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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

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Travel Tour Expo 2016


Get ready and plan your trips!

The 23rd PTAA Travel Tour Expo 2016 will be held on February 5 to 7 at the SMX Convention Center Pasay City.
Entrance Fee is Php60. For students and senior citizens - Php40.00.

Travel Tour Expo 2016 is a game changer since this year, it is set to have 2 events in one big travel show.


So hold your budget and get the cheapest travel deals in the Travel Tour Expo 2016.



Philippines' First Flying Adventure: Trampoline Park is Coming Soon!


The global phenomena of 'Trampoline Parks' is finally arriving to the Philippines! What are Trampoline Parks? Simply put — giant warehouses filled with dozens of trampoline “matts” that stretch from wall-to-wall and are connected to form one huge surface which is enclosed with padded side walls and angled trampolines – allowing you to jump, fly and literally bounce in every direction.


These ultra-fun parks first originated in the U.S, a decade ago. They offer an amazing adventure of trampolining fun, including an open jumping court, basketball lanes for slam-dunking, dodgeball and volleyball courts for exciting gravity-defying sports, and even a super-fun foam pit where you can launch yourself from a trampoline into a giant pit of foam blocks. The first Trampoline Park in Manila will be located in ‘The Portal’ at Greenfield district, Mandaluyong (off EDSA near Shaw Blvd). In addition to a soaring good time, the Park will also offer unique fitness classes during weekdays, toddler jumping hours in the mornings and exciting zero gravity jumping parties, Friday & Saturday nights — all performed entirely on trampolines.
 
“It’s amazing fun, truly enjoyable and healthy…it will make you want to do it… again and again”, says Mark Hogsden, a British businessman living in the Philippines and the primary co-founder of the first Trampoline Park soon to rock Manila. “Trampoline Parks have become extremely popular in the U.K, in America and all over Europe—mainly because they offer incredible fun for everyone -– adults, families and children – whatever the weather!”, adds the brit. “Trampoline Parks are popping up all over the world in recent years, and lately even in asian cities like Hong-Kong and Singapore. It's about time we finally have them here in Manila!”.
 
Just four years ago there were only around 35 to 40 Trampoline Parks around the world. Since then –the industry has grown rapidly and according to the International Association of Trampoline Parks (IATP) – today there are over 350 existing parks worldwide. So what is driving this growth? According to Jeff Platt, Chairman of the Board for the IATP, Trampoline Parks offer adults and kids an opportunity to exercise while having fun. “Parents are looking for healthy activities for their kids and the whole family.”, says Platt. The variety of trampoline attractions, like slam-dunking, fitness classes or volleyball games take these physical activities to a whole new level. However, aside from the fun and excitement elements, Manila's Trampoline Park founder Mark Hogsden thinks the main reason people are attracted to Trampoline Parks is the “Social Element”. According to Mark, “when you combine a fun activity like trampolining with sports like basketball, volleyball or dodgeball, and then add the social factor of friends and families doing this all together – you create a super unique atmosphere!”.
 
Will this become Manila’s newest top spot for high-flying fun? "We've heard so much about the amazing trampoline parks in Hong-Kong and Singapore, all the games they have there and how much fun it is—so we're super excited to finally build one here in Manila!", says Cheska Calderon, a Filipina civil engineer from The Living Letters Construction, who together with her father, Pastor Alfred Calderon, will be leading the construction of the 700sqm Trampoline Park in Greenfield. Inside the facility, they plan to build a small coffee shop and a beautiful high viewing deck — where parents can shoot endless photos of their kids jumping, having the time of their lives. However, trampolines are not just all fun and games. Cardio fitness classes on trampolines and even light trampolining exercise have been proven to entail vital health benefits.


Bounce and Burn
“It’s time to get adults and kiddos away from their mobile screens and burn off some serious energy!”, says Mark. Can trampolining actually get you fit? In one word, yes. “NASA conducted a huge research on Trampolines back in the 80's, in order to prepare Astronauts for space”, Mark informs us. “Surprisingly, NASA discovered that Trampoline exercise is even more effective and beneficial than Jogging!”, he adds. There have been many other studies and claims that jumping on trampolines can help our body process more efficiently, improve our balance, reduce impact on our joints, cleanse our lymphatic system, lower our blood pressure and even strengthen our muscles and bones.
 
