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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

World Street Food Congress 2016: First Time in Manila!


Don't miss the biggest food event in Manila this 2016 - the World Street Food Congress happening this April 20 to 24 in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig.
World Street Food Congress 2016

There will be 24 participants from all over the world. Average food rate is Php200 and above.

Opening Hours:
April 20 - 22 (Wednesday to Friday) -- 4:00PM - 11:00PM
April 23 (Saturday) -- 12:00NN - 11:00PM
April 24 (Sunday) -- 12:00NN - 9:00PM

Entrance Fee in the World StreetFood Jamboree is FREE!

See you there!
Address: Federacion Drive and 9th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, Philippines

Sunday, April 03, 2016

10 Unspoiled Beaches Near Manila


With over 7,107 islands to choose from, many Filipinos consider a beach trip as the ultimate getaway during summer. While there are several popular beach destinations, some of them are even world-renowned, there are still a lot of less visited beaches in our country. Included on the list below are the 10 Unspoiled Beaches that you can visit and enjoy for a 2-day trip with a maximum travel time of 6 hours only from Manila.

1. Balinmanok Beach in Dasol, Pangasinan
Balinmanok Beach is along the coastline of Villa Balinmanok in Dasol, Pangasinan. Villa Balinmanok is composed of 3 private beach resorts owned by a family.
How to Get There:
by Public Transportation (a.k.a. Commute)
Take a bus bound to Alaminos; you may either take Victory Liner or Five Star. Fare is Php393/person. Travel time is around more than 6 hours. In Alaminos City, take a bus bound to Sta. Cruz, Zambales and ask the driver/conductor to drop you off at Dasol, Pangasinan. Travel time from Alaminos to Dasol is approximately around 45 minutes. Fare is Php40/person. Once you reach Dasol Highway, you may hire a tricycle for Php300 good for 2 pax. Take note that the rate is for one-way only and the tricycle ride would take more than an hour.

by Private Vehicle
From Manila, take EDSA and drive all the way to Balintawak Exit. Take NLEX, then SCTEX. Once you reach Tarlac, take the road going northwest to Alaminos via Camiling. Before reaching Alaminos town proper, take the short diversion road to Mabini then Burgos. At this point of time, use WAZE. :)
Look for the road leading to Villa Balinmanok; it is actually around 32 kms from the main road. This long and winding road is a combination of 90% newly-paved road and 10% rough road. Travel time from Balintawak Exit to Balinmanok Beach is more or less 6 hours.
More about Balinmanok Beach here.

2. Burot Beach in Calatagan, Batangas
Burot Beach was previously called as the Elizalde Beach (owned by the Elizaldes, an affluent family in the Philippines), but was recently bought by SM. Now, Burot Beach is a private property of SM Group of Companies but is open for public until further notice.
How to Get There:
by Public Transportation (a.k.a. Commute)

You can either take a bus or a van to Calatagan.
By Van - There are vans available going to Calatagan near the Bus Station and MRT Taft Station. Fare is Php180.00/pax. Travel time is approximately 3 to 4 hours. At Calatagan Market, hire a tricycle for Php150.00 or Php60.00 per person. Again, use your haggling skills, you can avail the tricycle fare for Php120.00.

By Bus - Bus Terminal is located along EDSA near MRT Taft Station (at the back of McDonald's and Sogo Hotel). Fare is Php180.00. Travel time is approximately 3 to 4 hours. Calatagan-bound buses are available daily, first trip is 4:00 AM. Ask the conductor to drop you off at Calatagan Market. At Calatagan Market, hire a tricycle for Php150.00 or Php60.00 per person. Note: Tricycle ride will be around 20 minutes only.


by Private Vehicle
1. From Manila, take Coastal Road or SLEX (South Luzon Express Way). Drive all the way to Nasugbu, Batangas until you reach a junction or rotonda. At the junction, take the right turn going to Lian; a Caltex Gasoline Station will serve as your landmark.
2. Drive straight ahead. After passing the CADP (Central Azucarera Don Pedro) Sugar Refinery, take a left at the intersection (Landmarks: Shell and I-Gas Gasoline Stations).
3. Drive straight ahead. Once you see Sto. Domingo Church, turn right.
4. You'll pass through a small public market (Talipapa), then a cemetery. From there, you'll see signs going to Burot Beach. :)


More about Burot Beach here.

