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Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Philippine Holidays 2016: Regular Holidays, Special Non-Working Days, Special Holidays, and Long Weekends

A big shout out to the President and Malacanang for announcing the 2016 holidays ahead of time (not to mention also that they maintain a very updated website, Official Gazette - www.gov.ph). This is totally a great help for planning our trips ahead, when to plot for our leaves, and hmmm... when to expect for cheap flights a.k.a seat sales. :)
PHILIPPINE REGULAR HOLIDAYS 2016

PHILIPPINE SPECIAL NON-WORKING DAYS 2016

LONG WEEKENDS in the PHILIPPINES for 2016
 As early as now, let's mark our calendars and plan for our trips - may it be a budget or a luxury travel, it does not really matter as long as we spend these days with our families and loved ones.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Lola Corazon Leisure Farm: A Perfect Venue for Teambuilding

Looking for a team building venue?
Planning for the next family getaway?

Want to have fun but with a limited budget?

Well, well, well! Let me share one of the most fun places we've been to - Lola Corazon Leisure Farm.

Quick Facts: Lola Corazon Leisure Farm is located in Barangay Talang, Candaba, Pampanga. It has a huge garden, a large swimming pool, ponds, team building area, zip line course, rappelling, wall climbing, conference center, and a lot more!
 Lola Corazon Leisure Farm in Talang, Candaba, Pampanga

How to Get There:
Rent a van/jeepney to get you to Lola Corazon. Most of the drivers are not really familiar with the place but it will be much easier for them to recognize where you are headed to if you're going to tell them that it is just right after Bocaue Exit (with the reason that I really do not know why). Travel time is around 2 to 2.5 hrs from Manila.
How to Get to Lola Corazon Leisure Farm
Location Map grabbed from Lola Corazon's website

 The not so perfect jumshot

Lola Corazon's team building area includes obstacle course, swings, etc.

One of the highly-recommended activities in Lola Corazon Leisure Park is their zipline. For only Php150.00, you would get to experience a what we called a 'roundtrip zipline ride'. It's quite cheap since the ride is probably a kilometer long per way plus the rider would get to see an unobstructed view of Candaba with Mt. Apayao as the backdrop.
What's good with riding ziplines is that it is a combination of adrenaline rush 
and serenity at the same time :)

Since the extreme adventure activities (Zipline, Wall Climbing, and Rappelling) are Php150 each, if you have a limited budget, your group may opt to take advantage of these rafts. Just like what they always say, "The best things in Life are Free!"
 Enjoy this simple yet super fun raft racing!

First time to do this - super enjoy! We couldn't help ourselves from laughing. 

Videoke machines are prohibited near the rooms to keep the area a relaxing place for everyone. It's either you are going to sing out loud in the open area or rent a small nipa hut. For Php700.00 cottage rental fee, could there be more beautiful than this - Videoke and beer session with friends, fresh air, different hues of sky during sunset, what else can you ask for?

Take note, since Lola Corazon Leisure Farm is too big, having a performance-level videoke concert would not really be heard by the other groups. Believe me, we tried it! :)  
The songs are new. And the biggest plus points? 
Eh ang ganda ng boses ko sa mic nila! Minsan lang mangyari yun!

Beautiful sunset at Candaba, Pampanga

Rates:
Entrance Fee is Php170.00 (fee is required for all Day Trip/Overnight guests)
 All rooms are air-conditioned and native-inspired

Other fees (Optional):
- Fishing Rod Rental (this already includes feeds) is Php20.00/day
- Caught tilapia is Php100/kilo
- Videoke Rental is Php800.00/day
- Zipline/Rappelling/Wall Climbing is Php150/activity
- Corkage fees for rice cooker, electric pot, wine bottle, etc.

For inquiries and reservations, call 09177225152 and 09228972671. You may also visit their website www.lolacorazon.com.

Monday, August 24, 2015

What to Do and Where to Go in the Philippines During Rainy Season

Our supposed-to-be trip to Baguio over the weekend was cancelled due to typhoon Ineng; Kenon Road has been closed to traffic since Friday due to reported landslides. Yes, it was quite disappointing at first but cancellation of out-of-town trips seems to be a normal thing during rainy season.This usually happens to ensure the safety of everyone.

In the Philippines, rainy season (June - November) is the off-peak season also for traveling. A lot of airlines offer cheap flights to different domestic destinations. Same thing goes with luxury hotels and resorts, they offer special rates during these months.

Actually, we really do not have to call off all our travel plans during rainy season. There are a lot of things that we can do during these months.

Ready to say Goodbye to cancelled plans? Promise! They are all safe and fun!

What to Do During Rainy Season:

Go for a Museum-Hopping.
Where to Go:
National Museum
National Museum is the repository of the best of the natural and cultural heritage of our country. It has a collection of thousands of fine art and natural history pieces from all over the Philippines. Entrance fee are as follows: Php150.00 for adults, Php120.00 for senior citizen, and Php50.00 for students. Free admission on Sundays.

