Travel Guide: Bataan

The province of Bataan is best known for its historical and cultural attractions. The Battle of Bataan is famous for being one of the last stands of American and Filipino soldiers before they were overwhelmed by the Japanese forces during World War II. The Bataan Death March, where the infamous march started, was also named after the province.

But aside from its historical sites, Bataan is a rising eco-tourism destination with beaches, mountains, turtle sanctuaries, bird-watching sites, springs and waterfalls. Bataan lies within two major peaks, Mount Natib and Mount Mariveles, which are ideal destinations for adventure-seekers. If you’re a mountain biker or hiker, you’ll want to check out the natural trails that Bataan has to offer. Continue reading

Road Trip Restaurants along Marilaque

For riders, cyclists and road trippers clocking in the miles, meals on the road often just consist of quick stops at fast food joints or meet-ups at gas station convenience stores before heading out. Most riders would be satisfied with cup noodles or hot coffee to warm up along the way. A few years ago, this was pretty much all there was along the Marilaque route (also known as Marikina-Infanta or Marcos Highway), the scenic twisting road traversing Marikina, Rizal, Laguna all the way to Infanta, Quezon.

During weekend rides, I’ve noticed a lot of new places to eat and a lot of other establishments being built along the route. Below is a growing list of old favorites and new places where you can grab a bite to eat and enjoy the view along Marilaque. Manila East Road (specially in towns overlooking Laguna de Bay) also has a lot of interesting dining places that makes it great for road trips.

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Siama Hotel in Sorsogon

If you’re on a road trip in the Bicol region and looking for a place to stay in Sorsogon City, Siama Hotel, a charming nature-inspired boutique hotel, is a great option. This hidden gem celebrates the beauty of Bicol’s natural materials in a contemporary artistic setting. Prior to my visit, I had already seen various photos of Siama Hotel online and was intrigued by the place. During a summer visit to Naga City, I convinced my parents to take a road trip to Sorsogon for a quick family vacation. 


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Bisikleta Iglesia Batangas 2017

Combining Visita Iglesia, the Holy Week tradition of visiting seven churches, and the sport of biking is a unique way to mix faith and fitness. While most tourists would prefer to visit churches by motorized transport, there’s something about pedaling your way around under the heat of the sun that makes visiting churches feel like an actual sacrifice or penance rather than just sightseeing by car.


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10 Unique & Fun Things to Do in Manila

For travelers, backpackers and province-based tourists, Manila is often just thought of as a stopover between flights on the way to another destination. The big city can be overwhelming with the heavy traffic and crowded streets. At first glance, there doesn’t seem to be much to do except eat out, go shopping in the malls, visit museums or churches. There’s also the gritty and chaotic areas of Quiapo and Divisoria, which have become synonymous with Manila.

I often take the tourist sights in Manila for granted because this is where I live and work. But if I were a first-time tourist in the Philippines, or if I had to take around foreign tourists, balikbayans, expats or province-based friends, what would I do and where would I go? Here are some suggestions of unique and fun activities you can do while in Manila.
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Haranah Eco Park in Tanay, Rizal

Growing up in the province, my childhood friends and I used to enjoy camping sleepovers. On hot summer nights, we’d haul out banigs, folding beds and foam mattresses on the grass and “camp out” in our garden under a makeshift tent sewn together from my old protest streamers. We’d spend the night playing card games and board games like Monopoly, Cluedo and Pictionary and roast marshmallows and hotdogs in a mini-bonfire. Back then, we really felt like we were roughing it out. But there was always the security of parents just inside the house (providing us with real food), a decent bathroom and the option to move indoors if it rained.

Unwatermarked photos courtesy of Haranah Eco Park Continue reading

THAILAND: River Kwai Village Jungle Resort

Kanchanaburi is a city in Thailand located where the rivers Kwai Noi and Kwai Yai meet. Just a couple of hours away from the bustling capital of Bangkok, this area is known for its natural attractions and waterfalls, making it an ideal destination for those who prefer nature and adventure getaways compared to party beaches and shopping.

river-kwai-jungle-resort-thailand-travelup

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Microtel General Santos City

After covering the Golden Anniversary and T’nalak Festival in Koronadal City, I extended my trip to explore more of the region and opted to stay in Microtel by Wyndham – General Santos City. Located on the shores of Sarangani Bay, this independent city is geographically part of South Cotabato in Mindanao and is the gateway to other provinces including Sarangani, Sultan Kudarat, and (North) Cotabato.

microtel general santos city facade

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Plant Bistro: Cozy B & B and Cafe in Tagaytay

Tagaytay City is one of the nearest destinations to Manila for weekend getaways. While most people go here on day trips, it’s always nice to spend the night to have more time to check out all the different new sights. There are a lot of accommodations to choose from in the main city, from no-frills backpacker’s hotels, to hotel rooms with a view of Taal Lake, and villas and cottages for rents for bigger groups. For those looking for something a little more unique and cozy, Plant Bistro is a lovely little bed & breakfast and cafe. I found the place on Airbnb and thought it would make a great weekend getaway.

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Momarco Resort in Tanay, Rizal

Summer is here and many families and barkadas are looking for resorts for their out-of-town swimming trips and excursions. One of the places I can recommend relatively near the metro is Momarco Resort in Tanay, Rizal. Only 1.5 hours away from Quezon City, Momarco Resort has a large, clean and well-maintained swimming pool and an artificial lagoon with a waterfall.

momarco resort tanay rizal manmade lagoon

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