THE FARM at SAN BENITO

The PASSIONS and POWER o f S H E L L Y L A Z A R O


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CONTENTS

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T R A V E L FEATURES EXPLORE 22 Ges Pereyra discovers the attractions of Capiz EXPERIENCE 34 Ges Pereyra goes around to observe Christmas preparations at the Cultural Center of the Philippines and around Metro Manila 40 Reinerio Alba immerses at Villa Tortuga and in Taal, Batangas ESCAPE 52 Christine Victoria Torres gets enchanted by The Farm at San Benito 58 Ges Pereyra visits Meteora Tagaytay

Regular Sections Publisher’s Note Editor’s Note Contributors Postings

6 8 12 14

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18 Log Book 100 Travel Directory 103 Travel Calendar 106 Parting Shot

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Other Departments ACCOMMODATIONS 60 The Angeles Beach Club Hotel 64 The Forest Lodge 66 The Pan Pacific Manila LEISURE AND ADVENTURE 68 Talon Adventure Park in Roxas City, Capiz ENDEAVOR 70 Gregg Yan observes conserving seabirds in Tubbataha LIFESTYLE 76 The Lighthouse Marina Resort hosts the first Miss Scuba Philippines 78 Joyce Peñas Pilarsky’s luxe wear at the Philippine Fashion Week 80 The development of Boracay Newcoast ARTS AND CULTURE 84 The celebration of the birth centenary of National Artist Carlos “Botong” Francisco DINING 86 Ges Pereyra enjoys Tender Bob’s 88 Christine Victoria Torres tries New York Supreme Pizza in Angeles City, Pampanga ENCOUNTER 90 Roel Hoang Manipon interviews Shelly Lazaro 96 Ges Pereyra meets Gladys Young 98 A farewell dinner for Hugo Lambrechts

EXPERIENCE Travel and Living Volume 8 • Number 5 • 2012

About the cover The Philippine lantern or parol is a fixture in the Filipino celebration of Christmas. A symbol of the star that guided Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem, the parol is hung almost everywhere during the festive season. The Cultural Center of the Philippines, the premiere cultural institution in the country, chose the parol made in San Fernando City, Pampanga, long known as maker of giant, intricate and colorful lanterns, as its main Yuletide embellishment. Every year, San Fernando City holds the Giant Lantern Festival highlighted by a contest of the most beautiful lanterns. Last year, the barangay of Santa Lucia was the winner of the contest with a parol shown on the cover. Photo by Marvin Alcaraz


PUBLISHER’S NOTE

Publisher’s Note

This has been quite a rough year for us, but we are so glad we have made it through the challenges, helping us build our confidence in doing more and in coming out with good, if not the best, work. We believe that challenges are just stepping stones. Either we jump over or step on it, as long as we are all in sync and in precise and equal footing towards our common goal and vision. In some cases, the knowledge comes from an innate sense of what works best for us while we try to gain the spirit and confidence to discover what the latest travel trends are. We are lucky to have the best travel editorial team, with special regard to the editor-in-chief who has traveled extensively, making me the ultimate travel advisor. Get ready and watch us as we go out more aggressively next year. Watch as we continue to move forward to brighter, more exciting issues. Let me wish each and everyone a glorious Christmas and a prosperous New Year!

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EXPERIENCE Travel and Living Volume 8 • Number 5 • 2012


EDITOR’S NOTE

Editor’s Note

Editor in chief Roel Hoang Manipon at the coralstone church of Danao City, Cebu (top, right); at the Dambana ng Kagitingan on Mount Samat, Pilar, Bataan (top); at Francisco’s Cafe of Galeria Orlina in Taal, Batangas (middle, left); at the historic Macahambus Cave in Cagayan de Oro City (middle, right); and on Marcela Agoncillo Street in Taal, Batangas (above).

I am here in Bohol. It is supposed to be a vacation. As usual, I lack sleep. I wrote, edited articles and emailed them the night before the flight. As soon as we landed, we went through the usual tourist routes, visiting the famous attractions. It is time to rest but I can’t sleep. I want to sleep well to be able to function well, to experience well, to imbibe well, to sense well when I wake up. But the urge to explore is more attractive. My curiosity is of the throbbing, urgent kind. Then, there is the need to write, write down what I’ve seen, experienced, thought; to record; to share. There goes my vacation. Most of the time, travel, for me, is everything except a vacation. Maybe because it is work, and work is passion. I have a hard time answering questions on work hours, on what I do for leisure. Leisure to me and work

time often overlap, often are one. Leisure is work, and many times work is leisure. I am paid to do what vacationers do and more. What I do is not different from what I am. Indeed, how can one stop being traveler, being a writer? How can you stop being you? Everything is fodder to a writer. I cannot quantify the amount of work a writer does. Simplistically, it is by the words he or she writes. But there is much, much more going on before and during writing. Anyway, if I want a vacation, I usually stay at home. The past weeks, I have been constantly on the road—Taal, Batangas; Lubuagan, Kalinga; Bohol; Malolos, Bulacan. This Christmas season, I will take a vacation. I will stay home. The work doesn’t stop though. The travel doesn’t stop. The journey will be inside.

Roel Hoang Manipon Editor in Chief

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EXPERIENCE Travel and Living Volume 8 • Number 5 • 2012


Volume 8 • Number 5 • 2012

ADMINISTRATIVE

EDITORIAL

CELESTINO D. UNTAL JR.

ROEL HOANG MANIPON

Chairman

Editor-in-Chief

MARIA EVELYN C. UNTAL

GES PEREYRA

Publisher/Managing Director

Associate Editor

FE MARCELINO

BORRIZ CAPARUZO

Finance/Comptroller

Creative Director

FIONA ADEVA

DONALD TAPAN

Operations and Administration Officer

Chief Photographer

RHEA VILLAREAL

CHRISTINE VICTORIA TORRES

Credit and Collection

Staff Writer

SALES

REINERIO A. ALBA NIÑA ELYCA RABADAM GREGG YAN

MEGHAN KYNA PARUNGAO Advertising / Marketing Officer

Contributing Writers

DENNY ALONZO

CHARLOTTE JENNIFER CALONGE TEDDY PELAEZ

Corporate Secretary

Contributing Photographers

GABRIEL AND MENDOZA

AVA MARIE LORRAINE CRUZ MARIAN PATIAG

Legal Counsel

Editorial Assistants

INTERNATIONAL REPRESENTATIVES LOLITA DUBLIN Liaison Officer in Washington, DC

EVA U. TRIMBLE Liaison Officer in Columbus, Ohio

PATRICIA DUBLIN Liaison Officer in New York

CRIS VINZONS MARIA ESPERANZA SAN JOSE Liaison Officers in Dubai, UAE

NOEL D. UNTAL Liaison Officer in Thailand

JO ANNE C. MABBAYAD Liaison Officer in Singapore

JALILUL C. CONEJOS

CIRCULATION EDUARDO BULLO Circulation/Liaison Officer

PRISCILLA C. RAMOS Liaison Officer in Cebu Experience, a travel and living magazine, is published quarterly by Gusto Publishing, Inc., with business address at Unit T20, Sunvar Plaza, 156 Amorsolo Street, Legaspi Village, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines 1200. Telephone numbers: (+63 2) 227-6074, (+63 2) 384-6941, (+63 2) 377-7492 and (+63 2) 491-5159 Find us at www.issuu.com Like us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/ experiencetravelandliving Emails: editorialexperiencetravelandliving@gmail.com (editorial) experiencetravelandliving@gmail.com (advertising) Web site: www.experiencetravelandliving.com

Liaison Officer in Toronto, Canada

TATAK PILIPINO STORE Circulation/Distribution in Palisade Avenue Jersey City, New Jersey

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.


OUR CONTRIBUTORS

REINERIO A. ALBA is currently the content editor

NIÑA ELYCA RABADAM

of the official Web site (www.ncca.gov.ph) of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts. He loves that his work involves travel and that he gets to have personal travels as well with friends and family. He adores Kerima Polotan Tuvera for her insightful essays, and almost always finds himself flipping through her book Adventures in a Forgotten Country each time he travels.

describes herself as “an enthusiast of different sorts.” She loves reading books, watching films, listening to music, playing the guitar and surfing the net. She can also be considered as an Internet addict, able to bear long hours in front of her laptop surfing for different sites and keeping herself posted about her fave Japanese band Arashi, looking for recent books and movies, and logging on to one of those popular social networking site. She can also survive a whole day lounging at her nearest fave coffee shop with her very reliable laptop she endearingly named Lennie. She loves scouring for second-hand, less expensive, buy-onetake-one books. She is presently on the hunt for Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series. She fills up Lennie’s disk space with music, contemporary and classic, and collecting music videos of Arashi as well as foreign films. She goes gaga over high-school themed, romantic flicks such as Thailand’s Crazy Little Thing Called Love and The Love of Siam. She devotes a week in July to watching Japanese films during Eiga Sai (Japanese Film Festival) with her best movie buddy, Joey. She is currently the publication coordinator for the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, and practices the art of travel and creative writing. Her most fervent dream is to have a one-on-one interview with Mario Maurer and to develop a friendship with Kazunari Ninomiya.

CHARLOTTE JENNIFER CALONGE is a chemist and environmental consultant by profession. Photography brings out her artistic side. She discovered a passion for photography and love for travel through her profession, which provides her the opportunity to travel. Photography provides her a medium to express herself, capture moments, appreciate God’s amazing creation and share them with others.

Spending most weekends sneaking up and down rugged peaks and tranquil shores, GREGG YAN took up journalism at the Ateneo de Manila University and currently serves as the communications and media manager for World Wildlife Fund Philippines. He has written hundreds of stories on the environment, ranging from oil spill response strategies to satellite tagging for Mindoro’s endangered tamaraw. His pieces have been featured in numerous broadsheets, magazines, Web sites and books and have been translated in several languages. His goal is to convince people that going green makes lives much, much better. For more information, log on to Greggyan.multiply.com or add him up on Facebook.

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EXPERIENCE Travel and Living Volume 8 • Number 5 • 2012


CHRISTMAS AT ACACIA

It's never too early to plan for Christmas and New Year. Spend the holidays at Acacia Hotel Manila and enjoy special trimmings. Our Christmas and New Year room packages are inclusive of perks ---- guaranteed restful slumber on our Dream Beds, buffet breakfast for two persons, WIFI access, use of tness center and swimming pool, shuttle service within the Alabang area and late check-out at 4 PM. YULETIDE ROOM PACKAGE December 16 to 30, 2012 and January 1 to 10, 2013

Deluxe Room Junior Suite

LAID BACK NEW YEAR'S EVE ROOM PACKAGE December 31, 2012

Php 5,800 nett

Deluxe Room

Php 7,000 nett

Junior Suite

Php 6,500 nett Php 7,700 nett

*See inclusions above.

*See inclusions above.

ROCK AND ROLL NEW YEAR'S EVE ROOM PACKAGE

LET'S PARTY NEW YEAR'S EVE ROOM PACKAGE

December 31, 2012

Deluxe Room

Php 7,800 nett

Junior Suite

Php 9,000 nett

*PLUS! Complimentary tickets for two (2) to the New Year’s Eve Countdown Party at The Lobby inclusive of pica pica and two (2) rounds of drinks. See other inclusions above.

December 31, 2012

Deluxe Room

Php 9,888 nett

Junior Suite

Php 11,088 nett

*PLUS! Complimentary tickets for two (2) to the New Year’s Eve Countdown Party at The Grand Acacia Ballroom inclusive of a lavish buffet dinner. See other inclusions above.

For inquiries and reservations,please call 720 2000 or email reservations@acaciahotelsmanila.com.

5400 East Asia Drive corner Commerce Avenue, Filinvest Corporate City, Alabang, Muntinlupa City 1781 Tel. No,: 720 2000 and 588 5888 www.acaciahotelsmanila.com

Email: enquiry@acaciahotelsmanila.com


P O S T I N G S STAY | The E-Hotel Makati

READ | A Delicious Book Savor the Word is a compilation of winning essays from the prestigious Doreen Gamboa-Fernandez (DGF) Food Writing Competition published by Anvil Publishing, Inc., the biggest publisher in the Philippines, and the International Wine and Food Society (IWFS) Manila Ladies Branch, the world’s most renowned gastronomic society. The book, edited by distinguished writers Maya Besa-Roxas (Doreen’s niece), Mickey Fenix and Felice Sta. Maria, features the winning essays of the competition whose theme is traditional Philippine food. It also contained excerpts from Fernandez’s writings on food, a glossary and recipes by foodie Mol Fernando. The title of the book is from Fernandez’s essay, “Writing about Food: Savor the Word, Swallow the World,” her introduction to her book Tikim: Essays on Philippine Food and Culture. The DGF Food Writing Competition is a poignant part of Philippine food literature that honors the legacy of acclaimed food writer Doreen Gamboa-Fernandez. Its annual themes challenge writers to discover the emotion, the history and the significance of culinary experiences. It is the country’s first nationwide food writing contest. Fernandez was a teacher and writer renowned for her works on Filipino food culture. Fernandez served as the moderator of the student newspaper and as head of the Communication Department at the Ateneo de Manila University, where she taught English. She was also a regular columnist for The Philippine Daily Inquirer. Fernandez was a staunch advocate of Filipino food. She strongly believed that food was the best form to value oneself and one’s culture. She not only wrote about food but she opened the eyes of her readers on the lives of the Filipino people. The late food writer was one of the founding members of the IWFS. The competition is a tribute to her efforts in honing talented Filipino chefs by featuring them in her works. 14

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The E-Hotel Makati boasts of a perfect location along Arnaiz Avenue (formerly Pasay Road) in Makati City where business and leisure meets. It is just minutes walk from Greenbelt and Glorietta malls, where the best shops, restaurants and bars and entertainment can be found. The boutique hotel has elegant and exquisitely designed guest rooms and suites. Its restaurant and lounge are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner serving international cuisines and house specialties. In E-Hotel Makati, you will be greeted by ever friendly and courteous team, which is more than ready to assist every guest. Home to regular gatherings to Rotary Clubs, Kiwanis International, PhilKorec, it was the official residence of the 10th Business Orientation Program (BOP) of the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines. Experience space, comfort and warm hospitality at the E-Hotel Makati at 906 Arnaiz Avenue, San Lorenzo Village, Makati City. For more information, visit www.ehotelsgroup.com or call (+63 2) 478-3280. Email at info@ehotelsgroup.com.

VIEW | Contemporary Finnish Lithographs at the Met Museum The Metropolitan Museum of Manila, in cooperation with the Embassy of Finland, is presenting the works of eight contemporary Finnish printmakers through the exhibition “Contemporary Lithography in Finland” at the museum’s Tall Galleries. “Contemporary Lithography in Finland” is a debut exposition of Finnish printmakers in Manila. It comprises thirty-three works by some of the most active lithographers from the Nordic country. The participating artists—Maija Albrecht, Kalle Berg, Matti Hintikka, Valpuri Kylmänen, Kuuuti Lavonen, Tapani Mikkonen, Kaisu Sirviö and Miikka Vaskola—have selected representative samples of their production. Most were made in the atelier in Helsinki where the eight artists work together. Some prints were produced especially for this exhibition. They also thoughtfully included older works, providing insights into the development

EXPERIENCE Travel and Living Volume 8 • Number 5 • 2012

over time of each artist’s personal approaches or/ and techniques, materials and vision. The exhibition is a rich source of study in contrast, in offering various lithographic challenges, and in presenting the vision of a particular intellectual and geographic landscape. One of the artists, Matti Hintikka, who is partial to porous limestone as his material, asserts: “My work springs from nature…both mentally and concretely. Experiences of nature take on a primal form in the minds of the people of the north. Even simple surfaces, shapes and colors can start up a dialogue in my mind, and hopefully in the minds of the people viewing my work.” Kalle Berg, who studied lithography in New Mexico and has been teaching the subject in Helsinki since 2005, correlates the methodical process of print with the resulting form: “I see myself as belonging to a generation that has taken on the endless task of learning to live at the contradictory (and somewhat imaginary) meeting point between traditional artisan work and everyday digital imagery…Sometimes a technical question that preoccupies me leads to an artwork. At other times it might be some banality of printmaking practice that prompts the idea.” To him, the final product is usually as foreign as from that of the eyes of the viewer, a curious experience that is similar to standing beside oneself. The Metropolitan Museum of Manila has lined up activities for the exhibition. First up is a printmaking demonstration by Kaisu Sirviö and Matti Hintikka in cooperation with the Printmakers Association of the Philippines. They will highlight


P O S T I N G S their personal techniques in using different kinds of drawing materials on a stone, with emphasis on the method of ink tint and wash. In addition, the artists will be showing proofs of their works direct from Finland. The museum, in cooperation again with the Printmakers Association of the Philippines, will hold a basic printmaking workshop for children. This is a half-day session, which will be held in the PAP workshop at the CCP complex. “Contemporary Lithography from Finland” runs until December 10, 2012. For details, call the Marketing Officer at (+63 2) 708-7829 or email marketing@metmuseum.ph. The Museum is located at the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Complex, Roxas Boulevard, Manila. Museum hours are from 9 A.M. to 6 P.M., Monday to Saturday. It is closed on Sundays and first Mondays of the month and on holidays. For more information, visit www.metmuseum.ph. Follow it in Facebook: metmuseum.manila

KNOW | Amorita Resort Announces New Developments in Bohol and Negros Oriental Amorita Resort invites guests to experience the peaceful, crystal blue beaches of Momo in Panglao Island, Bohol and Dumaguete in Negros Oriental, as they open the doors to two new resorts. Situated 20 kilometers from the busy tourist stretch of Alona Beach is the Momo Beach House, an isolated sanctuary where guests can unwind and leave all their worries behind. An ideal destination for those seeking refuge from the chaos of city life, the Momo Beach House offers a variety of wellness activities to calm the mind, body and spirit. Rustic interiors and locally crafted wooden and woven furniture provide a warm respite for the eyes of weary urban citizens.

Meanwhile, guests looking for a more adventurous and culturally immersive retreat will find their perfect vacation spot at the Santa Monica Beach House a haven of comfort and tranquility in Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental. With its cozy atmosphere, artisanal furnishings and spectacular view of the sea, the beach house serves as a

veritable home away from home for its guests. The Santa Monica Beach House is also in close proximity to Dumaguete’s wondrous historical landmarks and diving spots. To know more about Amorita Resort and the new beach houses, you may call Manila Sales Office at (+63 2) 553-9549. You may also visit Momo Beach House Facebook page (http://www.facebook. com/momobeachhouse) and Sta. Monica Beach House Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/ santamonicabeachhouse).

mirror his own journey from a self-confessed tambay (“Dito sa Kanto”) to an artist for social change (“Ako’y Isang Mabuting Pilipino”). “Tuloy ang Byahe (The Repeat) Ngayong Pasko” is another project to support PETA’s 50@59 Take PETA Beyond 50 endowment fund campaign, which is meant to ensure the sustainability of PETA’s cultural work and unique creative programs. The campaign aims to raise Php50 million in time for the theater group’s 50th anniversary in 2017. Tickets are available at TicketWorld and PETA. For reservations, contact (+63 2) 891-999, (+63 2) 725-6244, +639175765400, or petatheater@gmail.com.

BRING | What Every Traveler Should Have

WATCH | Noel Cabangon’s ‘Tuloy Ang Byahe Ngayong Pasko‘ Repeats Noel Cabangon is one of the most bankable artists in the music industry and one of the most popular singer-songwriters today. His album Byahe spawned numerous awards, including the elusive Double Platinum Record Award and a sweep in the 2010 Awit Awards. The same record topped the music charts for twenty weeks, while his most recent album, Tuloy ang Byahe, earned him another Gold Record Award two months after its release. Cabangon’s most recent victory is his having another sold-out solo concert held last September 28 at the Music Museum. The said concert was not just filled to the brim, but attended by the President Noynoy Aquino himself, as well as DILG Secretary Mar Roxas, senator Kiko Pangilinan, Pop Diva Kuh Ledesma, among others. Less than three months after it was first staged, “Tuloy ang Byahe” will have not just one but two repeat performances due to the overwhelming clamor of fans who still wish to see the show. The concert now billed “Tuloy ang Byahe (The Repeat) Ngayong Pasko” will be staged for two consecutive nights at the PETA Theater Center, New Manila, Quezon City, from December 13 to 14, 2012, at 8 P.M. The repertoire will include several songs from Cabangon’s Byahe albums and a look back on his musical journey from a humble folk singer to a one of the top-selling recording artist today. It will feature many of his own compositions, which

Field Notes is what every traveler should have as a good, durable and handy travel companion. Local online shopping site Avalon.ph brings to the country Field Notes, a line of notebooks for those who want to jot down thoughts as they explore. Designed for the intrepid, Field Notes are made to be both light and tough. “The size of Field Notes makes it ideal for putting in your back pocket. It is not too thick for back pockets but the papers are thick enough to hold,” shares Jasper Ong of Avalon.ph. The pocket notebooks measure 3½ by 5½ inches and come in packs of three. Field Notes began production in 2008 when former snowboarder Aaron Draplin decided to make modern-day version by hand of simple pocket-sized pads used by Midwestern farmers.

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P O S T I N G S It has then developed significant, almost cult-like following, with customers holding vigils in anticipation of the periodic release of limited edition Field Notes. In the Philippines, the product was recently introduced by Avalon.ph, which also sells signed books, limited and first edition books, hard to find board games and specialty notebooks. “While there are a lot of notebooks in the market, some people may want something special. We cater to those who go against the mainstream and want to go to extreme when they travel,” shares Ong. There are a lot of places to go with Field Notes. Whether camping 500 meters above sea level, trekking the urban jungle or immersing in the sights, sounds and scent of a place, Field Notes is perfect for quick writing. “It is the perfect travel journal. People who blog about their travels will find it a handy tool to log and keep track of things like expenses, bus schedules, transit fares, tour guide’s phone numbers and their overall travel adventure experience” adds Ong. Field Notes uses the tagline “I’m not writing it down to remember it later, I’m writing it down to remember it now.” Whether for writing down basic concerns or capturing in words the sights and emotions, there’s a Field Notes for that. The first line of Field Notes used graph paper. Today, Field Notes has ruled, plain and mixed paper (a combination of graph, ruled and plain in one three-pack) variants as well. Aside from its iconic plain brown cover, Field Notes now comes in limited edition Field Notes Colors and seasonal designs. Field Notes also has an eighty-page Steno Book. Printed in the back cover of every Field Notes product is a five-inch ruler and a witty list on the many ways you can use your notebooks. The front cover has a space for contact details. It also has space for noting when and where you started and ended using a notebook. The complete line of Field Notes products are available in the Philippines at www.avalon.ph.

EAT | Dining at Mr. Jones At Mr. Jones, regulars can swear by the tastiness of the popular Tapa and Garlic Overload, thin slices of beef topped with crisp garlic chips and served with your preferred style of eggs, garlic rice and atchara. Another must-try in the menu is the Wicked Truffled Mac n’ Cheese with three kinds of macaroni, bacon, four cheeses, Portobello mushrooms and truffle oil drizzled on top. 16

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Not to be missed is the all-day breakfast item, Challah French Toast, which has been getting lavish praise from foodies. The mouthwatering creation consists of Nutella-stuffed French toast with raspberry preserves, caramelized bananas topped with crispy bacon bits, whipped cream and maple syrup. Then of course, there’s the appetizing Char Grilled Superman Burger, 350 grams of US beef topped with two cheeses, hickory barbecue sauce, double smoked bacon, sweet onions and greens. Comfort food comes with a difference with other delightful items in the menu such as the Eggs Benny Two Ways and the Hot and Spicy Shrimp Scampi, among others. All these and more can be enjoyed with Mr. Jones’ famous milkshakes, the quirkily refreshing ambience of a classic Art Deco diner circa 1960s, surrounded by a team of the friendliest servers and staff. Mr. Jones is located at the ground floor of Greenbelt 5, Ayala Center, Makati City. For reservations, call (+63 2) 501-3111.

GET | Uniqlo Introduces Ultra Light Down Japan’s number-one fashion brand Uniqlo introduces to the Philippines its latest in fashion innovation, the Ultra Light Down collection of vests, coats, parkas and jackets, sure to become a musthave for frequent travelers as well as street and office fashionistas. The “warm” fashion statement for this season, Uniqlo Ultra Light Down is an innovation of lightness, weighing in at a surprisingly light 206 grams, or the equivalent of a summer shirt, while providing the ultimate comfort and warmth. It is an innovation of material, utilizing super light nylon made from ultra-thin thread while preserving its

EXPERIENCE Travel and Living Volume 8 • Number 5 • 2012

durability and softness. Lastly, it is an innovation of mobility, as the apparel packs down to the size of a small milk carton, allowing one to store it in a bag which makes it perfect for travel or people on the go. The Ultra Light Down collection boasts a wide array of silhouettes, colors and prints, all featuring unique ultra lightweight quality. The entire collection of men’s and women’s lines is comprised of more than 100 colors. New designs perfect for the wet season include a casual yet elegant women’s A-line silhouette with a three-quarter sleeve as well as a men’s half-length silhouette, ideal for the commute to work or an evening out with friends and loved ones. Uniqlo has carefully selected prints featuring easy-to-coordinate patterns such as dots and checks. The protective and comfortable gear is not only great for the outdoors, but the Ultra Light Down tops are so light and sleek they make the perfect under layer for chilly days ahead. The Uniqlo Ultra Light Down vest is now available at the Uniqlo store located at the second floor, Main Mall, SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City. Store hours are from 10 A.M. to 10 P.M.


LOGBOOK

DONSOL HOSTS MOST WHALE SHARKS IN THE PHILIPPINES

Whale sharks (Rhincodon typus) can grow longer than a passenger bus and weigh ten tons

HOW MANY SPOTTED SHARKS HAVE BEEN SPOTTED? IN DONSOL, AT LEAST 377. High-tech satellite tags, waterproof cameras and hefty lungs are the tools of Dave David’s trade. As the head researcher of World Wide Fund for Nature’s (WWF) Donsol-based whale shark photoidentification program, David has spent the past six years holding his breath—literally—to swim with the world’s largest fish. Strikingly-spotted whale sharks (Rhincodon typus) can grow longer than a passenger bus and weigh a whopping ten tons. With unblinking golf ballsized eyes, they wolf down wafting clouds of plankton and the occasional, unlucky small fish. Together with basking and megamouth sharks, they are one of just three planktivorous or filter-feeding sharks and have cruised the world’s seas for some fifty million years. Little is known of their habits, with fewer than 350 sightings recorded prior to the 1980s. Through the support of WWF Denmark, WWF Philippines allied with Australia-based Ecocean, the Hubbs Sea World Research Institute (HSWRI) and Banco de Oro Unibank (BDO) to catalogue the country’s whale sharks. The partnership provides researchers with both population pegs and migratory data to guide conservation efforts not just for whale sharks—but for all migratory pelagic species. Sporting waterproof digital cameras, trained WWF skin divers snap photos of a spot right above each shark’s pectoral fins, behind its gill slits. The photos are fed into a computer which uses a program to triangulate each shark’s unique spot 18

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configuration. Data is then uploaded to the Webbased Ecocean library. Unless it is a new individual, the library shows researchers when and where the shark was last encountered. Since 2003, Ecocean has catalogued 3,822 individual sharks from places as far as Mexico, Mozambique and the Galapagos Islands. “Photo-identification is a non-invasive approach for identifying sharks,” explains David. “The library uses the whale shark’s distinct patterns, plus information on scars, sex and size to identify individuals.” Since WWF Philippines began implementing the program in 2007, 458 individual whale sharks have been identified—377 in Donsol, 54 in Cebu, 14 in Leyte and the rest in Bohol, Palawan, Albay and Batangas. To complement the photo-identification drive, 29 whale sharks were affixed with detachable GPS satellite tags designed to pop to the surface after several months of data collation. Four sharks were tagged in May 2007, ten more in May 2009 and fifteen in April 2010. The results suggest that most tagged whale sharks keep to 200 kilometers of Donsol. Three, however, swam east to the Philippine Sea, with one more swimming as far north as Taiwan. All spent most of their time below fifty meters, rarely rising to the surface to feed. “The results suggest that whale sharks are highly mobile, transient foragers which recognize no country or territorial boundary as their own. The

EXPERIENCE Travel and Living Volume 8 • Number 5 • 2012

Trained WWF skin divers snap photos of a spot right above each shark’s pectoral fins, behind its gill slits. The photos are fed into a computer which uses a program to triangulate each shark’s unique spot configuration.

distribution of whale sharks and other large filterfeeders also indicate the presence of plankton and the overall health of our oceans,” expounds David. For years, Donsol has been identified as a whale shark hotspot, hosting one of the largest aggregations of whale sharks on Earth. Other large aggregations include Ningaloo Reef in Australia with 808, Mexico with 812 and Mozambique with 624. Through continued research, Dave and other WWF volunteers hope to generate an accurate peg of the country’s migratory and resident whale shark population. “Long days at sea are worth it, considering the immense scientific, ecological and economic value that whale sharks bring people,” adds David. “Even after years of research, there’s still so much we have to discover—where they feed, mate and give birth. Our work continues, which is just as well because diving with these gentle giants is pure magic.” After six years of swimming with the world’s largest fish, it seems that each shark encounter still leaves Dave breathless.


