Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Hit Me Taipei One More Time: Exploring Taipei in 48 Hours



I can still remember the moment when I first arrived here - the sleek airport terminal, the way the cold and crisp February wind caressed my face, and the vast network of highways.

Taipei. Large, flat, bold, full of life, and often forgotten. Taipei is a city that rarely comes up in any relevant top ten travel list. The city is usually seen as a not-so-Chinese island hiding behind the shadow of its step brother, Hong Kong. Armed with only one camera and sheer determination, we set foot to Asia’s underrated city to disprove these rumors circulating around this capital city.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

How to plan the ultimate visit to Florida



The number and range of exciting attractions in the US state of Florida are... well, to put it simply, massive. However, given the time it might take you to travel to it in the first place, you might like the idea of arranging an "ultimate" visit; in other words, a stay that takes in as many different major attractions as possible. Planning this can be much easier said than done, but it's still possible.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Samal's Hidden Gem



The Davao Region is surrounded by fertile lands, verdant mountains, and cerulean waters. As the region propels to rapid urbanization, more and more people have started to discover the wonders of Davao. A few days ago, the DBS Travel Squad explored one of the few renowned tourist hotspots in Davao.

Tucked away in the turquoise waters of Davao Gulf is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. What started as an air-lifter of 12,000 oysters cultivated for their pearls became one of the best world-class resorts in the country.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Planning Your El Nido Vacation



El Nido, a municipality in the northeastern sector of Palawan is a tourist haven that continues to amuse both local and international tourists alike. It is famous for its fine resorts, prized soup, beautiful beaches, awe-inspiring lagoons, hospitable locals, and so much more. If you want to find out for yourself why it has become one of the most talked about Philippine tourist destinations nowadays, then it is best if you go there for some rest and relaxation. Before heading over and signing up for El Nido tour packages, it is important if you do your homework beforehand and comes up with a detailed itinerary, it must include the details that are elaborated in this write-up.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Photo Diary: The Capital



I went to Manila for my two-week training for the theoretical part of my radar course training (aka work). It's actually good to be back at the training center. Even though the corridors and the classrooms were already renovated, it was still a walk down memory lane. The memories of the old, decrypted hallways of the training center will never ebb in my subconscious thoughts. How could I forget this place? This is where I built my dreams and aspirations in life. Every corner of the building knew how hard I fought to become one of the guiding voices of the sky.

Drama aside, here are some of the snapshots I took during my two-week stay in Manila.

PS: I also made a 90 sec film. It's my first attempt to try cinematography. I know I still have a lot to improve, but I did enjoy filming this clip. Hope you enjoyed it!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Photo Diary: City Lights x Neon Lights



I usually post-process my photos on Adobe Photoshop. Before I bought my new laptop (it's a Macbook Retina Pro 2015 model, and I regret nothing) two months ago, post-processing was a daunting task. Aside from the fact that I edit photos individually, my previous laptop worked very slow that sometimes, it can no longer open Microsoft Word. I can't blame it, the laptop's already seven years old, and the hardware's already outdated. It can no longer catch up with today's technology.

Ever since I installed Adobe Lightroom on my new laptop, post-processing became a breeze. I got hooked on the travel presets. There are so many presets available online, some costs around ten to twenty bucks, but the choices are endless. These Lightroom preset had helped me in curating my Instagram feed.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

A Sweet Escape to Boracay



Summer's about to end, but I just want to share some photos I took during my quick vacation in Boracay. Months ago, mom booked a roundtrip flight from Davao to Caticlan because she wanted to celebrate her 50th birthday outside Davao. Yup, you read it right - a direct flight from Davao to Caticlan! Spell convenience.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Welcome to Davao, Uniqlo!



The long wait is over. My favorite apparel store is here in Davao! Uniqlo Philippines finally opens its first store here in Mindanao! In line with their 5th anniversary here in the Philippines, Uniqlo opens more branches in Mindanao - 2 in Davao (SM Lanang Premier and SM City Davao), and 1 in Cagayan de Oro City (SM CDO Downtown Premier). Uniqlo is one of my travel essentials. When I went to Korea last winter, Uniqlo saved my life from the harsh Korean winter.

Anyway, come and visit Uniqlo at SM Lanang Premier this Friday (May 26) and get the chance to win awesome prizes! The first 50 customers will not just receive gifts from Uniqlo, but they'll also shop with Ms. Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach, Miss Universe 2015.

