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Bluewater Panglao Beach Resort is the newest property of the Cebu-based Bluewater Resorts and one of the newest in Panglao, Bohol, opening in July 2011. Located near Alona Beach, the most popular beach in Bohol, Bluewater Panglao strives to offer the best that the Filipino can offer from architecture to food. The design of the resort is said to be modern Filipino with ethnic accents, reclaimed ABOUT THE COVER wood and grass roofs. The main area, the Pool Wing, has rows of well-appointed rooms, with its signature cantilevered beds, around the lagoon-shaped pool. Photo by Donald Tapan

Travel Features

50 18


Explore 18 Bernard Supetran howls for Catanduanes.

Experience 22 Dheza Marie Aguilar makes the most out of her 24 hours in Glasgow, Scotland. 26 In Cagayan de Oro City, Maria Theresa Dumana and Kathrina Paz Elefante check out selected hotels and resorts, including Marco Hotel, VIP Hotel, Dynasty Court Hotel, Country Village Hotel, Mallbery Suites Hotel, Chali Beach Resort and Ajis Aqua Sports and Beach Resort.

Escape 50 Roel Hoang Manipon is enthralled by Bluewater Panglao Beach Resort in Bohol 60 Nina Elyca Rabadam tells the story of Villa Patria Hotel and Restaurant in Capiz. 62 Nina Elyca Rabadam relaxes at San Antonio Resort in Capiz.

22 26

Other Departments Accommodations 66 Richmonde Hotel 70 Acacia Hotel Manila 72 Centara Hotel Manila 74 Widus Resort and Casino

Living 86 Pueblo de Oro promotes green living in its developments.

Arts and Culture 76 Roel Hoang Manipon goes to Majayjay, Laguna, and Intramuros, Manila, for the traditional santacruzan. 82 Roel Hoang Manipon immerses in the Third Tam-awan Arts Festival in Baguio City.

Dining 88 Ges Pereyra gets stuffed at Aubergine restaurant and patisserie.

Endeavor 85 Bohol’s new tourism campaign

6 Publisher’s Note 8 Editor’s Note 6 From the Mail 12 Contributors



EXPERIENCE Travel and Living Volume 8 • Number 3 • 2012

Regular Sections 14 Postings 95 Travel Calendar 92 Travel Directory 98 Parting Shot


Publisher’s Note Publishing a travel magazine is challenging. To keep up with the competitive industry, every issue we come up with a different twist, which is somehow easy yet a bit hard to do. But then again, we are eager to make it all work. And yes, we are now focused to come out on schedule. And the best part is we always try to switch things up just to make every issue different from each other. There are so many awesome places waiting to be discovered and be explored. Our calendar for the year is packed with so many travel plans. We are well aware that our readers are always waiting and asking for places, themes and activities that are new to them. And we are happiest to keep many balls in the air! I believe that every place, big or small, on the beaten or off-the-beaten track, deserve our attention, and we must cover all of them. Every traveler must see and explore different and interesting places to have as many different experiences in every destination. We aim to go and keep the ball of traveling rolling, go and strike anywhere. Why not? It is the essence of traveling! Check us out every time we go on in our new ventures and adventures. Happy reading!

FROM THE MAIL Proud I like Experience travel and living magazine. From the time this magazine was introduced to me by a friend, I've been addicted to it and became a follower. I am a Filipino working overseas and so proud to read every issue of this magazine online since it really promotes the beauty of my beloved country, the Philippines, which makes me proud. Way back when I’m still in Davao and loved to explore different tourist destinations in the Philippines, this magazine is one of my guides and helps me to have an idea of which place to go to next. I thank the men and women behind this magazine, who really work hard to give us interesting issues and tourist destinations to look forward to. Vamos to all of you! More interesting issues to come! Shelly Singapore

Interesting features OMG! Why did it take too long for me to discover this magazine? It seems like I came from nowhere until I read a lot of interesting features about places, people, culture and most of all food in this magazine. I’m hoping that this would be sold not only in selected cities in the country but all over. Robert Dejon GMA 7, Ormoc City

6 |

EXPERIENCE Travel and Living Volume 8 • Number 3 • 2012


Editor’s Note

In the months of June and July, there have been high-profile deaths. Theater stalwart Tony Espejo died on June 21, 2012. Then acclaimed actor, screenwriter and film director Mario O’Hara died on June 26. These were culminated by the death of comedian Dolphy on July 10. There were no media coverages on Espejo’s death, and O’Hara’s illness and death came as a shock. Dolphy was ailing, and the media were focused on that. It doesn’t mean that Dolphy is the greater personality than the two. He is more popular, a showbiz icon. Then, there was clamor for him to be National Artist, mostly from politicians and the media. When the award was not immediately conferred, there were outcries. But there is a process in making one a National Artist. One’s works must be evaluated, especially one’s artistry. Popularity and professional longevity are not primary considerations. Unfortunately, his films—and there are about 200 of them—are not paragons of excellence. Very few have garnered awards. Not one of them is included in lists of the greatest Filipino films or the next greatest Filipino films ever made. Although his films are said to have made Filipinos laugh and forget their problems for about two hours, this is not enough, and this is just entertainment and escapism. Many said that Dolphy has given much to the Filipinos but that has been paid for substantially. That’s why he did not die poor. On the other hand, Espejo’s medical bills was not fully paid for. Friends had to ask around for contributions and donations. Theater is not a lucrative profession. Like any other art form in the country, it is more of a vocation, a form of giving. Despite that fact, Espejo still stayed with theater, putting up plays that touch people, make them learn, uplift them, leave something with them that hopefully stays with them for the rest of their lives. There is a bigger problem than the giving or the not giving of the National Artist award to Dolphy; it is the widespread cultural illiteracy of the country. Despite the high literacy in the country, there is a deplorable dearth of knowledge in arts and culture among the people. The media, which aims to inform and elucidate, is surprisingly culturally illiterate. The arts and culture community is aware of this problem. The National Commission for Culture and the Arts has the Philippine Cultural Education Program, which was started in March 2003. It focuses on cultural education through the formal, non-formal and informal systems for all sectors of Philippine society. Everyone of us has a duty to know our own arts and culture, to know what they really are. One important thing about travel is the learning of culture. Knowledge of arts and culture profoundly affects our appreciation of a place, making sharper our pleasure of experiencing a place. It enables us to grow. It is advised that we read about the place we are going to, read its history, know its culture. And when we get there, we should try to know more. Yes, frolicking on the beach is fun and all, but it is the learning we get from a place that stays with us, that expands our horizons, that makes us better persons. Editor in chief Roel Hoang Manipon poses with tarsiers in Loboc, Bohol (above, right); at the Urdaneta Monument in Urdaneta City, Pangasinan (top); at the old balete tree in Maria Aurora, Aurora (middle, left); at one of the houses in Las Casas de Acuzar Resort in Bagac, Bataan (middle, right); and in Lucban, Quezon (above).

Roel Hoang Manipon Editor in Chief



EXPERIENCE Travel and Living Volume 8 • Number 3 • 2012

Volume 8 • Number 3 • 2012









Publisher/Managing Director

Associate Editor





Creative Director


Operations /Administration Officer

Chief Photographer




SALES MA. LUISA JOANNE VC FELIX Advertising Sales Manager


Contributing Writers

TEODORO PELAEZ Contributing Photographer

Advertising Account Officer



Editorial Assistants

Advertising / Marketing Officer

STRATEGIC MINDS MARKETING Advertising/Business Development


DENNY ALONZO Corporate Secretary



EVA U. TRIMBLE Liaison Officer in Columbus, Ohio

PATRICIA DUBLIN Liaison Officer in New York


NOEL D. UNTAL Liaison Officer in Thailand

JO ANNE C. MABBAYAD Liaison Officer in Singapore

JALILUL C. CONEJOS Liaison Officer in Toronto, Canada

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

PRISCILLA C. RAMOS Liaison Officer in Cebu Experience, a travel and living magazine, is published three times a year by Gusto Publishing, Inc., with business address at Unit T20, Sunvar Plaza, 156 Amorsolo Street, Legaspi Village, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines 1200. Telephone numbers: (+63 2) 227-6074, (+63 2) 384-6941, (+63 2) 377-7492 and (+63 2) 491-5159 Find us at Like us on Facebook: experiencetravelandliving Emails: (editorial) (advertising) Web site: The magazine and its editors assume no responsibility for all manuscripts and photographs submitted. While every reasonable effort is made to verify information, facts and figures, the magazine and its editors assume no responsibility for errors or misrepresentations that may appear in the publication. Opinions expressed in Experience are solely those of the writers and not necessarily endorsed by the company and its editors. Printed in the Philippines ALL RIGHTS RESERVED No part of the magazine may be reproduced in full or in part without prior written permission from the editors.




Dheza Marie Aguilar is a free-

Teddy Pelaez has a big appetite for

lance travel writer and news correspondent who moved to the Netherlands for love. While she is not visiting ports and inspecting ships for her day job, she is traveling around Europe looking for the best restaurants and the most goodlooking waiters. Or sitting at home drinking Macallan and whacking her brains out understanding the Dutch language. You can follow her adventures at www. or watch her on ANC every once in a while.

action and a bigger appetite for food. He was formerly with the The BusinessWorld and worked for Ping Lacson during the presidential election. Now as a freelance photographer, he wants to concentrate on travel photography.

Ma. Teresa Dumana is a prod-

Niña Elyca Rabadam currently

uct of St. Scholastica’s College and De La Salle University. Soon after graduation from college in 2007, she joined FAME Publishing as head writer for DiabetEASE and Travel Plus magazines. Her last engagement was as copywriter for the cable TV stations ETC, 2nd Avenue, Jack TV, Universal and Diva Universal of Solar Entertainment Corporation. Mai also dabbles in photography and blogging.

works as a publication coordinator for the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA). She finds joy in road trips, watching movies and coffee-shop conversations. She is a big fan of Kazunari Ninomiya.

Kathrina Paz Elefante believes

Bernard Supetran not only writes

she’s a contradiction. She enjoys spending quiet time sipping white chocolate mocha in a café, reading a good book, writing poetry on her Tumblr blog or catching up with Sherlock but she is also into more adventurous things such as mountain climbing, listens to rock music especially by Oasis and has recently been introduced to body art. A graduate of De La Salle University, she has been scribbling in notebooks since grade school and dove into the world of freelancing just May of this year. Her reading list is growing by the day with Neil Gaiman and Lemony Snicket on top and is currently on a film-viewing expansion project. She would also like to try her hand at fiction and song-writing in the near future.

about the country’s enchanting attractions, he also plots the roads leading to them, being the editor of EZ Maps, the Philippines’ leading map brand. He also provides media consulting services to various hotels, restaurants and local governments for tourism promotion. He maintains a blog ( which highlights the heritage and culture of the places he visits.

EXPERIENCE Travel and Living Volume 8 • Number 3 • 2012


AVAIL | Savor the Season at Boracay Regency

Whatever the season of the year is, the Boracay Regency Beach Resort and Spa, the first triple-A resort in the leading island destination in the country, has its Lean Season Package Promo. Book a two-night stay in a twin-sharing accommodation in a Superior Room and you’ll also get complimentary daily buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner plus roundtrip land and sea transfers via Caticlan for only Php6,824 net per person. This promo is valid until November 11, 2012. For bookings and reservations call (+63 2) 523-1234 or email rsvn@boracayregency. com or visit

BRING | Coleman Expands the Outdoors Experience

What started out as a lamp that could light up four corners of a barn has become a brand that has helped light all four corners of the globe. Since the early 1920s, Coleman products have journeyed deep in the Sahara Desert along with treks all the way to the South Pole. From guiding aircrafts to safe landings in the Andes Mountains in South America in the 1920s to helping climbers reach the top of Mount Everest almost a decade later, Coleman has everything you need to survive in the outdoors. As an international leader in the innovation and marketing of outdoor products, Coleman helps people have fun and make memories by providing the gear integral to their favorite outdoor experiences. The company’s products include its legendary lanterns and stoves, as well as coolers, tents, sleeping bags, airbeds, backpacks, furniture and grills. Being a strong market leader in outdoor leisure equipment worldwide, Coleman is abreast of urbanites residing in cities that desire to experience the thrill of the outdoors without having to go far to the mountains or the beach. The recently concluded Urban Survival Camp was meant to address this need. As the city is part of the bigger outdoor 14


picture which means outdoors also includes the urban outdoors, the company’s goal is to expand the meaning of outdoors to include urban camp. Urban camping is the emerging passion of spending a night or more in the city setting. It promises to redefine the concept of camping by making it within everyone’s reach. Coleman, The Outdoor Company, takes on this newest trend of camping in the city in the overnight jamboree and fair held on May 19, 2012, at the SM Mall of Asia San Miguel By The Bay grass grounds. Through this pioneering event, Coleman Philippines would like everyone to know that they offer a complete line of products made for every possible outdoor need, whether it’s extreme, adventure, or urban setting.

WATCH | Classic Sarsuwela Walang Sugat to be Restaged

Opening the 26th theater season of Tanghalang Pilipino, the resident theater company of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), is Walang Sugat¸ the “subversive” literary masterpiece of Severino Reyes and one of the major and popular sarsuwelas in the Philippines during the American period from 1898 to 1946. It will be shown from August 9 to 26, 2012. This is film director Carlos Siguion-Reyna’s debut in theater directing. Walang Sugat tells the love story of Julia and Tenyong, interweaving the personal with the national struggles and awakening the audience’s sense of heroism and patriotism. Cris Villonco plays Julia while Noel Rayos plays Tenyong. Antonio Ferrer reprises his role (as Rayos’s alternate) from an Ateneo de Manila University production. Other cast members include Noemi Manikan-Gomez, Bodjie Pascua, Lou Veloso, Jennifer Villegas, Jean Judith Javier, Red Nuestro and Jonathan Tadioan. The libretto by Severino Reyes has additional lines from Nick Tiongson. The music by Fulgencio Tolentino, Constancio de Guzman and Mike Velarde has additional music and music direction by Chino Toledo. Tickets are available at Ticketworld. Call (+63 2) 891-9999. For inquiries and ticket reservations, contact Cherry Bong through telephone number (+63 2) 832-1125 locals 1620 and 1621, facsimile number (+63 2) 832-3661, mobile number +639177500107 or +63918-9593949, wireless landline number (+632) 218-3791, or email address

GO | The Gateway to Exotic Palawan

The El Nido Resorts in Palawan, with its hidden lagoons, rainforests and exotic wildlife, embodies the tropical ideal. El Nido Resorts comprise Miniloc Island and Lagen Island in El Nido, and Apulit Island in Taytay, Palawan. These three resorts are the gateways to Palawan’s untouched islands. Each resort has its own personality and charm, with a spectrum of activities offered for any indulgence. The New York Times bestselling travel book 1000 Places to See Before You Die, by Patricia Schultz, included El Nido in its 2011 edition. It describes Palawan as a last frontier of extraordinary natural

EXPERIENCE Travel and Living Volume 8 • Number 3 • 2012

beauty, highlighting Miniloc Island’s eco-tour that brings guests to its lagoons surrounded by limestone cliffs and Lagen Island’s romantic overwater bungalows. For inquiries, call (+63 2) 894-5644 or email Visit Web site at http://

TASTE | Casa Roces Offers Malacañan Tours and Good Food

In Manila, one of the popular places to visit is the Presidential Museum and Library in the Malacañan Palace, which affords one a glimpse of Philippine political history. To enter though, one must fill out a reservation form and wait for seven working days before being able to visit the museum. Foreign visitors must include a photocopy of his or her passport’s main page. Casa Roces, which sits just across the historic seat of authority and government of the country, offers a Malacañan tour package, which includes a tour of the museum, a souvenir to commemorate the tour and an introduction to Filipino cuisine through breakfast and merienda sets special only for the package. Additionally, the ancestral house transformed into a finest-dining restaurant offers convenience. One has to book for a tour, and Casa Roces will arrange for the permit. So far, it is only Casa Roces that is granted this special privilege, beating other hotels and restaurants in Manila. Aside from the tour, one can look out for Casa Roces’s offerings, a mixture of Spanish, American and Filipino dishes which is said to “recall the milieu and flavors of the colonial and Commonwealth era.” Three sets of breakfast—if the tour is in the morning—or merienda—if in the afternoon — are available to choose from. For breakfast, there is a set called Ode to Quezon, a tribute to the first Filipino president who lived in Malacañan Palace. Highlighting a Westernstyle breakfast, the set has bacon crisps, sautéed sausages, Spanish omelet, pancakes or toast, garden

POSTINGS salad, and a medley of fresh fruits. Those who prefer Filipino breakfast can choose P-Noy’s Power Brunch, named after the current president, who is said to be a regular patron of the restaurant. It includes beef tapa, crisp danggit, Filipino omelet, garlic rice or pandesal, grilled eggplant salad and sliced local fruits. Those with a hefty appetite can pick the Maharlika Platter, a mixture of Filipino and Western flavors and ingredients, which include Tuguegarao longganisa, corned beef hash, vegetable omelet, plain rice or toast, breakfast salad and assorted fruits. Afternoon visitors will get the merienda sets: the Escolta Siesta, Ilustrado Comfort and Ilocandia Flair. Escolta Siesta is named after the historic commercial district beside the Pasig River. The set includes kaldereta turnover, pancit palabok, tuna sandwich, potato crisps and revel bar. On the other hand Ilustrado Comfort is said to recall the Western fare of Filipino intellectuals in Spain during the colonial period. One gets a tuna turnover, spaghetti Bolognese, chicken salad sandwich, sour cream and onion potato chips and chocolate brownies. As the name suggests, Ilocandia Flair culls from the best of northern Philippines. It includes spicy longganisa, empanadita from Ilocos Sur, pancit bam-i, ham and egg sandwich, kamote chips and butterscotch bars. All sets come with a choice of coffee or tea. Casa Roces is itself an interesting destination with a piece of history. It is Commonwealth-era house of the Roceses, a prominent family which includes newspaper publisher Joaquin “Chino” Roces, National Artist for literature Alejandro Roces, and artist and critic Alfredo Roces. Present owners Peachy Prieto and her daughter Bianca PrietoSantos decided to renovate the house and open it to the public as a restaurant. They approached the Cravings Group of Restaurants for the food and kitchen operations. The restaurant features food enjoyed by the Roces family as well as heirloom recipes. The ground floor houses the restaurant and Kape Chino, while the second floor has the art gallery and function rooms or private dining rooms named after publications that the Roceses had managed. Casa Roces is fast becoming a dining destination in the city with bestselling dishes such as Crispy Lengua Caesar Salad, greens with cubed ox tongue fried to a crisp and mixed in like croutons, and chorizos en balsamico, fried Spanish sausages drizzled with balsamic syrup. Call Casa Roces at (+63 2) 735-5896 or (+63 2) 488-1929 or e-mail at reservations@casaroces. com. Casa Roces is at 1153 J.P. Laurel corner Aguado Street, San Miguel, Manila, near Malacañan Palace Gate 4. Visit Web site or their Facebook page (

VIEW | New Works in the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Art Collection

The Metropolitan Museum of Manila, in partnership with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), presents the newest addition to the BSP art collection through the exhibit “Enduring

and runs until December 15, 2012, at the Galeriya Bangko Sentral. The Metropolitan Museum of Manila is located at the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Complex, Roxas Boulevard, Manila. Museum hours are from 9 A.M. to 6 P.M., Monday to Saturday. It is closed on Sundays and first Mondays of the month and on holidays. For details on the exhibit, call (+63 2) 708-7829 or email at

Commitment: New Acquisitions (2009-2011), the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Art Collection,” which is open. Consisting of 38 paintings and sculptures, the exhibit is a assembly of contemporary expressions of established as well as emerging artists. The works comprise conceptual, figurative, abstract and hyper-realist art. The BSP started collecting art in the 1970s during the term of BSP governor Gregorio Licaros. The collection grew dramatically when the succeeding governor, Jaime Laya, acquired more works in the 1980s. He strengthened the art collection as he broadened it to include preHispanic and colonial religious artifacts. For the BSP, its collection of Philippine art, including its care and exhibition, cannot be underestimated. Its art collection serves as a vigorous body of works that represents a nation’s rich history, heritage and artistry, and a visual documentation of myriad voices that span at least 200 years. The forms in the newest addition may be disparate but the notion of “Filipino-ness” is apparent. Nunelucio Alvarado’s Carinderia (2009) is an intensely vibrant scene of a local eatery. Phyllis Zaballero’s Handaan (2011), on the other hand, amplifies Alvarado’s take on the Filipino’s eating culture with a more sumptuous display of festive treats. Philippine folk tales are also represented with Rodel Tapaya’s The Miracles of Lumawig, an earth-toned interpretation of the creation myth of the Bontoc. “Enduring Commitment” serves as a showcase of the winning works in the first Tanaw BSP Art Competition. The top three winners—The Rebuilders (Gary Custodio), Unresolved (Melvin Culaba), Pagsabay sa Paghakbang ng Ating Mga Pangarap (Brave Singh)—are exhibited jointly for the second time, this time at the BSP Gallery. The exhibit also features works by National Artists Arturo Luz, Ben Cabrera and Jerry Elizalde Navarro; conceptual pieces by Roberto Chabet; the text-based art of father-and-daughter tandem Cesare and Maxine Syjuco; and the sculptural pieces of Anastacio Caedo and Luis Yee, Jr. Today, the BSP art collection stands as the one of the most important compendium of Philippine art here and abroad. It covers two centuries of artmaking that includes paintings, prints, drawings, sculpture and reliefs. “Enduring Commitment” opens on June 21

FLY | Smart and Sensible Baggage Fares from Zest Air

Now, there is no need for travelers to pay more than what they need for their luggage with the introduction of Zest Air’s special passenger baggage fares—the Pre-Paid Baggage Allowance and Lite N’ Eazy Fares. The Pre-paid Baggage Allowance enables travelers to pay for their additional luggage in advance. Aside from Zest Air’s free baggage allowance (FBA) of ten kilos for adults and five kilos for children (on MA600 and A320 flights), travelers may choose one from pre-paid baggage options per booking—small (FBA plus five kilos) for Php150, standard (FBA plus ten kilos) for Php250, medium (FBA plus 15 kilos) for Php400, large (FBA plus 20 kilos) for Php700. For over 20 kilos of additional baggage, an excess baggage rate of Php150 per kilogram (VAT inclusive) shall be applied. Purchase can be done up to four hours (24 hours for booking originating from Busuanga, Tablas and Marinduque) before the scheduled departure time. Available to those booked under any class and under Lite N’ Eazy service as well as Voyager Pass holders, this service is rebookable, non-transferable, non-refundable and, once purchased, cannot be downgraded. If traveling light, avail of Zest Air’s Lite N’ Eazy Fare that entitles a passenger to a Php100 discount on prevailing rates. Only one piece of hand-carried baggage is allowed provided it does not exceed 45 inches in dimension, weighs not more than seven kilos for Airbus and five kilos for MA60 flights, and if it can fit inside the overhead rack of the aircraft. Upon check-in, travelers are advised to have their hand-carried baggage tagged to avoid being charged an intercepted baggage fee prior to boarding their flight. Infants are not entitled to any baggage allowance. For inquiries and ticket reservations, call (+63 2) 855-3333 or visit For the latest updates and promos, like the airline’s official page at

Volume 8 • Number 3 • 2012 EXPERIENCE Travel and Living |


POSTINGS of bracelet making 101 right from the toolkit needed to fun projects that will teach you how to make braided headbands, shoelaces, and even camera slings! Each book comes with a set of thread in seven vibrant colors so that you can start making your friendship bracelets straight away. The Friendship Bracelet Book is available in newsstands, bookstores and supermarkets for Php150.