3. Cagbalete Island in Mauban, Quezon
Cagbalete Island is located in the town of Mauban Quezon. The island is surrounded by white sand and can be considered as a perfect paradise for nature lovers. Though it is only 3 hours away from Manila, Cagbalete remains to be untouched.
How To Get There:
by Public Transportation (a.k.a. Commute)
suggested departure from Manila is 3 am.

From Buendia, you can take JAM or JAC Liner to go to Lucena (around 3-4 hr trip). Fare is P209.00/pax. Once you reach Lucena Grand Terminal, take the ordinary bus to Mauban via Mainit. It is a 1 1/2 hr trip, fare is P50.00 each. From Mauban Bus Station, take a tricycle to bring you to Pantalan Port (there are 2 ports in Mauban, so better to be specific). To make sure, tell the tricycle driver to bring you to the port to Cagbalete Island. Standard rate of tricycle fare is P9.00/person. At the Pantalan Port, look for the ferry boats to Cagbalete. I highly recommend for you to take the big ferry boats Anthony or Neneng. It will be approximately 45mins-1 hr boatride depending on the weather. Fare is P40.00 each. Once you arrived at Cagbalete (Sabang Port), to reach the resorts, you need to trek for about 10-20 mins.

More about Cagbalete Island here.


4. Patar Beach in Bolinao, Pangasinan
Located in Bolinao, Pangasinan, Patar Beach is one of most under-rated beach that I have gone so far. Its golden-colored sand is safe for kids and is open for public. One can pitch a tent or rent the nipa huts/cottages along the shore.
How To Get There:
by Public Transportation (a.k.a. Commute)

Manila to Bolinao would be approximately 6 to 6.5 hours travel time. For direct trips to Bolinao, you may take Victory Liner (available in Cubao station only) or Five Star Bus (available in Pasay terminal only). Upon arrival at Bolinao Terminal, hire a tricycle to bring you to the resort of your choice. Standard rate from Bolinao town proper to Patar is Php250 which is good for 4 pax.

More about Patar Beach here.

5. Magalawa Island in Palauig, Zambales
Magalawa is an island in Palauig, Zambales surrounded by the vast China Sea. It is a small (barangay) island that offers a rustic experience due to its untouched and uncrowded beach. If you're looking for some peaceful getaway, have a quick escape to Magalawa.
How To Get There:
by Public Transportation (a.k.a. Commute)

Take Victory Liner either to Sta. Cruz or Iba, Zambales.

via Sta. Cruz
From Caloocan, take a Sta. Cruz bound bus. Asked the bus driver to drop you off at Radio Veritas Road in Brgy. Pangolinan (Palauig Zambales).

via Iba
From Caloocan, take an Iba bound bus. At the Iba Bus Terminal, take an ordinary bus to Palauig. Asked the bus driver to drop you off at Radio Veritas Road in Brgy. Pangolinan. Fare is Php34.00.

From the drop-off point at Veritas Road, ride a tricycle. Fixed rate is Php150 which is good for 2 pax only. Make sure to tell the driver that you will be staying at Mang Mulo (locals call it 'Ruiz') since almost all of the drivers there are used to bringing visitors to Armada Resort; it's important because the 2 got different ports. After a 30-minute-exhausting-bumpy-ouch-ugh-super-rough-road-tricycle-ride, Mang Mulo's boatmen will pick you up at Luan Port. Don't worry about the boatride to Magalawa Island; it is smooth and will only last for about 10 minutes or so.

More about Magalawa Island here.

Since most of these beach destinations are unspoiled and are less visited, planning is really needed. 

Hope you guys will enjoy your summer!

Important Reminders and Tips: For other ultimate destinations and dream vacations, give ample time to do research and read some reviews. This will ensure that you will get the most out of your vacation and might even give you cheap last minute travel deals. It will definitely save you time and money. Look for pocket-friendly hotels in the Philippines, too! Swear, there are a lot!

Friday, March 25, 2016

Balinmanok Beach: The Hidden Paradise of Pangasinan


At this point of time, I am sure you guys are searching for that perfect summer destination. Well, me too! Haha! Just like most of you, it seems like I am always in chase for the most beautiful places so I could bring my loved ones there.

