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Landco Pacific Corporation:



remier real estate developer Landco Pacific Corporation marks another milestone as it celebrates its 20th anniversary·two decades of first-class „Life at your Leisure‰ developments. For 20 years, Landco has consistently pioneered innovative concepts in leisure development beginning with Peninsula de Punta Fuego, followed by Terrazas de Punta Fuego and Amara en Terrazas, high-end exclusive seaside residential resort developments with worldclass amenities. Landco is also the first to introduce a hobby farming community by integrating residential resort features with high-value modern farming with its Leisure Farms development located in Lemery, Batangas. This was followed by Ponderosa Leisure Farms in Silang, Cavite, a SpanishMexican themed flower garden community. Adding to LandcoÊs impressive roster are its leisure tourism development projects: Playa Calatagan and Playa Laiya in Batangas, Playa Azalea in Davao, and Hacienda Escudero that straddles Laguna and Quezon. The Playa series combines the quality of residential resorts like Punta Fuego with the concept of a leisure tourism destination. „Life at your Leisure‰ is the essence of every Landco product, and can be felt and experienced even in their urban communities Tribeca Private Residences in Sucat, Muntinlupa and hometown communities, LandcoÊs signature blue-label primary homes in the provinces located in Pampanga, Bulacan, Laguna, Pangasinan, Nueva Ecija and Zamboanga City. TRIBECA PRIVATE RESIDENCES, SUCAT, MUNTINLUPA





As the purveyor of leisure living experiences, Landco is committed to consistently cre-ate innovative and outstanding lifestyle products that revolutionize the way people live. LandcoĂŠs premier developments include: (Leisure Communities) Peninsula de Punta Fuego, Terrazas de Punta Fuego, Amara en Terrazas, Playa Calatagan, Playa Laiya, Playa Azalea, Leisure Farms, Ponderosa Leisure Farms, and Hacienda Escudero; (Urban Communities) TRIbeca Private Residences, Stonecrest; and (Hometown Communities) WoodGrove Park, Waterwood Park, MonteLago Nature Estates, Woodside Garden Vil-lage, and The Courtyard at Lakewood Golf Estates and Woodridge Garden Village.

For more information, please call (632) 836-5000 or visit








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Travel Features

Explore 18 Maripet Poso discovers the thrilling offerings of the little town of Danao in Bohol 22 Lounard Chio takes on the adventure of going to the crater of Mount Pinatubo


Experience 24 Agnes Abrau gets a taste of Palau


Exalt 28 Reinerio Alba witnesses the closing of the National Heritage Month celebration in Puerto Princesa, Palawan Escape 32 Agnes Abrau visits Club Paradise in Coron 36 Lounard Chio stays in Grand Vista Boracay Resort and Spa 38 Grace Barrameda-Chio gets impressed by One MGM Boracay Resort Village

Other Departments Accommodations 42 The Marriott Hotel Manila Leisure and Adventure 48 Spelunking in Samar Dining 60 Roel Hoang Manipon savors the dishes of Peppermill Caterers 64 Deni Rose Afinidad gets potato-crazy at Potato Corner’s Spud Diner

Regular Sections 8 Editor’s Note 12 Contributors 14 Postings 74 Travel Directory 78 Travel Calendar



EXPERIENCE Travel and Living Volume 6 Number 3, Aug-Oct 2010

ABOUT THE COVER: The Marriott Hotel Manila is one of Metro Manila’s spanking new hotels, located at the newly-developed entertainment complex of Resorts World in Newport City. Affording sweeping views of the adjoining 18-hole Villamor Golf Course and situated just opposite the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3, the hotel is merely a 15-minute drive from Bonifacio Global City and Makati Business District. Whether you are here for business or leisure, Marriot Hotel Manila, is the place to work and play.


I love storms. Am I strange? Many people fear them, the destruction they bring. The fierce wind can tear off roofs and uproot trees. It can shake houses and blow off things. It calms me down, the storm. You really think me strange. I don’t exactly know why. Maybe because the temperature is cooler. Heat can be disorienting especially in this tropical country. And we had enough of hot weather for the past months. Cool is calming. Another thing is that there is not much activity outside. I mean people rushing to and fro. They stay indoors during storms. Outside, there is just the wind and the rain and the thick clouds. I often go out. Somehow, the world is washed anew during storms. I still love storms even though I was one of the many severely affected by the typhoon Ondoy last year. We were touring Bataan and Pampanga when it hit Metro Manila. When EDSA was flooded, we were stranded in San Fernando City. The roads to Manila were blocked off. We stayed for the night and were stricken with food poisoning. The next day we took the chance to go home. Still weak from diarrhea and fever, I found a sea where there was the road to home before. For three days, I stayed with a friend, trying to recuperate. When enough strength was gained, I took the chance to go home, wading through flood water and hitching a ride in a garbage truck. The house was not much affected, fortunately. It looked it stood in the middle of the sea. Only the kitchen was flooded. Soon fish began to appear. The problem was how to get out and go to work. Parts of Pasig, including ours, were flooded for week or so. But I found a way when I was to go to Singapore and cover the Singapore Sun Festival that espouses the “art of living well.” My world changed from dreary to bright. I do not wish for another Ondoy or Pepeng. In a month or so, it would be a year since the devastating typhoon hit the Philippines. I hope we have recovered, and I hope we are prepared if another one of this kind hits. Meanwhile, I am reeling from another kind of storm. Storm because it is intense and fierce, at least on my part. It has been six months now, I and Bob, the lightning that pierces my heart and the thunder that shakes my ground. Always, there is travel, a constant passion. It also has the power to renew like

Greenwoods Executive Village, where the editor lives, in the aftermath of typhoon Ondoy (left). The storm that is Bob (top). Roel trekking in Batad in Banaue, Ifugao (second from top); waiting for a boat ride in Puerto Galera (third from top); and posing in front of a Jose Rizal marker in Singapore (above).

a storm and the power to give strength. When other else wears me down, travel fortifies and inspires me. We are now entering a season of storms. Here’s hoping we have the strength and fortitude to weather the outer and inner storms of our lives.

Roel Hoang Manipon 8


EXPERIENCE Travel and Living Volume 6 Number 3, Aug-Oct 2010









Publisher/Managing Director

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Experience Travel and Living magazine is

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with business address at Unit 416, Cityland 3, Liaison Officer in Columbus, Ohio

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Lounard Chio is a unit manag-

A chronicler and a constant voyager,

Agnes Marie G. Abrau is a freelance writer for various publications after serving as editor in Expat Philippines and as a senior writer/ journalist in a publication abroad for years. She has toured around the country and some cities in Asia, and she believes that the constant hum and buzz around her and even all that is humdrum are enough to make the world exciting in the eyes of a journalist.

Rose Afinidad is a beach party hopper. Even though she’s usually afraid to fly or of the open water, she’s a big fan of backpacking, diving and extreme sports. Her other sources of adrenaline rush are writing for The Daily Tribune and studying patternmaking and fashion construction at Slim’s Fashion and Arts School. Whenever she’s with McQueen or her sewing machine, she feels like a rock star would with his guitar.

Reinerio A. Alba is a writer who hails from Gumaca, Quezon. He was a fellow for poetry at the Silliman National Writers Workshop in Dumaguete City in 1993 and Iyas National Writers Workshop in 2002. Visit his blog site




Mary Grace BarramedaChio is a freelance PR consultant, events coordinator and proud housewife and mother to Gracielle and Luis Gabrielle. She enjoys spending time with her family and experimenting on dishes that she discovers during her travels. For her, the most beautiful places in the Philippines are Palawan, Boracay and Sagada.

EXPERIENCE Travel and Living Volume 6 Number 3, Aug-Oct 2010

er at Hitachi GST Philippines Corporation in Laguna. A mountaineer, he is also into other adventure sports like mountain biking, jet skiing and scuba diving. An avid traveler, he has been to many places in the Philippines and other Asian countries. He hopes his articles and photographs will inspire others to go out and enjoy life!

Maripet L. Poso is a law school drop-out, a cooking-show fan, a neophyte writer and a hopeless dreamer. She plans to one day write and publish a kick-ass novel and meet Oprah Winfrey in person. After spending some time jobhopping in the corporate world, she happily traded her high-heeled shoes and corporate skirts to a more laidback jeans-and-sneaker world of journalism.

A son of Agdangan, Quezon, Donald Cajayon Tapan’s passion with photography started when journalists from Manila flocked to his small town. He was awed by and fascinated with their fancy cameras. In1968, he made his way to Manila and started showing the city works. He got affiliated with Times Week, Mabuhay, Metro and Mod Filipina. Later, he became chief photographer of The Daily Tribune and The Daily Globe. He has won several awards such as first prize in the Pope John Paul National Photo Contest in 1982 and in the contests of the National Press Club and the Department of Tourism. In the 1980s he delved into fine art photography. In 1991, he flew to New York for his one-man exhibit at the Philippine Center. The following year, he was hired by a well-known advertising agency in Saudi Arabia for a coffee-table book. After almost 20 years of photography, he set up CEO Photography and Designs with big clients, recently providing photography for the coffee-table books Abaca and Coconut. Aside from that, Tapan has been in public service in his hometown for almost 10 years as a councilor and vice-mayor. He says that his legacy is “not only seen as framed photographs in lobbies of hotels and exhibition halls” but instead it “will stay, breathing and alive amongst his children, amongst his students, they who have been impassioned by a man with a dangling camera on his neck.”

POSTING READ | “Lost Novel” of Jesús Balmori Brought to Light The Instituto Cervantes de Manila publishes the Spanish novel of Filipino journalist, playwright and poet Jesús Balmori, Los pájaros de fuego (Birds of fire). A novel with remarkable historic and literary value, Los Pájaros de fuego is considered to be a “lost novel.” All pages of the book, except the final chapter, were written by Balmori during the Japanese occupation. It miraculously escaped the repeated raids of the Japanese henchmen as Balmori stored each chapter in glass bottles and buried them under the garden of his house.After the war, the manuscript was recovered from the ruins of Balmori’s house, finished and sold by the author to the government, who committed to publish it. However, the manuscript of Los pájaros de fuego remained unnoticed for decades until three years ago in the National Archives. “This book is truly of great significance to Philippine history as it recounts Manila life during the Japanese occupation,” says Instituto Cervantes director José Rodríguez.“I am glad that we are now bringing back Fil-Hispanic literature through our project, Biblioteca Clásicos Hispanofilipinos, and making them available to the public.”Balmori was born in Ermita, Manila, on January 10, 1887. A Spanish literary prodigy, Balmori, in his early years, was already winning literary honors for poetry. At age 17, he already published his first book of verses, Rimas Malayas. He often engaged in friendly debate via poetry known as balagtasan with fellow poet Manuel Bernabe, with the former emerging as the winner every time. Before the war, Balmori, under the penname Batikuling, had his journalistic stint for the La Vanguardia where he wrote about the society’s power elite, showcasing his talent as a creative writer. As a lyric poet, Balmori garnered different national awards like for his poem “Gloria” (1908) which won first prize in a contest sponsored by El Renacimiento and “A Nuestro Señor Don Quijote de la Mancha” (1920), which attained the major award in a contest promoted by Casas de España. However, some of Balmori’s greatest poems are in the collection Mi Casa de Nipa (1940), which won the grand prize for poetry in the national literary contest sponsored by the Commonwealth government. Los pájaros de fuego is part of Biblioteca Clásicos Hispanofilipinos. Launched last January, the project seeks to bring recognition to the last batch of Spanish works written in the Philippines from the beginning of the 20th century. Clásicos Hispanofilipinos’ maiden publication was Adelina Gurrea Monasterio’s book Cuentos de Juana (Juana’s Stories) and is planning to publish two titles every year. Among the scheduled writers are Claro Mayo Recto, Antonio Abad, T. M. Kalaw and Evangelina Guerrero.Biblioteca Clásicos Hispanofilipinos is organized by Instituto Cervantes de Manila in collaboration with the Spanish Embassy in the Philippines, the Spanish International Cooperation Agency for Development (AECID) and the Spanish Program for Cultural Cooperation from Ministerio de Cultura de España. Among the supporting universities are the University of the Philippines (Department of European Languages, UP Diliman) and the University of Alicante (Spain ). For more information, call 526-1482 or visit Instituto Cervantes de Manila is at 855 T.M. Kalaw St., Ermita, Manila.

CONNECT | Welcome News for Global Pinoys For Filipinos, working abroad is a difficult but financially rewarding decision many of them make for the sake of their loved ones. Being apart from families and 14


EXPERIENCE Travel and Living Volume 6 Number 3, Aug-Oct 2010

friends isn’t easy, and it takes a lot of work for them to maintain relationships separated by great distance.Fortunately, certain technological advancements such as Chikka Messenger have enabled people to bridge that gap. Created in 2001, it is an online application that allows users to send free text messages from their computers to mobile phones. It has since then been one of the most-used communications tools preferred by Filipinos working abroad who want a convenient way to talk to their families.Over the years however, there has been an increase in demand for an even more convenient way for Filipinos living abroad to keep in touch on the go. In order to address this need, a third-party application developer has made the well-known Chikka application available on the iPhone.According to Nielsen, there are 6.4 million iPhone users in the United States as of 2009. Eighty-eight percent of these users use the Internet, making them four times as likely to use the Internet as the typical subscriber. Since Chikka is an Internet-based application, the combination of Chikka’s services and the iPhone’s Internet capability is something the Filipinos will be able to benefit from in terms of convenience and cost efficiency.Gone are the days where Chikka users had to be confined to their computers to be able to send free text messages to their loved ones. Thanks to the Chikka for iPhone application, users can now send free SMS from their iPhones from anywhere in the world to mobile phones in the Philippines .It is an event that many Chikka users have been waiting for, and its success is reflected by the fact that few days after its release, the application ranked second in the Top Free Applications category at the iTunes Store.The third-party developed application offers basic Chikka Text Messenger features such as Add Buddy for mobile and GTalk buddies, send/receive messages to and from P C / i Ph o n e / m o bile phone, and Mobile Forwarding for Unified Accounts. Chikka and iPhone users will be excited to know that the company plans on releasing the official Chikka application for iPhone within the year. The Chikka-developed application will offer a sleeker design and it will have new mobile reply rates, making it worth the wait.Non-iPhone users will also have something to look forward to, since Chikka is currently working on making the application available across mobile platforms such as the Android, BlackBerry and Symbian. Mobile applications for sending mobile airtime credits from the Web to mobile phones will be available soon, as well as a paid SMS feature for countries that are not covered by Chikka’s free SMS services.As a Filipino company, Chikka understands the importance of family values and maintaining the strong bonds of friendship. It is because of this fully realized insight that they continue to develop newer and better ways for people to communicate with each other. With numerous upcoming applications and services, Chikka will undoubtedly continue to bring families and friends closer for many years to come.Providing various wireless applications to over 30 mobile operators in seventeen countries including the US, United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, Hong Kong and the Philippines, Chikka has also diversified, developing applications for mobile content, commerce and corporate solutions. According to the company, Chikka Messenger, now with over 62 million registered users since 2001, is probably the most widely-used and viewed Internet and mobile-based communications tool by Filipinos worldwide. The third-party developed Chikka application for the iPhone is available at the iTunes Store. For more information about Chikka and its other services, visit

VIEW | Palette Art at the BenCab Museum Bank of Singapore presents “Through the Palette’s Eye” at the Gallery Indigo of the BenCab Museum in Baguio City. The exhibition features Melannie and Rico Hizon’s palette art collection created by renowned visual artists including Anita Magsaysay-Ho, BenCab, Malang, Antonio Austria, Romulo Olazo, Charlie Co, Elmer Borlongan, Jose Santos III, Mark Justiniani, Marcel Antonio, Geraldine Javier, Joy Mallari, Rodel Tapaya, Rene Cuvos, Vincent Padilla among others.The artist’s palette, an essential art implement, is the focus of this show, presented in a different light. The country’s finest artists have interpreted their ideas onto palettes of assorted shapes and sizes, using diverse media, for a truly unique collection.Over 80 palette works are on view until September 5, 2010. “Through the Palette’s Eye” is supported by Enderun Colleges, Bank of the Philippine Islands,, Century Properties and the Philippine Art Awards.The BenCab Museum is located at Kilometer 6, Asin Road, Tuba, Metro Baguio. It is open daily, except Mondays, from 9 A.M. to 6 P.M. For details, call telephone number (+63 74) 442-7165 or e-mail

APPLY | Choosing the Right Credit Card That Fits Your Lifestyle Choosing the right card is not easy as every credit card has a myriad of interesting promos, offering all sorts of discounts and freebies. One basic thing to note before making that important choice is to find out what your needs and spending habits will be and from there, a decision on what specific type of card to get can finally be made.One of the most popular credit cards nowadays is BDO Platinum and Titanium, especially with their ongoing Elite Delights Program. To date, it has one of the most extensive listing of participating establishments offering the best deals and discounts, not only in Metro Manila but likewise in major provincial cities in the country year round.The BDO Titanium MasterCard is especially designed for frequent travelers who want only the best especially when taking that much needed vacation with family or a night out on the town with friends. The BDO Platinum MasterCard, on the other hand, is designed for unparalleled high-living, giving Cardholders a wide array of exclusive privileges which are definitely only for the select few. Both cards make sure to provide the most exclusive of privileges to the discriminating taste of its elite clientele.Continuing the practice of offering the best deals and the most discounts that BDO cardholders have come to expect, the bank’s extensive list now includes more than fifty of the best restaurants in and around the country; unbelievable deals with the country’s most loved hotels and resorts in Cebu, Boracay, Davao, Bohol, Negros Oriental, Marinduque, La Union and Iloilo, among many others; shimmering and elegant price cuts with the country’s highly respected jewellers; incredible mark downs with the country’s highly diverse fashion stores; and stress-free and now even more affordable rates at the best spas, clinics, gyms, yoga centers and

health stores all around the country.BDO’s Elite Delights Program is ongoing for the whole year and is open to all active BDO Platinum and Titanium cardholders of good credit standing. For more information on BDO Platinum and Titanium credit cards and to get a complete list of all the participating establishments and offers, log on to or call BDO Customer Contact Center at 631-8000.