SEE | A Puzzling Bed-andBreakfast Place in Tagaytay City

A Tagaytay City bed-and-breakfast place has the biggest collection of jigsaw puzzles in different sizes, genres, sources, subject matter and forms. Spread over more than one-hectare property, this new tourist destination in Tagaytay City also has rooms, a 400-square meter function room that can accommodate 400 guests, a spa, an infinity pool, a 24-hour café, cable TV connections and a Wi-Fi hot spot. But the heart of this new place is its huge puzzle collection, a labor of love of the owner’s mother, Georgina Gil Lacuna, and the inspiration for the place. Each day the collection grows as Lacuna continuously completes puzzles after puzzles. Aptly named The Puzzle Mansion, the charming bed-and-breakfast place is just one in about 3,000 in Tagaytay but the puzzle gallery is expected to draw visitors. Over 300 jigsaw puzzles make up the collection in the Puzzle Room, and it still grows by the day as Lacuna challenges herself to make a bid for the Guinness Book of World Records. She is currently working on a 32,000-piece puzzle, the largest jigsaw puzzle in the world. Her closest competitor, also a woman, is based in Brazil with 238 jigsaw puzzles in her collection. The Puzzle Mansion opened on May 24, 2012, and is located at Cuadra Street, Asisan, Tagaytay City. For more information, visit www.thepuzzlemansion. com or its Facebook page at

READ | Bond with Your Friends while Pulling Strings Together

Are you and your friends getting tired of doing the same things over and over again when you’re all together? Then start something new and keep your hands busy this summer by making your very own friendship bracelets with your friends! Get over thirty fun and creative pattern ideas from The Friendship Bracelet Book, the first offering of Berry Books under Summit Media in its do-it-yourself series. Divided in beginner, intermediate, and advance levels, The Friendship Bracelet Book is a complete all-in-one guide on how to begin weaving strings together. Featuring a step-by-step instruction on how to go about each knot and hitches, the book will give you a complete overview 16 |

GET | Experience fun and adventure at your fingertips with Nokia Asha 305

Nokia introduces the first product in the Asha Full Touch range, the Nokia Asha 305, a smartphone that’s sure to delight young, urban and aspirational users. Nokia Asha 305 is designed for browsing experiences, social networking, apps and games. It has a three-inch touch screen that’s quick and responsive and a newly designed Series 40 OS that’s fun, intuitive and easy-to-use. The Nokia Asha 305 also comes with the exclusive EA (Electronic Arts) Games Pack including 40 free bestselling titles such as Tetris, Bejeweled, Need for Speed, The Sims and FIFA 2012. With apps like WhatsApp and Foursquare, you can find hundreds more at the Nokia Store. The Nokia Asha 305 uses the revolutionary Nokia Browser, which is three times faster than other browsers. Its revolutionary Cloud accelerated technology offers up to 85 percent compression, thereby saving on your data connection costs. This smartphone also makes it easy to log on to Facebook, Twitter and IM.

STAY | Rainy Day Treat from Bellevue Hotel

The Bellevue Hotel in southern Metro Manila has a rainy day promo. Book a deluxe room for an overnight stay at the hotel’s main wing for Php5,000 net. There is also the 1+1 Promo in which one can reserve two rooms for an overnight stay or one room for two consecutive nights at Php9,000 net. An even more luxurious stay awaits at the Tower Wing for just Php5,500 net for an overnight stay in a deluxe room or two rooms both for an overnight or one room for two consecutive nights at Php10,000 net. Both packages come with buffet breakfast for two, daily shuttle service to nearby establishments, two bottles of water replenished daily, free use of swimming pool and gym facilities, wireless broadband Internet access, welcome fruit platter, welcome drinks at the Vue Bar, 20 percent discount at Café d’Asie, local newspaper and a free umbrella. Room-only rates (breakfast not included) are also available at Php4,000 net for an overnight stay in a

EXPERIENCE Travel and Living Volume 8 • Number 3 • 2012

deluxe room in the main wing or Php4,500 net at the Tower Wing. Check-in time is at 12 noon, and late check-out at 3 P.M. (subject to availability). All rates are inclusive of 12 percent VAT and 10 percent service charge. For inquiries, call (+63 2) 828-8181, email or visit Web site at www.

LISTEN | Rock Out with New Walkman Models

Sony launches new Walkman digital media players—the NWZ-E470, E470K, E570 and S770BT— with a range of colors and sound enhancement features. The slimmest Walkman range ever, the new models are only seven millimeter slim. The NWZ-E470 is loaded with features that include four different Clear Audio technologies, VPT and Dynamic Normaliser by Sony. It has up to 36 hours of music and six hours of video playback, easy dragand-drop file transfer function and two free preinstalled games. SensMe Channel automatically categorizes music tracks into different channels while Karaoke Mode, Synchronised Lyric, Voice Recording and Language Learning features let users have lots of fun.

ENJOY | The Best Place at Alona Beach

Those looking for a world-class beach destination can find what they’re looking for, and much more, in Panglao Island. Named by Travel + Leisure magazine as one of the World’s Best Secret Beaches, Panglao Island in the province of Bohol offers guests numerous picturesque beaches, among which is Alona. Best known for its nearly powdery-fine white sand, stretching to approximately one and a half kilometers, Alona also plays host Amorita Resort. Amorita is a quaint boutique resort perched on top of a cliff on one end of Alona Beach. Offering guests an array of highly-stimulating as well as relaxing activities, Amorita makes it easy for everyone to experience all the best the province has to offer. “Amorita has always had a prominent location in the island,” shares Nikki Cauton, general manager. “It has a location that makes it a cut above the rest. Only in Amorita can guests take in the glorious Bohol sunset from the top of a cliff or dine under the star-studded sky while enjoying the view of Alona Beach.” With six Ocean Villas, eight Garden Villas and twelve deluxe rooms, Amorita is an ideal travel destination that’s found the perfect balance between modern-world living and island seclusion. Its infinity pool and leisure area allow guests to enjoy an array of leisurely activities. The resort’s Saffron Restaurant and The Deck offers a selection of critically-acclaimed dishes, including genuine Boholano food and the celebrated Luy-a Degustation (ginger-based dishes). To know more about Amorita, call (+63 38) 502-9002 to 03. Call also the Manila Sales and Reservation office at (+63 2) 553-9549. Visit Web site at

OPPortune begginings right in the heart of Makati Cental Business District

Complete with world class Hotel Facilities and Amenities.

Buffet Lunch PHP 399.00 net per person

Promotional rate Php 3,888.00* INCLUSION: Overnight accommodation with buffet breakfast for 2 plus Php 1,000 F & B credits *Promo runs until October 2012

161 H.V. dela Costa Street, Salcedo Village, Makati City, 1223 Philippines

Trunkline: 304-7777

EXPLORE The Puraran Beach Resort


Beyond the Howling Wind Text and Photos by Bernard L Supetran


hoever nicknamed the charming island province of Catanduanes “Land of the Howling Wind” definitely needs a crash course in Advertising 101. Not only is it the surest way to discourage potential tourists and investors, it is also an un-cool way of highlighting the age-old scourge of the local folks. For Catandunganons who have been bearing the brunt of nature’s fury since time immemorial, storms are very much unlike a Hollywood movie spectacle. But beyond the howling wind of a perfect storm, Catanduanes today is a tourism frontier which beckons the eternally footloose wanderer. Many true-blue adventurers consider it a diamond in the rough—it has crude edges but will glitter once polished and inevitably 18


EXPERIENCE Travel and Living Volume 8 • Number 3 • 2012

Maribina Falls, named after the barangays of Marinawa and Binanwahan in the municipality of Bato

Cantanduanes attractions and activities: (from left) Wall climbing at the Twin Rocks Beach Resort; the Pag-Asa Observatory; and Luyang Cave in Lictin, San Andres

become every girl’s (and wanderlust’s) best friend. Folks claim that while typhoons still pass through their corridor, the more destructive ones are now as rare as a blue moon. One can only surmise that this is an upside of climate change, as far as they are concerned. Situated east of the Bicol peninsula, this gem of an island by the Pacific Ocean evokes an air of isolation and curiosity, making it a best-kept secret for decades. Those unfazed by the fearsome tagline and braved the howling wind found out that Catanduanes is a proverbial “paradise regained” which they hope they can keep to themselves. Just like the other tourist hotspots in the country, it was the Europeans who put this rugged island on the tourist map when they stumbled on the Majestic Waves in Puraran Beach in the town of Baras. Considered as the province’s tourist icon and claim to fame, it is so-called because of its long magnificent barrel which is simply lives up to its name—majestic. Those who want to try their hands, or shall I say, legs, in surfing can go to Tilod, a few coves away from Puraran for their initiation to surfing. However, during the last quarter of the year, the beach is a picture of calm and serenity where families can frolic in its powdery sand and clear water.

The province’s long coastline has gifted its inhabitants with fines beaches and breathtaking capes just like straight out of a movie set. In the capital town of Virac, there are the beaches of Batag and Igang which are hands-down favorites. Batag is a coralstrewn beach whose charm is enhanced by a rock archway which leads to another quiet cove. Meanwhile, Igang is home to Twin Rocks Beach Resort which takes pride of two new twin attractions—the zip line and outdoor wall, the only ones in the province. It also has a swimming pool, clubhouse and

amenities which are arguably the best by local standards. Situated in a cove, the resort is socalled because of the two awesome rock formations. It is also ideal for kayaking because of its tranquil and shallow waters. Guests can even walk up to the twin rocks at low tide to see them up close. A short boat ride away from the town of Bagamanoc is Loran Beach in Panay Island which has unspoiled white sands and tranquil environs. Deriving its name from Long Range Aid to Navigation, the beach was a former American outpost in the 1950s to guide sailing ships in the Pacific. Because

The zip line at the Twin Rocks Beach Resort in Virac

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of its storied past, it has its own share of beguiling tales to share to beach bums. Palumbanes Island, situated off the town of Caramoran, is an emerging diving site because of its rich marine life. Because of its rugged terrain, Catanduanes abounds with forests and waterfalls, whose seemingly enchanting cascades and refreshing waters always cast a spell on nature lovers. Maribina Falls in the town of Bato is the most accessible and most frequented because of its shallow multi-layered basin. Up north, in the town of Gigmoto, Nahulugan Falls boasts of a tall drop which also has three tiers of pools where bathers can soothe their tired muscles. Just like the typical Bicolano, Catandunganons display a remarkable degree of religiosity evident in the religious spots in the province. Most notable of these is the Spanish-era Bato Church which has been a bastion of faith in the wind-swept island. Standing proudly by the scenic Bato River, this picturesque baroque church has also become a refuge and bulwark against destructive typhoons. Deep into the interior barangay of Batalay is the Diocesan Shrine of the Holy Cross, the final resting place of Augustinian

Fr. Diego de Herrera who died in the area in 1576. The ill-fated priest, who journeyed with Spanish conquistadors Legazpi and Urdaneta, is acknowledged as the first Catholic missionary in the province. Another frequented spot is the Batong Paluway Chapel in San Andres because of the thumbnail-sized river stone bearing the image of the Virgin Mary and is believed to have grown over the years. Most of the province’s tourist festivals are anchored around town fiestas to effectively incorporate merrymaking with the spirit of religious thanksgiving. A must-see historic place is the Luyang Cave Park in San Andres where scores of locals where choked to death in the seventeenth century by Moro pirates by burning red pepper. The more intrepid souls can trek the cave which will lead to a clearing a few hundred meters away. And before heading home, it may be of interest to visit the PAGASA weather observatory in Bato, which somehow gave it the unenviable reputation of being a reference point for typhoons. Beyond the howling wind, Catanduanes is a rough gem but glittering just the same. Wait till it gets polished so it will sparkle in all its splendor. F

Getting There Fly to the capital town of Virac via four times weekly flights of Zest Air and Cebu Pacific Air. Also, travelers can fly or take a bus to Legazpi City, then take a bus or van to the Tabaco City port in Albay. From there, take boats for a three-hour voyage to San Andres or Virac.

The Bato Church, of mortar and coral stones, was built from 1830 to 1883

In San Andres, one can find the miraculous stone with the image of Our Lady of Sorrows of Batong Paluay

Punta de Fabian Resort Manila East Road, Barangay Evangelista, Baras, Rizal Telephone numbers: +63 (2) 994-9560 +63 (2) 994-9546

Nestled within a magnificent hilltop at the heart of Baras, PUNTA DE FABIAN is one of Rizal’s premier resorts. It offers exclusivity and luxury in a sophispicated yet friendly environment. It is only 90 minutes drive east from Metro Manila. Elegantly decorated in filipino-zen style, all superbly appointed lakefront suitest and guest rooms are equipped with first class features and amenities. The resort has an infinity pool, lagoon-shaped swimming pool and a jacuzzi which provides a luxurious environment of relaxation

Hotel Amenities

The 3-hectare resort incorporates all the amenities that one would expect in a luxury hotel, including a specialized cafe & restaurant, poolside & scenic deck bar, fully-equipped function rooms, wi-fi internet acess, garden reception & videoke bar. All guest rooms are equipped with cable TV, deluxe bathroom vanity area with full set of organically made toiletries by Bath Origins, complimentary mineral water, tea and coffee-making facilities, private sitting rooms and terrance where one can enjoy a scenic view of Laguna de Bay.

PUNTA DE FABIAN offers superior room accommodations in an enchanting and relaxing setting. Wide-range sports facilities include swimming pool, kiddie pool, jacuzzi, multi-purpose court for basketball, volleyball and badminton, boracay-sand, kid’s playground, recreation room with billiards, table-tennis, darts, various game-boards and a videoke room. The resort also offers a maze for team building.

Business Matters

PUNTA DE FABIAN is ideal for team building, conferences, meetings and banquets. Overlooking scenic Laguna de Bay, the meeting space was designed with large windows, which provides spectacular views and abundant natural light. There is a full range of audio-visual equipment available.

For Reservation: Manila Sales Office Ground Floor Lexington Condominium 65 Xavierville Avenue,Loyola Heights, Quezon City Telephone numbers: +63 (2) 433-1995, +63 (2) 994-1455, +63 (2) 710-3153 Telefax: +63 (2) 929-2920


Glasgow-style and Victorian, two styles that define Glasgow architecture

Twenty-Four Hours in

Glasgow By Dheza Marie Aguilar

Old cars and trams



EXPERIENCE Travel and Living Volume 8 • Number 3 • 2012

are just some of the

attractions at Rivers

ide Museum of Tra vel and Transport

The huge Kelvingrove property includes a museum, a park and a river which are all perfect for a morning jog


he city of Glasgow is Scotland’s economic hub. Owing to its strategic location on the banks of the River Clyde, Glasgow has been the center of shipbuilding, trading and manufacturing not only in Scotland but in the United Kingdom for centuries and until today. It remains one of Great Britain’s most important financial cities. My job recently took me to Glasgow for important business. Although the trip was short and hurried, I managed to explore the city in between meetings and had remarkable experiences that only Glasgow can offer. If you have only 24 hours, here is a one-day itinerary that lets one get the most of the city.


Despite being a vibrant, modern city, Glasgow, like the rest of Scotland, is blessed with lots of space and greenery, especially in the spring. Take advantage of the cool, crisp, early morning to jog or bike around

the city. It’s the best way to see Glasgow for free while keeping fit during travel. Start at the West End along the banks of Kelvin River and work your way around Kelvingrove Park all the way to Botanic Garden, a jogging trail of lush greeneries in the middle of a bustling city. If you continue towards the University of Glasgow and its nearby churches and buildings, your eyes will be satiated with the beauty of Victorian and Glasgow-style architecture of some of the city’s famous buildings. After your jog, indulge in a proper English breakfast offered in most of the city’s hotels. Since the Scots are crazy about innards, your usual combination of beans, bacon, fried eggs, slices of ham and mushrooms also comes with a sumptuous addition of a thick, black pudding made of pig’s blood, sausages and tattie scones, which look like flatbreads but made with potatoes and salt. If the rainy weather of Scotland does not dampen your sightseeing mood, head

The Riverside Museum of Travel and Transport traces the history of the means of transportation used in England for centuries

The Lismore pub is a haven for whiskey lovers with more than 150 types of whisky on its bar

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A traditional Scottish breakfast is heavy on meat, beans, mushrooms and potatoes

This is no better way to spend noon in Glasgow than to have an afternoon tea with a glass of champagne

Haggis, a spicy mix of sheep’s innards, is usually enjoyed with potatoes but also goes well with white rice

The Butterfly and the Pig welcomes you with a porcelain tea cup

This seared pork belly in mashed pumpkin with red beet and potato cubes is just one of the international dishes cooked in local ingredients that Stravaigin Cafe Bar offers

back to the West End to visit the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow’s mostvisited museum of arms and armours, natural history, works of famous European masters and the biggest collection of civic art.


Of course, when in the United Kingdom, there is no better way to spend the typical rainy afternoon in Glasgow than by having an afternoon tea. One of the many restaurants that offer this very English tradition is The Butterfly and the Pig on Bath Street. Upon entering, you will be welcomed by a warm, homey feeling of walking into your grandmother’s living room. The interior is far from elegant. You can actually call it quite shabby but that’s where the charm of the restaurant lies. Do 24


not ask for a high tea if you do not intend to have dinner. According to the ladies there, what we know as high tea is actually an early dinner, and when you only want to drink tea and eat cakes, then order an afternoon tea, preferably with a lovely glass of champagne. The usual afternoon tea can pass up for a big lunch, usually consisting of two types of sandwiches—salmon and tuna—three types of cakes, chips and a small salad. Save your lunch money until your afternoon tea which is served from 12 noon to 5 P.M. You would usually get that after-meal lethargic feeling after an afternoon tea but if you manage to fight the sleepiness midday is the best time to hit the shopping complexes in Buchanan and Sauchiehall Streets. Like in the Philippines, Glasgow is filled with big malls so shopping can be a breeze, and you don’t have to worry about getting soaked in the sudden downpours in the city. Or visit the newly opened Riverside Museum of Transport and Travel, another of the city’s architectural treasures which houses a good collection of cars, motorbikes, trains, boats, and even old carriages. In addition to the interesting pieces displayed in the museum, it also has huge open spaces overlooking the River Clyde and some of its former dry docks. The view here can get really romantic especially during sunset.

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Start your evening with a delicious and often heavy Scottish meal. For that, the best place to go is Stravaigin Bar and Restaurant at the West End. With their “think Global, eat local” motto, you can expect global cuisine from Europe, Asia and other parts of the world cooked with the best, seasonal ingredients sourced locally in Scotland. The Scots share our fascination for cooked animal organs and their version of what can be compared to our sisig is notoriously famous worldwide that it is even illegal to export this to the United States. Haggis is Scotland’s national dish, a tasty fusion of a sheep offal, usually heart, liver and lungs, cooked in a variety of spices, suet and oatmeal, wrapped in an animal’s stomach and usually served with potatoes and of course Scottish whiskey. It reminded me so much of home that I completely ignored tradition and ordered a bowl of white, steaming rice to go with it. But if haggis is not the kind of dinner, Stravaigin also offers other delicious and affordable dishes. Or head to one of the many Indian restaurants, which has become part of the Glasgow culinary landscape as much as its haggis. A Scottish nightlife would not be complete without whisky and to round off your day, visit the most popular whisky bar in town, The Lismore in Dumbarton Road. If you are a whisky lover like me, this pub is a gold mine with over 150 varieties of whiskies proudly displayed for consumption in the first bar from the entrance. Housed in a charming, smokey pub with stained-glass windows, Lismore caters to a variety of crowd, young and old, men and women, all drunk at around midnight. It is easy to fall into conversations and get a free glass of whisky from a “mate,” and you probably would not understand half of what they were saying. Blame it on alcohol and accent of the Scots, but they sure can recommend you a good brand of whisky. Whiskey-tasting can be fun here with all the assortment that they have but if your head can’t handle the alcohol, settle for a local ginger ale. Sometimes live music plays here but who needs it in a noisy mix of locals and tourists all having a good time in authentic Scottish pub? Just don’t get too drunk to miss your flight back home the next day. F

The mighty Cagayan de Oro River flows out to the Macajalar Bay. A church of what is now the Saint Augustine Cathedral was built in 1624 by Fray Agustin San Pedro, OAR. The present structure was built in 1940s. It is adorned with paintings of the four evangelists. The wooden cross which still stands today in front of the cathedral was erected in 1888. When Cagayan de Oro was created into a diocese on January 20, 1933, the church was raised to the status of a cathedral.

The McArthur Memorial Marker in the old Macabalan Port marks the spot where the American general Douglas MacArthur landed en route to his escape to Australia through the Del Monte Airstrip in Bukidnon. It is perhaps the biggest military cap in the whole world. It was inaugurated on March 13, 2008.


estled between the central coastline of Macajalar Bay to the north and the plateaus and mountains of Bukidnon and Lanao del Norte to the south, Cagayan de Oro City (CDO) is the commercial hub of and the gateway to northern Mindanao. The city is characterized by a narrow plain along the coast and by highland areas separated by steeply inclined escarpments. The escarpment areas that mainly run from east to west of Cagayan de Oro City pose a natural barrier to the uncontrolled urban sprawl, especially southward. The two existing bridges spanning the Cagayan River have mitigated the north-south constraints created by the waterway in earlier years. The National Highway has attracted commercial and industrial activities along its east-west axis. Hopefully, the city will grow and expand through the independent but coordinated actions of public and private sector leaders towards a common direction. Cagayan de Oro offers an array of interesting sites and other attractions for its visitors. For travelers interested in history, CDO has many historical sites. The Macahambus Hill and Cave is the site of the historic Battle of Macahambus, where the Filipinos won their first victory against the Americans in the Philippine-American War at the turn of the 20th century. The Plaza de los Heroes is a Philippine-American War memorial along Masterson Avenue in upper Carmen. The St. 26


The Cagayan de Oro River seen from Macahambus Cave

Augustine Cathedral was first built in 1624 by Fray Agustin San Pedro, OAR, who was called El Padre Capitan by the residents here. The City Tennis Court was once a part of a Spanish fort that was started in 1622. Ysalina Bridge is the city’s first bridge, spanning Carmen to the poblacion, inaugurated in 1892. The City Executive House was constructed in 1940 and it is located on the grounds of where the Casa Real once stood. Gaston Park, named after a pre-war municipal mayor of Cagayan de Oro, Segundo Gaston, is near the St. Augustine Cathedral and the Archbishop’s Palace. It was the main plaza of Cagayan de Misamis during the Spanish colonial period and served as the training area of the local patriots before the start of the 1900-

EXPERIENCE Travel and Living Volume 8 • Number 3 • 2012

1901 Philippine-American War and later the site of the battle of Cagayan de Misamis on April 7, 1900. The Golden Friendship Park stretches along the city’s oldest commercial districts called Divisoria or “fire breaker” in Spanish. The monuments of the national hero Jose Rizal and President Ramon Magsaysay are found in this park. Another monument is dedicated to the city’s local heroes as in its base are bones of patriots who were killed in the battle of Agusan on May 14, 1900. The Kiosko Kagawasan, formerly called the Divisoria Bandstand, serves as a venue for cultural and political events. The whole stretch of the Divisoria was constructed in 1902 when the municipal president of Cagayan de Misamis, Don Tirso Neri, donated the strip of land to serve as a five bench. The Sia Ygua House, located at the corner of Velez and Arch. Hayes streets, is the oldest surviving Spanish colonial structure in the city today. A water tower was built in 1921 and was completed the following year. It used to supply water to the town from the hills of Malasag. The McArthur Memorial Marker in the old Macabalan Port marks the spot where the American general Douglas MacArthur landed in the early morning of March 13, 1942, en route to his escape to Australia through the Del Monte Airstrip in Bukidnon. There are several museums in CDO. The Capitol University Museum of Three Cultures, established in 2007 and formally opened on May


Cagayan de Oro Photos by Roel Hoang Manipon

2, 2008, displays artifacts and other items of the three cultural groups of Mindanao. The La Castilla Museum of Philippine Heirlooms and Antiques in the 20th Century contains the personal memorabilia of the founders of the Liceo de Cagayan University, the Pelaez family. The Museo de Oro is a folkloric museum started in August 1967 and displays an array of relics of the Bukidnon and Maranao cultures. It is located inside the Xavier University, Ateneo de Cagayan, the first university in Mindanao and the first of the Jesuit Ateneos in the country to become a university. Aside from the historical sites and museums, one can check out the night café and market at the Golden Friendship Park (Divisoria) every Friday and Saturdays where one can have native delicacies, mostly grilled food, and soft drinks and beer. One can also embark on the River Taxi Cruise, which starts at the Liceo de Cagayan University and goes downstream up to the mouth of the Cagayan de Oro River and part of Macajalar Bay. The Gardens of Malasag Eco-Tourism Village is a living museum on the slopes of the city’s reforestation area in the sitio of Malasag, Cugman. This village is set in a botanical garden that hosts flora and fauna endemic to northern Mindanao. It also serves as a learning center for ethnic art and crafts such as weaving and beadwork. The Mapawa Nature Park is a vast property with magnificent waterfalls, views, and

exciting activities in the forest park in Cugman. The Monigue Cave is 19 kilometers from the city and another four kilometers from the barangay center of Mambuaya. The Macahambus Adventure Park is a must visit when you’re in Cagayan de Oro City in the barangays of Lumbia and Bayanga. It has a sky bridge where one can see gigantic, old trees and the Macahambus Gorge. For added excitement, one can rappel down to the gorge or try the 120-meter zip line. The F.S. Catanico Falls, located about ten kilometers away from the city, drop into a natural swimming pool where one can bathe in. Cagayan de Oro also offers adventure packages. The white water rafting is a very popular activity. The stretch from Ugiaban to Dansolihon downstream provides one with a spectacular view of the river’s rocky walls, vegetation and monkeys and snakes. There are several groups offering rafting services in the city. F

The Gardens of Malasag Eco-Tourism Village has a row of cozy guest cottages, a dormitory, conference hall, camping grounds, a small swimming pool, picnic sheds, an orchidarium, a butterfly garden and a coffee shop/restaurant.

