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Saturday, August 01, 2015

SpongeBob SquarePants Stars in PAL’s Junior Jetsetter Kits

Philippine Airlines welcomes SpongeBob SquarePants – one of the world’s most popular animated figures – to banner its Junior Jetsetter kits this year.

The wholesome yellow sea sponge and his band of quirky friends from the fictional underwater city of Bikini Bottom bring their whimsical brand of humor to delight kids onboard PAL long-haul flights via the Junior Jetsetter activity kits.

 The kits are provided to children from 2 to 11 years old to keep them engaged and entertained on lengthy flights of at least eight hours.

These include PAL services between Manila and North America (New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Vancouver, Toronto); Oceania (Honolulu); Australia (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane); the Middle East (Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Riyadh, Dammam); and Europe (London).
The kits come in two variants, and both contain a set of basic items – activity book, crayons, collapsible water bottle, and dental set of tooth brush and tooth paste – all packed in a colorful, easy-to-carry bag.

But what will really kindle the kids’ imagination are creative items such as the 3D activity set with a pair of 3D glasses that allows them to watch SpongeBob come to life.  There’s also the “fotobusta” puzzle game which comes with a magnifying glass to zoom in on hidden objects.

Ingenuity is further encouraged by the static cling sticker board where kids can conjure up scenes using reuseable and removable stickers.  Finally, a coloring puzzle picture frame lets them make a keepsake of their in-flight creations.

SpongeBob SquarePants first aired in May 1999 and since then has become the highest rated series to ever air on Nickelodeon, the leading U.S. cable television network for children and adolescents.

Its widespread popularity has spawned a global media and merchandise empire, with products from films to comic books, music, theme parks and consumer electronics.  SpongeBob is viewed in 170 countries and has been translated into 24 languages.

The series has garnered much critical acclaim, winning two Emmys, six Annies (for accomplishments in animation), 12 Kids’ Choice awards, eight Golden Reel awards and two BAFTA Children’s awards.

The New York Times called SpongeBobclever without being impenetrable to young viewers and goofy without boring grown-ups.  It’s the most charming toon on television.  And it’s also good, clean fun, which makes sense because it is, after all, about a sponge.”

In a 2007 interview with TV Guide, then U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama named SpongeBob his favorite TV character and the series “the show I watch with my daughters.”

SpongeBob succeeds Disney’s Toy Story, who has been mascots of the Junior Jetsetter kits since last year.

The new kits start appearing onboard PAL long-haul flights by May 2015.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Sri Racha Tiger Zoo in Thailand: #BeyondPhilippines

Sri Racha Tiger Zoo is located at 341 Moo 3, Nong Kham, Sri Racha, Chonburi -- an approximately 30 minute drive from Pattaya.
Sri Racha Tiger Zoo in Pattaya, Thailand

Sri Racha Tiger Zoo is one of the most outstanding attractions in Pattaya, Thailand. Its mission is to conserve and breed Bengal Tiger, which is, the identity of Asia. As of now, Sri Racha houses over 200 Bengal tigers.
 Bengal Tigers in Sri Racha attractions

Other features/highlights of Sri Racha Tiger Zoo are as follows: crocodile farm, tiger show, animal circus, pig show, crocodile wrestling, elephant museum, and animal breeding learning center.
Tigers during the Animal Circus Show

It was my first time to watch a live animal circus show. It's quite scary!
 These tigers need to jump into these rings of fire

The gentle giants' turn...

Operation Hours: 8:00AM to 6:00PM
Admission Fee: Adult - 450 Baht, Child - 250 Baht

For more information, visit their official website

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Cinemalaya 2015: 10 Short Films You Need to See This Year!

Our most-awaited and most celebrated annual independent film festival is here!