OWN | Brillante Mendoza Films on Video Director Brillante Mendoza has lived up to his name for creating globally acclaimed films. In 2009, after only four years since his directorial debut Masahista, he already bagged the Best Director award at Cannes Film Festival for Kinatay, beating Hollywood bigwig Quentin Tarantino and Oscar winner Ang Lee. A native of San Fernando, Pampanga, and a production designer for 20 years before venturing into filmmaking, he has indeed come a long way. And his success is also the triumph of the Philippines. Viva Communications proudly gives home viewers a chance to own their original copies of Mendoza’s mustsee films, each one of them depicting social realism for which Mendoza is known for. The latest video releases are Serbis, Tirador and Manoro. Described by San Francisco Chronicle as “a drama that pulsates with intensity and humanity,” Serbis shows the dirty secrets that happen in a movie house owned by a family—composed of Gina Pareno, Jaclyn Jose, Julio Diaz, and Coco Martin—struggling with their personal demons. It won Best Film, Best Cinematography and Best Director awards at the 2009 Urian Awards. Gina Pareno was named Best Actress at the 2008 Vladivostok Film Festival in Russia. Another Urian Best Film awardee is Tirador, a story about a group of people living in an old dilapidated tenement, all petty thieves. As they approach Holy Week and an upcoming national election, each has to go through the motions of committing crimes and suffering its consequences against a backdrop of politicians feverishly campaigning and promising a better life for them. It won the Best Film and Best Director awards at Netpac Awards of the 2008 Singapore International Film Festival. Manoro, a story of a girl who dared to make a difference by teaching her fellow Aetas to read and write in time for the national elections, won for Mendoza another the Best Director and Best Film awards from Cinemanila International Film Festival. It was also the winner of CinemAwenir Award at the Torino International Film Festival in Italy in November 2006. Early releases and still available in video stores are Masahista, Kaleldo and Siquijor. Masahista is Mendoza’s debut film that started Coco Martin, who won won the Young Critics’ Circle Best Actor award in 2006. This Young Critics’ Circle Best Movie also won the Interfaith Award at the Brisbane International Film Festival in Australia. Kaleldo—translated as Summer Heat—is the story of a family in Guagua ten years after the eruption of Mount Pinatubo. It stars Juliana Palermo, Angel Aquino and Cherry Pie Picache, who was named Best Actress at the Durban International Film Festival. The controversial Siquijor: Mystic Island, which touches on the mambabarang, mangkukulam and other “horror” elements in the island, almost did not make it on theaters, but Mendoza emphasized, “We are one with you in promoting its mystic properties to the rest of the world. When all doubts settle, Siquijor will have become a hallowed version of Boracay!” Expect two more award-winning films of Mendoza on video from Viva soon. Kinatay is a crime drama where a man gets a lucrative job to be able to marry his girlfriend but later finds out that the job means killing someone. Quentin Tarantino Volume 6 Number 3, Aug-Oct 2010 EXPERIENCE Travel and Living |


praised Mendoza for being “bold and daring” in this film. Aside from being the Best Director at Cannes, Mendoza also won at the Sitges-Catalonian International Film Festival. Lola, a heart-wrenching tale about the unconditional love of two grandmothers in the midst of a crime involving their grandsons, nabbed numerous awards such as the Muhr AsiaAfrica Award at the Dubai International Film Festival, Don Quixote Award and Ecumenical Jury Award at the Fribourg International Film Festival, Golden Lady Harimaguada at the Las Palmas Film Festival, and the Grand Jury Prize at the Miami Film Festival. Get your own original copies of Brillante’s brillance, available on VCD and DVD.

SHOP | New Shopping Gateway of the South A strategic spot for commuters and motorists, the Baclaran Terminal Plaza, Inc. 1 (BTPI-1), which is next to the Light Rail Transit (LRT) terminal, offers a wide variety of goods—from clothing, high-quality bags to electronics—with prices slashed to almost fifty percent off, compared with the prices in the city’s more common malls. And all of these are of good quality, affirmed Carla Nocom and Eric Ke, general managers of the Terminal Plaza. “We offer cheap but good finds here, since most of them are imported from different countries in Asia. Thus we guarantee shoppers of premium products,” said Ke. BTPI is also the first air-conditioned mall in Baclaran that gratifies the hankerings of bargain hunters for bottomless shopping, because the art of haggling, which Filipinos love, is definitely an option. For the ladies, tops and dresses are being sold for as low as PhP100, while men’s jeans are pegged at PhP300. Electronics are also reasonably-priced here—from DVD players, television sets and digital cameras to laptop computers. Everything is at its lowest price. “Because we get it straight from the suppliers,” Nocom added. “And our goods here are somewhat cheaper than other known economical shopping areas and sidewalk stalls in Manila.”Shopping at BTP is also best on Sundays, since it is just a few blocks away from the Baclaran Church. And contrary to what other people perceive of bargain malls, BTPI is actually safe with its modern security system and convenient parking areas, making it an accessible place to shop. This is why BTPI is becoming the newest spot for the recessionistas.

VACATION | Singapore Stopover Holidays Packages at USD$33 Singapore Airlines has teamed up with Changi Airport Group (CAG) and Singapore Tourism Board (STB) to offer new value-packed holiday packages that provide even more reasons to visit Singapore.Under a just-signed memorandum of understanding, the three partners will be working closely on a range of advertising and other joint activities worldwide to promote tourism to Singapore.The global tie-up will give tourists the opportunity to visit new and exciting places of interest in Singapore, and savour what the multicultural food paradise has to offer through Singapore Stopover Holiday packages priced from as low as US$33 (per person on twin-share basis for the first night).In addition to these attractively-priced packages, customers can enjoy a range of complimentary services and features in Singapore, including free transfers from airport to hotel; admission to seven key attractions such as the Singapore Zoological Garden and Sentosa; unlimited rides on the SIA Hop-on Bus; a coffee/tea and toast set at Ya Kun Kaya Toast, a well-known local chain of coffee houses that serves traditional toasts with kaya (egg and coconut jam); an international calling card; a voucher worth S$10 for dining in the city; and shopping vouchers worth S$10 each to shop at Singapore Changi Airport.SIA Holidays and SilkAir Holidays packages includes cities in Australia, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, Vietnam and the Maldives. Package prices from Manila start from USD$566 per person on a twin-sharing basis. Tradewinds Tours and Travel is the appointed manager for SIA Holidays and SilkAir Holidays. Customers can visit their nearest travel agent or Singapore Airlines and/or SilkAir offices to 16


EXPERIENCE Travel and Living Volume 6 Number 3, Aug-Oct 2010

purchase the various holiday packages on offer. Customers may also book Singapore Stopover Holiday packages online at sale of SIA Holidays and SilkAir Holidays packages is subject to local market regulations and terms and conditions.For further information, contact the Singapore Airlines Public Affairs at telephone numbers (65) 6541-5880 (during office hours) and (65) 9753-2126 (after office hours); fax number (65) 65456083; e-mail and Web site

AVAIL | Flying High with PAL and MasterCard Asia’s first airline, Philippine Airlines (PAL), and one of the world’s leading global payments network, MasterCard, join hands in giving all bona fide MasterCard cardholders the opportunity to win as many as 180,000 Mabuhay miles in the Soaring Higher promotion and roundtrip tickets in the Barkada Flights promotion. For the Soaring Higher promotion, tickets must be purchased between August 1 and October 31, and must be used within August 1 to December 15. One can earn raffle entries depending on the fare family of the ticket purchased and where the ticket was bought. For MasterCard purchases of tickets through PAL’s Web site or Internet booking engine, one is entitled to ten raffle entries per Mabuhay premium ticket, eight raffle entries per Mabuhay classic ticket, 6 raffle entries per Fiesta plus ticket, four raffle entries per Fiesta saver ticket, and 2 raffle entries per Fiesta deal ticket.A total of 1.2 million PAL Mabuhay miles are to be given away. Ten winners of 18,000 miles each will be drawn for domestic flights, four winners of 80,000 miles for regional flights, and four winners of 180,000 miles each for international flights.Winning 180,000 Mabuhay miles can give the cardholder three roundtrip Fiesta class tickets to San Francisco/Los Angeles, or seven roundtrip Mabuhay class tickets to Hong Kong, or eighteen roundtrip Mabuhay Class tickets to Cebu. The Barkada Flights promotion is a like group sales program where MasterCard cardholders get the chance to instantly win one free roundtrip ticket of the same route and class of service.For a minimum MasterCard purchase of two qualified PAL roundtrip Mabuhay class or three qualified PAL roundtrip Fiesta plus or Fiesta saver tickets, cardholders are entitled to one Barkada Flight free (BFF) roundtrip ticket of the same flight details. For more details, visit, or call PAL reservations in Manila at (02) 885-8888, in Cebu at (032) 340-0191 or in Davao at (082) 221-5513 or your travel agent. One may also log on to for more information about MasterCard.

EXPLORE The Danao Adventure Park in Bohol offers adventure rides as well as natural attractions like ravines and caves (left and second from bottom). The author explored Kamira Cave with Danao mayor Tom Gonzaga and DOT Secretary Durano (below). The Suislide or the Zipline is less dramatic and scary than The Plunge, but as enjoyable (bottom).

Danao Dares T

By Maripet L. Poso Photos by Rudy Liwanag and Macel Feliciano

hree days before my birthday, I found myself strapped in a harness, suspended in the air. There I was, 200 meters above a river, a forest, giant rocks and boulders that shape the river, and about to be dropped from sixty-kilometer high and swung to the other side of a gorge almost 300 meters wide. I wasn’t thinking straight. Heck, I wasn’t thinking at all. All I was aware of was the tight helmet around my head, the metal clasp I was holding on to for dear life, the seemingly endless pit below and the chorused countdown by the people above me. “Five, four, three, two, one…bombs away!” echoed through my ears before I let go with a tiny scream and heard the swooshing sound of me, free falling in the air. For a few seconds I was disoriented, my mind numb and shocked. I was grasping the ropes so tight the blood had left my fingers. At the same time, my consciousness was probably left behind in the spot I was before the drop and trying to hold on to something solid, secure. I felt like every molecule in my body was fleeing into a thousand different directions. In between realizing that I was falling and not knowing when I would



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ized in 2006 to benefit the municipality of Danao in Bohol. Included in the packages for those who want to avail of the ecoadventure tour are bird watching, caving, visit to an organic farm, kayaking, sight-seeing, rice field walk, village tour, viewing and leisure walk. If you’ve ever been to the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River Park and liked it, you’ll appreciate the beauty of Kamira Cave. You have the same rock and limestone formations, the same magical and breathtaking stalactite and stalagmite wonders, but on a smaller scale. But unlike Puerto Princesa where you simply sit on a boat and enjoy the view, Kamira makes it more interesting by having you explore the cave yourselves, on foot. In less than three hours and with a seasoned guide, you have to sweat it out, crawl, slide, jump, swim, submerge and get yourself dirty, while carefully avoiding all the limestone formations, to get to the end of the cave and experience the real meaning of spelunking, tiny scratches and all. As for the educational tour, the activities focus on informing tourists and local communities about the importance of preserving the natural landscape and cultural heritage of Danao through visits to watersheds and organic farms, lessons on forest preservation and ecosystem, and sharing the story of Danao’s pride, Francisco Dagohoy, and his longest running revolt in history. On the other hand, the extreme part of the tour includes the Plunge, which I tried, as well as river trekking, rappelling, bouldering, Suislide and Sky Ride. Both the Suislide and the Sky Ride are new adventure must-tries in the park. Just launched to the public in January last year, both have already flooded YouTube with raves. The Suislide, or the Zipline as it is more popularly known, is highly recommended for those who have “to fly” listed in their bucket list. It is less dramatic and scary than The Plunge, but just as enjoyable. Located in Magtangtang, Danao, a sleepy town that used to be the lair Travel Time host/producer Susan Calo-Medina taking The Plunge. of Dagohoy, some 72 kilometers away A Lot Like Love from Tagbilaran City, Bohol’s capital, I have to admit I wouldn’t have the adventure park is teeming with wildlife. The place is 60 hectares done The Plunge if I hadn’t been convinced by Joseph “Ace” Durano, of lush greens complete with caves underneath, ravines on the sides the Secretary of the Department of Tourism (DoT) himself, by jumpand a long-winding river below. ing off first to demonstrate its safety. “It’s a work in progress,” enthused Gonzaga. “We are going to “The wind was crashing through your ears. And the drop, it was develop new rides and adventures as we go along. We plan to add simply amazing,” he blurted right after he was pulled up from the four rides every year. Next year we are adding bungee jumping, Via ravine. “You feel like you’re going to die. I was nervous, naturally. Pirata and the Flexi-clock in the list.” Also lined up is the construcYou don’t know when you’re gonna stop. The moment you stop free tion of a 1.5-kilometer new and longer Zipline, triple than the one falling it starts swinging you. The initial drop, well, it shocks you. already existing, and a campsite that includes an eco-lodge. But the swinging, it’s a sustained sensation. You really have to try it, Although spelunking and trekking have been in existence in the it’s like love—you plunge into it!” park for years now and have been attracting tourists on their own, He was beaming and all smiles. He probably was scared to Gonzaga said they decided to add interesting rides and exciting addeath, but he was gracious enough not to show it. venture package to enhance the historical value of the place. E.A.T. Danao is a brainchild of the local government unit of “That’s E.A.T. Danao in a nutshell: Eco tours, historical educaDanao spearheaded by its cool young mayor, Louis Thomas “Tom” tion and extreme adventure,” he said. Gonzaga, an extreme sports aficionado himself. E.A.T. stands for With an array of 15 activities both extreme and leisurely and “eco/extreme/educational adventure tour,” which was conceptualstop, or if I would stop at all, I churned and began to swing to the other side without warning, giving my stomach a new kind of scary sensation—fright, excitement and ecstasy all in one go—putting to shame the memories of all the other scary rollercoaster rides in my life. All of a sudden, my consciousness descended back to me, and I started to fully grasp where I was and the danger I was probably facing. But before anything gory could come flashing through my mind, I swung back to the other side, and then back again, way back to the other side, like a pendulum of a giant clock. To my surprise, my tensed muscles began to relax, and I managed to look up and wave to my friends above. A giggle escaped my ashen lips, followed by a nervous chortle. Next thing I knew, I was laughing and screaming and waving with both hands. Yes, at one point I had let go of the rope. I was swinging between a giant gorge! I was alive! I was one tough cookie! I felt like I had just conquered the world, though I became aware of how small and powerless I was, swinging back and forth like a fly in between two scary but beautiful ravines. It was a sight to behold: The mighty river with its intimidating boulders, the endless lush greens, the rugged edges of the cliff. It felt like invading a very private sanctuary and you couldn’t help but feel privileged to have had the chance to get a glimpse of it. Five minutes was all it took for me to look at life with a different and brighter perspective. After they pulled me back to the safety of the ramp, I was a bit shaken, but surely I had a smug look on my face, a look that said, “Bring it on, world!” For me, this was what The Plunge, the newest extreme ride sensation at Danao Adventure Park dubbed “E.A.T. Danao,” was all about. More than providing a different shot of adrenaline high, it lets you reassess your capabilities and reaffirms your confidence.

Volume 6 Number 3, Aug-Oct 2010 EXPERIENCE Travel and Living |


DOT Secretary Ace Durano demonstrated the safety of The Plunge by trying it out himself.

all educational, E.A.T. Danao has the potential to make it your next destination, and one that you would keep coming back to for more. As for The Plunge, yes, Durano was right. It was a lot like love. Not only you do plunge into it without thinking, it makes you smile without warning, even in your sleep. And the sensation of falling and being swept up and swung back and forth stays with you, way after you’ve left and let go. And in spite of the danger of getting hurt, the fear of the unknown and the uneasiness of wandering out of your comfort zone, you can’t wait to do it all over again.

The Sky Ride is one way to enjoy the park.

A Lesson in Tourism Development It didn’t take long for Bohol to come up with new and fresh ideas after it was tagged as one of the country’s most visited provinces. A new attraction is about to be unveiled in Bohol; everybody knew that. It was inevitable with the boom in its tourism industry. But nobody really expected it to be in sleepy Danao. “Danao is a fourth-class municipality with a first-class leadership and first-class tourism experience,” commented Durano during the launch of E.A.T. Danao. He added that the municipality of Danao offers everyone all over the country and all over the world a lesson in tourism development: “First, don’t try to be what you’re not. Always start with the natural, historical and cultural assets you have. And local leadership is indispensable.” According to him, it has become a policy now in the DOT to only involve itself in projects where the initiative comes from the local community, either from the local political leadership or from the people themselves. “That’s indispensable,” he explained. “And we experience that 20


EXPERIENCE Travel and Living Volume 6 Number 3, Aug-Oct 2010

there is really an exponential success rate when the initiative comes from the local government, supported by the local community. And this we see here in Danao.” Danao, he added, has also shown us that tourism works anywhere—by the sea, up in the mountain. “To be honest,” he confirmed, “the municipality of Danao was not even in the radar of the DOT. But again, this is the reason why local leadership is indispensable. We got attracted to Danao because of the passion and leadership of Mayor Tom, of course, supported by the province and congressional leaders here.” As proof, because of tourism activity in the park, the people of Danao no longer have problems looking for a place to market and push their agricultural products. “In fact, the problem now is they cannot produce enough for the demand of tourism that is generated by the park, which is now an incentive also to invest in improving the agricultural productivity in the area,” explained Durano. In fact, according to the secretary, the funding that the DOT has provided for Danao was so small compared to the funding that was generated because of its own initiative. “Close to P20 million has already been invested here,” said Durano. “And with that PhP20 million, it is now earning PhP1 million a month.” He added that the success of Danao is a lesson on tourism development that even they themselves can carry back to the department and share with other local government units. “As I always tell the personnel in the department, the measurement of success of our programs is when our beneficiaries don’t need us anymore. And we’ve seen that here.”

Getting There Most of the Philippines’ airlines fly to Tagbilaran, the capital of Bohol, from Manila and Cebu. Cebu Pacific flies twice daily from Manila to Tagbilaran. Travel time takes about an hour. There are also ferries to Tagbilaran. From Tagbilaran, Danao is 72 kilometers away. There are buses and vans for hire going to the town. The Danao Adventure Park is located in the barangay of Magtangtang.

Contact Information For inquiries on fees, accommodation, packages, transportation and reservation, log on to Contact the local government of Danao at 507-3106 local 187 or e-mail; Ana Loinda Saluan, municipal tourism officer at mobile phone number 0917-3021701; or Maria Weina Saguid, booking officer, at mobile phone numbers 0921-7594403 and 0917-3021700.

Witnessing the Rebirth of a Mountain:

Mount Pinatubo My Journey to

Text and photos by Lounard Chio

The four-by-four jeep is one of the best ways to explore the terrain around Mount Pinatubo and to get to the famous volcano.

It was a typical Friday morning at work when out-of-nowhere Roger asked me to plan for a weekend trek! It turned out that he had visitors from our corporate headquarters in Hitachi GST San Jose, California, who would like to go on a four to five hour nature trek before they head back home to the United States. Since it was their first time to visit the Philippines, we would like to make the day-long expedition a memorable experience. We wanted them to see the wondrous natural beauty of our country. The rainforest of Mount Makiling in Los Baùos, Laguna, would be a good place to showcase our indigenous flora and fauna. Mount Daguldol in San Juan, Batangas, which boasts of magnificent scenery and beaches, was also considered. But in the end, Michelle’s suggestion that we go north instead to Mount Pinatubo prevailed. It was an excellent choice because many people in the world know the June 15, 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo, which is considered as one of the largest eruptions of the twentieth century. Cauliflower-shaped columns of ash, gas and steam rose 35 kilometers

Conquering Mount Pinatubo were (from left) Nevin Marges, Fer Michelle Ancheta, Srid dinand Barbolla, the har Gopalakrishna, Rog author, er Dela Cruz, Jack Tsa Gimena and Vladim i, (on the jeep) Wilfred ir Nikitin.