Getting There Philippine Airlines, Air Philippines and Cebu Pacific have daily flights to the Lumbia Airport of Cagayan de Oro City. Philtranco offers buses that leave Manila (Pasay) for Cagayan de Oro with travel time of approximately 42 hours. SuperFerry, Negros Navigation and Sulpicio Lines have ferries bound for Cagayan de Oro City with travel time of about thirty hours.

The Macahambus Cave is a short cavern that leads to an opening that overlooks the meandering Cagayan de Oro River.

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Right on the Mark By Maria Teresa C. Dumana Photos by Donald Tapan



EXPERIENCE Travel and Living Volume 8 • Number 3 • 2012

The spacious lobby and reception area of Malasag Resort Corporation or Marco Hotel in Alwana Business Park


ith tourism booming in Cagayan de Oro City, hotels have been coming up with their own gimmicks to attract travelers. Going around the city gave us a chance to discover some of CDO’s best. We sat down with owner Alarico Lim and his daughter-in-law Shannon Maye Lim, and asked the nitty-gritty details about the Malasag Resort Corporation (Marco) Hotel that set them apart from other hotels. Built as a recreational area for homeowners at the Alwana Village, the resort-type hotel first opened its doors in 1999 to visitors of Cagayan de Oro. Since then, Marco Hotel has taken huge leaps from just serving residents; they are now a key player in the tourism industry of this progressive city.

For Business and Pleasure For guests traveling alone or with a small group, they can choose to stay in the 26 rooms (standard, deluxe or suite) located within the hotel. But for big families or barkadas who want to stay together in one place, they may opt to stay at any of the 24 cottages (standard, deluxe, regular, family, and super standard cottage rooms) just at the back of the hotel. A foot bridge traverses to an island in the kiddie pool

The hotel has also ensured that all guests do not get bored during their stay at the hotel. They can take long walks around the park and take in fresh air, or take a dip in Marco Hotel’s three pools— adult lap pool, kiddie pool and the hot pool. They can also get fit and active by heading down to the sports complex. Shannon shares that the complex has indoor amenities such as badminton, tennis, basketball and volleyball courts which can be rented out for a minimal fee. Gym buffs can also sweat it out at the gym, and for those who want to put their climbing abilities to the test there is a rock wall. For the non-adventurous and non-sporty types, they can have a very relaxing “me time” at the spa. With well-trained and very friendly masseuses and masseurs you can get rid of tired and aching muscles. Hungry guests can satisfy their cravings at the Marco Café. Shannon shares that they can have a Chinese, Western or Filipino feast at very reasonable prices. Guests can also enjoy their complimentary buffet breakfast here every morning. On a more serious note, the hotel has a fully-equipped business center with Wi-Fi access, NDD/IDD phones, and fax and photocopying machines. Free WiFi can also be accessed in the hotel’s public areas. Shannon adds that very soon each room will also be having Wi-Fi connections so keeping track of business and e-mails will be much easier for their guests. And like any other hotel, Marco Hotel also caters to seminars, conferences and private events with their ballroom, which can accommodate 100 to 300 people. Function rooms are also available with the smaller rooms accommodating ten to 15 guests, while the bigger function rooms can comfortably fit 120 to 150 guests. Shannon shares that an exhibit center, which can comfortably fit 1,000 people, is in the works and will be finished very soon. Parking won’t be a problem for guests, as the hotel has very spacious parking area.

Eco-Tourism Of course, a tour of CDO is not complete without experiencing white water rafting or going to Bukidnon for the Dahilyan Zipzone. Shannon says they can happily arrange these tours for their guests. Most people do not know this still, but CDO is a very eco-friendly place. Alarico Lim, a staunch advocate of eco-tourism, has been investing heavily on this. He has made sure that his businesses take good care of the environment because this can be a good way to attract visitors. The 1.5-hectare Alwana Business Park, where the hotel is located, is nestled at the foot of Mount Malasag, and guests can enjoy the cool, fresh breeze and relax under the shade of the huge trees on the park. Lim shares that he wants the hotel to be a very conducive place to stay while in CDO.

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The Marco Cafe offers Chinese, Western and Filipino cuisines (top). Active guests can climb at the rock wall (above, left), swim at the lap pool (above, middle) or work out in the gym (above, right) of Marco Hotel.

Nature lovers and adventure seekers will be happy to know that they are now developing five-kilometer and ten-kilometer mountain trails. “The road has been there for the past 20 years, and we’re developing it to offer more attractions besides river rafting. Hopefully this year, it will be finished,” says Lim. Another project initiated by Lim is to get the hotel connected with the Gardens of Malasag Eco-Tourism Village. The Gardens is a government reserve which also educates visitors on the natural flora and fauna endemic to northern Mindanao, as well as the life and culture of the different ethnic groups in Mindanao. Just a stone’s throw away from each other, he says that they have partnered with the eco-tourism village to help their guests appreciate nature and learn a lot more about Mindanao.

Contact Information

Complement, Not Compete This partnership stemmed from Lim’s belief of “complementing, not competing.” This is how he runs his businesses, and it is why all of them are very successful. While others break their backs just to get ahead in the stiff competition

The well-appointed rooms

30 |

in CDO, Lim only has this to say: “If you are complementing, you are helping other people. All you need is a change of attitude.” Like any other businessman, return of investments is still very much important. But to him what’s more important is to bring in more tourists and investments to CDO because it will mean employment for the people. Exactly like mutualism or a give-and-take relationship, Marco Hotel complements the tourism trade by giving the right kind of facilities and services which guests will surely enjoy and hopefully foster loyalty. And when tourists start flowing in, more opportunities will be given to the people of CDO. Thanks to Alarico Lim’s belief, when this happens the hotel will be right smack in the middle, very prepared for it. F

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Marco Hotel is at the Alwana Business Park, Cugman, Cagayan de Oro City, with telephone numbers (+63 8822) 732-542 to 43 and (+63 88) 855-2201 to 03; fax number (+63 88) 855-2198; and email address

Call 2276074 • 491-5159 • 384-6941

The Heart of

Kagay-anon Hospitality By Kathrina Paz Elefante Photos by Teddy Pelaez

“The good guest is almost invisible, enjoying him or herself, communing with fellow guests, and, most of all, enjoying the generous hospitality of the host.” — Emily Post

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VIP Hotel’s Mandana Hall (below, left) at the fourth floor can be a venue for different types of celebration and event. The hotel has 78 rooms with bamboo furniture and accessories (left).


t the center of bustling Cagayan de Oro City stands an unassuming but enduring beacon of the Kagay-anon spirit. For almost 40 years, countless guests have experienced the warm and engaging VIP treatment at the VIP Hotel, one of the first hotels in the City of Golden Friendship. The VIP Hotel is a family-owned enterprise and part of the Canoy Group of Companies. It is conveniently located at the corner of Borja Street and Don Apolinar Velez Street, roads that lead to the numerous dining places and shopping centers in the city, such as the Limketkai Shopping Center, the Robinsons Mall and the Ororama Superstore, which are only a few minutes away. For the visiting entrepreneur, there are numerous banks and other business service establishments located nearby.

Maayong Buntag! A jovial “Maayong buntag!” (Good morning!) from the smiling personnel will greet you as you step onto the gleaming marble floor of the lobby. Its high, coffered ceiling accented with large rattan pendant lights also welcome you as you make your way to the reception area. At one corner sits a shiny black piano which is played during special occasions to serenade visitors while conversing and feasting. Of course, a trip to Cagayan de Oro will not be complete without getting some adrenaline rush from the outdoor activities which the city is known for. If you do not know your way around, the friendly hotel staff can give you first-hand tips on tourist spots and must-see attractions. They can also make arrangements for local tours and help you cross out white water rafting off that growing bucket list. Other hotel services include airport and seaport transfers, laundry and pressing and even a safety deposit box which is available at the front desk.

Amenities and Facilities The VIP Hotel has 78 well-appointed, air-conditioned rooms furnished with classic bamboo furniture and accessories. Guests can choose from four room classifications—business class, VIP class, junior suite and executive suite—with rates starting at Php1,950 net to Php3,800 net. Hot and cold shower, cable television and Wi-Fi Internet access are available in all of the rooms. The VIP class room and the suites have tea and coffee-making facilities. Mini-bars are also found in the suite rooms. The hotel offers numerous banquet and conference facilities that cater 34 |

EXPERIENCE Travel and Living Volume 8 • Number 3 • 2012

to different types of events. The mezzanine houses four board rooms that can accommodate up to 80 persons. Casa Real, found on the sixth floor, has a capacity of 150 persons. It has capiz windows, curvy sulihiya-backed chairs and a chandelier in the middle that exudes the old world charm and elegance of the Spanish colonial era. The grand ballroom, Mandana Hall, is located on the fourth floor with an area of more than 350 square meters that can hold a maximum of 300 persons.

Gastronomic Treats For dining options, guests can relax while sipping coffee and munching on merienda at Calle, the hotel’s café found in the lobby. Its in-house restaurant, Cee’s, has a mix of Filipino, Asian and Continental dishes that will excite different palates. One of their bestsellers is the mouth-watering Filipino VIP Fresh Corned Beef Sinigang (Php195, good for two to three persons), which is made with their homemade corned beef. Their famous corned beef is also served as an entrée (Php230) and as filling for Reuben’s sandwich that is served with sauerkraut on wheat bread (Php95). Classic Filipino favorites include crispy pata (Php675), kare-kare (Php320) and sinuglaw (Php235), which is a Cagayan de Oro specialty made of grilled pork and kinilaw (ceviche). Steak favorites fillet mignon (Php440) and rib eye (Php455) for meat-lovers are also on the menu. For Asian food fanatics, the VIP chef’s renderings of beef bulgogi, chapchae and kimchi (Korean Trilogy for Php220) and Japanese shrimp tempura (Php225) can satisfy cravings.

Eileen San Juan is VIP Hotel’s director (left). The hotel can arrange table settings at the Mandana Hall according to preference (above, right). Casa Real (below) can accommodate up to 150 persons.

Crispy banana in langka sauce (Php115), halo-halo (Php95), banana apple a la crepe (Php125) and Leche Fresca ice cream (Php85, made from fresh carabao’s milk) are just some of the choices for dessert. For the more diet-conscious, they also have a soup and salad buffet offered every day from 11 A.M. to 2 P.M. for Php169 per head. There is also a roast beef carving station every Wednesday until Friday, and the meal is served with pasta, potatoes and vegetables, all for Php250.

Committed to Serving True to its commitment in providing quality service and unmatched hospitality, the hotel continuously improves its interiors and facilities. Those planning to stay for more than a week will be sure to love the new concept currently in the works—an extended stay program with special rates and packages to make longer stays more comfortable and worry-free.

A Welcoming Heart The VIP Hotel lies not just in the heart of the city but is also in the heart of the Kagay-anon culture. Throughout the years, it kept in time to the beat of changing seasons but never strayed from its core. And true to its logo, it will always be an embodiment of a welcoming and open heart, one that swells with joy from serving its patrons to make for an unforgettable stay. F

Contact Information The VIP Hotel is located at Apolinar Velez corner Borja Streets, Cagayan de Oro City, with telephone numbers (+63 8822) 726-080, 727-360, 7265-52 and 726-441; fax number (+63 88) 856-2505; and email addresses and viphotel@amazon. com. Visit Web site

Volume 8 • Number 3 • 2012 EXPERIENCE Travel and Living |


The Dynasty Court Hotel’s lobby welcomes guests who come for business or leisure (right). Its Chinese restaurant offers delectable dishes and can seat about 400 diners (below).


ncient China’s history is studded with a number of dynasties, which all ended even the greatest of them, their grandeur we can only imagine by reading its history. In Cagayan de Oro City in northern Mindanao, a “dynasty” continues to be strong. It does not have powerful rulers, servants and wise men as councilors, but a friendly and accommodating staff that serves the people of the city and those who wander in.

Suited for Business, Events and Everything in between Dynasty Court Hotel means serious business—seven fully equipped function rooms. Companies and government offices from and outside of Cagayan de Oro City frequent the hotel for their meetings, seminars, launches and other business affairs. Six of their function rooms are named after Chinese dynasties—Ching, Chiu, Han and Ming (which can accommodate 25 persons), Sung and Wu (which accommodates 40 persons). According to general manager Nelia B. Lee, these rooms “have foldable dividers so as to be able to adjust according to the scale of the event.” The seventh room is known as Jade and can hold up to 15 persons. For major events that are on a grander 36 |

Dynasty Court Hotel: Services Fit for Royalty By Maria Teresa C. Dumana Photos by Donald Tapan

EXPERIENCE Travel and Living Volume 8 • Number 3 • 2012

scale, there is the Imperial Ballroom with an 800-person seating capacity. Debuts, parties, receptions, and other private occasions may be held here. The hotel’s staff can bedeck the ballroom according to the theme or mood of the event. The hotel also provides the necessary equipment needed to make all of these events a success. In-house catering services may also be availed by clients. Just approach any of their accommodating staff, and they’ll see to it that the request can be granted.

As If You Never Left Home Being at the center of town can be a great advantage for hotels, and Dynasty Court Hotel has been playing well to this advantage. Besides being a favorite events place, the hotel is always abuzz with guests traveling to CDO for leisure with friends and family or for serious matters. That is why they are very keen on the amenities of their 96 rooms. For a hotel that has been around for 25 years, they are slowly modernizing their rooms to suit the times and needs of the clients. “Efforts to continuously improve our business have always been a priority, and this has been the reason for on-going renovations for all of our facilities, which include the restaurant, function rooms, hotels rooms and others,” Lee explains.

Whether staying in any of their 48 standard, 36 deluxe, or 12 suite rooms, guests are assured of having a comfortable stay as if they never left their own homes. Spacious and elegantly designed, the fully air-conditioned rooms are equipped with a flat-screen cable TV, hot and cold showers, and telephone. Free Wi-Fi connection is available on all floors and can be accessed in the rooms. Room service, housekeeping and other services may also be enjoyed by guests with just a call to the front desk. Because of the convenience of their location as well as their solid reputation in the hotel industry, Dynasty Court Hotel has been servicing a wide range of clients. Lee says that their usual customers are not limited to business travelers who are in the city for business and leisure. “There are also a number of tourists, both domestic and foreign, who check in for the hotel’s accessible location,” she adds.

A Quick Chinese Fix The hotel also prides itself in having a restaurant which serves authentic Chinese cuisine. Dynasty Court Hotel actually started out as a Chinese restaurant. Lee enumerates the crowd favorites in their restaurant: “There are a number Volume 8 • Number 3 • 2012 EXPERIENCE Travel and Living |


Dynasty Court Hotel has 48 standard, 36 deluxe and 12 suite rooms.

of dishes that our restaurant offers but among the top crowd favorites are Shantung chicken, lumpia shanghai, pansit guisado, steamed lapu-lapu and pata tim.” Lauriats are a staple in every Chinese gathering, and guests can choose from several of their combinations. The restaurant, which can easily fit 400 hungry diners, can also accommodate small gatherings. Upon reservation, dividers can be put up, and guests can be assured of having of a private and intimate set-up.

More Services Dynasty Court Hotel also has other services that can make your stay with them more memorable. Guests may avail of their car rental, secretarial, laundry and dry cleaning, and postal services. They can also assist their clients in their airline and shipping reservations, as well as provide weary individuals with the best massage therapist in town. For those who have very important business matters to attend to, the hotel has a complete business center which has Internet and Wi-Fi access. All major credit cards are accepted in Dynasty Court Hotel to make transactions hassle-free for everyone.

On a Final Note So whether you’re in Cagayan de Oro for business or for pleasure, and you and your companions are looking for a place that’s comfortable and accessible, then this hotel might just be the place for you. Years of providing good service to their clients set them apart from the other hotels in CDO. “I firmly believe that what mainly sets us apart from other hotels is our approach to our guests and clients. We practice a personalized approach to our clients. We tailor-fit every event as much as we can, according to their needs and wants such as menu requests,” Lee shares. Like in ancient Chinese tradition, the gongs have sounded. Welcome to Dynasty Court Hotel. F

Contact Information Dynasty Court Hotel and Restaurant is on Tiano corner Hayes Streets in Cagayan de Oro City, with telephone numbers (+63 8822) 72-7908, 72-6876, 725-934, 728-101, 726-962, 724-516, 725-969, (+63 88) 857-1250 and 857-4802; fax number (+63 8822) 727-825; and email address Visit Web site http://

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EXPERIENCE Travel and Living Volume 8 • Number 3 • 2012

Country Village Hotel: Countryside M Quiet in the City

etro Manila can be noisy and stressful. Bumper-to-bumper traffic, hectic deadlines and the pollution can really get to you at one point. Cagayan de Oro (CDO) is no different from the hustle and bustle of the city setting. Getting away from it all is a must to keep you sane, to say the least. And one hotel offers just that—an escape. What’s better is that it is not that far from all the action. Feel the quiet and the relaxed vibe just like in the countryside at the Country Village Hotel.

By Maria Teresa C. Dumana Photos by Donald Tapan

Sprawling Gardens and Indoor Venues With 6,000 square meters, the hotel boasts of sprawling and manicured gardens making them favorite venues to hold outdoor events and functions. Siblings Galen and Cathlyn Gordiel share that these spacious gardens set them apart from other hotels in the city and take pride in that fact. Volume 8 • Number 3 • 2012 EXPERIENCE Travel and Living |


The Country Village Hotel welcomes guests into its elegant lobby (left). Adolfo’s is the hotel’s main dining outlet (below, left). Grand events such as a wedding reception can be held at its function rooms (bottom, left). The Poolside Gazebo has a Jacuzzi, which guests can enjoy (bottom).

On a regular day, the gazebo is actually where the Jacuzzi is, but during events they board it up and spruce it up with loud colors. They usually let the bride and groom sit here during wedding receptions, and during parties they give the cake and the gifts a special place by setting them up here. Those who prefer a more intimate set-up or concerned about sudden changes in the weather, Country Village also has indoor functions rooms, the Angela 1, 2 and 3. These rooms are fully air-conditioned and equipped with the resources needed to make everything run smoothly. The staff can also whip up a nice set-up, depending on the function. Angela 1, 2, and 3 also face the gardens, so people can enjoy a nice walk or breathe fresh air during breaks.

A Surprise in Every Room Country Village Hotel has 52 cozy and spacious rooms—23 standard rooms (two single beds in a room), twelve superior rooms (with single and double-sized beds, and terrace), four superior rooms (two single beds and one double-sized bed), five deluxe rooms (two double-sized beds with mini ref and terrace), one junior suite (one matrimonial bed with receiving area and mini ref), four executive suites (one matrimonial bed with big terrace, bathtub, receiving area and terrace), and one supreme suite (one matrimonial bed with big terrace). Galen explains that all of their rooms are fully air-conditioned and equipped with modern facilities. “All rooms have direct dial telephones, cable TV, bath and show. It includes complimentary breakfast and free use of the swimming pool,” he adds.

Gastronomic Treats Guests don’t need to go far to look for good food. The hotel’s restaurant, Adolfo’s, can prepare sumptuous meals at your request. Under the watchful eye of Galen, who is also a chef, you know you are in for a good treat. Head on down to Adolfo’s for breakfast, lunch, merienda and dinner. They have a good selection of dishes. Foodies will enjoy the appetizers, the hearty Filipino dishes and other light snacks. And perhaps after a good meal, you and

To make the most out of the space, they divided their gardens into four function areas. The Phoenix Hall is a nice venue to hold wedding receptions, family reunions and other occasions. What’s best with Phoenix Hall is that guests can still enjoy fresh air and smell the flowers without having to worry about a sudden rain pour. The Kids’ Corner is perfect for kiddie parties. With the playground accessible to this function area, parents or even yayas won’t have to go scampering for their kids. With the pool also nearby, for sure the little ones (and even not-so-little ones) won’t be able to resist the inviting cool waters. Guests may also request for the staff to put up a colorful tent to shield them from the heat of the sun or the rain. Other outdoor venues include the Palm Garden and the Pool Side Gazebo. 40


EXPERIENCE Travel and Living Volume 8 • Number 3 • 2012

your friends can end it with a good old cup of joe. Geo’s Cafe has a long list of iced and cold coffees and even frappes. City slickers and coffee snubs won’t have to search for a Starbucks or a Coffee Bean. While in Country Village, Geo’s Coffee can give that caffeine fix you need to keep you going. You may also opt to enjoy these meals, light snacks and coffee at the comfort of your own room. Munch on a triple-decker with fries on the side while watching a good movie or series. Or you can make the most out of that spacious terrace

and take long sips of coffee or frappes while watching the sun set.

On a Personal Note Country Village Hotel is currently under renovation to make everything easier for their guests in the future. Galen says that service, besides their gardens, makes them a good place to stay in while in CDO. He also makes sure that guests do not get bored during their stay. “Away from daily routine, there is plenty to keep the guest entertained including outdoor pool, massage services, Jacuzzi and sauna room,” he shares. “We also offer a high-speed Wi-Fi Internet access to satisfy the needs of our customers and visitors.” As writers we can only describe the hotel for readers to a certain extent. If in the near future Cagayan de Oro will be on your itinerary or even in your bucket list, why not stay at Country Village Hotel? The staff will be more than happy to serve you. And to end this on a personal note, Galen personally invites you to the hotel: “We would like to invite everyone to please come and visit our hotel where you can feel at home and experience the unforgettable stay in the city!” F

Contact Information Country Village Hotel is on Villarin Street , Carmen, Cagayan de Oro City, with telephone numbers (+63 88) 858-3004 to 06, (+63 8822) 712-201 to 03 and (+63 8822) 712-205.

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Business is Sweeter at

Mallberry Suites By Kathrina Paz Elefante Photos by Donald Tapan



EXPERIENCE Travel and Living Volume 8 • Number 3 • 2012

The hotel offers eight boardrooms for business meetings and conferences.

European Feel The hotel’s interiors have a contemporary, clean aesthetic, which is comparable to European boutique hotels. The spacious lobby with its recessed ceiling and cove lighting is furnished with modern lounge chairs in art nouveau pattern and contrasting colors. Walls are decorated with abstract artworks that add a splash of color to the casual yet sophisticated atmosphere. The lobby level houses the different dining options, which includes a cafe, a well-stacked bar, an Italian-inspired bistro that adds to the luxurious ambiance and a Filipino restaurant.


ndoubtedly one of the progressive cities in the country and a competitive business hub in the northern Mindanao region, Cagayan de Oro attracts not just flocks of tourists seeking adventure but also entrepreneurs and investors on official business. A suitable place to stay that caters to the specific needs of this market arose. Established in 2006, Mallberry Suites Business Hotel is now known as the premier business hotel in Cagayan de Oro. Its location within the business and commercial district is one of the many reasons guests choose to book their stay here while visiting the city to close a business deal or for a well-deserved vacation. One is literally a few steps away from everything as the hotel sits right beside Robinsons Mall. It is also a stone’s throw from the largest shopping center in the region and a row of restaurants and coffee shops.

