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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

2017 Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta: Schedule, Activities, Ticket Prices, and How To Get There

The Philippine Hot Air Balloon Fiesta is the longest-running sports aviation event in Asia, gathering aviators and spectators from around the world. Expect a weekend of everything that flies - from hot air balloons to aerobatic exhibitions, formation flying to radio-controlled aircraft, paragliding, skydiving, and dozens of on-ground activities.
photo grabbed from http://www.philballoonfest.net/

The 21st Philippine Hot Air Balloon Fiesta is happening February 9-12, 2017 at Clark Pampanga. (Rumor has it that this could be the last Philippine Hot Air Balloon Fiesta due to government plans of using Clark Pampanga as our main airport for international flights).

Ticket Price: 
General Admission = Php350/person
Tickets are available through Philippine Hot Air Balloon Fiesta online ticketing portal, SM Ticketnet, event's gate, and Philippine Hot Air Balloon Fiesta offices at Air Ads Hangar in Pasay City.

Entrance is free for children below 3 feet. Paylesser by bringing your IDs; senior citizens are entitled for 20% discount.

VIP Passes = Php6000/person
VIP Passes are inclusive of the ff: priority entrance to the fiesta, complimentary use of the Balloon Launch Patio, access to the air conditioned lounge and toilet, breakfast & lunch buffets, and afternoon high tea.

How to Get There:
Clark Pampanga is approximately 80 km from Manila.

via Public Transpo (a.k.a. Commute)
Take a bus bound for Dau Pampanga. At Dau, take a cab/jeepney/tricycle to Clark Gate. From Clark Gate, take a jeepney to the Balloon Fiesta.

via Private Car
NLEX-DAU
Take NLEX and exit at Dau, Mabalacat City, Pampanga. After the exit, turn left towards Angeles City and another easy right turn into Clark Zone itself.

NLEX-SCTEX
Take NLEX and continue past Dau Toll Plaza - do  not take the Dau Exit. Pull to the right and take the SCTEX on-ramp. From the SCTEX toll booth, take the southbound lane to Clark South Exit. Enter Clark Zone through the Yokohama Complex. At the stoplight, turn right into Roxas HIghway. The Balloon Fiesta will be on your right.

Also, you may hop on to any flights to Pampanga. To book cheaper flights, you may use an Expedia Discount Code

Important Travel Tips:
If you are planning to ride the balloon or to witness the balloon flying and their preps, make sure to be there as early as 4AM. To avoid the hassle, most of the balloon enthusiasts stay in one of nearby hotels in Clark Pampanga. You may use Expedia Promotion Code to avail discounted rates.

(I remember that this is one of the attractions that I missed when I visited Hongkong 2 years ago. A balloon ride giving the visitors a new perspective of the world famous Hongkong skyline). You guys might to try it out here in the Philippines.

For more information, visit http://www.philballoonfest.net/.
  

SKYJET Birthday Promo: Free Airfare on Your Birthday

Celebrate your birthday this year somewhere else as SKYJET Airlines gives away free airfare on your birthday. Have your Birthday Trip on your dream Philippine destinations - may it be on Boracay, Siargao, Coron, and even Batanes!

Here are the mechanics:
1. Birthday celebrant of all ages can avail the birthday promo on the day itself of their birthday month.
2. Celebrants can avail of the one-way free of charge exclusive of DPSC & ASF tickets provided with the following conditions:
A) Celebrant must be booked and ticketed as roundtrip
** Traveling w/ different onward and/or return flight date, subject to fare availability
** Free of charge if the return flight will be on the day itself of their birthday
B) Must be accompanied by 1 full paying passenger (One-Way or Roundtrip)
** Must be booked and traveled together with the celebrant
** One full paying passenger, airfare will be based on system availability
3. Bookings and reservation must be made at least 7 days before the birthday
4. Birthday celebrant and the accompanied paying passenger must be booked and paid on the same date
5. Point of origin can be from Manila or from any of the SKYJET destinations
6. Requirements for Celebrants: Celebrant must bring an original and valid government-issued picture ID with the birthdate imprinted on it, both local and foreign IDs are accepted, for proof such as (SSS, NBI, Driver's License, PAGIBIG, Passport) In the case that the celebrant does not have a government issued picture ID, he/she may bring his/her birth certificate supported by any picture ID (School ID, Parents' ID, Company ID)
7. This promo cannot be used in conjunction with SKYJET's fixed and special promo and discounts
8. Payment can only be made in all SKYJET organic ticketing offices. Reservations can only be made thru (+632) 8631333
9. Not applicable to online transactions
10. Celebrants' free of charge ticket is valid on specified date only with restrictions: non transferrable/non reroutable/non endorsable/non rebookable/non convertible to cash
11. Gift certificates will not be honored with this promo
12. This promo is available until December 31, 2017. Promo is valid during peak dates

For more information, visit https://www.flyskyjetair.com/article/birthday-promo/.