The 1991 eruption devastated surrounding areas as well as left a haunting landscape.

into the sky. For 12 months, the ejected volcanic materials remained suspended in the atmosphere where the winds dispersed them to envelope the earth, reaching as far as Russia and North America. Global temperatures were reduced by 0.5 degree centigrade for a year after the eruption. Mount Pinatubo is a stratovolcano that once majestically rose to 1,745 meters above sea level. After the eruption that destroyed the volcano’s original summit, it now stands at 1,485 meters. By 9:30 in the morning the following day, our team, composed of Vladimir Nikitin, Sridhar Gopalakrishna, Jack Tsai, Roger Dela Cruz, Nevin Marges, Michelle Ancheta, Wilfred Gimena, Ferdinand Barbolla and myself, reached Santa Juliana, Capas, Tarlac, the gateway to Mount Pinatubo. On board the four-by-four jeep, I was taken back in time when I first visited the mountain. It was May 1999, back then four-byfour jeeps were nonexistent. Getting to the crater would entail a challenging six- to seven-hour hike through barren land. It was also here where I first met Reggie Pablo, the seventh Filipino who has successfully reached the summit of Mount Everest. The scenery at Crow Valley was still mind-boggling. The valley was bounded by colossal formations of ash and rocks of varying shapes. I was elated that the mountain is now manifesting signs of life. Patches of green grass and shrubs are starting to grow. The Aetas have also returned to their ancestral lands and continued the life that they had before the eruption. After the hour-long drive through the desolate valley of rocks and streams, we reached the trail head. From there, it was a leisurely three-hour hike. The trail got narrower as we entered the forested area on our ascent to the crater. At around noon we finally reached the picturesque 2.5-kilometerwide caldera of Mount Pinatubo. Everyone was overwhelmed by the beauty and serenity of the place, amazed by the destructive force of Mother Nature and how brilliantly it healed itself. To complete the entire experience, we took a dip in the sulfuric blue-green lake. The water was warm and relaxing. Vlad displayed exceptional swimming prowess when he effortlessly swam up to the midpoint of the lake. I borrow our company’s corporate statement, “inspire the next,” to illustrate my observance of the rebirth of Mount Pinatubo. It was a truly inspiring and thought-provoking journey!




Paradise Comes Close to

ur flight was interrupted by the pilot speaking on the overhead speaker: “I’d like to direct your attention to the scenery on your left. This cluster of spectacular rock formations is known as the Rock Islands of Palau.” He continued by saying that in a few minutes we would be landing on Palau. The view was so vivid—breathtaking formation of rocks, shaped like mushrooms, surrounded by azure waters. Little did I know that it was just the beginning of several other discoveries found only in this island paradise—Palau. I later found out that the view from above does not do justice when you’re actually in the vicinity of the famed Rock Islands. Almost untouched, the cluster of islets is encircled by a fringing reef 24


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that protects them from the fury of the sea. These islets are uninhabited and are located in a large lagoon, so your day is filled exploring the wonders of Rock Islands. A few hours of snorkeling will bring you more discoveries you can never imagine. Colorful corals fringed with schools of tropical fish I swear I have never seen in other places. Not to mention the amazing shallow reefs. Many dive resorts in Palau would bring guests to the Rock Islands and let them savor its beauty through sea kayaking, parasailing and of course snorkeling. A Bit of History Palau is located near Guam, the Philippines and Papua New Guinea. It is more than 400 miles long, so tiny you cannot spot it in the world map. For some jaded travelers, it’s annoying to hear the

Also called Rock Islands, the archipelago of Palau (left) offers a lot for the tourists such as beautiful beaches (below) and native culture (bottom).

Photo by William Perryclear

cliché paradise, which is attached to beautiful islands, but nothing comes closer to paradise than Palau. The people of Palau, called Palauans, are passionate about their culture and heritage. They have nurtured their matrilineal culture. They love the traditional ceremonies, and I’ve never seen so many ceremonies in other places than in Palau. The people here celebrate special occasions, such as the birth ceremony and the first house ceremony, and turn them into important ceremonies. Palau gained its independence on October 1, 1994. Recently, it has renewed its Compact of Free Association with the United States, a special treaty signed between the two governments. Palauans have strong affinity with the U.S. The U.S. dollar is the currency here, and people are fluent English speakers.

By Agnes M. Abrau Photos by Palau Visitors Authority

Diving Destination Palau’s waters are teeming with marine life. The biodiversity is mirrored through the many species of fish, about 1,500 of them, fringing coral reefs and World War II wrecks. Underneath its clear waters, the wonders are varied. It is not surprising that Palau is hailed as one of the best diving destinations in the world. Divers all over the world claim that Palau’s underwater spectacles are simply one of the best. But even for non-divers, there is so much to do here. Islandhopping, including the Rock Islands, is not complete without a visit to Milky Way. Famous for its Milky Way mud, guests are asked to take a dip, scoop the white clay-like calcium carbonate sediments and feel them on their skin. Voila, it’s an instant facial scrub and spa treat to swimmers! Let it stay on your skin for a while and just dip in the water to rinse it off. This has been practiced for so many years in Palau. And since Palau’s attractions depend more on its waters, a visit to the Dolphins Pacific is a must. Here, guests will experience a close encounter with dolphins. The facility houses Japanese bottlenose dolphins, which are trained by experts. Guests can do a handshake, swim with them or get a buzz on the cheek from these adorable sea creatures. Volume 6 Number 3, Aug-Oct 2010 EXPERIENCE Travel and Living |


Jellyfish That Don’t Sting Undoubtedly, the best attraction of Palau is the Jellyfish Lake— home to thousands of jellyfish sans the venomous sting. But before you can see these awesome creatures, be prepared for a little hike on the slope. Not to worry though, indigenous trees and rocks can be seen along the trail so it’s not much straining. As you go down the slopes, a ten-minute swim should be had to reach the area where the jellyfish congregate. Your effort to get there—the hike and the swim—is all worth it as you see throngs of them in their trailing tentacles and in varied sizes envelope you. It’s an enormous sight, and be ready with your underwater camera for this extraordinary encounter. Environment in Mind While it’s true that there’s more water than land in Palau, you get awed at the people’s passion in preserving their country’s fragile environment. It’s true that tourism keeps the economy of the island nation afloat, but environment protection is high on the government’s agenda, striking a balance between economy and the environment. This can be seen at how the local conservation agencies work and the hefty penalties enforced against those who do not follow environmental laws. Protected areas were established. Marine biologists are busy conducting workshops on environmental awareness and continuously doing research on the ever-changing cycle of the environment. Land Attractions On land, Palau’s rich culture reflects on its structure. Its main gateway, the Palau International Airport, is shaped like the revered bai—the place where the village chiefs congregate and discuss issues involving the nation and the community. In fact, the colorful culture is being built up as a selling point for tourism. Their museums are not only repositories of Palauan’s past but are also must-see attractions for visitors who want to learn more about Palau’s unique culture. The Belau National Museum and the privately-owned Etpison Museum showcase every aspect of the nation’s rich past. Palau International Coral Reef Center, on the other hand, displays samples of the area’s marine life. A highlight of this tour is the Palau Aquarium, which introduces and educates guests on how the biodiversity of Palau. The city of Koror, the country’s capital, may lack the hustle and 26


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Photo by Mandy T. Etpison

Photo by William Perryclear

At Jellyfish Lake, one can go swimming with myriad “sting-less” jellyfish or go kayaking.

Photo by Kevin Davidson

bustle of a cosmopolitan metropolis yet its charm stands out. There are no tall structures, gigantic malls or big parks here. Instead, small establishments such as restaurants that cater to the international market and those with discriminating tastes and department stores selling local and imported goods complement the city’s relaxing atmosphere. There are three luxury hotels here and a number of other premiere hotels and inns, offering modern conveniences. Koror is home to about 70 percent of the country’s population which is close to 20,000. Another option to enjoy the sceneries is a breezy drive to the neighboring states where more attractions await for guests to explore. Drive to Melekeok which houses the Palau National Capitol (locals call this complex their White House version) and government agencies and the rest of Babeldaob where the wonder of wilderness promises an exciting adventure. Palauans are sociable. They love to party, dance and sing. But what’s unique about them is their keen sense of traditions and their love for their clans. Despite global changes and modernization, Palauans strongly identify with their traditional culture. For those who love water and nature, Palau is a must-see. Those who have visited the islands continuously say something about its mystique. As for me, I guess my fascination will never wear off. Photos are from the Palau Visitors Authorithy Collections (all copyrights, 2010).

Getting There Continental Micronesia flies to Palau two times a week. PacificFlier also flies from Palau to Clark International Airport in Clark Field, Pampanga, twice a week. Air travel is approximately two and a half hours.

Contact Information

Photo by Mandy T. Etpison

One can send snail mail to P.O. Box 256, Koror, Republic of Palau 96940; call telephone numbers (680) 488-2793 or 488-1930; fax (680) 488-1453; or e-mail In the Philippines, one can contact the marketing and sales staff of Palau Visitors Authority Philippine Representative Office, located at Unit 204, Manila Executive Regency, 1200 Jorge Bocobo St. Ermita, Manila, with e-mail address; telephone numbers (63 2) 559-8615 or 232-4286. Volume 6 Number 3, Aug-Oct 2010 EXPERIENCE Travel and Living |



Palawan Savoring heritage in

By Reinerio A. Alba

When the plane landed at the airstrip of Puerto Princesa, Palawan, one would have wished it was smoother and not with a jolt, at least not in this part of the country whose “serenity” Filipino writer Kerima Polotan had indelibly mused about during her 1972 visit. But such an incident was yawned away as easily when the service van that picked our group of media people passed through the main road out of the airport, and the trees came to view—acacia, ipil, narra and royal poincianas all abloom — meeting the excited necks of newly-arrived visitors like one dreamy garland of calmness one after another. The reporters and writers were brought here to witness the 28


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closing ceremonies of the National Heritage Month, celebrated annually by virtue of Proclamation No. 439 signed on Aug. 11, 2003, declaring the month of May of each year as National Heritage Month. In Manila, the month-long celebration in May kicked off with an event in Intramuros called “Viva Intramuros” highlighted by a misa Baclayana at the Manila Cathedral and participated in by the Loboc Children’s Choir of Bohol. After that, events were held highlighting Filipino culture and heritage through performances, workshops, lectures and exhibitions from Manila as starting point to Davao City down south. Titled “Preserving the Gift of Faith Through Culture and Environment,” the closing ceremonies in Puerto Princesa covered two nights of cultural presentations featuring indigenous songs and dances at the local coliseum organized by the local government in partnership with the Filipino Heritage Festival Inc. (FHFI), headed by festival director Bambi Harper, president Armita Rufino and finance officer Araceli Salas, and funded by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA). “Nothing can break the Filipino faith. It’s the one thing that keeps us going despite the many adversities we encounter,” stressed Harper during the kick-off ceremony in Intramuros. In Puerto Princesa, faith, as our group would eventually find out, would be linked more to the beauty of the place. Palawan itself, wistfully referred to with pride as the country’s “last frontier,” is a paradise of 1,700 islands and islets and is marked archaeologically for the 24,000 year old skull cap of a pre-historic man now popularly

The closing of the National Heritage Month, celebrated annually in May, was held in Puerto Princesa City in Palawan with performances from different cultural troupes of the province as well as from other parts of the country.

piña cloth, wraps and dresses. known as Tabon Man, found These images prepared the in Tabon Cave in the town of eyes well for the next day’s Quezon. In her book Letters must-go tour to the Puerto from Pala’wan, Criselda Yabes Princesa Subterranean River even noted how the province National Park, inscribed in “juts out as a land bridge from 1999 as a World Heritage the north of Borneo,” leading Site by the United Nations her to comment that it is not Educational, Scientific and quite a stretch to conclude Cultural Organization. that Palawan may have been Aside from it being a strong a loan word from Sanskrit contender for the ongoing to mean “sprout, shoot, bud search for the New Seven blossom.” Wonders of the Natural The city tour that World, the site, for all immediately followed was its hosted stalactites and a fitting introduction to the place: Crocodile Farm and Clockwise from top left: The crocodiles at the Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center; tamilok, or stalagmites that conform served at a local restaurant; Ka Lui is one of the best dining places in Puerto Princesa City; and Bambi to particular shapes (body Nature Park (now renamed shipworm, Harper, Filipino Heritage Festival director, holding a baby crocodile. parts, vegetables, human Palawan Wildlife Rescue and figures), is made more memorable by the well-timed script that each Conservation Center), Binuatan Weaving Center and the Rurungan boatman spouts to his eager passengers as one’s boat passes by the sa Tubod Foundation on Abanico Road in the barangay of San Pedro. 8.2-kilometer navigable length of the underground river. One’s mental suitcase was kept opened to snapshots of images: The group’s gustatory experience included meals of the freshest the glass-encased 17-feet-long skeleton of a crocodile named Rio seafood fares in Badjao Seafront Restaurant, Ka Lui and Kinabuchs along with deceivingly immobile crocodile hatchlings; Binuatan’s Grill and Bar, including an oyster-like Palawan delicacy called multicolored bags created out of the fibers of buri, mangrove, vetiver kinilaw na tamilok or raw tamilok in vinegar. Tamilok, our group would grass and a weed called amumuting; and Rurungan’s impressive Volume 6 Number 3, Aug-Oct 2010 EXPERIENCE Travel and Living |


The Batak, an indigenous group in Palawan, participated in the National Heritage Month closing ceremonies.

learn, is a worm-like mollusk found in dead mangrove trees. As for the history of Palawan and its people, the media had but to see the first night’s performances opened by the Holy Trinity University student’s retelling of the arrival of the Spaniards in the area through songs and dances. The plight of the Palaweños during the war was also depicted through a play staged by the Palawan State University. This then was brought to a climax by the Philippine Opera Company’s touring presentation called “Harana,” showcasing the evolution of Philippine music through songs and dances. Towards the end of the show, Puerto Princesa mayor Edward Hagedorn even joined the group in the singing of the Constancio de Guzman-composed kundiman, “Maalaala Mo Kaya.” The second night’s show offered the audience Palawan’s songs and dances with groups such as the Tipano Band, Tatos and Sinika. Spotlighted were the Cuyonon’s pondo-pondo, a dance performed during wedding feasts by the bride and the groom or parents of the couple. The Batak women, who naturally came up on stage sans breast cover, drew a bit of a raucous reaction from the young crowd, but even the exposed breasts were soon forgotten as soon as their performances started. Kerima Polotan in her essay “Palawan Stopover” did mention about the gayuma or love potion of the Batak she had heard being talked about by the locals, a gayuma so potent it can “entice a resistant lover or force a hostile dog into submission.” Still, gayuma or not, the audience were regaled by their performances that night. The men came next with their two-stringed budlong, playing out initially what sounded like a folk song but it turned out to be “Hey, Jude” of The Beatles, enough to disabuse the audience

of notions of what can be played by ethno-linguistic groups such as the Bataks. The last day was marked by a tree-planting activity by the media people at the Irawan Watershed in the barangay of Inagawan where the group met Rogelio Daquer, City Environment and Natural Resources officer, who explained the tree-planting efforts of Mayor Hagedorn, the Irawan Watershed being the city’s main source of water supply. Daquer said that each year, during the Pista Y Ang Kagueban (Feast of the Forest), which falls on June 27, the city government assists people from all walks of life who come here to plant a sapling. Also, every Feb. 14 since 2003 (in an event called “Love Affair with Nature”), couples who get married in a mass wedding presided over by the mayor, are required to plant a sapling in the 8,000-hectare piece of land. Interestingly, Daquer says there’s an 80 percent survival rate for these saplings. So, on our knees, our group did plant at least 20 mahogany saplings that day. The following day, we left Puerto Princesa, lungs pumped with fresh oxygen, skins aglow from swimming, minds filled with new knowledge and memories, and wishing more that Palawan is really not the last frontier for the Filipinos. Getting There The major airlines Philippines Airlines, Air Philippines and Cebu Pacific fly to Puerto Princesa City from Manila. The Puerto Princesa Airport is one and half kilometers from the city proper, accessible by multicab (tricycle). Several passenger sea vessels ply the Manila-Puerto Princesa route including William Line’s MU Zamboanga and Aboitiz’s Super Ferry 3. Travel time is about 24 hours.

The National Heritage Month closing also included a tour of the Binuatan Weaving Center, the Rurungan sa Tubod Foundation and the UNESCO-inscribed Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, and tree planting at the Irawan Watershed.