Cinemalaya 2015 is set to be held on August 7-15, 2015 at the CCP (Cultural Center of the Philippines) in Pasay City. The entries will also be available in some festival venues such as Greenbelt 3 in Makati; schedule of screenings are yet to be announced.
Cinemalaya 2015
photo grabbed from

Cinemalaya 2015 Short Films

by Ryan Murcia
A story of an afternoon love and farewell as a gay couple spend their last afternoon together wishing on a tree and waiting to fade with the sun.
Cinemalaya 2015 Apasol Trailer

by Glenmark Doromal
This film is set in Year 1983 when Ms. Estrella investigates the case of Carlito Dimahilig , the assassin who attempted to kill Imelda Marcos.
Cinemalaya 2015 Gatilyo ng Baril Trailer

by Arvin Belarmino
A troubled man finds his own cure in the vast darkness of his room. Trying to persuade his lover to come back, he discovers a new form of therapy - his greatest ordeal, a terrible encounter he has to escape from. The horrors inside his head creeps into his skin and digs deep into his senses, bringing him closer to a much more shocking reality which leaves him no choice but to face his atrocious demise eye to eye.
Cinemalaya 2015 Kyel Trailer

by Petersen Vargas
Before leaving their hometown for good, Tib Apostol, chances an old map his best friend in high school made for him. This map guided him in retracing the memories of their friendship and places that are special to him and his best friend, Tric.
Cinemalaya 2015 Lisyun Qng Geografia Trailer

by Annemikami Pablo
When extreme devotion and unconditional love collide, a mother and her daughter find their escape out of the loophole that binds them together.
Cinemalaya 2015 Mater Trailer

by Milo Tolentino
Nenok, a 9-year-old-street-kid in Malolos, Bulacan, adopts the city's historic Barasoain Church as his temporary home and personal space for mischief to the distress and annoyance of Mang Johnny, the stern parish ground keeper.
Cinemalaya 2015 Nenok Trailer

by Darwin Novicio
During a performance, a ventriloquist suddenly finds himself talking with his past. Will he continue the conversation or remain tight-lipped form a voice long kept?
Cinemalaya 2015 Papetir Trailer

by Martika Escobar
This short film is about Cinta Dela Cruz, a middle-aged faded actress who tries to relive and remember her glorious days as a movie star in the 1970s. She does this by watching films at home everyday until one day, during an earthquake; something breaks into her window and wakes her up from her Hollywood dream.
Cinemalaya 2015 Pusong Bato Trailer

by Kenneth Dagatan
Marissa lives in the dark and with an even darker secret. Her only contact to the outside world were her patients, who come and go, oblivious of whether the fetuses that Marissa extracts from them survive or not. A complication besetting one of her patients threatens Marissa's reclusive world. She fights back to protect it.
Cinemalaya 2015 Sanctissima Trailer

by Anj Macalanda
A young boy's journey as he take his father to his final resting place.
Cinemalaya 2015 Wawa Trailer

For more information about this year's Cinemalaya, visit

Monday, July 20, 2015

Philippine Airlines Launches New Flights to Port Moresby and Auckland via Cairns

Philippine Airlines, the country’s flag carrier, will launch flights from Manila to new destinations: Port Moresby (Papua New Guinea) this October 2015 and Auckland (New Zealand) via Cairns (Australia) on December 2015 - as part of the expansion of its international network.
PAL Flies to New Destinations

PAL President and Chief Operating Officer Jaime J. Bautista said, “The new routes will allow PAL to cater to the travel needs of both business and leisure travelers and OFWs, while offering PAL’s distinct brand of service marked by Filipino warmth, charm, and hospitality.  It will also help build tourism for the Philippines from new international markets.

"Upon arrival in Manila, passengers may enjoy what the capital city has to offer before connecting to any of the 30 domestic  and 38 other international  destinations  offered by PAL” he added.
Earlier this year, prior to launching flights to these destinations, PAL has also launched its services to New York (USA),  Quangzhou (China), Tablas (Romblon) and opened new interisland flights in Visayas and Mindanao.  PAL also reintroduced its Business class service to Cebu and Davao.

PAL has also launched the MyPAL App, powered by PayMaya Business and MasterCard, to make flying with PAL much easier for its customers.  Now, users can enjoy the convenience of booking their flights, checking-in online, and viewing their flight status using their Android smartphones.