Luckily, my family is always on the go and is always game for some adventure. Yes, they do not care about bumpy rough roads, lengthy boat rides, make-shift overnight camping, etc. Believe me, they accompanied me for more than 9 hours searching for Calaguas Island way back when it was still unknown to many. They also drove that long and winding rough road going to Burot to keep me company. I could say that they are the best travel buddies in the whole wide world. Simply the best!

Anyways, without further a do, let me share our most recent trip.
P.S. Don't worry, it's a budget travel.
Balinmanok Beach is along the coastline of Villa Balinmanok in Dasol, Pangasinan. Villa Balinmanok is composed of 3 private beach resorts owned by a family.

How to Get There:
by Public Transportation (a.k.a. Commute)
Take a bus bound to Alaminos; you may either take Victory Liner or Five Star. Fare is Php393/person. Travel time is around more than 6 hours. In Alaminos City, take a bus bound to Sta. Cruz, Zambales and ask the driver/conductor to drop you off at Dasol, Pangasinan. Travel time from Alaminos to Dasol is approximately around 45 minutes. Fare is Php40/person. Once you reach Dasol Highway, you may hire a tricycle for Php300 good for 2 pax. Take note that the rate is for one-way only and the tricycle ride would take more than an hour.

Make sure to get the tricycle driver's contact number to schedule your pick after your stay; Villa Balinmanok is far from the city. :)

by Private Vehicle
From Manila, take EDSA and drive all the way to Balintawak Exit. Take NLEX, then SCTEX. Once you reach Tarlac, take the road going northwest to Alaminos via Camiling. Before reaching Alaminos town proper, take the short diversion road to Mabini then Burgos. At this point of time, use WAZE. :)
Look for the road leading to Villa Balinmanok; it is actually around 32 kms from the main road. This long and winding road is a combination of 90% newly-paved road and 10% rough road.

Travel time from Balintawak Exit to Balinmanok Beach is more or less 6 hours.

Disclaimer: I am not really good with directions but, you'll get there. Promise!

Balinmanok, at last!

Balinmanok is such a relief! It's a Batangas, a Calaguas, and a Burot Beach in one. Why? It has the comfort of Batangas (less the noise and crowd, of course), the ruggedness of Calaguas, and the accessibility of Burot. These are aside from the fact that the sand and the crystal clear water are the bomb.
Balinmanok is my new favorite beach!

And this is how clear the water is! :)


I love the feeling of exclusivity, in a sense that we had the entire Villa Balinmanok to ourselves. The place is not popular as other nearby beaches - and that's why I love it so much!

It's a perfect getaway if one wants to relax and have a quiet moment for a while...
Just because we have this beach for ourselves ONLY.


Where to Stay in Villa Balinmanok:
Villa Balinmanok is composed of 3 private beach resorts owned by a family. All resorts are nice to stay at with a wide variety of accommodations. We chose to spend our 3 days and 2 nights at Recudo 2 managed by Kuya Willy (09202694783) and Ate Linda (09161668438).


Recudo 2 is at the farthest part of Villa Balinmanok which makes them more secluded. It also has the most beautiful shoreline among the three resorts.

BMK in Recudo 2's welcome arch stands for Balinmanok


Option No 1. - One-Bedroom-Nipa-Huts
These consist of a bamboo double deck bed, an electric fan, a very small receiving area w/ table, and a common CR. Good for 2 to 3 persons for Php2000 a night.

Option No. 2 - Open Cottages
These open cottages come with day beds and may be rented either for day tour or overnight. Rate is at Php1500 a day/night.

Option No. 3 - Air conditioned One Bedroom Villa
This consists of 1 room with 2 beds (1 single and 1 double-sized bed), AC, electric fan, dining table, own kitchennete w/ stove and refrigerator, private CR. Good for 5 to 6 persons for Php3000 a night.

Option 4 - Airconditioned Two-Bedroom Villa
Rate is Php5500 a night good for 10 persons.

Option 5 - Non Airconditioned Family Villa
This consists of 2 double-sized beds (w/ extra beddings), 2 electric fans, dining table, own kitchen, and receiving area. Rate is Php3000 a night good for 10 persons.
Option No. 6 - Tent
You may either rent a tent or bring and pitch your own tent. Rate is Php150 for a maximum of 3 persons. You are free to use the cooking area and comfort room/shower. Not bad. Not bad at all. :)

A total of 4 common bathrooms and shower rooms (they have separate common bathrooms for gents and ladies) for guests in non-airconditioned accommodations including for those who opted to stay in tents.
They're all amazingly clean!