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Club Paradise Quiet Luxury in the Middle of Nowhere By Agnes M. Abrau Photos by Gingko Conejos-Untal

Club Paradise

Dimakya Island, where Club Paradise is located, is rich with natural wonders. A stay in the resort is enjoyable as well as enriching.


any say that Palawan is all nature. This biggest island province of the country is also called the Last Frontier, and its seclusion is the biggest draw for tourists, particu-

larly foreigners. Located in Coron, at the northernmost tip of Palawan, is Club Paradise, the internationally known resort that sits on the 19-hectare Dimakya Island, a quiet luxury surrounded by raw beauty. The resort is beautifully nestled on an island surrounded by glistening azure water and beautiful backdrop. Underneath the waters, there is a wealth of marine life. For the past two decades, Club Paradise has been developed into a hideaway devoted to those who seek nature, appreciate the seclusion and yet want comfort. Owned by a German-Filipino corporation, Euro-Resorts Inc. , Club Paradise puts guests at ease. Though it has the amenities of a high-end resort, it is not intimidating. Guests can feel the air of comfort and convenience, and this also radiates from the resort staff from the moment they serenade you with their welcome song upon your arrival up to the day of your departure. The resort’s facilities are top-notch. There are 56 rooms in three phases, the Sunset Beach, the Sunrise Beach and the Island View, each has a distinct view of the island. The rooms all exude tasteful simplicity, welcoming all weary souls who simply want to enjoy and have a meaningful stay. Tropical Paradise Club Paradise truly translates to a tropical escape. It has the complete elements—sun, sand, sea and stunning flora and fauna. Add seclusion and exclusivity to the list, it becomes a perfect hideaway. Most of the guests who come to the resort are divers but because the water is so pure and clear snorkeling is a popular activity, offering a glimpse of the amazing marine life. You can see a fascinating array of fishes such as the jackfish, clownfish and many more just by standing at the jetty port area. Some of the guests who have been diving at the resort tell enthusiastically about their unexpected discoveries, and the friendly chatter seems nonstop. The Dugong Dive Center takes care of the resort’s diving needs. Aside from diving, swimming and snorkeling, the resort offers many ways to enjoy your vacation. Go hiking and see the wonders of the island. The resort has a hiking trail. Go island-hopping, or simply watch the sunrise and sunset. You can relax in your hammock or engage in various activities the resort offers. There is the pool and

The resort staff welcomes visitors with songs.

the tennis and badminton court for those who want to stay fit while on holiday. Indoor activities can also be had. Play billiards, table tennis, darts and board games or go dancing. For those who want to be adept with culture and the environment, the resort mounts cultural and environmental shows as additional treat to guests. There is a videoke room for those who love belting out songs. The resort also has its own spa, a gift shop, a business center, a museum called The Little Nature Museum, wine cellar, a mini library at the clubhouse, satellite TV, Jacuzzi and the Little Chapel of Flowers. The resort can also arrange special trips and tours to Calauit, a protected national park in Busuanga and home to some African wildlife; and Coron Island. Guests can relax at the Dugong Bar, a place to unwind, gain new friends and talk about the beauty of the island. Gastronomic delights can be had at the Ocean Restaurant, serving Filipino, Asian and international cuisines. Environmental Concern For years, Club Paradise is known for its commitment to the environment. The resort makes sure that great care is taken to maintain ecological balance. Partnering with the World Wildlife Fund, the resort actively helps in protecting the fast diminishing dugong. There is a protected area for the dugong where swimming and snorkeling are prohibited. At the specified snorkeling area where coral beds are plentiful and schools of fish abound, feeding of the fish is strictly not allowed. Loida Almenana, Club Paradise manager, says conservation and protection of nature is a continuous effort “and must be based first of all on education to all employees, guests and the local residents.” According to her, fishing using illegal means is a big concern of the resort. “We have many members of the Dugong Dive Center and Club Paradise taking part in the Auxiliary Coast Guard activities to help the authorities identify (those involved) in illegal fishing as well as engage in protecting the reefs. Destruction of the reefs by dynamite and other means is still the most damaging to nature,” she adds. A concern of the resort is the neighboring Isla Walang Lang-aw, where the reef around it is totally destroyed. “What was once a dive site with beautiful corals and plenty of colorful fish is now a barren underwater slope. Club Paradise has obtained the water lease around the islet and will keep it under observation and try to protect it till corals will grow back. It might take 34


EXPERIENCE Travel and Living Volume 6 Number 3, Aug-Oct 2010

ten years but it will be a worthwhile effort,” she says. Around Dimakya, there is an abundance of giant clams, sea sponges, huge coral beds, fish and other marine creatures. The seabed thrives with sea grass, making it an ideal feeding area for dugong or sea cow. There are very interesting sites for divers: the nearby Dimalanta Shipwreck, the wreck of World War II Japanese Kyokuzan Maru, the house reef (one of the best reefs around) and the Apo Reef (a worldclass diving destination), among others. Go diving and take a close up shot of the gentle dugong in the wild. Forget the Nonessentials Stripping away the nonessentials, that is what Club Paradise is all about. Block off the pressures of city living and embrace island life for a while. After you’ve been there for a few days, you won’t notice that there are no malls and fancy restaurants, and you’re in the company of newfound friends. When you depart, what lingers is the goodbye song of the staff, a vision of the glistening stretch of whitesand beach, the murmur of the wind and the breathtaking, postcard view. It’s hard to leave paradise.

Getting There One can take a one-hour flight from Manila to Busuanga via Air Philippines, Cebu Pacific or Zest Air, up to five flights daily, or a 14-hour cruise from Manila to Coron. Upon reaching Coron Pier via ferry, there will be an hour jeepney ride to Busuanga Airport. Upon reaching Busuanga Airport, there is a 30-minute jeepney ride through the Yulo King Ranch followed by a scenic 30-minute boat ride.

Contact Information The Manila office of Club Paradise is at Regent Building, Malunggay Road, FTI Complex, Taguig City, with telephone numbers (+63 2) 838-4956 to 60, fax numbers (+63 2) 838-4462 and 838-4762, e-mail addresses and reservations@, and Web site Volume 6 Number 3, Aug-Oct 2010 EXPERIENCE Travel and Living |


Grand Vista Resort and Spa: N

The Romantic Face of Boracay

Text and photo by Lounard Chio

o island has ever offered a romantic and serene environment as much as Boracay does to its visiting couples who seek perfect honeymoon-themed locations. Boracay Island has been famous among foreign and local tourists, teens and yuppies who enjoy activities such as island hopping tour, snorkeling, paraw sailing, underwater scooter, fun dive, Jet skiing, water skiing, parasailing, banana boat ride, flying fish ride, tube ride, wind surfing, kite boarding, horseback riding, ATV driving and golf. Circles of friends and families often give testimonies of their Boracay escapades, narrating their fun and exciting moments as they enjoy group activities. These activities are just some of the things that groups and individuals can do 36


EXPERIENCE Travel and Living Volume 6 Number 3, Aug-Oct 2010

during their stay in the island. Honeymooners and other couples prefer more the serene and tranquil side of the island more than the roster of activities. The natural beauty of the island is probably the most attractive and alluring part of the whole Boracay experience as many couples attest. I have proven this very true even after many years of being with my loved ones. Just a few months ago, my wife and I went to Grand Vista Boracay Resort and Spa. It is the newest luxury resort and spa located at White Beach. Because it offers breathtaking vistas of verdant mountains, aquamarine waters, brilliant sunsets, faraway islands and the beautiful flocks of birds flying in the vast horizon, it has certainly attracted honeymooners and couples to stay end enjoy Boracay even in the comfort of their rooms. I can never forget the Honeymoon Suite of

Grand Vista where we stayed in. The suite has its own swimming pool, balcony and deck, where we enjoyed viewing the place and had a perfect and unforgettable bonding experience! The suite is also equipped with amenities such as plasma TV with cable, hair dryer, Internet connectivity, king-sized bed, mini bar, private toilet and shower with cold and hot water, safe, a telephone with DDD service, free DVD/CD movies, and a DVD/VCD player. Definitely, one can feel a heavenly spa-like comfort under the tropical sun in Boracay. Grand Vista is the home of the largest pool found in Boracay. It also boasts of an impressive Moroccaninspired architecture and well-manicured lawn. Going somewhere else in Boracay has never been this comfortable and accessible because a private shuttle takes guests to D’Mall and back hourly, making sure that its guests also enjoy and feel the white sand of Boracay.

Getting There Boracay Island is at the northwest tip of Panay Island. There are several flights from Manila to Caticlan, a barangay in Malay, Aklan. From Caticlan, there is a short boat ride to Boracay. Flights can be as fast as 36 minutes. Some planes land in Kalibo, the capital of Aklan. From there, there is a two-hour ride to Caticlan. From Iloilo City, Boracay can be reached by bus or van with travel time of four to five hours. Grand Vista Boracay Resort and Spa is located at Hagdan Yapak, Station 1, Boracay Island.

Contact Information For more information, contact Grand Vista Boracay Resort and Spa’s Metro Manila office at Unit 1902, Philippine AXA Life Building, Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue, Makati City, through telephone numbers (+ 63 2) 666-0071, 889-4032, 8895148 and 887-2907; fax number (+ 63 2) 887-2267; and e-mail Contact the resort in Boracay through telephone number (+63-36) 288-5818 and fax number (+ 63 36) 2884231. Web site is

Volume 6 Number 3, Aug-Oct 2010 EXPERIENCE Travel and Living |


One MGM Boracay Resort Village Offers Greatest Moments in the Island By Mary Grace Chio

Office projects, school paper deadlines, routine household chores. One can feel tired and bored of doing the same things. Let’s admit it: the busy city life always challenges our day-to-day energy. It can either make us very motivated or just lower our energy and motivation. What’s one solution that can probably break the ice? Try beaches. I am not talking about just any white-sand destination here in the Philippines. I am specifically referring to one island, which sets the standard for a totally relaxing tropical environment: Boracay Island! Boracay has been one of the famous tourist destinations of the country not just to locals but to foreigners as well. Going to Boracay may be one of the enjoyable adventure trips that I have had experienced. The roll-on, roll-off system (ro-ro) and the plane trips with my husband have been one of the best things, and that was just the beginning of the whole trip. What has been more relaxing was the part when we got to our resort, One MGM Boracay Resort Village in Manggayad, Manoc-Manoc in Boracay.

One MGM Boracay Resort Village provides a totally relaxing experience for those who want to get away from the hustle and bustle of Metro Manila. There, we felt completely cozy in an elegantly furnished room, which was built with a balcony that provides a magnificent view of the garden. The room is complete with amenities, making our stay comfortable, and it resembled a native-style house with bamboo and Amakan finishes. The resort itself offers first-class facilities and services making us feel at home. These include a restaurant and bar, a gift shop, a business center, a conference/function room, Jacuzzis and swimming pools, spa and massage services, 24-hour room service, daily housekeeping, laundry service, wake-up call, airport transfer and even babysitting service for those who have their kids with them. Staying in One MGM Boracay Resort Village was an experience that gave us the best bonding moment ever. We were able to enjoy the white sand in Boracay and the water activities, pampering ourselves and providing us with a new level of a refreshing energy.

Getting There Boracay Island is at the northwest tip of Panay Island. There are several flights from Manila to Caticlan, a barangay in Malay, Aklan. From Caticlan, there is a short boat ride to Boracay. Flights can be as fast as 36 minutes. Some planes land in Kalibo, the capital of Aklan. From there, there is a two-hour ride to Caticlan. From Iloilo City, Boracay can be reached by bus or van with travel time of four to five hours. One MGM Boracay Resort Village is at the sitio of Manggayad, barangay of Manoc-Manoc, Boracay Island.

Contact Information Contact One MGM Boracay Resort Village through telephone numbers (36) 288-3411 and 506-311, and fax numbers (36) 288-3736 and 506-3037. The sales and reservations office and corporate headquarter is at Unit 605, OMM Citra Building, 39 San Miguel Avenue, Ortigas Center, Pasig City, with telephone numbers( +63 2) 6343581 to 83, fax number (+63 2) 635-9575, e-mail address and Web site www. Volume 6 Number 3, Aug-Oct 2010 EXPERIENCE Travel and Living |



Marriott Hotel Manila Making Memorable Moments at the

By Roel Hoang Manipon • Photos by Donald Tapan



EXPERIENCE Travel and Living Volume 6 Number 3, Aug-Oct 2010

The Marriott Hotel Manila is one of the prominent structures in Newport City, an exciting development in Pasay City. Aside from the rooms and other amenities geared towards the comfort and convenience of guests, the hotel offers many delights such as fine food choices at the Marriott Cafe (facing page, below).


he Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3’s sprawling gray concrete and glass structure seems too pale in comparison to the development across the street—the Newport City, an entertainment and tourism complex that includes a residential block, hotels, a commercial hub, a cyberpark and an institutional center , among others, in the city of Pasay. The glittering entertainment complex Resorts World Manila, which offers a casino, restaurants and accommodations, serves as the alluring forefront of 25-hectare Newport City. Less garish but not less prominent is Marriott Hotel Manila, the second property of the international hotel and resort chain in the Philippines. Displaying an interesting and soft-hued facade, Marriott Hotel deserves more than just a quick stay in one’s transit. It is designed for comfort, relaxation and leisure as much as it serves all the needs of a business travel. This characteristic is immediately felt the moment one steps into the elegant lobby and gets more realized as one goes more inner.

Cocoons of Comfort The rooms—342 guest rooms and suites—of the Marriott Hotel Manila have all the amenities of a five-star accommodation—air conditioning, fine bedding, mini bar, spacious work desk, high-speed Internet access, coffee maker, iron and ironing board, bath robes, inroom safe, etc.—and more. With a design inspired by the natural beauty of the Philippines, each room envelops you in comfort. The luxurious bed embraces you like a long-time friend. The 40-inch, flat-panel IPTV, with remote Jack Pack plug-and-play system, offers entertainment and a window to the world. The bathroom has a shower that lets you imagine you are frolicking in warm rain, and a deep bathtub that allows you to relish the wonder of water itself. A desk area by the window provides a heavenly space to work in. And it gets better. The two uppermost floors of the hotel are dedicated to Executive Level, which are said to be the ultimate in accommodation for Volume 6 Number 3, Aug-Oct 2010 EXPERIENCE Travel and Living |


Equipped with full amenities of a five-star hotel, the Marriott guest room is designed for comfort.

business and leisure travelers. Aside from the room with a range of additional amenities and facilities and concierge service, those staying at the Executive Level have exclusive access to the Executive Lounge, which has a breathtaking view of the nearby 18-hole Villamor Golf Course. They are offered complimentary hearty buffet breakfast, early evening cocktails and nightly sweets. The lounge also has a supply of coffee, tea and soda. It has a library that includes international newspapers and magazines. Guests can also enjoy watching television in cozy corners and surf the Web via personal computers. Also, use of a conference room and daily pressing of one suit is complimentary for the occupants. Furthermore, the hotel has dedicated a majority of the floors to be non-smoking, and special guest rooms fitted for persons with special needs are also available. Dining Delights Food and dining are same of the good things in life. And Marriott Hotel Manila has several venues to enjoy good food and company, completing one’s memorable stay. At the forefront of Marriott’s food and beverage outlets is Marriott Café, a bright and upbeat all-day dining restaurant that captivates food lovers with its open-theatre kitchens. It offers a sumptuous buffet of local and international cuisines. The a la carte menu also offers many things irresistible. Marriott Cafe is open daily for breakfast from 6:30 A.M. to 10:30 A.M., lunch from 12 noon to 2:30 P.M. and dinner 6 P.M. to 10:30 P.M. All-day a la carte menu is available from 6:30 A.M. to 10:30 P.M. Brunch is served on Sunday from 11:30 A.M. to 3 P.M. Another major dining outlet is Cru Steakhouse, which aspires to be one of the best steakhouses in the metro and ultimately the benchmark. Executive chef Harry Callinan is at the helm of the restaurant, which offers guests delectable choices of meats, sidings, salads, sauces, desserts and wines. United States Prime and Super Prime and Australian Angus beef are available, which are hand-cut, hand-seasoned and carefully prepared. The steak is cooked at the semi-open kitchen with Australian-designed Beechwood oven. Meat lovers will surely find an enclave to indulge in their cravings here. Cru Steakhouse, which can accommodate up to 70 diners, is open 6 P.M. to 10:30 P.M., Tuesday to Thursday; 6:30 P.M. to 11:30 P.M., Friday and Saturday; and 6 P.M. to 10:30 P.M. on Sunday. At the lobby, one finds The Lounge, its focal point, where life, A complete gym can be found at the Health Club (below). After a workout, one can satisfy cravings at the Marriot Cafe (below, right), which offers a range of gastronomic delights including seafood.



EXPERIENCE Travel and Living Volume 6 Number 3, Aug-Oct 2010

work and leisure merges seamlessly. Its unique zones and seating transforms the lobby from a place to transit to the place to be. It is open 9 A.M. to 12 midnight from Sunday to Thursday; and 9 A.M. to 1 A.M. on Friday and Saturday. By the entrance of Marriott Cafe is Java+, which specializes in an excellent grab-and-go choice of gourmet coffee, freshly baked pastries, breads and other wholesome refreshments and snack. It is open from 6 A.M. to 10 P.M. from Sunday to Thursday; and 6 A.M. to 12 midnight on Friday and Saturday. One finds a place to unwind, chill out and have some fun at the Velocity Entertainment Bar, a modern sports bar that offers icecold local top beers, cocktails and multiple large flat screens playing sports events from around the globe. It is open 6 P.M. to 12 A.M. from Tuesday to Thursday; and 6 P.M. to 2 A.M. on Friday and Saturday. Venue for Events Marriott Hotel’s banquets and meeting facilities are perfect for any business and social events. Major functions can be held at the Grand Ballroom, which can accommodate up to 700 persons for a sit-down event and 1000 persons for cocktails. For smaller meetings and business seminars, six meeting rooms and a cocktail lounge provide cozy yet functional venues, all designed to make any business activity a huge hit and glorious dreams for a social event a reality. Additionally, the hotel has certified events manager can make any

The Grand Ballroom is perfect for any events.

The elegant lobby

function most productive and successful. Be it a grand wedding or an intimate meeting, every detail is taken care of. Other Highlights Aside from the aforementioned, Marriott Hotel Manila has a host of other facilities and amenities. The Quan Spa at the second level is the hotel’s signature spa, with six posh treatment rooms which contain changing facilities, toilet and showers, and Asian influences in design. With its philosophy of “health through water,” the spa offers a luxurious Bathing Suite and reflexology lounge. Open from 1 P.M. to 1 A.M., the spa is ready to treat customers to scrubs, wraps, facials and couple’s massage. Alongside the spa is a fully equipped health club and outdoor pool. The Health Club, which has 62 women’s lockers and 64 men’s lockers, is a complete universal fitness center where one can enjoy a fully equipped gymnasium that offers innovative professional equipment for cardio, resistance and core training exercises. The health club, which includes sauna, steam room and hot whirlpools, are places to truly relax, recover and revive. All guests may enjoy complimentary use of the Health Club. An extensive outdoor swimming pool is also at their disposal. The Business Center provides business travelers the resources, services and administrative support they need while on business. It is open daily from 7 A.M. to 11 P.M. and has an associate on duty A spacious desk area in the room allows one to work in comfort

Chill out at the Lounge

to facilitate requests promptly and efficiently. Services include copy service, facsimile, word processing, translation and courier, among others. Computer and Apple iMac work stations are also available. Marriott Hotel Manila also provides the services of a beauty salon, florist, laundry and dry cleaning, valet parking, limousine service, airport transportation, shoe shine, tour desk, and money exchange. If one wants to go out of the hotel, there are many options near it since it is situated within an entertainment complex. Resorts World Manila has been designed to create the perfect evening with a great entertainment and superb food choices. The Newport Mall has four levels, displaying lifestyle, recreation and entertainment options. The Villamor Golf Course is also nearby. The Bonifacio Global City and the Makati business district are just 15-minute drive away. But still, staying in Marriot Hotel Manila remains to be a enjoyable experience by itself. The hotel’s dynamic and dedicated staff, under the helm of general manager Richard Saul, makes sure that every moment here is memorable and truly marvelous.

