I’ve had the opportunity to stay in some beautiful luxury hotels for work and as part of media tours. This includes grand five-star properties in Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong and Macau. But nothing prepared me for Okada Manila. The moment I stepped inside the lobby, I was completely overwhelmed by the extravagance of the place. It’s hard to believe that a place like this exists in Metro Manila.
Okada Manila is among the largest ultra-luxury integrated hotel-resorts in Asia. It aims to compete with casinos in Macau and position Metro Manila as a regional and international destination. Continue reading →
Known as the “Art Capital of the Philippines,” the town of Angono in Rizal province is ideal for those looking for a unique art and food tour near Manila. Home to the famed Angono-Binangonan Petrogylphs (the oldest known work of art in the country), quirky folk art museums and restaurants serving native and exotic cuisine, Angono offers an alternative destination for weekend food trips.
Cove Manila could be the glittering casino city of Canto Bight in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Or it could be the Capitol in The Hunger Games’s Panem. Imagine an indoor beach and night club with luxury cabanas and private hot tubs housed under a glass-dome where high society are free to revel in lavish and over-the-top celebrations, untouched by the problems of a world descending into chaos and war. You don’t have to imagine it because it actually exists in Manila.
I’ve been going back and forth to the Eastern towns of Rizal a lot during weekend rides. During that time, I think I’ve tried all the main road trip restaurants in Rizal along Marilaque and Manila East Road Road. I can’t believe it took me this long to try Lutong Pugon, a garden restaurant owned by a local artist that serves delicious wood-fired pizza. You really wouldn’t expect to find a quality pizzeria like this up in the mountains.
Most tourists are probably familiar with the Mediterranean-style Thunderbird Resorts & Casino in Poro Point, La Union. But did you know that there’s another resort under the same management just an hour away from Metro Manila?
Corregidor, an island at the entrance of Manila Bay, mostly attracts history buffs. Known as “The Rock” because of its rocky landscape and the heavy fortifications, this historic island is a great destination for bikers as well. Traversing the island’s well-paved roads and jungle trails on board a bicycle and getting to visit the different ruins and landmarks offers a totally different experience from the usual day trip tour on board a tranvia.
There’s craft beer in my hometown Naga City! Ibalon Craft Brew is introducing to Naga City the first craft beers in the Bicol region. I’m so happy that folks in Bicol now have more beer options and can enjoy something new and different compared to the usual commercial beers served in most stores, bars and restaurants in Naga City.
Kaybiang Tunnel is the Philippines’ longest subterranean road tunnel. This tunnel links the towns of Ternate, Cavite and Nasugbu, Batangas through a hole under Mount Palay-Palay (aka Mt. Pico de Loro). It’s a very popular landmark for cyclists and riders based in Manila for weekend rides. This 300-meter tunnel is part of the 6-kilometer Tourism Road in Cavite that cuts travel time from Manila to Nasugbu and Calatagan, Batangas from the usual 4 hours via Tagaytay to just a little over one hour.
Macau is best known for its glitzy casinos. But this special administrative region of China, just an hour away from Hong Kong is one of the main bucket-list destinations of adrenaline junkies. If you’re into extreme activities, you’ve probably heard of the Macau Tower Convention & Entertainment Centre, simply known as the Macau Tower, home to the world’s highest commercial Bungy Jump.
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 →