Endless Samar Part 2: Laoang Island & Mapanas

Desolate. The empty highway seems to stretch on for miles. Except for the occasional habal-habal or van going in the opposite direction, most of the main road in Northern Samar just feels so empty. There are hardly any establishments or houses on either side of the road. Just mountains on the horizon, coconut trees and fields.

While driving from Lavezares to Laoang Island, the only fairly large town I pass that has an actual mall and big gas stations is Catarman. After that, I only encounter small villages with their poblacions made up of a few streets punctuated by a handful of sari-sari stores selling gas in litro bottles. Then it’s back to deserted roads after driving for five minutes. Continue reading

Top 10 Mainstream Beers in the Philippines

Whenever I travel abroad, I always make it a point to try the most popular beer from other countries. I’ve been documenting the growth of the craft beer in the Philippines, but I’ve never written about the country’s mainstream or commercial brands. Mainly, it’s because I feel like all Pinoys know these beers already. I mean, beer drinking is considered a national pastime! But I realize that foreign backpackers and first-time visitors to the country may not be familiar with these beers yet, so am listing them down just for reference.

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Top Beer Brands in Southeast Asia

If you follow this blog, you know I have a thing for beer. I’ve been compiling all the different beers I’ve tried here in the country and during trips abroad. Each country has its own signature brew, which I look for and try whenever I travel to a new place. For me, travel and beer really go together. Nothing ends a great day of sightseeing than relaxing with a bottle of ice-cold beer and a good meal. Here are just a few of the most popular and iconic beers I’ve sampled around Southeast Asia.


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Endless Samar Part 1: Biri Island

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Ang laki pala ng Samar, I thought to myself as I drove along the highway on my way from Catbalogan City to Lavezares in Northern Samar. When I ride a van or a bus, I usually just sleep and wake up near my destination, so I don’t really feel how far I’ve gone. I get an inkling of distances when I plan my route on Googlemaps, but the kilometers on Samar island just felt longer than usual.

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Travel Guide: Biri Island, Northern Samar

Like a lost planet right here on the earth, Biri Island’s amazing natural rock formations will astound you. The island’s dramatic landscape carved by the fury of Mother Nature are as beautiful as they are surreal. These gigantic limestone rock formations were formed by pounding winds, raging storms and ruthless waves that battered the coast. If there’s one iconic place you need to visit in Northern Samar, Biri Island would be your best bet.

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The Cave Beyond a Waterfall: Sulpan Cave in San Jorge, Samar

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Caves do not have mass appeal. Given a choice between a beach and a cave, most tourists I know would probably be packing their Instagram-worthy swimwear and flip-flops to bask on the sunny shores of a tropical island before you can even say “spelunking.”

I mean, why would anyone want to dangle hundreds of meters in the air to enter a hole in the ground leading to an unknown chamber, stumble around on slippery boulders in complete darkness, crawl through muddy passageways and swim through the frigid inky waters of underground canyons where who knows what could be lurking, waiting to reach up with their gigantic tentacles or venomous fangs to drag you down to the depths below?

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Family Staycation at Marco Polo Hotel Ortigas

When I travel or go backpacking on my own, I don’t mind sleeping in run-down hostels with public restrooms, camping in a tent on the beach or even just hanging up a hammock somewhere for the night. But when I travel with my family, I want to make sure they’re comfortable. Hotel staycations are a nice way to relax and can be a lot of fun if you’re with family or friends.

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10 Things to do in Tagaytay

Tagaytay in Cavite is probably the most popular choice for a quick weekend or day trip for those coming from Metro Manila. People come here for the cooler climate, refreshing sights and the various restaurants that offer an easy escape for locals. Other towns in Cavite also offer historic spots and resorts ideal for sports and recreational activities. Here’s a look at some family-friendly activities you can do in and near Tagaytay City.

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10 Useful Apps for Travel

Technology has really changed the way people travel. Traveling these days no longer means going off the grid. In fact, for many tech-savvy travelers, staying connected while traveling abroad is essential. How else can we book those last-minute flights and hotels, navigate around unfamiliar streets, find out the best places to eat, and keep our Instagram and Facebook social media accounts updated, right?

smartphone googlemaps and map

If you’re a frequent traveler, here are 10 handy applications that you might want to install on your smartphone or tablet with before traveling locally and abroad.

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Pinipisakan Falls in San Jorge, Samar

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Otherwordly. Ethereal, Magical. Like a scene from a children’s fairy-tale storybook, the two tiers of the waterfall cascade like a white curtain into a basin of clear blue water. From where we stand, the massive boulder formations carpeted with moss, wild ferns and tiny purple flowers provide a postcard-perfect viewing deck.

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