More Than the Basics Mallberry Suites’ 350 rooms offer various options for the discerning traveler to suit his preferences and budget, with rates ranging from Php1,490 to Php7,500. The Corporate Solo Rooms, Standard, Superior, DeLuxe, Executive, Junior Suites, Presidential Suites and Residence Suites are equipped with Wi-Fi and LAN Internet and data connection, flat-screen TVs with cable connection, hot and cold showers, telephones and other guest room facilities. The interiors of the guest rooms reflect the same modern minimalist aesthetic. Having more than the standard amenities, the hotel has a full-sized guest lounge located on the second floor. For the entreprenuer on-the-go, a business center with Internet connection is available here. For those who are fond of taking a dip but without the worry of sunburn, a swim in their indoor swimming pool can take the tropical heat off or is a nice way to cap off an evening. The hotel prides itself because no other hotel in the city has this leisure facility. A billiards table, dart Volume 8 • Number 3 • 2012 EXPERIENCE Travel and Living |


boards and board games can be found in the gaming room. Health buffs can spend some time at their in-house gym just beside the pool. After a nice workout, breathe in the cool aroma of peppermint and get a relaxing hour-long signature massage at Elements Spa. For business meetings and conferences, the hotel offers a choice of eight boardrooms, a 70-seat mini theater, the large Trade Exhibit Hall, and the Palladium and Platinum ballrooms that cater to different event requirements. There is also the Team Building floor with its own set of guest rooms, which make corporate and official functions more convenient to organizers.

Mallberry Suites has 350 rooms of different types (top). It has several dining options (above) such as Cafe Berde; Rosso, which offers juicy U.S. steaks (left); Cafe Laguna; and the Blue Duck Bar. Health buffs can work out in its gym (below).

Different Fares for Different Folks There are several dining options available at the Mallberry Suites that will surely satisfy different palates. Cafe Berde offers light snacks and coffee, perfect for merienda time. Guests are treated to a mix of Continental and Oriental fare at the Italianinspired bistro Rosso, where signature dishes include juicy U.S. Wagyu sirloin and mini rib-eye steaks. Some of their bestsellers are Gamba Quattro (which is sautéed shrimp dish served in four different flavors), blackened chicken Alfredo pasta, shrimp pasta and Rosso teriyaki chicken which is served on top of a generous helping of wasabi greens—a salad of iceberg lettuce, mango bits and crabsticks — combined with Rosso’s wasabi dressing. Adjacent to Rosso is Cafe Laguna, which offers a scrumptious array of Filipino favorites such as native kakanin, paella, kare-kare and buko pandan and

other tasty selections like the must-try bouillabaisse soup, pandan chicken and baked scallops with butter. After feasting on these gastronomic delights, walk over to the Blue Duck Bar and treat yourself to a bottle (or two) of your favorite beer or a glass of cocktail.

Northern Hospitality Cagayan de Oro is known for the friendliness of the locals, thus it is dubbed the City of Golden Friendship. The hotel’s accommodating staff is sure to help make your stay a unique experience, one that will leave a lasting impression that will make you want to come back. And as you explore the city’s breadth and immerse in its culture, you will find that strangers’ smiles are as warm as your closest friends’. F

Contact Information The Mallberry Suites Business Hotel is located beside Robinsons Mall in Cagayan de Oro City, with telephone numbers (+63 88) 854-1999, (+63 88) 854-2999 and (+63 88) 854-3999; fax number (+63 88) 8544999; and email addresses and info@ 44


EXPERIENCE Travel and Living Volume 8 • Number 3 • 2012

Chali Beach Resort and Conference Center in Full Bloom By Kathrina Paz Elefante Photos by Donald Tapan


e all need quiet time away from the noise of the city once in a while. Sometimes, there is nothing more calming and rejuvenating than a weekend spent with sounds we do not get to hear often—crashing waves, rustling leaves and whistling wind. Have those with some delicious food, an impressive view of blue waters and tasteful accommodations in a Mindanaoan city known for its hospitality, and you have the formula for a lovely vacation.

A Haven in Cugman It has been more than fifty years since the first visitor of Chali Beach Resort and Conference Center sought refuge under one of the picnic huts that stood along the beach. The family-owned resort is found in the barangay of Cugman in Cagayan de Oro City, which rests on the slopes of a watershed forested mountain and on the shore of Macajalar Bay. The name Chali is a combination of the original owners’ last names, Ernesto Chali’s Tres Marias restaurant offers Filipino dishes such as sizzling nocus, seafood soup, baked tahong and Buko Loco Halo.

Volume 8 • Number 3 • 2012 EXPERIENCE Travel and Living |


Chali Beach Resort and Conference Center’s bathroom and room (right), and lobby (below, right).

Chaves and Lolita Lim. The sprawling property was redeveloped in 1994 when the three-storey hotel, in-house restaurant, swimming pool and cottages were added to the resort’s amenities. Now managed by spouses Dong and Ging Chaves, Chali has transformed into a haven for weary city dwellers and tourists.

Rustic Charm The inviting lobby exudes a rustic charm with a modern feel, incorporating tropical design with its natural ventilation, floor lamps and a dainty chandelier for lighting and contemporary furniture. The space is accented with clay jars in different sizes and driftwood pieces. From here you can see the surrounding greenery and the blossoming flowers, like the trumpet-shaped gumamela or hibiscus, which the owners have planted themselves. Amongst the bushes, a playful cockatoo warbles happily and greets visitors strolling around the garden near the outdoor swimming pool. The resort has various accommodation options that range from Php1,650 to Php4,250. There are eleven courtyard suites, six cabanas, ten bungalows and 28 hotel rooms that are just as enticing as the lobby area. All guest rooms are fully air-conditioned, with hot and cold water for showers, cable television and telephones. Mini refrigerators are available in the deluxe cottages and superior hotel rooms. The cabanas are the largest available rooms where you can enjoy the panoramic view of the bay on the terrace. The resort’s idyllic setting also makes it an enchanting reception for special occasions. There are conference rooms and an outdoor function space available for weddings, seminars and conventions. For those who want to spend a few moments in silence, meditation can be done at the spacious prayer lodge. A quaint tree house is found a few steps away from the restaurant that adds a touch of whimsy. As with any getaway, it would not be complete without indulging in a restorative massage. Their Palm Bay Spa offers shiatsu, Swedish and what they call the D’Palm massage that comes with a hot stone treatment. Body scrub treatments are also offered.

Tres Bien Dining at Tres Marias Guests can dine al fresco at their in-house restaurant, Tres Marias, which serves mouth-watering Filipino dishes. After a morning swim, you can take your breakfast by the pool while basking in the sun. Poolside dining is from 6 until 9 P.M., and their bar is open for 24 hours. Feast on fresh seafood such as baked tahong (Php165); prawns grilled or cooked with lemon butter (Php240), steamed (Php220) or with coconut milk (Php230); and sizzling specialties such as sizzling nocus (Php185), which is sliced squid grilled and served with vegetable sidings. Other specialties are their sizzling steaks that include fillet mignon (Php305) and Filipino favorites kare-kare (Php230), lechon kawali (Php185) and pinakbet (Php165). Wash it down with their must-try banana shake (Php60) and try to leave room for a generous helping of Buko Loko Halo (Php95) for dessert.

Delicate Beauty In weddings, the fragile hibiscus is a symbol of love’s immortality. Similarly, it is the love and care of the resort’s owners that has brought Chali to full bloom. So pick a flower and tuck it behind your ear as you let yourself be engulfed with serenity. F

Contact Information Chali Beach Resort and Conference Center is located at Zone 3, Cugman, Cagayan de Oro City 9000, with telephone numbers (+63 88) 855-2108, (+63 88) 855-5941, (+63 88) 855-5942, (+63 8822) 732-840 and (+63 8822) 732-929; fax number (+63 88) 855-2108; and email address info@ Visit Web site 46


EXPERIENCE Travel and Living Volume 8 • Number 3 • 2012

Volume 8 • Number 3 • 2012 EXPERIENCE Travel and Living |


A Traveler’s Friend By Kathrina Paz Elefante


ime is of the essence when traveling, especially if one is rushing to meet a deadline or has a business deal to close. Driving one’s own car is convenient but not always possible while commuting can be tiresome especially if one is carrying a backpack laden with essential gadgets and other travel essentials. Ajis Rent-a-Car aids the busy traveler in getting around Cagayan de Oro City and the surrounding suburbs. Established in 1998, the company is a family-owned business that started with several units. Through the years, it has evolved to a company that offers a fleet of units for car rental and leasing services. The company provides business executives, celebrities and tourists with safe and reliable vehicles and has well-oriented drivers to take you around the commercial, business and tourist destinations. They have tie-ups with hotels and travel agencies that make gallivanting and official business trips hassle-free. Ajis Rent-a-Car also provides different multinational 48


EXPERIENCE Travel and Living Volume 8 • Number 3 • 2012

companies with long-term lease contracts for their vehicles. A wide variety of units is available to cater to different needs and preferences of their clientele available at affordable rates. Pick from their fleet of latest models of Sedans, SUVs, AUVs, Vans and 4WD pick-ups. They also have a coaster bus for large tour groups or company-sponsored events. Truly, comfort and professional service makes Ajis Renta-Car a trusted car rental company in the northern Mindanao region. F

Contact Information Ajis Rent-a-Car is located at Jetti Station, Westbound Terminal, Bulua, Cagayan de Oro City, with telephone numbers (+63 8822) 737-785 and (+63 88) 850-5810, mobile numbers +63917-6341907 and +63922-7049230, and e-mail address


dventure can sometimes be found in the most unlikely of places. In a quiet, suburban area outside the city of Cagayan de Oro is a place which promises to satisfy that insatiable thirst. Water sports enthusiasts and beach lovers will surely have an enjoyable time at Ajis Aqua Sports and Beach Resort. The beach is located in the municipality of Opol in Misamis Oriental, a mere 15 minutes away from the city proper of Cagayan de Oro and accessible through the Cagayan de Oro-Iligan Highway. It shares a coastline with 11 other municipalities that faces the inviting waters of Macajalar Bay. Ajis Aqua Sports and Beach Resort has facilities that cater not only to family and barkada outings. A function hall, available at Php5,000, can accommodate up to 60 persons, perfect for teambuilding sessions and company events. Tents can also be rented for Php700, which is big enough for a group of 20.

Making Waves There is something for everyone with the numerous activities being offered. To jumpstart the day, strap on a life jacket and hold on tight as you get towed on a banana boat, which comes in five-seaters (Php250 per head) and eight-seaters (Php200 per head) and can be rented for a minimum of 15 minutes. After that, go solo or ask a buddy to accompany you as you rev up and slice through the blue waters on a Yamaha Wave Runner, which you can use for at least 15 minutes to an hour, costing from Php875 up to Php3,500. Kayaking and wakeboarding are also offered. If you want to speed things up even more, put on your favorite pair of sunglasses and cruise on a 17-foot speed boat available at Php4,500++ per day. Soak up the sun in your most fashionable pair of bikinis while out on the bay

with the 27-foot Sundeck 270 Sea Ray speed boat for Php7,500++ per day.

Earth, Wind and Fire Craving for an intense dose of adrenaline? Get that rush and strap on a parachute for a 15-minute parasailing experience for Php1,500 for single rider and Php2,500 for double riders. Scuba diving aficionados will also have a great time in the dive safari on board a 44-foot power catamaran at Php10,000++ per day that includes the islands Camiguin and Bohol, and Dumaguete City. After a tiring but exciting day, spread a blanket on the sandy shore, lie down and listen to the ebbing tide as you wait for the skies to take on a beautiful orange hue as it sets. F

Contact Information Ajis Aqua Sports and Beach Resort is in Taboc, Opol, Misamis Oriental, with telephone numbers (+63 8822) 737-785 and (+63 88) 850-5810, mobile numbers +63926-1692102 and +63917-7085574.

Into the Blue,

Into Ajis Aqua Sports and Beach Resort By Kathrina Paz Elefante

Among others, Ajis Aqua Sports and Beach Resort offers parasailing and banana boat ride

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Panglao Beach Resort Offers the Best of Bohol and of the Filipino



EXPERIENCE Travel and Living Volume 8 • Number 3 • 2012

Huts dot the beach area of Bluewater Panglao Resort (left), where guests can lounge with a drink and watch the sunset. Nearby is Bohol’s most popular beach destination, Alona. The resort’s Pool Wing features a lagoon-like swimming pool (below) flanked by handsome rows of rooms.

By Roel Hoang Manipon Photos by Donald Tapan


n afternoon siesta was interrupted by angelic singing. I alighted from the bed that seemed to float, and everything felt like a dream. In flowing sea-green dress, the Loboc Children’s Choir, one of Bohol’s prides which had won many international choir competitions, was singing from the terrace of the Bluewater Panglao Beach Resort, overlooking the lucent blue water of the pool, shaped like a lagoon and flanked by two buildings of guestrooms. On the bridge that traverses the pool and connects the two buildings, dancers jumped into the pool with dolphin headdresses. They represented the seven dolphins in a Lapu-Lapu legend which now figure in the logo of Bluewater resorts, harking to its Cebuano roots. Thus, the third resort of Bluewater was opened in Bohol on July 31, 2011, coinciding with the island province’s Sandugo Festival, which commemorates the blood compact and treaty of friendship between Bohol’s Datu Sikatuna and Spanish conquistador Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, and accompanied with much feasting and entertainment. The best of the resort as well of Bohol was offered to guests. Bluewater Panglao marked a milestone—the expansion of the Bluewater brand and its contribution to the growth of Bohol as a premiere tourist destination as well as a homecoming of sorts for the owner, the Alegrado family of Cebu. Why Bohol? one may wonder. “My family and I would come here for vacation. One reason is that we love Bohol. It’s such a beautiful place. It’s really magical. Another is my father lived here for a while. My grandmothers—my father’s mom and my mom’s mom—are actually from Bohol. We still have relatives here, and we would come here. My father’s family still has property in Sagbayan, Bohol,” revealed Julie Alegrado-Vergara, president of Bluewater Resorts and Almont Hotel and Resorts Corporation, and daughter of family patriarch Arcadio Alegrado, honorary consul to Austria since 1985, who started it all. She was referring to Julieta Castillo from the district of Taloto in Tagbilaran, mother of Arcadio. Her mother, Marie Torralba Montalban Alegrado, is related Volume 8 • Number 3 • 2012 EXPERIENCE Travel and Living |


to the Torralbas of Bohol. Julieta was one of the seven children of Esteban Castillo, an escribiente at the treasurer’s office in Tagbilaran, and Guadalupe Garcia, a Spanish mestiza teaching cartilla to children. Arcadio’s father, Venancio Alegrado, hailed from Carcar, Cebu, who went to the United States in early 1920s to study, becoming a trainee in mechanical engineering at the Ford Motors Company. He returned home in 1930s, opened gasoline stations in Cebu and Dumaguete City, and also ventured into corn and rice milling in Sagbayan in Bohol. Arcadio came to Sagbayan when the family evacuated to the town when World War II broke out. Despite the death of his father when he was nine years old, Arcadio had a pleasant childhood in Sagbayan, growing up with the countryside as playground. He went to schools in Bohol and Cebu. He worked his way through college at the University of the Philippines. After graduation, he worked with Caltex Philippines, during which he met Marie Montalban, a school dentist in Butuan City. He eventually quit his job and lived in Butuan, where he opened a gasoline station and a lodge. When they were married, Arcadio and Marie opened a restaurant by the family’s home garden in Butuan City called the Family Garden in 1970s. In 1976, Arcadio went to Cebu to open a seafood restaurant, the Fishing Village, and a furniture factory. In 1983, he built a 24-room hotel in Butuan called Almont Hotel. As his businesses prospered in Cebu, he moved his family there. In 1989, the family established Maribago Bluewater Beach Resort in the sitio of Buyong, Maribago, Lapu-Lapu City, on Mactan Island. They still own Almont Hotel but trusted its management mostly to its staff. In May 1998, the Alegrados opened the Almont Inland Resort in Butuan City, next to their residence there. Eventually, two more properties, the Almont Beach Resort in Lipata, Surigao City, and the Almont Lake Resort in Lake Mainit, Kitcharao, both in Surigao del Norte, would be added to the roster of Almont accommodations. On the other hand, Bluewater Maribago Beach Resort started as a beach house for the families of the Alegrado brothers, Arcadio and his younger brother Eddie. 52


Diwata Bridge leads to the Aplaya Restaurant

After a week of managing their rattan furniture, they would spend their weekends with their families. They would also hold family gatherings and special occasions at the beach house where they invited their friends, who suggested turning the beach house into a resort. Seeing the potential of the place, the Alegrados took their friends’ suggestion and started acquiring adjacent tracts of land. Two rooms were built, now rooms 21 and 35, and they welcomed their first guests, a Japanese couple, in 1989. Eventually, 51 cottages were built with thirty-two rooms and friends in the business were invited to invest through vacation membership. They also established a sales office, and their restaurant in Cebu City was transferred to the resort, now the Allegro Restaurant. In 1993, a convention hall and twelve more cottages, two levels with two to four rooms each, were constructed. In May 1994, the convention hall had its first big event, the Rotary Club International District Convention of which Arcadio was the district governor.

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In 1995, Julie Alegrado was appointed assistant general manager. Having graduated from a hotel management course at the International Center Hotel and Tourism Training in Vienna, Austria, she also became general manager of Almont Hotel. With Julie’s vision and passion, the seven-hectare Bluewater Maribago has developed into one of Cebu’s known resorts. A full-service spa, Amuma, was built in January 2007. Another resort was also built—Bluewater Sumilon Beach Resort on the 24-hectare island of Sumilon in Bancogon, Oslob, in the southern part of Cebu, 125 kilometers from Cebu City, which opened in 2005. Bluewater Panglao Beach Resort is the first Bluewater resort outside of Cebu. “We would come [to Bohol], and my father would reminisce. So we started to explore the possibility of opening up a property here. And we’re glad we did. Bohol is attracting a lot of tourists, local and foreign. We have so much to offer. It is but natural to put up one here,” Julie related.

The swimming pool features an island in the middle where one can lounge around (below). The Bluewater logo has images of the seven dolphins of the Lapu-Lapu legend (bottom).

A piece of land was offered to the family in the sitio of Daurong in the barangay of Danao, Panglao. It did not seem like an attractive property because it was off Alona Beach and the 120-meter shoreline is craggy, but Julie felt comfortable about it. The family bought the six-hectare property, two hectares of which was developed into the resort. The remaining four are earmarked for future developments. Aside from familial connection, Julie saw the potential of Bohol to make it big as one of the top tourist destinations. The province has different attractions to captivate visitors. Chief among these is the Chocolate Hills in the center of the province, a cluster of more than a thousand haycock hills so named because they look like Hershey’s Kisses chocolate when not verdant. Bohol is home to the Philippines’ tarsier, a small, shy, nocturnal and endangered primate people find oh-so-cute. The countryside remains lush, enabling them to operate river cruises such as on the Loboc River and Abatan River. Impressive, old Spanish colonial churches dot the province, many of which

still retain their interesting architectural features. The churches of Panglao, Dauis, Baclayon, Alburqueque and Loboc are worth a visit. An adventure park in the town of Danao offers outdoor adventure activities including a zip line. The reefs of and near the disk-like island of Balicasag are one the best diving sites in the country. Beach lovers and most of the tourists stay in Panglao, an 80.5-square kilometer island southwest of the bigger island of Bohol to which it is connected by two bridges, with two municipalities—Dauis and Panglao. In the barangay of Tawala in Panglao, eighteen kilometers from the provincial capital Tagbilaran City, one finds Bohol’s finest and foremost stretch of whitesand beach, Alona, where about a hundred resorts and tourism-related establishments cluster. Despite the number of resorts that line the beach, the place is relatively sedate compared to crowded and bar-filled White Beach of Boracay Island, reflective of the nature of Bohol and its people—shy, provincial, innocent and conservative— which is charming and disarming. The one-and-a-half-kilometer Alona Beach is bookended by rocky cliffs. The lovely Amorita Resort perches at one end and Bluewater Panglao rises at another, where it is more secluded. Away from the main

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A foot bridge spans the swimming pool (above). The Aplaya Restaurant offers a delectable array of Filipino and international cuisines (right). Every Saturday, it has a themed buffet dinner in which dancers perform Filipino folk dances and encourage diners to join in (below). Among the leisure activities in the resort is kayaking (bottom)

road of Panglao, a dirt road slices through a terrain wild with trees and thickets, hiding a bend that leads to the gate of Bluewater Panglao. There are very few other resorts in the area but that may change soon as Bohol becomes more aggressive in promoting tourism, and people are beginning to discover its gems. And Bluewater Panglao is ready to welcome them with refreshing cold towels, enjoyable welcome drinks, open arms and a smile. The Pool Wing is the main area of the resort that greets guests, where the reception area, a small lounge, the library and game room, the spa gazebos, the Baroto Poolside Bar and the rooms frame the main swimming pool with a small island and lounge chairs in the middle. This area is so open you feel free and light. The sky is so expansive, and beneath it the pool reflects its azure. At the sides, the Pool Wing buildings 54


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are handsome with thick grass roofs and railings of reclaimed wood. The bridge of grey stone and reclaimed wood spans the four-foot deep, family-friendly pool. The structures bloom with green, magenta and white with bougainvillea. Most of the resort’s 54 rooms are here— the Premier Deluxe rooms with 68 square meters of floor space. The rooms have sliding glass doors affording a view of the pool and the sky and enabling a connection to the outside. But if one needs privacy and cocooning, one just draws the curtains. In the room, the bed—a king bed or two queen beds in each room—is the first thing to be noticed. The cantilevered bed is becoming a signature of Bluewater resorts, surprising and delighting guests. Attached to the wall, the bed has no legs and seems to float, adding to the feeling of space. The room is well-appointed, welcoming and cozy, acquiring a Filipino character with accents of Yakan and Cordillera textile patterns found in pillowcases and runners. It has the de-riguere amenities of a good resort such as a mini bar, a large cable TV, an iPod dock, telephone and coffee and tea making facilities. A large door of wood slats opens to the spacious bathroom. A skylight lets the sunshine in, revealing a bathtub in the middle. The shower stall has rainfall shower and lined with pebbles. The bathroom is lovable. At the ends of the Pool Wing buildings are the four Family Lofts, which can accommodate up to four people, suitable

for families or groups of friends. The Family Loft is actually two Premier Deluxe rooms together with a 68-square-meter ground floor and a 65-square-meter upper floor. It has a king bed and two queen beds. Beside the Pool Wing is a cluster of villas. The largest of them is luxurious Villa Panglao, the resort’s only Family Pool Villa with 224 square meters of floor space. The door opens to the lanai; a 2.5-square-meter, four-foot deep dipping pool; and a view of the sprawling garden. This area connects the two rooms, one with a king bed and the other with two queen beds. The furnishing and amenities are more luxurious with its own Illy espresso machine. The bathrooms are located behind the beds with wall televisions over the bathtubs. Nearby are the smaller Honeymoon Villas—Villa Cabilao, Villa Balicasag and Villa Pamilacan—named after the islands of Panglao. The 142-square-meter villa is like half of the Family Pool Villa and has a lanai, a dipping pool and one bedroom with a king bed. The Premiere Deluxe room costs about Php15,000 per night; Family Loft about Php30,000; Family Pool Villa about Php50,000; and Honeymoon Villa about Php26,000. The stay includes buffet breakfast, airport transfer, complimentary Wi-Fi access in the rooms and complimentary use of non-motorized water sports facilities

for a limited time, among others. Every now and then, the resort offers promos such as the Two-for-One Anniversary promo which offers a free second night or an additional room in celebration of its first anniversary. They also have the Bohol Quick Getaway promo. Contact the resort for details or visit its Web site for updates. What is noticeable about the rooms, about Bluewater Panglao in general is the design, and design is one aspect the resort is proud of. Its Web site and brochures have an introduction emphasizing it: “Bluewater Panglao creates a luxurious escape that honors Bohol’s natural beauty. Nestled in an island with white-sand beaches, pristine waters and marine sanctuaries, the resort’s Filipino architecture and design complement Bohol’s culture, inherent warm hospitality and eco-focused initiatives. “The challenge was to introduce a unique design concept that will match well with the environment. What the resort came up with is organic yet elegant, innovative and functional. According to designer Benji Reyes, ‘There is a feel of luxurious sophistication but not “stuffy.” The atmosphere is kept friendly, comfortable and warm.’” “We want to showcase the best of the Filipino,” Julie said. The resort is proud of the fact that it is

a hundred percent owned, managed and staffed by Filipinos. Capitalizing on that fact, touches of Filipino culture are infused into most aspects of the resorts such as design, the food, the spa and the service. To achieve its vision in design, the resort employed the creativity of architect, sculptor and furniture designer Benji Reyes, who Julie fondly regards as “my adopted brother.” Reyes designed the Amuma Spa of Maribago, which featured a cantilevered staircase. He also designed some of the rooms and cottages in Bluewater Maribago when it was being refurbished, where the first cantilevered beds were featured. Julie met Reyes when a mutual friend recommended him when she was looking for someone to design the spa. She visited his home in Antipolo City, Rizal, which she liked, and “we hit it off and has become close friends ever since.” Reyes designed Bluewater Panglao in what he calls new or modern Filipino. He used a lot of reclaimed wood salvaged from old houses being torn down, most of times without altering its original state. A closer look at the wood reveals wear from years of use, carved out portions for joints and holes where nails have been. This lends a lot of character to the look of the resort. There is another advantage in using reclaimed wood; it is environmentally friendly. The resort

The Family Lofts and the villas exude a luxurious and comfortable air. Every room features the Bluewater signature cantilevered bed.