Monday, November 21, 2016

Pililla Wind Farm: Windmills Near Metro Manila


Have you been to Bangui? Are you planning to go to Bangui to see those big windmill? Why go as far as Ilocos, which would be approximately 8 to 10 hours away from Manila, if you can see wind turbines in Pililla, Rizal?

Oh, yes! Taking a selfie with those giant fans I mean, wind turbines on the background is no longer far from reality; one just need to travel around an hour and a half from Manila to visit the newest windfarm in the Philippines.
Visitor Center near the viewing dock

Pililla Windfarm is located at Halayhayin in Pililla, Rizal - approximately 300 meters above sea level and is over Laguna de Bay to capture Amihan from October to March. It is being operated by Alternergy Wind One Corporation and is composed of a total of 27 wind turbine generators divided into 3 clusters with a combined capacity of 67.5 megawatts. The entire windfarm of Pililla is expected to generate an approximate of 150 Gigawatt hours of electricity every year. Wow! That is a lot! And take note that it is alternative and green energy so that means less carbon footprint for us.

Since the Pililla Windfarm has been opened to the public, it has been considered as one of the newest must-visit sites when planning a quick escape from Manila. Most hotels and resorts in Antipolo and Tanay, Rizal are even including the Pililla Windfarm visit as one of their additional tour and travel packages. It is worth seeing, promise! The best time to visit Pililla Windfarm is of course, during sunset.
Giant wind turbines of Pililla Windfarm

How to Get There:
via Public Transpo (a.k.a. commute)
* At Starmall Mandaluyong or at Araneta Center in Cubao, take a van to Tanay Public Market in Sampaloc. Fare is Php70.00.
* At Tanay Public Market, ride a tricycle to Pililla Windfarm. Fare is Php300.00 (one way). Travel time would be around 25 minutes.

via Private Vehicle
* From Edsa, take the Manila East Road and drive through the towns of Taytay, Angono, Binangonan, Cardona, Morong, Banas, and Tanay before Pililla.
* Once you passed the Villa Lorenza Resort, turn left at the fork. This road is heading to Mabitac, Famy, and Real. You are also going to see a signboard that says "To Pililla Windfarm".
* As long as you see the wind turbines get bigger and closer, then that means you are heading to the right way. 😀

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

How to Make Money as a Travel Blogger

"Earning while traveling? Is it possible?"
"Really? How do you earn money from your travel blog?"
"How to make money as a blogger or a freelance writer?"

These are the common questions that I am getting and the same questions I need to answer every time my friends find out that I just got x amount of money from my travel blog. Most of them are surprised and at the same time amazed on the idea of monetarily earning from what was originally your hobby only - Blogging.

I am not a full-time blogger. I have my own 9 to 5 job and I think I am kicking it. Travel blogging has used to be my hobby; one thing that I do during my free time and has served as my stress reliever ever since. I am running my travel blog, www.chasingphilippines.com for more or less 6 years now. It was exactly March of 2010 when I launched it; and after a year or so, my travel blog, my past time, served more than its original purpose. It started getting offers and sponsorships, hence, began monetizing.

Since I am not blogging as frequent as full-time bloggers (digital nomads as what they call themselves) do, I may not earning as much as they do but hey, I can share some tips on how to start doing it while keeping your regular jobs.
 How to Earn from Travel Blogging

The Secret

Stick with your niche
Monetizing the blog could be the pitfall for some or I must say, for most of the bloggers. When blogs start monetizing, bloggers tend to forget their niche and start blogging about anything as long as the price is right. This sometimes draw away the readers and worst, the blogger himself, since they can no longer see the blog that they used to love. If yours is a travel blog, then, be it! Stay as a travel blog.