Here are some photos during the VIP sneak-peek launch of Uniqlo which was held yesterday at SM Lanang Premier.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Train of Thought: A Beginner's Guide to Southeast and Far East Asia's MRT System



Like Sheldon Cooper of The Big Bang Theory, I love trains, well, except for Thomas the Train because I find him creepy. Whenever I travel, I always take the time to ride one. There's something about train rides. I don't know, maybe because we don't have a train system yet in Davao, making it an unfamiliar travel experience to me.

Today, I'm going to share my experiences and a few tips on how to navigate around starting from the simplest MRTs to the most complex system I have experienced.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

How to Book Budget Davao Hotels Faster with the Help of Traveloka App



Davao is an emerging tourist destination. There is a significant growth of both local and foreign tourists visiting Davao. Whether it is for business and leisure, Davao has it all.

With an ongoing slogan of Life Is Here, the city is blessed with fertile soils, verdant mountains, and surrounding cerulean seas. In this day and age when traveling becomes accessible to almost everyone, it is important to take note that travelers are keen with their preferred hotel's price in the city.

Today, booking is a breeze because there are so many applications that can be downloaded on your smartphone. But, did you know that there is one particular app that can compare prices of your hotels on your preferred dates? The Traveloka App is truly a lifesaver.

Why choose Traveloka as your ultimate travel booking app?

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

PHOTO DIARY: Bangkok's Floating Market



Your Bangkok adventure is not complete without visiting their famous floating markets. Centuries ago, the banks of Chao Phraya River became a settlement area. The lives of the villagers depend on the river banks of Chao Phraya. The tributaries and canals were the primary transportation networks during that time. To answer their basic necessities, markets started to proliferate along the river banks. It canals became a center of trade.

As road and rail networks developed in the late 18th century, the villagers started relocating their markets on the ground, forcing some to close indefinitely.

Today, these floating markets still exist and became one of the famous tourist attractions in Thailand. When we visited Damnoen Saduak floating market in Bangkok, there were a lot of tourists, both local and international. I was really amazed by the experience because it felt like I was transported back to time, sans the selfie sticks, cameras, and smartphones.

Friday, May 5, 2017

When in Davao: The Weekend Market



Food markets are starting to become a trend in Davao, and I think it's a great thing. As new restaurants starting to sprout like mushrooms in almost every corner of the city, I guess the locals are now ready to invest to new fusion cuisines and gastronomic adventures. As a self-proclaimed food junkie, this is a perfect place not just to discover new dishes that are locally made in Davao, but also a great venue to be with people who share the same passion - food.

Last week, Manic Nightnings Productions organized The Weekend Food Market: Chef's Specialty Edition. For four days, Davaoeños enjoy a variety of food at SM Lanang Premier's parking lot B. This month of May, they will be organizing another edition of The Weekend Market with a theme "Smoke in the City". I am so excited to be there again!

In the meantime, allow me to share some photos I took during the previous edition of The Weekend Market. I hope this post didn't make you hungry.

Consider this a warning. *wink*

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Scam City: Saigon, Vietnam



One thing I learned about traveling is that you can't control everything. I am going to share a story about my bad experience in Saigon. Don't get me wrong, I love Saigon, but it's just the fact that not all things you see and read on my travel blog are pleasant.

It all started with a crazy weather disturbance in Manila. My flight to Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) from Manila was scheduled to depart at 10:30 PM (PH time). The storm had just intensified after passing the capital, forcing airlines to cancel most of their flights in the domestic sector. Luckily, our flight pushed through, albeit the five-hour delay. We finally left Manila past three in the morning and arrived in Saigon a little past five in the morning, local time. Little did we know that our ordeal has just begun.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

PHOTO DIARY: My Top Ten Favorite Travel Photos



A few days, I was invited to be one of the speakers of M3 - Millenial Mixer Meetup, a hangout for millennials with passion and purpose. I had a quick talk about the challenges of a millennial traveler. I promise that I'd make a blog post about it, but for the meantime, I would like to share my top ten favorite travel photos which I presented after my talk.

This list might change as I continue to explore more places in the near future. As Hans Christian Andersen puts it: To travel is to live.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Pastanni: Making Italian Pinoy



Italy remains as one of my dream destinations. Who doesn't want to visit this lovely country? Almost every corner of Italy is worth visiting. A good friend of mine told me that the Italian experience is not enough even if you've already visited the grand canals of Venice, Vatican City, Roman Colosseum, Leaning Tower of Pisa, and other historical places. In order to have a legit Italian experience, one should never miss their food. Well, I believe my friend was telling the truth base from what I've seen from the movie Eat, Pray, Love.

Good thing is, you don't need to fly to Italy to experience their food.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

So it's official: Taiwan is Visa-Free for Filipinos!