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The resort has the Amuma Spa for massages, especially its signature hilot (top). Golf carts are one way of going around the sprawling resort (above).



is said to be environmentally conscious. Eighty percent of the wood used in the resort is reclaimed. Also, the resort has an on-site water treatment facility. During construction, they minimized altering the terrain as much as possible. In Aplaya Restaurant, the ceiling is made of pieces of rattan, the ones thrown away when pieces of furniture are made. These short unusable pieces were arranged in a pattern that looks impressive in its entirety. The furniture is custom-built for the resort. Many pieces use slats of wood woven together reminiscent of mats. The thick grass roofs top the overall sophisticated tropical look of the resort. Between the villas and the restaurant by the shore is the sprawling garden. A year after my first visit, the garden is blooming with ornamental plants, like a meadow in spring I often read in storybooks. It was bright yellow and green with pinto peanut plants. The black kukok birds came to play, hiding among the plants. One can hear them: “Kukoook!” They would burst out from the pinto peanut patch as one approaches. A few mango trees provide shade. A hammock is tied between two mango trees, an enclave to immerse in a book. Lemongrass lines the gravel path to the restaurant, giving way to running bamboo trees bowing to the breeze as one passes by. There is a children’s playground in the middle and patches of rock gardens. A little artificial creek marks the boundary between the garden and the restaurant area, where two foot bridges, Amihan (northeast monsoon) and Diwata (fairy or local nymph), traverse. The creek originates

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from the artificial waterfall, beside another swimming pool. Then, one is at the Aplaya Restaurant, a large open-air hut that offers international, Filipino-Asian and regional cuisines (open daily from 6 A.M to 10 P.M.). The name means “by the sea” or “seashore” in Spanish and Filipino. The menu was designed by Bluewater executive chef Gilbert Alan Mathay. The restaurant is now under supervision of sous chef Val Villarin. The restaurant offers delectable and ample choices. A section is dedicated to Filipino dishes as well asfresh catch from the sea. “In all our Bluewater properties, we want our guests to experience Filipino from architecture to the food. Aside from the many dishes, here in Panglao we offer kinampay, which is very Bohol. I heard it is the best kind of ube you can find,” Julie said. Kinampay is actually one of the province’s official symbols and is said to be the most delicious variety of ube (purple yam), sweet and creamy. Bluewater Panglao uses kinampay in its desserts in inventive ways. The Boholano ube kinampay dessert (Php150) is a sandwich of coconut macaroons with halayang ube kinampay and cream with sago (tapioca starch balls), served with ube ice cream. Julie particularly recommends the Boholano ube kinampay drink (Php180), which she admitted to be addicted to. It is a concoction of halayang ube, coconut juice and sago. I am not a fan of ube, which I find too rich and cloying, but the dessert and drink were interesting. But I am getting ahead. What I really enjoyed were the Filipino dishes. Start with the Aplaya Platter (Php325)

consisting of teriyaki chicken barbecue, pork and shrimp spring rolls and sesame seared tuna. For soup, have sinigang na baboy (Php 275), the perennial Filipino dish of pork in sour broth usually made from tamarind. For salad, they have what they call the native salad (Php250), made with cucumber, bitter gourd, tomato and jicama and topped with stir-fried shrimp and dry milkfish flakes, and the Bluewater Salad (Php320), grilled chicken breast layered with assorted lettuce, peppers, green beans, mango, carrots, shallots, spring onion and cashew nuts in balsamic vinegar dressing with sweet and sour sauce All the offerings in the Filipino and Boholano section are a must-try. They have the classics: bistek Tagalog (Php435), which is sautéed beef steak marinated in soy sauce and calamansi and served with onion rings and rice; chicken and pork adobo (Php435), pork belly and chicken leg quarters braised in vinegar and soy sauce; and pinakbet (Php290), the Ilocano stew of assorted vegetables with shrimps, bagoong alamang or fermented shrimp sauce and pork belly strips. Their adobo rice (Php320) is eyecatching and a meal by itself. The rice is fried with chicken adobo flakes and sauce. Then it is placed on a bamboo tube and topped with adobong Bisaya, which looks like pieces of lechon kawali. I was taken away by their lechon kawali (Php435), which I am not actually a fan of. The pork belly is slowly cooked until tender and then fried to crispness. The skin is so crunchy like a tasty chicharon and the meat flaky. I was converted. It is served with steamed rice and two sauces—soy and vinegar with chopped shallots and vinegar with chopped shallots. A Bohol specialty is the hinalang na manok (Php320). Hinalang means “pinaanghang” or “made hot or spicy.” The chicken is cooked in onion, ginger, peppercorn, chilli and coconut milk. Another is the tinolang pugapo (Php440). The pugapo or grouper is cooked with chayote, moringa leaves and tomatoes in a broth flavored with ginger, lemongrass and onion. When pugapo is not available, pompano (jack) is substituted, which many deem as better. The fish is supplied from the towns of Ubay and Tubigon. Entrée choices include grilled pork chop (Php350); lemon herb chicken (Php350); grilled lamb chops with rosemary merlot reduction (Php1,300); grilled U.S. Black

Ube kinampay drink

Boholano ube kinampay dessert

Adobo rice with lechon kawali and hinalang na manok

Lechon kawali

Hinalang na manok

Angus tenderloin steak with reduction of balsamic vinegar, beet, carrot and parsley (Php1,300); grilled U.S. Black Angus porterhouse steak (Php1,700); prawn curry with eggplant, tomato, okra and pineapple and served with fried plantain slices (Php600); seafood tempura (Php350); and Bohol bouillabaisse (Php400), a seasonal stew of fish, shellfish and vegetables with local herbs and spices. Also offered are the three baked lasagne cups, each with lamb, beef and chorizo meat sauces (Php325); bibimbap (Php275); linguine with mussels and clams (Php325); nasi goreng (Php350); and spaghetti (Php290) with a choice of Bolognese, marinara, pomodoro, Alfredo and carbonara sauces. Popular is the live seafood offerings. One chooses one’s crustacean (lobster, rock lobster, sea crab, mud crab and prawns), fish (pugapo, pompano, managat or mangrove jack, eel and stone fish) or shellfish (abalone, oyster, scallops, bongkawil, manok-manok and clams) and have them cooked with a choice of cooking styles. The Chinese style can be steamed with ginger and soy; with salt and pepper and fried in sea salt and Szechuan peppercorns; in sweet and sour sauce; or in black bean sauce. The Filipino styles are grilled or fried and served with native vinegar sauces, in sinigang soup and in tinola soup. Have them prepared Japanese style—as sashimi with wasabi and soy sauce or grilled with teriyaki sauce—or Continental style—steamed or grilled with lemon-butter sauce or garlic butter sauce. There are also Singaporean (chilli sauce or yellow curry) and Thai (red curry or grilled with lemongrass and served with nam pla or fish sauce) styles. They also have sandwiches and burgers, and a menu for kids. Choice Filipino desserts are the Bluewater fresh fruit halo-halo (Php290), which is fruits in season topped with ice cream and served in a young coconut shell; Bohol Island (Php150), ube ensaymada filled with vanilla ice cream on Bohol tablea chocolate sauce; and puto ug tsokolate (Php150), sticky rice served with Bohol tablea hot chocolate and mango. For drinks, they have a range of fruit juices, shakes and soft drinks. To cap an all Filipino meal, they have desserts drinks (Php180) of mais con hielo, sago at gulaman, halo-halo and guinomis. On Saturdays, Bluewater Panglao holds Volume 8 • Number 3 • 2012 EXPERIENCE Travel and Living |


Iconic Bohol attractions include the tarsier, the Loboc River Cruise and the Chocolate Hills. Bluewater Panglao affords one access to these.

a Filipino-themed dinner buffet and show called Barrio Fiesta, in which the buffet offerings include adobo rice, pinakbet, pochero, lechon manok, beef caldereta, inihaw na pugapo, liempo, chicharon Carcar, ube alupi and many more. Guests are entertained by Filipino folk dances, including Bohol’s kuradang, by the Bluewater Panglao Cultural Dance Troupe composed of the resort’s employees and local youths. While dining, one is served by attentive servers, who check on you often. The staff is generally young, energetic, welcoming and eager to be of service, so eager it comes off as ingenuous, charming and disarming. Yes, the staff is eager, confirmed resident manager Adie Gallares, who took over the helm of Bluewater Panglao after a year with Bluewater Maribago as front office manager. He said that sixty percent of the staff are locals, most of them graduates of colleges in Tagbilaran which have good tourism and hotel and restaurant management schools. Others come from neighboring Cebu and even Siquijor. Julie said the resort tries to bring out the best in Filipino hospitality. It is the kind of branding they want to make, she said. They may not surpass other big resorts, but they are sure that they will offer the best about the Filipino, and one is hospitality. And the service is indeed memorable. It can be expected that the same kind service will be rendered to other areas, such as holding a memorable event. Many weddings and celebrations have transpired here. Also, corporate events and entertainment, team building events and others can be held here through arrangement with its Banquet Sales Department. For small seminars and meetings, they have the Mamsa Meeting Room, named after a small local fish abundant in the waters around Bohol, which also doubles as a karaoke room for guests’ entertainment. A convention hall is in the planning. Gallares revealed that 45 percent of their guests are Filipinos, which is a relatively big number. Among foreign guests, Koreans remain to be the largest. Most of the guests are families, barkadas and honeymooners, taking advantage of Bluewater Panglao’s offerings of leisure activities and tours. Julie related that when they were staying in Bohol sometimes there is not much to do especially at night. Thus, Bluewater Panglao offers a range of activities 58


for guests. Of course, one can swim in the sea. The beach area is dotted by coconuts and has several huts and beach beds for lounging with a view of the Cebu Strait. In late afternoon, when the tide is low, one can see locals foraging for edible shellfish. One can stroll on the rocky shore. Water sports activities can be arranged at the Aquamania, operated by the Coral Point Dive Shop owned by Emeterio Bonghanoy, which offers snorkeling, fish feeding, sailing, kayaking, glass-bottom boat ride, windsurfing and stand-up paddleboard lessons. Exploring the islands by boat can also be arranged as well as diving, and Bohol has some of the country’s best diving spots. Nearby is a marine sanctuary and Balicasag Island. Out of the water, one can explore Panglao by bicycle or have an off-road adventure on quad bikes. All-terrain vehicle can also be rented. There are trails for ATV

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in the undeveloped parts of Bluewater Panglao. For kids, the resort has arts and crafts lessons and for adults massage lessons at the Amuma Spa. Lessons on basic Cebuano language, cooking at the Aplaya and mixing cocktails at the Baroto Poolside Bar are also offered. To see Bohol, the resort has tours accompanied by guides. Basically, there are two kinds of tours. The Bohol Countryside Tour, which usually starts early morning, includes Baclayon Church, the Sandugo marker, a tarsier conservation area in Corella, the forest of mahogany, the Chocolate Hills and lunch on the Loboc river cruise. The firefly watching tour starts at dusk with an interesting at the Bohol Bee Farm Resort in Daius. Then one goes to Salvador, Cortes, where the firefly-watching river tour starts. It is one of the tours and activities of the Abatan RiverLife Tour, which is managed

Bohol is also known for old Spanish colonial churches such as the ones in Dauis, Baclayon and Alburquerque.

by a non-governmental organization in partnership with the local government and several government agencies. It uses a boat formerly used to transport river sand, which was bought by construction firms. The Abatan River has lush growths of nipa palms and some mangrove trees where fireflies congregate. The name means “point of convergence” because it is where the river meets Maribojoc Bay. The guide will tell one that it was where farmers meet fishers to exchange goods. Along the way, the guide takes you to trees where fireflies swarm. The tour goes as far as the town of Maribojoc where a clump of trees hosts a large number of fireflies. The experience can be magical. The trees pulsate with tiny lights. One can also go dolphin watching on the Cebu Strait if the season is right. One can cap the day of activities with a massage. Bluewater Pangalao has what one can call a satellite branch of the Amuma Spa and Health Club of Bluewater Maribago, the name meaning “to pamper” in Cebuano. One can have his/her massage inside the room or at the two open-air pavilions at the end of the swimming pool, near the reception area. There is plan to build a fullservice like the one in Bluewater Maribago, part of the second phase of development of Bluewater Panglao which includes the building of more rooms. Headlining the services of Amuma Spa are the Filipino-inspired massages and treatments, such as the hilot, the Filipino massage. The Hilot Lamang (Php1,500 for 60 minutes, or Php2,500 for 90 minutes) uses long, flowing strokes to relax tense muscles. The Hilot Ablon (Php2,000 for 75 minutes), said to originate in northern Philippines, is also known as the dry massage because it does not use oils. Said to improve circulation and relieve stress, the massage uses thumb and palm pressure on certain points in the body as well as stretching. The Hinhut-an (Php800 for 30 minutes) is derived from the rural pastime of picking lice or kuto from one’s hair. The activity is said to be relaxing. Here, it is a head and shoulder massage with hair pulling to induce relaxation and rubbing of the neck, back and arms. On the other hand, the Pikpik Kawayan sa Siki (Php1,500 for 60 minutes) is a foot and leg massage using bamboo tubes to apply gentle pressure. After a massage, I retired to my room

and headed to the bed that seemed to float like a dream. My sojourns in Bohol have always been magical. On the first one I was accompanied by dolphins going home from Balicasag Island in a topaz sunrise. On this latest one I was accompanied by LapuLapu’s seven dolphins of Bluewater, now homed in Panglao, distilling the best of the island to bring you to dream. F

Getting There Zest Airways, Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific Air and Air Philippines have several flights daily from Manila to Tagbilaran City, Bohol. Sulpicio Lines has ferries going from Manila to Tagbilaran. Several ferries also go to Tagbilaran from Cebu, Dumaguete City and Cagayan de Oro City. For ferry schedules and routes, one may log on to The resort provides transfer from Tagbilaran City to the resort. Bluewater Panglao Beach Resort is in the sitio of Daurong, Danao, Panglao, Bohol.

Contact Information Bluewater Panglao Beach Resort can be contacted through telephone numbers (+63 38) 416-0695 and (+63 38) 416 -0696, fax number (+63 38) 416- 0697 and email address Visit We site or Its Metro Manila sales office is at Room 704, Cityland Herrera Tower, Rufino corner Valero Streets, Salcedo Village, Makati City, with telephone numbers (+63 2) 817-5751 and (+63 2) 887-1348; fax number (+63 2) 893-5391 and email address

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The Villa Patria Hotel is part of a family’s heritage

A small chapel was built as thanksgiving by the Morente family

Villa Patria Hotel and Restaurant: A Legacy of Love By Niña Elyca J. Rabadam Photos by Donald Tapan


love old things. This penchant stems from the fact that I have lived in an old family house as a child, where my relatives, most especially my grandmother, kept a treasure trove of vintage things. My grandmother stored a collection of family photographs in albums—black-and-white ones of the kins wearing the traditional Filipino clothes; yellowing ones of my young father, aunts and uncles; and recent color ones of her dear apos, grandchildren. In our living room were my grandpa’s heavy architect’s table and its revolving chair; and a heavyduty 1960s stand fan made of steel (which is still working). Once parked in our garage (before it got cleared of tambak) was a huge, yellow Pontiac and blue Zephyr cars. Each served as reminders of the family’s younger times. I can relate to the nostalgia of Tony Morente, a calm and optimistic man who traces his lineage to Jose “Tabai” Altavas, a Capiznon senator in the 1920s and a 60


The clean and spacious rooms

contemporary of the fifth President of the Philippines, Manuel A. Roxas. Forty-three-year-old Morente chose to reside for good in their ancestral home in the barangay of Baybay in Roxas City, the capital of Capiz, because of nostalgia. It is where he spent most of his childhood; he feels responsible for maintaining it. It is a way of giving back, a way of showing respect and gratitude to the family ancestors who, as an act of love, passed on to the family a heritage. The old family house was a playground for Morente, his brother and cousins. They would play tag on the wide front yard, climb the fruit-bearing trees that grew on it, or look for seashells, starfishes or some sea creatures by the beach a few meters from the property. Being in a big family, he recalls their lively celebrations and family gatherings. The young ones would play with other kids and bond over food and sweets, while the older ones would exchange hugs, presents and kisses, and chat and catch up

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Memorabilia of the family give character to the resort

Guests can relax at the hotel’s garden

with each other’s lives over glasses of wine and rounds of beer. Morente lived in Capiz up to his teenage years until he left to study marketing in one of the prestigious institutions in Manila. He admits enjoying life there. It was where he met different people, learned, worked in an office and ran a business. In 2004, he decided to settle for a simpler life in their charming, memory-filled ancestral home in Capiz. Now, he lives here home together with his Lola Ning, Lola Lita and household helps who have stayed with them for a long time. He established Yellow Box, a casual diner that offers American-style fast food, including burgers, pastas and pizzas. Morente created these dishes himself. He experimented with taste and presentation, coming out with unique flavors. Morente also manages Villa Patria Hotel and Restaurant, conceptualized in the 1970s, welcoming travelers, guests and locals who want a break from their routine. It also accommodates groups for gatherings for leisure or for work. It stands near the old house and is composed of 17 villas named after some of the women in the MorenteAltavas clan. Not far from the old house is a small chapel, built as thanksgiving by the family. Fronting it is a chamber, built in honor of their loved ones who have passed on. On the other side of the street stands Joemada Café, named after Morente’s nieces, Jo and Amanda. It is a quaint café fronting the Baybay Beach. On late afternoons, this becomes a perfect spot to view the sun as it sets in the horizon and observe townsfolk retiring from the day. The four-hectare property on which

Villa Patria serves delicious food

these establishments stand is part of an inheritance left by Tabai Altavas to Patria “Patti” Amada and Jose “Pepe” Morente. His 1922 journal expressed how he wanted to instill love and loyalty to the land where the family has lived in: “I am not against my daughters getting married. On the contrary, I wish them to get married at an opportune time and to form their own homes. However, I wish that they do not go far away from us, and if possible for them to stay with us. This would be much better, as it happened with Socorro (Socorro Laserna is the wife of Tabai Altavas) who never left neither Capiz nor her mother after we were married.” It was a wish that came true for Tabai. Pepe and Patti settled in Capiz, where they raised their five daughters Divina, Josefina, Lealtad, Patria and Angelina and son Florencio. They considered their home as their piece of heaven where they lived comfortably and formed memories together. Family photos show Lolo Pepe hanging out in his backyard tending to his plants and orchids; the women, attractive

in their dainty dresses and hairstyles, gathering by the porch; or the men huddled over drinks by one of the pergolas in the yard. A visit to the family home made me realize the family’s high regard to the treasures kept by members who have passed on. At one wing still stands the study nook of Lolo Pepe, his collection of books, his writing tools and framed photos of him in tennis wear. At the center of the house is the living room with its wooden sala set. On the walls are a set of photographs of the family, crocheted artworks, a couple of china and dolls, which are part of the collection of Lola Div (Divina), Lola Ning (Josefina) and Lola Lita (Lealtad). Morente considers the heritage left by the family as blessings, and he feels nothing but gratitude for them. “If not for them, we wouldn’t have all these conveniences. We wouldn’t have those happy memories of childhood, where we (he and his cousins) would play around the property, or spend some idle moments just hanging out,” he says. This love for their land and for the treasures kept by the members of the family is what they would like to pass on to the future generations of the family. F

Contact Information Villa Patria Hotel and Restaurant is located in the barangay of Baybay in Roxas City, about a kilometer from the Roxas City Plaza and half a kilometer from the airport. Contact telephone number (+63 36) 621-0180 and look for Josefina Morente. Email address is

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The Rustic Charm and Modern Convenience of By Niña Elyca J. Rabadam Photos by Donald Tapan



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San Antonio Resort has fifty sophisticated rooms and suites


an Antonio Resort sits on a six-hectare, family-owned property near Baybay Beach in Roxas City, Capiz, a modern-style getaway in a rustic surrounding. It is a place to do business as well as spend leisure time, a venue for corporate functions and a haven to retreat to and relax in. San Antonio Resort has fifty sophisticated rooms and suites with clean lines, white walls, and modern pieces of furniture. The rooms are located at one part of the resort, in what looks like an alley covered with flowering plants, and the suites at another, looking over a manicured garden, a mangrove-fringed lagoon, or the pools. Walking into its wide, open spaces has a calming effect. These spaces serve as the perfect venue to hold functions such as birthdays, debut celebrations or weddings and receptions. They are also apt for corporate events such as seminars and team building sessions. For guests who like to have intimate or quieter spaces to hold their activities in, they can opt for the Lakehouse function rooms, or the executive lounges. These rooms are fully air-conditioned and equipped with audio-visual facilities. The resort’s dining outlets offer gastronomic delights from delicious beverages to dishes that can satisfy different types of taste and anyone’s hunger. The Lakeview, which is its main restaurant, has a wide selection of international cuisines and seafood dishes. Guests can prefer to stay indoors at the Chica-Chica Restaurant, an executive lounge, for a quieter atmosphere. For those who like to have a natural setting and a view, they can dine at the Kainan Village, fronting Baybay Beach. The beachfront is dotted with tall, palm trees under which there are tables and benches. This serves as the dining area for guests. At another side of the beach are its various open-air food stalls. San Antonio Resort also has Sandbar, which provides music and good vibe and a wide selection of beverages. Its Poolbar, on the other hand, is a venue to enjoy light snacks on a late afternoon. Different activities can be enjoyed at the resort—from the adventurous to the relaxing. San Antonio Resort has the Rock ‘N Bowl Entertainment Center, where guests can bond with friends, or even other guests over a good game of

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The resort’s open spaces serve as venue for birthdays, debut celebrations, weddings and receptions (below). They are also apt for corporate events such as seminars and team building sessions. For guests who like to have them indoors there’s the Lakehouse function rooms, or the executive lounges (middle).

Getting There Philippine Airlines has daily flights from Manila to Roxas City and vice versa. It arrives in Roxas City at 6:15 A.M. and departs for Manila at 7 A.M. The Philippine Airlines office is at Arnaldo Blvd., Airport, Roxas City, with telephone number (+63 36) 621-0244. Cebu Pacific has twice daily flights from Manila to Roxas City and vice versa. It arrives in Roxas City at 11 A.M. and 3:35 P.M., and departs for Manila at 11:45 A.M. and 4:05 P.M. There is no afternoon flight on Tuesdays and Saturdays. The Cebu Pacific offices are on Arnaldo Blvd., Airport, Roxas City, with telephone number (+63 36) 621-4548; and at Gaisano Mall Roxas, Arnaldo Blvd., Roxas City, with telephone numbers (+63 36) 521-1088 or 621-0307. Moreta Shipping Lines’ M/V Love 1 plies the Manila-Roxas City-Manila route. It arrives in Roxas City at 9 A.M. on Monday and departs at 11 A.M. on Tuesday. It also arrives at 9 A.M. on Friday and departs at 2 P.M. on Friday. Its office is on Magallanes St., Roxas City, with telephone numbers (+63 36) 621-5841 (Magallanes St.) and (+63 36) 621-6053 (Culasi Port). There are also ferries from Roxas City to the provinces of Romblon and Masbate, and vice versa. The Gasat Express bus departs Roxas City at 11 A.M. for Alabang, Pasay and Cubao. Office is at Km. 1, Roxas City, with telephone number (+63 36) 6209-183. The Dimple Express bus also departs Roxas City at 11 A.M. for Alabang, Pasay and Cubao. Office is at Km. 1, Roxas City, with mobile number 0939-4690592. Ceres Liner also has regular trips. San Antonio Resort is located along Baybay Beach, two kilometers from the airport. Airport transfer is available for a fee. There is a 25-seater coaster and a van for group arrivals and individual travelers. Metered taxis can also be hired at the airport.

bowling or billiards. Guests can also enjoy water activities such as boating, kayaking and fishing. Guests can also choose to relax at one of the cabanas and marvel at the landscape. By the beach, one can view the sun as it sets, watch the waves crash, or hunt for interesting seashells on the shore. San Antonio Resort is a place for adventure and bonding with family and friends. It is also a place to relax and enjoy peaceful, solitary moments with a beautiful view. F 64


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Contact Information Contact San Antonio Resort through telephone number (+63 36) 621-6638, telefax number (+63 36) 621-7266, mobile phone number +63920-9825377 or +63917-6205377, or e-mail Visit Contact person is Guia Felicia Ignacio.