The National Museum is located at P. Burgos Drive, Rizal Park in Manila. For more information, you may visit http://www.nationalmuseum.gov.ph.

Did you know that National Museum houses the most popular painting in the history of the Philippines - the Spolarium? Yes, you can see it here up close!

The Mind Museum
Located in Bonifacio Global City Taguig, the Mind Museum provides the most interactive and extraordinary educational experience in understanding science. All Day Pass is Php750.00. For more information, you may visit their website http://www.themindmuseum.org/.

A state-of-the-art science facilities

Museo Pambata
Museo Pambata is not your ordinary museum. It features hands-on exhibits that encourage children to explore and discover various concepts while having fun. Entrance fee is Php150.00. This museum is located along Roxas Boulevard corner South Drive, Manila.
Photo grabbed from Museo Pambata website

Yexel's Toy Museum
Yexel's Toy Museum is a gallery of Yexel Sebastian's toy collection. His collection ranges from miniatures to life-sized toys to ahmmm... a 2-story-high robot. Yexel's Toy Museum has 2 branches now - in Las Pinas City and in Manila Ocean Park. Ticket Price is Php300. For more information, you can visit their official Facebook Page http://www.facebook.com/yexelstoymuseum. You can contact them at +639157714777.

The 2 story high Optimus Prime, the largest in Asia


Try Fun Indoor Activities.
Where to Go:
Mystery Manila
Mystery Manila is the first-ever live escape game in the Philippines. There are a lot of mysteries to choose from. Each mystery is represented by a room that transports your group to that location and scenario. This live simulation game is very exciting and realistic. A group is only given 60 minutes to solve the mystery. Price depends on the number of people playing inside the room (maximum price is Php550). Mystery Manila has 3 branches now - Makati, Quezon City, and in Boracay.
Photo grabbed from http://mysterymanila.com/

LazerXtreme
Say goodbye to paintball and airsoft! LazerXtreme is the newest craze for those looking for wholesome funz and adventure. LazerXreme is a high-tech virtual video game and is being played in a world-class laser tag arena in Market Market. Ticket price is Php190.00 during weekdays and Php220.00 during weekends.
Photo grabbed from LazerXtreme website

Do water sports.
Where to Go:
Flow House Manila
The main attraction in this newly-opened entertainment venue is the FlowRider - the most successful wave attraction for flowboarding. This is a combination of surfing, skateboarding, and snowboarding which excites both water and board enthusiasts. The first and only Flow House Manila is located in Seasons Mall, Molino, Cavite.

Staycation. Need I say more?... zzzz....

Of course, Foodtrippin' Baby!
Where to Go:
Maginahawa Street
Maginhawa Street is a small neighborhood in Quezon City which is becoming popular due to a number of quirky restaurants offering good food at a good price. Try Gerry's Jeepney and Caffera Photo and Cafe!
Caffera Photo and Cafe is obviously a photography-themed cafe.
This quirky cafe is really a must-try! :)

Any other suggestions? Where do you go during rainy season? Share 'em here!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Philippine Travel Mart 2015: Philippines, the Fun Capital of Asia

The 26th Philippine Travel Mart is making sure that this year's Travel Mart will be the biggest travel trade exhibition in the promotion and marketing of domestic and inbound tourism.

Philippines, the Fun Capital of Asia

The Philippine Travel Mart 2015 will be held on September 4 to 6, 2015 at SMX Convention Center, Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City.

This year's theme aims to promote Philippines as a must-see destination not just for the Filipinos but also to foreign tourists. More than 200 exhibitors will be participating to showcase the best Philippine destinations. Also, do not miss the annual Sale ng Bayan where different airlines offer on-spot dropping of fares; hundreds of hotels, resorts, and travel agencies will also be offering luxury travel packages in a very cheap price.

So, get ready to book your next trip! Make that dream travel destination come true!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Juanderlust: Travel 80 Wonders in 80 Days for Free

Are You a Juanderlust? Want to Travel 80 Wonders in 80 Days for Free?

Here's what you are waiting for!

Juanderlust, Global Online Contest

Juanderlust is the newest global online search to find the chosen Juan. The Chosen Juan will be given the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime adventure of experiencing the 80 underrated wonders of the Philippines while getting educated on the country's colorful culture along the way. Its aim is to present the untapped potential of the Philippines to the global community through the country's culture, people, and undiscovered sites.

How to Join the Juanderlust:
- Age: should be 18 years old and above
- A Filipino or foreigner, whether in the Philippines or abroad. Foreign applicants must have a passport valid for travel to the Philippines until May 2016.
- Available to travel from January 10 to April 30, 2016
- Fill up the application form at https://www.travelbook.ph/juanderlust/register.
- Answer the question, "Why should you become the chosen Juan?"in an essay of no less than 300 characters.
-  Create a 60-second video, no holds barred audition video answering the same question. Video must be uploaded in Youtube and sent to Juanderlust.
- Deadline: on or before November 15, 2015

This competition is sponsored by TravelBook.ph and StopSleepGo. For more information, visit http://www.stopsleepgo.com/juanderlust/.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Guiding the Tourism Industry Towards Achieving World-Class Standards

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The quality and standards of accommodations are intrinsically linked to the overall tourism experience, and the Philippines has upped its game in this area in order to be competitive, according to foreign tourism experts.