Contact Information Marriott Hotel Manila is at No. 10, Newport Boulevard, Newport City Complex, Pasay City. For more information and reservations, call telephone number (63 2) 988-9999, fax at (63 2) 836-9998 or visit Volume 6 Number 3, Aug-Oct 2010 EXPERIENCE Travel and Living |


Baguio. The idyllic City of Pines has served as the de facto summer capital of the Philippines for generations, captivating tourists local and foreign alike with its crisp mountain climate, breathtaking scenery, and of course, the strawberries! Every summer trek up north to Baguio oftentimes serves as the ultimate driving test, where the perils of sleep deprivation, kamikaze drivers, intermittent landslides and traffic-stalling Santacruzans. All these would take a relative toll on you, and after a five- to- six hour journey all you would want to do is prop down and take a snooze on your comfy hotel bed. Sounds awesome. But there’s one little problem. You don’t have a hotel yet. Oh and another little problem – you have no idea where the heck you’re going. First time perhaps? You’re not exactly the best Google Maps reader, and getting around the nooks and crannies of this unfamiliar yet enchanting land has proven to be an immense challenge. “Why do all these hotels have to be in these mountains??” That’s exactly what happened to me on a recent foray. Tired, exhausted, and hungry, my mind was going blank already. All I wanted to do was to lose myself in a soft fluffy bed with perhaps good room service to boot. But I was completely lost. Had no reservations, and I didn’t know where these faraway hotels were. But as I entered Burnham Park, a looming oasis stood out to this weary traveler. I mean, it was RIGHT THERE. And lo and behold, the Baguio Burnham Suites saved the day for me. Situated right smack in the middle of Burnham Park (okay maybe right not exactly in the middle, but over at Kisad Road, right in front of it), the hotel offers an easy-to-find, absolutely convenient solution to all your Baguio vacation needs. If it’s your first time in Baguio, and you’re thinking that you will be subjected to mountainous lodging conditions, think again. Baguio Burnham Suites

has all the trappings of home. Ever heard the notion that Baguio hotels don’t have airconditioning? Because it’s well, er, cold? This hotel goes a step further by providing customizable temperature control units (read: an aircon in your room.) for all of its 44 well-appointed suites. Decked out in stylish contemporary, the rooms resemble more of a condotel in Makati rather than a hotel more than 300 kilometers away nestled in the mountains. Are you that type of person who loves to mix work with play? Or the compulsive business traveler who can’t stop checking his emails even with a Blackberry in hand already? Perhaps you’re tagging along a kid brother or sister who needs to check Facebook incessantly? No worries. Each of their rooms is equipped with a very urban-like WiFi connection. And mind you, this isn’t the type where you need to buy a hopelessly overpriced card from the hotel counter. It’s absolutely, mindnumbingly free. Being the skeptic traveler that I am, I was immediately thinking “Okay, it’s free, we’re in the mountains, it’s probably going to crawl like ISP Bonanza.” Amazingly, the hotel put me to shame when the internet speed rivaled that of my home DSL. Free, high-speed internet in this faraway land? Amazing. When I first entered the hotel, the security guard nearly tumbled over in getting my bags. A pretty good start if you ask me. Totally jaded to the sometimes narcoleptic effort put forth by some provincial hotels I’ve stayed in, the vibe was actually quite warm and welcoming. I started talking to an amiable, young-looking girl at the desk decked in casual, laid-back attire and thought to myself, “This must be wash day for these interns” Much to my chagrin, she actually turned out to be the

owner. Gulp. My bad. I came away pretty impressed though. How many times could you get to stay in a hotel and get to chat with the owners themselves? I guess that just goes to show the highly personalized level of service that they strive to provide in the place. Through my little tête à tête with the daughter of the owner Giselle Lim, I got to learn that the hotel sits on property that her estate had purchased from the family of former President Manuel L. Quezon. Yes, THAT Manuel L. Quezon. The guy whose face is plastered on your bente pesos . She even went out of her way to show me that the ancestral home of the former president was still intact in all of its vintage glory, adjacent to the hotel itself. I even got to sit on the late president’s exquisite rocking chair, passed down from generation to generation. As excited as I was, turns out it was just some crummy old rocking chair, they were just pulling my leg. Shucks, just when a placebo-induced historical rush was starting to engulf me. At least they got a sense of humor. Further perusal of the hotel shows that in spite of its quiet, cozy vibe, it’s actually a full-service hotel capable of accommodating wedding receptions, baptismals, conferences, or debut celebration of up to 150 people. None too shabby. Upon further perusal, it turns out they have pretty good rates to boot, so you don’t have to break the bank in giving your Unica Hija her dream debut. Their rooms can accommodate groups of all sizes – from a couple looking for a quiet romantic interlude to entire families on vacation. That flexibility comes in numerous value-for-money packages, so I thought it was a pretty decent deal. Whenever I go on vacation or on a business trip, I usually look for three essential things – a comfy bed, cable TV, and a clean bathroom. I’m particularly iffy with the last one. Thankfully, Baguio Burnham Suites had all bases covered. Bed was good, the fluffy type that you could just lose yourself in. I’ve had beds that could land you a visit to your chiropractor the following day, but this one was top notch. There was cable TV thankfully. And the bathroom was not only clean, but well appointed as well. As an added perk, the water heated up pretty quickly amidst the glacial weather. I’ve been to a hotel where it took nearly 10 minutes for the water to heat up. Sob story for those in a hurry. After a quick nap, I got really hungry. But the cool weather had virtually incapacitated me, rendering me into a lazy pile of mush spread out on my bed. Besides, Jurassic Park had just started on HBO. Called for room service, and before it could

get to the part where the fat guy locks them out of the power system and steals dino eggs, the food had arrived. Surprisingly quick. Or maybe just watching a young Samuel L. Jackson had dulled my sense of time. Anyway, their Pizza Margherita was a good buy, servings were a lot bigger than I had envisioned. Yum. Not a food critic so I can’t comment on the hard science of how it was cooked, but it was definitely satisfying from a hungry guy’s point of view. For dinner, I couldn’t help but sample their take on Satay Rice, quite tasty! Had this fancy cheesecake for dessert which really had me forgetting my calorie counting. At that point, it was brought to my attention that owner Giselle is actually a trained chef, and apparently the hotel’s fare had imbibed some of her culinary moxie. The following morning, I reveled in my complimentary breakfast with piping hot coffee. Try the longganiza with eggs, my new personal favorite. Afterwards, I went out and ran a couple of kilometers around Burnham Park. The cool mountain air was quite invigorating, but what really sold me on the hotel was that it was only about 2 minutes away from the park proper. You don’t need to trek far distances or ride a car just to get there, and at that point I just came to realize that the hotel’s greatest strength was it being at the center of everywhere you need to go. SM, Mines View, Session Road and Camp John Hay were all just mere minutes away. This delight stems from someone who once stayed on the far outskirts of town, and a mere trek to the mall was much akin to an epic adventure. My trip, as with most, just came and went. As much of a cliché this sounds, perhaps time flies when you’re truly having fun. Staying at the Burnham Suites helped set up a highly convenient second home for me up in the City Of Pines, and their value-for –money rates have them as my hotel of choice for my next visit. Oh, and did I mention the food? In the vacation business, proximity is king and comfort is the queen. Amazingly, the Burnham Suites rank high on my list in both areas. So if you’re a vacationer with a tight itinerary, worried that you may not be able to visit all the sites because you’re living on the edge of a faraway mountaintop, look no further than that cozy, WiFi-enabled hotel in front of Burnham Park adjacent to the ancestral home of our former President. Who knows, you might just get to sit on his pseudo-rocking chair.


Beyond the Surface By Agnes M. Abrau Photos by Guido Rossi & Joni Bonifacio

Another chamber in Elaroman Cave, Jiabong, Samar.

Fifteen years exploring the world underneath the many caves of Samar is no ordinary feat. For Joni Bonifacio, who was introduced to this kind of adventure at 13 years old, the feeling of exploring caves gave him a certain thrill. But it is beyond self-fulfillment and challenging one’s physical capacity that keeps him in exploring caves. Spelunking or cave exploration gives cavers the opportunity to see another part of the world that few people get to see. For some who are lucky enough to try it, those who trekked, hiked, caved, coved and even crawled on the ground, the experience is fulfilling. The beautiful sceneries and the amazing rock formations are beyond compare. “The feeling is comparable to someone who has stepped in the 48


EXPERIENCE Travel and Living Volume 6 Number 3, Aug-Oct 2010

At the mouth of Lobo cave in Jiabong.

Crawling to get through this hole and on to the next chamber.

Unique stalactite formations never cease to amaze cavers.

parina Cave, Calbiga,

lerie Impossible in Cam

Giant chambers in Gal


moon,” Joni says in an interview. It may be an overstatement, but for someone who is armed with adventure and the desire to explore what’s underneath the ground, it could be true. It was even enough to set himself off to explore caves. A sports lover, Joni was a mountaineer and biker prior to trying spelunking. But once he started exploring caves, he never turned his back. The sport gave him a certain high he can’t find in his previous recreational activities. “The feeling of discovering the unknown is just exciting and thrilling,” he enthuses. “As a caver, it’s a different experience to discover a new world underneath. It’s a different thrill, a nice feeling,” he adds. Growing up, Joni Bonifacio, who hails from Catbalogan City in the rugged island of Samar, learned from foreign spelunkers that Samar is one of the few places in the country that has so many caves. Curious about this pronouncement from foreign pros, he wanted to see for himself what’s inside the amazing caves. Joni’s first caving experience was in high school. This, despite tales from old folks in his hometown that caves contain bad spirits and wild animals and that something bad happens to you. Nevertheless, the determined Joni set out for a spelunking adventure and his love affair with caves Volume 6 Number 3, Aug-Oct 2010 EXPERIENCE Travel and Living |


Spelunkers take photos of the interiors of Guintoble Cave in Taft E. Samar.

Enjoying a dip at an underground river inside a cave in Jiabong.

began. “Four Italian men discovered the Langun Gobingob Caves in Calbiga, Samar in 1987. While there is nothing wrong with that it occurred to me that foreigners discovered our own caves. This is our home, this is our place and our island… we must explore and discover our own caves,” Joni says matter-of-factly. Passion for Adventure Joni enjoyed so much his early adventures with caves. Notwithstanding the potential danger and the strenuous activity that go with it, Joni and his friends looked forward to exploring more caves as they grew older. In fact, Joni and his friends discovered more caves than any local in Samar. Years later, while his friends have moved on to their chosen professions, Joni developed and expanded spelunking in Samar, making it his profession. He set up his small business organizing participants in exploring caves in his hometown. With the onset of Internet, he spread the word about the caving adventure in Samar through his blogs and websites, making more people aware about the place and its caves. He organized at least three spelunking adventures in a year, leading group expeditions to famous caves all over Samar. His shop, called Trexplore, is equipped with complete 50


EXPERIENCE Travel and Living Volume 6 Number 3, Aug-Oct 2010

caving paraphernalia. Lonely Planet Philippines recognized Trexplore “as the only outfit qualified to lead trips to caves, rivers and gorges all over Samar.” Foreign and local spelunkers from outside Samar join Joni in his cave explorations, all are eager and exciting at the thought of discovering caves in Samar. In every spelunking activity which usually takes three days, Joni prepares his participants by briefing them of what to expect. Every caving adventure is packed with new discovery, where participants hiked, caved and camped out inside the cave for at least two days. Beginners like to try the sport for recreational purposes. Professional spelunkers, on the other hand, who are trained to explore caves like to visit Samar because of its unique cave system and the popularity it stirred through the Internet. A staunch environmentalist, Joni also imparts to participants the ecological importance of caves, thus they are expected to take care and protect caves, following the principle that a cave should always be left in the same condition in which it was found. A fee is required for every participant inclusive of Mayor’s permit, ID’s, transportation, local guide fee, among others. Joni leads the pack of caving adventurers. Another caving exploration is set on October 29 to 31 of this year to explore Calbiga Cave. Calbiga Cave is said to have the biggest karst formation in the Philippines and one of the largest in Asia. Its main cave dubbed Langun has the chamber the size of three football fields. This is the 8th Spelunking Activity he organized so far. There is also a scheduled trip to Jiabong Cave in June of 2011. Participants are advised to bring their caving equipment such as caving helmets, suits or clothes, headlights, flashlights, candles, dry bags, bouyancy aid, harness, garbage bags, extra batteries and bulbs. Camping equipment are also required like tents, sleeping mat and sleeping bags, camping stoves and cook set, strong trekking or climbing shoes and of course, camera. Samar: Caving Capital Joni believes Samar could become a spelunking

Foreign cave enthusiasts enjoy the underground stream in Lobo Cave, Jiabong, Samar.

Foreign spelunkers splash their faces with mud, a good facial mask.

destination in the Philippines. Since he started to make spelunking his profession, Joni has been promoting Samar as a caving capital of the country through his own capacity. He laments the fact that he gets no support from the Department of Tourism and the local government units. “Our goal is to promote the great potential of Samar caves in the eco-tourism industry and at the same time, boost awareness in our drive to conserve and protect its archaeological importance,” Joni says in his website. Samar is a rough and rugged island in the Visayas. It is heavily forested and full of cave systems and waterfalls. Joni arranges caving trips to Calbiga Cave and Jiabong Caves but he also organizes explorations to new caves per arrangement. According to Joni, Jiabong Cave is not only one of his favorite caves but it is also one of the most beautiful in Asia. Caving certainly gives participants the opportunity to discover new places. But the sport can also be arduous and physically challenging. “There are other caves that require you to walk one day just to reach the cave entrance,” he says. A browse in Trexplore website shows comments from satisfied participants, all making rave reviews from their caving experience. Foreign participants said the fantastic trip underground is something that they will recommend to their friends. Others describe Joni as a great guide and a cave guru. Norah Velarde Butter of Canada says of her experience at Jiabong Caves: “It’s wonderful! I’m glad I did it. After all that I

did on the whole day Jiabong trip I can do just about anything now. It was truly a remarkable experience. I thought I’ve been there, done that, but I just realized I’ll find more in my own country. Thanks Joni.” Roxanne Cu, American, describes her trip as “the best caving-trekkingclimbing experience”, adding that her favorite was the underground river and beach in the Lobo Cave. “The jungle trekking to Kamanaog Cave was very challenging with the rain and the mud. One of the best was also ending the cave experience with a dive in the falls. It was great fun. I will return.”

Water cascades in this waterfall found in Sulpan Cave, San Jorge, Samar.

Tips for Spelunkers Exploring a cave is fun and educational but it also entails some basic survival skills knowledge.

1 Bring appropriate clothing (jackets or long sleeved-shirts since caves are damp inside) and footwear (strong trekking or climbing shoes or waterproofed boots are recommended). Prepare to get wet and dirty.

2 Follow safety rules. Stick to your assigned group and follow the leader.

3 Bring your caving equipment: caving helmet with a mounted light; at least two handheld flashlights with lots of spare batteries; gloves to protect your hands and elbow or knee pads should crawling on the ground is necessary.

4 Learn the cave preservation and respect nature. Trash and equipment should not be left in the cave.

5 Bring your camera. Record every detail of your caving adventure in your camera. It’s a different and beautiful world underground Contact Information For inquiries on spelunking in Samar, call Joni Bonifacio at Trexplore at (055) 251-2301 or email or check its Web sites; www.samarcaves.;

6 Relish the experience and have fun.

A Sailing We Will Go

By Bernard L Supetran

If you have had an amusing close encounter with a tiger or a sea lion, and you think you have seen everything at the Subic Bay Freeport, think again.


nctuated by naturally deep harbors, protected coves, lush underwater marine life, and tropical rainforests, its history revolves maritime exploration dating back to the pre-colonial period. Chinese seafarers, and other Asians, have visited Subic to trade with locals. It is small wonder that this beautiful body of water has become a most-coveted spot by foreign naval powers—from Spain to Great Britain and back, and from the United States to Japan and back. From the fisherman’s dinghy, Spanish galleons, steamships, sophisticated warships, and Hobie catamarans, Subic Bay has provided them all a safe haven. Hence, it is safe to say that one has not been truly in Subic if he hasn’t explored its waters which is steeped in a rich maritime tradi-

tion. For years since its conversion into a tourism enclave from an American naval base, sailing has been regarded by many tourists as an elitist activity—until now. “Sailing provides a feeling of nirvana because of the bay’s tranquil waters which has captured the fancy of foreign navigators. In effect, you are sailing with nature and nostalgia at a very reasonable rate,” says Zedrik Avecilla, marketing manager of The Lighthouse Marina Resort, a leading proponent of the sport in the Freeport. The nautical-themed boutique hotel offers cruises around Subic Bay and nearby coves, a unique adventure often relegated to the sidelines by tourists because of their preference for land-based attractions.

“We want to provide visitors not just first-rate accommodations, but also a taste of Subic Bay’s unique sailing experience where the mountains meet the sea aboard Selma Star,” he enthuses, referring to their sleek 36-foot racer yacht which has won in longdistance races both here and abroad. A typical one-hour cruise, he said, would be a romantic cruise around the mouth of Subic Bay, encircling Grande and Chiquita Islands, preferably towards dusk so guests can capture the postcardperfect sunset. Subic Grande, where a resort hotel now stands, was an American naval outpost during World War II with armed with six-inch cannons which still exist today. Meanwhile, the latter is a small uninhabited island teeming with vegetation just a few hundred yards away from Grande. Another hour of sailing and guests will find themselves in the idyllic cove of Silangin in Castillejos town in Zambales. Embraced by capes and tranquil waters, it boasts of an unspoiled mile-long beach of fine gray sand. Further up north to the South China Sea, lovers of sea and sun will discover the equally fascinating Nagsasa Cove which is just a short distance from Silangin Cove. The inaccessibility of these coves has spared them from crass commercialism and have left them for those who truly treasure tourist gems such as these. Since they are virtually unreachable by land transportation, sailing aboard Selma Star is the only way to get there in style. An ultimate destination is San Antonio town which prides itself in the sought-after Anawangin Cove and Capones Island. The former is a secluded cove which is fast becoming a favorite beach hideaway because of its clear waters and powdery sand which approximate Boracay’s allure. Capones, on the other hand, is an uninhabited island punctuated by a charming Spanish lighthouse which guided ships along Luzon’s colonial-era sea lanes. Cruising along the coast of Zambales rewards guests with awe-inspiring sights of rarely-seen cliffs and rock formations, as well as the bays emptying into the South China Sea which are teeming with rich fishing grounds. If luck strikes, visitors will cross paths with fishing vessels where they can buy fresh catch before they even reach the trading post. Lest we forget, Subic’s southern backdoor is Bataan peninsula which boasts of its own natural wonders. “If guests are creative or romantic enough, we can set up a dinner onboard or on a beach of their choice with matching butler. The options for enjoyment are actually as wide as the sea,” Avecilla proudly beams. If guests are up to the challenge, they can be given basic sailing lessons so they acquire this unique skill that will enable them to sail and compete anywhere in the Philippines. As a sailing haven, regular regattas are held in Subic Bay to enhance yachtsmanship for international competitions and foster camaraderie among sailors. It recently became a playground for grand prix keelboats from various countries as they competed in the prestigious Commodore’s Cup Regatta which is part of the Asian Yachting Circuit. Ancient explorers and colonizers have basked in Subic Bay’s shimmering waters for centuries. It’s about time we Filipinos enjoy it too the way they did—by sailing.

Our Gold Standard in every

Pueblo de Oro Home A house is only as strong as its foundations but more importantly, a home is only as strong as the family ties that bind it. For fifteen years, Pueblo de Oro Development Corporation has understood this truth and not only continues to pursue building distinctive, and quality homes but also dignifies the strength and dedication of the Filipino families it builds homes for.