The Businessman’s (and Vacationer’s) Hotel of Choice

By Ges Pereyra

Classic interiors foment a feeling of restfulness, making one’s hotel stay pleasurable and memorable


stone’s throw away from business districts and entertainment centers, the Ortigas area is the rational choice when one is searching for a home or a place to stay when in the city. Commuting is never a problem as Ortigas Avenue straddles the main arteries and highways going to Makati, Mandaluyong and Quezon City, where most business and government offices are found. For the traveling businessman who wants to 66 |

maximize time and money, a hotel that caters to all his business and personal needs is indispensable. Built with the traveling executive in mind, Richmonde Hotel’s superior attention to detail is evident in the decor, facilities and highly personalized service. The interior is classic European—polished brass and frescoed ceilings—giving the hotel a timeless appeal so distinct from the other hotels within the vicinity. Surrounded by such opulence, I had a feeling of restfulness

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when I sat in one of the plush chairs and as I watched the daily grind outside the hotel’s glass doors. It was in the middle of the workweek, and people were calling it a day, ready to beat the rush hour going home. But busy Ortigas never sleeps. Business outsourcing companies are now opening their offices for the night shift employees, and the city, all lit up, is more alive than ever. Right smack in all these activities is Richmonde Hotel, a four-star hotel at the corner of San Miguel Avenue and Lourdes Street. “Most of our guests prefer to stay within the confines of the hotel for the greater part of their stay because they find that everything they need is right here,” said Annie Dioso, communications manager. She added that the hotel’s location is a boon to business travelers as its proximity to the commercial establishments and government offices allow them to conduct business with ease, yet at the end of the day, when all transactions are been done, they can retreat to the peace and comfort of their own rooms. “In between business meetings, some would stay at The Lobby Cafe for afternoon tea, a pleasant place to spend an afternoon surfing the net or for casual meetings, where pastries and a la carte menu is available. For

The Richmonde Café is delightfully spacious and brightly-lit with appealing stylish interiors (above). The Exchange Bar serves the best sisig and pizzas in town (left).

nightly entertainment, the Exchange Bar, located at the second floor, where live bands perform from Wednesday to Friday, is also an option,” said Dioso. Having said that, she invited me to try out the Exchange Bar that night which I found out serves the best sisig and pizzas in town. The portions were big, good enough for three. I was alone and yet found myself engaged in conversation with the staff and bartender who encouraged me to sing with the live band. It was karaoke night, and on a weekday the crowd was mostly businessmen who opted to stay at the hotel

even though a number of hip bars were right outside the hotel’s doorsteps. On the later part of this year, guests can expect pleasant changes in The Exchange as it undergoes a renovation for a fresher look, updated menu and more modern vibe. The next day was a Saturday. While enjoying my breakfast at the Richmonde Café, I espied a family of four at the other table. Although a bulk of the hotel’s guests is mostly corporate, around 60 to 80 percent, it is steadily attracting weekend guests such as families and vacationers. Ideally suited for these types of guests—a family of four for instance—are the one-bedroom and two-bedroom suites, outfitted with sitting rooms, the latest audio-video entertainment system, dining room and kitchenette. The Richmonde Café is delightfully spacious and brightly-lit with appealing stylish interiors. Promotional food offerings have attracted a good portion of the lunch crowd, even though the hotel is a block away from

a major shopping mall. The lunch buffet at Php995 is a steal considering the sumptuous spread. Gastronomes will delight in its global menu, serving fresh oysters, Japanese food, assorted pastas, barbecued and grilled meat and more. My one-bedroom suite room had a fantastic view of the Ortigas skyline, a sight to behold day or night. There was a kitchenette, furnished with a stove, microwave oven and refrigerator. Each of the 210 guestrooms is meant to simulate the feel of a home, furnished with high-quality beds and luxurious mattresses, thoughtfully provided with subdued lighting and equipped with individually-controlled air-conditioning for a restful sleep. A full executive desk and in-room Wi-Fi allow one greater productivity while browsing the day’s newspaper or surfing channels through the high-definition LCD television. A simple call for whatever want or need is promptly attended to by Richmonde Express Agents, as they call them. You need not worry when leaving your laptops and expensive gadgets because, apart from the extra precautions of CCTV cameras and regular security patrol, all guestrooms have security key cards, and you can stash away your valuables in the in-room safety deposit

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Contact Information Richmonde Hotel is located at 21 San Miguel Avenue, Ortigas Center, Pasig City 1600, with telephone numbers (+63 2) 638-7777 and fax number (+63 2) 638-8567. Check their Web site at

One bedroom suite



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The hotel has a number of function rooms, big and small. The Sequioia-Redwood-Sycamore can accommodate up to 120 persons theatre-style. The smallest, the Maple on the 23rd floor, can accommodate up to twenty persons. Everything from corporate events, weddings to kid’s parties can be staged at the hotel which provides full audio-visual equipment and catering services. A fully-equipped business center is available for short-term and long-term rental. For those who desire a more active retreat, the hotel has fitness trainers on standby for guests who may need assistance. A steam and sauna room and an indoor pool, comfortably heated day and night until 9 P.M., are also delightful treats. Call the health club for a massage treatment with a choice of Swedish, shiatsu, aromatherapy or

Taiwan foot reflexology. “Our hotel is fully customized to meet the preferences of corporate clients as well as vacationing guests. And for everything else, our efficient staff brings a personal touch that will put you wonderfully at ease,” said Dioso. Another Richmonde, a 138-room hotel that opened in 2010 in Eastwood City in Libis, Quezon City, is a wonderful addition to Richmonde’s roster of luxury hotels, along with other hotel brands which they plan to open in Newport City Resort World. In the coming years, two more Richmonde Hotels will open—one in Iloilo and in the beautiful island of Boracay in what will be called Boracay Newcoast. The Richmonde brand has long been successful in merging the concept of a luxury business hotel with vacation-style amenities. And if that is an indication, I expect these upcoming hotels to offer just the same and more. Because as in all things in this life, a good day’s work deserves its rewards. F

Acacia Hotel:

Hip, Modern and Distinctly Filipino By Ges Pereyra


Acacia Hotel Manila is the newest luxury hotel in the south, located at the heart of the premiere commercial epicenter of the Filinvest Corporate City complex (top). The Deluxe King room (middle). Samanea serves as venue for outdoor events (above).



here are mixed reactions among guests, especially first-time visitors, who come to the Acacia Hotel. Entering the lobby, one is arrested by profusion of prints—on the walls, on the carpets and chairs. Some who are used to classic, subdued, two-tone hotel interiors are understandably overwhelmed and find it unappealing. Others, however, are pleasantly surprised and marvel at the bold and liberal use of whorls, paisleys, florals and geometrics, inspired perhaps to one day duplicate it in their own homes. Get past your initial reaction, and you start to appreciate the hotel’s unique and Schraeger-like attention to detail. You then develop a grudging respect for the hotel that does do away with the tried and tested, a hotel that is a visual feast, an impression that stays with you long after you have checked out. The inspiration of course is the acacia, a symbolic and sacred tree in numerous cultures, embodying strength and purity. Prints and patterns culled from the tree resonate all throughout the elegant 15-storey hotel. The imprint of the cambium or inner part of the tree, for instance, is found outside and inside the hotel. Modern with a touch of whimsy, the hotel interiors were executed with style and joie de vivre by a team of designers headed by Parrish Espiritu in collaboration with owners Cheryl Rodriguez-Chua and Noel Gonzalez, who run the hotel under the umbrella of Corporate Holdings Management, Inc. (CHMI) Hotels and Residences. “The hotel owners are investment bankers, who are also into pharmaceuticals and real estate development. When they decided to put up Acacia, they envisioned it to be not only world-class but very distinct,” says Bobby Horrigan, general manager. “We are a 100 percent Filipino-run hotel, and although the acacia may not be the national tree the hotel’s ambiance is very much reflective of Filipino design sensibilities and

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the service, warm and hospitable, distinctly Filipino.” The hotel indeed is replete with everything Pinoy. A colorful painting of a dragon by Bernard Pacquing, 2000 CCP Thirteen Artists awardee, adorns the wall of the grand lobby. Art pieces by Filipino artists are also on display such as a shimmering sculpture at the driveway patterned after the acacia pod and the hotel’s logo, called the Vertiscape, at the reception area. The reception desk is studded with capiz shells that cast a warm glow in the area, while alcoves and hallways leading to the guestrooms are decorated with natureinspired Filipino objets d’art and vibrant botanical print carpets with recessed lighting that evoke a feeling of opulence and luxury. There are spaces, however, that show a brief lull from the seemingly unrestrained use of colors and patterns, such as the whiteand-black paisley chairs and swirl carpets in a private area past the reception. It also features a soaring geometric-patterned marble staircase leading up to the main dining area at the second floor. A small Zen fountain, hidden behind the staircase, quietly gurgles. Most prefer to sit by this private nook in the afternoon while having coffee, tea or a tall glass of halo halo or mais con hielo. While some would mistake Acacia for a boutique hotel, full amenities, luxurious guestrooms and first-rate food reveal its fivestar pedigree. All of the 262 guestrooms are furnished with luxurious beds (with pillow preferences), executive desks with swivel chairs (conveniently with IDD/NDD phone, HDMI and direct USB slots and a universal socket), fast Internet access and express checkout—reasons enough for one to put in a little work if one so wishes. There is a dearth of hotels of fivestar calibre in the south, and Acacia Hotel has managed to corner a significant bulk of that market, shares Horrigan. Their guests, in fact, are mostly expats from the

Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon) industrial and economic area, who prefer to live amongst the greens of the south. It also affords them the convenience of conducting business in the major business districts of Makati and Ortigas, which is just minutes away and reached via the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX). For VIPs, the hotel has a helipad. Here, one is able to breathe and find pleasure in an unhurried fashion. Acacia Hotel is a kind of hotel that makes it all too easy to linger. Special touches, such as fresh flowers beside a welcome note tucked underneath a fruit plate with cookies from the patisserie, are a delight to this guest who had come all the way from Manila. Junior suites are located at corner areas and have fantastic views. My room, a Deluxe King Room, has 40-inch LCD television with cable, electronic safe, a well-stocked mini bar (with coffee-making facilities) and comfortable earth-toned sofas. The spotless marbled bathroom has a shower enclosure with rainfall shower and a separate bathtub. The vanity is filled with an assortment of bath essentials. I had a view of the pool and the small, private Jacuzzi on the third floor, with the surrounding Alabang greenery as a perfect backdrop. So inviting was the outdoors that I decided right there and then to take a dip. My sandaled feet sank into plush carpeting as I walked the hallway to explore the outdoors. A huge expanse of green area they call the Samanea features a mini stage for events and fashion shoots, perfect for those who want to linger outdoors and take in the cool air. During the summer, the hotel played host to a number of barbecue cookouts at the Samanea. But for main events, such as the huge, celebratory party boxing great Manny Pacquiao threw, the hotel has a grand ballroom (which can seat from 300 to 400 persons) and six function rooms (good for 60 to 80 persons) with services from equipment to event hosting. The hotel’s in-house events specialists are on hand in case you need assistance. The enormous lobby and the Acaci Restaurant are talking points of the hotel, providing plenty of opportunities for guests to entertain themselves any time of the day. At night, it shimmers like a beacon in suburban Alabang. The grand lobby’s highceilings and soaring glass walls make it an idyllic place for elegant, glitzy parties and

Hip and modern, the hotel is a favorite venue for photo shoots and glitzy events

Glass windows and classy interiors make dining pleasurable at the Acaci Restaurant

events. Look up and you see the ceiling undulating with reflective lights, its design inspired by the Banaue Rice Terraces found in the north. On regular nights, a string quartet performs while guests enjoy mouthwatering nine-ounce grilled U.S. rib-eye steaks, cheese and tapas paired with wines from the hotel’s extensive wine list. The Acaci, the hotel’s restaurant, is a refreshing sight with its botanical-inspired design. Comfortable chairs and loungers in rust, apple green and mustard yellow add a relaxing, homey appeal to this area of the hotel. Open from 6 A.M. to 10 P.M., the Acaci

offers pan Asian dishes prepared under the watchful eye of executive chef Raffy Hubilla and Enderun top chef Thomas Wenger. The hotel has collaborated with Enderun, one of the leading schools in hotel management, giving them a pool of talented and skilled manpower to run the beautiful hotel. The menu changes every week and is fastidiously prepared by the chef and kitchen staff. The scrumptious food from the Acaci may be ordered in-room if one chooses. Otherwise, it would be a delight to just lounge at the Acaci Restaurant and watch the hustle and bustle of city life past by. While the hotel does not have a spa, it does arrange in-room massage services upon request. A fully equipped gym on the third floor serves as an option for those seeking a more active “staycation.” Guests may either use the fully equipped fitness center or take a leisurely walk along Commerce Avenue to the malls found in the vicinity such as the Alabang Town Center and Festival Mall or to the dining establishments found at the West Gate (located at the back of the hotel). Free shuttle service may be availed by inquiring at the front desk. Otherwise, one would be enticed to just stay within the confines of the hotel. “We take pride in our hotel that showcases true qualities of Filipino hospitality and at the same time offers worldclass hotel service,” says Horrigan. Like the tree known for endurance and strength, they are in the business for the long haul. Acacia acknowledge the need for highly trained staff to get a strong foothold in the business, and Enderun provides them with the staffing they need. Ultimately, it is the guest who has the last say in everything, and with the Acacia providing a unique hotel experience guests are bound to return. And like the tree that nurtures and gives shelter, Acacia does that indeed, in a novel fashion it possibly can, albeit, with a very distinct Filipino touch. F

Contact Information Acacia Hotel is located at 5400 East Asia Drive corner Commerce Avenue, Filinvest Corporate City, Alabang, Muntinlupa City 1781, with telephone numbers (+63 2) 720-2000 and (+63 2) 588-5888, fax number (+63 2) 478-4218. Email to or visit their Web site www.acaciahotelsmanila. com.

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Thai Hospitality in Malate By Ges Pereyra

Centara Hotel’s The World Restaurant offers all-day Filipino and international dining (right). The pool overlooks the city and Manila Bay area (above).


here are more possibilities when planning a vacation in Manila than in any other city in the metropolis. It is a city rich with history, which becomes evident as you go around the city. Take a walking cultural tour of Manila, dine and shop in one of the biggest malls in Asia, take a leisurely walk by the bay, and then head for Malate, a night strip that is also a popular tourist attraction before malls became de rigeur. Once you have had your fill of activities, what can be more gratifying than to retire to the comforts of a hotel not too far away? When the Filipino owners of Centara Hotel chose to build the hotel, they 72


picked downtown Manila as a perfect spot for their first foray into the hotel business. Like its sister hotel in Thailand, Centara Hotel Manila brings in the elements of Asian-inspired design, modern amenities, and warm and friendly service that makes visit to Manila worthwhile. Operated by Centara Hotels and Resorts under a management contract, the four-star hotel opened in October 2011 and since then has seen a steady stream of clients. According Ninnette O. Soliman, director of sales and marketing, the hotel’s appeal lies in its strategic location and the many options for leisure or business it

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presents to the guests, plus the fact that it has successfully merged comfort and style in its spacious rooms and amenities. One can never miss the spanking new hotel when on Roxas Boulevard, yet its location in the quiet side of Marcelo H. Del Pilar Street affords guests the peace and quiet they need. An overnight stay at Centara Hotel Manila gave me the chance to experience first-hand its brand of hospitality, which Jean said has been known in the business for over 30 years. We were dining at the World Cafe that afternoon, watching the hustle and bustle of the city ensconced by the elegant interiors of the restaurant. The interior is

The fully-equipped fitness center

The guestrooms are spacious and feature bay and city views

tastefully done in red, white and black, exuding a chic and trendy vibe especially at night. Since it opened, it has become a haunt for yuppies on weekend nights and for those wanting a respite from the relatively seedy side of Malate. Seated on one of the elegant high chairs in velvet red, I could imagine myself enjoying a nightcap or a quiet evening with a friend. The food is firstrate and the service unobtrusive, prompt and warm. The all-day-dining restaurant offers local and international cuisines, with set menus of Filipino, Thai, Chinese and Mediterranean influences served for lunch and dinner. Anyone who has a love affair with everything Thai and the exotic East will be delighted by the idea of a spa imbued with a Thai character within the confines of the hotel. Cenvaree Spa on the third floor offers a selection of traditional Thai and modern treatments and houses five treatment rooms, a dry sauna, lockers, and bath and shower rooms. The staff members are highly trained and courteous to guests. After a relaxing Thai massage, the sundeck by the pool affords guests the chance to lie back and enjoy authentic Thai cuisine at the Cafe and Lime, which also offers fusion international dishes. In case you overindulge and find yourself wanting to burn off calories, tap your key card to get full access to their fullyequipped fitness gym. The pool was so inviting on that hot humid night that I took a short dip. From that spot on the rooftop, one can get an unimpeded view of the cityscape and the

Clubhouse sandwich

bay far into the horizon. After a restful sleep, it took me five minutes to get to the Manila Bay waterfront for my morning jog and join in one of the dance group exercises at the Cultural Center of the Philippines complex. So convenient. It felt like I hadn’t left home at all. The absence of mirrors, which give the illusion of space, had me heaving a sigh of relief once I stepped into the lushly carpeted hallway. The 15-storey hotel has guest rooms that are not only spacious but feature bay and city views. Thirty-one square meters of each room are devoted to living space. My room, a 43-square meter cocoon tastefully done in muted tones with recessed lighting, has a large, flat-screen TV with extensive cable channels, a CD/DVD player, rainfall shower and bathtub, in-room safe, IDD telephone and a well-stocked mini-fridge. They have a total of 96 rooms, comprising 30 superior rooms, 34 deluxe rooms, 26 premium rooms, five junior suites and one executive suite. Each room and suite offers a choice of a king bed or two double queen beds, which can accommodate up to two adults and two children comfortably. For business travelers, the addition of in-room Wi-fi connection, double-lock doors and security keycards ensure a worry-free stay, allowing them to do business conveniently. “Amenities-wise, we follow that which is required by Centara Hotels and Resorts. The company owns the largest hotels in Thailand and operates 16 other resorts located in the Maldives; Bali Indonesia; among others. The Cenvaree Spa is one of

the most luxurious spa brands in Thailand so expect that wherever you go Centara Hotel can answer to your needs,” shares Soliman. In Bangkok, Centara operates two state-of-the-art convention centers. The goal here in Manila is to corner a chunk of the corporate market through the addition of small- and medium-sized function rooms that meet business specifications. A meeting and function room on the second floor can accommodate eighty persons and features the latest audio-visual equipment. There is valet parking for guests, and tour arrangements in and around Manila may be inquired at the front desk, manned by an efficient and accommodating staff. There is a 24-hour concierge. Room service and car rentals are available. In the brief review of Centara Hotels’ impressive list of properties all over the world, I find a lot of things in common. They have always adhered to the promise of providing their guests a home away from home in hotel locations that put everything within easy reach, but always in a style that befits the royalty of Thai kings. Stay at the Centara Hotel Manila and see for yourself. F

Contact Information Centara Hotel Manila is located at 2108 Marcelo H. Del Pilar Street, Malate 1004, Manila, with telephone numbers (+63 02) 526-0888 and fax number (+63 02) 353-8838. For reservations, e-mail to reservations@chr. or visit their Web site at http://www.

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Get Intimate with

Widus Resort and Casino


idus Resort and Casino, formerly known as Hotel Vida, is an ideal place for those planning for an adventurous, activity-filled vacation or a peaceful and indulgent escape. It offers outstanding service and attention that makes every visit a memorable one. Widus Resort and Casino has a swimming pool and waterfall and a fitness center. The all-day dining restaurants offer local and international cuisine. There are function rooms, 24-hour business center and wireless Internet access at the lobby. Play at 74


EXPERIENCE Travel and Living Volume 8 • Number 3 • 2012

your own pace and enjoy a wide variety of slot machines and table games designed to suit your personal tastes. Widus also offers the newest convention center in Clark with state-of-theart facilities. It has five function rooms, all equipped with fully integrated audiovisual technology amenities that address the needs of its clientele. The Widus Convention Center is projected to be the preferred place for all social and business events. This rebranding, together with the hotel’s service offerings, creates a strong draw for both locals and

foreign travelers—a place to come together, to conduct business and to socialize. Widus will also be expanding the Salt Coffee Shop, an all-day dining restaurant which offers sumptuous cuisine in a modern setting. The new Prism Bar, a chill-out spot, is the best place to unwind and be entertained all night long. It will serve stylish cocktails and provide a lively atmosphere for pre- or post-dinner drinks. Prism Bar will open the last quarter of the year. Widus Resort and Casino is located five kilometers from the main gate of Clark Freeport Zone in Pampanga and within five minutes away from Diosdado Macapagal International Airport and duty free shops. F

Getting There Clark Freeport Zone is located 80 kilometers north of Manila and can be reached by land or air. Driving by car from Manila takes an hour and a half. Take the North Luzon Expressway and exit at Dau, Mabalacat, Pampanga. Make a left turn to Angeles City and then a right turn toward Clark. Clark may also be reached via the new Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX). From the North Luzon Expressway, drive leading to the SCTEX exit. You may use either the Clark North Interchange (Panday Pira access road near Nayong Pilipino) or Clark South Interchange (near Yokohama and Clark Main Gate) to enter Clark. From Clark, via the newlyopened Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway, you can reach Subic within a 30-minute drive and the Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac in 15 minutes. Public buses also ply the routes on a daily basis. Ride a Victory Liner bound for Dagupan and alight at Dau common terminal. Walk a bit toward the highway where jeepneys or tricycles are available. These vehicles can take you right up the Clark gate. Another bus line, Philippine Rabbit, also has trips to Angeles, Pampanga, via Dau, and other buses going north may also pass by the area. Five airlines offer domestic and international flights to Clark’s Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA). For complete and updated airline schedules, visit Widus Resort and Casino is one 5400 Manuel A. Roxas Highway inside Clark Freeport Zone.

Contact Information

Widus Resort and Casino is a venue for business as well as for leisure at the Clark Freeport Zone.

Contact Widus Resort and Casino in Clark through telephone number:(+63 45) 499-1000 and fax number (+63 45) 499-0979. Its Metro Manila office is at UG-9, Cityland Herrera Tower, 98 V.A. Rufino corner Valero Sreet., Salcedo Village, Makati City, with telephone number (+63 2) 840-1430 and fax number (+632) 8401429. Visit

Volume 8 • Number 3 • 2012 EXPERIENCE Travel and Living |



In Search of the

True Santacruzan in Majayjay and Intramuros Text and Photos by Roel Hoang Manipon

The Church of St. Gregory the Great of Majayjay, Laguna, is one of 36 colonial churches designated as National Cultural Teasures



EXPERIENCE Travel and Living Volume 8 • Number 3 • 2012


eighborhood children played at the grassy front yard of the august brick-and-stone Church of St. Gregory the Great on a Saturday afternoon of May 5, 2012. The atmosphere was languid as the town of Majayjay in Laguna, the province immediately south of Manila. Occasional excursionists stopped by to snap photos. Most likely, they came from Taytay Falls, the town’s most popular attraction. Then, one by one the sagalas arrived at the church, young girls fully made-up and in eye-catching gowns, mostly in white. They arrived in tricycles, jeepneys and cars, accompanied and assisted by their mothers and relatives. The santacruzan became the talk of the quiet town, in jeepneys plying Santa Cruz to Majayjay, in the stores selling snacks and local minani, fried cubes of cassava seasoned with spiced vinegar. I remembered being in a santacruzan when I was six-years-old as an escort to one of the girls in Plaridel, Bulacan. The most beautiful girls and the ones coming from prominent families were selected for the procession. They were dressed in attractive gowns. Many had escorts who were in Tagalog shirts (barong Tagalog). My memory of it was foggy as was my idea of santacruzans and Flores de Mayo. Many Filipinos now are confused about santacruzans and Flores de Mayo, thinking they are one and the same. There are many additions and alterations to the procession. It has become a pageant in which girls compete to be prettiest and to wear the most beautiful gowns. “May is the month of the Flores de Mayo and the Santa Cruz de Mayo. While both are popular devotions, they have separate historical narratives and practices. However, in the course of the centuries, both devotions merge on the 31st of May into one grand pageant called santacruzan. So while the Santa Cruz de Mayo is losing its lessons and meaning, the Flores de Mayo is fast losing its name and essence,” said the Filipino Heritage Festival Inc. (FHFI), a private organization that primarily organizes and initiates activities to promote and spread awareness on Philippine heritage, mainly for the celebration of the National Heritage Month.