Juan Luna’s 1892 oil painting The Parisian Life, also known as Interior d’un Cafi

A WARM WELCOME FOR BERJAYA MAKATI HOTEL BERJAYA HOTELS AND RESORTS’ first venture in the Philippines is the reintroduction of the property under a new name—Berjaya Makati Hotel— launched in a ceremony held at the hotel’s Las Ramblas lobby lounge last October 19 with media guests and friends. The Malaysia-based conglomerate operates a range of hotels and resorts across the region. Berjaya Makati Hotel, its first property in the Philippines, introduced the new brand name to conform to the city it is located in and to erase any confusion that may arise because of its former name Berjaya Manila Hotel. The introduction of the new brand name also coincided with the unveiling of the hotel’s three new executive floors, boasting of 33 deluxe rooms. The rooms in the new executive floors, located on the 23rd, 24th and 25th floors, have complete amenities at par with accommodations in pricier hotels. All rooms have satellite TV connection, Internet access and mini-bar. The 31-square meter Executive Deluxe rooms are chic and trendy, equipped with the modern facilities and furnishing with warm earth tones for a pleasurable stay, ideal for business travelers who want nothing more than absolute convenience. The Executive Studio’s 42 square-meter area has luxurious interiors and a separate living room for a homey stay. Suitable for business travelers, the refurbished rooms will further awe its occupants with full modern amenities. The Executive Suite, with a floor area of 47 square meters, is equipped with extensive acilities for the guests’ convenience. It also comes The luxurious Executive Studio with a separate living room and pantry area. The opening of the new executive floors brings the hotel’s total room number to 212 from the previous 179. Located in the heart of the Philippines’ premier financial district, Berjaya Makati Hotel is one of the recent players in Makati City’s bustling hotel industry which is currently enjoying robust growth and a steady influx of guests. It now gives more options to visitors who are more discriminating. Berjaya Makati Hotel is located at 7835 Makati Avenue corner Eduque Street, Makati City. For reservations and inquiries, call (+63 2) 750-7500, send e-mail to manila.inquiry@berjayahotel.com or visit its Web site www.berjayahotel.com.

From left: Carmelo De Gorostiza, director of Business Development and Marketing; Maria Aurora Rementilla, hotel manager; Annabelle Abuan, reservations manager; Robert Mangurali, senior sales manager; Charity Oania, sales coordinator; Azhar Mamood, assistant financial comptroller; and Reynaldo Domingo, purchasing manager.

GSIS ART WORKS & LUNA’S PARISIAN LIFE NOW AT THE NATIONAL MUSEUM Pres. Benigno Aquino III recently witnessed the formal opening of the Government Service Insurance System Wing at the National Museum, which implements the memorandum of agreement signed by the pension fund and the National Museum last February. Under the agreement, the GSIS will transfer the management of its art collection to the National Museum “to preserve, maintain, secure and promote the collection....” It will also “extend appropriate privileges and benefits to GSIS members on the use of its facilities enjoyed by other sponsors, donors and benefactors of the Museum.” To highlight the partnership between the two institutions, the Museum has named an area within the National Gallery as the Government Service Insurance System Wing. With its high ceilings and cream-colored walls, the GSIS Wing encompasses three large galleries on the Senate (third floor) of the National Museum, namely Galleries XIX, XXI and XXII. The galleries will display the famous Juan Luna’s The Parisian Life as well as the works of National Artists Fernando C. Amorsolo, Carlos “Botong” Francisco, Vicente S. Manansala, Hernando R Ocampo, Ang Kiukok, BenCab and Federico Aguilar Alcuaz. The list also includes the works of Sanso, Blanco, Rodriguez Sr., and Galicano. Meanwhile, the National Museum said it is working on the declaration of The Parisian Life as a National Cultural Treasure though a duly-designated panel of experts. “We are happy to partner with the National Museum, the institution tasked to preserve and promote the country’s cultural and artistic heritage,” GSIS president and general manager Robert G. Vergara said. “Exhibiting our collection in the Museum makes it accessible to a wider public.” The transfer of the GSIS art works to the Museum was an offshoot of the continuing review of policies by its board of trustees. Vergara said that “preserving and maintaining an art collection is beyond the mandate of the GSIS as a social insurance institution and insurer of government properties.” Visitors can view the GSIS collection Tuesdays to Sundays, from 10 A.M. to 5 P.M. Volume 8 • Number 5 • 2012 EXPERIENCE Travel and Living |

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LOGBOOK

COFFEE-TABLE BOOK ON PALAWAN LAUNCHED A true testimony to the alluring beauty of the Philippines, the 288page coffee-table book Into the Green Zone: Palawan Islands was recently launched at The Reading Room of The Heritage Library in Makati City. Despite heavy rains and traffic, the weekend affair couldn’t dampen the spirits of an enthusiastic mix of friends from various industries who came not only to witness the much-anticipated book unveiling but also to unwind with cheerful pleasantries over exquisite wine and sumptuous dishes prepared by esteemed chef Billy King. Artists, photography enthusiasts, friends from the media, book lovers and distinguished guests came in full support of those behind Into the Green Zone: Palawan Islands—award-winning photographer George Tapan, who conceptualized and took all the photographs of the book; publisher and French geophysical engineer Louis-Paul Heussaff; co-publisher Simon Leith of New Zealand; and Hong Kong-based designer Eugene Ong. Dedicated to the Filipinos and the Palawenos, the book that took two years to complete is a tribute to Palawan’s persistent goodness as a place and a celebration of its compeling power to put humankind back in perspective. Its stunning cover photo, which gained worldwide accolade, bagged the grand prize in the Places category of the 2011 National Geographic Photo Contest. And just like it, the rest of its inside pages will definitely whisk its readers away into a journey of true magnificence and adventure.

THE HAPPY FILIPINO MAKES TRAVELING TO THE PHILIPPINES MORE FUN In his latest video, YouTube sensation Bogart the Explorer travels with his new friend Kirk and probes into the happy side of the Filipino

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Into the Green Zone: Palawan Islands’ publisher Louis Paul Heussaff, SOS Group of Companies chairman and CEO, and award-winning photographer George Tapan

Into the Green Zone: Palawan Islands is a tribute to Palawan’s persistent goodness as a place

Filipinos are known to be among the happiest people in the world, and anybody who has been to the Philippines will attest that the Pinoys’ remarkable ability to face anything with a happy and positive outlook truly is what sets them apart from the rest of the world. When it comes to observing distinctly Pinoy quirks and sensibilities and highlighting the best of what the country has to offer, the insightful and humorous videos of YouTube sensation Bogart the Explorer always hit the spot. In his latest video, Bogart tours his newfound friend Kirk—a foreign tourist on his first visit to the Philippines—around the country. Along the way, the Davaoeño shows Kirk the countless reasons why the Filipino joyfulness is contagious. From voluntarily including themselves into other people’s photo sessions, singing karaoke all-day by the beach, joining the street party in local festivals, and eating Chickenjoy at the country’s favorite fast food chain, Bogart lets Kirk immerse in the unique local culture and have a first-hand, genuine Filipino experience. “Filipinos are innately happy people, and that is one of the qualities that endear us to outsiders,” says Bogart. More than the diversity of the country’s natural resources and its often-cited world-class beaches, it is the Filipinos’ warm hospitality and happy character that has inspired the Department of Tourism’s “It’s More Fun in the Philippines” campaign. Other countries may also boast of the same or even better attractions but for Bogart, who has made it his advocacy to further push the Filipino’s love for fun, the Filipino people is the number-one reason why tourists should travel to the Philippines. “The Filipino culture is hard to define. We’re mixed; we’re diverse. But the best thing about visiting the Philippines and what sets us apart from other countries is our people. We’re our country’s greatest treasure.” To find out more about the Happy Filipino, visit www.thehappyfilipino.com.


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BY GES PEREYRA PHOTOS BY TEDDY PELAEZ AND DONALD TAPAN With a vibrant fishing industry, Capiz claims to be the seafood capital of the Philippines

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ocated in the Western Visayas region is Capiz, a province with so much promise. For years, it has remained under the tourism radar, bested by its neighbors Aklan with its Boracay Island, Iloilo, Negros Occidental and Guimaras. Only in last five years has it slowly but surely moved toward the spotlight, inviting more than its fair share of scrutiny. While one finds that there is much more this charming coastal province has to offer, there are mainstays in the list of things to do once one sets foot in Capiz.

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The raison d’etre of this province is of course the food. Every visitor’s culinary intent is satisfied upon arrival in Capiz. For first in the list of things to do when you visit the province is of course, to eat, because the province is known as the seafood capital of the Philippines. Tourists savor the best oysters when they come to Roxas City, the provincial capital, and enjoy a feast of fresh catch from the sea—a never-ending supply of seafood, from prawns to crabs, marlins to groupers, and mussels to angel wings (diwal).


The Capiz Provincial Capitol is a centuries-old building in Roxas City and a national landmark (above, left). Fish, being dried in Dumolog, Roxas City, is shipped daily to Divisoria and other markets in Manila (above, center). The Church of St. Martin of Tours has a five-storey belfry which has five bells of different sizes, all made in 1881 (above, right).

In Baybay Beach, a three-kilometer, blacksand beach in Roxas City, a string of restaurants serves seafood in myriad ways—grilled, steamed, stewed, fried, dried, smoked or even raw. From the beach, one can make out the outlines of the Olotayan Island, a favorite beach destination. Diwal, the seashell delicacy shaped like a pair of wings, is aplenty especially during their culinary fiesta. Capiztahan, a popular festival which showcases the province’s seafood bounty and celebrating its foundation, is known for its “electric parade” at sundown which features giant images of sea creatures in 27 floats from all over the province. The three-dimensional floats adorned with tiny Christmas lights are a sight to behold and a showcase of the skill of the Capiz craftsmen who created them. In fact, it was so successful that the local government brought the parade to Araneta Center in Cubao, Quezon City and in Christmas time to attract crowds. For pasalubong shopping, the best the province has to offer are capiz handicrafts. The translucent quality of the capiz shells, fashioned into lanterns, frames, garlands, lamp shades, window panes, etc., is highly favored locally and internationally. The flourishing industry of capiz art has also provided income for the locals. Also called pi-os by Capizeños, the delicate shells also adorn the beautiful ancestral houses and buildings in Capiz, including the provincial capitol building. Built in 1910, the government building that houses the mayor’s office and the tourism office is a stately backdrop to the yearly Sinadya sa Halaran Festival, a merging of the Roxas City fiesta Sinadya and the province’s celebration of Halaran. Literally meaning “joy in sharing,” Sinadya sa Halaran is celebrated with rituals from the 16 municipalities of Capiz and is capped off with fireworks, a grand parade, a fluvial processions, a fair and food festival, street dancing and exhibits. Apart from the natural beauty of its rolling hills and beaches, Capiz has many to offer tourists who are looking for more than the usual food and leisure activities. For those with a taste for history and culture, Capiz is best known as the birthplace

of the Philippine Republic’s first president Manuel Roxas. One gets a sampling of the Capiz’s storied past when one visits Roxas City where the presidential dwelling—a two-storey hardwood and stone house— is a national shrine. There is a bandstand located in the city proper, and an old water tank has been converted into a museum, a repository of Capiz’s significant past, a past that the Capiz local government seems to have heavily drawn from when planning for the province’s tourism program. Tourism head Alphonsus Tesoro shared that Capiz may not be able to compete with Boracay but it does have one thing that it has proudly nurtured—an unabiding love for the arts and its indigenous peoples. The province has given the country some of the most gifted artists, most of them hailed as natural treasures. Opera singer Jovita Fuentes is the country’s first female National Artist. Daisy H. Avellana, the better half of National Artist for film Lamberto Avellana, is a theater icon. The province has also been recognized for highlighting its indigenous peoples, from the epic chanters of Tapaz and their centuries-old embroidery, to the indigenous peoples in Jamindan. Capiz was in fact awarded by the Association of Tourism Officers of the Philippines (ATOP) as the Best Tourism Event in the Philippines by hosting Dungog: Indigenous Peoples’ Festival in 2010. Tesoro, who has strong ties with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), spearheaded the project Dagway Sigmahanon, a community-based theatre made up of out-of-school youths and students from Sigma. One of the most soughtafter cultural groups in Capiz, the theatre group is into advocacy on social issues through the performing arts and was a finalist in the Best Cultural Group category in 21st Aliw Awards. BEAUTIFUL CHURCHES OF CAPIZ

Being the second Spanish settlement in the country, it is not surprising to find majestic churches within an hour away from each other in Capiz. These beautiful centuries-old churches

are a source of great interest. A must-see is the Sta. Monica Church in Pa-nay, which houses the biggest bell in Southeast Asia. The church’s fivestorey belfry has a huge antique bell surrounded by eight smaller bells. The huge bell was cast from 76 sacks of coins believed to have been contributed by the citizens of the town. It is seven feet in diameter and weighs 10.4 tons. In Dumalag, the Church of St. Martin of Tours, a beautifully preserved church made of yellow sandstone, has a five-storey bell tower that rises gracefully at the left side of the church. Constructed between 1600 and 1720, it is the first church and convent of Dumalag. Another religious place to discover is the recently constructed Our Lady of Lourdes Meditation Hills in Sapian which hosted the visit of other religious icons such as Our Lady of Antipolo (2011), the Black Nazarene of Quiapo (2008 and 2010), Bicol’s Our Lady of Peñafrancia (2009) and Pangasinan’s Our Lady of Manaoag (2007). The sprawling place is being promoted as the pilgrimage capital of Capiz and is popular during the Holy Week. CAPIZ TODAY

In the past years, the province has banked on these interesting aspects that have long been attracting locals and foreigners, and set up a vigorous tourism program targeting domestic travelers in its bid to be recognized as an emerging tourism destination. Little successes contribute to bigger ones, they say, and the tourism framework crafted since 2007 by governor Victor A. Tanco, called One Capiz, has borne fruit when in February 2012, Capiz was declared by the Department of Tourism (DoT) Secretary Ramon Jimenez as one of the twenty top tourist destinations in the country. The figures tell it all. In the 2010 Household Survey on Domestic Visitors conducted by the DoT and the National Statistics Office (NSO), Capiz, for the first time, ranked number twenty of having been visited by domestic travelers (566,000) in 2011. The same ranking was achieved by Capiz as a place visited by

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Pan-ay celebrates the Lingga-anay Festival in May, a festival inspired by their Dakung Lingganay or the Big Bell, which the town is well-known for (above, left). Capiz shells are made into beautiful handicrafts (above, center). Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto in Meditation Hills, Sapian, was constructed in February 2005 (above, third from left). The Santa Monica Church in Pan-ay (above, right).

domestic travelers whose main purpose of trip was for pleasure or vacation (at 236,000). While for many years known for its culinary tourism, Capiz, through a concerted effort by Tanco and the local government, is promoting the province as a multi-destination, where visitors go to dine, sightsee and engage in eco-cultural activities, the better to enrich their experience of the province. The number of caves has made the province an attractive prospect for adventure seekers. Capiz claims to have seven caves in its 16 municipalities and, together with Negros Island, accounts for almost 22 percent of the 1,500 caves found in the Philippines. It is for this reason that spelunkers have taken an interest in the caves of Capiz, not only for the beautiful rock formations and tunnels but also for their historical significance. The history buff will be fascinated by the

many stories the locals tell about how the caves were used as hideouts and makeshift hospitals during the war. Next to Cebu, Capiz is the second largest Spanish settlement, and during the war the caves are hideouts for Filipino revolutionaries. Juan Arce, Capiz’s greatest revolutionary, died during battle against Spanish soldiers inside the Balisong Cave in Pilar. The religious mystics have made the province a yearly sojourn because of the caves, where babaylans, the ancient priests in preHispanic times, had been known to worship. In Dumalag, Suhot Cave and Lahab Cave are big attractions because of the mysticism that surrounds them. The Suhotan Caves in Jamindan has several chambers, some as big as cathedrals. In Mambusao is what locals call 24

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the Kipot Hilton, the main chamber which is as big as a hotel ballroom, reached by crawling through a three-foot opening. Last year, the province hosted a caving convention in the hope of discovering and documenting the caves in Capiz, and more importantly, their preservation. Apart from the caves, the province is safeguarding its rich mangrove forests, home to the delicate capiz, diwal and other marine life. Capiz boasts of an eighty-kilometer coastline and wide expanse of swampy lands easily converted into fishponds, a major contributor to the country’s fishing industry. To date, there are three mangrove forests being developed by the provincial government for its ecotourism initiatives, one of them covering about 85,000 hectares. A trip to the mussel farm in Sapian is an educational experience, with visitors getting a first-hand try at catching lapu-lapu and learning how mussels are bred and harvested from the seafloor. With tourist arrivals on the upswing due to the varied activities the province offers, the province is now addressing the need for more infrastructure. Only recently, the province has played host to a number of conventions, among them the ATOP convention in 2010, an event that had positive impact to the province. The possibility of the province as a convention hub has invigorated the private sector to play an active role in provincial planning. To Tanco’s credit, the One Capiz program, a strategic planning workshop that involved the provincial government and local decision makers and the private sector, has made it possible for a successful government-private sector collaboration. Real estate projects have started to boom, chief among them is the Pueblo de Panay, a 300-hectare, mixeduse, master-planned township development in Roxas City, which houses a public transportation terminal, a school, the new Roxas City police station and tourism establishments, including Cafe Pueblo, Ramboys, Festa, Hotel Veronica and Urban Manor.

EXPERIENCE Travel and Living Volume 8 • Number 5 • 2012

In 2013, the Robinsons Land Corporation will open a two-storey mall in the northern part of Pueblo de Panay, the developer’s eighth mall in the Visayas. A home-stay program, in which locals would open their homes to visitors who would like to experience countryside living outside Roxas City, is also a looming possibility, especially in Pontevedra, the town nearest Roxas City. To date a number of high-end and mid-size hotels have sprouted especially in Roxas. From people to festivals to the traditional celebrations held each year, Capiz has captivated thousands of tourists and spectators from around the world. I n this part of country, traditions are held close to the heart—never lost, nor forgotten. That may be the reason for the province’s remarkable growth. GETTING THERE BY AIR: Philippine Airlines has daily flights from Manila to Roxas City and vice versa. It arrives in Roxas City at 6:15 A.M. and departs for Manila at 7 A.M. The Philippine Airlines office is at Arnaldo Blvd., Airport, Roxas City, with telephone number (+63 36) 621-0244. Cebu Pacific has twice daily flights from Manila to Roxas City and vice versa. It arrives in Roxas City at 11 A.M. and 3:35 P.M., and departs for Manila at 11:45 A.M. and 4:05 P.M. There is no afternoon flight on Tuesdays and Saturdays. The Cebu Pacific offices are on Arnaldo Blvd., Airport, Roxas City, with telephone number (+63 36) 621-4548; and at Gaisano Mall Roxas, Arnaldo Blvd., Roxas City, with telephone numbers (+63 36) 521-1088 or 621-0307. BY SEA: Moreta Shipping Lines’ M/V Love 1 plies the Manila-Roxas City-Manila route. It arrives in Roxas City at 9 A.M. on Monday and departs at 11 A.M. on Tuesday. It also arrives at 9 A.M. on Friday and departs at 2 P.M. on Friday. Its office is on Magallanes St., Roxas City, with telephone numbers (+63 36) 621-5841 (Magallanes St.) and (+63 36) 621-6053 (Culasi Port). There are also ferries from Roxas City to the provinces of Romblon and Masbate, and vice versa. BY ROLL ON-ROLL OFF BUSES (RO-RO): The Gasat Express bus departs Roxas City at 11 A.M. for Alabang, Pasay and Cubao. Office is at Km. 1, Roxas City, with telephone number (+63 36) 6209183. The Dimple Express bus also departs Roxas City at 11 A.M. for Alabang, Pasay and Cubao. Office is at Km. 1, Roxas City, with mobile number 0939-4690592. Ceres Liner also has regular trips.


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ESPACIO VERDE RESORT Aside from accommodations, Espacio Verde Resort also offers hearty and flavorful dishes. Must-tries are chicken inubaran, native chicken dish cooked in coconut milk and sweet, tender slices of banana pith or ubad; delectable seafood mix; and melt-in-your-mouth baked scallops. These and other dishes are from family recipes, beloved by friends, family guests and later on by its growing diners. Espacio Verde Resort also has spaces for family events, corporate functions and gettogethers of family and friends. It has El Comedor, the main hall that can seat from 200 to 250 guests; the veranda and garden area that can accommodate about 500 guests; and its poolside and terraza area, perfect for intimate groups. Espacio Verde Resort is a place to relax and retreat at the end of a tiresome day. Guests can enjoy the water sports it offers. Guests will also feel at ease as they are accommodated by its welcoming and friendly staff, ready to assist them with their requests. Espacio Verde Resort is in the barangay of Dayao in Roxas City, with telephone numbers (+63 36) 643-1443, (+63 36) 522-8383 and (+63 36) 621-7682; mobile phone numbers +63946-8239750 and +0916-3523625; email addresses espacioverde08@gmail.com and espacio-verde-resort@yahoo.com.ph; and Web site www.espacioverde-resort.com Volume 8 • Number 5 • 2012 EXPERIENCE Travel and Living |

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SAN ANTONIO RESORT This four-hectare resort, a few meters from Baybay Beach in Roxas City, has luxury and the gentle charm of its surroundings. It is composed of 50 rooms with comfortable beds, air-conditioning, TVs and bathrooms with hot and cold shower. The resort has trees, flowering plants and a lagoon with a mangrove growth, where guests can enjoy water sports activities such as boating and fishing. Aside from that, guests can also enjoy its swimming pools. The resort’s dining outlets offer gastronomic delights from delicious beverages to dishes that can satisfy different types of taste and anyone’s hunger. The Lakeview, which is its main restaurant, has a wide selection of international cuisines and seafood dishes. Guests can prefer to stay indoors at the Chica-Chica Restaurant, an executive lounge, for a quieter atmosphere. For those who like to have a natural setting and a view, they can dine at the Kainan Village, fronting Baybay Beach. The beachfront is dotted with tall, palm trees under which there are tables and benches. This serves as the dining area for guests. At another side of the beach are its various open-air food stalls. San Antonio Resort also has Sandbar, which provides music and good vibe and a wide selection of beverages. Its Poolbar, on the other hand, is a venue to enjoy light snacks on a late afternoon.

San Antonio Resort in Lawis, Roxas City, can be contacted through telephone number (+63 36) 621-6638, telefax number (+63 36) 621-7266, mobile phone number +639209825377 or +63917-6205377, and email san_antonio_resort@yahoo.com. Visit http:// thesanantonioresort.com. Contact person is Guia Felicia Ignacio.

SPRING HILLS RESORT Spring Hills Resort is a three-hectare property found in Malocloc Norte in Ivisan. Here, one can marvel at the majestic view of mountains, find a spring and hear the relaxing sound of flowing water. There are cottages and rooms. Nearby, guests can enjoy its pool. Its main function hall is a venue to bond with families, friends, and other guests; for private functions such as birthday parties and family reunions; for religious events including retreats and recollections; and for corporate activities such as team building and seminars. Spring Hills Resort can be contacted through mobile phone numbers +63908-9419550 and +639053399148, telephone number (+63 36) 643-0685 and email address bowns4k@yahoo.com.

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SANTA ANA FARM RESORT This 1.5-hectare resort is in the town of Ivisan, about 45 minutes from Roxas City. This getaway is where guests can enjoy its pools, fresh seafood dishes and cottages. Away from the hustle and bustle of the city, it is a good place to hold retreats, recollections and garden weddings. The Kaogmahan Hall is an apt venue for gatherings such as wedding receptions, birthday celebrations and family reunions. Santa Ana Farm Resort is where families and friends can enjoy a bucolic vacation. They can pick mangoes, coconuts and papaya; and bond together with a game of pool or karaoke sessions. Santa Ana Farm Resort is in the barangay of Ilaya in Ivisan with telephone number (+63 36) 643-0389; mobile phone numbers +63917-9868152 and +63909-3800204; and email address herma_staana@yahoo.com.

VILLA PATRIA COTTAGES Villa Patria Cottages, surrounded by plants and shaded by fruit-bearing trees, is in the four-hectare property of the AltavasMorente clan, one of the pioneering families in Roxas City. It is a few meters away from Baybay Beach and is composed of 17 homey villas. Each villa has a comfortable bed, air-conditioning, TV and bathroom with hot and cold shower. This getaway is also perfect for group gatherings such as family reunions, birthdays, weddings, retreats or recollections, corporate team buildings and seminars. One can take a stroll around the expansive property. Guests can lounge at one of the pergolas at another part of the property, or visit its quaint chapel close to the ancestral home of the owners. Other spots to check out within the property are Yellow Box (Pizza / Kitchen), a dining parlor; and Joamanda Café, located at the beachfront. Villa Patria Hotel and Restaurant is located in the barangay of Baybay in Roxas City, about a kilometer from the Roxas City Plaza and half a kilometer from the airport. Contact telephone number (+63 36) 621-0180 or mobile phone number +63917-7178669 and look for Josefina Morente. Email address is Patria_villa@ yahoo.com or morentetony@gmail.com.

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ALMA’S GRILL AND RESTAURANT In Capiz, enjoy seafood at the best grill house, Alma’s Grill and Restaurant, which is well-known here. Mention seafood and the name Alma’s is most likely to come up. The spacious restaurant in Lawis, Baybay, Roxas City, is a recent development, evolving from a small space at the Roxas City Plaza or Talabahan. One month after its opening, customers have flocked to the place to try its increasingly diversified menu. Alma Dolfo started the restaurant together with her mother and daughter. Around two to three years ago, the three generations of women put up a small stall that solely sold oysters. Eventually, they moved to the Talabahan alongside other seafood stalls. Their special marinades and sauces made their dishes stand out. Today, their stall has grown into a full-fledged restaurant but the old place is still operational. The new restaurant is owned and managed by Alma Dolfo, her daughter Maria Cristina Cassandra Dolfo and her daughter’s husband, Anthony Jude Montano. At Alma’s Grill and Restaurant, diners can choose which fresh seafood they like as well as the way they want it to be cooked. They can choose to have it fried, grilled, served on a sizzling platter, cooked in sweet and sour sauce or in sinigang. Their menu includes back ribs, chopsuey, mixed vegetables, buttered shrimp/prawn, grilled scallops with butter and garlic, sizzling gambas, sizzling blue marlin, sizzling squid, sizzling boneless bangus, sotanghon guisado, fish sticks, stone fish, crab in coconut milk sauce, pork barbeque, chicken barbeque, fish sinigang, oyster and sea shells. They also serve fresh fruit juices. From small beginnings to a new restaurant, Alma’s Grill and Restaurant is growing to be a Capiz favorite. Alma’s Grill and Restaurant can be contacted through telephone numbers (+63 36) 5221241 and (+63 36) 621-9050; mobile phone number +63920-7743885; and email address cassandra.kc_21@yahoo.com.

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THE GRAND GAZEBO A few meters away from Baybay beach, the Grand Gazebo is the perfect venue to hold private functions such as wedding receptions, birthday parties, family reunions and debut celebrations. Corporate events and other social gatherings can also be held here. A massive frangipani tree that has been in the property for three generations welcomes you at this spacious yet homey venue. At night, dramatic lighting sets the stage for and gives a warm glow to any special occasion. Whether your event is for eight persons or for 400, the Grand Gazebo can comfortably accommodate them in surroundings punctuated by waterfalls and fish ponds. The sea breeze and the venue’s mist fans ensure that your guests are cooled in any season. Another feature is the VIP room where wedding couples or other guests can freshen up or change in comfort and privacy. Cowrie Hall is ideal for corporate functions such as meetings, team buildings, workshops and seminars. It can accommodate 30 to 70 persons. The spacious outdoor area can be spruced up to hold other functions. A staff ensures events go well. The Grand Gazebo also offers off-premise catering services with a menu that includes Filipino dishes and homebaked desserts and pastries. The Grand Gazebo is in Lawis, Baybay, Roxas City, with telephone numbers (+63 36) 522-7726 and (+63 36) 643-0796; mobile phone number +63948-4361188; and email address rkyton@yahoo.com.ph.