IMPORTANT!!!
* Electricity is available 24/7.
* Strong mobile network signal including mobile data. Woohoo!
* No wifi available.
* No mosquitoes around. Promise!
* Make sure to bring all the things that you need. Villa Balinmanok is far from any convenience stores or market. Do make sure that you have everything that you need for your entire weekend menu.
* Island hopping is optional. Rate is Php1000/boat which is good for 7 pax. Ideal island hopping is 7AM - 12NN only.
* You may use the grill at the resort for NO CHARGE.
* You may buy fresh catch of fish and squid around 5AM in the morning. The boats dock at the far end of Villa Balinmanok.
* No need to bring your own potable water. Mineral water is available for Php40.00 only.
* Ice is available for sale - Php5.00 each.
* Entrance Fee is Php60.00/pax.
* In front of the non-airconditioned family villa is the most inviting seabed. Trust me!


Balinmanok is a certified good chase!
Tranquility at its best.

What I love most about Travel. :)

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Enjoying the Unspoiled Beach of Patar


Patar White Beach in Bolinao, Pangasinan is one of the most beautiful beaches I have gone so far. I am not really sure why I love this beach so much - it could probably because of the long stretch of golden fine sand, the clear water, or probably because of its simplicity.
Need I say more?

The clear and fine sand of Patar Beach

Patar Beach is very unspoiled - no bars, no restaurants, and no night parties. It is a long stretch of sand where you can have a low-key beach retreat.
A day at Patar Beach is all about a laid-back escape. 
No mobile phone signals so it is all about - sun, sand, and snooze.

How to Get There:

via Public Transpo/aka Commute:
Manila to Bolinao would be approximately 6 to 6.5 hours travel time. For direct trips to Bolinao, you may take Victory Liner (available in Cubao station only) or Five Star Bus (available in Pasay terminal only).

Bolinao Bus Schedule and Rates:
Five Star Bus


Victory Liner
Upon arrival at Bolinao Terminal, hire a tricycle to bring you to the resort of your choice. Standard rate from Bolinao town proper to Patar is Php250 which is good for 4 pax.

Sunset at Patar White Beach


Who's not gonna love the sunset here at Patar White Beach?

Do you think it's worth chasing for?

See this related article:
 

Monday, February 01, 2016

The Craze to See the Northern Lights


It seems like the talk about the beauty of the Northern Lights in Iceland is spreading like wildfire. More people are starting to include Iceland specifically seeing the Northern Lights in their Travel Bucket List. More and more people are posting their amazing pictures of this natural phenomenon on their social media accounts; lucky are those people who can use the hashtag #NorthernLights on their Facebook and Instagram. Iceland is now even being mentioned in talk shows on TV. I, myself, if given a chance would also like to see it. At this point of time, I think to see the Northern Lights and to perfectly capture it in a photography is every photographer and/or photo enthusiast's dream. Really.
Beautiful!

Northern Lights or the Aurora Borealis is a natural phenomenon that happens in the northern latitudes when there are collisions with electrically charged particles from the sun that enters the Earth's atmosphere. The different variations in colors depend on the type of gas that are involve in the said collision. The lights displayed by the Aurora Borealis (or Northern Lights) generally extends from 80 to 640 kilometers above the earth's surface.

This magnificent phenomenon in the sky can happen at any time of the year in Iceland. However, witnessing the wonderful Northern Lights is all about timing - it is pretty unpredictable. Remember, it can only be seen if the sky is very dark and clear. It will be more likely to be seen on clear nights in autumn, winter, and spring. To make it simple, the colder and less cloudy - the better chance to see this most beautiful and most impressive natural phenomenon in the sky.
Unbelievably beautiful

The Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis is said to be the most beautiful and most impressive natural phenomenon in the sky

Convinced? Ready to book a flight to Iceland to see the blazing and dancing lights of Aurora Borealis?
 
If you are ready to break your travel fund and book the cheapest flights, here are some things to remember before you fly:

- Bring patience and a bit of luck. Northern Lights does not simply appear in front of your face. There would be some times that you have to wait or to exert some effort to see it - like driving to a certain place and/or camp on a mountain where it is more visible.