The National Heritage Month was created through the signing of Proclamation No. 439 on August 11, 2003, declaring the month of May as National Heritage Month “in recognition of the need to create among the people a consciousness, respect, and pride for the legacies of Filipino cultural history, and love of country.” The National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), the prime government agency for arts and culture, has provided substantial funding to FHFI to spearhead the National Heritage Month celebration. Over the years FHFI created a substantial line-up of events for the whole month of May— exhibits, performances, tours, revivals of traditions, etc. Because of internal conflicts in the FHFI, the NCCA decided to have its own Subcommission on Cultural Heritage (SCH) to lead the celebration in 2011. The SCH focused more on seminars and workshops. FHFI though still continues to hold their own events, although with smaller funding from the NCCA. This year, FHFI events consisted mostly of exhibits, mostly in malls, whose openings featured performances of groups such as the Bayanihan, the National Folk Dance Company of the Philippines; the Philippine Ballet Theater; the Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group; and the Philippine Youth Symphonic Band. Several events were held at heritage sites, especially those declared National Cultural Treasures to highlight their importance. Santacruzans, held as close to the original intent as possible, were one of the highlights. It kicked off at the Majayjay Church, one of the 37 colonial churches declared as National Cultural Treasures, sitting at the foot of Mount Banahaw. Augustinians missionaries were the first ones to build a church here in Majayjay in the sitio of May-it in 1571. The church, made of wood and bamboo, was eventually destroyed. A church was again built, this time by the Franciscans, in 1578, which was also destroyed by fire. The present church was built from 1616 to 1649. The santacruzan was attended by the prime movers of the FHFI, Armita Rufino and Araceli Salas. Salas said they did research on the traditional santacruzan and submitted it to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines for verification. They sent guidelines to the parish of Majayjay for the santacruzan. The procession was preceded by a mass at five in the afternoon. After the mass, the sagalas, the girls who participated, were arranged in the proper order in front of the church, wearing sashes to indicate the characters they were depicting. The procession then went around the town proper. Rufino was disappointed at the outcome. The guideline was not thoroughly followed. Many did not wear the proper costumes for their characters. Only four out of the 38 followed the characters, Rufino reported. Many of the parents seemed unwilling to have their girls be outshined, thus they had them in gaudy gowns. For them, the santacruzan is more of a pageant than a devotion, and it will take time for them to change their perception. “The Santa Cruz de Mayo, or popularly identified as the santacruzan activity itself, as introduced by the Franciscan missionaries, is a retelling of biblical stories and

Valerie Bondoc as Reina

The santacruzan winds

Elena at Intramuros

its way on the streets of


Volume 8 • Number 3 • 2012 EXPERIENCE Travel and Living |


La Divina Pastora at the

Majayjay santacruzan

Reina Esperanza, Reina Fe and Reina Caridad, repr esenting theological virtues, leaving the Maj ayjay Church at the Maj ayjay santacruzan



EXPERIENCE Travel and Living Volume 8 • Number 3 • 2012

characters climaxing with the ‘finding of the True Cross’ by Empress Helena and her son Constantine I, the first emperor of the Holy Roman Empire,” stated the FHFI. “This novena procession is normally held early May. The Santa Cruz de Mayo participants were encouraged to dress up in biblical costumes and to hold the appropriate symbols of their roles in the hands. With multiple queens or reinas, the pageant has become a fashion show, an unfortunate turn of event discouraged by the Church. For this reason, the Filipino Heritage Festival is encouraging a return to the original practice and purpose of the Flores de Mayo and the Santa Cruz de Mayo for people to realize its inherent religious significance and be aware of its cultural value in our nation’s history.” A more accurate santacruzan was held on May 27, 2012, in Intramuros, the historic district of Manila where the Spanish colonizers built starting in the late 16th century a fortified community and seat of government. The event started with a program at the Fort Santiago, where national hero Jose Rizal was imprisoned before being executed. Dr. Jaime Laya, former chairman of the NCCA and current head of the NCCA’s National Committee on Monuments and Sites, talked about Flores de Mayo and the santacruzan. The Flores de Mayo, meaning “flowers of May” in Spanish, is a month-long devotion to the Virgin Mary. It is said that this practice started in Bulacan after the proclamation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception in 1854 and after the publication of Mariano Sevilla’s translation of the devotional Flores de Maria or Mariquit na Bulaclac na sa Pagninilaynilay sa Buong Buan nang Mayo ay Inihahandog nang manga Devoto cay Maria Santisima (The Flowers of Mary or the Beautiful Flowers in the Meditations During the Whole Month of May are Offered by Devotees to Mary, the Holiest) in 1867. During Flores de Mayo, masses are held and flowers are offered at the altar of the Virgin Mary. This concludes on May 31 with a procession and the Flores de Mayo ball. Laya said the ball is “like a debutante’s ball,” and “the procession is as long as they want,” participated in by young, teenage girls. According to FHFI, “The Flores de Mayo, which is usually held on the end of May, is the culmination of the daily floral offerings by the little girls to the church during the whole month novena to the Blessed Mother. The participants in this procession represent the embodiment and attribute of the Blessed Mother as recited in the Litany of the Holy Rosary. The Litany runs on to about 50 such symbolisms, and there could be therefore as many sagalas in the procession.” On the other hand, the santacruzan is occasioned by the May 3 feast of the Holy Cross, according to Laya, introduced by the Franciscans, who also introduced the practice of putting up of belens (crèche) during Christmas. Then, May 3 was commemorated as the date of the finding of the Holy Cross, with September 14 commemorated as the rescue of the cross from the Sassanid Persians. To avoid duplication, Pope John XXIII designated just September 14

as the feast of the Holy Cross in 1960. The santacruzan, Filipinized word for “Holy Cross activity,” re-enacts and commemorates the finding of the True Cross. The story of the search for the Holy Cross is fascinating, full of legends and having many versions. According to legends that spread widely throughout Western Europe, the cross on which Jesus was crucified was discovered in 326 by Flavia Julia Helena Augusta or Saint Helena, the mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great, during a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Several early writers wrote that Helena, (born c.255 and died c.330 AD), after Christianity was granted freedom of practice throughout the Roman Empire in 312 A.D., journeyed to the Holy Land, establishing churches and putting up relief agencies for the poor along the way. Eventually, she discovered where the three crosses used at the crucifixion of Jesus and the two thieves were hidden. The Holy Sepulcher, originally a site of veneration for the Christian community in Jerusalem, was buried, and on top of it, a temple dedicated to the Roman goddess Venus was built. According to Laya, the santacruzan went on for nine sequential evenings. While the Flores de Mayo procession was participated in by young girls and teenagers, the santacruzan was intended for children. Characters in the santacruzan are from Helena’s pilgrimage as well as from the Old and New Testaments, related to the crucifixion and the search for the cross. Methuselah is the first character, said to the oldest person who has lived in the Bible. Because he is very, very old, he can barely walk and rides on a kariton being pushed by someone, according to Laya. He also remembered in old santacruzans that Methuselah had a kawali and looked like “nagsasangag,” frying rice. He later found out that Methuselah is churning dust or sand to symbolize morality, the fact that we all turn to dust. The next character symbolizes “the population before enlightenment” or the coming of Jesus Christ. Dalagang Bukid, literally “farm maiden,” represents the peasants not yet converted to Christianity. The Queen of Sheba, which symbolizes the search for wisdom, is carried in a hammock because she is a queen. Since participants are children, it is possible to do that, said Laya. According to legends, the Queen of Sheba had a portent about the wood used to build a bridge over which she passed on her way to meet King Solomon. The wood is said to come from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and would be eventually used to build the cross on which Jesus was crucified. Next are more women characters, who prefigure the coming of the Virgin Mary, said Laya. The star of the procession is Empress Helena, accompanied by a little boy who portrays the Emperor Constantine, who was the first ruler to proclaim Christianity as the state religion. Concluding the procession is the image of the Virgin Mary and an empty cross. The order of the procession is (1) band; (2) ceriales, three boys, two of them carrying candles on poles and

The santacruzan passing

by the Manila Cathedra


gned by Lito Perez

The costumes were desi

Volume 8 • Number 3 • 2012 EXPERIENCE Travel and Living |


sky as Divina Pastora at

Designer Joyce Peñas Pilar


the Intramuros santacru

Representations of the passion and death of Jesu s, carried by sagalas at the Intramuros santacruzan



EXPERIENCE Travel and Living Volume 8 • Number 3 • 2012

one carrying the cross; (3) Banderadas, two girls, one carrying a white flag and another gold, symbolizing the arrival of Christianity; (4) Methuselah (locally known as Metusalem); (5) Dalagang Bukid; (6) La Divina Pastora, symbolizing the guide of all Christians and holding a shepherd’s staff; (7) Fe (Queen Faith), symbolizing faith, a theological virtue, and holding a cross; (8) Esperanza (Queen Hope), holding an anchor; (9) Caridad (Queen Charity), holding a heart; (10) Reina Madre, holding basket of fruits; (11) Hagar, mother of Ismael who carries a jug; (12) Queen of Sheba, being cooled with an ostrich feather fan or holding a Bible or a thick book; (13) Reina Justicia, blindfolded and holding the scales of justice; (14) Judith, holding in one hand a bloodied sword and in the other the severed head of Holofernes, and symbolizing triumphant womanhood; (15) Reina Sentenciada, chained to two guards or escorted by two Roman soldiers, representing Judith sentenced for killing Holofernes and convicted innocents; (16) Esther, carrying a sceptre; (17) Ruth, carrying rice stalks symbolizing fidelity; (18) Rebecca, carrying a cup or glass of wine symbolizing humility in service; (19) Deborah, carrying a crown and sceptre symbolizing obedience to the Lord; (20) La Samaritana, representing the outcast who reformed after encountering the Christ and carrying a jar or pail of water; (21) Veronica, holding a veil with three imprints of Christ’s face; (22) Maria Salome, carrying an incense burner; (23) Maria Magdalena, carrying a big perfume bottle; (24) the women of Jerusalem, actually the choir; (25) Reina Elena (Empress Helena), carrying a small cross; (26) Constantino, escorting Empress Helena with small sword hanging from his waist; (27) San Macario; (28) representations of the passion and death of Jesus, first of which is a sagala with three dice on a plate; (29) sagala with 30 pieces of silver (supot ni Hudas); (30) sagala with rooster (manok ni San Pedro); (31) sagala with spear; (32) sagala with nails (tatlong pako); (33) sagala with the label “INRI”; (34) sagala with crown of thorns; (35) La Dolorosa, borne on a carroza; (36) a big cross on a caro symbolizing the triumph of the Cross as the instrument of our salvation; (37) the hermana mayor; and (38) another band. The Intramuros santacruzan was participated in by older women, most of whom coming from prominent families. Lito Perez, who owns Camp Suki, took charge of the costumes, carefully following the guidelines but retaining an ornate flair. In late afternoon, the procession went from Fort Santiago to the Manila Cathedral and ending in Casa Manila, across San Agustin Church. The Intramuros santacruzan was not perfect but it gave communities a model on how stage this religious procession, keeping in mind its religious and cultural significance. F

The traditional clothes of the Isneg of Apayao

A Ferment for Culture

The Third


International Arts Festival Text and Photos by Roel Hoang Manipon

T The Tam-awan Village, which has a beautiful view of Pinsao and the mountains beyond, is a popular art space in Baguio and favorite tourist destination. It annually holds the Tam-awan International Arts Festival

Every day of the festival, a canao ritual is performed, in which a pig is slaughtered and its meat cooked and shared by the community



EXPERIENCE Travel and Living Volume 8 • Number 3 • 2012

raditional Cordilleran culture, exotic wines, tattoo art, comics and art conservation, among others, were featured in the third Tam-awan International Arts Festival from May 23 to 27, 2012, in Baguio City. The festival has been presenting an eclectic mix of subjects and interests in arts and culture in its yearly offering—from “high-brow” to pedestrian, from traditional to contemporary, from indigenous to foreign—in lectures, workshops, performances, exhibits and other activities. The Tam-awan Village has been a favorite stop for visitors of Baguio City, the Philippines’ summer capital because of its favorable cool climate, tourist destination and the Cordillera region’s educational capital. The city draws a mix of tourists and excursionists, and students from all over the country, mixing with locals as well as indigenous peoples from other parts of the Cordilleran region. It has also attracted artists, creating a vibrant community of artists. Tam-awan Village is one venue where artists, both local and from other places, find space for their art. Chanum Foundation, founded in 1998, initially aimed to recreate a cluster of traditional Cordilleran huts for visitors. Tam-awan Village grew to become an art venue that promotes Cordilleran culture and art in general. Tam-awan means “viewpoint” because of its location—on the mountainside with a view of the barangay proper of Pinsao and the mountains beyond. The

Native attires of different ethnic groups of the Cordillera accompanied the lecture of Sonia Daoas

Artworks are scattered around Tam-awan Village

village provides accommodation in its Ifugao huts. It also has art gallery, venues for seminars and workshops, a souvenir shop, a coffee shop, gardens, nature trails, a pond and view decks. Installations, paintings and sculptures litter the place. Tam-awan also conducts arts and crafts workshops as well as holds cultural shows. An arts festival is but an apt endeavor in its mission of promoting and fostering arts and culture. Since the beginning, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), the government agency for arts and culture, has been partly sponsoring the event. NCCA executive director Emelita Almosara led the opening ceremony of the festival together with Benguet governor Nestor Fongwan, Rafael Tallocoy of the Baguio City Mayor’s Office and Chanum Foundation president Jordan Mangosan. They were joined by comic book artist Danny Acuna and EJ Jacinto of the Philippine Arts Education Association for the press conference and dialogue that followed, where issues concerning arts and culture were tackled. Each day, a canao was performed, a Cordilleran ritual asking for blessings. A pig was butchered at the dap-ay, a gathering place paved with stones, and the meat cooked and shared by the participants. The first day of the festival saw the opening of the Schools of Living Traditions (SLT) Corner in the village. The SLT is a project of the NCCA, which enables the transfer of traditions such as

weaving, music, dances, crafts and others from the masters to the younger generation in indigenous communities all over the country. The NCCA has funded many SLTs around the province of Benguet, and the SLT Corner aims to showcase the products from these SLTs. Traditional items from Atok, Bakun, Bokod, Buguias, Itogon, Kabayan, Kapangan, Kibungan, La Trinidad, Mankayan, Sablan, Tuba and Tublay are on sale in the hope to establish a creative industry. With this year’s theme “Brewing with Art,” the center piece of the festival was the different

The Schools of Living Traditions (SLT) Corner was formally opened showcasing products from SLTs conducted in Benguet. The SLT is a project of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, which enables the transfer of traditions such as weaving, music, dances, crafts and others from the masters to the younger generation in indigenous communities all over the country.

Volume 8 • Number 3 • 2012 EXPERIENCE Travel and Living |


Locally made wines made from exotic fruits take center stage in this year’s festival

Wines made from sweet potato, carrot and tomatillo from Buguias, Benguet

Wines from Phoenix Wines and Distillery of La Trinidad, Benguet



EXPERIENCE Travel and Living Volume 8 • Number 3 • 2012

wines that use local crops. Several booths were set up around the village featuring winemakers from the Cordilleran provinces of Mountain Province, Ifugao and Benguet, Ilocos Sur from the neighboring Ilocos Region, and also from Germany. The wines were made from an intoxicating and exciting variety of fruits and roots crops— tomato, sweet potato, coffee, sugar cane, Java plum, rice, strawberry, guava, pomelo, honeydew melon, lemon, sour sop, pineapple, carrot, etc. The winemakers featured included Manuel Gayagay Gayao, who makes local rice wine called tapuey from Sagada, Mountain Province; Carlos Espejo and Michael Nisola from Ilocos Sur, who make basi, the Ilocano sugar cane wine; Noemi Pentiano Soriano and Eleanor Rosario from Abatan, Buguias, Benguet, who make camote wine, among others; Gary Bantali from Bad-ayan, Buguias, Benguet, who makes camote, carrot and tomatillos wines; Benicio Sokkong from Kalinga and Delfin Eyan Sallidao from La Trinidad, Benguet, who make sugar cane wine; and Zelmir Struga from Germany who makes scnaps from fruits. During the day, workshops, lectures and talks were conducted. A two-day workshop on Cordilleran music and dances was facilitated by Sokkong, a composer, instrument maker and singer from Kalinga, and Mary Ann Bungaoen, a cultural worker from Kalinga. Beatrix Angeles from the NCCA Legal Office gave a talk on intellectual property rights, while Dr. Reuben Canete delved on art curatorship and conservation. Curator Kenneth Esguerra talked about museum restoration. Chinese-Filipino medical doctor and researcher Charles Cheng discussed Chinese art and culture, while anthropology professor Analyn SalvadorAmores talked about tattoo art. Veteran comic illustrator Danny Acuna gave a lecture on comic book history. Educator and media worker Sonia Daoas lectured on the traditional clothing and ornaments of the different ethnic groups of the Cordillera region, espousing the recreation of items which are no longer being made. Her talk was accompanied by live demonstrations. During nights, there were performances by the workshop participants; of a performance art by Tamawan resident artist John Frank Sabado; the Wangal Ivadoi Performing Arts group; of Ghanaian, Korean and Indian dances from the International Students Association of the University of Baguio; by the Pangalay Artists’ Circle; and by the University of Baguio Orchestra. NCCA’s Subcommission on Cultural Heritage (SCH) head Regalado Trota Jose was the guest of honor to lead the closing ceremony of the festival. Since the Tam-awan International Arts Festival is held every May, it has been included in the calendar of the National Heritage Month celebration, currently spearheaded by the SCH. F


Beyond the Hills, Into the Heart Bohol Launches New Tourism Campaign


he island province of Bohol reinvigorates its tourism promotion with a campaign that is said to “go deep into the roots emotionally.” Its local government recently launched a tourism campaign with the slogan “Bohol: Heart the Islands, Truly Philippines.” The slogan points out that the island is at the center of the Philippines, being in the Central Visayas Region and Visayas being at the center of the country. It is also usually projected as a truly Filipino destination with its rustic charm and hospitality. The slogan though is reminiscent of Marinduque’s appellation of being the “Heart of the Philippines,” owing to the fact that the island province is heart-shaped and also the geodetic center of the country. The slogan also is reminiscent of Malaysia’s “Truly Asia.” Bohol is primarily known for its Chocolate Hills, which has become an iconic touristic symbol of the Philippines. It is also famous as the home of the cute and diminutive primate tarsier, which has become a tourism mascot. With the new tourism campaign, Bohol wants to tell the world that there are far more attractions then these. “As a nation, Philippine tourism is in search of its own identity because our local culture is a complex mix of many different cultures,” says Bohol’s governor Edgardo M. Chatto. “But unknown to most Filipinos, Bohol is as authentically Filipino as it can get. The province has not only preserved the traditions brought by our colonizers, but has also promoted the much older traditions and beliefs that are authentically Filipino.” Bohol wants to promote its cultural and ecological wonders. Chief among these are the centuries-old churches, some becoming the country’s national treasures. Famous is the Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception in Baclayon, which is the oldest and best preserved Jesuit church in the country. Also popular is the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption in Dauis. Going around Bohol, one finds beautiful old churches in many towns. “Bohol and its people have a certain respect and appreciation for heritage and

By Roel Hoang Manipon tradition,” Chatto said. “This is why we have come up with this campaign to highlight the captivating charm that Bohol exudes and the heart-warming hospitality offered by Boholanos themselves.” Complementing the heritage of the island is its history. Bohol is known for its famous blood compact. Recently, Cebu governor Gwen Garcia said when the first foreign visitors came to Cebu they killed them. “But we mended our ways,” she quipped, and added that Cebuanos warmly welcome their tourists and guests. On the other hand, Bohol is known for its act of friendship. When Bohol chieftain Datu Sikatuna and Spanish explorer Miguel Lopez de Legazpi met they made a blood

compact and alliance. This was done on March 16, 1565, near the modern town of Loay. A monument now stands in Bool in the capital Tagbilaran City called Sandugo Blood Compact Site to commemorate the event. Also, yearly, Boholanos commemorate this with a festival, the Sandugo Festival, held every July, which also attracts visitors. On the other side of the coin, a Boholano is said to lead the longest revolt in the Philippine history. Francisco Dagohoy made the caves in the town of Danao his headquarters in his fight against the Spanish colonizers. Today, these caves serve as tourist attractions. Bohol is also known for its natural beauty. The island of Panglao has whitesand beaches, most popular of which

is Alona Beach, where resorts cluster. In Loboc, a cruise affords one to marvel at the still unspoiled Loboc River. The town also has an old church and is famous for its children’s choir. Divers say the reefs around the province are one of the best in the country. Chatto particularly mentions that province has biggest mangrove plantation in Asia and the Danajon Bank, the only double barrier reef in the country. The provincial government of Bohol partnered with the province’s tourism stakeholders led by the Provincial Tourism Council and the private group Philippine Bohol Arts Foundation Institute (PBAFI), which aims to promote Bohol through the province’s arts, culture and heritage, for the new tourism campaign. Department of Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez shows support for the campaign, which is line with the Department’s “It’s More Fun in the Philippines” campaign launched earlier in the year. Jimenez said that one doesn’t “have to be from Bohol to love Bohol,” and the province is “one of the Philippines’ most prized tourist destinations.” Jimenez revealed that Bohol has close links with his family. “The province was spoken of in great affection in our home,” he said. He also revealed that his father was secretary to Carlos Garcia, the eighth President of the Philippines and a Boholano, and he spent part of his youth in Bohol. Jimenez pointed out that in Bohol “they don’t lock their doors,” attesting to its unspoiled and innocent nature. With this new campaign, the local government is stepping up in developing infrastructures to accommodate tourists. Prominent among these is the building of a new airport to be located in Panglao. The province has received more than 500,000 visitors in 2011, and is optimistic that it will achieve its target of 1.5 million visitors. With many attractions to offer, few doubt this. However, many are apprehensive that Bohol may lose its rustic charm, tranquil nature and innocence, which have beguiled many visitors. F

Volume 8 • Number 3 • 2012 EXPERIENCE Travel and Living |




Pueblo de Oro Development Corporation has always believed in putting quality and responsible engineering and design into its developments. The Company has consistently paid attention to its environment protection campaigns, flood control measures, and green living efforts for its homeowners. It is because of these initiatives that the Company adopted since it began developing its residential subdivisions 15 years ago, that its residents continue to enjoy a safe , worry-free lifestyle in an environment that’s conducive to raising a family.

