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Think that diving to almost 300 feet with just one breath is a feat reserved for sea creatures? Wolfgang Dafert and the growing world of freediving say otherwise. Hold your breath as he introduces you to the little known world of freediving. Photos courtesy of Freediving-Philippines

Debunking the Hollywood portrayal of sharks, Malapascua, Cebu is a haven for the gentle thresher shark and the world-renowned shark diving industry. By Nicole Castillo. Info and photos courtesy of Andrea Agarwal

Sidetrip sits down with the Philippines’ only licensed skydiving jumpmaster, Martin Q. Imatong, for his insights and experiences on chasing cloud and skies. Photos courtesy of Martin Imatong

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COVER: Deep water soloing in Lagen Island, El Nido, Palawan. Photo by Marco Malaca

Sidetrip editor Maica Lagman interviews Philippine Tattoo Artist Guild president and one of the country’s most respected tattoo artists, Ricky Sta. Ana, on his life as a Tondo boy, his rise to fame, and his dream for the Philippine tattoo industry. Photos by Stanley Ong

h our stmas wit rent Chri e iff d a ! n Rock on to stmas countdow as tips Chri e Christm ay. m e Extreme tr x e ’s ip lid o tr h e l id a a unusu Follow S ourself to y t a e tr d an

Sidetrip presents four promising fashion designers who push the limits of extreme sportswear fashion. By JC Martinez Photos by Paelo Pedrajas

By Eldzs Mejia Photos by Seven Baretto By Huse Mara Photos by A.N. Noriel By Rebie Ramoso Photos by A.N. Noriel

Blissful in Balaw-balaw Glenn Diaz revels in locallymade art and sinks his teeth into exotic dishes in Rizal’s world-famous Balaw-Balaw Restaurant and Art Gallery. Photos by Teresa Barrozo

Want to push your adrenaline rush to an international level? Check out six of the most extreme sports the world has to offer.

most unusual From Wow Philippines’ fiesta calendar, we round up five of the Philippines’ oddest and most interesting fiestas.

Looking for that out of town weekend trip but want something new and have to spend within a budget? Rizal is the place for you. Chockful of art, culture, history, scenic drives, exotic food fares and even an adrenaline pumping off-road driving haven, you’re sure to have a blast in Rizal. Go on a food and art trip in Rizal! See page 32

Sidetrip asks you to sort through your baul of memories for the most extreme moment of your life.

Ready to go on that adrenaline high? Take this quiz and find out which high is right for you!

We've gathered together the best gear for your extreme taste! Different sacks for different adventures

See what our readers have to say about us.

Check it out! Get published!

Desperate to spot a dugong in Sabang, Palawan, Gigit jumped into the pounding waves, heedless of the already volatile weather, the lack of help around the dive area, and the warnings of the tourism officer. Planning to dive deep and swim up to the surface of the far end where the water was calmer, he was instead tossed around like a rag doll by the crushing waves upon impact with the water. Disoriented and unable to tell which way was up, Gigit found a gap between two rocks, swam into it and surfaced on the other end. This, says the freelance web designer, not only tops a long list of extreme things he has done, it’s also one of the stupidest.

Austrian Freediver and PADI Scuba Instructor Wolfgang Dafert has been freediving for more than 12 years across the globe. He is a close friend and dive buddy of world record freediver Herbert Nitsch and has a few special techniques to share with his lucky and adventurous students. Since relocating in the Philippines in 2006, he has started two successful dive centers in Moalboal, Cebu. Currently, Wolfgang is busy promoting freediving as a tourism sport and outdoor adventure tours in Cebu.

Recent education graduate and freelance writer Glenn Diaz writes for the Kultura section of the Philippine Collegian. He has rappelled down cliffs in Rizal, scaled mountains in Zambales, and, countless of times, came face to face with truncheon-wielding riot policemen and water cannons, but the most extreme thing he has done — and continues to do — is fall in love.

At the height of typhoon Frank’s rampage, Bernice Varona and fellow bikers continued on with their off-road duathlon race in Clark, Pampanga. A true athlete, despite almost being blown off their bikes because of the strong winds, the already painful rainfall, and the almost zero visibility, she didn’t get off that course until officials made her. When she isn’t pushing her luck against typhoons, Bernice teaches swimming at the College of Human Kinetics at the University of the Philippines Diliman.

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Editor Maica Lagman Associate Editor Nicole Castillo Contributors Wolgang Dafert Glenn Diaz Gigit Sulit Bernice Varona

Creative Director JR Felipe Graphic Artist/Illustrator Mary Grace Marcellana Photography A.N. Noriel Stanley Ong Teresa Barrozo

Publishers JR Felipe

Joanna Montoya

Advertising Managers Karen Tricia Evangelista April Kim Tamayo

Sidetrip is a quarterly travel magazine published by Pico Integrated Marketing Agency, 3328 Matanzas St., Palanan, Makati City, Philippines. Phone (+63 2) 970 0318. Telefax (+63 2) 832 20 67. Email EDITORIAL & ADVERTISING at or See submission guidelines at page 10. Manuscripts and photographs must be accompanied by a self-addressed envelope. While every reasonable care will be taken by the editor, Sidetrip is not responsible for the return of unsolicited submissions. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the writers and not necessarily endorsed by Pico. Reproduction of photos and in full or in part is probihited, unless permission is secured from the editor and/or publisher.