- Bring the right gear. There would be times that you have to stay outside for a long time to see the Northern Lights so make sure that you are prepared and dress appropriately. Recommended clothing a.k.a. Northern Lights attire are the following: woolen undergarments, warm and thick sweater (fleece or wool), thick winter coat and thermal pants/trousers, thermal woolen socks, winter boots, warm and thick bonnet and mittens, and thermal gloves. These are often available in outdoor shops such as The North Face and Columbia Sportswear.

- Bring and know how to use the right equipment. This is a once in a lifetime chance, make sure to capture it perfectly. Bring the right camera that would not give you some blurry-WT* shots. Capture the moment. Read some tips from photographers or travelers that have been visited Iceland.
Woah! I am moved!

Now you think if have been moved and ready, let's go! :)

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Berjaya Hotel: A Budget-Friendly Hotel in Makati


Berjaya Hotel is strategically located along Makati Avenue - the side of Makati which is known to have a busy nightlife. Aside from malls, restaurant bars, and shops, Berjaya Hotel also sits across the popularly known 'Red Light District of Makati' - P. Burgos.
 Berjaya Hotel in Makati is usually occupied by foreigners enjoying the nightlife of Makati

Berjaya Hotel's Grand Deluxe Room has a sprawling 42 square meter space 
with a nice receiving area

Berjaya Hotel is budget-friendly and is a little bit cheaper compared to other hotels in Makati. Their Grand Deluxe room has a published rate of Php4,230 only and can also be purchased at a lower price through Agoda.com.
Recommended for staycations. Relaxing! :)

The Grand Deluxe Room includes a king-sized bed good for 2. 
A child/infant can stay with no extra charge if same bedding will be used.

Though located along the very busy, lively, and traffic-slammed Makati Avenue, a stay in Berjaya Hotel can be unimaginably quiet and relaxing. If you are on a budget, Berjaya is a good place to stay if you want to have a full 8 to 10-hour-sleep or to just simply finish some writing gigs. :)
All rooms come with a 32-inch LCD TV with cable connection

The rooms in Berjaya Hotel have a working hot and cold shower, bathtub, bidet, and hair dryer.
Free use of towels and these :)

IMPORTANT REMINDERS:
- There is a security deposit of Php1500.
- Check-in Time: 2:00PM. Check-out Time: 12:00NN.
- Limited Parking Area. If there are no longer parking slots available, the guests' option is to park either in A. Venue Mall (across Berjaya Hotel). Rate is Php500 for an overnight parking.
- Guests may request for a non-smoking room. However, non-smoking rooms/floors still smell like cigar. You may simply call the Reception to request for an air freshener.
- Some towels are old and yellowish.

And last but not the least, Berjaya Hotel is not a five-star hotel. Do not expect too much. It is more of an old serviced-condominium.

Berjaya Hotel Makati
7835 Makati Avenue Corner Eduque Street
Makati, Philippines




Wednesday, January 27, 2016

What to See in Ilocos: Bangui Windmills



This famous wind farm in Ilocos Norte uses wind turbines to produce electricity. An Ilocos Trip would not be complete without seeing this.
 The most popular caption when in Bangui Wind Farm? "Ang laki ng electric fan!"

There are 20 wind turbines along the 9-kilometer-shorline of Bangui Bay. They are all huge; one would even have a hard time capturing the whole height of the turbine in a photo.

Seeing these giant wind turbines should be included in any Ilocos Itinerary. Just put it like this, "Hindi ka nakapunta ng Ilocos, kung hindi mo nakita 'to." Anyways, this is for free - no admission/entrance fees, no environmental fees, or whatever fees you may call it.
A well-deserved selfie at Bangui Wind Farm

Please take note that swimming in Bangui Bay is not advisable since the wind and waves are pretty strong.


Thursday, January 21, 2016

Where to Eat in Laoag: Macy's Diner


Macy's Diner is a recommended stop-over in Laoag when you're on your way to Pagudpud or on your way back to Vigan. It is located at the town proper so it would not give your group any hassle.

Macy's Diner is located at the Ground Floor of Hotel Tiffany General Segundo Avenue corner M.H. Del Pilar Street, Laoag City, Ilocos Norte.
Everything is just so instaggramable here in Macy's.

The ambiance is like a restaurant during the 70's. The look is comparable to 50's Diner in Baguio City.

Macy's Diner serves a wide variety of food - American, Chinese, and Filipino Cuisines. Rates are affordable too.
A quick brunch at Macy's Diner in Laoag City while we're on our way to Pagudpud

 
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