Craft Beers in the Philippines

Updated December 2016

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 homegrown microbreweries and beers that you should look out for when you travel around the Philippines.

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Solo Ride in Biliran

Biliran is an island province in the Eastern Visayas region of the Philippines. Formerly a sub-province of Leyte, it’s one of the country’s newest provinces, having only become independent in 1992. After our action-packed canyoneering at Sampao River ending at Ulan-Ulan Falls and island-hopping to Sambawan Island the previous days with tour operator Trexplore and some friends from Cebu, I was on my own. So, I decided to rent a motorcycle to check out what the rest of the island had to offer.

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Universal Studios Japan Theme Park

For movie and pop culture buffs, Universal Studios Theme Park is one of the top attractions where you can enjoy rides inspired by Hollywood blockbusters, TV shows, cartoons and video games produced by Universal Studios. This world-class theme park transports you right inside your all-time-favorite flicks like Jurassic Park, Waterworld and JAWS.

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Jurassic Park’s The Flying Dinosaur. Photo courtesy of Universal Studios Japan
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Budget Travel Tips for Japan

Most Filipino travelers have Japan high on their bucketlists. But most of us have this perception that traveling there is too expensive. Generally, the cost of living is higher than popular Southeast Asian countries on the backpacking trail like Thailand, Cambodia or Vietnam.

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But Japan is such a worthwhile destination in terms of natural landscapes, rich traditional culture, and world class technology. It’s amazing how efficient and clean everything is. Like traveling to any destination, there are always ways you can cut down on costs. Last year, I got to visit Nagoya and I just recently came back from visiting sights around Osaka, Kyoto and Nara in the Kansai Region. Here are a few tips I can share that will hopefully help Filipino travelers plan their dream trip to The Land of the Rising Sun.

TIP: 100 USD is roughly 10,000 yen. If you want to convert yen to pesos, the general rule of thumb is to divide the amount in half. For instance, anything that costs 1000 Yen is roughly 500 pesos. Continue reading

Mischief Managed: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Japan

As a huge fan of J.K Rowling’s Harry Potter novels and the blockbuster film series based on the books, visiting The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is a dream come true. This themed area within Universal Studios Japan (USJ) was a major highlight of my recent trip around Osaka and the Kansai region upon the invitation of Cebu Pacific & USJ. Flying along with Harry, Hermione and Ron in the Forbidden Journey inside Hogwarts Castle, walking along the shops in Hogsmeade and drinking Butterbeer at the Three Broomsticks was just amazing!

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“I solemnly swear that I’m up to no good!”

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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.

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Baguio by Big Bike: Ride Along Motorcycle Tours

For riders, travel is usually more about the journey than the destination. Sometimes it doesn’t matter where you go. Just hitting the open road, soaking in the beautiful scenery as you drive off into the sunset is an epic adventure in itself.

Whenever I travel to a different province, I try to rent a motorcycle. Usually, it’s just whatever run-down model I can get my hands on. I’ve ridden solo in many beautiful island destinations like Batanes, Bohol, Siargao, Siquijor and Cebu. On my own faithful Yamaha Mio Fino, the farthest I’ve driven is from Manila to Bicol.

But it’s not everyday that you get to ride on the expressway up to Baguio on a Harley Davidson. Oh yeah, baby! Achievement unlocked! Seriously, just sitting on this bike gives you instant 1000+ Astig Points.

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Spelunking in Samar: Lobo Cave

Just like exploring a new dungeon in a video game, there’s something so fulfilling about spelunking or exploring caves in real life.

You have to navigate through small tunnels and chambers, find the best route so that you don’t hurt yourself, come face to face with creatures like bats and snakes and overcome all the obstacles in the dark to find the cave exit. It’s not as glamorous as Lara Croft makes it look, but it’s one of the most fun and exhilarating adventures you can do. Particularly if you’re in Samar, the Caving Capital of the Philippines.

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THAILAND: Maeklong Railway Market

At first glance, Maeklong Market in Samut Songhram, a couple of hours outside Bangkok in Thailand looks like any other rural wet market. Baskets of fresh fruits and vegetables are displayed alongside colorful sweets and local delicacies. In one section, stall vendors hawk smoked and dried fish, trays of raw seafood, meat and even a few exotic offerings like skinned and skewered frogs. In the back stalls, you can buy dry goods and basic household items. But what makes the market interesting is its location. Situated right along an active railway track, a train just happens to run right through the tightly packed market. This happens several times a day, when the train nears the Maeklong station between Samut Sakhon and Wongwian yai.

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The Crystal Paradise: Central Cave, Samar

Exploring Central Cave in Samar made me feel like an action star. There’s just something so innately bad-ass about descending 18 meters or 60 feet down a hole in the ground into a cavern below with ropes anchored on tree trunks. One moment you’re on solid ground, the next you’re just hanging there lowering yourself inch by inch to the rocky surface below. You look up and a ray of light shines from the ground above.

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