Maintain a user-slash-reader-friendly-site
Make sure to study how you want your site to look like. Analyze the things you want to be included on your blog interface and how it should be arranged. Yes, in short, spend time in befriending html and xml codes.

Build your value
Establish your credibility. Nowadays, it is very easy for some to simply copy-paste which is a big NO. Search and experience yourself what you are about to blog. If you were able to successfully build your value, you will attract a number of readers; you will have your own set of audience.  

How to Make Money as a Travel Blogger
Earning from your travel blog does not happen overnight. Bloggers invest huge of their time and effort to make it happen and to maintain it. The key is commitment.

Sponsored Posts
Sponsored posts could be written by the advertiser or the blogger himself. Most often than not, advertisers set for the minimum number of words. Advertisers buy a word or set the required keyword that would have the link to the website of their product, travel agency, airline, and/or company. Additional tip: Check the links, it should not be directed to any of the pornographic and gambling sites. Google hates that!

Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate Marketing is a passive income and happens when bloggers partner with companies and receive commissions. There would be a lot of offers for affiliate marketing, make sure to filter them. Aside from considering the commission percentage share, companies that you should be promoting should also have credibility - this is to ensure that your audience will really be clicking and using them and would not be an additional clutter on the blog's sidebar. For example, if what you are running is a travel blog, doing an affiliate marketing with Agoda, Travel Book, and Deal Grocer is exactly what you are looking for.
See Agoda and Deal Grocer at the right part of the blog? That's what I am talking about 
- only work with companies that you believe in :)

Product Review
Companies send bloggers their products for review. Depending on the agreement and contract, review could be in exchange of the product only or in exchange of product plus a certain amount of money. Same thing goes for Hotel/Resort Reviews, these could be in exchange of a free trip and accommodation or a free stay/trip plus an x amount of money too. The latter offer is always much better.

Paid Marketing Campaigns
These are in forms of videos, banners, text links, and/or even social media posts.

Sunday, September 04, 2016

Philippine Holidays 2017: Regular Holidays, Special Non-Working Days, Special Holidays, and Long Weekends


Hey wanderlusts! Plan your trips ahead, Malacanang has released the list of holidays for 2017. This should serve as our guide when to plot for our vacation leaves and when to wait 'til clock hits 12AM for those cheap airfares.
2017 Philippine Regular Holidays
2017 Philippine Special Non-Working Holidays
2017 Philippine Long Weekends
Proclamations to declare national holidays for Eid'l Fitr and Eidul Adha shall follow after approximate dates of the Islamic Holidays have been determined.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Philippine Travel Mart 2016: Philippines, the Fun Capital of Asia


It's all set!

5 days to go before the biggest travel expo in the land!

27th Philippine Travel Mart

The Philippine Travel Mart 2016 will be held on September 2 to 4, 2016 at SMX Convention Center, Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City.

This year's theme aims to promote sustainable Philippine Tourism Program. It's really fun to "Visit Again the Philippines in the Year 2016".
More than 195 exhibitors will be participating to showcase the best Philippine and ASEAN destinations. Also, do not miss the annual Sale ng Bayan where different airlines, resorts, hotels, and travel agencies offer exclusive travel deals!


Be the first to experience the emerging travel destinations at a very cheap price. See you there! Click here for more information.


Monday, July 11, 2016

Where to Stay in Bolinao: Casa Almarenzo


Casa Almarenzo Bed & Breakfast is a private getaway in the western tip of Pangasinan - Patar, Bolinao (around 30 to 45 minutes to Patar Beach). This Bed and Breakfast was originally built as a family resthouse way back 2010 but was opened to the public in the year 2013.
The welcome facade of Casa Almarenzo Bed & Breakfast

That relaxing atmosphere in the family room - refreshing beach view right outside the window

A Santorini-feel is also set at the entire resort with its all-white structures and rooms.
Casa Almarenzo has 2 infinity pools - a 5-feet deep pool and a kiddie pool.
Their kiddie pool is indeed, a real kid-friendly pool.
Clean and not so chlorine-rich infinity pools

Casa Almarenzo is perfect for families since they have accommodations for big groups. Place is also secluded and is not crowded which  is ideal for bonding and relaxation at the same time.
Free use of hammock, kayak boats, billiards, and dart boards
Best spot for 'kwentuhan' and 'inuman'

Dining Area/Restaurant

The entire resort is instagrammable too! It is filled with quotes like this

Rates are quite too pricey compared to other resorts in Patar, Bolinao but the customer service is totally amiable. The whole staff is accommodating and polite. Guests may also use the common area - dining, kitchen, etc. for free. Also, you may ask the staff to cook for your group for a minimum fee of Php200 for the entire meal; you may either buy the food in the market or ask them to buy the food for you.