Pueblo de Oro’s Support for E-vehicles In line with the ICCP Group’s unwavering commitment to protect the environment, Pueblo de Oro, the group’s residential development company, launched the use of an electric-powered shuttle, or e-shuttle which transports residents and passengers within the Pueblo de Oro Township in Cagayan de Oro. The e-shuttle is the second electric vehicle launched by the ICCP Group as the company earlier introduced an e-motorcycle at the Light Industry & Science Park I In Calamba, Laguna. According to park administration, the on-road use of the e-motorcycle is smoke-free and noise-free, because of the built-in 60-volt electric motor. With a range of 80 kms, top speed of 60 kmph and riding time of eight hours between charging, the e-motorcycle is not only fully electric and green, but more economical and costs lower to maintain compared to a gas vehicle. Both the e-shuttle and e-motorcycle are powered by rechargeable batteries, are quieter and smoke-free unlike their traditional counterparts which produce harmful exhaust emissions. The launching of the e-shuttle at the Pueblo de Oro township in Cagayan de Oro was attended by Misamis Oriental Governor Oscar Moreno, Pueblo de Oro officials led by its President Rommel Leuterio and AVP for Township Operations Emmanuel Guillermo, Philippine Utility Vehicles, Inc. Vice President Rommel Juan, ItalPinas Chairman Jose Leviste, Jr. and President Romolo Nati, and shuttle operator Elena Orpilla. The introduction of the e-shuttle is very timely as it is aligned with the green living principle adopted by Pueblo de Oro in further developing and protecting the Pueblo de Oro township in Cagayan de Oro and its new developments in Pampanga, Batangas and Cebu. 86


EXPERIENCE Travel and Living Volume 8 • Number 3 • 2012

DURING THE LAUNCHING OF THE E-JEEP AT PUEBLO DE ORO TOWNSHIP IN CAGAYAN DE ORO L-R: Pueblo de Oro AVP for Township Operations Emmanuel Guillermo, Phil. Utility Vehicles, Inc. VP Rommel Juan, Pueblo de Oro President & COO Rommel Leuterio, Misamis Oriental Governor Oscar Moreno, ItalPinas President Romolo Nati, ItalPinas Chairman Jose Leviste, Jr. and shuttle operator Elena Orpilla in front of the electric shuttle.

Pueblo de Oro’s Flood Containment Measures in Cagayan de Oro II-designed 18-hole championship golf course, a drainage system has been installed that directs surface water into five man-made lakes, which also serve as reservoirs for irrigation. Pueblo Golf is slowly implementing the use of organic herbicide and fertilizers as well as manual weeding to cut down on the use of chemicals to maintain the greens and has also begun maximizing the use of previously idle areas in the golf course as greens nurseries.

For 15 years now, Pueblo de Oro has been ensuring its homeowners that all its residential properties and natural environments are preserved and protected. The company has also initiated steps in line with its efforts to help keep Pueblo de Oro Township in Cagayan de Oro environment-friendly. At Pueblo’s Robert Trent Jones

In addition, Pueblo de Oro has built an outflow and detention pond in the lower portion of its Township to contain water runoff from the plateau to the valley before dispersal into the creeks, thus helping protect the areas downhill from flooding. Pueblo de Oro is also continuing its efforts to maintain, restore, and protect a 40-hectare rainforest at the heart of the Township in close coordination with the DENR through tree planting activities with students and volunteer groups.

Pueblo de Oro’s Elevated Developments in San Fernando, Pampanga As Typhoon Bebeng, Falcon Pedring lashed down on waterlogged San Fernando City last year and the most recent torrential monsoon rains that left thousands of families homeless last August 7, Pueblo de Oro Pampanga was one of the few areas in Barangay del Carmen that remained high and dry. This is because Pueblo de Oro took the precaution of having a flood water study conducted prior to commencing its development activities there, and as a result of its findings, spent close to P150 million to elevate its 30-hectare residential community by 1.5 to 2 meters above its original level and to introduce an efficient drainage system that allows rainwater to spread through different canals

Promoting Green and Healthy Lifestyle for its Homeowners All of Pueblo de Oro’s new residential subdivision, namely; Horizons, Park Place and La Aldea located in San Fernando, Pampanga, Sto. Tomas, Batangas and Lapu-Lapu, Cebu, maintain open spaces such as parks and playgrounds not just to comply with government requirements but also to boost air circulation. Each residential subdivision features beautifully landscaped parks, walkways and winding jogging paths. Shaded benches allow a relaxed lifestyle amidst a picturesque landscape; play areas and activity lawns provide a safe place for children of all ages to enjoy; and a clubhouse awaits special occasions. Exclusive to homeowners of Horizons is a basketball court and swimming pool.

Moreover, residents of Pueblo de Oro’s masterplanned subdivisions have begun holding tree planting activities within their respective villages. These tree planting forays are organized by the homeowners themselves with the support of Pueblo de Oro’s Community Relations unit. The trees not only help in the beautification of the villages, but provide much-valued shade, help conserve water, and reduce pollution. With all of these elements in place, residents are motivated and encouraged to practice green and healthy living. Pueblo de Oro’s efforts and most especially the continuing contributions and cooperation of its residents and locators help ensure green living in the residential communities and surrounding areas in the years to come.

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DINING A well executed menu paired with excellent service has always been the trademark of Aubergine.

Stuffed at


By Ges Pereyra


he Fort in Bonifacio Global City in Taguig City is home to some of the trendiest nightlife spots and dining places in Manila. Restaurants dot its tree-lined avenues yet some would still find themselves drawn to Aubergine, a finedining restaurant tucked in a quiet corner between 32nd and 5th streets. Aubergine has built quite a reputation since it opened more than four years ago, and it easily comes to mind when you think of a fine dining French restaurant here in Metro Manila or anywhere else in Asia. It currently holds the eighteenth spot in the recent Miele Guide’s top twenty restaurants in Asia for its overall quality of food, service and ambiance. I had the pleasure of meeting chef Stefan Langenhan one night, and truth be told, I had one of the best dining experiences of my life, thanks to the very amiable chef and to the ever attentive staff. Langenhan said he has always been fond of food even at a young age, and when he was starting he would play around with ingredients. It has taken him years traveling from his home in Germany to all parts of the world (via his stint at the Silversea Cruises) only to stay here in Manila for good when he met his Filipina wife. The offer to work in Aubergine in 2007 came at the right time when he was starting a family. The rest, he said, is history. Langenhan said they make no concessions when it comes to keeping the quality of the food at Aubergine consistent and up to par with the rest of the world. After all, the real secret of good food is the using the freshest ingredients. They source their ingredients from abroad, but make 88


Foie gras, lobster and sea bass tian

EXPERIENCE Travel and Living Volume 8 • Number 3 • 2012

Beetroot marinated salmon

French duck foie gras and duck breast delight

Honey glazed French duck breast served on creamed savory cabbage with pineapple, pink pepper gnocchi and curacao sauce

room for quality local produce. Confounded on which entrees to choose from the leatherback menu list, we left the entire meal in the hands of Langenhan. Aubergine introduces a new degustation menu or a promotional menu (Php2,250 plus 10 percent service charge), and this was served to us, along with choice entrees from the regular menu. This month’s featured ingredient for the degustation menu is duck and foie gras. It was a good thing that we brought along our appetites for the sevencourse meal. We were impressed from the start when two appetizer dishes arrived at our table, but not before we had a sampling of the basil pannacotta that had us marveling at the creativity it took to come up with original dishes. Basil is strong but in this dish it was not overpowering at all. The dark and smokey French duck with foie gras (their signature dish) was balanced by the sweet port wine-scented mango and tangy salad greens in raspberry dressing. The other dish, made up of delectable panseared scallops and lobster and prawn pannacotta, melted in our mouths and was polished off before we were even finished admiring the presentation. To cleanse our palate, we had red cherry and pineapple sorbet, served to us sitting on the lid of a tea kettle filled with dry ice. Puffing and trailing cold steam, it made quite an impression. Yes, everything here tastes as good as it looks, from the appetizer to the main dish and finally to dessert. During the course of the meal, Langenhan would check on us and see how delighted we were with the meal he had presented us. Then he would go back to the glassed-in kitchen, designed like a culinary theatre, and from there we would watch him with his apprentices from the International School of Culinary Arts and Hotel Management (ISCHAM). To the average diner, wine can be an intimidating thing but as Langenhan says, one is rewarded with a better dining experience when you get past your initial wariness. The staff can easily make suggestions on food and wine pairing and explain it in detail like a chef would. The wine list at Aubergine boasts of reds and whites from France and from all over the world, displayed in a floor to ceiling wine cellar inside the restaurant. For the main course, we had pan-seared

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Norwegian salmon pasta paired with a dry Reisling 2011 Marlborough. Another main dish, the honey-glazed French duck breast was polished off in minutes, followed by the dessert sampler— a medley of mascarponenougat ice cream bar, creme brulee, Belgian chocolate dome and Chocolate Pyramid. You can also choose to end the meal with coffee or tea and a bit of pralines and macaroons from their patisserie. Despite its glittery ambience, designed along the lines of-five-star dining places in Las Vegas, Aubergine is unpretentious. The interiors are warm and inviting, and the food is enjoyed more when in the company of good friends and family. Langenhan said they also accommodate private functions and events for a minimum of thirty persons. On weekdays, Aubergine attracts quite a huge lunch crowd made up of business executives and expats. Aubergine takes its name from the French word for eggplant, which is not only nutritious but also low in calories and fat. In keeping with its name, the restaurant promotes health conscious dining with its vegetarian menu. Children also have a place in this restaurant, which also has a menu devoted to kids, a menu of chicken and pasta dishes with a gourmet twist. So if you’re looking to educate a child on the nuances of fine dining or simply want them to get them used to taking meals in an unhurried fashion, to simply “enjoy” food, take them to Aubergine. F

Contact Information

Pan-seared duck foie gras roasted with macadamia nuts on celeric-apple mousseline in Madeira jus (below, left); pan-seared Greenland halibut and Norwegian salmon served with taglatielle pasta in vegetable-bouillabaisse nage (below, middle); and smoked salmon (below, right)



EXPERIENCE Travel and Living Volume 8 • Number 3 • 2012

Aubergine restaurant and patisserie is open from 6:30 P.M. to 10 P.M. It is located at 32nd and 5th Building, 5th Avenue corner 32nd Street, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City, with telephone number (+63 2) 856-9888. Visit their Web site at


DEPARTMENT OF TOURISM OFFICES National Capital Region Rm. 207, Department of Tourism Bldg., T.M. Kalaw St., Ermita, Manila Phone: (+63) 2 523-8411 to 20 Web site: Ilocos Region (I) Oasis Country Resort Hotel National Highway, Sevilla, San Fernando, La Union Phone: (072) 888-2411/2098 Fax: 888-2098 Email: Laoag Sub-Office Room 207, Ilocano Heroes Memorial Hall, Laoag City Phone: (077) 722-1473 Fax: (077) 722-0467 Email: 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: Web site:,



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

Fax: (+63) 2 7578 268 Web site: www.philippines.embassy. Email:

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

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:

Brazil 16th floor, Liberty Center, 104 H.V. dela Costa St., Salcedo Village, Makati City Phone: (+63) 2 845-3651 to 53 Fax: (+63) 2 845-3676 Web site: Email:

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

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:

Cambodia Unit 7A-B, Country Space 1 Building, Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue, Makati City Phone: (+63-2) 818-9981, 810-1896 Fax: (+63-2) 818-9983 Web site: 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:

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:

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: EMBASSIES and CONSULATES Australia Level 23-Tower 2, RCBC Plaza, 6819 Ayala Avenue, Makati City 1200 Phone: (+63) 2 757 8100

EXPERIENCE Travel and Living Volume 8 • Number 3 • 2012

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 7th floor, GC Corporate Plaza 150 Legaspi St. Legaspi Village, Makati City Phone: (+63) 2 843-9220 Fax : (+63) 2 843-9239 Finland 21st Floor BPI Buendia Center, Sen. Gil J. Puyat Avenue, Makati City Phone: (+63) 2 891-5011 to 15 Fax: (+63) 2 891-4107 Web site: 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: 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: 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: Korea 10th floor, The Pacific Star Bldg., Makati Ave. Makati City Phone: (+63) 2 811-6139 to 44 Fax: (+63) 2 811-6148 Malaysia 29th and 30th flr., The World Center Bldg. 330 Sen. Gil Puyat Ave. Makati City Phone: (+63)2 864-0761 to 68 Fax: (+63) 2 864-0727 Email:

TRAVEL DIRECTORY Mexico 2nd floor, GC Corporate Plaza 150 Legaspi St. Legaspi Vill., Makati City Phone: (+63)2 812-2211, 812-2212 Fax: (+63)2 892-7635 Web site: 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, 891-5356 Web site: Email: 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 St., Legaspi Village Makati City Phone: (+63)2 817-2772/6 Fax: (+63)2 840-0229 Email: Web site: cservicesmain.htm 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 Singapore 505 Rizal Drive,1634 Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City. Phone: (+63) 2 856-9922 Fax: (+63) 2 856-9932 South Africa 29th Floor, Yuchengco Tower, RCBC Plaza, Ayala Avenue Makati City Phone: (+63)2 889-9383 Fax: (+63)2 889-9337 Email: South Korea 122 Upper McKinley Road McKinley Town Center

Fort Bonifacio, Taguig city Phone: (+63)2 856-9210 Fax: (+63)2 856-9008, 856-9019, 856-9024 Email: Spain 5th floor, ACT Tower, 135 Sen. Gil Puyat Ave., Makati City Phone: (+63) 2 818-5526 Fax: (+63) 2 810-2885 Emails: and 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: Email: 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, 887-4661 Web site: Email: Thailand 107 Rada St., Legaspi Village, Makati City Phone: (+63)2 815-4219/20 Fax: (+63)2 815-4221 Web site: Email: Turkey 2268 Paraiso St. Dasmariñas Village, Makati City Phone: (+63)2 843-9705, 943-9707 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: United States of America 1201 Roxas Blvd., Manila Phone: (+63) 2 528-6300 Fax: (+63) 2 522-4361 Web site:

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

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

Volume 8 • Number 3 • 2012 EXPERIENCE Travel and Living |


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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,

EXPERIENCE Travel and Living Volume 8 • Number 3 • 2012

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

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


FEAST OF OUR LADY OF GUIBANG July 1- 2 | Gamu, Isabela It is the annual feast day of the miraculous Our Lady of Guibang. FESTIVAL OF OUR LADY OF PIAT July 1- 2 | Piat, Cagayan This is highlighted by the procession of the Marian image venerated for centuries.

July-September of the t’nalak cloth as the cultural image of South Cotabato. PAHINUNGOD FESTIVAL July 16 | Carrascal, Surigao del Sur This includes a Mardi Gras performed around the streets of Carrascal in honor of their patroness, Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

BANANA FESTIVAL July 1-10 | Tagum, Davao del Norte It has street dancing and agri-trade fair to highlight Davao del Norte as “banana country.” ARAW NG PASIG July 2 | Pasig City A grand celebration of Pasig, highlighted by different activities such as the Mutya ng Pasig pageant, dancing, Outstanding Pasiguenos Night, arts and literary competitions, Palarong Pinoy and Kusina Pasigueno, among others. SAGAYAN FESTIVAL July 3 | Tubod, Lanao del Norte Also Araw ng Lanao del Norte, this festival showcases the rich Maranao culture particularly the war dance and the fan dance. PHILIPPINE-AMERICAN FRIENDSHIP DAY July 4 | Baguio City This celebrates the friendship between Filipinos and Americans. BANIG FESTIVAL July 5 | Badian, Cebu The festival showcases the Badianganon culture, tradition, delicacies and local products especially its famous mats. ALEGRIA DE ISABELA July 8 | Isabela City A festival based on a legend that tells how the early townsfolk survived a raging storm when St. Isabela was seen blocking a giant wave. It is celebrated with a regatta, procession of the image and merrymaking beside the cathedral HUDYAKA FESTIVAL July 12 | Laguindingan, Misamis Oriental It features a street dancing competition depicting the historical events of how Laguindingan become one of the municipalities of Misamis Oriental SUBAYAN KEG SUBANON FESTIVAL July 15-16 | Ozamiz City, Misamis Occidental This is a week-long celebration with trade fair and street dancing, showcasing the Subanon cultural heritage T’NALAK FESTIVAL July 16-19 | Koronadal City, South Cotabato This annual celebration in South Cotabato demonstrates the importance and significance

every second Friday and Saturday of May, its concept is based on the municipality’s thrust to boost entrepreneurship and promote tourism, centering on its premier seafood product, the tahong (mussel) and talaba (oyster). For more information, call the mayor’s office through telephone number (+63 36) 647-0504. SUBILAN FESTIVAL July 23 | Batangas City This is an annual celebration in which a ritual dance is done to pay homage to the Holy Cross as thanksgiving for a bountiful harvest. SAULOG DE TANJAY July 24 | Tanjay, Negros Oriental This celebration is highlighted by a street dancing with mock battles between Moros and Christians followed by reconciliation through the intercession of the patron Santiago.

SANDUGO FESTIVAL July | Tagbilaran City, Bohol Bohol’s annual commemoration of the Blood compact (mardi gras parade) between Rajah Sikatuna and Miguel Lopez de Legazpi. The street dancing and Mardi Gras highlight the festivities, depicting the theme of “friendship among equals and international diplomacy expressed in the participating group’s traditional culture.” BINUHAT FESTIVAL July 17-23 | Tagum City This is an advocacy celebration recognizing the rights and social contributions of the gay community, fostering acceptance of their gender in the society. KALIGA FESTIVAL July 22 | Gingoog City, Misamis Oriental There is street dancing, trade fair and cultural presentations in observance of the city’s charter day. LIBON PAROY FESTIVAL July 22-25 | Libon, Albay Katalingkasan, which means freedom and rebirth, is held in conjunction with the Libon town fiesta and the feast of its patron saint, St. James the Greater. The festival aims to revive the rich cultural heritage of the town and at the same time promote local tourism. TILIBYUGAN SA TALAHONG FESTIVAL July 22-26 | Sapian, Capiz It is the merging of two festivals of the town in honor of its patron saint, Saint Anne. The name of the festival comes from tibyug, which means “to lift up” or “to support.” Tilibyugan is the concept of lifting each other and supporting one another for a common welfare. The Talahong Festival, on the other hand, was organized few years ago. Celebrated

KINABAYO FESTIVAL July 24-25 | Dapitan City, Zamboanga del Norte This features a reenactment of the SpanishMoorish wars particularly the Battle of Covadonga. KADAGATAN FESTIVAL July 25 | Cortes, Surigao del Sur It is a yearly thanksgiving of Cortesanons done through street dancing. Costumes and props of dancers symbolize marine life. PAKAPYA-AGTIKE July 25-27 | Socorro, Mindoro Oriental This festivity features cultural shows, parade of floats and a street dancing on the last day, showcasing its agricultural bounty, performed by schools, barangays and communities. The festival is a thanksgiving offering to its patron, the Holy Family. STA. ANANG BANAK TAGUIG RIVER FESTIVAL July 26 | Taguig City

Volume 8 • Number 3 • 2012 EXPERIENCE Travel and Living |


July-September This is highlighted by a fluvial parade in honor of the patroness St. Anne. The thrills and excitement of the fishers are replicated through the pasubo in which the fluvial parade participants in colorful boats and spectators by the riverbanks toss goodies, fruits and native delicacies to each other. ABAYAN FESTIVAL July 31 | Butuan City A day-long festivity features barato race, a fluvial procession and parlor games in honor of St. Anne, patroness of Agusan River. BUGANIHAN FESTIVAL August 1 | Compostela, Compostela Valley This is a tribute to Buganis (the Mandaya warriors) as early settlers of Compostela. Buganihan reflects the bravery and unity that characterize Compostela today. PADAGYAW FESTIVAL August 1-5 | Dumarao, Capiz Dumarao celebrates the festival to show the spirit of unity and cooperation of its people through many activities such as a street dancing and pista ng bayan. PANGAPOG FESTIVAL August 1-7 | Samal Island It is a thanksgiving festival for a bountiful harvest featuring parade and cultural presentations, among others. PAGPASIDUNGOG FESTIVAL August 1-10 | Panitan, Capiz The name means “to give honor.” The Panitan municipal government gives honor and recognition to Paniteños who have given something for the social, cultural, educational and economic development of the town. PALAGSING FESTIVAL August 2 | Butuan City Once, it featured a competition for the longest and the best-tasting palagsing.

PADAGYAW FESTIVAL August 4-5 | Dumarao, Capiz It is a cultural and fiesta celebration. 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. MERCEDES FISHTIVAL August 6-11 | Mercedes, Camarines Norte It is a thanksgiving for the blessings and bounty of the sea. KALIBONGAN FESTIVAL August 14 | Kidapawan City, North Cotabato Kalibongan is a Manobo term for a grand festival. The Manobos, Bagobos and other highland groups from different parts of the province go down to Kidapawan to show off their traditions and heritage. LUBI-LUBI FESTIVAL August 15 | Calubian, Leyte The coconut tree is in the spotlight in this festival. PAVVU RULUN FESTIVAL and PADDA NA LIMA August 15- 17 | Tuguegarao, Cagayan The 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 Cantilanons.

KADAYAWAN SA DABAW August 16-22 | Davao City A celebration of thanksgiving, this cultural festival’s highlights include street dancing, floral float parade, cultural shows and exhibits, among others. 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. 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. 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 ritual of ladong conducted by a landongan. KARIYAWAN FESTIVAL August 28-September 4 | Monkayo, Compostela Valley This is in thanksgiving for Monkayo’s rich agricultural harvest and abundant mineral resources. It features street dancing depicting its cultural heritage and trade fairs. 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 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.

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

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EXPERIENCE Travel and Living Volume 8 • Number 3 • 2012

HINIRUGYAW FESTIVAL September 1-10 | Cabatuan, Iloilo It features street dancing, serving as the opening salvo of the ten-day celebration of the feast of San Nicolas de Tolentino.


TUNA FESTIVAL SA GENSAN September 3-5 | General Santos City It celebrates the city’s main product.


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.

patron saint, St. Nicholas of Tolentino. For more information, call the mayor’s office at telephone number (+63 36) 529-0088. MINULUAN FESTIVAL September 10 | Talisay City, Negros Occidental It is a celebration honoring the creator and the Minuluan group.

MEGAYON FESTIVAL September 11-16 | Zamboanga del Sur It is a thanksgiving festival of the Subanens of Zamboanga del Sur showcasing native songs, dances and food. Megayon in Subanen means “unity and solidarity.” It is also celebrated as Araw ng Zamboanga del Sur. PENAFRANCIA FESTIVAL September 17 | Naga City, Camarines Sur It is a religious festival honoring Our Lady of Peñafrancia, patroness of the Bicol Region.

SINAWUG FESTIVAL September 19 |Asuncion, Davao del Norte This is an annual thanksgiving event of the lumads, done in the river, which was their only means of transporting their goods and a source of livelihood and drinking water.

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. SIPONG FESTIVAL September 7 | Bais City, Negros Oriental It is a Mardi Gras-style festival in which different barangays, and 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. 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. BUYLOGANAY FESTIVAL September 10 | Ivisan, Capiz Buyloganay is typical of Ivisan culture characterized by the gesture of unity and cooperation. It is celebrated in honor of its

PASALAMAT FESTIVAL September 20-22 |Dao, Capiz This is in honor of Dao’s patron saint, Santo Tomas de Villanueva. The Pasalamat is an occasion to highlight town’s culture and heritage, strengthen Daonhons solidarity as a community, and thank God for the blessings. PATABANG FESTIVAL September 21-30| Tapaz, Capiz This is said to be based on the people’s generosity and the idea of “you help me and I help you” reflected in their way of life. “Pagpatabang” is one valuable trait of Tapaznons when during planting and harvesting season, transferring of the house from one place to another, preparing foods during thanksgiving and many more. For more information, call the mayor’s office at telephone number (+63 36) 538-2011 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 priests. ANIHAN FESTIVAL September 25-30 | Dueñas, Iloilo The celebration is one way of giving thanks for a good harvest.

BANIGAN-KAWAYAN FESTIVAL September 28 | Basey, Samar Basey’s favorite local product is highlighted in this wacky tribute to the native bamboo mat.

Volume 8 • Number 3 • 2012 EXPERIENCE Travel and Living |


PARTING SHOT The 302-foot Dambana ng Kagitingan or Shrine of Valor Memorial Cross at the summit of Mount Samat in Pilar, Bataan, memorializes the American and Filipino soldiers who held the last stronghold in this site in 1942. Taken on June 1, 2012, photo by Roel Hoang Manipon.

“We travel, some of us forever, to seek other states, other lives, other souls.” —Anais Nin French-Cuban writer (1903-1977) 98


EXPERIENCE Travel and Living Volume 8 • Number 3 • 2012

Experience Travel and Living Vol.8 No.3 2012  

Rediscover familiar places and see them in a new light.

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