Defining True Value

A home is probably the biggest investment you will make in your lifetime – not merely as a symbol of your success but also as a representation of your devotion and hard work in providing only the best for your family. Pueblo de Oro’s projects, set in locations across the country such as Cagayan de Oro; Mactan, Cebu ; San Fernando, Pampanga ; Calamba , Laguna and Sto. Tomas, Batangas have been built with this in mind. We offer innovative style as well as quality, strength and affordability –our gold standard in community living.

A Look Back

Our tradition of excellence in product offerings can be traced back to our beginnings. The ICCP Group was established more than 20 years ago by Mr. Guillermo Luchangco to be at the forefront of the Philippine economic recovery and continuing progress. Venturing into investment banking, venture capital and real estate development, the ICCP Group has constantly laid down the groundwork for success in the fields it chooses to operate in. Three things have described its projects—quality of work, integrity and high standards of ethics. The ICCP Group ventured into developing industrial parks and fast became a leader in the field through



EXPERIENCE Travel and Living Volume 6 Number 3, Aug-Oct 2010

“…We continuously strive to implement best governance practices, benchmarked against international standards and develop distinctive properties which are thoughtfully considered in building homes at affordable prices for the Filipino.” Chairman & CEO Guillermo D. Luchangco, Pueblo de Oro Development Corporation Science Park of the Philippines, Inc., or SPPI. To gain international expertise in master planning industrial estates, SPPI first hired Pacific Engineers, an affiliate of world renowned Bechtel Group to undertake the design of its first park. SPPI’s notable projects are the Light Industry and Science Parks I & II, both located within the province of Laguna, the Hermosa Ecozone Industrial Park in Bataan, the Light Industry and Science Park III in Batangas and the Cebu Light Industrial Park in Mactan, Cebu. A sister company, Pueblo de Oro Development Corporation (PODC), has developed its first PEZA-approved IT Ecozone in Mindanao. All these projects are known for their wide range of facilities and outstanding management and maintenance, as well as active community development programs. In 1995, another company of the ICCP Group, Manila Exposition Complex, Inc. developed the country’s first world class exhibition venue. Since then, the World Trade Center Metro Manila has put the Philippines on the global map of international trade exhibitions by providing a world-class venue for businesses to showcase their products and services. To ensure the quality of the hall, the company retained the services of Gensler and Associates of San Francisco, the architects of the second phase of that city’s Moscone Center. Such prominent projects and a reputation for high quality work provided the background and credentials for the ICCP Group to establish PODC for mixed use and residential developments.

A Township Within a City in Cagayan de Oro

For almost fifteen years now, PODC has been in the forefront of property development down south, in the city of Golden Friendship, Cagayan de Oro. The Pueblo de Oro Township, a 360 hectare master-planned development by PODC is a township within a city, with all the amenities of modern day city living always within reach. The Pueblo Golf & Country Club, with an 18-hole championship golf course designed by Robert Trent Jones II, SM City Cagayan de Oro mall for your shopping convenience, and Hotel Koresco, a leading hotel situated beside the golf course are all meant to enhance its value. St. Francis Xavier parish church is also located within the township as well as Xavier University which offers Primary and Secondary education. In addition, Corpus Christi is now building its school here as well.

Pioneering Green Living

The Pueblo de Oro Township in Cagayan de Oro City is also at the forefront of promoting green living. The five man-made lakes at the Pueblo Golf Course do not merely serve as golf hazards but act as inter-connected reservoirs to conserve Volume 6 Number 3, Aug-Oct 2010 EXPERIENCE Travel and Living |


two-storey single unit homes of Horizon Residences cater to the middle income mature-family. There is something here for everyone. PODC is starting a similar development in Sto. Tomas, Batangas, right beside LISP III. It will be offering the same three product lines. The ICCP Group is proud of its accomplishments and looks forward to many years of providing homes that are truly a gold standard in community living. All these have made Pueblo de Oro an exciting, vibrant and innovating real estate company which together with a band of dedicated professionals committed to excellence, serve the most important family of all… your own.

water. This is part of a water recycling system, which was installed during its construction. Furthermore, the irrigation system of the golf course is computerized so only the correct amount of water is used. In addition, Pueblo de Oro has built a major outflow and detention pond system in the lower portion of the Township to contain water runoff from the plateau to the valley before dispersal into the creeks, thus helping protect the areas downhill from flooding. All of Pueblo’s residential subdivisions maintain open spaces such as parks and playgrounds to boost air circulation and to provide families a place to spend their leisure time. This includes Pueblo’s 40-hectare Urban Rainforest, which is also a testament to the township’s commitment to biodiversity conservation.

New and Unique Developments

The Courtyards at Pueblo de Oro is a first-of-its kind exclusive horizontal condominium which is now exciting to those who view it. Primavera Residences at the Pueblo Business Park is one of the first truly eco-friendly buildings in Cagayan de Oro that will be constructed using the principles of sustainable green architecture by award winning Italian architects. Primavera Residences’ inner green courtyard and atrium provide natural ventilation thus enhancing its energy efficiency.

New Developments in Cebu, Batangas and Pampanga

Other property developments are in full swing in Cebu, Batangas and Pampanga to bring the Gold Standard of community living to these parts of the country. Nestled in the heart of the bustling city of San Fernando, the 30 hectare Pueblo de Oro Communities Pampanga offers an exclusive collection of three private and gated neighborhoods. For the start-up family, La Aldea Fernandina offers Spanish-Mediterranean themed townhouses, the latest addition to the successful La Aldea line in Cebu ; Park Place contains contemporary Asianthemed duplexes perfect for middle income Filipino buyers. The Zen-inspired

Pueblo de Oro Development Corporation 17th Floor Robinsons Summit Center, 6783 Ayala Avenue, Makati City, Philippines • Telephone: +63 (2) 811-4656 Cagayan de Oro : (088) 858 8976 • Pampanga: (045) 8611948 •


Peppermill Shook up by

By Roel Hoang Manipon


Peppermill Caterers serves different functions, large and small. Here, staff prepares a beautiful buffet setup. Peppermill is owned and operated by Candon native Vincent Rodriguez (inset).

ometimes Vincent M. Rodriguez opens the lanai of his home along Castrillo Street in the Corinthian Gardens, an upscale residential enclave in Quezon City at the northern fringe of the Ortigas business area, for diners and foodies. This is a rare opportunity. Rodriguez runs a catering company called Peppermill Caterers, favored by celebrities and big companies. His dishes are indeed rare delights—a slab of salmon peppered with finely chopped seaweed and other herbs and spices; large portions of salpicao sizzling on stone; a delectable salad of wakame, salmon and crabsticks; bagnet, so juicy and crunchy; and a playful panna cotta with chopped fruits. 60


EXPERIENCE Travel and Living Volume 6 Number 3, Aug-Oct 2010

All these, which we pronounced superb, were served to us one summer night, among potted plants and near a small waterfall and pond with kois, by someone who has had no formal culinary training. Rodriguez studied management and marketing at the California State University in Bakersfield, planning to work for their family business in Candon, Ilocos Sur, afterwards. The Rodriguezes are a prominent family in the city, owning the biggest supermarket in the province called Four Brothers. Vincent’s brothers have also made it to the limelight one way or another. Most famous was the late fashion designer Porte Rodriguez, who also delved in local politics. Leonard, who operates the only school supply store in the city, is known for

his sizable Swatch watch collection, which is probably the biggest in Asia. Nick is the only one with a culinary education and has a restaurant called Salad Days. It was for Nick that Vincent returned home from the United States. He was asked to help run the restaurant. His culinary experience, though, may be traced way back. “Our family loves to cook,” Vincent said. Flair in the kitchen was something he grew up with. He also worked in restaurants while in the United States. “Then I tried cooking at home until I was satisfied,” he related. Food has always been part of fortysomething Vincent’s life. “Food is very important to me; it’s part of my everyday life. Without the need to eat, life will be unexciting,” he declared. He added that “good food as something that you can’t take out of your mind.” And good food made that one summer night, a delightful degustation, fusing American, Mexican and Asian flavors, amid a homey ambiance. The appetizers came in little portions, laid out on a white rectangular plate: truffle fries, Peppermill’s signature roll and shrimp popcorn. A couple of sticks of French-fried potatoes were dipped on truffle-flavored creamy sauce. The roll was a large maki with sea urchin meat, rice, shrimp and others held together by a strip of nori. Served in a small goblet, the shrimp popcorn looked more like trimmed-down tempura, with crunchy and translucent crust and sweet coating of sauce. All were thoroughly satisfying. The salads teased the palates. The Napa Valley salad, served in a goblet, had Romaine lettuce, watermelon bits, mango and slivers of grapes with the dressing, the Peppermill dressing with shreds of chicken meat, lying at the bottom. Tossing the salad was like mixing halo-halo—reach for the bottom with a spoon and start mixing. The wakame salmon salad came in a small black bowl, consisting of tiny cubes of salmon, crabstick shreds and wakame, a seaweed with a subtly sweet flavor popular in Japan and Korea. Vincent would only divulge little about the ingredients. To keep himself from revealing secrets, he would smile like Mona Lisa or grin like a Cheshire Cat. The dim lighting prevented us from identifying the

smaller ingredients. Our tongue tried to unravel the flavors, which proved to be complex, tantalizing. Our stomachs were more eager but of no help. The entrée dishes arrived in dizzying succession: salpicao medallion, bagnet with bagnet rice, prime rib-eye steak roulade, chicken walnut Sonoma and encrusted baked salmon. “I love to eat meat,” Vincent admitted. “I not a fan of seafood.” The salpicao medallion, sprinkled with crisp, fried garlic, was served on a rectangular slab of granite. A little fire kept the stone and the meat hot. Salpicao usually has the beef cut in little cubes, but Vincent wanted some innovation, making the meat like a compact fillet mignon. Everybody raved about the bagnet, which was served plainly and simply, except for a small mound of fried and flavored rice, his own take on the Thai bagoong rice, and a small saucer of sweetish fish bagoong sautéed with tomato. This was the only dish that was telling of Vincent’s Ilocano heritage. Bagnet is very similar to lechon kawali or wok-fried pork and chicharon or pork cracklings, particular the chicharon of Carcar, Cebu. Bagnet is big chunk of pork boiled, then deep-fried and stored. It has to be refried for eating. It is accompanied by rice, of course, and a side dish of KBL (kamatis, bagoong, lasona), chopped tomatoes and shallots drizzled with bagoong or fermented fish sauce. Peppermill’s bagnet had thin, crunchy skin and thick layers of fat that melted in the mouth. The meat was flavorful. It was because the pork came from a native black pig, Vincent explained. His father had taught him to use the native ones for a tastier bagnet. Moreover, the pork was deep-fried for four hours in low fire. Then there was the prime rib-eye steak roulade with fat sticks of asparagus wrapped in its juicy embrace. The steak was accompanied by baked sweet potato or kamote, a lovely surprise. While it had its own merit, the bagnet was still on everybody’s minds. It overshadowed the Chicken Walnut Sonoma, which was chicken battered and fried like Chicken Cordon Bleu. The walnut I could distinguish if it was with the chicken and in the creamy dip spiked with a

Peppermill offers an exquisite array of desserts (right and bottom). One of Rodriguez’s creations is Chicken Walnut Sonoma, which is chicken battered and fried like Chicken Cordon Bleu with a creamy dip spiked with raspberry sauce.

raspberry sauce. For my dear Bob, date for the night, an Ilonggo and professed seafood lover, the salmon could make him forget about the bagnet. He had recently declared a love for salmon. I had declared a love for everything. Anyway, the slab of fish was baked and encrusted with a secret concoction. Vincent could only reveal chili and seaweed. It was served with a splash of mango salsa on the side. The salsa was sweet and tart with strong hints of cilantro, one of my favorite herbs, a perfect accompaniment to wash away the fishy aftertaste of salmon. Concluding the degustation was a very creamy panna cotta served in a goblet topped with an assortment of chopped fresh fruits, restraining further cravings. Our drink, called Pandan de Rosa, screw pine juice with grenadine, fended off the heat of the season. There are more in the Peppermill menu such as the Alaskan king crab pepperoncini pasta; Argentine pork roast; baked marble potatoes, baby carrots, French beans and cherry tomatoes; Southern blackened turkey and black forest ham; deep-fried barramundi or black cod in seaweed sauce; wild mushroom bisque; paella in pouches; crab wontons; Vietnamese rolls; almond nougat; and raspberry sorbet. But the stomach and perhaps the memory, can only take so much for a night. We will have to wait for another rare opportunity, like the blue moon—this opening of the lanai for public dining or a high-profile event in which Peppermill Caterers is serving. The lanai is usually used like a dining showroom for food tasting for potential clients, Vincent explained. And Peppermill already had served big-time clients—corporations like Hewlett-Packard, Nestle, 62


DuPont and GMA 7; and celebrities such as Kris Aquino (who loves the bagnet and the paella), Sharon Cuneta (who loves the wakame salmon salad), Vicky Belo, Regine Velasquez, Ogie Alcasid, Jaya, Ryan Eigenmann and Cacai Mitra. Some clients he keeps confidential. This is not bad for a catering company, which only started in 2007, operating at home, which was acquired by the family in 1988. It started out as a hobby, Vincent con-

A lamp-lit buffet setup.

fessed. Then, “a friend, Rey Lanada (road manager of Alcasid), requested me to cater for his party and a guest of his was Kris Aquino, who asked if I could cater for baby James’ (Aquino’s son) baptism.” Word spread about Vincent’s food. “Great reviews—from presentation to taste!” he exclaimed. He named the new catering company

EXPERIENCE Travel and Living Volume 6 Number 3, Aug-Oct 2010

Peppermill because pepper is his favorite spice. “I use pepper in almost every dish I prepare,” he confessed. Peppermill’s services are pricier than many caterers’, but with the exquisite flavors the price is worth it. Moreover, the menu is customized for each client. Vincent sits down with the client in conceptualizing the menu, in which he often creates new dishes. Vincent gets a kick out of creating dishes even under pressure: “My most memorable experience is conceptualizing a menu for our VIP clients for less than a day. We make it a point to be available and ready anytime.” And the inspiration “just comes,” he shrugged. His favorite creation would be the US Angus prime rib-eye roulade. “I have never tried anything similar to what I have created,” he commented. For people wanting to taste Vincent’s dishes, they only have to wait. A restaurant is in the planning, and Vincent revealed that it will serve New American cuisine. He dreams of putting up “different types of restaurants that is unique, either here or abroad.” Vincent may not reveal the recipes of his dishes, but he puts out this morsel of advice: “Put your heart into cooking and make sure that others appreciate the experience that you are about to bring them.” Something throbs in each dish he presents before you; it’s the secret.

Contact Information Peppermill Caterers office is at 19 Castrillo Street, Corinthian Gardens, with telephone numbers 633-0329 and 216-1873, mobile phone number 0917-5357948, e-mail address and Web site It also has a Facebook account.

Potato Its Benefits and One-Stop Shop

Chili con carne mashed potato

By Deni Rose M. Afinidad


otato—whether mashed, fried, in strips, halved or peeled—is no couch potato. It is an active bodybuilder, providing the body with more protein than other roots and tubers. It is also packed with micronutrients, including folate, panthonic acid, vitamins C, B1, B3 and B6, as well as minerals like magnesium, potassium, iron and phosphorous. A medium-sized potato, in fact, is said to have more potassium than banana. It also provides adults with 45 percent of their daily vitamin C requirements. The antioxidants in potato can do wonders in fighting illnesses associated with aging. While it is true that the potato is carbohydrate-rich and too much fried potato combined with sedentary lifestyle can make one overweight, a medium-sized potato, when prepared raw or boiled, can actually help manage one’s weight. Since it is low-fat and lacking in high-fat nutrients like sodium and cholesterol, the medium-sized potato, at only 110 calories, isn’t fattening. According to the United States Potato Board, the feeling of fullness the potato gives even helps control one’s cravings and ward off unwanted pounds. The potato’s skin, in particular, contains most of the vegetable’s nutrients and fiber. According to some folk remedies, facial blemishes can be treated by washing them with a cold potato juice every day. Sunburn or frostbite can also be cured by rubbing potato juice or raw or grated potato on the affected area. Water used to boil potatoes is said to be potent in easing pain when applied on the aching body part. 64


bilities in its January-March 2009 issue. “Their accessibility and abundance make them a natural choice as food for the poor and hungry, where land is limited and labor is cheap like in most developing countries. Potatoes are also produced more quickly on less land and in harsher climates as compared to other major crops,” the magazine continues. According to Potato-bilities, United Nations eyes the potato as an instrument to its Millenium Fish and chips Development Goals, particularly in the following areas: poverty eradication, Small but Terrible reduction of child mortality, maternal But the potato has a bigger role to health improvement and environmental play than just for nutrition or natural sustainability. remedy. It is, says the United Nations, an “Undernourishment is cited as a major answer to the global economic crisis and factor in poor health and may lead to death. to widespread hunger. Better access to safe and nutritious food “The potato has been eyed as a like the nutrient-rich potato can improve solution to avert the risk of food shortages target populations, particularly women and and instability in many low-income children,” explains the magazine’s report. countries. As the world’s top Croquettas non-grain food commodity with a production record reaching 320 million tons in 2007, its consumption has especially expanded in developing countries like the Philippines. This accounts for more than half the global harvest. With easy cultivation and high energy content, the potato has also become a valuable cash crop for millions of farmers,” reports the magazine Potato-

EXPERIENCE Travel and Living Volume 6 Number 3, Aug-Oct 2010

The new Spud Diner at the Columns in Buendia, Makati is where to go for all potato dishes.

Where To Go for Everything Potato Thanks to fast-food chains, everyone can readily access the potato and its many benefits, including its vitamins and nutrients. Children, in particular, love mashed potatoes and french fries, said Jose Magsaysay Jr., chief executive officer of Cinco Corporation, the company behind one of the country’s leading food cart businesses, Potato Corner. As a follow up to Potato Corner’s 18-year success in the market and to fuel Filipinos’ fondness for carbohydrate-rich food like potatoes, Cinco Corporation recently launched the Spud Diner, touted as the country’s first potato concept restaurant. As the expanded version of Potato Corner, Spud Diner offers an all-potato menu— from soups, to main dish and even dessert. “At the Spud Diner, potatoes are no longer served as sidings, but are incorporated as the main ingredient for all dishes,” remarked Cinco. “It is a new place in town where everyone can experience the many creative ways to enjoy the potato.” Through the help of chefs, Internet research, cookbooks and the US Potato Board, Cinco Corporation was able to cook up traditional and novel potato-based dishes for Spud Diner. These specialties include baked potato lasagna, prepared like a traditional lasagna but using potato sheets instead of pasta. Other

Bacon bits and scallions

Italian Job

Crazy Spudster Crinkle

must-try’s are Potato and Sausage Surprise, tuna sisig and chorizo and potato chowder. The common French fries is given a lift as Ice Cream Temptation, wherein the French fries are bathed in chocolate powder and served with a vanilla ice cream topping.