“A core indicator in determining the competitiveness in tourism is accommodations. While measuring tourist arrivals directly manifest the success of tourism initiatives, the accommodation stays reflect the impact of tourism in a country’s economy,” said Vincent Gibbons, an experienced hotel manager and international tourism consultant who has worked for and managed various reputed hotels of different spectrums worldwide, including Marriott and Inter-Leisure Hotels.



Mr. Gibbons, further underscored the importance of an official and reliable grading system in terms of accommodations. “This is particularly important as a growing number of travelers book accommodation online and rely on an official grading in making their choice. Having a standard set of star ratings will tremendously help tourists in managing their expectations: when customers book a hotel of a certain rating, they know what they’re getting in terms of amenities, services, cleanliness and comfort, and level of hospitality,” he said.



Recognizing the crucial role of having an established grading system, the Department of Tourism (DOT) launched the “National Accommodation Standards,” a globally-accepted assessment and accreditation program for hotels and resorts in the country in 2012. This new system establishes a five star grading system for hotel, resorts and apartment hotels. The agency has assessed over seven hundred (700) tourism establishment in the past year and is poised to rate them under the new system ranging from one to five stars. The whole program aims to elevate the quality of accommodations in the country and make them world-class.



“In order for its tourism industry to be truly world-class, the Philippines need an objective, consistent and internationally recognized system that travelers can rely on. An accommodation is often marketed as part of a destination, and is therefore a key element in a tourist’s satisfaction,” said Tony Mercer, an international quality assurance and accreditation expert.



Star ratings, Mr. Mercer said, are deemed to be increasingly relevant in the tourism sector, as they provide an objective and consistent approach to grading the quality of the visitor experience. Mr. Mercer is an expert in this field with his experience in establishing the first quality-based star grading scheme in Scotland, during his stint in VisitScotland, and as an adviser to the Irish National Tourism Development Authority.





In the new star ratings system established by DOT, there are five levels of accommodation standards ranging from one to five stars applicable to hotels, resorts and apartment hotels. The new set of accommodation standards is a point system based on inventory, availability, condition and quality of a specific facility. This formal star-classification replaced the country’s dated rating standards of hotels and other types of accommodations – Economy, Standard, First-Class and Deluxe.



Under the system, hotels, resorts and apartment hotels were assessed according to business areas that are common to all types of accommodations, including: the arrival and departure process, public areas, bedrooms, bathrooms, food and beverage, amenities and business practices.


With the new star ratings system, DOT hopes to gain the confidence of foreign and domestic travelers who visit the country for business and leisure, as well as raise the country’s profile in competitiveness. The Philippines ranks 74th among 140 countries surveyed in world tourism competitiveness ratings, according to the latest World Economic Forum (WEF) Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report. The country advanced by eight notches, as it ranked 82nd in 2013, and much lower at 94th in 2012.

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Caunayan Falls in San Luis, Aurora

Originally, the plan was to take a trek to the most popular falls in Baler, Aurora - the Ditumabo Falls. Though, we have been there for about two times now, a dip into the cold water of Ditumabo is always part of our Baler itinerary. It's not that this is the only waterfalls that we know; we were aware that there are some other small falls within the vicinity but we were kinda afraid to visit them since it might be too small; we can't even swim.

That Saturday morning, the huge crowd in Ditumabo Falls  prompted our group to try and check out another falls. To be honest, Caunayan Falls was not the first suggestion of the local guide who we hired for that day, but since the name does not really ring a bell - Go!
Caunayan Falls Entrance

Caunayan Falls is located in Pimentel, San Luis, Aurora. The waterfalls is an approximately less than two hundred meters from the main road of Pimentel.
Compared to Ditumabo Falls, Caunayan Falls is much easier to trek too! It will only require a short walk from the entrance to the falls against the 30-45 mins trek for Ditumabo.

There would be a small amount of fee to enjoy the Caunayan Falls: Php10.00 for the Kids and Php20.00 for the Kids at Heart. :) Getting a cottage is not required.
I hope this goes for the maintenance of the falls so the next generation will still see this.

Caunayan Falls

The Caunayan Falls is not as high and as huge as Ditumabo Falls. The water is not that deep too. But I could say that I found it more enjoyable than Ditumabo Falls. Probably because of the following reasons:

1. It is not as crowded as Ditumabo Falls
2. It is cheaper to go here. Sadly, due to popularity, there are already a lot of fees that need to be paid in visiting Ditumabo.
3. The water is much clearer! Way much cleaner and clearer!
4. Running water along the huge rocks at the side of the main falls is the bomb!
5. Last but not the least, it's not as freezing cold as the water in Ditumabo.


 Had really so much fun taking photos here.

 It's More Fun in Caunayan! :)

If you are visiting Baler, you may want to include Caunayan Falls in your itinerary.

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