THE CADIMAHAN-LIBOTONG RIVER TOUR When in Capiz, visitors can enjoys its rivers through the Cadimahan-Libong River Tour at Lawis Baybay, Roxas City, about ten minutes ride away from the center of the city. The Labsfar Project Vision is a model river tour project in the efforts to rehabilitate the Cadimahan-Libotong River and to afford visitors with a refreshing and enriching tour, providing livelihood to fisher folks in partnership with government and private sectors. It is the first river tour in Roxas City, in which visitors can dine as well as listen to live composo, local folk songs. The project is financed by the city government, the city agriculture office and the provincial office. In addition to offering a tour, the site also offers courses on the interpretation of resources, recreational fishing and demonstration of fishing gear used by fishermen. Community participation through activities such as mangrove planting and river cleanups is encouraged. To learn more about the Cadimahan-Libotong River Tour, visit: Roxascityleague.info/cadimahan-river-tour Cadimahanlibotongrivertour.blogspot.com Cadimahan2011.jimdo.com.

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Enjoying Baybay Beach BaiaNorte Beach Club at

One’s experience at BaiaNorte Beach Club along Baybay Beach in Roxas City, Capiz, can be described as pure and simple bliss. Its location affords one with an expansive and beautiful view of Baybay Beach. Baybay Beach was once dubbed as “a lazy beach” because it was and still is a place where one can unwind and get away from the usual stresses of the city. Here, the daily hustle and bustle are replaced by the calming sounds of nature—the chirping of birds from nearby trees, the gentle whisper of the wind, and the crashing of the waves. One can enjoy all these at BaiaNorte Beach Club with accommodations that cost from Php880 to Php2,080. Its cozy rooms are a source of comfort, complete with basic amenities including a nice bed, cable TV and a bathroom. The function hall, as well as the open spaces, is suitable venues to hold intimate functions such as family gatherings. Guests here will immediately feel at ease with its friendly and accommodating staff, ready to assist them with their needs. Completing this simple yet satisfying experience at BaiaNorte Beach Club is the hearty, home-style dishes in its El Viento Restaurant. Guests here can choose from a menu of seafood dishes as well as Filipino and American cuisines. It also offers a line-up of beverages, such as sodas, cocktail drinks, wines and other liquors. 32

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CONTACT INFORMATION BaiaNorte Beach Club is located along Baybay Beach in Roxas City, Capiz, with telephone number (+63 36) 621-2165, fax number (+63 36) 621-4920, mobile phone numbers +63927-3592071 and +639279110876, and email address baianortebeach@yahoo.com.


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t was a sight to behold when the giant Christmas parols (lanterns) at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) were lit one starless night in November. For the next two months, as was the yearly tradition, the usually stark facade of the monolith CCP will be brightened with Christmas cheer, breaking the monotonous drive along the stretch of Roxas Boulevard. Evening walks in and around the complex have become more pleasurable. Passersby would stop and stare. Motorists would crank down their car windows to get a better view. The beautiful display of lights is the second time at the CCP under a three-year collaboration between the CCP and the city of San Fernando, Pampanga, regarded as the Christmas capital of the Philippines. The ceremonial lighting on November 6, 2012, of the “Sulu: Parul Sampernandu,” an exhibit of San Fernando Christmas lanterns, heralds the start of the Yuletide season in Manila. “In the past, the Christmas decor at the CCP was always an afterthought. We usually played on the lawn where we put Christmas lanterns on sulo (bamboo torch) from Las Piñas. When we retired the parols we’ve been using after five years, we decided to do something we’ve never tried before—to make full use of the CCP facade to hang all the parols,” says Ricardo Cruz, head of overall design.

The façade of the Cultural Center of the Philippines, the premiere cultural institution in the country, is adorned with Christmas lanterns made from San Fernando City, Pampanga

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The 50 parols—measuring eight feet in diameter and all in white—were put up last year and will illuminate the CCP facade until 2013. These lanterns were made in the home of Ernesto David Quiwa, acknowledged as the pioneer of lantern-making in San Fernando. His giant lanterns have been exhibited in other countries including Spain, the United States of America and Japan. For CCP’s starburst lanterns, the design called for simplicity, which according to Cruz complements the building’s exteriors. “When we showed them the design, we were surprised when they told us that the white lanterns were the same as that which was made in the 1940s in Pampanga,” he shares. The San Fernando parol is renowned for its large size, brilliant colors and flashing kaleidoscopic patterns made possible by the intricate electrical circuitry fashioned by the craftsmen of San Fernando. The Ligligan Parul, or the Giant Lantern Festival, is the top tourist attraction of the city. Each lantern has 64 bulbs with eight flicker circuits and built to last. What proved to be a challenge was how to put up these lanterns on the flat surface of the CCP façade—twenty-three on the front, seven at the entrance doors and the rest evenly distributed on the sides and back of the CCP. The CCP facade, says Cruz, does


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not have windows like the Central Bank of the Philippines on which to fasten the lanterns, hence they had two things to contend with. First, there is the wind. The mere gust of wind may cause the lanterns to fall off, which is very unsafe. So they used steel matting used in layering cement to support the weight of the parol and attach them securely. Second is the circuitry of the parols, which allows for the light and sound show, a first in the long history of parol displays at the CCP. The usual blinking lights have been enhanced with a five-minute light and sound show, which according to Cruz, was planned only a month before the launch. For this year’s lantern display, he wanted thirty more parols to add to the existing ones. However, due to budget constraints, he had to rely on his creative team to make the display as different as possible from last year’s. “We thought of a light and sound show so we asked our lighting designer, Danny Villanueva, to create a five-minute display,” he says. Villanueva did a three-minute narration on the history of the parol which segues into two minutes of lights-only display to the glorious strains of Handel’s “Hallelujah.” He is still fine-tuning the sound such that it would carry off clearly into the Bermuda grasscovered lawn down by the ramp, along the boulevard. Since then, more and more people have come to the CCP complex to sit on the gently sloping ramp to wait for the 6 P.M. light and sound extravaganza, a much-awaited event especially on weekends. Already the mood in and around CCP has considerably brightened, the air palpable with anticipation for the Yuletide season, most especially when one catches sight of the intricately-designed parols lit up with a thousand lights from within. The belen, or crèche or Nativity scene, made of stained glass, will be installed on the ramp before the Simbang Gabi, and will be lit on the eve of the dawn mass, which starts on the 16th of December. Yuletide decorations of all shapes, sizes and cultural meanings would put up in every home, office or mall, and yet nothing could evoke the feel of a true Filipino Christmas more than that of the parol, the symbol of hope, when one starless night a single star illuminated the humble manger of the infant Jesus. More than a showcase of Filipino creativity and ingenuity, these parols are a sign of hope for a better 2013. The five-minute light and sound display is seen daily at 6 P.M., 7:30 P.M. and 9 P.M. The lanterns will be lit from 3 A.M. to 6 A.M. during this year’s Simbang Gabi. On Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, they will be on from 6 P.M. to 6 A.M. and will continue to be lit until January 6, 2013. “This is CCP’s gift to Manilans. We hope we can come up with better and brighter designs in the years to come,” says Cruz. CHRISTMAS IN OTHER PARTS OF METRO MANILA

The Philippines is known for celebrating the world’s longest Christmas season with homes decorated for the holidays as early as October. Parol making becomes a delightful preoccupation, with school children using new and recycled materials to make parols, such as plastic cups, candy wrappers, soft drink straws, recycled paper and shells. For the enterprising, the parol becomes a source of income

This life-sized depiction of the nativity scene at the Farmers’ Market at the Araneta Center serves as a reminder of the true meaning of Christmas (top). Festival of Lights at the Mall of Asia (middle). The SM Mall of Asia Christmas tree spreads Yuletide cheer among shoppers (above).

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A million dazzling lights and heart trees line the streets of Ayala Avenue in Makati

The giant Christmas tree at the Araneta Center

with stalls sprouting everywhere—along Gil Puyat Avenue and under the Quiapo bridge. Well-loved Filipino Christmas songs such as “Ang Pasko ay Sumapit,” “Himig ng Pasko” or “Kampana ng Simbahan” are played in jeepneys and buses. Hawkers would sell parols when traffic is at a standstill. While there is a Christmas tree in each home, the most enduring and meaningful symbol of family unity and love, the belen occupies a special place in every home. With a predominantly Catholic population, the country awakens to the sound of church bells ringing once the dawn mass known as Misa de Gallo or Simbang Gabi starts. After the mass, churchgoers treat themselves to puto bumbong, bibingka and a steaming cup of tsokolate batirol just outside the church doors, while carolers will then be on their feet singing Christmas carols from house to house. With Christmas just around the corner, many are beginning to get caught up with the frenzy of planning family reunions, office parties and barkada get-togethers. Relatives from abroad begin calling and planning for the long-awaited trip back home. Around this time, the tradition of exchanging gifts, also called monito monita, is usually done among schoolmates, workmates or among family and friends. This necessitates countless trips to the malls, through snarling traffic in Metro Manila, in a frantic search for the perfect gift especially around the Meccas of bargain hunters— Divisoria and Tutuban. For more bargain-hunting, some would visit the bazaars in between office lunch breaks and on weekends where one can choose from a wide variety of products from edible gifts to bags, toys, shoes, ethnic products and even clothes. The trips to the malls and bazaars go on until the last person on the list has been crossed out. Commercial establishments are buoyed by the surge of shoppers and outdo each other in putting up the brightest and most beautiful decorations. SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City, the country’s largest mall, kicked off this year ’s Christmas activities when it lit up their grand Christmas tree in the Main Mall Atrium. The majestic fifty-foot tree is decked in twinkling lights and amazing toys with jolly Santa Claus on hand for kids and adults to have pictures taken with him. The whole mall felt the warmth of Christmas as they were serenaded by the University of the Philippines Singing Ambassadors and OPM legend Kuh Ledesma.

In Makati City, the country’s financial district, roughly 1.3 millions lights blanket posts and palm trees with free-standing sculptures called heart trees covered in white fairy lights. With the ceremonial switching off of the streetlights, Makati’s three main thoroughfares— Ayala Avenue, Makati Avenue, and Paseo de Roxas—are magically transformed into a Christmas wonderland. Ayala Triangle Gardens lit up with very own display of lights while Ayala Center rushes off into the yearly Christmas madness sale. Drive up north through EDSA and find Araneta Center’s giant Christmas tree bathed in ephemeral light, signaling the official start of the holiday season in this area in Quezon City. For 31 years, the lighting of the giant Christmas tree, a legacy started by the patriarch J. Amadeo Araneta, has been a long held tradition. This year, Araneta Center once again teamed up with Coca-Cola when it brought a constellation of stars from all TV networks to celebrate the lighting of the 100-foot Christmas tree at Quadrant C outside the Red Gate of the Smart Araneta Coliseum. The tree lighting likewise ushered in more holiday fanfare including the season’s bargains offered by the three malls—Gateway Mall, Ali Mall and the New Farmers’ Plaza— restaurants and Farmers’ Market. With the gamut of Christmas activities happening in and around the metro, the Christmas frenzy lasts until the last gift is wrapped and placed under the Christmas tree, when all members of the family join in the much-anticipated Noche Buena, a traditional Christmas Eve feast eaten after the midnight mass. The Noche Buena is a very special occasion, when Filipinos bring out the best china and silverware, and the table laden with lechon, morcon, embutido, relyenong bangus, lumpia, pansit and the ever-present hamon and quezo de bola. Suman sa ibos or sumang Pasko (glutinous rice wrapped in banana leaves or buri leaves), symbolic of the family “sticking together through good and bad times,” is served with desserts such as halayang ube and leche flan (egg custard). Indeed, there is nothing quite like the Filipino Christmas. We amplify it with traditions rooted on faith and true devotion to family, and imbue it with our unique brand of fiesta mentality. The three weeks of preparations finally winds down to the New Year and continues until the first Sunday of January which is the Feast of the Epiphany (The Three Kings).

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STAYING TRUE IN

Finding a Home at Villa Tortuga BY REINERIO A. ALBA PHOTOS BY ROEL HOANG MANIPON

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t was a weekend trip sparked by a prenuptial photo shoot of friends who were set to be married in Taal, Batangas, the following month. By the time the soonto-be married friends mouthed the words old houses, the trip was a full-blast go. Besides, the dates coincided with the celebration of the town fiesta, or feast day of Saint Martin of Tours, which gave one a chance to see Taaleños up close, or at the very least, the descendants of people linked to the Philippine Revolution of 1896 to 1898. And so, putting calls through the office of the architect Robert Arambulo, tourism officer of Taal, Batangas, the trip pushed through with an overnight accommodation at one of the more interesting houses now offering bed and breakfast in Taal: Villa Tortuga. One’s excitement at the chance of spending a night, at last, in an old house that dated back to 1870 was later matched only by one’s feeling at having arrived in a town that had been home to the often glossed over historical personalities referred to in the books as the “Indios Bravos,” or the Ilustrados of the nineteenthcentury Philippines who supported the Philippine Revolution. It was an early Saturday morning, and one’s first view of the town were the stalls that lined the town square and owners already arranging into place various kitchenware items, brooms, even ready-to-wear dresses. It was the third

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day of the fiesta celebration, after all. One followed the path into the rows of stalls and found an opening out into the municipal building, a two-storey white structure with its name announced in brick-red lettering on a pediment that roofed over the central part of the second-floor terrace. And proudly, there on its entablature were the numbers 1572, the year the town was founded by the Augustinian missionaries along the shores of Taal Lake in present-day San Nicolas. Taal became the provincial capital in 1732, and became the name of the province as well. But the devastating eruption of Taal Volcano in 1754 buried the old town of Taal, making Batangan (Batangas City) the new capital. The heritage town of Taal is now located in the northwestern part of the province of Batangas, along the Pansipit River. “When people hear Taal, they are thinking of the volcano, so a lot of visitors are pleasantly surprised when they discover that it is a heritage town in Batangas,” admitted Arambulo. The municipal building, as in all the country’s surviving Spanish colonial towns, faced, without a choice, the imposing basilica of St. Martin of Tours, the adjective merited fully not only because of the church’s sheer size but also by the fact that it is located at the highest point of the town. And predictably, the statue of Jose Rizal, in black coat


and with book in its left hand, stood valiantly between the two structures, seemingly like an older brother appealing for leniency towards the latter. One’s eyes eventually fell on the 7-Eleven convenience store branch by the left side of the municipal quadrangle, which turned out to be located along M. Agoncillo Street, the street that would pass by Villa Tortuga. Architect Augusto Villalon, in his book Lugar: Essays on Heritage and Architecture, describes Taal as “the coquette,” differentiating its old houses from Vigan’s old houses as being “lighter in feeling, presenting an attractive, almost coquettish façade that attracts public attention.” And such a description did ring true as one rode a tricycle down M. Agoncillo Street to Villa Tortuga, and with old bahays na bato on both sides of the street coming into view one after the other like curious townsfolk happy to see new people. One would have missed Villa Tortuga saved for what one could only surmise as three carriage entrances-turneddisplay windows for its facade. The tricycle driver instructed us that the gate to the house was located on the side, following the road towards the Our Lady of Caysasay Shrine. It was an unadorned time-worn wooden gate that was barely locked from inside, and one had to pull on a string attached to a rusty small bell hanging almost by the roof of

the house to alert the people inside. After three light pulls at the string, a bare-chested, young, curly-haired man with a week-old beard appeared by the capiz window at the second floor. When the gate opened, the man was already in a white shirt and ushered us at once into a short stair that led to the house’s grand wooden stair. Conches lined each step of the stairs on both sides. Chandeliers, tables, chairs, large portraits that stare at you, cabinets, greet guests at once, and one was met by a petite girl who immediately led the way to a door-in-the wall room at the left side of the main stair. One had to feel one’s way in the still dark room, which had all the looks and smell of the old rooms of old houses one had previously visited: wooden poster beds, side tables, even the quintessential rocking chair. The initial room connected to another room by a narrow door, and stepping into the next room one beheld another set of old portraits staring over one’s head, dark wooden floors and walls speaking somberly of past lives, the early morning sunshine muted by the capiz windows. One almost expected a lady in white gown gliding over into the poster bed. But the thought burst as the airconditioning unit was turned on, replaced by a question of whether the small box-type gray TV in the far corner of the room had cable channels. The animated movie Ringo, when

Built in 1575, the Basilica of St. Martin of Tours is said to be the largest church in Asia

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The Agoncillo house, now a museum, was home to Marcela Agoncillo, more known in Philippine history as the woman who helped sew the first Philippine flag

one thumbed the power button of the remote control, calmed down any further thought whether one could last the night later. The toilet and bathroom area were located outside the room, and one had to cross over the main sala and into the staff’s low-ceilinged dining area. One pushed another narrow door by the side of the wall and found oneself walking gingerly on bamboo-slat floor towards two curtained doors, a concrete wall dividing the bathroom and the toilet. The latter was located parallel to the Pansipit River but with its door and bowl against its fast water current. Lingering by the entrance to the toilet and through an open window, one had a bucolic view of the river and the town of Lemery just over the other side. As one turned to the right, one beheld a self image reflected back by the large wooden-framed mirror hoisted at the corner wall atop an old altar table, the mirror dulled but unfazed by the passing of time. One had to check if it was a real image up close. Lunch was an amusing event as the same petite girl and bearded man showed up this time in baro’t saya, and linen top and trousers respectively. At the dining area, one shared the long table with two cheerful women guests who availed of the Villa’s day tour and a five-course lunch of Taaleño dishes. The two were former workmates who found the time to finally travel together after years of absence from each other’s lives, enticed by a feature on the Villa Tortuga house in Susan Calo-Medina’s show Travel Time. Lunch started with sopa de Taal (pork ribs with glass noodles and malunggay leaves), ensalada Filipina (a salad of ripe mango cubes, steamed 42

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okra and water convulvulus), atcharang hilaw na mangga (pickled green mango) with the main dishes tapa Taal, cerro de piña (pork sauteed in fresh pineapple), adobong dilaw (chicken adobo with turmeric root) and sinaing na tulingan (boiled skipjack tuna). Dessert was suman and hot chocolate eh. After lunch, the two women excitedly vanished into the studio in the basement where one could change into period costumes for souvenir photos. The narrow stairs that led to the basement was marked by the huge stuffed turtle hanging by the wall. Villa Tortuga, one would learn, was named by designer Lito Perez after a supposed sighting of turtles at the back of the house by the Pansipit River. And how did the same Manila-born Perez of Camp Suki fame and who pioneered the rental of formal wear, period dresses and quirky costumes in Manila ended up being the lessee of Villa Tortuga? “I discovered Taal when I was younger during a field trip with the family. Then, I went back again five years ago and realized that the beautiful old houses were being discarded. I looked for a probable rental place. I asked my friends until one of them informed me that his sister-in-law had relatives who recently inherited an old house, which she described as ‘parang bahay ni Rizal’ (like Rizal’s house). I fell in love at first sight.” Perez related that the house was built around 1870 by Francisco Gajon and changed ownership under various relatives until it ended up with the current owners Dr. Juanita Zagala and cousins, heirs of the Garcia-Leonor clan. And what of the Colonial Experience Tour Perez has been offering Villa Tortuga’s guests?


The monument of Marcela Agoncillo, made by Florante Caedo, stands next to the house (above, left). The Ilagan-Barrion House is now the Galleria Taal (top, left). Next to Villa Tortuga is Galeria Orlina of renowned glass sculptor Ramon Orlina. At the back, one can sip coffee and have desserts at Francisco’s with a view of the Pansipit River (above, right).

“There are many local and foreign tourists here in Taal Poblacion who have been asking if there are tours that are available. It started from there. Also, many old houses in Taal are not given attention. This made me think of providing a tour in order for visitors to see the architecture and history that abound in the place. I made some research on the food of colonial Philippines and also consulted some people to add to my ideas.” Emerging from the basement studio sans costumes, the two women finally joined the group for the tour. First stop was the next-door gallery of Taal-born artist Ramon Orlina, whose back was converted to a cafe called Francisco’s. Further down the road was the Marcela Mariño Agoncillo Museum. The house belonged to Marcela Agoncillo, the distinguished Taaleña more known in Philippine history as the woman who helped sew the first Philippine flag. Guests to the house-turned-museum would come upon the scene of Marcela Agoncillo sewing the flag with the help of Delfina Natividad (Rizal’s niece) and her daughter Lorenza, forever captured in the white marble sculpture of Florante Caedo by the landing leading to the main staircase. What stood out from the information being told by the tour guide was how the townspeople would wait outside the church just to catch a glimpse of her beautiful face. One missed asking the question whether the thimble used by Marcela Agoncillo that had been on display in Malacañan Museum had a counterpart in the house. Outside, on a small patch of land beside the museum, stood another Caedo statue of Agoncillo made of bronze, depicting her standing with a flag draped over both her outstretched arms. Next stop along Calle Agoncillo was the Apacible Museum, once the ancestral home of Don Leon and Matilde Apacible. The historical marker

states that Don Leon had served as the right hand of General Miguel Malvar during the revolution. The house, more importantly, became a meeting place for other Philippine heroes such as Jose Rizal and Mariano Ponce, among others. It also became the house of Taal’s first female mayor and the only daughter of Leon Apacible Jr., Corazon Apacible Cañisa, who was already sixty years old when she assumed the post. On display at the sala were all her memorabilia including the fans she used and beautifullycrafted and locally-made silver ware, which turned out to be nothing more than mosquito net holders. Projects credited to her were the setting up of the Batangas Memorial Foundation, Inc., which created the Taal Museum, and two hectares of land donated for Taal’s Home for the Aged. She donated another two hectares of land to the Bureau of Fisheries for research on the propagation of all kinds of fish, especially the maliputo (giant trevally), a freshwater version of talakitok found only in Taal lake. The visit to the Villavicencio residences, whose descendants were blessed with today’s flourishing businesses (Triple V and Flying V), took the visitor to the heart of an extraordinary Taaleña. Prior to seeing all corners of the house, guests were asked to first view a short documentary on the life of the Villavicencio matriarch: Doña Gliceria Marella de Villavicencio. Where one was used to hearing the story of Melchora Agoncillo’s sacrifices during Philippine Revolution of 1896, the story of Doña Gliceria flipped the coin of heroism and bravery, and its popular face which always showed the hapless, the poor, or even the weak. Doña Gliceria was none of that. She was rich, after all, as displayed by the well-preserved house, which was the only Taal house with an original tin ceiling (Look up when you visit). This first Volume 8 • Number 5 • 2012 EXPERIENCE Travel and Living |

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house was connected by a covered bridge to another beautiful old house to its left, which had been referred to as the “wedding gift house” as it was a present from her husband Don Eulalio Villavicencio, a ship captain. Doña Gliceria, more importantly, owned a steamer boat named SS Bulusan. General Emilio Aguinaldo was even quoted to have referred to her as the “godmother of the revolutionary forces” during the proclamation of the Philippine Independence on June 12, 1898. SS Bulusan was said to be the first warship made available to the revolutionaries, which plied the Manila-Batangas route transporting Filipino soldiers, armaments, ammunitions and food supplies for the revolutionary forces. She proved herself brave. Doña Gliceria was said to have helped sneaked in armaments from the harbor to their house by sitting in front of the carts that she ordered to be covered with crops. She was also said to have requested her own children to eat less of their normal share of grains for fear that she

would lose grains to feed the revolutionaries. But fought she did, as one who also made sure that the revolutionaries had both food and armaments on hand always. Her passion in supporting the revolution against the Spaniards and later the Americans was said to have been inflamed by the death of her husband who was incarcerated by the Spaniards along with Pablo Ocampo and Dr. Ariston Bautista in February 1898. From one of the house’s windows one could clearly see Balayan Bay, and it was not hard to imagine Doña Gliceria anxiously waiting the return of the SS Bulusan more than a century ago. One left the Villavicencio house somehow grateful that the riches of the family had survived through the current descendants, or else the Villavicencio house could have rotted away along with all its memories, ending up as a haunted ruin. But that thought, too, was easily struck away by the beautiful sun outside as it hit the façades of the two houses in one beautiful shimmer.

Above: The Our Lady of Caysasay Church houses an eight-inch tall, miraculous, seventeenth-century image of the Immaculate Conception found by a fisherman named Juan Maningcad in the Pansipit River. Opposite page: Villa Tortuga is a bed-and-breakfast place operated by fashion designer Lito Perez. It also offers a guided tour of the heritage town plus a chance to go back in time through a photo shoot (top). Escuela Pia, a school supervised by the church, was named after the congregation established by San Jose of Calansanz during the seventeenth century. Agustinian priests constructed the said convent, which later became a school for underprivileged Taaleño youth. The present edifice was built through the effort of P. Aniceto Aparicio in 1885 and even became the central school during the American regime (middle, right). The Leon Apacible Historical Landmark is where Don Leon and Matilde Apacible lived. He served as the right hand of General Miguel Malvar during the revolution (bottom, right). Doña Gliceria Marella de Villavicencio lived in this house. She was dubbed as “godmother of the revolutionary forces” by General Emilio Aguinaldo because of her dedication to revolutionary causes (middle, left). Marcela Agoncillo Street is studded with old houses (bottom, left).

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The visitor in search of the religious experience could always proceed to the Our Lady of Caysasay Church, where the eight-inch tall, miraculous, seventeenth-century image of the Immaculate Conception had been enshrined. In 1603, the story goes, a fisherman by the name of Juan Maningcad went out fishing at the Pansipit River. When he pulled out his net, he caught the foothigh image of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It was before this large painting of Juan Maningcad catching the image in his net that the tour guide related the Casaysay origins. Stories would revolve around her vanishing only to return until she vanished again for good. In 1611, she was said to have been found perched on a tree branch, flanked by two lighted candles, and surrounded by casay-casay (kingfisher) birds that abound in the area. Another version said that the image was found in the hollow of a rock on the hillside beside a spring in the village. A beautifully carved stone dome or arch would be constructed over this same spring near the current church, and named Ang Balon ni Sta. Lucia, or the Wells of Santa Lucia. The Our Lady of Caysaysay image was canonically crowned in 1954 and was later given the title the Queen of the Archdiocese of Lipa, with its feast day falling on December 8. One almost 46

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expected for one’s hand to suddenly pass through air as it touched the back of the image through a small opening located by the second floor. But it was as solid as the day Juan Maningcad held it. After one had said one’s prayers and wishes, one was overwhelmed anew by the children selling red candles downstairs, little entrepreneurial Taaleños who spiritedly outdid each other in sounding smart, concerned, while repressing an urge to shove the candles in the visitor’s face. Yet even when one had not bought any candles, one would be sent away with “God bless” phrases, and surprisingly, a recitation of their full names and a plea to look for them in one’s future visits, almost like a learned script. The smaller ones who were outtalked managed a hearty goodbye wave. At that point, the two women took their leave, and the rest of the afternoon was spent strolling around town without a tour guide. One was pleasantly surprised at all the brightly-colored gowns and hand-embroidered Tagalog shirts (barong Tagalog) that seemed to parade themselves in the clothes stalls. Taal, long known for burdang Taal, had all the fine and intricate embroidery to showcase for a wide choice of materials from the expensive semi-transparent piña fibers, to jusi or silk, ramie and cotton fibers. It was


Opposite page: The municipal hall of Taal. Below: The delicious empanada of Taal has three fillings: pork, chicken and vegetable. The round ones are filled with pork (left). Menchu is reputed to make one of the best Tagalog shirts in town (top, right). One of the highlights of Lito Perez’s tour is a sumptuous lunch of Taal specialties including adobong dilaw and Taal tapa (bottom, right).

Amelia Lontoc, owner of the known stall of barong Tagalog Menchu, who eventually pointed to the empanada stalls in the market. Inside the market, one also found all sorts of merienda or snacks: rice delicacies, along with nilupak (mashed cassava and saba bananas), buchi coated in orangey flour and without the sesame seeds, pansit, halu-halo and empanadas. For empanadas, one was referred either to Mita’s or Bong and Wena’s Special Empanada and Eatery. All businesses here had the names of the proprietor: B & V Lomi House and Pansit Guisado, Jojo & Tita Special Tapa and Longganisa, Amponin-Dimaculangan Special Tapa and Longganisa, etc. Arambulo said that plans are underway in making the Taal Public Market “greener” in terms of landscaping, and in eliminating the use of plastic bags. Touring Taal on foot had been easy but future visitors could look forward to the municipal plans. Arambulo revealed that there had been an increase in the visitor arrivals this year up from the 37,000 visitors in 2011 and with eighty percent of the visitors comprising locals and balikbayans. He also admitted that there is very little information about Taal in the international market and looked to how Ilocos Sur’s Vigan City has marketed itself as a heritage destination. “It is also necessary to create designated path area for the walking tours within the core zone as well as control the exhaust smoke pollution from the tricycles. We would like to reintroduce kalesas for tourists to visit the town,” added Arambulo.