Chorizo and potato soup

Potato Carbonara

Magsaysay said they would soon try serving the french fries in off-beat flavors like bubblegum or strawberry. According to him, they have to import their potatoes all the way from the US because the Philippines’ local potato variety is of the kamote (sweet potato) type, not as flexible as the US variety especially when used to experiment on new dishes. The taste of US potatoes, too, is more appealing than other varieties, he explained. The Spud Diner’s first branch is now open at The Columns in Sen. Gil Puyat Street, Makati City, a good location as it is easily accessible to Makati’s students and yuppies, said Magsaysay. The restaurant has also recently opened its second branch in SM City Cebu, while the Potato Corner continues its expansion with new outlets in Jakarta, Indonesia and in Los Angeles, California. Magsaysay envisions to open ten more Spud Diner outlets in key locations all over the country. By that time, he wishes to expand the menu from all potatoes to chicken dishes. “I hope Spud Diner would become the next biggest Filipino fastfood chain after Jollibee,” he enthused.

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PUERTO GALERA by Emmanuel L. Lineses and BALTAZAR GALANG Photos courtesy of Puerto Galera Tourism Office

Small, sleepy, almost lifeless town, hardly reached by the technological revolution. This was once Puerto Galera. It’s vast expanse of pristine white beaches, natural coral gardens and serene sea were hardly noticed. But that was more than 30 years ago. Today, this once quiet town has metamorphosed into one of the Philippines’ most visited tourist destinations. It has been dressed up to everyone’s are yet preserved its natural beauty. Thanks to UNESCO, who in 1973 declared this area a “Man and Biosphere Reserve”. Puerto, as it is popularly known today, has some of the most diverse coral reefs in the Asia Pacific region. Tourists, both local and foreign, flocked to this coastal town thus making it to a tourist giant. Life here gradually changed, most fisher folks literally discarded their fishing nets and shifted to livelihood sources geared towards tourism. Along the beachfront sprawled more than a dozen resorts and colorful boats used to ferry divers. In 2005 the Muelle Bay was listed by the “Club of the Most Beautiful Bays in the World”, and the only bay in the Philippines 66


EXPERIENCE Travel and Living Volume 6 Number 3, Aug-Oct 2010

chosen. Among the famous beaches in Puerto Galera are Sabang Beach and White Beach, which have active nightlives with numerous bars and restaurants. Both beaches also have arrays of first-class and economy-class accommodations, to cater the tourists’ varied budgets. Sabang Beach is among the favorite destination of foreign tourists, while White Beach remains popular with local travelers. Amidst the modernization, the huge mountain ranges behind the beaches were preserved, and became among its popular attractions. A particular local attraction is the Ponderosa nine hole golf course perched on the hillside above beach with a spectacular view of Puerto Galera’s natural harbor and the Verde Island Passage. Mangyan Villages are scattered over the mountain sides. Of the eight tribes in Mindoro, the Iraya is the largest. These natives are based in San Teodoro, Puerto Galera and Abra De Ilog areas. Puerto Galera has become the top diving destination in the Philippines. The center of marine life is located less than 20 minutes away by boat from the Sabang area. Diving generally focuses around the areas either side of Escarceo Point which is famous for its current rips. Strong currents are a feature of the diving in Puerto Galera yet it is advisable to employ the services of an experienced local guide or dive master. Volume 6 Number 3, Aug-Oct 2010 EXPERIENCE Travel and Living |



MINDORO AND PUERTO GALERA Mindoro is a soothing vision of a tropical paradise, blessed with the best nature has to offer. It is the 7th largest island in the Philippines, and divided into two provinces, Oriental Mindoro and Occidental Mindoro. Puerto Galera, dubbed as the “Pearl of the Island”, is one of the 15 towns of Oriental Mindoro. There are 10 good reasons why the island of Mindoro especially Puerto Galera is considered as on of the Philippines’ top travel destinations.


Puerto Galera is only 4 hours away from Manila; 2 to 3 hours by bus and 1 hour by ferry from the port of Batangas. Calapan City, the Capital town of Oriental Mindoro, can be reached in more or less the same travel time, also by bus and ferry. Being near to Manila also means, one can be in Mindoro for less than 500 pesos ($10 US).


Mindoro is known for its white sand beaches, alluring coves, fantastic islands and islets which continue to invite visitors to swim, snorkel, beach hop, picnic, jet ski, and do other fun-filled activities. If one does not wish to bask in the sun, one can find a secluded cove or even a small island for quiet relaxation.

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Mindoro is blessed with charming waterfalls, cris-crossings lakes and rivers, caves and hot springs which continue to draw visitors to adventure sports like canyoning, kayaking and spelunking. The mountains of Mindoro, teeming with lush forests, flora and fauna and scenic views, are favorite spots for nature tripping, adventure trekking and mountain climbing. Towering more than 8400 feet above sea level, Mindoro’s Mt. Halcon is the country’s third highest peak and regarded as the meanest, toughest mountain in the Philippines.


The Mangyans, the aboriginies of Mindoro, add color to the island’s rich cultural heritage. Visiting the Hanunuo Mangyans offer a glimpse of the indigenous people’s lifestyle with their ancient writing system originating some 2500 years ago etched on Bamboo tubes or slats.


Be amazed with the remnants of Mindoro’s colorful pre-colonial past as evidenced by the several church ruins, old houses and museums displaying Chinese porcelains dating back as far as the 8th century AD.


Be mesmerized by Mindoro’s undersea world, known scientifically as one of the best in the world. Diving enthusiasts from all corners of the world flock to Purto Galera and adjacent Verde Island to get enthralled by the abundance and magnificence of its marine life.

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The people of Mindoro are friendly, hospitable and God-fearing, making it the most peaceful province with the lowest crime rate in the entire Philippines. Guests are treated exceptionally well. Puerto Galera as well as other tourist towns in Mindoro have various kinds of tourist establishments catering to both the upscale tourist and the budget-concsious visitor. Mindoro offers great Filipino foods as well as International cuisine.


Mindoro is also a gateway to other tourist destinations like Boracay via the nautical highway.

HOW TO GET THERE 1. Take a bus at Buendia or Cubao terminal bound for Batangas City pier or one can drive his own car. A RORO boat to ferry visitors to Puerto Galera is available at 12 noon everyday, except during bad weathers when trips are automatically cancelled. 2. The road trip takes about 2 hours via the new Star Toll highway. In case one wants to leave his car, there are available parking spaces inside the pier. 3. At the pier, take an outrigger boat to Puerto Galera. The points of entries in Puerto Galera are Sabang, Muelle, Balatero Pier, and White Beach. The trip takes approximately one hour, be sure to always ask your point of entry when buying your tickets. 4. Boats to Puerto Galera usually leave every 30 minutes especially during peak season or summer; the first trip is at 6:00 am and the last trip is usually at 5:00 pm.

TRAVELLING AROUND PUERTO GALERA There are different ways to travel in Puerto Galera. 1. Tricyles are the most common means of transportation for small groups going to White Beach, Poblacion, Sabang and any adjacent barangays. The fare ranges from P 10.00 to P 25.00 per person depending on the distance but it is usually more expensive at night. There are also motorbikes and ATVs for rent. 2. Jeepneys are more convenient for big groups who would like to see or visit different places like Portofino, Club Mabuhay, La Laguna, Oceana, Oriental Sabang Hills, El Galleon, Elizabeth’s Hideaway or any inland place. Jeepney rates range from P 1,500.00 to P 3,000.00 depending on how many hours and distance you will travel. 3. Outrigger boats are available for rent for those who would want go beach hopping, snorkeling or island hopping. Most outrigger boats offer tour packages which usually cost from P 1,500.00 to P 3,500.00 pesos.



BORACAY by Rhea Quesada Photos by Boracay Foundation Inc.

Boracay is again, as many times in the past the subject in this issue. A lot has been written about it yet very little revealed. The most popular island destination, is after all worthy of every traveler’s time. It is the most frequent target of tourist, both local and foreign, a perfect shooting location for local ads and shows and off late, even Hollywood stars are secretly flying in to this getaway. They too, were probably impressed by its magnificent and striking features. It is not very difficult to know about Boracay since it never failed to grace the pages of every travel magazines and has become a favorite subject of online bloggers. My recent visit to the island made me discover that even during the rainy months, the influx of tourists is still quite amazing. But something more amazing has been discovered and I could not helped but ask, “how can an island like this be able to maintain its allure despite the fast changing times?”. I found out why.



The real treasure of Boracay. They are behind the thousands of reasons why Boracay remains one of the most sought-after destinations in the country. Together, they formed an organization with main thrust of implementing worthy causes for the island, its people and its fast-rising number of business investors. They are a group of

EXPERIENCE Travel and Living Volume 6 Number 3, Aug-Oct 2010

talented and selfless individuals who have voluntarily spared their time, effort and devotion without getting personal benefits-they get their satisfaction from seeing Boracay as the clean, green and healthy island with rich marine life and admirable culture. They are the people behind the Boracay Foundation Incorporated. It was established in 1993 and despite the passage of time, the commitment of every member never once waned. It, in fact, grew much deeper as they witness the successful manifestations of their efforts. They are from diverse background exerting their multiple talents daily. Some of them are native of the nearby capital, Kalibo, while others have lived in Boracay long before men and women found pleasure in parading in stylish swimsuits along the shore of the island’s undisturbed sea. But one thing is common, they have all come to love Boracay and embraced it like their own native province.

Restore what we lost, Preserve what we have! Despite its flawless landscape and pristine beaches, BFI is aware that the island has its rough edges too and it is the main reason why the Boracay Foundation was established. The foundation is composed of different committees, each one with designated area of responsibility. And to ensure efficiency of results, members are tapped to head a committee based on their core competence. Loubelle Cann, current and 2nd termed President of BFI supervises the different committees of the foundation and implements programs focused mainly on special events and membership among others. Cann continuously find ways to create effective programs along with her committees and is seriously bent on pushing BFI’s advocacy “Restore what we lost, Preserve what we have”. The slogan also served as their mission for Boracay which requires constant and close coordination with government agencies particularly the Department of Environment Natural Resources (DENR). Cann, who is also the chairman of the environment committee shared that preservation of corals is one of their most immediate and topmost concern for the island . And because of their groups’

active and sincere leadership, several private companies expressed their willingness to support by way of giving monetary support. She also mentioned that that they are more choosy as to the kind of events being held in Boracay but highly supportive of activities geared towards promotion of culture and the arts. Cann candidly shared her desire to see Boracay in a very superior state just like how it was many decades ago. But though Boracay still look very much excellent, Cann and other members of her committee shared some information that like other destinations, Boracay has its own share of environmental concerns too. Cann, with the assistance of Mike Labatiao and Otik Macavinta, Environmental and Marine committee that preservation of corals is one of the most active projects that foundation is busy with. Labatiao shared that summer is the most crucial time of the year for they observe that the island somehow loses its natural flawlessness once it becomes full-packed with tourists. Not that they do not welcome tourists, they are in fact, the primary reason that they formed the foundation .They want to present Boracay the way it originally looked many decades ago. It is

quite alarming to find out that the once rich marine life lost almost seventy percent live corals partly caused by the negligence of the people through fishing and anchoring of boats. By way of preventing the sea’s treasure from further degradation part of their action plans is to put an approximately 4 kilometers mooring area where boats can be anchored. The layout of sinker, Labatiao shared, is durable enough since it’s made of concrete. Anchoring , according to Labatiao is one contributing factors that causes damage to corals. Nanette Graf, in-charged of the community activities, information and education committee also shared a lot of wonderful insights about the foundation and how they address social concerns. In partnership with a local radio station , they air “Kapihan”, a program aired every Saturday where issues and concerns are discussed. The program is able to reach the awareness of listeners and successfully gets participation even from non-members of the organization. She used to be part of B.U.I.L.D- Boracay Unified Islanders League for Development and B.R.E. A- Boracay Resorts and Establishments Association prior to being actively involved in BFI.

Volume 6 Number 3, Aug-Oct 2010 EXPERIENCE Travel and Living |


As far as coral restoration is concerned, Graff said, they are getting support from Department of Tourism and Manila Water who firmly committed its support to BFI’s programs. The Boracay Foundation is not just after preservation of its natural resources but greatly shows concerns to its constituents as well. Dionisio Salme, who like Graff is a local of Boracay described the foundation as more of a “business club” where members interact and discuss all possible ways to make every program beneficial to the entire community. The Boracay Bantay Bata is one of the programs he is actively involved in. It aims to protect the youth below the age of 17 from dangers of being lured in prostitution, drug addiction and many others. All over the island, starting from the domestic airport, campaign materials that says “ Do not turn them away, turn them in” is a clear indication of their sincere dedication to fight sex tourism. Along with BFI’s young and dynamic member, Alex Magno, they create sports activities, and

special events among others to help divert the focus of the youngsters and inculcate in their minds that they too, can be of help to the community in many ways than one. Boracay Foundation has gotten several commendations which they truly deserved . Their role after all is very important for they are actively involved in decisions affecting this remarkable part of the Philippines. They have built a lasting record and contributed a lot to its restoration. As a tourist, I was both surprised and relieved that the island paradise viewed as nearly perfect by everyone is going through some environmental problems as well. It is through the members of the foundation that we realized that maintaining the charm of this beautiful island takes a lot of work, sincere devotion and intense reflection about the meaning of mankind’s encounter with nature. In a world where we can find people who seems clumsy, irresponsible, lethargic and barely capable of taking care of the natural resources, it is such a relief to know that there are still people who are

astoundingly skilled, energetic, and an exuding ower to elevate social awareness. To the officers and members of Boracay Foundation, keep up the good work! Once in Boracay, never fail to try the fresh fruit shakes at Jony’s. Their watermelon shake instantly became my favorite. This and other fresh concoctions are available. .It’s simply irresistible! The Boracay Beach Resort is a haven for watersports enthusiast and is headed by Nanette Graff who herself is a watersports fanatic. Boracay Hills owned and operated by a friendly Canadian who married a Filipino, Helen Atanacio, was once included among the list of resorts with commendable customer service. .Ms Atanacio seemed to have embraced the Philippines as her new found home. And before heading back to Manila, we dropped by at Tirta Spa and tried their treatments- with its skilled design and unrivaled service, Tirta managed to capture simple vacations to something luxurious. Boracay Residencia is also recommended. it provides everything you need for a tropical retreat in a posh setting.

Tel.: 632-9289363/ 3847627/ 4338913 • M ob i l e: 0 9 1 7 2 5 0 3 9 1 6 em ail: reser vation @residen c iab orac m



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Web site:,

National Capital Region Rm. 207, Department of Tourism Bldg., T.M. Kalaw St., Ermita, Manila Phone: (+63) 2 523-8411 to 20 Web site:

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

Ilocos Region (I) Oasis Country Resort Hotel National Highway, Sevilla, San Fernando, La Union Phone: (072) 888-2411/2098 Fax: 888-2098 Email:

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

Laoag Sub-Office Room 207, Ilocano Heroes Memorial Hall, Laoag City Phone: (077) 722-1473 Fax: (077) 722-0467 Email:

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: Web site:

Cordillera Administrative Region DOT Complex, Gov. Pack Road, Baguio City Phone: (074) 442-8848/7014 Fax: (074) 442-8848 Email: Cagayan Valley Region (II) No. 29-A, Rizal St. Tuguegarao City, Cagayan Phone: (078) 844-1621, 846-2435 Fax: 846-2435 Email: Web site: Central Luzon (III) Hilaga Village San Fernando City, Pampanga Phone: (045) 961-2665, 961-2612 Fax: 961-2612 Email: 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: Bicol Region (V) Regional Center Site Rawis, Legaspi City, Albay Phone: (052) 482-0712, 820-3664 Fax: 482-0715 Email: Web site: 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:



Zamboanga Peninsula (IX) Lantaka Hotel by the Sea Valderosa St., Zamboanga City Tel. (062) 991-0218 Fax: 993-0030 Email: 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: 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: Web site: Soccsksargen (XII) Second floor, COMSE Bldg., Quezon Ave., Cotabato City Phone: (064) 421-1110 Fax: 421-7868 Email: 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: Web site:

EXPERIENCE Travel and Living Volume 6 Number 3, Aug-Oct 2010

EMBASSIES and CONSULATES Australia Level 23-Tower 2, RCBC Plaza, 6819 Ayala Avenue, Makati City 1200 Phone: (+63) 2 757 8100 Fax: (+63) 2 7578 268 Web site: Email: Belgium 9th floor, Multinational Bancorporation Centre, 6805 Ayala Avenue, Makati City Phone: + (63) 2 845-1869 Fax: + (63) 2 845-2076 Web site: Email: 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 Email: 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 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 Email: 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: China 4896 Pasay Road, Dasmarinas Village, Makati City Phone: (+63) 2 844-3148, 843-7715 Fax: (+63) 2 845-2465, 843-9974 Email: Denmark 51st floor, PBCOM Tower, 6795 Ayala Avenue, Makati City Manila, Philippines Phone: (+63) 2 815-8015 Fax: (+63) 2 815-8017 Email: Egypt 2229 Paraiso cor. Banyan Sts., Dasmarinas 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: Email: 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: Email: germanembassymanila@ India 2190 Paraiso St. Dasmarinas Village, Makati City Phone: (+63) 2 815-8151 Fax: (+63) 2 815-8151 Web site: Email: Indonesia 185 Salcedo St., Legaspi Village, Makati City Phone: (+63) 2 892-5061/68 Fax: (+63) 2 892-5878, 818-4441 Web site: Email: fungsipensosbud@yahoo. Ireland 3rd floor, Max’s Bldg., 70 Jupiter St., Bel-Air, Makati City Phone: (+63) 2 896-4668 Fax: (+63) 2 897-8534 Email: 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: Email: 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: Japan 2627 Roxas Blvd., Pasay City Phone: (+63) 2 551-5710 Fax: (+63) 2 551-5785, 551-5780 Web site: Email:

TRAVEL DIRECTORY Korea 10th floor, The Pacific Star Bldg., Makati Ave. Makati City Phone: (+63) 2 811-6139 to 44 Fax: (+63) 2 811-6148

Singapore 505 Rizal Drive,1634 Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City. Phone: (+63) 2 856-9922 Fax: (+63) 2 856-9932

United States of America 1201 Roxas Blvd., Manila Phone: (+63) 2 528-6300 Fax: (+63) 2 522-4361 Web site:

Malaysia 10th and 11th floor, The World Centre Bldg., 330 Sen. Gil Puyat Ave., Makati City Phone: (+63) 2 864-0761 to 68 Fax: (+63) 2 864-0727 Email:

