Finding Chew Love in Tacloban

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I chanced upon Chew Love rather unexpectedly.

From the tricycle I was riding in downtown Tacloban, the building’s bright teal color, red and white striped canopies and colorful murals painted on the walls instantly called out to me. When I entered, the first thing I saw was a sofa full of graphic throw pillows in cheerful colors and a vintage white bicycle covered with flowers. How can you not instantly fall in love with a place that looks just as pretty as that?

chew love tacloban interiors

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Exploring the Underworld: Calbiga Caves, Samar

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Encompassing and immense, Langun-Gobingob Caves in the town of Calbiga (more popularly known as Calbiga Cave) in Samar province is the largest cave system in the Philippines. It’s reputed to be the second largest in Asia and the world’s third largest karst formation, measuring 7 km. long with an area of 900 square km. But that doesn’t even begin to describe its vastness.

01. calbiga cave samar photo by trexplore

With chambers upon chambers as large as coliseums, the light from our headlamps barely made a dent in the dark. The surreal underground landscapes brought images of the Underworld to mind. If you want a glimpse of mysterious underground realms, head to Samar. Calbiga is just one of the many cave systems you can explore in this rugged province, dubbed the Caving Capital of the country. Continue reading

Dinosaur Hunting in Baguio

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A lot of images come to mind when you think of Baguio. Pine trees, strawberries, boating in Burnham Park. Dinosaurs… Dinosaurs?

dinosaur island baguio road

Yes. We found ourselves face to face with these prehistoric monsters in Dinosaurs Island. The unique attraction is situated in a valley between forested mountains in the town of Badiwan, Tuba, Benguet, about 15 minutes from Baguio City.

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Casa San Miguel, Zambales

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Sunlight streams through the shady trees, casting a hazy glow on the garden. Amidst the refreshing greenery and peaceful surroundings, one is drawn to the distinct art pieces scattered about the grounds. A bizarre statue arches its back to stare at the sky, while lanterns resembling cat’s heads stick out from the branches of a large tree.

casa san miguel zambales 01

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Food Trip: Vigan

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Aside from shopping for antiques and furniture, Vigan, the capital of Ilocos Sur, offers a lot of options for food-trippers. With their hefty servings of deep-fried pork and flavorful street food packed with native sausages, Vigan is definitely a foodie destination for carnivores. You don’t even have to go far to enjoy a good meal. A lot of good eating places are located along Calle Crisologo, just walking distance from the plaza and top hotels in the city.

01. food trip vigan cafe leona

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Vigan by Motorcycle

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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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Chapters Book Cafe in Dipolog

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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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INFOGRAPHIC: Globe Data Roaming flat rate of P599/day

NOTE: This is an advertorial

Every traveler knows the importance of having reliable wi-fi while they’re on the road. Whether you just have the urgent need to upload your latest unique foodie find on Instagram or you need to check Googlemaps to navigate around in a foreign city, staying connected is really important. The problem is that not all establishments offer free wi-fi, and those that do are sometimes spotty at best. Continue reading

Deuter SL Backpacks for Women

One of my frustrations when shopping is that most top-performing outdoor gear (ex. convertible dri-fit pants, trekking shoes, or backpacks) seem to have been designed for men. Tall men at that. Unless I shop in the kid’s section or luck out with (frequently out of stock) S or XS items, my height makes it difficult to find good gear that fits properly.

01. deuter backpacks concept store MOA

Another thing that annoys me about travel gear is that most items for women almost always come in extremely girly designs of bright pink and purple (just look at the running shoe section of most stores. No offense, but not all girls like pink and purple, although Hit-Girl looks really cool and badass in violet.

Anyway, it’s great to know that some brands like Deuter have gone the extra mile and have designed women-specific backpacks that are just as tough as those made for men, and don’t look like they came from a Mattel catalogue.

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Berghaus Urban Adventure Games set on Nov. 15

As a fan of scavenger hunts and video games, the invitation to the media launch of Berghaus Urban Adventure Games had me intrigued.

“Experience the 1st app based Urban Adventure Game,” said the invitation from Berghaus, a premier British brand for outdoor gear. “Please wear rubber shoes,” was the only follow-up when I confirmed my attendance.

Berghaus Postcard

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Race to Boracay with City Kart Racing

Want to channel your road rage into something positive? How about trying Kart Racing? You might even get a chance to win a trip to Boracay! I’ve had the chance to try Kart Racing in Tarlac, and I think it offers a similar same adrenaline rush to motorcycling on open roads but in a safe, controlled environment. If you want to live your inner action star dreams in a crazy car chase scene minus the explosions, then you have to try karting.

City Kart Racing 01

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