Flying High in Pangasinan

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“Roads? Where we’re going we don’t need… roads!”

pangasinan aerial view wcc aviation 07 hundred islands

Images of Back to the Future’s time machine flashed before my eyes as I sat behind the retro futuristic dashboard of the two-seater Cessna 152 aircraft. The control panel full of complicated-looking buttons, knobs and gauges looked worthy of powering up a flux capacitor that could take me back in time 30 years. The width of the 2-seater plane is only about one-third the size of your standard car or SUV, with two seats squeezed together and some extra space for bags at the back. But judging from my excitement level of riding one for the first time, you’d think I was riding along with Doc Brown himself in the DeLorean.

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WCC Aviation in Binalonan, Pangasinan

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Without a warning, the clear sunny day morphed into a rainy and foggy mess. The picturesque mountains against blue skies which had looked so inviting seconds before took on a more sinister air. Lightning struck and thunder rolled in the distance. The fog thickened to almost zero visibility. The scene turned to night with lights from houses and a runway blinking in the distance. In a flash, the plane was teleported back on the ground to a runway in front of clear skies again.

wcc aviation binalonan pangasinan simulator 03

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Ride, Run & Row Weekend in Batangas

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Most Pinoy tourists are familiar with the overlooking view of Taal Lake from Tagaytay City. But there’s something special about seeing the lake at eye-level from towns in Batangas.

batangas earth and water festival 2015 kayak

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Lima Park Hotel, Batangas

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Last weekend, Outside Slacker and I had a fun time at the Batangas Earth and Water Festival 2015. He got to ride his bike and run around scenic towns in Mataasnakahoy and Balete during the duathlon, while I got to row a kayak at the picturesque Taal Lake. The sporting events were organized by First Asia Institute of Technology and Humanities (FAITH) and Lima Park Hotel, a luxury hotel in Batangas which hosted our weekend stay. With the 4 to 5 am call times for the duathlon and fun run the next day, it was definitely a treat to go back to the hotel and chill out instead of having to drive back to Manila at once. If you’re looking for a comfortable hotel with world-class facilities in the Batangas area, Lima Park Hotel is a great option.

lima park hotel malvar batangas pool

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Cozy Cafe in Antipolo: Eggs for Breakfast

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Antipolo is known primarily for its scenic overlooking views. Being relatively near Manila, it offers an easy weekend getaway. Lately, more people have been visiting because of artistic spaces like Pinto Art Museum and dining destinations like Crescent Moon Cafe. During a solo ride one weekend, I tried out Eggs for Breakfast, a relatively new cafe that opened about 3 months ago.

eggs for breakfast antipolo table

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Rappelling Down a Waterfall in CamSur

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Rappelling down the waterfall felt like a scene straight out of a video game. Lara Croft and Nathan Drake make it look too easy and they don’t even have ropes, I thought to myself as I scrambled to navigate the environmental puzzle. The scenery even looked reminiscent of CGI.

nalalata waterfalls rappelling camarines sur 01

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Travel Guide: Quirino

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Quirino is one of those provinces in Luzon that’s still off the tourist radar. Formerly part of Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino became a separate province in 1966. While most provinces in the Philippines are known for something concrete, Quirino’s identity has yet to be formed. It was this air of mystery for an “off-the-beaten path” destination that made me more eager to visit the province.

quirino province landingan viewpoint
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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

Unique Bike Date Places in Marikina

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Updated January 2015

NOTE: Because of the number of suggestions I got from readers in the comments section, this is an evolving list that I will update every time we visit a new resto in Marikina that fits the theme. However, the article is still displayed as “5 Unique Bike Date Places in Marikina.” Can’t change the URL for technical reasons. There are 7 in the list right now. Check back for updates! :)  

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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Weekend in Jomalig Island, Quezon

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Raindrops trickled down through the holes in the tarpaulin that served as the roof of the boat, forming a puddle right next to me  and waking me up from my sleep. “Duct tape,” I mentally added to my list of things I should always bring on a trip, as I moved my bag and huddled in the center of the boat with the rest of the people on the boat.

jomalig quezon beach boats

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Tomb Raiding a Jungle Temple

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Towering trees perched from temples ruins; their roots spilling over like tentacles over the crumbling walls. A maze of secret paths led to doorways hidden in the rubble. Faded carvings in concrete seemed to hide secret codes just waiting to be deciphered.

beng melea temple cambodia tomb raiding

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Motorcycling around Batanes

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On the left side of the road was a towering rock wall. On the right was a cliff that plummeted down into the sea, complete with dramatic waves crashing into the rocky coast. The winding road carved into the hills narrowed into one lane as it made its way around a sharp bend. Yellow “Blow Ur Horn” signs painted on stone markers signaled blind spots in the road, leading to landscapes that wouldn’t look out of place in a fantasy film.

basco lighthouse travelup batanes

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Maginhawa: The Eat Street

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Updated February 2015

I feel really fortunate to be living on Maginhawa Street, one of the best go-to places for a food trip around the metro. There’s a great range of restaurants and types of cuisine to fit any mood and craving. A lot of the places in the area are small family-owned restaurants or start-ups of young entrepreneurs with a laid-back and artsy vibe. In fact, Maginhawa Street has become a “tourist attraction” of sorts, with people from all over coming to the area just to go food tripping.

maginhawa eat street travelup

Here’s an updated directory of where to to eat along Maginhawa Street (including Malingap Street and nearby streets) Teachers Village, Diliman, Quezon City. Check back often because this post gets updated frequently. Lots of new restos have opened up on the street that I’m still planning to try :) Continue reading

Travel Guide: Catbalogan, Western Samar

Home to a network of amazing caves hidden beneath the region’s lush jungles, including the biggest cave system in the country, Samar is a rugged island where adventure seekers can experience something out of the ordinary.

19. calbiga cave samar vertical cliff
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Cebu’s First Craft Beer at Irie Gastropubliko

Irie Gastropubliko is a bar and restaurant in Cebu City that’s been around for a couple of years. Located on the Ground Floor of Skyrise 4 Building in the business district of Cebu I.T. Park, it caters mostly to those living and working in the area. They also get a lot of expats and craft beer enthusiasts from all over, who really seek out the place since it’s apparently the only place that you can try beers on tap from Turning Wheels Craft Brewery, Cebu’s first craft beer.

irie gastropubliko cebu city turning wheels craft brewery

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Hike to Mt. Tagapo, Talim Island

Sometimes, we tend to take places in our backyard for granted. The nearer a destination is from where we live, the less it is on our tourist radar. For instance, Art’s hometown is Binangonan, but for some reason, we’ve both never been to Mt. Tagapo, a mountain that falls under the jurisdiction of the towns of Binangonan and Cardona in Rizal province (though it’s only accessible from the Binangonan side). Mt. Tagapo, referred to by locals as Susong Dalaga, is located in the middle of Laguna de Bay, the largest lake in the Philippines. The first weekend of the year seemed like a good time as any to scale a mountain, so we we decided to finally head there.

mt tagapo talim island rizal 01
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Pinto Art Museum in Antipolo

A set of statues made alternatively of stone and candlewax dotted the gardens. In the middle of the green lawn was an antique four poster bed laid out with crisp white sheets. Several beautiful silver art pieces work showed women cradling babies beneath their steel spiral wombs. Everywhere I looked there seemed to be doorways and paths waiting to reveal more hidden treasures.

01. pinto art museum antipolo doorway

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