Camiguin is an island province in the Philippines commonly associated with two things. First, it’s known as having the sweetest lanzones in the country. Second, it’s home to a sunken cemetery, driven underwater when Mt. Vulcan Daan erupted in the 1870s. A large cross in the sea memorializes the departed buried there and serves as the province’s most iconic landmark. According to locals, tombstones encrusted by corals beneath the cross can still be seen by snorkelers and scuba divers, which sounds both eerie and fascinating at the same time.
The maze of narrow corridors with pipes snaking through the ceilings, hulking machinery and elaborate control panels looked like something out of a classic Science Fiction or horror flick. I couldn’t help imagine being chased by zombies as we walked along the dark hallways and climbed the industrial stairways of the building that has been sitting idle for three decades.
If the UNESCO World Heritage site Shirakawa-go is the starting village or hero’s hometown in a classic video role-playing game, Takayama is the peaceful yet bustling trading town you go to when you want to upgrade your gear and buy all the rare items.
Takayama is a city in the mountainous region of the Gifu Prefecture, about 2 hours away from Nagoya, Japan. It is home to a beautifully preserved Old Town with buildings and whole streets of houses that date back to the Edo Period (1600-1868), when the city still thrived as a wealthy town of merchants. Continue reading →
There are certain destinations in the Philippines that make you feel like you’ve traveled back in time. Places like Vigan in Ilocos Sur, Corregidor in Cavite and Intramuros in Manila offer that old-world charm that makes you appreciate history more. Our adventure trip in Bataan had us not just visiting destinations, but jumping from different time periods. From the cobbled streets and Spanish Colonial Houses of 18th Century Philippines to the elaborate control room of a nuclear power plant built in the 1980s, we literally went back (packing) in time.
Despite its proximity to Metro Manila (just 2.5 hours away) the province of Bataan in Central Luzon remains an underrated destination. For those looking for a mix of nature, history, culture and food, minus the crowds, Bataan is a good choice. It has sports and ecotourism spots like waterfalls, bird watching parks, mountain bike trails and beaches aside from its historic attractions. Continue reading →
One of the things that I look out for when I travel around the Philippines are items made from native weaves or indigenous textiles. Underneath the motifs and patterns are beautiful stories of culture and heritage from different tribes and the skillful artists who weave them.
The streets were buzzing with the chatter of locals and tourists alike admiring the ceremonial yatai – ornate wooden structures that display traditional Japanese craftsmanship. It was hard not to get overwhelmed as we walked along the streets of Takayama, a city in the mountainous Hida region, roughly two hours away from Nagoya, Japan. Our visit coincided with the Takayama Autumn Festival, so the streets were extra lively.
The crisp morning air, the aroma of fresh meat and seafood sizzling on hibachi grills and the naturally beautiful backdrop of the old town’s streets put everyone in a festive mood. Continue reading →
On our first day of biking around Siem Reap, we rented a couple of mountain bikes to explore Angkor’s ancient temples. On our second and third day, we decided to take it slow and just rent city bikes instead. As hardcore as the mountain bikes look, we found out that most of the terrain was pretty flat. We also found ourselves spending more time on foot, channeling our favorite archaeologist-adventurers as we ventured into ancient temples and ruins. Who knows what hidden treasure we might stumble upon?
Many role-playing video games start out in a remote place hidden deep in the mountains. The hero’s home town is often depicted as a rustic village full of wooden houses with thatched roofs. Outside each house, you pass rice fields surrounded by rivers, perfectly landscaped gardens and trees with fruits ripe for the picking. Okami, which is one of my favorite video games of all time, has all these elements of the classical Japanese countryside.
Walking through the streets of Shirakawa-go felt like I was transported into a fantasy world right out of a video game.
A revolution is definitely brewing in the craft beer scene here in the Philippines. It seems that in the past few years, there’s been a boom in local microbreweries. While guzzling down 99 bottles of beer for a self-imposed sidequest, I was glad to come across some great craft beers which are brewed right here in the country. If you’re a craft beer enthusiast or you want to try something new, here are some of the homegrown microbreweries and beers that you should look out for when you travel around the Philippines.
CERVEZA SAGADA CRAFT BREWERY Sagada, Mountain Province
Sagada is a town in the Mountain Province, one of the provinces in the Cordillera Region in the Northern Philippines popular with backpackers and adventure enthusiasts. Cerveza Sagada is Sagada’s first homemade craft beer available exclusively in Sagada Cellar Door, which sells imported wine and beer brands aside from the homemade craft beer.
On a motorcycle, the scorching heat can only be countered by movement. You feel the worst of it when you’re stuck in traffic. Even if you’re wearing a jacket or jeans, you can feel the sun just burn through layers of clothes. You wait for the light to flash from red to green flanked by rows of hulking trucks. Once it’s green, you navigate to avoid jeeps that stop without any warning or taxis that recklessly swerve and cut you off. But in the mountains, there are no traffic lights. The road is a blur and all you feel is the breeze rushing by even at the height of noon.
Roxas City, the capital of Capiz is known as the “seafood capital of the Philippines.” Home to one of the richest fishing grounds in the country, Roxas City offers a range of fresh and affordable seafood including shellfish, squid and different varieties of fish. From jumbo-sized tiger prawns to crabs and oysters cooked in a variety of ways – you can enjoy seafood any way you want. Grilled, steamed, stewed, fried, dried smoked or even raw – take your pick!
Since I blogged about my previous rides to the Wind Farm in Pililla, Rizal, I’ve been getting inquiries from riders and bikers on the best route to take. Over the past few months, I’ve visited the Rizal Wind Farm a total of five times, usually on solo weekend rides. On previous rides, I was always stopped at either the Pillilla or Sampaloc entrance and told that that I couldn’t go in because of ongoing construction, so I usually ended up taking photos just near the entrance.
Cambodia is home to Angkor Archaeological Park, one of the most important historical sites in Southeast Asia. The site, which encompasses dozens of temple ruins, including Bayon, Ta Prohm and the legendary Angkor Wat, has been designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Partly because the movie Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001) was filmed here, this historic temple complex has been been on my motorcycle bucket list for years.
Batan and Sabtang Island are amazing enough. But then I got to Itbayat, the northernmost inhabited island of Batanes, and I was floored. While Itbayat is more rugged and more difficult to explore, it has a unique charm of its own. Hiking over rough roads, hills and steep paths can be grueling, but you will be rewarded with amazing views of caves, cliffs and coasts.
I’ve been wanting to take my 6-year old nephew Eli to KidZania Manila ever since I heard it opened in Park Triangle Mall in Bonifacio Global City this year. We’ve done the rounds of the kid-friendly establishments in the metro – The Mind Museum, Art in Island, The Manila Oceanarium, Ark Avilon, Fun Ranch, etc., and KidZania Manila sounds like the ultimate kiddie theme park. This unique indoor kid-sized play city currently has 20 locations in 17 countries and is now in the Philippines!
Imagine a huge interactive indoor play city full of kiddie-sized stores, vehicles, shops and dining destinations. KidZania Manila was built to scale for children using recognizable brands to make up a city. It provides a unique and realistic educational environment, where kids between the ages of four and 14 can get hands-on experience on their dream jobs. KidZania aims to spark kids’ imaginations, ignite their minds, nurture creativity, and inspire real-world exploration. It’s the ultimate role-playing environment for kids! Continue reading →