According to one of UK's most popular newspapers, 'The Telegraph',“Studies have shown that trampolining can also improve the mineral content and therefore the density of bones, lessening the likelihood of fractures from osteoporosis.” Jordan S. Rubin and Bernard Bulwer, american weight loss experts and authors of 'Perfect Weight America', write that “jumping on a trampoline is one of the best and most complete anaerobic exercises you can do, since jumping strengthens muscles, tendons, and ligaments—and demands great energy.”
 
The gravity-defying fitness classes at Manila's first Trampoline Park will incorporate modern athletic training methods such as high-intensity interval training (HIIT), circuits, Zumba (and Zumba for kids too!) and plyometrics (explosive jumps). “It’s extremely fun with a full-body workout.”, says Mark. “Trampolining is extremely powerful for your core, because in every jump you need to tighten your core muscles in order to control your body position”, he explains. The unique trampoline fitness classes will definitely be a major attraction among health-conscious Filipinos, but according to Mark – soon they will reveal even more exciting sports activities, “never seen before in the Philippines!”.


Aerial Activities Unseen Before
“We will have basketball slam-dunk competitions every week!”, says Mark with burning excitement. “The beauty about Trampoline Park is that—it will to be the first and only place in town where everyone – even filipino kids will be able to slam-dunk for their very first time!”, he proudly adds. Volleyball and Dodgeball will also be played by jumping as high as you can. The British entrepreneur promises to reveal soon a few more exciting and unique surprises in the form of aerial activities unseen before, that “will jolt the city”, says the brit. But for now, it's all TOP SECRET, James Bond style. “Sign in to our newsletter on our website, www.TrampolinePark.ph – and you’ll soon find out everything the park has to offer!” he adds.


Trampoline Park is currently offering a limited edition of 'Founders Membership Cards', only for the first 500 customers who choose to avail it. The exclusive card will provide customers with a guaranteed 50% off for flying at Trampoline Park anytime on weekdays. So, if you’re looking for a place where your high-flyin’ spirit can jump, bounce, flip and even slam-dunk – Trampoline Park will be the place for you.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Ilocos Itinerary: 3Day-2Night DIY Ilocos Trip (Vigan-Pagudpud-Laoag)


Countless times did I plan for an Ilocos getaway and I can no longer remember when it started and almost ended though. I thought I would never ever push this trip and see Ilocos, I almost gave up.

*Insert Drumrolls-A Round of Applause-Cartwheels here*

At last, after x number of cancelled flights and numerous times of postponed planned road trips, I got to visit Ilocos this time. #Feels :p

Just like what they usually say, "Buti pa ang biglaang lakad, natutuloy."

Let me share to you guys how we explored Vigan, Pagudpud, and Laoag in 3 days for less than Php2500 per person.

How To Get There:
Seriously, I really do not have to explain it further since I am pretty sure you have seen Vigan on a lot of travel shows, you have googled it, and just like me, you have dreamt of visiting it. But well, there would be a lot of ways to reach Ilocos -- either via plane, public bus, or an 8-hour-private-ride.

In this Ilocos Trip, we brought our own car which was an advantage since we were able to cut off the usual 14-hour public bus ride to 6-8 hours only (Makati to Vigan). We were also able to do some stopovers whenever and wherever we want to. We were able to go around and last but not the least, we were able to meet our budget. Hehe

Since we only have 3 days and 2 nights to explore Ilocos, we carefully chose our Must-Visit Places.

First Stop: Vigan, Ilocos Sur

What to See in Vigan: 
Calle Crisologo
Calle Crisologo is the main attraction in Vigan because of the old Spanish houses. This is considered as a UNESCO Heritage Site.
Kalesa or horse-drawn carriage is the major mode of transportation 
during the Spanish Era in the Philippines

The famous Calle Crisologo in Vigan, Ilocos Sur

Lights and Sounds Fountain Show
Located at Plaza Salcedo, a visit in Vigan would not be complete without witnessing this fantastic attraction. It's free anyways.
 Vigan's Light and Fountain Show is available everyday from 7:00PM to 8:00PM

Other Places to See/Things to Do in Vigan: Bantay Bell Tower, Baluarte, Syquia Mansion, River Cruise in River Mestizo

Where to Stay in Vigan:
NSCC Plaza Hotel & Convention Center
They offer the best rates for budget travelers!

Next Stop: Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte

What to See in Pagudpud:
On your way to Pagudpud,  you're gonna pass by another municipality - Burgos. Most of the major must-visits in Ilocos Norte are found here.