Casa Almarenzo Bed & Breakfast
313 Patar Road, Brgy. Estanza,
Bolinao, Pangasinan

For more information, you may contact Mr. Bong Pangilinan at 09228588453. You may also visit their website at www.casaalmarenzo.com.

Monday, July 04, 2016

#MayForever: Admission to the National Museum is Now Permanently Free!



Good news everyone!

Effective July 1, 2016, admission to National Museum of the Philippines and all its museums nationwide is now FREE. Yes, permanently no entrance fees anymore. This applies for all visitors - Filipino or foreign.
The National Museum is the cultural repository center of the Philippines that preserves our country's rich artistic, historical, and cultural heritage. Inside the National Museum lies the national cultural treasures of the Philippines - a collection of the best of the best - a collection of thousands of fine art and natural history pieces from all over the Philippines.


"The policy of the free admission has been established by the Board of Trustees of the National Museum, in order to build significant spikes in viewership, especially among younger Filipinos. Spikes in viewership has been observed since 2013 up until this year when admission has been made free of charge for various traditional reasons - National Arts Month (February), National Heritage Month (May), and National Museums and Galleries Month (October)."

"Enhancing universal access by all Filipinos to what we proudly exhibit as our national patrimony and heritage has always been a primary concern. And with this new policy, we hope to reach more people than ever before, both by encouraging visits to our museums, and by bringing the National Museum's programs and resources to communities throughout the national capital and all the regions of our archipelago."
For more information, you can visit their official website, http://www.nationalmuseum.gov.ph. The National Museum is located at P. Burgos Drive at the Old Finance Building, Rizal Park, Manila and is open from Tuesdays to Sundays from 10:00AM-5:00PM. You may also check their official Facebook Page here.


Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Where to Stay in Subic: The Reef


Planning for a quick getaway to Subic? Thinking on where to stay in Subic?

Ssssh... No need to waste your precious brain cells. I'll share one of my latest discoveries last summer - The Reef Hotel & Residences.
The newly-opened The Reef Hotel & Residences in Subic

The Reef Hotel & Residences is the newest 32-room boutique hotel in Subic. It is strategically and conveniently located at Bldg. 532 Waterfront Road, Central Business District Subic Bay Freeport Zone 2222 (Near Alava Pier).

It has easy access to convenience stores (7-11 is just right down the corner), restaurants, shopping centers, and various tourist spots in Subic.
Junior Suite of The Reef

All rooms includes the following:
* Complimentary Breakfast at The Pirates (good for 2 pax)
* Bottled Water
* Coffee & Tea-Making Facility
* LED Cabled TV
* In-room safe
* Fiber-Optic WIFI Connection
* Hot & Cold Shower
* Balcony
* Kitchenette (Suites only)

The Junior Suite is a 27 sq meter studio type room
Fully-equipped kitchenette - personal refrigerator, induction stove, microwave, and kitchen sink

Hot & Cold Rain Shower, Bidet, and Toiletries. Ayos!

Modern, posh, and creative sticky labels

Modern-designed, beautiful architecture, simply elegant, relaxing plus this...
Whoo! Stunning view of Subic Bay

grabbed from The Reef Official Facebook Page

Room Rates are as follows:
Deluxe Parkview....................Php3250 (good for 2 pax)
Deluxe Bayview.....................Php3500 (good for 2 pax)
Junior Suite............................Php3800 (good for 2 pax)
Executive Suite......................Php4100 (good for 2 pax)
Family Suite Parkview............Php4600 (good for 3 pax)
Family Suite Bayview.............Php4900 (good for 3 pax)
*** Extra Person w/ bed & breakfast Php700 per head
*** Children from 8-12 years old w/ breakfast Php300 per head

The Reef Hotel & Residences
Bldg. 532 Waterfront Road,
Central Business District Subic Bay
Freeport Zone 2222

For more information, you may contact (047)2513256, 09954574539, 09209590413. You may also send them an email at reservations@thereefsubic.com.


 
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