Waking up to the sound of human voices the next day, one opened the capiz window to discover the horserace in progress along M. Agoncillo Street. Strolling back into the market, one came upon high school students wearing shirts with the “I do not run in vain” quote splashed across them, all the students getting ready for a fun race organized by the basilica of St. Martin of Tours. On the right side, down the steps of the church, one had a perfect view of Escuela Pia, school supervised by the church and was named after the congregation established by San Jose of Calansanz during the seventeenth century. Agustinian priests constructed the said convent, which later became a school for underprivileged Taaleño youth. The present edifice was built through the effort of P. Aniceto Aparicio in 1885 and even became the central school during the American regime. The restoration of the Escuela Pia building, considered to be one of the oldest educational institutions in the country, was initiated by Taal Arts and Culture Movement, Inc., in cooperation with the National Historical Institute (now the National Historical Commission of the Philippines), and was eventually declared a National Historical Landmark through Presidential Decree No.260 in 1973. One seemed dwarfed sitting at the steps of the church, which is known as the largest church in the Philippines and in Asia, standing 96 metres (315 feet) tall and 45 metres (148 feet) wide. Curious as to how things looked from the top of the church, one braved the narrow and walled stairwell up Volume 8 • Number 5 • 2012 EXPERIENCE Travel and Living |

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Galleria Taal houses the present owner’s impressive collection of cameras

into rooftop. The town indeed radiated from the church and its streets out further towards Lemery and Balayan Bay. In December 8, 1954, the church was relegated into a minor basilica, the third in the country to be given such honor. The church was restored in 1972 by the Taal Quadricentennial Council for the town’s 400th anniversary. By Presidential Decree No. 375, on January 16, 1974, the church was declared a National Shrine. The damaged belfry was later restored in 1990 under the supervision then of the NHI. Taal Basilica’s bell, more importantly, is considered as one of the largest bells in the country. The bell is 19 feet (5.8 meters) in circumference at the lip, 9.33 feet (2.84 meters) around the crown and 6.42 feet (1.96 meters) in height. The belfry collapsed in the 1942 earthquake causing the bell to fall. The bell now hangs silently by the church’s restored dome. Later, as one strode off to Galleria Taal, one caught sight of the students who joined the fun run racing down M. Agoncillo Street in their jeans. Galleria Taal, also known as the Ilagan House, is also the first camera museum in the country and was built by Domingo Ilagan and Maria Martinez. Candida, one of their six children, paid off her siblings to gain sole ownership of the house. Candida had three daughters: Nellie Inumerable, Corazon Rodriquez and Charito Ahorro. It was Nellie Inumerable’s sons Manny and Bobby, who eventually took the task of restoring the house to its former glory. In a wonderful turn of events, in December 2009, Lito Perez used the renovated house to exhibit the photos of Binibining Taal beauty pageant, which showcased his works on the barong Tagalog and Filipiniana 48

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gowns. This gave Manny Innumerable the idea of the house as an exhibit venue for the arts. In March 2010, Manny Inumerable opened Galleria Taal as an exhibition space for his collection of antique cameras dating back to the late 1800s up to year 2000, along with old photographs from his collection, and from other photo collectors such as John Silva and John Terrell. The visit at that hour at Galleria Taal proved a blessing as Manny Inumerable was there personally to welcome that afternoon’s guest. There, at last, was a Taaleño presence with old blood before us. One went over the various vintage cameras such as the 1894 issued Lancaster half-plate Instantograph, 1905 Kodak 2D-view camera, 1949 Canon-IIB rangefinder camera, Nikon F-250, 1971 Leica M5, the limited edition gold-plated Nikon FA Gold (1984), even including a Rolleiflex, the same camera that Ninoy Aquino used as a journalist, the one seen at the back of an old 500-peso bill. Among the prized photos, too, on display was the blown-up copy of the picture of Rizal’s execution in Bagumbayan, its original print found in a flea market in Pennsylvania, USA, in 1897. One had enough time to see the evening procession capping the feast of St. Martin of Tours but was not able to even catch the tail end of it. One lingered in front of the basilica just enough to be in the midst of Taaleños, waiting for their patron saint, and for the Our Lady of Caysasay to return to the steps of the church and inside the basilica, plain happy for the feast and visibly unfettered by the weight of their roots and history. One left soon enough to catch the bus back to Manila, glad as any kid by the fireworks lighting up the Taal skies.


The town proper of Taal as seen from the top of the Basilica of St. Martin of Tours

GETTING THERE Taal is about two-and-half hour drive from the capital Manila. Drive using the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) to the Southern Tagalog Arterial Road (STAR) exit at Tambo in Lipa City. Turn right from the exit and follow the signs to Cuenca. Stay on the national highway, passing through the towns of Alitagtag and Santa Teresita. At the Sta. Teresita junction, turn right and drive straight until the Taal-Lemery Bypass Junction (watch out for a Flying V gas station). Turn left at the junction and follow the road to Taal Basilica. One can opt to drive through Tagaytay City, Cavite. Take the Sta. Rosa exit at SLEX and stay on the highway until Tagaytay Rotonda. Turn to the Tagaytay-Nasugbu Road (marked by a 7-Eleven Store) and drive straight until the Batangas-Cavite boundary. Turn left. Drive straight until a junction called Mahayahay Crossing. Turn left until Lemery town proper. Cross the Pansipit Bridge into Taal. There several buses that go to Lemery. Terminals can be found at the corner of Taft Avenue and Gil Puyat Avenue, Pasay City; Kamias Street corner EDSA in Quezon City; and Araneta Center in Cubao, Quezon City. Ask the driver if they will pass through Taal town proper or not. If yes, get off at the town center in front of the Basilica of St. Martin de Tours. If not, get off at the Taal-Lemery Bypass Junction (Flying V gas station) and ride a jeepney or tricycle to the town proper of Taal.

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CONTACT INFORMATION Villa Tortuga is on Marcela Agoncillo Street. Contact Lito Perez through mobile phone number +63927-9751683. The maximum capacity for lunch/dinner is 50 persons. The maximum capacity for overnight stay is ten persons. Two rooms are available. RATES The day tour package, from 10 A.M. to 4 P.M., consists of fivecourse lunch, costume for each guest, pictorial, five-by-seveninch sepia photo (to be mailed) and guided tour of Taal, costs Php1,500 per adult and Php750 per child below ten years old. Overnight rate is Php850 per person, which includes breakfast A full day tour with overnight stay costs Php2,000 per adult and P1,000 per child below ten years old. It includes a day tour that starts at 1:30 P.M., costume for each guest, five-course dinner, an overnight stay and breakfast For house visit only, the entrance donation is P50 per person.

STAYING IN TAAL Houses offering bed and breakfast

TAAL IMPERIAL RESORT Barangay Tulo Contact person: Lalaine Villavicencio Mobile: +63922-7772710

LITTLE BRIDGE RESORT Barangay Butong Telephone: (+63 43) 4211-625

ABBY’S GARDEN Barangay Butong Telephone: (+63 43) 4211-547

VILLA SEVERINA 55 V. Illustre Street Contact person: Robert Arambulo Mobile: +63917-5018060 Email: villa.severina@yahoo.com

CASA PUNZALAN Poblacion, Barangay Zone 7 Contact person: Dindo Montenegro Mobile: +63916-5522074

CASA CECILIA HOTEL Barangay Carsuche Contact person: Michael Villano Mobile: +63916-3359765

MGM RANCH Barangay Mahabang Ludlod Contact person: Michael Villano Mobile: +63916-3359765

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ESCAPE

U LT I M AT E W E L L N E S S A N D H E A L I N G E X P E R I E N C E AT

The Farm at San Benito By Christine Victoria Torres

Meditation comes easy with The Farm’s breathtaking environment

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Healthy soups from The Farm’s Alive! Restaurant

W

hen you think of traveling to a place to rejuvenate the mind and body, places like the mountains of Tibet, the meditation temples in Japan, or the relaxing shores of Bali in Indonesia come to mind. Each has its own appeal to the traveler who seeks escape and recovery from the stresses of everyday life. The great thing is you don’t need to travel many miles to find such kind of place because a destination that offers many ways of relaxation and healing can be found right here in the Philippines. In the barangay of Tipakan in Lipa City, Batangas, about eighty kilometers south of Metro Manila, one can find The Farm at San Benito, a fifty-hectare wellness haven. What was previously an organic farm was made to accommodate guests in 2002 by its German owner. Today, after 10 years in operation, it has grown to be an outstanding center of health and wellness, visited by guests from all over the world. Its menu of “living foods” cuisine, European-inspired medical services and nurturing spa treatments has continued to be developed by its new Indian and Nepalese owners. The Farm introduces a new concept of luxury in living a balanced lifestyle. Beyond its ample accommodations, lush greenery, serene environment and first-class amenities, The Farm is a place for renewal and healing. Upon entering the tree-lined road leading to The Farm, one will see nature embraced by luxury. More than just being a wellness getaway one tries for one time, The Farm introduces a lifestyle of health, a culture of loving your body, and balanced living. The energy and attentiveness displayed by their very accommodating and well-trained staff add to the overall pleasant atmosphere. In the Farm’s space, guests are encouraged to walk. There are no shuttle buses to transport guests around. One would imagine this to be daunting especially after a workout, but surprisingly it isn’t! Walking around The Farm is like a stroll in the park. The air is clean and the surroundings beautiful, and before you know it your feet have carried you all around the compound and warmed your body up, too. The resort recommends casual and comfortable attire suited for exercise or lounging around, which allows you to savor the great feeling of freedom and closeness to nature that the place offers.

Jennifer Hazen, The Farm’s resident manager, shared that The Farm “is all about balance—getting back to nature, eating right and finding that balance. Really for us now it’s cleansing, nourishing, healing and balance. If you’re cleansed, nourished and healed, then you’re balanced. That’s really our message. These are the four things we’re focusing on in 2013. It is unique because we really want to be the best integrative wellness center in the world. We’re truly after wellness. We’ve combined European technology, Asian nurturing with, of course, a healthy diet. “ EMBRACE ALIVE! CUISINE

The dishes at The Farm’s Alive! Restaurant, which The Farm likes to be called “a gourmet vegan experience,” are creative and delicious. Their exceptional five-course meal intrigues your palate with very interesting flavors, especially if you’re used to a regular diet of meat. The course of the day can consist of a flavorful mushroom satay skewers for starters, followed by a Thai squash soup with oyster mushroom; an Indonesian style gado gado salad, which you can mix several vegetables with a creamy and slightly spicy dressing; and the main course of young coconut noodle with green curry sauce and a cashew crusted tofu sandwich with stewed vegetables. The different tastes and textures of the entree make it very unique and filling. To cap off the meal, one is served a delectable vanilla coconut flan topped with tropical fruit salad. Although the five courses are meat-free and one-hundred percent healthy, the gourmet preparation and remarkable taste make the meal enjoyable and at the same time leave you feeling lighter and more “cleansed.” THE OIL OF LIFE

With four thousand coconut trees planted on the property, one can find a coconut tree just about everywhere in The Farm. The Farm uses coconut right out of their plantation to make the soaps, oils, ingredients and sugar that one will find in the bathroom, spa and in your meals. They even have a special Oil of Life Tour that informs guests about the ways in which they use and develop the different parts of coconut. Sit down for a meal at Alive! and you’ll notice their attractive table décor of plant arrangements in dried coconut shells.

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Alive! dishes (from top to bottom): black bean chili with corn bread; crispy potato Napolean; homemade coconut ice cream; and special juices for detoxification.

The Sulu Terrace bedroom

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The Farm at San Benito ACCOMMODATED IN WELLNESS

Guests can take a day trip to the farm to breathe in the fresh air, use the swimming pools and the gym, as well as participate in their wide range of fitness and spiritual activities. There is definitely a lot to see in just one day, but if you want the full experience of The Farm the longer you decide to stay, the better. For overnight guests, The Farm currently has six types of rooms available— the Sulu Terrace, Palmera Suite, Anahaw Family Villa, Garden Villa, the Master Villa and the newest addition to their luxurious accommodations, the Narra Pool Villa. The much-awaited Laken Villa is soon to open. The Sulu Terraces exude a rustic setting inspired by traditional Philippine rice barns. The elevated huts imported from Indonesia give guests the feeling of a cozy, modern jungle tree house. Though small, they have a charm that takes you closer to nature. The sleeping area occupies the entire second floor, while the bathroom and the outdoor lounge are found on the ground floor. Guests can enjoy the breeze and meditate Zen-like among the cushions of the outdoor lounge. The Anahaw Terrace Suites are a good choice for families or groups. They are set in a cluster of three. Its design mirrors that of classic Philippine leaf-roofed houses. Nestled by the hillside, overlooking a stream, the Anahaw Terrace Suites put one in a forest setting, much like the smaller Sulu Suites. While the Sulu Terraces and Anahaw Terrace Suites immerse its guests in a forest setting, the Palmera Suites are made for more privacy and covnenience, especially if guests do not prefer climbing up a flight of stairs. The Palmera Suites are spacious, each with its own gate and complete with a private garden and lanai. Its modern tropical design features high ceiling, twelve feet from the floor; an indoor bath; and an open-air shower. The Garden Villa has its own private garden. Similar to the Palmera Suite, it is also furnished with an open-air bathroom and a private lanai with views of the surrounding mountains. The largest and most exclusive accommodation available at The Farm is the Master Villa. One step through the door, one is immediately welcomed by a tropical landscape and a private pool with lounge chairs and a hut. From its outdoor sala-veranda as well as from any of the glass-walled rooms, one has beautiful views of the forest with the majestic Mount Malarayat in the distance. The villa has an indoor living area, a fully equipped kitchen, an extravagant master bedroom, a spare room that can be used as a study or a second guest room and two picturesque bathrooms. A wooden door with elaborate carvings and a pocket garden separate the living space from the bedrooms. For your utmost convenience during your stay, a guest assistant is assigned just for you. This one-of-a-kind accommodation is also home to The Farm’s “energy vortex.” It is believed that with relaxed breathing and a focused mind, a healing kind of energy can visit you. The Narra Pool Villas are the newest addition to the resort’s enchanting accommodation choices. Integrating modern design into the green landscape, each gated villa has its own three-by-eight meter heated pool with hydro jets, as well as a private garden surrounding it. The Narra Pool Villa features a large terrace with a view of the Mount Malarayat. This spacious accommodation has two toilets, a bathtub, a shower, double sinks and a large bedroom sharing the view from the terrace.

Suites and villas (from top to bottom): the Master Villa; the new Narra Villa; the Narra Villa Pool Terrace; the Garden Villa bedroom; and the Sulu Terrace’s ground floor.

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Tibetan Steam therapy

THE HEALING TOUCH

One of the highlights of staying at The Farm would be its Healing Sanctuary treatments, which include the Filipino body treatment, scrubs, wraps, body rejuvenation treatments, massages, and facial, nail, hair and other beauty treatments. The Farm has several private lounges depending on your treatment. Hair treatment (below) and Yin-Yang body polish with dry brushing (bottom).

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Administered by trained therapists, treatments are not only comprehensive but are also unique to The Farm. They use only the best ingredients freshly picked from their backyard for their treatments. Currently, they are looking into a one-of-a-kind treatment that makes use of natural volcanic rock collected from rivers nearby. The Farm’s signature Healing Sanctuary Treatments include the YinYang Body Polish, the Skin Kayud and Barako Body Pack, and the Skin Kayud and Kalawag Body Detox with Curcumin. Their purification treatment, also known as the Yin-Yang Body Polish, is an impressively rejuvenating experience. Hot coconut oil is poured over the body then massaged into the skin with sea salt, known to be good for restoring proper metabolism, cell damage repair as well as absorbing “negative energy.” It is then massaged in special Yin-Yang rhythmical movements that energetically balance the body. Once the whole body is covered, it is wrapped in order to allow the skin to absorb the benefits of the salt. While in the wrap, you are given a head massage. After the treatment, you are instructed to take a hot bath in the treatment room’s own shower. Developed specially by The Farm, this treatment aims to relieve

EXPERIENCE Travel and Living Volume 8 • Number 5 • 2012

tiredness of the body, and give you smooth skin and possibly a fresh new outlook. KEEPING THE MIND AND BODY IN SHAPE

The Farm encourages their guests to engage in their daily movement and fitness activities. In the morning, all of The Farm’s Healing Sanctuary Spa therapists are required to do mandala flower arrangement in order to calm their mind and focus better. The mandala is a practice of arranging freshly picked flowers and leaves in a bowl of water. It is said that this activity was added to the list when a paralytic was helped to move by his interest in creating beautiful arrangements. Guests can also try this activity for themselves when they begin their day at The Farm. Other activities include circuit training, several types of yoga and meditation, aqua aerobics, AB blaster, Alive! cuisine prep class, core movement, power flow, power walking, silent meditation, and many more. All of these amazing activities are done in the resort’s multi-function spaces. While you work hard for your body, you are aided and motivated by the beautiful setting around you. The Farm constantly innovates in its programs to offer distinctive wellness services.


The Farm at San Benito BASK IN THE SURROUNDING NATURE

Apart from the services, activities and luxurious accommodations, The Farm at San Benito also has some very noteworthy recreational spaces. Guests can arrange to have their meals in beautiful garden settings. You can choose to have dinner under the romantic lights hanging from a large mango tree, said to be more than a hundred years old but still bear fruit. Nearby is a large lagoon where The Farm’s pet peacocks like to hang around. Guests can also swim or hold gatherings by a man-made waterfall just a short walk away. From every angle, The Farm is beautifully landscaped. Guests are free to explore the many open areas around The Farm, and just relax by the lake, read a book on a bench or walk barefoot. PERSONALIZED HOLISTIC HEALTH TREATMENTS

The Farm offers a wellness holiday package designed to give you a real, personalized body tune-up. Their soothing spa services, exercise and meditation activities and specially designed diet are paired with medical examinations and services for a holistic approach to health.

You can enjoy the holidays in any one of their cozy villas. Start the day with a fruit basket and pure drinking water delivered to you everyday. Have gourmet meals from Alive! Restaurant, unlimited wellness beverages, daily afternoon tea and healthy snacks. Avail of fitness assessment by your own personal trainer, your integrated medical service of choice and a choice of a sixty-minute treatment from the Healing Sanctuary Spa menu or holistic health services. One also has access to facilities and can participate in the daily movement and fitness activities open to all guests of The Farm. Focused on the philosophy of overall health and wellbeing, The Farm also holds Healing Retreats, a weeklong program supervised by a team of professionals in preventive healthcare. It is a comprehensive and personalized health vacation designed to get guests into the right nutritional diet, mental and spiritual health, and a sustainable lifestyle. Guests can choose from several health retreat options—Organic Weight Loss; Beauty and Longevity; Diabetes Prevention and Management; Heart Health and Stress Reduction; Integrative Cancer Therapy;

The Farm at San Benito promotes health and wellness through proper diet and by calming the mind and body

The Alive! terrace

Environmental Detox; and Holistic Skin Care Program. These programs has a combination of guided juice fasts, hydrotherapy sessions, spa treatments, exercise plans, integrated medical services and nutritional support, all provided by The Farm’s in-house doctors, licensed therapists, living food chefs and fitness consultants. INTERNATIONAL ACCOLADES

The Farm has made its mark as the leading wellness destination in the Asia-Pacific region. Recognitions such as the Best Medical Wellness Resort Worldwide at the Senses Wellness Award in Berlin, Germany, and most recently the 2012 AsiaSpa Award, Asia-Pacific, for Spa Cuisine of the Year and 2012 SpaFinder USA for Best Eco-Spa and Best Spa Cuisine made The Farm known and credible in the eyes of the international community. With a total of 25 international awards, The Farm continues to make waves in the promotion of holistic wellness all over the world. The Farm at San Benito is a unique experience in body and mind wellness. If you are looking for a chance to have an amazing moment of freedom, contemplation, physical wellbeing and communion with nature, you can try this marvelous place. Backed by wonderful accounts of its numerous visitors, The Farm at San Benito is certain not to disappoint. GETTING THERE From Metro Manila, a trip to The Farm at San Benito takes approximately 90 minutes by car. The resort offers roundtrip land transfers from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport for a price of Php9,000. Helicopter services, which takes approximately 25 minutes, is also available. The Farm is at 119 Tipakan, Lipa City, Batangas.

The majestic mango tree

Relax with an afternoon of yoga in the magnificent setting of the amphitheater overlooking the big lagoon

CONTACT INFORMATION Visit Web site at www.thefarm.com.ph. To book a stay or for inquiries, send email to reservations@ thefarm.com.ph, info@thefarm.com.ph or reservations. thefarm@gmail.com. Call telephone number (+63 2) 884-8074; mobile numbers +63918-8848080 and +63918-8848078 or fax at (+632) 889-1150.

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Meteora DISCOVERING

TA G AY TAY

Text and Photos by Ges Pereyra

IT

was a pleasant Sunday afternoon in Tagaytay City, Cavite. The sky was slightly overcast and the breeze a little chilly when I opened my car window. I navigated the winding road downhill and almost missed the whitewashed building at the turn, if not for the dome-shaped structure that looked like an observatory and the small earthen jar that stood at the entrance bearing the name Meteora. I realized I was somewhere special as I looked past the antique wooden door and saw the life-size Sabel by National Artist BenCab, the only one of its kind, standing guard. Solid timber floorboards creaked beneath my feet as I was ushered 58

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into the first guestroom on the second floor, where sunlight streamed through capiz windows, casting an orange glow on the bed covered with Iloco abel fabric. Stairs made of San Esteban stones led down to the adjoining living and dining areas, where a mural by Tony Leano served as backdrop. Emerald green and blue, the soothing colors of the Aegean Sea, echoed all throughout the decorative items in the living room. Cobalt-blue stoneware plates and bowls by artist Lanelle Abueva added a splash of color to white-on-white walls. Ilocos furnishing blended well with memorabilia from travels to Greece, Turkey and Morocco.


Opposite page: The entrance to Meteora Tagaytay. This page, clockwise from right: The verandah overlooking Taal, an idyllic place for romantic weddings; the dining area with a sculpture by Joel Alonday on the wall; the dining area; Meteora’s fusion of Greek and Ilocano architecture; and Mater Dolorosa by National Artist BenCab.

CONTACT INFORMATION Meteora is located at Ligaya Drive (Talisay Road), Sungay East, 4120 Tagaytay City. Entry to the property is strictly by prior arrangement; walk-in guests will not be entertained. Call Josue Raymond Barona at 0917-3320217 or email jrcb_barona@yahoo.com.ph for inquiries and reservations and directions to Meteora.

Built almost a decade ago by St. Luke’s Medical Center director Dr. Joven Cuanang as a vacation home, this unique retreat was inspired by a Byzantine monastery in Athens, Greece. Housed within its walls are most of the owner’s collection of antiques and works of contemporary Philippine artists such as Mark Justiniani, Elmer Borlongan, Tony Leano, Jose Santos III and Manny Garibay, members of the legendary Salingpusa collective Dr. Cuanang nurtured in his other residences in Antipolo (now the site of Silangan and Pinto galleries) and New Manila (Boston Gallery). Dr. Cuanang also owns Sitio Remedios Heritage Village in Currimao, Ilocos Norte.

The outer landscape features white columns and cement and stone tables seemingly carved out of rock; petrified wood serve as chairs and accent pieces. A flight of steep stairs lead down to the property where the annex is located, which has a small room that can fit at least two people. All around bougainvillea, yellow hibiscus and agave add color and charm to an otherwise stark surroundings. With its unimpeded view of the Taal Volcano and lake against the backdrop of Mount Makiling and Banahaw, Meteora Tagaytay is the perfect weekend escape, a refuge from the madding crowd where the bird songs are the

only sound to break the silence. The place has an otherworldly quality to it where, surrounded by nature and beautiful works of art, one can spend the whole day in quiet contemplation. Reached by an hour drive from Manila, it is far enough yet accessible, making it an idyllic place for romantic weddings and intimate gatherings. Fortunately, the owner has decided to share its attractions to the public. This tworoom bed and breakfast inn and its annex may be rented out for small groups of up to ten adults. Events and parties can also be scheduled such as sit-down dinners for 24 persons or cocktails for fifty.

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AC C O M M O DAT I O N S ANGELES BEACH CLUB HOTEL:

Center of

Indulgence & Entertainment

The captivating ambience of the VariAsia restaurant.

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By Christine Victoria Torres Photos by Charlotte Jennifer Calonge

A

ngeles City in Pampanga is a fast-growing center of entertainment in the Philippines. It is only an hour’s travel from Manila, and with the Clark Freeport Zone only a few minutes away it is accessible by local and international plane carriers. With its growing economy and flourishing nightlife, it is a provincial destination with a lot of flair. And here, among the busy bars, restaurants, discos and live band clubs is a luxurious boutique hotel that offers an experience like no other—the Angeles Beach Club Hotel, more commonly referred to as the ABC Hotel. ABC Hotel is Angeles’s premier hotel located in the heart of the city, just ten minutes away from the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport. Replete with world-class services and one-of-a-kind amenities, this venue is frequented by satisfied guests from all over the world. Many well-known local and international celebrities have also paid a visit to this luxurious hotel.

THE FIRST OF ITS KIND

The owner, Gerard Heinen, built ABC Hotel after being enchanted by the potential of Angeles City. Some years back, Heinen had set up businesses in Angeles but could not recommend a suitable accommodation for his valued clients. This was the reason he decided to build a first-class hotel facility right in the heart of the city. For almost five years now, ABC Hotel has been delighting guests and receiving the best reviews. Its most recent achievement is one that the Philippines can be proud of. Just this year, ABC Hotel was dubbed as one of the top 10 Over the Top hotels in the world by the travelbooking site Agoda. It has also received a certificate of excellence from the online travel site Trip Advisor and was officially authorized as a first-class hotel by the Department of Tourism. Several publications and television shows like ABS CBN’s Trip na Trip, GMA’s H.O.T. TV and Pilipinas News on TV5 have also featured the hotel because of the tremendous popularity that it has earned. Through a somewhat deceiving exterior, right upon entering the hotel you will feel at home by the picturesque lobby and warmly welcomed by their friendly staff. ABC Hotel’s group managing director, Remie Sordam, describes a stay in ABC Hotel as replicating a dream in a place where you can be yourself and anything can be made possible. He says, “When you come to the ABC Hotel, you come into a dream. When you leave, you are back in the normal world. You have an idea of your fantasy and the things you want to be and do, and I think ABC is the place for all of it.” Referring proudly to the hotel’s first-rate customer service, Sordam shares that the customer is king. “I don’t accept it that my staff say ‘no’ to the guests. When you say ‘no’ you have to give an alternative. Everything is possible, of course. That makes our brand really special.” LIVING THE SUITE LIFE

All of the rooms at ABC Hotel are considered suites. Even in their least expensive accommodation, you are sure to feel like royalty. The spotlessly clean rooms have a distinct style. An attention to detail had been poured into its fixtures, design and layout. The room styles revolve around two general themes. The Moulin Rouge Charm combines modern facilities with glamorous old world charm, while the New Millennium Experience is futuristic in design concept. All rooms have in-room Wi-Fi connection, king-size beds, living room areas complete with sofa sets, office desks, safety deposit boxes, noise-free air-conditioning, large televisions with 40 international cable TV channels, mini-bars and mini-shops with signature liquors upon request, grand curtains, showers and bath tubs, hair driers, toiletries, towels, and bath robe and slipper sets. Rooms and floors are also segregated into smoking and non-smoking areas.

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Clockwise, from top left: The hotel balconies, which provide guests a view of the pool and the palm trees below; Remie Sordan, the hotel’s friendly general manager; the hallways, which give character to the hotel; the pool-side Beach Bar; the captivating ambience of VariAsia Restaurant; The Fiesta Suite Party Option; and SM City Clark across the hotel.