Cape Bojeador Lighthouse
Also known as Burgos Lighthouse, Cape Bojeador is a cultural heritage structure in Ilocos Norte. The lighthouse was established during the Spanish Era in the Philippines.

Kapurpurawan Rock Formation
Kapurpurawan Rock Formation is located at the rocky coast of Burgos, Ilocos Norte. Known for its creamy white limestone formations, Kapurpurawan is one of the must-visits.


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!"

Saud Beach
Saud Beach in Pagudpud is the most popular beach in Ilocos. The sand is white powdery, I love it! :)
Sunset at Saud Beach, Pagudpud

Other Places to See/Things to Do in Pagudpud: Kaibigan Falls, Patapat Bridge, Agua Grande, Bantay Abot Cave, Ziplining in Hannah's Resort, Dos Hermanos Island

Where to Stay in Pagudpud:
Cathy's Homestay
Cathy's Homestay in Pagudpud, 2 to 3 minutes walk to Saud Beach

Last Stop: Laoag

What to See in Laoag and Nearby Areas:
Paoay Church
St. Augustine Church of Paoay also known as Paoay Church is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The very massively beautiful Paoay Church

Other Places to See/Things to Do in Laoag: 4x4 Ride & Sandboarding in Paoay Sand Dunes

3 Day-2 Night Ilocos Trip (Vigan-Pagudpud-Laoag) Itinerary

Ilocos Trip Budget

This coming summer, where are you headed to?
 

Saturday, January 09, 2016

Where to Stay in Baguio: Hotel Elizabeth


Hotel Elizabeth is a 3-star-hotel located in Baguio City. To date, this is my most fave hotel in Baguio. The privacy and customer service are superb!

The entire hotel is not crowded and is perfect for those seeking for a place to relax.
This side of the hotel garden is too romantic. 
Romeos can request for a candle light dinner here for their Juliets

Each room is equipped with LCD TV with cable channels, in room coffee & tea set-up, hot and cold shower, and safety deposit box.
 Looking for a weekend staycation? This is P-E-R-F-E-C-T!

Published Rates are as follows:
Deluxe Single (2 persons)....................Php5000
Deluxe Double (2 persons)..................Php5000
Deluxe Triple (3 persons).....................Php5800
Junior Suite (2 persons)........................Php7000
Executive Suite (4 persons)..................Php8400
Honeymoon Suite (2 persons)..............Php12600
Penthouse Suite (6 persons).................Php18800
Extra Person.........................................Php1100

Mediterranean-inspired hotel

Plus, the Flora Cafe of Hotel Elizabeth is the perfect haven for food lovers. The food is really, really, as in really great!

IMPORTANT REMINDERS:
- Free WIFI connection - just get the password at the Reception. There are certain rooms who do not have strong signal, so if you badly need internet connection, you may request it at the guest officer or simply tether.
- Free complimentary breakfast at Bliss Cafe. Depending on the number of guests, the complimentary breakfast could either be ala carte or buffet. Don't worry, regardless, choices are great!

Hotel Elizabeth Baguio
J. Felipe Street corner Gibraltar Road
Mines View Park, Baguio City
www.hotelelizabeth.com.ph



Check out the best vacation rental reviews and hotel deals at TripAdvisor


Monday, January 04, 2016

BenCab Museum: Rediscovering Baguio Through Art


BenCab Museum might not usually be included on 3Day-2Night Baguio Itineraries but if you want to rediscover Baguio and see it on a different light, much better to start including this cool museum on your list.

BenCab Museum is located at Km 6 Asin Road, Tadiangan, Tuba Benguet. It is approximately 2- to 30 minutes drive from Gibraltar, Baguio (Hotel Elizabeth); getting here will cost more or less Php150.00 in FX Taxi Fare.

Admission Rates:
General: Php120
Students (w/ valid ID): Php100
Senior Citizens/PWD (w/ valid ID): Php80

Exploring the BenCab Museum
Allot 1 to 2 hours in visiting the museum depending on how you appreciate art. In my case, I could spend like half of my day here. :)


Some visitors spend some extra time in this gallery, well, I did. :p

This gallery contains works of art by masters of Philippine Art

Surrounded by Bulol

View of the garden from 2nd level of BenCab Museum

Strawberry Fields Forever at BenCab Museum :)

It's too amazing how they turned this place into a natural haven

BenCab Museum
Km 6 Asin Road, Tadiangan, Tuba Benguet
Opens from Tuesdays to Sundays, 9:00AM - 6:00PM
Website: http://www.bencabmuseum.org/ 

 
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