Vigan by Motorcycle


Vigan, the capital of Ilocos Sur, has the distinction of being named a UNESCO World Heritage City. The city has made headlines lately as it’s currently in the running as one of the 14 official finalists in the New 7 Wonders. The city is well-known for its Spanish-era mansions, cobblestone streets and kalesas (horse-drawn carriages), which are the most popular way for tourists to go sightseeing.

01. vigan calle crisologo kalesa

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Lakan Extra Premium Philippine Lambanog


Most Pinoys are familiar with Lambanog, a Filipino alcoholic beverage, described as coconut arrack. It’s neither wine, nor gin, nor vodka, but is something uniquely Filipino. I have fond (and not so fond) memories involving lambanog drinking sessions in college, when this was the most cost-effective alcoholic option for students. It’s a staple inuman drink in many provinces, available even in small sari-sari stores in sleepy towns in Quezon and other parts of Southern Luzon. I’ve also shared more than a few rounds of lambanog with friends and strangers during trips around the country.

Lambanog has long been considered a drink of the masses. But Lakan Extra Premium Philippine Lambanog aims to change all that.

lakan extra premium philippine lambanog bottle

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Staycation in Alcoves Makati


The intense thunderstorm last October 1 seemed to come from nowhere. I had just come from a media trip in Malacanang where the weather had been very hot and sunny. As we were heading to our drop-off point, sheets of rain came pouring down from the sky. When I finally hailed a cab, radio broadcasters were announcing that many Northbound roads were not passable, with some areas in EDSA already waist-deep. Tired commuters were interviewed on air, recounting how they had to wade through floods because vehicles were at a standstill.

01. alcoves hotel makati 4BR penthouse living room

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Chapters Book Cafe in Dipolog


The Little Prince (Le Petit Prince) is the most famous work of the French writer and poet Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. Many people have been touched by this beloved classic, which while written as a children’s book, speaks volumes about life and relationships.

03. chapters book cafe dipolog the little prince mural

So stumbling into a Little Prince-themed cafe was an unexpected surprise during a trip to Dipolog, Zamboanga del Norte. Continue reading

5 Things to do in Real, Quezon


For those in the regular workforce, vacations can be tricky. Not everyone has the luxury of time to do long-term backpacking or visit exotic locales every month. But everyone needs a beach and adventure fix once in a while. Located just 3-4 hours away from Manila, Real in Quezon offers such a quick weekend getaway.

01. real quezon boat

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Ili-Likha Artist Village in Baguio


From above, the broken tiles decorating the stairway resembled a rainbow. Old wine bottles jutted out from the cement wall in an odd pattern. Right behind a computer workspace, the sunlight streamed through a wall revealing quirky cutouts and glints of colored glass. Everywhere I looked there was something vibrant, colorful and interesting.

baguio ililikha artist village 01 stairs

I mentally tried to digest everything as I went trigger-happy shooting every beautiful detail I could. There was a lot to take in. Continue reading

Red Rock Waterfalls near Dumaguete City


Steam hissed out from the side of the hill as the scooter made its way up a small winding road. To the left of the road was a serene river. To the right was a cliff wall emitting sulfuric fumes. I was on my way to a waterfall with red rocks located in the town of Valencia, near Dumaguete City, and I was finding the scenery very surprising.

pulangbato falls valencia dumaguete 01

Dumaguete, the capital city of Negros Oriental is known mainly for being a quaint University Town with all the modern conveniences. But it’s also a good jump-off point to different beaches, dive spots and eco-adventures. Continue reading

5 Unique Bike Date Places in Marikina


Most guy bikers I know don’t usually care where they eat during or after a ride. Any food – even if it’s questionable looking carinderia fare that’s been sitting out for several days – is fair game if you’re hungry. Any gas station or sari-sari store is a potential pitstop.

Well, if you want to get your girlfriends or wives to ride with you more often, you may want to put a bit more thought into the destinations. I can’t speak for all girl bikers out there, but while I don’t mind roughing it out every now and then on the trails, I also like being treated like a girl sometimes. Good food, unique ambiance and decent restrooms are probably the three things I look out for in dining places, whether or not I’m biking. Oh, and lots of Instagram-worthy details.

01. Bike date Marikina Cover

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Events: Quezon City’s 75th Anniversary

This October, Quezon City celebrates its 75th year of cityhood. October 12, 2014 marks the city’s Diamond Jubilee, and it looks like all six districts of Quezon City are gearing up for a lot of festivities.

Aside from commemorative events, the city will play host to arts festivals, concerts, health and wellness outreach programs, religious activities, and sports/fitness programs. There are a LOT of events lined up, but here are a few of the highlights that might interest the general public:

October 11: Quezon City Food Festival (9 am-midnight; Maginhawa Street)

The very first Food Festival in Quezon City intends to showcase Maginhawa Street as a major food hub and tourist spot while celebrating with the fun and festivities of a provincial fiesta. As a resident of the area, I’ve seen the transformation of the street from just an alternative road to get to UP to a major foodie spot, with friends and readers of this blog coming over just to go on major food tripping sessions. For a list of most of the restaurants in the area, check out Maginhawa: The Eat Street.

quezon city food festival maginhawa

Food stalls will be set up along the street, and participating restaurants will open their doors to visitors. There’s no entrance fee, but 5,000 lucky visitors will be given special gift certificates and a commemorative plate which they can redeem at participating Maginhawa establishments. Take note that there are over 80 restaurants in the area and 120 exhibitors (and counting). Come hungry! :p

Here’s a handy FAQ prepared by the people behind the QC Food Festival. (Click image for larger view). For updates, like Quezon City Food Festival on Facebook.

FAQ QC Food Festival in Maginhawa

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70th Shinyo Maru Commemoration in Sindangan

On September 7, 1944, the Japanese warship SS Shinyo Maru was sailing for Manila. The vessel was one of the “Hell Ships” used by the Imperial Japanese Navy and Army to transport Allied prisoners from the Philippines to elsewhere in the Japanese empire. Unaware that it was carrying 750 prisoners of war, mostly American survivors, the American submarine USS Paddle SS263, which was tasked to search for the Japanese ship, attacked it. The US submarine torpedoed the Shinyo Maru about a mile or two away from Sindangan point in Zamboanga del Norte. Of the 83 prisoners of war who made it to the shore, one died after they came ashore and was buried on the hill of the town of Sindangan. The 82 remaining survivors were cared for by the locals of Sindangan.

70th shinyo maru commemoration 05

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Holiday Haven in Baguio: Azalea Residences

No matter how many places in the Philippines I’ve been to, there’s really something about Baguio that’s just special. I will always have fond childhood memories of eating fresh strawberries, picking up pine cones, horseback rides, and sitting by a fireplace with hot chocolate during family summer trips to the City of Pines. Later on, work-related trips or trips with friends meant scouring the markets for awesomely cool designer jackets and boots, videoke sessions, food tripping along Session Road, and even playing airsoft!

azalea residences baguio 01

Despite all the changes the city has gone through, Baguio remains one of the most popular tourist destinations year-round for families and friends. It always feels comfortable and easy to come back here yet there’s always something new to look forward to. Over the weekend, I got to visit old favorites and discover fun new things to do in the Summer Capital.

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