Starting June 1, 2017, Filipinos can now visit Taiwan visa-free! According to the Taiwan Embassy's website, the visa-free access for Filipinos is only a trial period valid for one year. I am keeping my fingers crossed that the embassy will extend the trial period just like what they did to Brunei and Thailand passport holders. I am hoping that my fellow Pinoy travelers won't abuse this new immigration law of Taiwan.

Now, here are some of my favorite photos during my first and second visit in Taiwan.

Taiwan it that way!


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Q&A: What I've Been Up To Lately



Hey, y'all! Since it's my day off, I'm going to answer a few queries about traveling. Actually, I was planning to make a video blog about it, but I realized it's more complicated and time-consuming to edit and render videos than just to write a blog post. Haha!

Here we go!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

7 Things I Learned About South Korea


Ah, Korea. The land of the morning calm. It's been four months since my Winter Sonata adventure and truth be told, I still can't get over with it. In fact, I miss the super cold weather there. Behind their towering skyscrapers and historical landmarks, South Korea has this character that is very hard to resist.

Here are the seven things I learned about South Korea.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Taipei Diaries: Elephant Mountain Trail



If there's anything that I don't like about traveling, it's definitely hiking. Don't get me wrong, I have scaled two mountains ever since I started exploring places - from traversing the lahar landscapes of Mount Pinatubo, to Osmeña Peak, the highest point of Cebu Province. Eventually, I turned down a lot of invites from my friends. Most of them have already conquered several peaks in the country like Pulag, Apo (the country's highest peak), and other mountains of the southern Luzon region.

During my recent trip to Taipei, I did not expect that we'd be hiking another hill. This time, however, was totally different. In a bad way.

The Best Adventure Holidays for All the Family



When you are choosing your next family holiday, you may be tempted to go for the traditional holiday parks or a beach resort. While those types of holiday are perfectly fine, wouldn’t it be better if you could all have an adventure? Not only would it be a great holiday for you all, but it would capture the imagination of your children, something they would remember forever. Here are some of the best adventure holidays that you and your family can all enjoy.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

A Quick Trip to the Mountains



The last time I went to Buda was years ago. Buda, which is a clipped word of Bukidnon-Davao, is one of the most sought after places in Davao, especially during summer season. At 4,000 ft above sea level, Buda enjoys a year-long cool climate, similar to Baguio City, albeit cleaner air and less congested.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Top 5 scary attractions in London



If you’re planning on a visit to London and want to get your heart racing with some scary tours and attractions, we’ve compiled a list of the most frightening and gruesome of them all.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Travel Thoughts: Hotel Preferences



A lot have been curious about my style in traveling. Since I have a lot of time to kill (meh, to be honest, I am procrastinating), I am going to share some thoughts about my hotel preferences.

Hotel accommodation is one of the most fundamental items in traveling. In this day and age, there are numerous phone apps that allow travelers to book rooms according to their preferences. These are the four items I consider before booking a place to stay whenever I travel.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Eat Street: Viet Café

Hello, Pho!

When I traveled to Vietnam three years ago, I fell in love with their food. There's something about their food - its aroma, texture, and taste. Although, most people won't believe me because (i) Vietnamese are fond of eating green and leafy vegetables and spices; which brings us to (ii) I literally hate those green and leafy veggies. But, thanks to traveling, I gradually opened my mind to try non-Filipino cuisines. I have read somewhere that in order to fully experience a foreign culture, try their food. I can still vividly remember the first time I tasted Pho noodles. It was bliss. Since then, I have been craving for an authentic Vietnamese food. There are a few Vietnamese restaurants in Davao however, the price isn't worth it.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The Sun Moon Lake Day Adventure



Hidden in the deep verdant jungles and towering limestone hills of Central Taiwan is a paradise literally shaped like a celestial body. Sun Moon Lake, with its varied landscapes, and rich cultural diversity has always been a favorite holiday destination for both local and international tourists.

Friday, March 24, 2017

7 Things To Consider When You Go on Holiday for a Long Time



If you have never tried long term travel, the idea of doing so could conjure up much idyllic imagery. You could easily imagine yourself relaxing in a hammock strung between palm trees on a beautiful Hawaiian beach as you casually read a great book. You could then picture several weeks of this life before you simply hop onto a plane and spend a further few weeks exploring amazing historical structures in China. And, then, you'd be off to the United States.