PAL has been the country's only full-service legacy carrier over the last seven decades. It is best known for its distinct brand of inflight service, marked by Filipino warmth, care and hospitality. Now on its 74th year, the flag carrier is focused on fleet modernization, route network expansion and service. 

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Tarak Ridge: Itinerary and Budget for Mt. Mariveles Climb

Itinerary update as of May 31, 2015.

Mt. Mariveles
1130+ MASL, Major Climb
Difficulty: 4/9 Trail Class: 3
Things to Consider in Planning:
* Expertise/Climb Experience of Joiners
* Weather

Make sure to consider these things since Mt. Mariveles is a major climb; definitely, this is not advisable for first-timers. The trail to Tarak Ridge is very steep, one should go on 4x4 (on both hands and feet while climbing). Also, it is VERY IMPORTANT to check the weather updates before and on the date of the climb. Camping at Tarak Ridge is not advisable when it is raining.

Days Needed: 2 Days 1 Night

Day 0
02:00AM  Assembly at Makati
02:15AM  ETD Makati to Bataan Transit Cubao
02:45AM  ETA Bataan Transit Terminal

Day 1
03:00AM  ETD to Mariveles, Bataan
06:00AM  ETA in Brgy. Alas-asin, Mariveles
06:05AM  Breakfast at Alas-asin
06:30AM  Registration at Alas-asin Barangay Hall
06:45AM  Start Trek! :)
07:15AM  Stop-Over at Nanay Cording's
07:30AM  Start Trek to Papaya River! :)
10:30AM  ETA Papaya River
11:00AM  Lunch at Papaya River
11:30AM  Rest, Fill all water containers
12:00AM  Start Trek to Tarak Ridge
05:00PM  ETA Tarak Ridge (Set up Camp)
05:30PM  Wait and watch sunset at Tarak Ridge
06:30PM  Dinner/Socials
08:00PM  Lights Off :)

Day 2
04:00AM  Wake-Up Call
04:30AM  Start Trek to Summit
05:00AM  Wait and watch sunrise
06:00AM  Start descent to Tarak Ridge
06:20AM  ETA Campsite
06:40AM  Start descent to Papaya River
09:30AM  ETA Papaya River
09:45AM  Have fun at Papaya River :)
10:30AM  Lunch at Papaya River
11:00AM  Have fun at Papaya River :)
12:00AM  Start trek!
02:30PM  ETA Nanay Cording's
03:00PM  Back to Jump-Off. Wash.
04:00PM  ETD Mariveles to Manila
07:30PM  ETA Cubao/Manila :)

Stop Over at Nanay Cording's Place

Bus Fare Cubao to Mariveles..........Php272.00
Bus Fare Mariveles to Cubao..........Php272.00
Registration Fee...............................Php40.00
Fee at Wash Up Area.......................Php20.00
Total Budget.....................................Php604.00
Guide Fee.......................................Php900/group

* No need to pay another registration fee at Nanay Cording's
* Make sure to get at least one contact at the registration
* Guide is not really needed. Minimal chances of getting lost.
* If camping at the ridge, make sure to bring sufficient amount of water. There is no water source at the ridge. The only water source in Mt. Mariveles is the Papaya River.
* If all bus to Cubao is full, another option is to take a mini-bus to Balanga. At Balanga, there are 2 bus terminals bound for Manila - Genesis and Bataan Transit.
* If camping at the ridge, make sure to bring extra pegs and jackets. The wind at the ridge is very strong.
* Most ideal campsite is at the Papaya River.

