Marinduque is an island province in the Philippines best known for being the home of the Moriones Festival, one of the oldest religious festivals in the country celebrated during Holy Week. Everywhere you go in the province, you can spot references to the icons of the Moriones, men and women in costumes and masks wearing garb of biblical Roman soldiers.
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.
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.
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
Riding the bus from Naga City in Bicol to Manila is usually just an ordinary chore for my family. I grew up in Naga City and have become used to the 10-12 hour long bus rides going back and forth to Manila. I’m based now in Manila, but still go back to my hometown several times a year. My parents who have relocated there, travel even more frequently on the bus. Because of the hassle of going to and from the airport, we prefer taking the bus from Cubao rather than taking the plane to Naga. Night rides are the most convenient. I hop on the overnight bus, just sleep and then wake up in my destination the next morning.