However, you might also think that this kind of trip away seems like a ridiculously unrealistic idea. After all, would you be able to scrape together anywhere near enough money to afford it all? And would your employer even give you enough time off for it? Actually, these issues and many more can be overcome more easily than you might expect. Here are seven issues to take strong account of before, during and after you make the various bookings necessary for a holiday that will last a while.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

PHOTO DIARY: Taiwan It That Way



Taiwan is not that difficult to love. Despite being a fairly small country, Taiwan boasts a LOT of activities and sceneries. On our first day, we traveled north and visited some tourist attractions such as National Palace Museum and Yangmingshan National Park. While roaming, we chanced upon a few cherry blossom trees and instantly became the highlight of our first day. Later in the afternoon, we went exploring Yehliu Geopark and Jiufen which were all familiar to me. A wave of nostalgia hit me as I walked the familiar path of Yehliu and Jiufen.

As they always say, love is lovelier the second time around.

Camera: Canon EOS M10 (kit lens 15-45mm)

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

7 great health benefits of a juice detox



Juice detoxing involves taking a break from solid foods for a certain period to see fast and effective results. Cleansing with juice can often be the best, and tastiest, way to treat your body to the detoxifying that it needs. Here is a list of 7 great health benefits that will turn your mind to a serious juice detox, whether you want to try it at home or visit a specialised retreat. 

Thursday, March 16, 2017

PHOTO DIARY: If I Was You, Taiwan Be Me Too



I fell in love with Taiwan last year and made myself a promise to explore more of this underrated country in my next visit. Fast forward to October last year, we scored a low fare to Taipei. I never thought I'd enjoy Taiwan again, most especially if I am with eleven millennials who are a million times crazier than me.

Taiwan, you never fail to amaze me.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

The Top 4 Experiences to try in Spain



Looking for new experiences? We’ve cherry picked a few of the best opportunities Spain has to offer, from scenic mountains to rich, diverse culture.

Picos de Europa

Translating to the "Peaks of Europe" – and often known as the Picos – this mountain range, situated 20km from the Northern coast of Spain, provides a stunning backdrop to a range of activities, from the serene to the adventurous. Bridging the Cantabrian, Asturias and Castile and León regions, these impressive peaks are part of the Cantabrian range. The origin of the name comes from the belief that they were the initial view of Europe for approaching American ships.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Nami Island: Winter Sonata Adventure


On our fourth day in Korea, we rode a train to Gapyeong Station, the jump-off point to Nami Island. But on our way, I fell asleep on the train, and my travel buddy was too preoccupied on her phone. In a nutshell: we arrived an hour late, and we were all hungry. Getting lost in the middle of the frigid winter can be very challenging!

Good thing was, there were only a few tourists when we board the boat to Nami Island.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Infograph: Why Should People Stay in B&B's



Over the years, more and more types of accommodations have sprung out to cater the needs of travelers. Some choose hostels because it's cheap, others book at 5-star hotels because they want to experience luxury (or better yet, they have a lot of moolahs and they are willing to spend huge amounts for their vacation).

Today, B&B's or bed and breakfast is slowly overtaking the conventional type of accommodation. A bed and breakfast is a small lodging establishment that offers overnight accommodation and breakfast. Bed and breakfasts are often private family homes and typically have between four and eleven rooms, with six being the average. Generally speaking, guests are accommodated in private bedrooms, or in a suite with a private bathroom. There are some homes, however, that have private bedrooms with shared bathrooms, just like a typical home. As the name implies, breakfast is usually served in bed, or guests may opt to have their breakfasts served at the kitchen or at the dining room.

Guests will have this 'homey' feel whenever they stay at a B&B. More so, it is an amazing experience that you wouldn't get from staying at a hotel or any other typical accommodation.

Here's a very nice infograph stating why should people stay in B&B's.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Searching for Seoul's Soul



And the soul-searching in Seoul continues...

Months before my winter escapade, a few people told me that there's nothing extraordinary about Seoul. It's just your typical first-world capital city filled with towering skyscrapers, western brands, and beauty clinics. No more, no less. So, I just kept my expectations low for this trip. Little did I know, this city offers more than what we always see on TV and on the internet.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Seoul Searching in South Korea



On our last night in Busan, I slept soundly even if my roommate claimed that our room was haunted. Ghosts and other paranormal entities were the least of my concern because I have a bigger and more sinister problem to face in the days to come - winter.

The following morning, we took a cab from our hotel to Nopo station since we still have lots of Korean Wons to burn (LOL), and from there, we rode a bus to Seoul. On our way to the station, we had a pleasant surprise. The snow was gently falling, and it was our first time to experience it! I can still vividly remember how I felt at that particular moment. The first five minutes was surreal and magical. Moments later, we hurriedly went inside the bus terminal and sought refuge from the biting cold.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

My First Winter Experience: Busan, South Korea



Winter is fun to look at, but I was really hesitant to experience it because (i) I might not survive the bitter cold; (ii) I need to wear at least four layers of clothes; and (iii) I need a bigger luggage allowance. In short, it wasn't part of my travel plans for this year.