IN-ROOM INDULGENCE

ABC Hotel has twelve different types of majestic room accommodations. Even the least costly of them, the Standard Suites, are equipped with all the basic high-class necessities presented in regal fashion. The Standard Jacuzzi Suite has the added feature of a larger space and its very own Jacuzzi, fit for up to three people. The New Millennium Standard Suite offers a different feel altogether. It sports a modern set-up with classic Victorian details realized in the patterns on the walls, lamps, beds and ornamental candleholders. Their Junior Suite series are composed of three Beachfront Suites themed in Moulin Rouge Charm and twelve New Millennium Experience themed rooms. The Beachfront option allows guests easy access to the tropical man-made white-beach oasis right outside its doorstep. Located on the ground floor, guests can quickly step into the hotel’s central courtyard or drop by the restaurants and bars stationed on both sides. The Millennium option adds an extra level of luxury, offering a larger room than the Millennium Standard with a relaxing view of the pool, hotel courtyard and Zambales mountain range in the distance. The Fiesta Suite series is perfect for big groups of people ready to live it up. One can choose from the more relaxed set-up of the Lifestyle option or book the Party option for a lively party feel. The Party option also comes with a six- to seven-seat bar surrounding a striptease stage and mini-disco ball. You can also book the Prime Minister Suite for the grandest single bedroom accommodation 62

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in the New Millennium Tower. Inside you will find a large walk-in closet, a balcony with an outdoor dining table, a bathroom with clear glass and a wall-enclosed office room for doing business in style. For a higher brand of VIP suite, there’s the Deluxe Penthouse Suite. This elegant suite houses a bed fit for five to seven people, where you can enjoy waking up to the romantic view of the sunrise from its expansive balcony and relax in the in-room sauna, steam bath and Jacuzzi. The Presidential Penthouse Suite presents the highest-class accommodation among the classy, old-world style suites. It offers the utmost indulgence of your exclusive penthouse complete with all the impressive amenities of a most extravagant package. ABC Hotel is known by many as “The Party Hotel” simply because it is the perfect place to have one. For the ultimate party experience, you can book the newest most extravagant addition to ABC’s fleet of suites— the New Millennium Penthouse Suite. There are four of this kind of room available, and the great part is that they are all interlinked. Guests have the option of taking the two bedroom option that reserves half of the floor for two inter-linked rooms. It boasts of a Jacuzzi large enough for ten people and an eight-seat sky bar where you can request for your own personal bartender. Feel like a king with the room’s high ceiling, tall glass windows and remote-controlled curtains. With all the great features of this room, it sets the scene for an unforgettable private party.

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NOTEWORTHY COMFORTS

Sink into a bed lined with many large, plush pillows. If you decide to inspect the secret to the comfort of their ultra-soft king-size beds, you will find a layer of cushion placed above the mattress. The large beds in their Millennium Tower are not only cozy. Another fun feature they provide guests is the lights on the headboard, around the sides of the bed, as well as on the reading desk posts. A little control board on the side allows you to choose which color and mode you would like the lights to be in. Click “flash” and the lights blink in disco fashion. Aside from that selection of lights, there are more than enough light options for your room provided by the multitude of switches by the bedside and even in the bathroom. RED CARPET DINING AND ENTERTAINMENT

The ABC Hotel is home to two of Angeles’s best restaurants—the Angeles Beach Café and VariAsia Asian Tapas Restaurant. For a gourmet treatment of mainly international French cuisine, the Angeles Beach Café is the best and a perfectly affordable choice. They serve Filipino, Italian, American and other Asian dishes. A must-try especially for seafood lovers is their gambas prawns, black tiger prawns in garlic olive oil slow-cooked to perfection and doused in a delectable mild spicy sauce. It is served over a bed of lettuce and with a side of garlic rice. For steak lovers, the U.S. tenderloin steak is one of their most popular selections, cooked to your liking and served with potatoes and vegetable confit.


ANGELES BEACH CLUB HOTEL:

Clockwise, from top left: The Angeles Beach Café’s charming decor and Victorian chairs; the catch of the day menu; VariAsia Restaurant’s grilled chicken in teriyaki sauce, US beef with tofu and beans in teriyaki sauce and kushi katsu; Angeles Beach Café’s US tenderloin; Angeles Beach Café’s gambas prawns; and the poolside.

VariAsia Asian Tapas Restaurant, which sits just across the pool from the Angeles Beach Café, is an alluring dinning venue that serves fabulous Asian fusion cuisine. Customers can enjoy the view of the pool and the spectacular Millennium Bar that encloses it. An interesting feature of the bar are the bar stools positioned underwater so that while you are taking a dip in the pool, you can also enjoy a meal or a drink at the bar. Guests can watch TV or listen to music with the wireless headphones installed near the bar area. This restaurant features an all-you-can-eat buffet, affordably priced at Php500. Each night offers a different cuisine with a list of courses you can enjoy. Because it’s an all-you-can-eat buffet, you can order as many plates of the dishes that you like most. The ABC Hotel also boasts of several lounges where guests can relax in. The Aqua Lounge is a hidden get-away made especially for couples, I accessible through a flight of stairs connected to the main pool. By the hotel’s white sand poolside stands the Beach Bar, another great place to enjoy your favorite drink, while the Boracay Deck, with its raised platform of white sand flooring, large lounge sofas and cozy beanbags, offers a more relaxing and breezy lounge feel. LUXURY FACILITIES AND IMPECCABLE SERVICE

Guests can relax and unwind in any of the hotel’s two spas. The VIP Health Spa offers body massage therapy with their signature European massage. Skilled reflexologists are available 24/7 for in-room massages as well.

The Beauty and the Best Spa, located on the fourth floor, offer foot spa, manicure and body treatments. Its sister branch, The Beauty and the Best Barber Shop, features what is known as the anti-hangover treatment, which is recommended after a long night of partying. Upon making your way to your room you will be greeted by the hotel’s inviting pool. It is composed of two swimming pools linked by a cave tunnel. One side of the pool offers an artificial beach and a Jacuzzi, while the other leads to the VariAsia restaurant and the Aqua Lounge. Just two floors away is their fully equipped and air-conditioned gym. Not to be missed are the ABC Hotel’s business conference rooms, which can comfortably accommodate twelve people. Guests can also make use of the Internet center located at the lobby, providing guests access to the Internet with a laptop, printing facilities and a fax machine. At any hour that guests might need assistance, room service or room cleaning, the front desk is available around the clock. Travel assistance may be sought at the Filipino Travel Center at the hotel’s ground floor. The ABC Gift Shop at the hotel lobby also offers guests hotel merchandise, and a selection of jewelry, bags and clothing. Whether it’s traveling around Angeles or to Manila, ABC Hotel offers 24/7 complimentary shuttle services to any portion of Angeles City. Guests can also call for pick-up for transfer back to the hotel. Their line-up of cars includes luxury sedans, Toyota Innovas as well as an

armored car that provides extra security for VIPs. For going to and from Manila, ABC Hotel has its own helicopter service for fast and comfortable traveling. Guests no longer have to brave the long drive to Angeles City, as the helicopter trip from the international airport in Manila to ABC Hotel’s helipad is an enjoyable thirty-minute ride. Not only does it cut traveling time, but guests can also experience the beautiful aerial view of the city. This luxurious service is available to guests for a fair price of US$350 on a one way-trip to or from the Manila airport. With some of the best facilities and highly trained professional staff around, ABC Hotel is a first-class find and a gem of a hotel in the thriving city of Angeles. It is truly an establishment at par with international standards. With everything that it has to offer, ABC Hotel is a place to remember, a vacation place to relish and a home to revisit. CONTACT INFORMATION Angeles Beach Club Hotel is on Don Juico Avenue (across SM Clark City), Malabanias, Angeles City, Pampanga, with telephone number (+63 45) 892-2222, fax number (+63 45) 892-5375, mobile number +63917-511-8685, email address info@angelesbeachclubhotel.com and Web site www.angelesbeachclubhotel.com.

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THE FOREST LODGE:

Growth Aiming for

in Baguio City

A

By Roel Hoang Manipon

lthough there are newer destinations emerging in the Philippines, poised to capture the imaginations of tourists, Baguio City remains to be a “classic” destination. The educational and commercial city in the Cordillera region in northern Luzon was tagged as the Summer Capital of the Philippines and it remains so for many people. There is a kind of romanticism to the city that no other places in the country can conjure or foment. Despite urbanization, calamities and neglect, Baguio still draws tourists, first-timers as well as frequenters who consider the city memorable, and many tourism stakeholders in the city are hopeful it can attract more.

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Opposite page: The Forest Lodge nestles among the stately pine trees of Camp John Hay. This page: The Boardroom is suitable for small meetings and seminars (far left). The 19th T can accommodate wedding receptions and conferences (left). At the grand inaugural launch held recently were (from left) Alfredo “Boysie” Yniguez, chief operating officer, CJH Hotels Corporation; Robert John “Bob” Sobrepeña, chairman of Camp John Hay Hotels Corporation; congressman Bernardo Vergara, district representative; Mauricio Domogan, Baguio City mayor; and Ramon C. Cabrera, general manager of The Manor at Camp John Hay and The Forest Lodge (bottom, left). The lobby features a fireplace where guests can lounge in relative warmth (bottom, middle). Rooms have complete amenities (below).

One good reason for them to go to Baguio is Forest Lodge, a new hotel launched in early September inside Camp John Hay. “It is in the works for ten years, and despite problems we were able to open it because we are committed to bringing tourism, committed to bringing in people to Baguio to experience not just the environment but also the culture,” Robert John Sobrepeña, chairman of the Camp John Hay Development Corp. (CJHDevco), who targets to open a thousand rooms in the former United States military recreational camp turned into a tourism and recreational zone. It was hinted that Forest Lodge’s opening was delayed partly due to frictions between the hotel’s developer and the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA). “Now that we are in this stage, we hope that we will be able to iron out whatever differences we have,” Baguio City mayor Mauricio Domogan said. “Let us work together because as we all know it is only when we are united that we can accomplish a lot.” “We’re committed to bringing in more people to Baguio City to celebrate, not just the environment but also the culture of Baguio City,” Sobrepeña further said. “We believe that it presents a very unique attraction to tourists, not just Philippine tourists but foreign tourists as well.” Heiner Maulbecker, managing director of CJHDevco’s The Manor, and board director of the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Baguio (HRAB), said they see an increase in domestic tourism and that Baguio is still a preferred destination for conferences and seminars. He

further said that Forest Lodge will cater to the growing Filipino market and is cheaper. “The burgeoning Filipino domestic market, that’s our market,” said Tito Avanceña, president of Club Leisure Resorts, Inc., which manages The Manor and Forest Lodge, and defined this market as “the trendier market, the younger market, the new Filipino market.” To cater for this market and to attract more tourists, they made the rates of Forest Lodge a lot cheaper than other hotels of its kind. They tout it as the “best deal in Baguio.” The rates are indeed friendly—Php2,900 for a superior room, Php3,300 for a deluxe room, and Php5,400 for a one-bedroom suite on a triple-sharing arrangement. These with amenities that are almost five-star. Because of this, Avanceña exclaimed: “I don’t know what to call it. Does this look like a budget hotel?” The Forest Lodge is a not entirely a new hotel. The 208-room structure was built more than 10 years ago and was opened as The Suites at Camp John Hay, a sister hotel of the nearby and posh The Manor, one of best accommodations in Baguio City. “We rebranded it because there’s a need to meet this market we’re targeting,” said Avanceña. At the launching, 55 rooms (43 superior rooms, seven family rooms and five one-bedroom suites) are open for occupancy at the Forest Lodge. Avanceña revealed that they hope to increase the rooms to 70 to 100 by the end of the year. The capacity of the building is over 300 rooms. Those who stay at the Forest Lodge do not only enjoy the fine amenities and services of the

hotel but also the amenities and facilities of Camp John Hay, which includes the Camp John Hay Golf Club, the picnic grounds with its stately pine trees, the Filling Station row of food outlets, the Commissary, an eco-trail, the butterfly sanctuary, the Tree Top Adventure, the CAP-John Hay Trade and Cultural Center and the Bell Amphitheater. Forest Lodge itself has many features including a spacious lobby with a fireplace, a lobby shop, the Boardroom for small business meeting, and the 19th T for wedding receptions and conferences. An interest to many is its casual dining outlet at the lobby, The Twist by Chef Billy King, which offers very affordable Asian cuisines particularly Japanese, Indian and Korean. Its simple menu has miso soup with chicken and udon noodles (Php120); wheat noodle soup with pork balls (Php120); tuna tataki with ponzu (Php240); tuna sashimi (Php240); salmon sashimi (Php210); assorted maki and sushi rolls (Php150); prawn tempura (Php240 for four pieces); seafood cake with Asian coleslaw (Php160); chicken tikka masala with biryani rice (Php165); crispy pork belly with honey chilli garlic with steamed rice (Php190); breaded pork with tonkatsu sauce with steamed rice (Php160); vegetable chap chae (Php140); beef chap chae (Php190); beef bulgogi with steamed rice (Php210); and Mongolian barbecue, stir-fried from wok, with a choice of rice or noodle and a choice of chicken (Php160), beef (Php200) and seafood (Php200). King is the famed chef who runs the restaurant of The Manor, Le Chef. With the opening of the Forest Lodge, people will now have more affordable options to enjoy the beauty of Baguio City more.

CONTACT INFORMATION For reservations and inquiries, call the Baguio office (Camp John Hay, Loakan Road, Baguio City) through telephone numbers (+63 74) 424-0931 to 47 or 50 to 53; toll-free numbers (+63 2) 584-4911 or 584-4892; facsimile number (+63 74) 424-0960 to 61; e-mail address reservations@ campjohnhay.ph.; or its Manila sale and marketing office (Unit 1107-A, 11th floor, West Tower, Philippine Stock Exchange Building, Exchange Road, Ortigas Center, Pasig City) through telephone numbers (+63 2) 687-6524 and (+63 2) 687-6710; facsimile number (+63 2) 687-6607; or email address sales@campjohnhay.ph. Volume 8 • Number 5 • 2012 EXPERIENCE Travel and Living |

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PA N PA C I F I C M A N I L A I S P H I L I P P I N E S ’

Leading

Business Hotel at the World Travel Awards

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P

an Pacific Manila has been named as the Philippines’ Leading Business Hotel at the prestigious World Travel Awards 2012 recently held at a red-carpet gala awards ceremony in Singapore. This is the third time Pan Pacific Manila was awarded by the World Travel Awards in that category. Chan Hse May, director of corporate communications of Pan Pacific Hotels Group, received the award in behalf of Pan Pacific Manila from Graham Cooke, president and founder of the World Travel Awards. The World Travel Awards program, hailed as the “Oscars of the travel industry” by the global media, highlights and rewards travel brands that have made the greatest contribution to the industry over the past year. “We are deeply honored to receive this award again for the third time” said Richard Masselin, general manager of Pan Pacific Manila. “All of us here in Pan Pacific Manila are constantly committed in creating memorable guest experiences. This award is a reflection of the quality, excellent consistent service and value that we offer to our guests. Again, we are truly delighted to receive this award.” The first and finest butler hotel in the Philippines is also ranked among the top Asia city hotels at the 2008 and 2009 Readers Choice Awards, named one of the best places to stay in the world at the Annual Gold List by the Conde Nast Traveler, and awarded as the Philippines’ Leading Business Hotel at the 2011 and 2008 World Travel Awards. Conveniently located at the heart of the historical and cultural district of Malate in the Manila Bay area, Pan Pacific Manila is a short drive

to the city’s convention, exhibition and business centres and a walk away from shopping, food and entertainment establishments. A business hotel designed to offer a comfortable abode to business and leisure travellers with its excellent facilities and service, it has 236 all executive rooms and suites and seven spacious function rooms. Pan Pacific Hotels and Resorts comprises 19 premium hotels, resorts and serviced suites (including those under development) in twelve countries across Asia, North America and Oceania. The Pan Pacific brand provides refreshing Pacific experiences inspired by an invigorating blend of its Pacific Rim locations. It is focused on enriching experiences that draw on a diversity of landscapes and cultures, and relevant choices that convey freedom and individuality. Pan Pacific Hotels and Resorts has been recognised by Condé Nast Traveler magazine as one of the 25 hotel companies demonstrating social responsibility. Pan Pacific Hotels Group is a listed hotel subsidiary of Singapore-listed UOL Group Limited, one of Asia’s most established hotel and property companies with an outstanding portfolio of investment and development properties. Headquartered in Singapore, Pan Pacific Hotels Group owns, manages and/or markets over 30 hotels, resorts and serviced suites with over 10,000 rooms in Asia and North America including those under development. The Group comprises two acclaimed brands: Pan Pacific and Parkroyal. CONTACT INFORMATION For more information, call (+63 2) 318-0788, e-mail enquiry.ppmnl@panpacific.com, or visit Panpacific. com/manila.

Opposite page: The Pan Pacific Manila lobby. Below: Chan Hse May, director of corporate communications of Pan Pacific Hotels Group, receives the Philippines’ Leading Business Hotel 2012 award in behalf of Pan Pacific Manila from Graham Cooke, president and founder of the World Travel Awards. Right, from top: the executive room; Pacific Lounge; and the façade of Pan Pacific Manila in Malate, Manila.

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LEISURE AND ADVENTURE

FORESTATTHRILLS

TALON ADVENTURE PARK BY CHRISTINE VICTORIA TORRES Roxas City, the capital of Capiz in Western Visayas, has a lot to offer aside from its aquaculture, thanks to Talon Adventure Park. Just 15 minutes away from the city center, it is the best place for exciting attractions, relaxing activities and interesting wildlife. Talon actually means “forest” in Capiznon. True to its name, this new adventure park is home to forests, palm tree nursery and mahogany plantations. This is a vacation spot that guards its many environmental wonders. Guests can view the century-old cliffs and relax on the fine sand of Ayagao Beach where the park’s beach cottages, villas and picnic tables provide shelter from the tropical sun. The park is stationed uphill, providing its visitors with a beautiful backdrop of lush greeneries and the large skyline. The 200-hectare property boasts of its beautiful spots, including fishponds with milkfish or bangus, a mini zoo, an orchid garden, an oyster farm and a private beach cove. Their nature park is a great spot for having picnics, campsites and get-togethers. Picture yourself eating fresh salad and a sandwich under the canopy of trees. Talon Adventure Park brings guests out of the usual resort routine and into the arms of its rich forest. 68

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Families can enjoy camping together within the safety of the compound. They also have animals such as a monkey and a Philippine eagle. The experience allows people to get closer to nature without having to give up the comforts of city living. While a day trip presents a both adventurous and relaxing getaway for visitors, luxurious accommodations also await guests who wish to stay the night. The beach house can be rented out for Php5,000 a night. Guests can enjoy all types of adventure with Talon Adventure Park’s thrill rides. Challenge yourself by engaging in their available list of water sports. They also rent out all terrain vehicles (ATVs) as well as bicycles so guests can explore interesting trails. Slide down the 160-meter dual-cable zip line for the most heart pumping of drops. Newly opened amenities include smaller beach cottages available at Php300 for a day. Enjoy the fun-filled line up of activities and watch out for more yet to come in 2013. CONTACT INFORMATION Talon Adventure Park is in Talon, Roxas City, Capiz, with telephone number (+63 36) 643-1915.Visit www.talonadventure.com.


From left :A macaque called John Lloyd; a thrill-seeker slides down the zip line; the park’s Philippine eagle (top row); the 160-meter dual-cable zip line and the entrance to the zoo (middle row); the Ayagao Beach Club, kids getting strapped in for the zip line, and the adventure park’s relaxing ambience (bottom row)

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ENDEAVOR TEXT AND PHOTOS BY GREGG YAN Flushed sooty terns (Sterna fuscata) take to the sky. Thousands of the feisty birds hid amongst Tubbataha North Islet’s scrubby knolls.

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Wings of Change

On the

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C O N S E R V I N G S E A B I R D S I N T H E P H I L I P P I N E S ’ L A S T G R E AT R O O K E RY

T

he combined stench of rotting fish and guano was incredible. Soaked and shivering, we seek shelter beneath a dripping grove of Argusia trees on Tubbataha’s South Islet and count birds. Chilly raindrops are the least of our concerns; more exciting things are falling from above. I wipe steaming gobs of fresh seabird guano from my hat, shoulders and writing slate then trail my partner through the dense brush. “Nine black noddies in five tree nests,” observes my partner, Tubbataha Management Office (TMO) ranger Segundo “Seconds” Conales. I strain to hear above the cacophony of over 20,000 seabirds, periodically silenced by thunderous blasts of lightning. The birds are everywhere, flitting in and out of foliage, perched atop

rocks, forming a dense cloud above the island. Every few seconds, one would leave the safety of its perch to snatch a damp twig, leaf or piece of plastic from the ground. We tread lightly, visions of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds flying to mind. I jot the latest numbers on my waterproof plastic slate and push on. It is a drizzling day in May, and we are back in Tubbataha. Led by Danish ornithologist Dr. Arne Erik Jensen, we are assessing the seabirds of Tubbataha North and South Islets as part of a nine-year old annual initiative by the TMO and World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) to conserve the birds of the Sulu Sea. I have last been back in 2008 and still recall Dr. Jensen’s advice when counting his beloved birds: “Never look up with your mouth open.”

TALE OF TWO ISLETS At the heart of the Sulu Sea lie the twin atolls of Tubbataha, a spectacular world brimming with wealth both beneath and beyond the blue. Borne of geological action but restrained by the vicissitudes of the sea, the two isles form the Philippines’ last great seabird rookery. In 1911, American naturalist Dean Worcester first set foot on Tubbataha North Islet, also called Bird Islet. It was then a barren sandy island of 60,000 square meters, where sea and sand danced ceaselessly. A hundred-one years later the isle has shrunk to 12,435 square meters but hosts over 200 trees, the tallest shredded by a recent boom of red-footed boobies. At the centre lies the Plaza, a 3,690-square meter open area occupied by ground-breeding birds. The scrubby landscape rises no higher than two metres above the sea.

Brown noddies (Anous stolidus) groom each other. They are larger and less common in Tubbataha than the black noddy

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Juvenile red-footed booby (Sula sula) gazes at author’s lens. Termed “pullus chicks” or “cotton cuds,” they are curious and fearless.

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C O N S E R V I N G S E A B I R D S I N T H E P H I L I P P I N E S ’ L A S T G R E AT R O O K E RY Parola or South Islet is much smaller at 3,140 square meters. A meter-high concrete wall, cracked and pitted by the elements, forms a protective ring against erosion, while a solarpowered lighthouse erected in 1980 by the Philippine Coast Guard stands sentinel over all. About 120 Argusia, Pisonia and coconut trees dot the grassy landscape. East of the lighthouse lies the rusting hulk of the Del San, an old log carrier. Protected as a core zone, WWF and Cebu Pacific Air help TMO in keeping both islands completely off-limits to outsiders. “The isles vary in size each year, for the tide reclaims what geology has delivered. Tubbataha is thus constantly reborn,” says TMO park manager Angelique Songco. “Ecologists working in mountains or forests can wait a lifetime to see the kind of habitat change we observe monthly.” I agree, noting that since 2008, trees with back-row views now had front-row seats to the sea.

HOLDING OUT Prior to the Second World War, seabirds were common throughout Southeast Asia. After four years of ferocious fighting, sixty years of extensive human encroachment and marine pollution took their toll. Remnant populations have since retreated to a few isolated holdouts like Tubbataha, where the lack of freshwater bars the intrusion of predators like cats, rats and people. When cats were introduced on Ascension Island in the South Atlantic over a century ago, bird numbers dropped from twenty million to 400,000. Guam has already lost sixty percent of its bird species due largely to the introduction of a slithering slayer, the brown tree snake. Other threats include marine pollution, hunting, land development and climate change. “Six seabird species breed here, distinguished by where they nest,” whispers Seconds as we low-crawl to photograph a cackling colony of great crested terns. “Ground nesters include the brown booby, brown noddy, great crested tern and sooty tern while tree nesters include the red-footed booby and the endemic black noddy. Each has a distinct personality.”

Four red-footed boobies are framed by a crimson sunset on Tubbataha’s North Islet. Afterwards, the island settled into silence. (top, right). Brown noddy (middle, right). Brown booby (right).

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Great crested terns

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Lord but of a dead trunk, a brown booby (Sula leucogaster) looks to the sea. It thrives on denuded islands, nesting on lonely sandbars and islets. The introduction of predators like cats has decimated its numbers in other islands. Only Tubbataha’s Bird Islet holds a sizeable population (above, left). TMO ranger Segundo “Seconds” Conales notes his observations of a red-footed booby in its nest. Conales spends up to six months a year in Tubbataha. “The most exciting part is when we have to chase down poachers in the high seas,” he shares. “Counting birds is chickenfeed.” (middle, top) Red-footed boobies at Tubbataha’s North Isle (top, right). Brown noddies (above, right). Sticks and measuring tape are the tools of the trade for counting seabirds. Researchers spent two sunny days in North Islet but endured violent rain squalls in nearby South Islet. In these rugged waters, islands are literally worlds apart (above, middle).

C O N S E R V I N G S E A B I R D S I N T H E P H I L I P P I N E S ’ L A S T G R E AT R O O K E RY The trip’s top priority was to monitor populations of the black noddy, a pigeonlike seabird whose 8000-strong Philippine subspecies survives solely in Tubbataha. Still, we count 3,224 nests and 5,324 screeching adults on Parola alone. “Though still numerous here, black noddies no longer have alternate sites to breed. They are suffering from a housing crisis,” gestures WWF Tubbataha project manager Marivel Dygico to a Pisonia tree bursting with both red-footed boobies and black noddies. In 2001, Tubbataha saw a massive influx of red-footed boobies, which nest in the same trees as the noddies. “The problem is that large flocks of redfooted boobies can defoliate whole islands. They tear off leaves for nesting and burn what greens remain with their guano. In seven to ten years, all of Parola’s trees might be gone, unless we control the birds now.” Leafless, some trees on the smaller South Islet are now also lifeless.

WINGS OF CHANGE The first seabirds developed during the Cretaceous period, roughly 65 million years ago, when Tytthostonyx glauconiticus soared above triceratops, Tyrannosaurus rex and other dinosaurs of that forgotten era. Today’s sea

and shorebirds are perfectly adapted to life on the open ocean. Over millions of years, evolution has gifted them with such useful traits as waterproof plumage and the ability to drink seawater. They inhabit remote areas and give birth to few young, which are tended to with great dedication. Seabirds play a crucial role in fighting climate change, particularly the threat of rising sea levels, by helping develop island ecosystems. They provide vital fertilizer for nutrient-poor sandbars, allowing the first waves of pioneer plants to survive. Drifting in from nearby islets, seeds of trees eventually take root, further binding the sand, increasing land size and trapping organic sediments—the first steps in producing soil. Fossilized bird droppings also form phosphorite, a type of rock used for agricultural fertilizer. Phosphorite deposits have for centuries been mined on small islands and is now of great value for food production. After three days of research under the scorch of the sun, the chill of rain and the terror of guano, we record a grand tally of 30,100 breeding birds, the highest ever recorded. In comparison, 24,300 were counted last year and 28,000 in 2010. It is estimated that from March to November, an additional 14,000 seabirds roost on Bancauan, Bancoran,

Cawili and Basterra isles, the main hub still being Tubbataha. Ablaze with sunset hues of scarlet and crimson, Bird Islet descends into night. As the isle prepares for a fresh cycle of rebirth, I whip out my camera and snap a picture of four boobies against the red sky. One soars off and leaves behind a lone egg, bearing a world of promise. Gazing at the speckled orb, I consider what Jensen told me that morning. “Tubbataha is the last refuge for many Philippine seabirds. Islands like Bancauan and Cawili once had thousands of them. When people came, they brought with them dogs, rats and cats—all of which eat both ground-breeding birds and their eggs. Today Bancauan only has eight brown boobies and 25 very fat cats.” Before it was declared a national marine park in 1988, Tubbataha’s residents have long suffered from exploitation, with generations of fishermen gathering not just fish, but turtles and bird eggs as well. Without continued protection, another type of sunset awaits black noddies, brown boobies and many of Tubbataha’s winged treasures. Gazing up the faint glimmer of stars, I wish the unborn bird luck, and pray that its kind, which has long endured sea-storms and summers, can soar on the wings of change.