Weekend Getaway


[ 1 ] Drive. Rizal, the only province named after our country’s hero, is a mountainous province perched on the western slopes of the southern portion of the Sierra Madre mountain range. To get there, the best way to go is drive along Ortigas Avenue until you reach the extension road. Cross Cainta Junction and turn right at the next intersection, which leads to Taytay. [ 2 ] Commute. Go to EDSA-Shaw Blvd. intersection and take a brief walk to EDSA Central Terminal, where there are jeepneys and FX going to Cainta, Taytay, Angono, Binangonan and Cardona. There are also Rizal-bound jeeps and FX at Araneta Center.


Urban vista. Rizal’s new capital city boasts not only of progress, but also of wonderful views of Metro Manila. Drive up to Antipolo City’s numerous view decks. Turn right at Masinag junction and drive straight until the road meanders. Each of the restaurants lined along the road will give you a great view of the metro. It’s best to come at sunset or nightfall; from afar, the industrial clutter looks better when the city starts to light up. Manila-East Road is the breathtaking alternative route from Manila to Laguna. Along the way, travelers are treated to majestic panoramas of Laguna de Bay and rural scenes.





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Did you know?

Angono is the art capitalofthecountry.

ANGONO Ivan Henares poses in front of Petroglyphs.

Did you know? Laguna Lake is teeming with the Tilapia Arroyo variety. When asked why it's called as such, the porters readily replied "may taling (mole) kasi sa mukha saka si Presidente (Gloria MacapagalArroyo) ang nagpaproject niyan."

Art trip. Many of the country’s prominent artists hail from Angono, Rizal and most of them converted their homes to large-scale art galleries. From National Artist Carlos "Botong" Francisco to the famous family of painters such as Nemiranda and Blanco, Angono has several galleries for the art enthusiast. Balaw-Balaw Restaurant & Art Gallery. Make sure to drop by Angono’s famous restaurant. Try La Oya, Angono’s own version of nilaga, uok (beetle larvae, available only during summer) and crispy alagaw leaves. Don’t forget to take a tour of the house before you leave! Best time to come is on Easter Sunday and Higantes Festival (November 23), when Balaw-Balaw treats visitors to free breakfast.


Unearthed. Check out the oldest Filipino relic! Discovered in 1965, the Petroglyphs has 127 drawings of animal and human figures engraved in the rock including






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heap fis h by the kilo! Milkfish /Bangu s Tilapia P60/kl Big hea d maya P60/kl -maya Dulong P20/kl Hipon P80/kl Biya P45/cu Kanduli p P120/k Gouram l i P10-12 Tawis /kl P25/kl P20/kl

fragments of earthen ware, obsidian flakes and shells. Dating back to 3000 B.C., it was nominated as one of the ‘100 Most Endangered Sites of the World’ under the World Monument Watch List in 1996. The petroglyphs are located inside Eastridge Golf Club, close to the club’s Antipolo entrance. Just inform the guard you’re on your way to the petroglyphs. Water. Get cheap fish at Libid fish port, one of several ports located by the crescent lake. Fishermen swear that it’s the same fish sold in Malabon, Navotas and Parañaque markets, only fresher and cheaper. Best time to go is at 3PM, when the catch starts arriving at the port. After the buying frenzy, the fish are hauled into trucks to be delivered to bigger markets in the metro.





Visita iglesia. The most visited attraction in Morong is the Spanishera St. Jerome’s Parish Church. Built by Chinese artisans in 1615 using stone and mortars, the church outlasted revolts (as shown by pock marks made by crossfire between Katipuneros and Guardia Civil), earthquakes and fire. Today, it is the most recognizable landmark in town. Turn left after crossing the first bridge before the town proper (look for the signage pointing the way). The church is a short walk from the highway.


Take a break. During our trip, we saw only two coffee shops outside the suburbs of Antipolo and Cainta, and oddly enough, these are both located in Baras. Perhaps the locals knew that the long drive along Manila East Road will tire vacationers. Drop by at either Coffee Shop or Vista Barista Coffee Shop and Garden (Manila East Road).


Drive straight along Manila East Road to Laguna. Coffee Shop is at your left, while Vista Barista Coffee Shop and Garden is at your right.


Drive like crazy on humongous 4 x 4 jeeps in Tanay’s Jungle Base, the first choice for off-road drivers. Experience the thrill of driving on treacherous terrain and facing downhill at 45 degrees, heading into a deep, muddy pit. To get to Jungle Base, turn left (going to Brgy. Sampaloc) at Tanay intersection. Watch out for the signage at your left or 4 x 4 vehicles that are parked outside the site. If you want to take a dip, go to Antipolo, or so the song goes. But not to the informed traveler, who knows of Rizal's fair share of waterfalls. Unlike Hinulugang Taktak, the 14-meter Daranak Falls is not crowded. Visitors can enjoy the verdant mountain views and choose from its several pristine ponds. To reach Daranak, take the uphill road to Brgy. Sampaloc and keep your eye out for the signage. Daranak Falls is a 2.5-kilometer drive from the highway.


Did you know?

AccordingtoFISHERMENand stevedores,arowanaslivein the lake.




SIDETRIP December 2008  
SIDETRIP December 2008  

The Handy Philippine Travel Magazine