When the ground staff of Ngurah Rai International Airport told us that they're going to bump us off from our flight to Manila, we got furious. Upon seeing our disappointed faces, she reassured us that we'll be upgraded on a flight later that day, avail a free one night stay at their airport hotel, and the best part: a free roundtrip ticket to any regional destinations valid for six months!

I initially planned to fly to Kuala Lumpur and book another flight to Kathmandu but the cheapest was around PHP15k. Plan B was to book a trip to Singapore, then book another flight to Bhutan, but it's even more expensive. I considered other options like Vietnam and Kota Kinabalu and explore its neighboring countries and provinces, but I was itching to try something new. Eventually, Korea came across on my mind. Fast forward, I booked a flight to the Land of the Morning Calm.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Level Up 2017 with Piattos



There are a lot of reasons to be grateful this 2017. I was lucky that 2016 brought me to a lot of places and I had the chance to savor various cuisines in Asia, experience new cultures, and see the world in a different perspective.

I’m all set to make 2017 even more fruitful, memorable and enjoyable. Here are my own tips for making this happen:

Thursday, February 2, 2017

My South Korean Adventure: An Overview



South Korea wasn't part of my travel plans this year. I wasn't ready to explore this part of the country, especially in the middle of their frigid winter. But, the tables have turned when we got bumped off from our flight to Manila from Denpasar last year. I had no choice but to avail their free roundtrip tickets to any regional destination before January 31st.

Since I have been craving for a new adventure, I chose Korea despite their harsh weather. Well, it turned out to be an amazing experience.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Taking Travel Blogging to the Next Level



As a travel blogger who is always on the go and has a regular day job, it really is challenging to keep my blog updated. Usually, after my trip, I feel exhausted and drained. My creativity is at its lowest, and sometimes it is very hard for me to compose draft blog posts. I can no longer think of a proper sentence or even phrases to write! There are times that I get uninspired and lazy that I completely forget to update my blog, which is unfortunate because I love blogging—for me, it’s my #PiattosTime! 

Lately, I am challenging myself to bring my #PiattosTime blogging to the next level. I have already devised some ways to combat indolence and to add some creativity juice. Here are some:

Friday, January 13, 2017

How to Apply for Korea Tourist Visa in the Philippines



Ah, South Korea. The land of kimchi, samgyeupsal, soju, celebrity hajimas and ahjushis, and KPop. Ever since their soap operas and music became a part of our pop culture, Korea has become a popular tourist destination for Filipinos. But the thing is, we are required to have a valid visa before entering Kpoplandia.

Here are the steps and a few reminders on how to obtain a Korean visa successfully:

Thursday, January 5, 2017

PHOTO DIARY: Yogyakarta, Indonesia

Yogyakarta, Indonesia


Yogyakarta (pronounced as Jogjakarta, or Jogja for short) is one of the most important cities in Central Java. Most of its corners are laced with so much history dated back in the early 13th century. Its heritage and culture are so vibrant that it is one of the most visited Indonesian cities by both local and foreign tourists. There are so many places to visit in Jogja - Jalan Malioboro where you can find the cheapest batik goods, the water castle, and other several geoheritage sites. As you explore the outskirts of the city, you'll discover more of the Java Island's history. Ancient temples like Borobudur, the world's largest Buddhist temple, and a UNESCO Heritage Site, and Prambanan Temple, the largest Hindu temple in Indonesia, offer a glimpse of the country's colorful past.

These are some of the photos I took during my trip in Yogyakarta last August 2015. We only stayed there overnight. I should be back there and explore more of Jogja.

Camera: Canon EOS 1100D / 50mm f/1.8

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

The Top Destinations for Traveling with Friends



As a student who is close to finishing their degree in criminal justice, there is no doubt that you’ve been working hard and studying like crazy. You are close to setting out in the world and looking for jobs in criminal justice so why not have that one last “hurrah” with friends. We’ve put together a list of the top destinations for traveling with friends, which are sure to provide you with great times and plenty of memories to cherish.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Brand New Adventures



Happy New Year! I hope everyone's doing great. I'm so happy that finally, after working nonstop since the 20th, I've finally come home and celebrate new year's eve with my family. Last year, I have listed some of my plans for the year 2016. Despite being notorious, 2016 came out to be a great one for me. I have explored more countries like Japan, Taiwan, and Thailand, experienced new cultures, and met new friends along the way.

The year 2017 holds a great promise for everyone. I don't know what's in store for me this year, but I'm pretty sure it's going to be awesome!

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