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LIFESTYLE

Miss Scuba Philippines F

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“Ocean warriors” from different regions competed for the title of Miss Scuba Philippines 2012 last November 4 as the Save My Bay, Save Capones Island campaign project was launched at the beachfront of The Lighthouse Marina Resort. Janice Lubina was the crowned winner, who will represent the Philippines in the Miss Scuba International competition that will take place in Bali, Indonesia, on November 30, 2012. The winning delegate will campaign for ocean conservation, educating and inspiring the public to safeguard the oceans. “I’m so glad and excited to be crowned as the first Miss Scuba Philippines 2012!” Lubina remarked. She further added, “We must give back to nature. I will do my best to set an example by raising awareness and encourage everyone to keep our oceans clean.” With the mantra, “Saving oceans through beauty,” Miss Scuba International Organization was founded by Robert Lo, the proprietor of the Sipadan Mabul Resort (Smart) and Mabul Water Bungalows. Lo is a strong believer in sustainable development with the hopes of sharing the advocacy and wonders of the ocean world to a wider public. He extended his mission here in the Philippines by appointing Mac Taug as the national director for the pageant. Among other highlights of the pageant included Karla Camille Manalonzo winning as Miss Marine Conservation 2012, Christine Paula Love Berneso as Miss Marine Tourism 2012, Jane May Cuyugan as Miss Scuba Philippines first runner-up and Maria Angela Espinosa as Miss Scuba Phlippines second runner-up. 76

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The pageant was in collaboration with many partners for this event, including several sectors of the government (Department of Tourism, Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the local government of Zambales) and other organizations. It aims to engage the community to protect, preserve and learn to co-exist with nature while creating awareness on the current threats of our oceans and promoting responsible tourism. This event was made possible by the Lighthouse Marina Resort, International Container Terminal Services, Inc., Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, the local government of Zambales, Boardwalk Dive Center, Eco-Coral Corporation, Earth Day Network, Trocadero Bar and Restaurant, Pageant Vote Online, Rotary Club of Cubao West, International Yachting Fellowship of Rotarians, Watercraft Ventures, Ran Events and Sophie Paris Philippines. Media partners were SubicTimes. com, Fox International Channel, Active Boating and Watersports, Sidetrip magazine, Expat newspaper, Expat magazine, Experience travel and living magazine, Mabuhay magazine, Klite 97.5, and 89.5 Subic Bay FM. Organizers thank director Rogel Flores, Eren Tumali, SM City Olongapo, San Miguel Corporation, The Atrium Salon and Ayala Land Premier (New Manila Group). CONTACT INFORMATION For inquiries and reservations, contact The Lighthouse Marina Resort through telefax number (+63 47) 252-5000 or (+63 47) 252-7545, or visit the Web site www. lighthousesubic.com. Follow it on Twitter (@lighthousesubic) and like it on Facebook.


Top, left: The crowned beauties of the Miss Scuba Philippines 2012 take the main stage (from left): Christine Paula Love Berneso (Miss Marine Tourism 2012), Janicel Lubina (Miss Scuba Philippines 2012) and Karla Camille Manalonzo (Miss Marine Conservation). Top, right: The top five winners of the first ever Miss Scuba Philippines 2012 gracefully posing in front of the Lighthouse Tower at Subic Bay. Above, right: Miss Scuba Philippines 2012 Janicel Lubina poses on the runway during the swimsuit competition at The Lighthouse Marina Resort. Above, left: Miss Scuba Philippines contestants in their swimsuits.

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I N

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old uses of colors and textures will conspicuously characterize formal and cocktail dresses of the next season as heralded by 13 designers, presenting their luxe wear collections at the Philippine Fashion Week last Oct. 26. The regular fashion event at the SMX Convention Center, SM Mall of Asia, Pasay City, from October 23 to 29, gave people a peek of spring and summer 2013 collections and trends. The luxe wear collections of Anthony Ramirez, Aztec Barba, Chris Diaz, Harley Ruedas, John Paras, Joyce Pilarsky, Julius Tarog, Martin Bautista, Noel Crisostomo, Popoy Barba, Roel Rosal, Ronaldo Arnaldo, Simon Ariel Vasquez, Tina Daniac and Veejay Floresca ranged from classic to curious. Though diverse in persuasions and inspirations, the designs were noticeable because of their colors— the circus and candy kinds. It was not all bright colors though. Many presented creations in earth tones, neutrals and classic black and white, providing audience welcome respite from what can be a sensory barrage. Texture was another thing played with. Lace and mesh were matched with fabrics with metallic sheen, leather with smooth and stretchy textile. Ramirez opened the show with flowing monochromatic gowns, the eccentric cuts rightly used for distinction and attention. Diaz played with stripes, lace and hand-painted accents to admirable effect. Ruedas used strands for embellishment but overall his creations can be cloying. Tarog’s two-piece ensembles caught attention with the refreshing simplicity of white mesh.

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White was also Crisostomo’s color of his classic and clean designs. Fast-rising Floresca also delighted with white, using different textures to create designs. In contrast, Popoy Barba’s military shapes were awash with colors—delightful but not entirely wearable. Following Barba’s colorful disposition was Rosal. Light materials, chiefly chiffon; stunning colors; and playful layering served as foil his geometric shapes of his dresses. Leading towards to the edgy and chic, Daniac had an eye for construction, giving lace and sequins interesting functions. On the other hand, Vazquez used laser cutting to his advantage in creations both simple and intricate. Noticeable was Pilarksy whose collection both enthralled and perplexed. Fresh from presenting her creations at shows at the River Seine in Paris, France; Baden, Germany; and the Brooklyn Fashion Week in New York, the Filipino-German designer presented 11 pieces that combined the traditional sense of luxury and its new redefinition. Pilarsky said that her collection was inspired by 1950s glamor but always espousing her perpetual theme of “young, sexy and gorgeous,” a personal mantra. With a touch of the neo-classical, she used organza, chiffon and taffeta embellished with embroidered floral appliqués and crystals. With these collections, the choices remain wide and interesting, auguring well for the dynamism of local fashion.


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Cheongsam-inspired dress in laser-cut fabric and with peacock feather embellishment by Joyce Pilarsky

5 Designer Joyce Pilarsky at the luxe wear show of the Philippine Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2013 6 Checkers, stripes and everything nice 7 Elegant appliqués and laser cutting characterize Pilarsky’s designs 8 Draped one-sleeve dress with appliqués

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BORACAY L

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BY GES PEREYRA

No matter how many times you have been there, the lure of Boracay never seems to fade. At any time of the year, tourists and locals alike flock to this island paradise and savor both the relaxing and frenetic island life. Those of us who constantly feel the tug of Boracay may have wished, at one time or another, to own a piece of this paradise. For what could be more idyllic than to set up residence in such a place and live perpetually bathed in sun, with the sea a few steps away from your home? Where before owning a piece of paradise would come at a price only the affluent can afford, today it has become a reality. Until recently, most developments have been concentrated on the area of the barangay of Balabag, where most of the famous fourkilometer stretch of white-sand beach is located. With real estate developer Global Estates Resorts, Inc. (GERI) acquiring a huge tract

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of land on the eastern side, a project like no other was conceptualized, one that would not only be entice homeowners but boost tourism in Boracay like never before. Boracay Newcoast, the most ambitious project yet to spring from the drawing boards of the property developer, is a township of Ibiza-like proportions, transforming the other side of the island into an integrated residential and tourism estate. According to Strawberry Lapitan, Global Estate Resorts Inc. Megaworld events officer, it is the very character of Boracay—the fun island atmosphere—which inspired the idea for Boracay Newcoast. Conceived as an entertainment and leisure hub that will change the face of Boracay, the project replicates Ibiza’s vibrant island atmosphere by giving future homeowners the fun and excitement of resort living in a master-planned island community.


• From number four last year, Boracay Island has surged to number-one island in the world, besting runner-up Bali and the previous year’s champion Santorini, according to British magazine Travel + Leisure • Oceanway Residences, the first residential condominium cluster in Boracay, enjoys a prime location tucked between two greens of Fairways and Bluewater, with resplendent views of the private white beach coves and Sibuyan Sea. • Residential and condominium owners can take inspiration from the ocean villas in Bali, Phuket and Santorini to design their homes • Newcoast Station, an expansive grand plaza and entertainment center set right at the center of the project’s kilometer-long white beach, is encircled by a luxury hotel block and a retail strip with shops, restaurants and bars.

THE VISION

TURNING THE VISION INTO REALITY

The 140-hectare development will be built on the east side of the island, the “better side” of Boracay. Boracay Newcoast is made up of a village private suburban residences (Newcoast Village) and condominiums (Oceanway Residences), with commanding views of the ocean and access to the 18-hole golf courses of Fairways and Bluewater. The idea is to transport the Newport and McKinley Hill features and amenities right into the white sand beaches of beautiful Boracay. In this way, lot owners will have the opportunity to build their dream in an island location with the amenities and activities of a developed city. There will be a grand plaza located at the center of the white beach, promenade and boardwalk, as well as an entertainment center comprised of an ampitheater and a large common pool. Overlooking the pool and bar area is a 400-square-meter dance roof deck capping a row of commercial establishments. Electronic dance festivals and concerts will be staged here. Right within this area, dubbed as the Newcoast Station, is a hotel district where four “world-class hotels”—Hilton, Maxim, Marriot, Richmonde—will be setting up shop. Around these hotels, a number of boutique hotels will be built as well to accommodate the influx of tourist arrivals when the project becomes fully operational in 2015. Visitors then will get their pick of inns and budget rooms, while guests with more luxurious tastes can check into upscale international band hotels. Meticulous thought and design innovation was introduced into the project so that residents and tourists alike can have freedom to relax while engaging in social activities and be one with nature on a whim. The Shophouse District, a big outdoor market inspired by a Moroccan souk, tourists can stock up on Boracay souvenirs, dine on the freshest seafood, or schedule a dive to check out the island’s marine treasures. Here, clusters of themed restaurants, cafes and specialty stores modelled after those found in D’Alt, Ibiza and Santorini offer tourists many options for dining and leisure.

Blessed with sunshine, ocean breezes and the finest sand in its beaches, Boracay holds its own among the best island destinations in the world. Recently awarded the fourth best island in the universe and a second best island in Asia by Travel + Leisure magazine, Boracay bested other general islands like Galapagos Islands in Ecuador, Great Barrier Reef Islands in Australia, Phuket in Thailand and the Maldives. Considering the endless possibilities for global tourism, Boracay Newcoast promises 300,000 more tourists annually which will generate 3,000 new jobs. One has to consider how the development of this island community will change the physical attributes of the island, an issue crucial to the success of the project. While re-branding Boracay as a world-class ecotourism destination or the Ibiza of Asia, the challenge for GERI is to preserve what Boracay used to be—nature at its best—and taking steps towards responsible stewardship of the island. GERI is the tourism arm of Filipino tycoon Andrew Tan. With the backing property giant Megaworld, the developer behind the landmark project Eastwood City, which revitalized the Marikina River and its environs, other developers are closely watching how Boracay Newcoast will remain true to its vision of promoting tourism vis-a-vis preserving the island. GERI owns 14 percent of the island, hence most of the island’s forest cover. Together with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), they have taken steps to preserve old-growth trees and integrate these natural features into the project’s design. The estate’s lush foliage includes a majestic banyan tree guarding the private beach. Learning from the experience of Balabag, when mass tourism spawned environmental problems such as uncontrolled infrastructure development and waste management, GERI has taken steps towards environmental-friendly measures. Among these is putting up its own Volume 8 • Number 5 • 2012 EXPERIENCE Travel and Living |

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sewage treatment plant. Effluent from the sewage plant will become the main source of organic fertilizer for the greens and trees of Fairways and Bluewater Resort and Country Club, while the recycled water will be used for the irrigation of the fairways, thus lessening the estate’s dependence of fresh water supply from the main island of Panay. Another environment-friendly feature is the estate’s storm drain facility, which collects rainwater for irrigation. The facility releases excess water into the sea when needed. Water tanks are located in key elevated areas, thus preventing the reverse flow of water during high tide and keeping the views of Boracay Newcoast’s private beach coves pristine. Other environment-friendly features of Boracay Newcoast include solar-powered street lamps, electric-powered jeepneys and a materials recovery facility to separate recyclable matter from other waste. While residents and tourists can enjoy the many amenities it offers, they can take comfort in the knowledge that they will become part of a growing community that injects and practices environmental aspects into residential living and tourism.

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A R T S A N D C U LT U R E

Celebrating the Birth Centennial of National Artist

Carlos“Botong”Francisco

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By Roel Hoang Manipon

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commemorative stamp on National Artist for visual arts Carlos “Botong” Francisco was unveiled on November 9, 2012, launching the celebration of the birth centenary of one of the Philippines’ greatest painters. President Benigno S. Aquino III signed Proclamation 284 declaring the period from November 4, 2012, to November 3, 2013, as the Centennial Year of National Artist for Painting Carlos “Botong” Francisco, whose works and achievements are said to be “reflective of this preeminent excellence and of the national genius that contributed to the national heritage of the Philippines and the world.” Also, in the House of Representatives, congressmen Feliciano Belmonte Jr., Neptali Gonzalez II, Edcel Lagman, Salvador Escudero III, and Ma. Jocelyn Bernos introduced House Joint Resolution 26 to commemorate the National Artist, who was born on November 4, 1912 and died on March 31, 1969. The stamp launching, at the Leandro Locsin Auditorium of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) in Intramuros, Manila, was led by NCCA chairman Felipe de Leon, Jr. and the chairman of the Board of Directors of the Philippine Postal Corporation Cesar Sarino. The event was graced by other National Artists—sculptor Napoleon Abueva, landscape architect Ildefonso Santos and filmmaker Eddie Romero. From the family of Francisco, his grandson, Carlos Gil “Totong” Francisco II, attended. Together with the Cultural Center of the Philippines, the NCCA, the government arm that mainly provides grants to projects, sets policies and promotes arts and culture in the country, leads the celebration. The two cultural agencies also administer the National Artist award, which is currently accepting nominations. De Leon said that Francisco led one of the five schools of thought in Philippine visual arts. Among the painters, De Leon said the works of Francisco and Hernando Ocampo are distinctively Filipino—“hindi mo mapagkakamalang European o American.” (One cannot mistake them for being European or American) He also said the Francisco’s works are characterized by wavy patterns, thus full of rhythm. Francisco is considered the greatest Filipino muralist, invariably linked with “modernist” artists. He, Victorio C. Edades and Galo Ocampo were known in the local art circles as The Triumvirate. Francisco’s unerring eye for composition, the lush tropical colors and faith in folk values have become hallmarks in his artworks. His other major works include Portrait of Purita, The Invasion of Limahong, Serenade, Muslim Bethrotal, Blood Compact, First Mass

Clockwise, from top left: The commemorative stamp issued by the Philippine Postal Corporation; Francisco’s grandson Carlos Francisco II, chairman of the Board of Directors of the Philippine Postal Corporation Cesar Sarino, NCCA chairman Felipe de Leon, Jr. and National Committee for Visual Arts head Nemesio “Nemi” Miranda at the commemorative stamp launching; Carlos “Botong” Francisco’s Fiesta (1946, oil on canvas, 265 by 169 centimeters); detail from the mural Bayanihan, which was commissioned in 1962 by Jose Campos founder of pharmaceutical and health care company United Laboratories (Unilab) and is displayed at Unilab’s administration building in Manila; and Freeway dresses inspired by Carlos “Botong” Francisco.

at Limasawa, The Martyrdom of Rizal, Bayanihan, Magpupukot, Fiesta, and Sandugo. In the city hall of Manila, one can see one of his recognizable murals. He was awarded the National Artist title in 1973, the second visual artist after Fernando Amorsolo. Francisco hailed from the town of Angono in Rizal, long regarded as a home to many artists and the “Art Capital of the Philippines.” The head of the NCCA’s National Committee for Visual Arts (NCVA), painter Nemesio “Nemi” Miranda, is also from Angono. He remembers accompanying Francisco in his hikes when he was a child and is proud that he is included in one of his paintings on Angono scenes. Francisco loved to hike and explore the countryside. He is said to be responsible for the discovery of the now famous Angono Petroglyphs in 1965, a result maybe of one of his hikes. The NCVA and the Angono Ateliers Association have a big project to celebrate Francisco’s birth centennial. To be held in the last two months of 2012 and the early part of January 2013, the “Sentenaryo ni Botong” is a cultural event that includes a competition, a conference, parades, a mural interaction and an exhibition that will travel all over the country. The national competition will be open to all. A jury will select 24 artists based on their recent works and will be given Php 5,000 production grant each to portray scenes from Francisco’s life and works based on a list of 30 themes about Francisco. On the other hand, the 40-painting traveling exhibit, aside from Francisco, is also in honor of Lucio San Pedro, National Artist for music, who was also from Angono and whose birth centenary will be celebrated on February 11, 2013. Aside from the NCCA, the Museum Foundation held a lecture called “Sabado sa Museo at si Botong Francisco” on November 10, 2012, at the National Art Gallery with art scholar Patrick Flores and Carlos “Totong” Francisco. This is part of a year-long series of events of the Carlos “Botong” V. Francisco Centennial Consortium, which includes the Angono Artists Association, Ayala Museum, Blanco Family Museum, Botong Francisco family, CCP, Far Eastern University, Freeway, National Artists Collectors Series, Lopez Museum, municipality of Angono, Museo ng Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Museum Foundation of the Philippines, Philippine Art Awards, SM malls, University of Santo Tomas, University of the Philippines Vargas Museum and Yuchengco Museum. Local fashion brand Freeway also joined the celebration by offering the Botong Francisco collection in its National Artist Collectors’ Series—dresses with prints of Botong’s works as well as gift items such accessories, watches and even tech accessories. Volume 8 • Number 5 • 2012 EXPERIENCE Travel and Living |

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DINING

Succulent Steaks and a Whole Lot More at

TENDER BOB’S BY GES PEREYRA

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teaks are a real experience at Tender Bob’s, where US prime Angus beef is served in myriad ways. Tender Bob’s is an offshoot of a very popular steakhouse in Subic Bay Freeport Zone called Meat Plus Cafe, which serves savory Angus char-grilled steaks. Several restaurants closed down after the American soldiers of the former naval base left but Meat Plus Cafe along Sampson Road, near the duty-free Subic shopping center, still serves the public up to this day. Tender Bob’s opened in Manila as an upscale restaurant in Libis, Quezon City, in 1998. With the opening of Eastwood City, the steakhouse faced tough competition with the many dining establishments within the mall complex’s restaurant row.

“It was also the time of the mad cow disease so practically everyone was afraid of eating beef or even pork. We had to close down,” said chef Chiloy Santos. When Tender Bob’s reopened in 2003 in Greenbelt 3, Makati City, as Tender Bob’s Express, it experienced brisk sales and became popular with the Makati lunch crowd. The eventual transfer to Glorietta Food Choices made them realize that they could not compete with other establishments that crowd the relatively small space on the third floor area. “It was then that we decided to open two full-scale restaurants in Shangri-La Plaza Mall and in Greenhills Promenade.”

Worth the trip: Tender Bob’s signature steak

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A healthy alternative: honey dijon salmon (right) To die for: sizzling bread and butter pudding (below)

Adam Levine’s choice: Angus pot roast

Tender Bob and chef Chiloy Santos

Tender Bob’s is owned and managed by five partners, namely, Paquito and Pinky Tanjangco, Toti and Vilma Santos, Spanky and Apples Meer, and Bob and Betsy Tenchavez. Santos, whose parents are among the five partners of Tender Bob’s, decided to leave his post as chef in The Peninsula Manila and became chef consultant and marketing head around the time they opened another branch at SM City North’s The Block and Greenbelt 2 and CBD (Cheesesteaks, Burgers and Drinks) in Ayala Triangle Gardens. “CBD was an American diner concept restaurant that served Angus beef burgers and cheese steaks. Unfortunately, we had to close it down because there was not much traffic on that newly opened food strip at the Ayala Triangle Gardens, except during December because of the light and sound show,” he said. If you’re missing the char-grilled burgers of CBD, don’t worry. Tender Bob’s has a wide selection of special burgers, among them the bestselling Fully Loaded Half Pound Burger and the Ultimate Steak Sandwich. Santos said some of the best dishes ever created are those that are as simple and down-to-earth. Take the Bomb for instance, Tender Bob’s version of the potato gratin, that makes a perfect accompaniment to Tender Bob’s steaks. It was called the Bomb when a five-year-old got a taste of the potato gratin and quipped that “it was the bomb!” They don’t do a lot of publicity for Tender Bob’s, relying instead on word of mouth. When a satisfied diner, who happened to run the marketing arm of the Maroon 5 concert, dined in their branch at SM City North’s The Block, he suggested they cater to the popular band. Santos had no second thoughts. Knowing Adam Levine was a vegetarian, he prepared a special dish of vegetable lasagna.

“I was surprised because he had generous servings of the Bomb slathered on his steak. He also tried the Angus pot roast (braised Angus beef brisket served with home-style gravy and fried onion strips),” Santos shared. Tender Bob’s only uses USDA-approved prime Angus beef, and their servings come in two kinds. For the hungry, they have the sixounce rib-eye steak and for the starving the ten-ounce rib-eye steak, dripping with its own flavourful jus and tender when you cut through each slab. Aware that the Filipino diner will always be price-conscious (Their steaks’ price range from Php200 to Php499), they introduced the domestic beef of the highest quality, which is marinated in a special sauce. Tweaking the taste to suit the Filipino taste buds with an eye for affordability also means introducing a lot of choices, among them the bestseller Angus beef sisig. Santos described it as beef belly slow-roasted for four hours, then cubed and sauteed in onion, garlic, jalapeno and served with home-made aoili along with what he said are the quintessential Pinoy condiment— toyo (soy sauce) and Knorr seasoning. While the restaurant was conceptualized in the tradition of the good ol’ American diner, from the logo, down to the homey yet spacious interiors to the leather back menu, the owners are 100 percent Filipino. Even Tender Bob himself.  “We wanted an American-sounding name, of course, and we thought, well, steaks are tender, so why not Tender Heaven? Someone suggested to name it after Uncle Bob, who is one of the partners.  And so we called it Tender Bob’s,” revealed Santos. Not all guests, however, have steak on their every visit. Santos recommended the Buffalo Chicken Tenders with spinach artichoke

dip. He also updated the menu to offer other alternatives, including the honey Dijon salmon, the Crazy Yellow Chicken (Tex-Mex grilled chicken) or the wild mushroom penne. Cap off your satisfying meal with a dessert of apple crumble pie or the delectable sizzling bread and butter pudding, also new on the menu. They will open two more branches in 2013. “In our past experiences, location has always been important, especially since we also plan to revive CBD,” said Santos. CONTACT INFORMATION Tender Bob’s branches are located at Greenbelt 2, Makati City, with telephone number (+63 2) 501371; SM City North’s The Block, Quezon City, with telephone number (+63 2) 442-0129; Shangri-La Plaza Mall, Madaluyong City, with telephone number (+63 2) 638-7161; and Greenhills Promenade, San Juan City, with telephone number (+63 2) 7262328. For delivery, call (+63 2) 212-1212 or order online through www.quickdelivery.ph.

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NewYork Supreme Pizza: THE BEST ITALIAN-AMERICAN FOOD STOP IN ANGELES CITY By Christine Victoria Torres Photos by Charlotte Calonge

nyone who has been to New York City will remember the towering buildings, the busy streets, the endless shopping and of course the ever so enjoyable dining. The good news is that you can now grab a bite of the Big Apple right here in the Philippines, particularly in Angeles City, Pampanga.

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The mouth-watering bestseller, the New York Supreme Special Pizza

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New York Supreme Pizza is a family restaurant that serves the best pizza in the area. Fondly known as NYS, this ItalianAmerican pizza place owned by chef Egay Gomez and his wife Joyce offers quality pizzas, pasta, chicken, salads, rice meals and desserts in hefty servings at affordable prices. They serve authentic, brick-oven-cooked, New York-style pizza, hence the name. The word Supreme was added to denote God’s supremacy for which they are grateful for the r e s t a u r a n t ’s success.


Clockwise from below left: The NYS Special Pizza Roll topped with three cheeses, bacon, ham, pepperoni and American mushroom served with alfalfa sprout, sun-dried tomato and arugula; the cozy interiors of NYS’s restaurant; Egay Gomez, dedicated owner of NYS; NYS baked seafood marinara; and country style chicken infused with herbs and spices

Persistent friendship and love for good food started it all. Living in New York City for a couple of years, the Gomez couple discovered a small gem of a restaurant that served great tasting pizzas. As regular customers, they befriended the restaurant’s Italian owner who hand-tossed the pizza himself. The authentic Italian way of cooking food was something that interested Egay. Their Italian friend, they soon discovered, loved Chinese food. It was a perfect fit since the couple had a passion for Chinese cooking. They cooked Chinese dishes for him, and in return he taught them the secrets of his Italian dishes. Back then, Egay, who has a doctorate degree in veterinary medicine, worked at a veterinary hospital in New Jersey. During his free days, he would go to the Italian restaurant where he was tasked to make all the production for the day. Impressed with his work, his Italian friend told him that in all of his 45 years of making pizza he had not met a more skilled and passionate cook than he was. Armed with the blessings of their Italian friend, a true passion for food, and a lot of spiritual reflection, Joyce and Egay moved back to the Philippines and set up a small restaurant. They imported materials from the United States to build it on what was previously known as a dead spot for business. New York Supreme Pizza changed all that. Within three weeks in business, word got out about their excellent Italian-American food, and customers were lining up at their door. Soon, demand became so high that they needed to find a bigger place. From a small space with a

capacity of only forty people, they moved to their current venue, which can accommodate up to 200 customers. Egay points out, New York-style pizza leaves the crust with delightful little bubbles around the edges. He infused the secrets of that small New York restaurant into the New York Supreme Pizza experience in Angeles City as well as his attention to detail and commitment to authenticity. New York Supreme Pizza hand-tosses its freshly-made pizzas and cooks them in a white brick oven or what is locally called pugon. In order to keep their food genuinely New York-style, they import most of their ingredients, including toppings. They are best known for their New York Supreme Special Pizza, which is topped with pepperoni, Italian sausage, bacon, mushrooms, red and green peppers, and black olives. It is a zesty combination of different flavors, baked with three different cheeses and special red sauce. Another favorite is the NYS’s Special Pizza Roll. It is made with a thin blend of their red sauce and three cheeses topped with bacon, ham, pepperoni and American mushroom. It is served with a bowl of alfalfa sprout, sun-dried tomato and arugula, which you can roll into it, as well as a pesto sauce for dipping. If you’re craving for something other than pizza, there’s a lot more of American and Italian dishes to choose from. You can enjoy their country-style chicken, made with their own special formula of herbs and spices and fried to a crisp golden brown color. It is served with fries and gravy. For a good pasta dish, order

the NYS baked seafood marinara. Sautéed with three cheeses, baked to perfection and served with knotted bread, this sumptuous dish is your favorite seafood marinara with a twist. Mirroring New York’s energy, the restaurant is a busy place once it opens its doors. Its growing popularity and sterling customer reviews have many new and old fans lining up. New York Supreme Pizza is fast becoming an Angeles City staple simply by word of mouth. While in Angeles City, make sure to drop by to enjoy a hearty, authentic and affordable taste of New York’s best pizzas. New York Supreme Pizza is located at the commercial strip of Balibago along McArthur Highway in Angeles City. The restaurant is open from 5 P.M. to 11 P.M. on Mondays, and 12 P.M. to 11 P.M. from Tuesday to Sunday.

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ENCOUNTER

Shelly Lazaro

By Roel Hoang Manipon

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very day seems pregnant with promises and possibilities for Shelly Lazaro, the petite and gracious owner and president of Cytherea Global Cosmetics, Inc., the importer and exclusive distributor of several top-of-the-line global beauty brands. Almost everyday, she wakes up at seven in the morning, checks emails, calls her secretary for the day’s meeting schedule and looks at her to-do lists before having breakfast with her husband, businessman Jet Lazaro, and taking a luxurious bath. She is at work by ten in the morning. “My day at the office varies a lot,” she points out. “Every day is different. That’s the beauty of having your own business. Flexibility. I get to work on everything from business development, financial planning to operations, sales, marketing, public relations and anything else that’s important. There’s so much room for creativity. I’m also lucky to have a solid corporate support team. Young and aggressive. We are continuously seeking for products that provide innovative solutions to improve quality of life and inform/educate the general public in adopting a proactive and preventive attitude towards beauty, health and wellness.” Usually, a busy working day consists of “conference calls with my international suppliers, back-to-back meetings, store visits, review and approval of contracts, vouchers, checks, and other important documents, etc.” But “I try to squeeze in lunch with some friends,” she says. “Although we would always end up discussing business anyway, like marketing tie ups, et al.” On top of that, she is also a member of different socio-civic and cultural organizations, and she squeezes in some leisurely activities. Her pregnancy doesn’t seem to slow her down. In fact, it energizes her, inspires her. “I can’t think of a greater inspiration than the child I am carrying in my womb,” she relates. “It took me and my husband six years to get pregnant. I never wanted anything this much, and I feel so blessed that our prayers have finally been answered. This baby boy whom I am due to give birth to in January inspires me in every way. There is nothing as satisfying to me now as feeling his heartbeat, his every move. I am so excited to give him so much of my time, my energy and my love. Sure, the bulging tummy and the extra pounds I keep putting on each week make dressing up a bit challenging, but every time I look in the mirror I don’t get frustrated at all. In fact, I’ve never felt more beautiful. I am amazed that my body is so strong; it can actually carry a life!” While some women worry about losing their style to motherhood, Shelly remains optimistic: “I know for sure that I can fulfill my mommy duties without sacrificing beauty and style. It helps that I’m surrounded with gorgeous moms who really take care of themselves as much as they care for their children. They’re the living proof that it’s entirely possible to be a great mother and to look fabulous at the same time. My reunion with my stilettos and bondage dress is definitely something to look forward to, next to giving birth and seeing my little one.”