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Here’s How to Start Travel Hacking: Travel For Less Even in First Class

Stop rubbing your eyes, because this isn’t a fantasy mid-summer night tale being told. At some point in life, we have desired to fly like the business honchos and celebrities. There is an innate devilish and very sinful desire of making a trip to another place, flying first class, even if that means ripping your bank accounts apart and maxing those credit cards too. But wait, you really don’t have to stress so much, because there are easy-weasy hacks to gain a seat in the first class cabin, for cheap!
Read on and we shall tell you five adventurous yet true ways on how people have made it into the business and first class cabins across reputed airlines, sans shelling out the World Bank lockers!
1. Check for those travel vouchers in your bag
Airlines often roll out freebies in the form of vouchers and miles, should you be a loyal and a frequent flier. But in most cases, it would be for the ‘economy class’- good for you. Look at the bright side of flying and hone your bargaining skills. Airlines would do anything to keep a loyal customer, and they wouldn’t want an empty seat before take off too. Bargain with the travel agent or the airline for an upgrade, and since most wouldn’t want a seat going empty or disappointing a loyal client, they would upgrade from ‘economy’ to ‘first class’ for a minuscule charge or if lucky, for free!
2. Be grateful and appreciate the employees at work
Who doesn’t like a little appreciation and sweet talk when work is on and in full-swing that too! Employees working for the travel industry and the airlines especially would deal with many over-the-top-and-rude-customers, day in and day out. Be the lotus in the pool of muck for them, and offer them a note of appreciation with a verbal gesture. It is a long shot, but the frontline employee would surely help you secure a first class airline seat for cheap. They may also tell you about the secret ‘buy-up’ fares that run for cheap and on large discounts too, especially for business and first class travel.
3. Speak to the specialist
When talking to a travel agent about your flight tickets; search and do business with one who is a specialist on the route you wish to fly. For example, if you would want to fly from New York to Paris, search for an agent who specialises on deals and trips to European destinations, rather than having someone who is a jack of all trades and a master of none. Such specialists help you find the cheapest first class fares on chic airlines. Try searching the same with someone unfamiliar with the routes, and since they aren’t in tie-ups with the best, you’d lose your shot at having to fly for less!
4. Fly for less at the last moment
It is a well-known fact that airlines want to fly at full capacity, and even if it means discounting the first class fare for the sake of seat occupying. You should keep a close watch or befriend a travel agent who knows when to hit the nail on its head. Strike when hot should be the name of the game here, and in most cases, a couple of hours before takeoff is when the discounts roll out for airline first class fares.
5. Use cards specific for airlines
Most credit and debit or charge cards have benefits attached to them. While some offer you coupons for shopping and lifestyle needs, others are specialists at offering you free miles and reward points, cheaper first class airfares too. There are big bonuses to reap when you sign up with these cards for a time frame given. Check with your financial institutions or banks and take advantage of the same. If you would like to save a little extra on your online shopping, go to And, to further avail the goodness of slashed down prices use 10% Off Target promo codes and get some awesome hotel deals, while keeping your holidays luxurious to the boot!
Gone are the days when you had to be at the airport gate hours prior to your flight to secure cheap first class flight tickets or an upgrade. If you have a flight to catch, make it a worthy one through the long hauled experience ahead. Not everyone in the first class eats and drinks from golden cutlery in their real lives. And as planes are getting smaller across the globe, there are seats being filled and sometimes running empty. Grab your chance to fly first class for cheap, and now!

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Flora and Other Random Shots in Tarak

Sharing some random shots in our most recent climb in Tarak Ridge...

Our recent climb to Tarak Ridge in Mariveles, Bataan could be considered as one of my favorites. Its trail and campsite are one of our favorites and could be ranked next to Pulag's.
I love these colorful tiny flowers. 
These flowering trees are very abundant along the trails of Tarak.

While trekking in Tarak is considered as one of the most challenging because of its unlimited cardiac assaults, this can also be regarded as a stroll in a park due to its rich vegetation.
Cute Bright Red Fruit-Looking Balls. Not just sure if they're edible though

The scent of these flowers and the rich vegetation adds up to the "I am one with nature" feeling. All throughout the trail, one will have the opportunity to commune with the aroma of the different trees; and the feeling is just so amazing! There are a lot of interesting stuff one can see along the trail and some of them even smells like those colognes and perfumes with fruity scent that are commercially-available. Anyways, Zalora carries perfumes from designer brands.

Looking forward to our next climb!
Do not forget, always practice the 'Leave No Trace' principle.
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