Spain 5th floor, ACT Tower, 135 Sen. Gil Puyat Ave., Makati City Phone: (+63) 2 818-5526 Fax: (+63) 2 810-2885 Email: and

Vietnam 670 Pablo Ocampo, Malate, Manila Phone: (+63) 2 525-2837, 521-6843 Fax: (+63) 2 526-0472 Web site: Email:

Mexico 2157 Paraiso St., Dasmarinas Village, Makati City Phone: (+63) 2 812-2211, 812-2212 Fax: (+63) 2 892-9824 Web Site: Email: 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: Email: 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, 891-5353 Web site: philippines Email: nzemmanila@globelines. 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: Email: Pakistan 6th Floor, Alexander House, 132 Amorsolo Street, Legaspi Village, Makati City Phone: (+63) 2 817-2772/6 Fax: (+63) 2 840-0229 Email: Russia 1245 Acacia Road, Dasmarinas Village, Makati City Phone: (+63) 2 893-0190 Fax: (+63) 2 810-9614 Web site: Email: Saudi Arabia 389 Gen. Gil Puyat Ave., Makati City Phone: (+63) 2 890-9735 Fax: (+63) 2 895-3493

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: manila Email: ambassaden.manila@foreign. Switzerland 24th floor, Equitable Bank Tower, 8751 Paseo de Roxas, Makati City Phone: (+63) 2 757-9000 Fax: (+63) 2 757-3718 Web site: Email: Taiwan 41F, Tower 1, RCBC Plaza, 6819 Ayala Avenue, Makati City Phone: (+63) 2 887-6688 Fax: (+63) 2 887-7679, 8874661 Web site: Email: Thailand 107 Rada St., Legaspi Village, Makati City Phone: (+63) 2 815-4219/20 Fax: (+63) 2 815-4221 Email: Turkey 2268 Paraiso St., Dasmarinas Village, Makati City Phone: (+63) 2 843-9705, 843-9707 Fax: (+63) 2 843-9702 Email: 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: uk/philippines Email:

AIRLINES Air Philippines 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 Air India Phil Am Life Salcedo Building, 126 L.P. Leviste St., SalcedoVillage, Makati City Phone: (+63) 2 815-2441/1280

China Airlines Ground Flr., Manila Midtown Arcade, Malate, 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 Gulf Air 9th Floor, Ayala Life FGU Center 6811 Ayala Ave., Makati City Phone: (+63) 2 892-1313 Island Transvoyager, Inc. A Soriano Hangar, Lima Road cor Andrews Avenue, 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

Air New Zealand 10th Floor, Rufino Pacific Tower, Ayala Ave., Makati City. Phone: (+63) 2 884-8097

Japan Airlines 2nd floor, Oledan Square, 6788 Ayala Avenue, Makati City Phone: (+63) 2 886-6877 to 78

American Airlines Ground Floor, Olympia Somerset Condominium, Makati Avenue cor Sto. Tomas St., Makati City Phone: (+63) 2 817-8645, 810-3229

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines 8th floor, Athenaeum Building, 160 LP Leviste St., Salcedo Village, Makati City Phone: (+63) 2 848-5817, 815-4790

Asian Spirit Domestic Road cor Andrews Avenue, Pasay City Phone: (+63) 2 851-1807 to 08 or 851-1801 to 05

Korean Air Ground floor, LPL Plaza Bldg., 124 LP Leviste St., Salcedo Village, Makati City Phone: (+63) 2 815-9262, 815-9264

Asiana Airlines 6th Floor, Salcedo Tower, Dela Costa Street, Salcedo Village, Makati City Phone: (+63) 2 892-5681 to 88

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

British Airways 4th Floor, Filipino Bldg., Dela Rosa Street cor. Legaspi Street, Legaspi Village, Makati City Phone: (+63) 2 817-0361, 815-6560

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

Cathay Pacific Airways Limited Room 446, 4th Floor, IPT Bldg., NAIA Terminal 1, Ninoy Aquino Ave., Paranaque City Phone: (+63) 2 832-2979

Malaysia Airlines 23rd Floor, LKG Tower Bldg., 6801 Ayala Ave., Makati City Phone: (+63) 2 887-3215, 843-6674

Cebu Pacific Airlines 30 Pioneer St. cor. Edsa Mandaluyong City Phone: (+63) 2 702-0888

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

Volume 6 Number 3, Aug-Oct 2010 EXPERIENCE Travel and Living |


TRAVEL DIRECTORY Philippine Airlines 2nd Floor, Power Realty Bldg., 1012 Arnaiz Ave., Makati City. Phone: (+63) 2 892-7339, 815-6481 Pacific Airways Domestic Airport Road, Pasay City, Phone: (+63) 2 851-1465/1416/1509 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 Saville Building, Makati City Phone: (+63) 2 897-3309, 895-3545 South East Asian Airlines Domestic Passenger Terminal 1, Manila Domestic Airport, Pasay City Phone: (+63) 2 849-0100 Singapore Airlines 33rd floor, LKG Tower, 6801 Ayala Avenue, Makati City Phone: (+63) 2 756-8899, 756-8888 South Phoenix Airways AASI Hangar, General Aviation Area, Manila Phone: (+63) 2 852-5565, 852-5402 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 CAR RENTAL AND TAXI SERVICE Alamo Rent-A-Car 211 Quirino Avenue, Tambo, Paranaque Phone: (+63) 2 551-4923/07 Avcar Rental Corp. 3674 Bautista cor Dayap Sts., Makati City Phone: (+63) 2 687-2212 Avis Philippines Manila Peninsula Hotel Shop #1, Ayala Wing Ayala Avenue, Makati City Phone: (+63) 2 845-1844, 843-7140 Web site: Budget Rent-A-Car The Peninsula Hotel Manila Ayala Avenue, Makati City Phone: (+63) 2 818-7363, 816-2211/6682



Carlines Rent-A-Car Services Tuscany Condominium, 6751 Ayala Avenue, Makati City Phone: (+63) 2 810-5421, 813-1975 to 76 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: Email: 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: Email: Orix Auto Leasing Phil. Corp. 148 Yakal St., San Antonio Village, Makati City. Phone: (+63) 2 893-2523 to 27, 893-3233 and 893-2020 (24 hrs.) Sandeco Rent-A-Car 5446-48 South Superhighway Phone: (+63) 2 844-7954/7960/ 4478 to 79 Sunflower Transport Services 7 Santa Teresita St., Kapitolyo, Pasig City Phone: (+63) 2 631-3496

EXPERIENCE Travel and Living Volume 6 Number 3, Aug-Oct 2010

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. corner Edsa, Cubao, Quezon City Phone: (+63) 2 727-2330 or 2287 Dangwa Tranco 832 Aurora Blvd. cor Driod St., Cubao, Quezon City Phone: (+63) 2 410-1991 Executive Carriers and Services, Inc. 153 Quirino Ave., Baclaran, Paranaque City Phone: (+63) 2 851-8701, 912-4289 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

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, 826-1285 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 Espana Cor. Galecia St. Sampaloc, Manila Phone: (+63) 2 741-1436 Edsa near Aurora Blvd., Cubao Phone: (+63) 2 727-4688 SHIPS and FERRIES WG & A (Superferry) 12th floor, Times Plaza Building, UN cor. Taft Aves., Ermita, Manila Phone: (+63) 2 528-7979, 528-7171 Web site: Email: customerinteraction@ Mt. Samat Ferry Express CCP Bay Terminal, CCP Complex, Pasay City Phone: (+63) 2 551-5290 to 91

Jam Transit Timog St. corner Edsa Quezon City Phone: (+63) 2 724-4897

Negros Navigation Pier II, North Harbor, Tondo, Manila Phone: (+63) 2 243-5231, 244-0408 Web site: Email:

Partas Transportation Co., Inc. 816 Aurora Blvd., Quezon City Phone: (+63) 2 725-1740, 725-1756 and 724-9820 Philippine Rabbit Oroquieta St., Sta.Cruz, Manila Phone: (+63) 2 734-9836 and 489-0328

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:



PANGAPOG FESTIVAL August 1 - 7 | Samal Island It is a thanksgiving festival for bountiful harvest featuring parade and cultural presentations, among others.

LUBI-LUBI FESTIVAL August 15 | Calubian, Leyte The coconut tree is in the spotlight in this festival.

PALAGSING FESTIVAL August 2 | Butuan City Once it featured a competition for the longest and the best-tasting palagsing.


PAVVU RULUN FESTIVAL and PADDA NA LIMA August 15 - 17 | Tuguegarao, Cagayan Celebration includes sports and cultural presentations, trade fair, beauty pageant and street dancing. CORON FESTIVAL August 15 -17 | Tiwi, Albay The festival’s main feature is the pottery industry. SIRONG FESTIVAL August 15 | Cantilan, Surigao del Sur It features a war dance between Muslims and Christians, reflecting the Christianization of the early Cantillanons.

PALU-PALO FESTIVAL August 4 - 5 | Basco, Batanes It features cultural presentations from the different municipalities of Batanes.

KADAYAWAN SA DABAW August 16 - 22 | Davao City The festival celebrates the city’s bountiful harvest with a grand colorful parade of orchid-bedecked floats and street dancing.

PADAGYAW FESTIVAL August 4 - 5 | Dumarao, Capiz It is a cultural and fiesta celebration.

MERCEDES FISHTIVAL August 6 - 11 | Mercedes, Camarines Norte It is a thanksgiving for the blessings and bounty of the sea.



KAGAY-AN FESTIVAL August 26 - 28 | Cagayan de Oro City It is a celebration in honor of its patron, Saint Augustine with a Mardi-Gras type of street dancing participated in by contingents from schools and civic organizations. JINAWA FESTIVAL August 27- 28 | Gigaquit, Surigao del Norte It has a local rendition of the classic Christian-Moro conflict interpreted through songs and dances. PALADONG FESTIVAL August 28 | Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur It features the art of performing the ritual of ladong conducted by a landongan. TURUMBA August 30 | Teresa, Rizal This is done in dedication to Saint Rose of Lima, the patron saint of Teresa. SARAKIKI-HADANG FESTIVAL September 1- 8 | Calbayog City, Western Samar Sarakiki is a local term apparently referring to premeditated or frenzied movements meant to lure or to attract. By its pre-colonial denotation, it means to praise, extol or eulogize spirits of gods. The word does not only ascribe to the ritual or hadang as an activity to gratify the gods, but as the offering or the sacrifice.

CORDOVA DINAGAT FESTIVAL August 5 | Cordova, Cebu The celebration honors fishing. Dinagat means anything pertaining to the sea. It showcases Cordova’s cultural heritage, traditional rituals and dances.

KALIBONGAN FESTIVAL August 14 | Kidapawan City, North Cotabato Kalibongan is a Manobo term for a grand festival. The Manobos, Bagobos and other highland tribes from different parts of the province go down to Kidapawan to show off theirs tradition and heritage.

TSINELAS FESTIVAL August 25 | Gapan, Nueva Ecija This marks the anniversary of the town’s cityhood. It is also aimed at bolstering the city’s claim of being the Slippers Capital.

BUYOGAN FESTIVAL August 19 | Abuyog, Leyte Dancers depict the origin of the town’s name—buyog or bees. KALUBIHAN FESTIVAL August 21- 28 | Jordan, Guimaras The coconut is highlighted here.

EXPERIENCE Travel and Living Volume 6 Number 3, Aug-Oct 2010

HINIRUGYAW FESTIVAL September 1- 10 | Cabatuan, Iloilo It features street dancing, serving as the opening salvo of the 10-day celebration of the feast of San Nicolas de Tolentino. DARAGANG MAGAYON September 1- 8 | Daraga, Albay It honors the town’s patron saint, Our Lady of the Gate. It also aims to showcase the culture of Daragueños with various colorful activities.

LINGGO NG BULAKAN September 8 -15 | Malolos, Bulacan It is a one week celebration featuring the history of Bulacan and exhibits of Bulacan products, among others. BANOK-BANOK MARADJAO KARADJAO FESTIVAL September 9 | Surigao City, Surigao del Norte It is marked by a street dancing festivity featuring the ethnic Mamanwa dance.

TUNA FESTIVAL SA GENSAN September 3- 5 | General Santos City It celebrates the city’s main product. SINAB’BADAN TRIBAL FESTIVAL September 5 - 6 | Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur It is a festival of oneness among the different tribes of the municipality, showcasing indigenous art, music and dances.

MINULUAN FESTIVAL September 10 | Talisay City, Negros Occidental It is a celebration honoring the creator and the Minuluan group. PENAFRANCIA FESTIVAL September 17 | Naga City, Camarines Sur It is a religious festival honoring Our Lady of Peñafrancia, patroness of the Bicol Region. DUMALONDONG FESTIVAL September 23 | Salug, Esperanza, Agusan del Sur It is a yearly convergence of all tribal leaders in the province highlighted by the performance of rituals by tribal priests.

ANIHAN FESTIVAL September 25 - 30 | Dueñas, Iloilo The celebration is one way of giving thanks for a good harvest. MEGAYON FESTIVAL September 27 - 30 | Zamboanga del Sur It is a thanksgiving festival of the Subanens of Zamboanga del Sur showcasing native songs, dances and food. BANIGAN-KAWAYAN FESTIVAL September 28 | Basey, Samar Basey’s favorite local product is highlighted in this wacky tribute to the native bamboo mat. FIESTANG KULIAT October | Angeles City This is a month-long celebration of the twin fiestas of Angeles City: La Naval and Fiestang Apu. ZAMBOANGA HERMOSA FESTIVAL October 1-12 | Zamboanga City The City of Flowers celebrates its grand annual festival with vintas (colorful native sailboats) in a regatta, cultural and flower shows, art exhibits and trade fairs.

SIPONG FESTIVAL September 7 | Bais City, Negros Oriental It is a Mardi-Gras style festival in which different barangays, local and national offices participate in a choreographed street dancing. PADUL-ONG September 7 | Borongan, Eastern Samar The pageant tells how the Lady of Nativity became the patroness of Borongan.

Volume 6 Number 3, Aug-Oct 2010 EXPERIENCE Travel and Living |




August-October KIDAPAWAN CITY FRUIT FESTIVAL October 5 - 10 | Kidapawan City This agro-tourism has activities involving fruits such as the lining of tons of tropical fruits along the highway island for the public to eat free of charge. FEAST OF OUR LADY OF THE HOLY ROSARY October 7 | Dipolog City The Dipolog City fiesta is highlighted with religious and cultural shows. LA NAVAL FIESTA October 9 | Angeles City This is in commemoration of the Virgin of the Holy Rosary whose intercession saw the victory of the Spaniards over the Dutch invaders. TING’UDO FESTIVAL October 10 | Makilala, Cotabato This is a celebration of bountiful fruit harvest. INUG-OG FESTIVAL October 14 | Oroquieta City This features ethnic dances and Subanon rituals. KAPAKYANAN FESTIVAL October 14 - 15 | Victoria, Mindoro Oriental Kapakyanan (abundance) Festival focuses on the bounteous harvest of crops.

LA NAVAL FESTIVAL October | Nationwide This a celebration in honor of the Nuestra Señora del Santisimo Rosario. KINILAW FESTIVAL October 2 | Surigao City This festival showcases different styles in preparing the kinilaw (ceviche). SINANGGIYAW FESTIVAL October 4 | Dumanjug, Cebu The name Sinanggi-yaw is taken from two old Cebuano words: sinanggi, meaning abundance of harvest, and sayaw, meaning dance. Through street dancing and field presentation, performers dance merrily focused on three aspects: planting, harvesting and thanksgiving



EXPERIENCE Travel and Living Volume 6 Number 3, Aug-Oct 2010

HALAD FESTIVAL October 15 | Talisay City, Cebu In celebration of the feast in honor of St. Teresa of Avila, the city comes alive with activities such trade fairs, nightly variety shows, civic parade and street dancing featuring city’s famous products such as the lechon, cooking demonstration and food fair with the tastiest lechon contest. KASANGGAYAHAN FESTIVAL October 15 - 25 | Sorsogon, Sorsogon It is a joyous celebration held primarily to commemorate the foundation anniversary of Sorsogon. BUGLASAN FESTIVAL October 16 - 25 | Negros Oriental This is Negros Oriental’s “festival of festivals,” gathering different contingents from its towns’ festivals to vie for a showdown and join in the street dancing revelry. The different towns also showcase their products at the Sidlakang Negros Village. Numerous activities are lined up from cook fest to fireworks competitions,

from beauty pageants to sports. First held in 1981, the festival’s name is derived from buglas, a kind of reed and the old name of Negros. SAGINGAN FESTIVAL October 16 - 17 | Tubod, Lanao del Norte This is a celebration and thanksgiving for the bounty featuring the banana. LEYTE GULF LANDING ANNIVERSARY October 17 - 20 | Dulag and Palo, Leyte This commemorates the landing of Gen. Douglas

MacArthur on the shores of Palo, Leyte, to liberate the Philippines from Japanese occupation. PAMUGU-AN FESTIVAL October 17 - 23 | Mansalay, Mindoro Oriental This is a festive reunion of different Mangyan groups. ANA KALANG FESTIVAL October 18 - 22 | Nagcarlan, Laguna This festival features many activities highlighted by an agri-fair that shows the town’s bountiful harvest.



MASSKARA FESTIVAL and BACOLOD CHARTER DAY CELEBRATION October 19 | Bacolod City Coinciding with the city’s charter day celebration, the festival features carnivals, fairs and a Mardi Gras-style parade. This is also a celebration of the founding anniversary of Bacolod City.

independence from the province of Albay.

LANZONES FESTIVAL October 20 - 24 | Camiguin This festival features Camiguin’s favorite fruit, the lanzones. CATANDUNGAN PADAYAW FESTIVAL October 21- 23 | Catanduanes This is a celebration of the province’s founding anniversary and a tribute to its founder, continuously reminding the people of Catanduanes of the province’s





It features street dancing, a beauty pageant,

October 28 | Angeles City

an agro-trade fair, sports events, guided

This is a celebration that begins with several

tours, photo exhibits and more.

masses at the Holy Rosary parish church after which the faithful kiss the feet of the


image of the Reclining Christ.

October 25 - 31 | Legazpi City, Albay A festival depicts the Bicol region’s early beginning as narrated in the epic Ibalong.

TIGITIGAN AT TARAKAN KENG DALAN October 28 - 29 | Balibago, Angeles City







October 26 - 28 | Banaybanay, Davao Oriental

culminates with the ever popular Tigitigan,

This is a thanksgiving celebration giving

Terakan Keng Dalan, which features singing

tribute to the town’s main product.

and dancing on the street.



October 27 - 29 | Mati, Davao Oriental

October 31 | Anilao, Iloilo

Activities include agro-trade fair and civic

This is a celebration of the separation of

military parade in Mati, capital town of

Anilao from Banate, featuring various

Davao Oriental.

sports and cultural activities.

EXPERIENCE Travel and Living Volume 6 Number 3, Aug-Oct 2010

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