Distributed by Shelly Lazaro’s Cytherea Global Cosmetics, Skin Doctors Cosmeceuticals is a top-of-the-line skin care brand from Syndey, Australia

Her first “baby” though is her company, Cytherea Global Cosmetics, established in 2004 “after we inked an import and marketing agreement with a cosmetics company in Australia to be its exclusive Philippine distributor of Skin Doctors cosmeceuticals.” Before that, she was working in corporate communications and marketing. Despite having a Masters in Business Administration degree (International Business), owning a business was not really her dream. “It just sort of landed on my lap, and the opportunity was really hard to resist. But looking back, I can say that it sure is more than my wildest dream has ever promised me!” she relates. Given her background, though, owning a business, particularly a beauty business, seems just natural. She admits being a “cosmetics junkie.” “It’s amazing how a cream or two can do wonders for your skin. It’s a good investment as beauty will always be in fashion. It will never go out of style!” she gushes. Cytherea now carries the complete lines of Skin Doctors Cosmeceuticals from Sydney, Australia; SpaRitual from Grand Nuys, California; Luminess Air from Stafford, Texas; Lashem from Los Angeles, California; and Bald Guyz from New Jersey, among others. These brands are gaining followers here in the country. Eyetuck, a topical eye bag treatment, is the bestseller of Skin Doctors. “It’s the only product in the market today with patented ingredients that are proven to effectively treat/eliminate eye bags,” Shelly describes. The Organic Nail Polish line is much favoured among the SpaRitual products. One-hundred percent vegan and natural, “the nail lacquers are actually vitamins for the nails. The longer you have them on, the healthier your nails become. It also comes in over 100 shades.,” she enthuses. For Luminess Air, the bestselling is the Premium Airbrush Makeup System. “Hollywood celebrities and makeup artists are using it!” Shelly exclaims “It helps them achieve a flawless complexion. Plus, it’s hypoallergenic, portable and user-friendly.”

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“I go for products that are backed up with years of research and clinical trials,” Shelly reveals. “I only bring in products that really work! I regularly attend international beauty shows and meet with hundreds of global cosmetics manufacturers.” In the beauty business, skin care shows great promise. “Skin care registered a strong current value growth,” she says. “Thanks to the global anti-aging craze! Consumers have moved from the simple routine of washing their face with soaps and ordinary cleansers to applying layers of luxury creams that promise to erase all signs of aging.” And she predicts that the beauty business will flourish more in the coming years. “Consumer demand for luxury products will continue to rise, particularly in emerging markets,” she says. “As the standards of living get higher, and with the rapidly expanding network of cosmetics retail distribution, people become more and more aware of the choices readily available to make them to look more fabulous and younger-looking. They become increasingly conscious of the need to take care of their skin.” For sure, she will be adding more brands that her company will carry.

Shelly and her husband Jet love to travel. They went to Venice, Italy, as well as to many other places in Europe. “I get acquainted with different cultures and philosophies,” she says of travel.

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“Right now, I’m looking at personalized skincare based on one’s DNA,” she reveals. “A topical alternative to aesthetic stem cell procedure!” Her standards, though, remain high, and she will not readily carry a product without thought and research, believing in “selling with integrity.” “It shouldn’t be all about profits,” Shelly maintains. “That is why I put premium on the culture and vision of the principal/manufacturers that I am dealing with. We have to share the same passion of delivering what is promised.” Aside from wanting her company to be a major player in cosmetics importation and distribution, she also wants to be able to provide more job opportunities to Filipinos. Shelly maintains a beauty regimen, which of course uses her products, befitting a beauty mogul-tobe: “I make sure to remove all traces of makeup before I go to bed. In the morning, I wash my face with Skin Doctors Accelerating Cleanser before applying any cream. I use gamma hydroxy to minimize my pores, EyeTuck and EyeSmooth to get rid of puffiness and eye wrinkles, and finish off with SuperMoist, a 24hour hydrating moisturizer with sunscreen. As for my body ritual, I put SpaRitual Mineral Bath Salts in the tub for a luxurious bath. I exfoliate using an organic sugar scrub and moisturize with a vegan body butter.” The best beauty tip she ever received? “Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize! And that it’s never too early to start using anti-aging products. Prevention is always better than cure.” Though inclined, Shelly has a different take to beauty’s sister, fashion. “I have a high regard for fashion but I don’t take it too seriously. I think you should have fun dressing up. Forget about fashion blunders. Everyone makes a mistake. It’s better to regret the things you wear than regret the things you didn’t wear.” “I liken my fashion style to a mythical fairy whom I admire for her strength, daring grace and beauty, and for her connections to the earth and its many moons, forests, mountains, trees and tides,” she further reveals. “I love ethereal, flowing gowns but I’m also not afraid to experiment. I can wear whatever my designer asks me to wear without having seen the designs prior to the event. I believe that more than the dress itself, it’s your personality that people will notice.” Among the Filipino fashion designers, Shelly admires Jun Escario.


Hailed as a woman of style and power, Shelly Lazaro also dreams of becoming a writer, attesting to her substance, intelligence and integrity

“I admire his passion and zest for life,” she comments. “It’s very evident in his impeccable creations. He knows what looks good on each client and makes flawless gowns that fit each one perfectly without losing his signature sense of style. Classy without being intimidating.” She further says: “I also admire accessory designer Arnel Papa. His pieces are truly one-of-a-kind. It makes even the most boring gown stand out in the sea of over-the-top fashion ensembles. He’s a genius.” Because of her stature and sense of style, Shelly Lazaro was included in the Philippine’s Best Dressed in 2011. Organized by the Philippine Cancer Society in cooperation with the Camera Club of the Philippines, it was more of a charity than a fashion event. Awardees are selected “based not only on their lovely features and keen sense of style but also on exemplary performance in their respective fields and outstanding humanitarian efforts.” The proceeds goes to the foundation’s various activities that aim to advance knowledge about cancer, combat the spread of the disease, and bring relief to cancer patients. Charity, civic duties and other activities she’s involved remain close to her heart, especially being a Rotary president, and a Rotarian in general. “Among other things, it has become my guide to meaningful living,” she explains. “It has celebrated personal missions that reflect my hopes for a better world. Not a few friend and strangers have remarked on Rotary opening windows into how some of the most privileged live no non-sense lives, spending a good part of themselves in helping improve the lives of others.” “I’ve learned precisely to work on solutions rather than being part of the problem as habitual complainer,” she reveals. “It enables me to share my capacity to believe in something—hope, grace, goodness, better possibilities and the awesome power of a single voice. I now have an enormous faith and see myself as part of a bigger picture, a greater plan.”

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BEAUTY AND THE BUSINESS “I am the youngest ever immediate past president of the prestigious Rotary Club of Makati San Lorenzo and we have so many noble projects that I’m very much involved with,” she says. “We support the street children of Tuloy sa Don Bosco Foundation, the elderly folks of Mother Theresa, and the efforts to rehabilitate the Pasig River in partnership with the ABS CBN Foundation, among others. My club is implementing an integrated program that will uplift the lives of the indigenous Dumagats in the poorest barangay of Antipolo, bordering Tanay, the barangay of Calawis, in all aspects— health, livelihood, nutrition, education, and environment protection under the Rotary Foundation 3H Grant Program and is also helping reforest and protect the Marikina Watershed together with the other NGOs working in the area.”   Aside from Rotary, Shelly is also one of the directors of the Zonta Club of Pasig Foundation, whose number-one advocacy is anti-human trafficking. Other sociocivic organizations she belongs to are Club Bulakeno, Friends for Cultural Concerns of the Philippines and Johann Strauss Society of the Philippines, to name a few. “I really make time for these things,” Shelly emphasizes. “Giving back to the community, no matter how small my actions maybe, gives me so much joy and satisfaction.” With this number of involvement, events, commitments and activities sometimes overlap. “I’ve also mastered the art of hopping from one event to another,” she smiles. Because of all these, Shelly was a recipient of the First Empowered Woman of Achievement Award last year. “It’s flattering to know that people recognize both your personal achievements and your humble contributions to the society,” she comments. “But what makes the award more meaningful to me is the fact that I am able to inspire other women to go after their dreams and aspirations. For me, being empowered means being able to pursue your passion without boundaries. It means not limiting your possibilities to the usual norms. I believe that whatever your mind can conceive, your body can achieve. But women empowerment need not be a grand act. It can be as simple as being able to decide for yourself what career to pursue or which man to marry. It’s really about freedom of choice.” 94

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She advises women to “follow your instincts. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. It’s better to have tried and failed than living a life wondering what could have been.” With such a busy schedule, a hectic lifestyle and several commitments, Shelly knows how to relax and do leisurely stuff. “On a good day, you can catch me shopping or just lazing around Shangri-La Plaza Mall or Greenbelt 5, and I always look forward to having a nice, quiet dinner with my husband. But it’s always a challenge to shut my brain off. It’s hard not to think about the next day, what needs to be done, and to stop discussing business with him,” she relates. “I love to travel with my husband,” Shelly further says. “We always try to squeeze in out of the country trips whenever our schedule permits. I also make sure to pamper myself on a regular basis (facials and body treatments). My number one hobby is shopping. I’m also a bookworm.” For her, travel remains a special activity. “I learn new things every time I travel,” she says. “I get acquainted with different cultures and philosophies. It slows me down and gives me a break from my fast-paced life. I come home contemplating about who I really am, how I live, and what I can do to help create a better world. I think travel should be an integral part of every person’s formal education.” “I travel at least five times a year,” she reveals. “For short trips, I usually go to Hong Kong, Bangkok, Phuket, Singapore, Vietnam, Kuala Lumpur and Taipei. Oh, and Sydney, Australia. Also, my husband and I always try to squeeze in an annual monthlong sabbatical. We travel around the United States, to Miami, Orlando, Jacksonville, Los Angeles, Cypress, Anaheim, San Diego, Las Vegas, Manhattan, New York, Newark, New Jersey. We also enjoy touring Europe—Rome, Florence, Venice, Milan, Barcelona, Paris, Brussels, Hoevalaken, Amsterdam and Budapest, among many other cities.” “I fell in love with Florence,” she says. “It has this magical and magnetic appeal on me. Every corner is filled with breathtaking architecture. The artistic blend of the old and the new is intoxicating. It’s the one city I will want to come back to time and time again. Paris is another favorite. I love how it’s so arrogant and utterly charming at the same time. It has the right mix of the avant-garde and the traditional. A feast for the senses, indeed.” With all smiles, she adds: “The shopaholic in me will have a violent reaction

EXPERIENCE Travel and Living Volume 8 • Number 5 • 2012

if I don’t include America in my list. I go to at least ten outlet shopping centers when I’m there. My husband always teases me that USA is just one big department store for me, and nothing else. I literally shop ‘til I drop!” She regrets though that she has not yet explored her own country. “Guilty as charged. But of the very few places here that I’ve been to, I would say that Boracay is still a hot destination, especially for young people. It may be too commercialized now, but I still like its trendy and unpretentious crowd,” she says. “Cebu is also a place I always recommend to foreign guests. It’s very laid back and the proximity of places to go to makes anyone’s stay stress-free. Not to mention the city’s rich cultural heritage.” For a passionate and intelligent person such as Shelly Lazaro, one lifetime may not be enough for the things she wants to do and achieve. Yes, there are many things that Shelly dreams of doing. “I’ve always wanted to be a writer,” she admits. “I want to pubish my own book. It can be a collection of essays about life and love. My random thoughts, or a fashion memoir. Or perhaps a guide to ‘Conscious Beauty.’” Furthermore, she says: “I also want to put up something for the homeless. Shelter for me is a human right. I wish to give everyone access to adequate housing resources. I don’t know when or how but I know someday it will happen. My ultimate dream is to see my child grow up in an environment where people have stopped complaining about our country and instead worked really positively and ethically to make it prosper. Extraordinary lives among ordinary people unfold everyday, and as the Chinese proverb reminds us: ‘People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.’” When all is said and done, Shelly Lazaro wants people to remember her for “my passionate wonderings and wanderings; for living my life one moment at a time; for my appreciation of every experience, every encounter; for the constantly evolving images of myself; for embracing more of life; for celebrating the joys of being able to help; for living a life less ordinary.”


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BOLD AND STUNNING:

Cebuano Jewelry Designer Breaks Out

By Ges Pereyra Photos by Donald Tapan It was hot and humid in Manila but Gladys Young manages to look fresh as she walks in for an interview, her printed yellow dress hugging her tall and slender frame. The young Cebuano designer and owner of Vero Concepts just came from a meeting with a client that day and will fly back home in two days. The interview came at the heels of a successful fashion show by Mega magazine at The Fort, where her Bronzed Out collection was featured. A graduate of interior design, her flair for stylish and trendy jewelry picked up in 2003 when her mother’s friends asked her to redesign their jewelry. “I love gems but it wasn’t until I started manufacturing that I developed a passion for it. I had this collection of precious and semiprecious gems that grew until it came to a point when I started to think of what I could do with it. And so I sketched designs, inspired mostly by the interesting fabric patterns, grills, furniture and architectural structures,” she says. Since then, she has created a series of exquisitely designed necklaces, bracelets and rings under Vero Concepts that are as much works of art as they are contemporary

pieces of adornment. Vero is an Italian word for “true” or “genuine.” Her work is now prominently displayed in fashion designer Jun Escario’s shop in Greenbelt 5 at the Ayala Center in Makati City and has been featured in top fashion magazines. “Jun Escario is a friend of mine, a fellow Cebuano. One day he asked me if I want to display my works in his shop in Manila. I said, why not? Vero Concepts has been doing so well. I was ready to move forward,” she shares. The designer has worked with different materials but her recent collection is one of her favorites as bronze, according to her, gives a feeling of warmth and is very versatile and elegant. Her design aesthetic is bold, dramatic and edgy. “I try to play around with the materials and think out of the box when I design. It follows that someone who wears them is as individual and free-spirited as I am,” she shares. She admits to having difficulty parting with her creations. “Each time I create, I have it in my mind that it has to personally appeal to me. And if it doesn’t sell, which rarely happens, I’d keep it for myself.” She does custom-made jewelry and regularly meets clients in Manila and Cebu.

Her main goal now is to establish the brand further. There are offers from stores in the United States and Japan to display her work, and Young says that inspires her and pushes her to work even harder at perfecting her craft, something that young daughter has begun to show interest in. “Vera Concepts is all mine from the very start up to where it is now, and my daughter is the only person I can trust with my designs and sketches. As young as she is, I can see she already has the eye for design as she also does her own sketches.” When asked about how she feels about people saying that she could be the next big thing from Cebu, where a lot of the country’s established and budding designers come from, she has this to say: “I think there’s a lot of friendly competition going around, and it’s very challenging to say the least. It’s nice to hear when people say that about me, and it really inspires me in a way that when I sit down and start doing something, it gets nicer, it gets bigger.” CONTACT INFORMATION To check out more of Gladys Young’s stunning jewelry, visit Web Site www.veroconcept.com.

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A FAREWELL DINNER FOR

Hugo Lambrechts

Andrew Byrne, Australian deputy chief of mission to Manila, toasts to Lambrechts’ fruitful stint in the Philippines. His efforts have established better trade and cultural relations between South Africa and the Philippines

Counsellor Hugo Lambrechts of the South African embassy acknowledges the presence of his closest friends in the diplomatic community during the farewell dinner in his honor

South Africa has collaborated with Museo Pambata for its cultural exchange program. Stage actor Bodjie Pascua, or Kuya Bodjie of children’s show Batibot (third from left), went to South Africa for a storytelling session

T

he Flowers Club recently hosted a farewell dinner for outgoing South Africa deputy chief of mission to Manila Hugo Lambrechts at the new F1 Hotel in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City. After drinks at the Canary Bar, guests were ushered into the restaurant where a sumptuous buffet awaited them. After a short and emotional speech, Lambrechts, who is current president of the Flowers Club, passed the microphone to Australia deputy chief of mission to Manila Andrew Byrne who gave a brief introduction about the club. The Flowers Club is the oldest diplomatic institution in the Philippines formed in May 1958 by five deputy chiefs of missions in Manila. It started when the Dutch deputy chief of missions hosted a dinner for four of his diplomatic colleagues from China, Indonesia, United Kingdom and Canada. The diplomats brought along their wives to the informal gathering and after dinner, as was the practice that time, the men retired to another room for whisky and cigars while the women went to chat in another room. By the second round of whiskey, the Chinese deputy chief of missions said, “Wouldn’t it be more fun if we joined the ‘flowers’ (meaning, the ladies) for a more interesting conversation?” A radical idea at that time but it made sense. So from then on, the club would meet once a month for dinner and an informal, semi-professional, semi-networking kind of socials, and the tradition has carried on for 54 years. There are only twelve members in the club corresponding to the twelve months of the year, when each member is supposed to host a dinner either at his or her home or at a restaurant. To date, 37

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embassies have been represented in the club. Influential Filipinos from the business, government and media sectors are invited as guests making for an interesting mix of people. “Hugo Lambrechts joined the club in 2010 and for the past six months has worked tirelessly as president, injecting new energy to the club. He will be sorely missed,” says incoming club president Andrew Byrne. Hugo Lambrechts was equally sad and happy about leaving the Philippines and admitted that when he first came he was pleasantly surprised. “I’ve never been to Asia, and so when I came here I was glad to have made many friends so easily and felt right at home. I have come to love the kindness of the people and the culture. You all have a wonderful heart, and I can say the people have really grown under my skin,” Lambrechts said. He has also found a Filipino partner, who will join him in South Africa come April. The South African Embassy has been very much active, and when asked about the work he will be leaving behind he said his successor will definitely work as hard as he did to nurture the seeds that he and South African ambassador Agnes Nyamande-Pitso have planted. “We are a small office, and we found we were so busy because you have a wonderful country to promote. So from that perspective, it worked,” he shared. Hugo Lambrechts escorted mining executives from South Africa to Baguio before flying back to his home in Plethora on December 15 to await his next posting.


TRAVEL DIRECTORY

DEPARTMENT OF TOURISM OFFICES National Capital Region Rm. 207, Department of Tourism Bldg., T.M. Kalaw St., Ermita, Manila Phone: (+63) 2 523-8411 to 20 Web site: www.wowphilippines.com.ph Ilocos Region (I) Oasis Country Resort Hotel National Highway, Sevilla, San Fernando, La Union Phone: (072) 888-2411/2098 Fax: 888-2098 Email: dotregion1@pldtdsl.net Laoag Sub-Office Room 207, Ilocano Heroes Memorial Hall, Laoag City Phone: (077) 722-1473 Fax: (077) 722-0467 Email: dotlaoag@digitelone.com Cordillera Administrative Region DOT Complex, Gov. Pack Road, Baguio City Phone: (074) 442-8848/7014 Fax: (074) 442-8848 Email: dotcar@pldtdsl.net Cagayan Valley Region (II) No. 29-A, Rizal St. Tuguegarao City, Cagayan Phone: (078) 844-1621, 846-2435 Fax: 846-2435 Email: dotr02@yahoo.com Web site: www.dotregion2.com.ph Central Luzon (III) Hilaga Village San Fernando City, Pampanga Phone: (045) 961-2665, 961-2612 Fax: 961-2612 Email: celtour@yahoo.com Southern Tagalog Regions (IV) Room 208, Department of Tourism Bldg., T.M. Kalaw St., Ermita, Manila Phone: (+63) 2 524-1969, 524-1528 and 526-7656 Fax: 526-7656 Email: lcjurilla@tourism.gov.ph Bicol Region (V) Regional Center Site Rawis, Legaspi City, Albay Phone: (052) 482-0712, 820-3664 Fax: 482-0715 Email: dotr5@globalink.net.ph Web site: www.wowbicol.com Western Visayas (VI) Western Visayas Tourism Center Capitol Ground, Bonifacio Drive, Iloilo City Phone: (033) 337-5411, 509-3550 Fax: 335-0245 Mobile: 0917-722-6691 Email: deptour6@mozcom.com Web site: www.corporate.mozcom.com/dot, www.westernvisayastourism.com.ph

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Boracay Field Office Balabag, Boracay Island, Malay, Aklan Phone: (036) 288-3689 Web site: www.boracay.com

Fax: (+63) 2 7578 268 Web site: www.philippines.embassy. gov.au Email: manila.consular@dfat.gov.au

Central Visayas (VII) Ground floor, LDM Bldg., Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu City Tel. (032) 254-2811, 254-6077 and 254-6650 Email: dotregion7@gmail.com, dotcebu@gmail.com

Belgium 9th floor, Multinational Bancorporation Centre, 6805 Ayala Avenue, Makati City Phone: + (63) 2 845-1869 Fax: + (63) 2 845-2076 Web site: www.diplomatie.be/manila Email: manila@diplobel.org

Eastern Visayas (VIII) Ground floor, Foundation Plaza Bldg., Leyte Park Resort Compound, Magsaysay Blvd., Tacloban City Phone: (053) 321-2048, 321-4333 Fax: 325-5279 Email: dotreg8@yahoo.com Web site: www.visiteasternvisayas.ph

Brazil 16th floor, Liberty Center, 104 H.V. dela Costa St., Salcedo Village, Makati City Phone: (+63) 2 845-3651 to 53 Fax: (+63) 2 845-3676 Web site: http://manila.itamaraty.gov.h Email: brasemb@info.com.ph

Zamboanga Peninsula (IX) Lantaka Hotel by the Sea Valderosa St., Zamboanga City Tel. (062) 991-0218 Fax: 993-0030 Email: dotr9@yahoo.com

Brunei Darussalam 11th Floor BPI Building, Ayala Avenue cor. Paseo De Roxas, Makati City Phone: (+63) 2 816-2836, 891-6646 Fax: (+63) 2 816-2876

Northern Mindanao (X) Gregorio Pelaez Sports Center, A.Velez St., Cagayan de Oro City Phone: (08822) 726-394, 723-696, 856-4048 and 858-8866 Fax: 723-696 Email: dotr10@yahoo.com

Cambodia Unit 7A-B, Country Space 1 Building, Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue, Makati City Phone: (+63-2) 818-9981, 810-1896 Fax: (+63-2) 818-9983 Web site: nfaic.gov.kh Email: cam.emb.ma@netasia.net

Davao Region (XI) Rm. 512, Landco Corporate Center Bldg., J.P. Laurel Avenue, Davao City Phone: (082) 221-6955, 487-0659 Fax: 221-0070 / 225-1940 Email: dotr11@yahoo.com Web site: www.discoverdavao.com

Canada Level 6, 7 and 8, Tower II, RCBC Plaza, 6819 Ayala Avenue, Makati City Phone: (+63) 2 857-9000 Fax: (+63) 2 843-1082 Web site: www.manila.gc.ca

Soccsksargen (XII) Second floor, COMSE Bldg., Quezon Ave., Cotabato City Phone: (064) 421-1110 Fax: 421-7868 Email: dot12@greendot.com.ph Koronadal Sub-Office Ground floor, Marvella Plaza Hotel, Gen Paulino Santos Drive, Koronadal City Phone: (083) 228-8667 Caraga Region (XIII) Ground floor, Grateful Realty Corp. Bldg., 88 Pili Drive, Butuan City Phone: (085) 341-8413 Fax: 815-6040 Email: dotr13@yahoo.com Web site: www.dotcaraga.ph EMBASSIES AND CONSULATES Australia Level 23-Tower 2, RCBC Plaza, 6819 Ayala Avenue, Makati City 1200 Phone: (+63) 2 757 8100

EXPERIENCE Travel and Living Volume 8 • Number 5 • 2012

China 4896 Pasay Road., Dasmarinas Village, Makati City Phone: (+63) 2 844-3148, 843-7715 Fax: (+63) 2 845-2465, 843-9974 Email: chinaemb_ph@mfa.gov.cn Denmark 51st floor, PBCOM Tower, 6795 Ayala Avenue, Makati City, Manila, Philippines Phone: (+63) 2 815-8015 Fax: (+63) 2 815-8017 Email: mnlconsul@maersk.com Egypt 7th floor, GC Corporate Plaza 150 Legaspi St. Legaspi Village, Makati City Phone: (+63) 2 843-9220 Fax : (+63) 2 843-9239 Finland 21st Floor BPI Buendia Center, Sen. Gil J. Puyat Avenue, Makati City Phone: (+63) 2 891-5011 to 15 Fax: (+63) 2 891-4107 Web site: www.finland.ph Email: sanomat.mni@formin.fi

France 16th floor, The Pacific Star Bldg., Makati Ave. cor. Sen. Gil Puyat Ext., Makati City Phone: (+63) 2 810-1981/8 Fax: (+63) 2 813-1908 Germany 25/F Tower 2, RCBC Plaza 6819 Ayala Ave., Makati City Phone: (+63) 2 892-4906 Fax: (+63) 2 810-4703 Web site: www.manila.diplo.de Email: germanembassymanila@surfshop.net.ph India 2190 Paraiso St. Dasmarinas Village, Makati City Phone: (+63) 2 815-8151 Fax: (+63) 2 815-8151 Web site: www.embindia.org.ph Email: amb@embindia.org.ph Indonesia 185 Salcedo St., Legaspi Village, Makati City Phone: (+63) 2 892-5061/68 Fax: (+63) 2 892-5878, 818-4441 Web site: www.kbrimanila.org.ph Email: fungsipensosbud@yahoo.com.ph Ireland 3rd floor, Max’s Bldg., 70 Jupiter St., Bel-Air, Makati City Phone: (+63) 2 896-4668 Fax: (+63) 2 897-8534 Email: irishcon@pldtdsl.net Israel 23rd floor, Trafalgar Plaza, H.V. dela Costa St., Salcedo Village, Makati City Phone: (+63) 2 892-5330 Fax: (+63) 2 894-1027 Web site: www.manila.mfa.gov.il Email: info@manila.mfa.gov.il Italy 6th floor, Zeta Bldg. 191 Salcedo St. Legaspi Village, Makati City Phone: (+63) 2 892-4531/2/3 Fax: (+63) 2 817-1436 Email: informazioni.manila@esteri.it Japan 2627 Roxas Blvd., Pasay City Phone: (+63) 2 551-5710 Fax: (+63) 2 551-5785, 551-5780 Web site: www.ph.emb-japan.go.jp Email: jicc-mnl@embjapan.ph Korea 10th floor, The Pacific Star Bldg., Makati Ave. Makati City Phone: (+63) 2 811-6139 to 44 Fax: (+63) 2 811-6148 Malaysia 29th and 30th flr., The World Center Bldg. 330 Sen. Gil Puyat Ave. Makati City Phone: (+63)2 864-0761 to 68 Fax: (+63) 2 864-0727 Email: malmanila@kln.gov.my


Mexico 2nd floor, GC Corporate Plaza 150 Legaspi St. Legaspi Vill., Makati City Phone: (+63)2 812-2211, 812-2212 Fax: (+63)2 892-7635 Web site: www.sre.gob.mx/filipinas Email: ebmexfil@info.com.ph Netherlands 26th Floor Equitable PCI Bank Tower, 8751 Paseo de Roxas, Makati City Phone: (+63) 2 786-6666 Fax: (+63 2) 786-6600 Web site: www.netherlandsembassy.ph Email: man@minbuza.nl New Zealand 23rd Floor, BPI Center Sen. Gil Puyat Ave., Makati City Phone: (+63)2 891-5358 to 67, 891-3272 to 75 Fax: (+63)2 891-5357, 891-5356 Web site: www.nzembassy.com/philippines Email: nzemmanila@globelines.com.ph Norway 21st floor, Petron Mega Plaza Bldg., 358 Sen. Gil Puyat Ave., Makati City Phone: (+63) 2 886-3245 to 49 Fax: (+63) 2 886-3244, 886.3384 Web site: www.norway.ph Email: emb.manila@msa.no Pakistan 6th Floor, Alexander House 132 Amorsolo St., Legaspi Village Makati City Phone: (+63)2 817-2772/6 Fax: (+63)2 840-0229 Email: pakrepmanila@yahoo.com Web site: www.ctstech.org/pkembphil/ cservicesmain.htm Russia 1245 Acacia Road., Dasmarinas Village, Makati City Phone: (+63) 2 893-0190 Fax: (+63) 2 810-9614 Web site: www.rusmanila.mid.ru Email: RusEmb@i-manila.com.ph Saudi Arabia 389 Gen. Gil Puyat Ave., Makati City Phone: (+63) 2 890-9735 Fax: (+63) 2 895-3493 Singapore 505 Rizal Drive,1634 Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City. Phone: (+63) 2 856-9922 Fax: (+63) 2 856-9932 South Africa 29th Floor, Yuchengco Tower, RCBC Plaza, Ayala Avenue Makati City Phone: (+63)2 889-9383 Fax: (+63)2 889-9337 Email: manila@foreign.gov.za South Korea 122 Upper McKinley Road McKinley Town Center

Fort Bonifacio, Taguig city Phone: (+63)2 856-9210 Fax: (+63)2 856-9008, 856-9019, 856-9024 Email: ph04@mofat.go.kr philippines@mofat.go.kr Spain 5th floor, ACT Tower, 135 Sen. Gil Puyat Ave., Makati City Phone: (+63) 2 818-5526 Fax: (+63) 2 810-2885 Emails: emb.manila@maec.es and con.manila@maec.es Sweden 16th floor, Equitable PCI Bank Tower II Bldg., Makati Ave. cor. Dela Costa Sts., Makati City Phone: (+63) 2 811-7900 Fax: (+63) 2 815-3002 Web site: www.swedenabroad.com/manila Email: ambassaden.manila@foreign.ministry.se Switzerland 24th floor, Equitable Bank Tower, 8751 Paseo de Roxas, Makati City Phone: (+63) 2 757-9000 Fax: (+63) 2 757-3718 Web site: www.eda.admin.ch/manila Email: vertretung@man.rep.admin.ch Taiwan 41F, Tower 1, RCBC Plaza 6819 Ayala Avenue, Makati City Phone: (+63)2 887-6688 Fax: (+63)2 887-7679, 887-4661 Web site: www.taiwanoffice.org/embassy.ph Email: phl@mofa.gov.tw Thailand 107 Rada St., Legaspi Village, Makati City Phone: (+63)2 815-4219/20 Fax: (+63)2 815-4221 Web site: www.thaiembassymnl.com Email: infomnl@pldtdsl.net Turkey 2268 Paraiso St. Dasmariñas Village, Makati City Phone: (+63)2 843-9705, 943-9707 Fax: (+63)2 843-9702 Email: embassy.manila@msa.gov.tk United Arab Emirates 2nd floor, Renaissance Bldg., 215 Salcedo St., Legaspi Village, Makati City Phone: (+63) 2 817-3906 Fax: (+63) 2 818-3577 United Kingdom 15th to17th floors, L.V. Locsin Bldg., 6752 Ayala Ave. cor. Makati Ave., Makati City Phone: (+63) 2 580-8700 Fax: (+63) 2 819-7206 Web site: www.britishembassy.gov. uk/philippines Email: uk@info.com.ph United States of America 1201 Roxas Blvd., Manila Phone: (+63) 2 528-6300 Fax: (+63) 2 522-4361 Web site: www.manila.usembassy.gov

Vietnam 670 Pablo Ocampo, Malate, Manila Phone: (+63) 2 525-2837, 521-6843 Fax: (+63) 2 526-0472 Web site: www.vietnamembassyphilippines.org Email: vnem@yahoo.com LOCAL AIRLINES AirPhil Express R-1 Hangar, APC Gate1, Andrews Avenue, Nichols Tel. 851-7601 Ground Floor, Charterhouse, 114 Legaspi St., Legaspi Village, Makati City Phone: (+63) 2 892-1459/2071; 24-Hour reservations number: 855-9000 Cebu Pacific Airlines Airline Operations Center Domestic Airport, Pasay City, Phone : (+63) 2 702-0888 (reservations), (+63) 2 290-5271 to 72 (customer service), (+63) 2 852-2328 local 263 (accounting), (+63) 2 290-5321 to 22 (cargo), (+63) 2 290-5241 to 42 (group desk) Email: customerservice@cebupacificair. com (customer service) cebrefacctg@cebupacificair.com (accounting) Web site: www.cebupacificair.com Island Aviation, Inc. A. Soriano Hangar, Andrews Avenue, Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines Phone: (63) 2 833-3855 Island Transvoyager, Inc. A Soriano Hangar, Lima Road cor Andrews Ave., Domestic Airport, Pasay City Phone: (+63) 2 821-5674, 851-5667 and 854-5674 Inter Island Airlines 74 Roxas Blvd., Paranaque City Phone: (+63) 2 852-8003 Philippine Airlines 2nd Floor, Power Realty Bldg., 1012 Arnaiz Ave., Makati City. Phone: (+63) 2 892-7339, 815-6481 South East Asian Airlines Domestic Passenger Terminal 1, Manila Domestic Airport, Pasay City Phone: (+63) 2 849-0100 ZestAir Domestic Road cor. Andrews Ave., Pasay City Phone: (+63) 2 855-3333 FOREIGN AIRLINES Air India Phil Am Life Salcedo Building, 126 L.P. Leviste St., SalcedoVillage, Makati City Phone: (+63) 2 815-2441/1280

Air New Zealand 10th Floor, Rufino Pacific Tower, Ayala Ave., Makati City. Phone: (+63) 2 884-8097 American Airlines Ground Flr., Olympia Somerset Condominium, Makati Avenue cor Sto. Tomas St., Makati City Phone: (+63) 2 817-8645, 810-3229 Asiana Airlines 6th Floor, Salcedo Tower, Dela Costa Street, Salcedo Village, Makati City Phone: (+63) 2 892-5681 to 88 British Airways 4th Floor, Filipino Bldg., Dela Rosa Street cor. Legaspi Street, Legaspi Village, Makati City Phone: (+63) 2 817-0361, 815-6560 Cathay Pacific Airways Limited Room 446, 4th Floor, IPT Bldg., NAIA Terminal 1, Ninoy Aquino Ave., Paranaque City Phone: (+63) 2 832-2979 China Airlines Ground Floor Golden Empire tower 1322 Roxas Blvd. cor. Padre Faura St., Ermita Manila Phone: (+63) 2 523-6319, 524-4950/4331 Emirates Pacific Star Building, Sen. Gil Puyat Ave., Makati City Phone: (+63) 2 858-5350, 858-5300 Eva Airways 5438 Don Tim Building, South Superhighway, Makati City Phone: (+63) 2 889-5701 to 04 Finnair 10th Floor, Rufino Pacific Tower Ayala Ave,. Makati City Phone: (+63) 2 856-1427 Gulf Air 9th Floor, Ayala Life FGU Center 6811 Ayala Ave., Makati City Phone: (+63) 2 892-1313 Japan Airlines 2nd floor, Oledan Square, 6788 Ayala Avenue, Makati City Phone: (+63) 2 886-6877 to 78 KLM Royal Dutch Airlines 8th floor, Athenaeum Building, 160 LP Leviste St., Salcedo Village, Makati City Phone: (+63) 2 848-5817, 815-4790 Korean Air Ground floor, LPL Plaza Bldg., 124 LP Leviste St., Salcedo Village, Makati City Phone: (+63) 2 815-9262, 815-9264

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TRAVEL DIRECTORY Laoag International Airlines Terminal 1, Manila Domestic Airport, Pasay City Phone: (+63) 2 551-9729, 551-4813

Makati City Phone: (+63) 2 687-2212

893-3233 and 893-2020 (24 hrs.)

Lufthansa German Airlines Legaspi Parkview Condominiums, 134 Legaspi cor. Palanca Sts., Legaspi Village, Makati City Phone: (+63) 2 810-5033

Avis Philippines Manila Peninsula Hotel Shop #1, Ayala Wing Ayala Avenue, Makati City Phone: (+63) 2 845-1844, 843-7140 Web site: www.avis.com.ph

Sandeco Rent-A-Car 5446-48 South Superhighway Phone: (+63) 2 844-7954/7960/ 4478 to 79

Malaysia Airlines 23rd Floor, LKG Tower Bldg., 6801 Ayala Ave., Makati City Phone: (+63) 2 887-3215

Budget Rent-A-Car The Peninsula Hotel Manila Ayala Avenue, Makati City Phone: (+63) 2 818-7363, 816-2211/6682

Northwest Airlines 8th floor, Athenaeum Building, 160 LP Leviste St., Salcedo Village, Makati City Phone: (+63) 2 819-7261

Carlines Rent-A-Car Services Tuscany Condominium, 6751 Ayala Avenue, Makati City Phone: (+63) 2 810-5421, 813-1975 to 76

Qatar Airways Ground floor, 132-A The Colonnade Residences, Legaspi Village, Makati City Phone: (+63) 2 812-1888 Qantas Airways Limited 4th floor, Filipino Merchants Building, 135 Legaspi corner Dela Rosa Sts., Legaspi Village, Makati City Phone: (+63) 2 812-4738 Royal Brunei Airlines G/F SGV II Blg., 6758 Ayala Ave., Makati City Phone: (+63) 2 897-3309, 895-3545 Singapore Airlines 33rd floor, LKG Tower, 6801 Ayala Avenue, Makati City Phone: (+63) 2 756-8899, 756-8888 South African Airways 10th Floor, Rufino Pacific Tower Ayala Ave,. Makati City Phone: (+63) 2 884-8129 Thai Airways International Country Space 1 Building, Sen. Gil Puyat Ave., Makati City Phone: (+63) 2 812-4812 Tiger Airways 1000 Makati Ave. cor Arnaiz Avenue, Makati City Phone: (+63) 2 884-1524 United Airlines 10th Floor, Rufino Pacific Tower Ayala Ave,. Makati City Phone: (+63) 2 884-8272 CAR RENTAL AND TAXI SERVICE Alamo Rent-A-Car 211 Quirino Avenue, Tambo, Parañaque City Phone: (+63) 2 551-4923/07 Avcar Rental Corp. 3674 Bautista cor Dayap Sts.,

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Del’s Transport Services 1042 Vito Cruz St., Singalong, Manila Phone: (+63) 2 524-5187, 525-8396/2696 Executive Transport and Cars Casa Blanca, 1447 M. Adriatico St., Ermita, Manila Phone: (+63) 2 523-5595 Filcar Transport Services 2nd Floor, Unit 2-A, Torre De Salcedo Bldg., 184 Salcedo St., Legaspi Village, Makati City Phone: (+63) 2 894-1754, 817-8346 and 843-3530 Telefax: (+63) 2 893-1251 Web site: www.filcartransport.com Email: info@filcartransport.com Gemini Transport Services 43 B. Francisco St., New Saniega Phone: (+63) 2 811-6888 Grayline Philippines 7737-C, St. Paul Road, San Antonio Village, Makati City Phone: (+63) 2 890-3963 to 64 Hertz Rent-A-Car Unit 101, Sunset Tower, Makati Ave. cor. Durban St., Makati City Phone: (+63) 2 897-5161 NAIA Airport Terminal 1 Branch, Phone: (+63) 2 877-1406 Mobeline Charter Services 2449 Sequia St., Sta.Ana, Manila Phone: (+63) 2 890-2778 Nissan Rent-A-Car 2317 Aurora Blvd., Pasay City Phone: (+63) 2 854-7099 Fax: (+63) 2 852-6599 Web site: www.nissanrentacar.com Email: lgq-sales@nissanrentacar.com Orix Auto Leasing Phil. Corp. 148 Yakal St., San Antonio Village, Makati City. Phone: (+63) 2 893-2523 to 27,

EXPERIENCE Travel and Living Volume 8 • Number 5 • 2012

Sunflower Transport Services 7 Santa Teresita St., Kapitolyo, Pasig City Phone: (+63) 2 631-3496 Tigers on the Run 3rd Floor, Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue, Makati City Phone: (+63) 2 899-98-28/08 BUS COMPANIES Aladdin Transit Cayco St., Sampaloc, Manila Phone: (+63) 2 781-9168 BLTB 2nd Avenue, Caloocan City Phone: (+63) 2 363-4478, 365-7886 Baliwag Transit 2nd Avenue cor. Rizal Avenue, Caloocan City Phone: (+63) 2 364-7002, 364-0860, 364-0778 and 363-4331 Dagupan Bus Line New York St. cor. Edsa, Cubao, Quezon City Phone: (+63) 2 727-2330 or 2287 Executive Carriers and Services, Inc. 153 Quirino Ave., Baclaran, Parañaque City Phone: (+63) 2 851-8701, 912-4289 Fariñas Transit Fariñas Building 1238 Lacson St. Sampaloc, Manila 743-8580 to 84 / 734-5311 / 7499645 09173279665 Fariñas Terminal Brgy. 8 Fariñas St., Laoag City, Ilocos Norte (077) 7721177 / 09173279526 Five Star Bus Company 2220 Aurora Blvd., Pasay City Phone: (+63) 2 853-4772 Genesis Transport Services Inc. 101-A Giselle Park Plaza, Edsa Rotonda cor. H. Taft Avenue, Pasay City Phone: (+63) 2 733- 8622 704 Edsa cor. New York St., Cubao, Quezon City Phone: (+63) 2 709-0803, 421-1413 JAC Liner #2 Mapagmahal St. Brgy. Pinyahan, Kamias Road, Quezon City Phone: (+63) 2 927-4745/6139, 928-6140

Jam Transit Timog St. corner Edsa Quezon City Phone: (+63) 2 724-4897 Partas Transportation Co., Inc. 816 Aurora Blvd., Quezon City Phone: (+63) 2 725-1740, 725-1756, 826-1285 and 724-9820 Philippine Rabbit Oroquieta St., Sta.Cruz, Manila Phone: (+63) 2 734-9836 Philtranco Edsa, Apelo Cruz St., Pasay City Phone: (+63) 2 851-8077 to 79 (Pasay) and 722-7567 (Cubao) RRCG Transport Km. 18, Ortigas Avenue Extension, Cainta, Rizal Phone: (+63) 2 656-7503 Saulog Transit 1377 Quirino Avenue, Paranaque City Phone: (+63) 2 825-2926 to 30 Tritran CMC Building, Andrews Avenue corner Aurora Blvd., Pasay City Phone: (+63) 2 851-7971 Victory Liner 713 Rizal Ave. Ext., Caloocan City Phone: (+63) 2 361-1506 651 EDSA, Pasay City Phone: (+63) 2 833-5019 to 20 551 Earnshow St. brgy 401 Sampaloc, Manila Phone: (+63) 2 559-7753 Edsa near Aurora Blvd., Cubao Phone: (+63) 2 727-4688, 727-4534 SHIPS AND FERRIES WG & A (Superferry) 12th floor, Times Plaza Building, UN Ave. cor. Taft Ave., Ermita, Manila Phone: (+63) 2 528-7979, 528-7171 Web site: www.SuperFerry.com.ph Email: customerinteraction@SuperFerry.com.ph Mt. Samat Ferry Express CCP Bay Terminal, CCP Complex, Pasay City Phone: (+63) 2 551-5290 to 91 Negros Navigation Pier II, North Harbor, Tondo, Manila Phone: (+63) 2 243-5231, 244-0408 Web site: www.negrosnavigation.ph Email: gcabalo@negrosnavigation.ph Sulpicio Lines Manila Terminal Office Pier 12, North Harbor Tondo, Manila Phone: (+63) 2 245-0616 to 30 Fax: (+63) 2 243-4570, 243-4571 Web site: www.sulpiciolines.com


TRAVEL CALENDAR

January/February KURALDAL January 6 | Sasmuan, Pampanga Pampangans from neighboring towns gather in front of the chapel of St. Lucy and dance for favors all night. As soon as the mass ends at 8 P.M., the rowdy entry of the brass band signals the start of non-stop dancing that lasts until 3 A.M. Barren women are said to get pregnant after the festival. ESCALANTE PEOPLE’S DAY January 8 | Escalante City, Negros Occidental This event commemorates the signing of Republic Act 9014 into law declaring Escalante as one of the component cities of Negros Occidental.

ATI-ATIHAN FESTIVAL January 1-21 | Kalibo, Aklan Celebrated in honor of Santo Niño, it is socalled because locals and tourists wipe soot on their faces, don ethnic costumes, parade around town as Negritos and dance in the streets to the beat of ambulant ethnic troubadours. This is a weeklong celebration which culminates on the third Sunday of January. AGUMAN SANDUK January 1 | Minalin, Pampanga While the rest of the country takes a break from the New Year revelry, boys and men of this sleepy fishing town wear their mothers’ lipstick and put on their wives’ dresses. The Aguman Sanduk or Fellowship of the Ladle of Minalin is celebrated in the afternoon at two, starting at the Santo Domingo Church. The strange and largely secret tradition began in 1934. Even mayors and priests are said to have also joined hundreds of men who parade annually on the street in dress. At the end of the day, they choose the Aguman queen, who is usually the ugliest of the cross-dressers. FEAST OF THE THREE KINGS January 2 | Gasan, Marinduque This feast honors the three kings, and participants visit houses around the poblacion of Gasan. BAILES DE LUCES January 5 | La Castellana, Negros Occicental A celebration of its charter day, it is also a thanksgiving for all the blessings received in the year. It paves for a prosperous new year with lights, nocturnal festivities and street dancing.

LINGAYEN GULF LANDING ANNIVERSARY January 9 | Lingayen, Pangasinan It commemorates the liberation of Pangasinan from the Japanese led by Gen. Douglas McArthur. FEAST OF THE BLACK NAZARENE January 9 | Quiapo, Manila The populous district of Manila celebrates the feast day of the Black Nazarene, when a life-size image of a dark-skinned Jesus Christ carrying the cross is brought out for a procession. Devotees, from all over the metropolis and beyond, join in the procession, trying to touch the image, which is said to have miraculous powers. This is one of the most intense shows of devotion. BINIRAY FESTIVAL January 9 | Romblon In honor of the Santo Niño, it has revelry and a fluvial procession. SAN PABLO COCO FESTIVAL January 10-15 | San Pablo City, Laguna The weeklong celebration is highlighted by a Mardi Gras during fiesta with costumes and floats made from coconut.

ARAW NG KORONADAL (HINUGYAW FESTIVAL) January 10 | Koronadal, South Cotobato It is a celebration of the different cultures in Koronadal. SINULOG (KABANKALAN) FESTIVAL January 10-16 | Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental Revelers in colorful costumes and bodies painted in soot take to the streets to the frenzied beating of drums, celebrating the feast of Santo Niño. SINULOG FESTIVAL January 2-31 | Cebu This is one of biggest and most popular festivals of Cebu, considered to be the country’s cradle of Christianity, and of the Philippines. The main festival is on the third Sunday of January in Cebu City to honor the Santo Niño. It is essentially a dance ritual which remembers the Filipino people’s pagan past and their acceptance of Christianity. Recently, the cultural event has been commercialized as a tourist attraction and instead of traditional street-dancing from locals, Sinulog also came to mean a contest featuring contingents from various parts of the country. Sinulog simply means “graceful dance.” BAKA FESTIVAL January 12-15 | San Pablo, Isabela Assisted by the Isabela State University, Echague campus, the festival promotes the town of San Pablo as home to 20 cattle ranches. There are street dancing, rodeo, carambola and cattle wrestling. MALATARLAK FESTIVAL January 13-20 | Tarlac City, Tarlac The festival features various contingents of school children garbed in grass-inspired costumes, painted in soot, all dancing to the beat of local tunes and ethnic instruments made of bamboo. It derives its name from a Negrito word for a grass that grows abundantly in the area. KINARADTO FESTIVAL January 15 | Buenavista, Guimaras This festival has presentation of songs, dances and musical tableau depicting the various influences Buenavista has been subjected to. It is celebrated in honor of the town’s patron Sto. Niño.

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GUIGUINTO GARDEN FESTIVAL January 22-23 | Guiguinto, Bulacan Fourteen barangays prepare their respective floats together with the non-governmental organization and civil groups showcasing the diverse landscaping designs of local gardeners. FEAST OF OUR LADY OF PEACE AND GOOD VOYAGE January 24 | La Carlota City It features cultural shows and traditional fiesta activities like procession, traditional games and cultural presentation.

PASUNGAY FESTIVAL January 15 | San Joaquin, Iloilo This has its origin on a hillside in one of the inland barangays of the municipality when resting farmers witness for the first time the fight between the two raging bulls, set loose by their herdsmen. It caught the fancy of the barangay folks and soon it became a popular entertainment in most barangay fiestas. During the municipal fiesta, the best bulls from different barangays are pitted against each other. BATAN ATI-ATI MALAKARA FESTIVAL January 15 | Poblacion Batan, Aklan The participants celebrating this festival wear masks made up of papier mache and costumes. The festival is celebrated in honor of the Sto. Niño with merry making for a bountiful harvest, peace and prosperity, with street dancing. IBAJAY ATI-ATI MUNICIPAL AND DEVOTIONAL FIESTA January 16- 22 | Ibajay, Aklan A religious feast in honor of its patron saint Sto. Niño, it is held by transferring the holy image of the patron from Ibajay Cathedral Rectory and enthronement at St. Peter Parish Church. KAHIMUNAN FESTIVAL January 16 | Libertad, Butuan City This is Butuan’s version of the Sinulog of Cebu, which has equally lively and spectacular street dancing.

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PANGISDAAN FESTIVAL January 16 | Barangay of Tangos, Navotas One of the highlights of the Navotas Day celebration is the street dancing and float competition focusing on the fishing industry. PANDOT SA BACOLOD January 20 | Bacolod City, Negros Occidental It features dramatization of the life of Bacoleños during the Spanish times and the life of being a Catholic. PASASALAMAT FESTIVAL Third Sunday of January | Pagadian City The festival features ethnic street dancing with Subanen rituals of thanksgiving for good harvest. ALTAVAS STO. NIÑO FESTIVAL January 21-22 | Poblacion, Altavas, Aklan January 22 marks the end of the FilipinoAmerican War in Altavas, which is being celebrated as an annual thanksgiving and Armistice Day in Altavas. Later, the date was adopted as its municipal town fiesta. HALAD SA STO. NIÑO FESTIVAL January 21 | Midsayap, North Cotabato This is the fiesta celebration of Midsayap, Cotabato, in honor of its patron, Santo Niño. Highlights are street dancing and theatrical parade contest. LONGANIZA FESTIVAL January 22 | Vigan City, Ilocos Sur It features the longaniza sausage.

EXPERIENCE Travel and Living Volume 8 • Number 5 • 2012

FEAST OF INA POON BATO January 24 | Botolan, Zambales It is celebrated in the barangay of Poonbato, Botolan, Zambales. Devotees from all over the country flocked to this place before or on the feast day to worship Ina Poonbato. The church is on the top of the hill. Ina Poonbato, the miraculous image continues to reign in the hearts of many people, most especially the people of Botolan. For them, she is their mother, their guidance and their hope. PAINDIGAY FESTIVAL January 24 | Padada, Davao del Sur Paindigay is a Cebuano word for “showcase display,” which is also called pahambogay. There is a basketball league, cockfighting derby and cultural presentation. DINAGSA ATI-ATIHAN FESTIVAL January 24-30 | Cadiz City, Negros Occidental Various programs are lined up such as motocross, drum and bugle corps competition, Ginoong Cadiz and search for Mutya ng Cadiz. This spectacular revelry features Ati tribes garbed in their colorful costumes dancing to the fast and deafening beat of drums while carrying the image of the Holy Child Jesus. SANTO NIÑO FESTIVAL January 25 | Malolos, Bulacan This is the biggest expression of devotion to the Holy Child Jesus in the entire Luzon Island.


January/February PANSI FESTIVAL January 25 | Cabagan, Isabela The festival highlights the original pancit Cabagan, a local noodle dish, acknowledging the town as its source. Although the festival is not conducted yearly, pancit Cabagan is known all over the region, and the dried noodles can be bought daily at the local market. DINAGYANG FESTIVAL January 20-22 | Iloilo City Just like most festivals in January, Dinagyang Festival is a thanksgiving for and a celebration in honor of Santo Nino. From a parish church festivity, the celebration has evolved to become a religious-cultural activity. It is now a vehicle to promote Iloilo as a tourist and investment destination. It prides itself as a festival of folk choreography and a showcase of Ilonggo heritage and culture. The religious highlight is the fluvial procession along Iloilo River. The cultural highlights are the Kasadyahan cultural parade and the Ati-atihan parades and competitions.

IBON-EBON FESTIVAL First week of February | Candaba, Pampanga One of the more colorful events in Pampanga, the Ibon Ebon Festival (literally, “bird egg”), initiated by mayor Jerry Pelayo, projects Candaba as the home of thousands of migratory birds from different parts of the globe, and at the same time showcases its growing duck egg industry. Among the activities featured during the two-day event are street-dance performances, exhibits and trade fair, bird-inspired kite flying exhibition, itik race and boat race along Pampanga river. SALAKAYAN FESTIVAL February 2-5 | Miag-ao, Iloilo An important historical occasion for the people of Miag-ao, this annual extravaganza attracts people with its week-long activity of food fair, agro-industrial and trade fair, fluvial parade, higante contest, literary musical contest, evening socials and the hablon and patadyong fashion show. The event’s highlight is the street dance-drama depicting the victorious battle waged by the locals against Muslim marauders sometime in 1754. PAMULINAWEN FESTIVAL February 2-10 | Laoag City, Ilocos Norte The word means “Ilocano maiden.” It is a festival showing Ilocano customs and virtues.

BALOT SA PUTI FESTIVAL January 31 | Pateros It is one of the highlights of the Pateros town fiesta celebration. PABIRIK FESTIVAL February 1-2 | Paracale, Camarines Norte Held in the town of Paracale, the festival is highlighted by “pabirik” street dancing, depicting the gold mining industry in the province. LAVANDERO FESTIVAL February 1-6 | Mandaluyong City As part of the week-long Mandaluyong Day celebration, the unique festival focused on the city’s old tradition of washing clothes in the once clean and clear waters of the Pasig River. Amusingly, the focal point of the festival is the male participants washing clothes instead of women.

INTERNATIONAL BAMBOO ORGAN FESTIVAL February 3-11 | Las Piñas There is a series of cultural events, with a focus on the unique bamboo organ made by Fray Diego de la Cera found only in Las Piñas. TINAPAY FESTIVAL February 7-13 | Cuenca, Batangas This is an annual activity conceived by the town as thanksgiving to their patron saint, Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage, for a bountiful life. KALI-KALIHAN HARVEST FESTIVAL February 8 | Don Salvador Benedicto, Negros Occidental This is a harvest festival with street dancing showing cultural heritage and the art of kali, also known as arnis or escrima, the traditional martial arts of the Filipino people since the seventh century.

PHILIPPINE INTERNATIONAL HOT AIR BALLOON FIESTA February 9-12 | Clark Field, Pampanga This annual festival features air sports events like hot-air balloon competition, aircraft maneuvers and precision flying, ultralights, RC demonstration flying, sky diving, aircraft rally, rocketeering, flag jump, balloon bursting competition, kite flying, trade fair, carnival rides and nightly concerts. GULING-GULING FESTIVAL February 9 | Paoay, Ilocos Norte Townsfolk and their guests participate in singing and dancing in the street, dressed in their native costume, the antique and attractive abel Paoay kimona with matching tapis or pandiling, adorned with century-old jewelry. TINAGBA FESTIVAL February 11 | Iriga City, Camarines Sur A tradition of the first harvest offering coinciding with the feast day of Our Lady of Lourdes, it is derived from the early rituals of the ancient Bicolanos offering their harvest to their own gods as a form of thanksgiving and to seek favor for a more bountiful harvest throughout the year. HARANA FESTIVAL February 11-15 | San Jose, Camarines Sur The festival features local talents and young artists in its efforts to promote cultural awareness, tourism development and youth empowerment in the district of Partido PANAGBENGA: BAGUIO FLOWER FESTIVAL February 25-26 | Baguio City This event showcases Baguio as a city of flowers with a floral street parade float parade.

Volume 8 • Number 5 • 2012 EXPERIENCE Travel and Living |

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PA RT I N G S H O T

“Pag-ani” by Oliver Rosales. Gathering snails at Laguna de Bay by the mangangalahig to feed ducks in the farms of Victoria, Laguna, 2012.

“The journey is difficult, immense. We will travel as far as we can, but we cannot in one lifetime see all that we would like to see or to learn all that we hunger to know.” — Loren Eiseley American anthropologist, educator, philosopher and natural science writer (September 3, 1907 – July 9, 1977)

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EXPERIENCE Travel and Living Volume 8 • Number 5 • 2012


Experience Travel and Living Vol. 8 No. 5  

Experience the travel of a lifetime

Experience Travel and Living Vol. 8 No. 5  

Experience the travel of a lifetime

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