Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Beginning

2011 will finally end in a couple of hours.

2011 has been a great year for me!

The year has been truly amazing and I am very grateful for that.

This is the year when I finally completed my degree at University of the Philippines. This is the year when I finally decided on what I REALLY want with my life.

And, this is the year when I experienced myriad of emotions which made me wiser and stronger.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Day 6: The 2011 Ligligan Parul Experience

Holiday rush.

Highways and avenues were filled with cars, buses and jeeps even at twelve midnight. People were still rushing to the nearest malls for their last minute Christmas shopping. Streets were illuminated with bright and colorful lights as children sung to the tune of classical Christmas songs. Christmas in the Philippines has never been this colorful and unique!

In line with that, the last day of my 6-day backpacking trip was spent at the Christmas Capital of the Philippines - San Fernando, Pampanga to celebrate the 103rd Ligligan Parul Festival!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Day 5: Conquering Mount Samat, Bataan

I have had enough with beaches (and bitches).

Memorial Cross of Mount Samat

That's the reason why on the fifth day of my backpacking trip, I flew north and climbed one of the country's most prominent landmarks which commemorates a particular part of Philippine history.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Day 4: Where to Eat at IT Park, Cebu City

Eating is my favorite hobby. Okay scratch that. Eating is everyone's favorite hobby. I wouldn't mind spending that MUCH on food, as long as it is worth it. There are only a few restaurants here in the Philippines that offer delicious food with big servings at a reasonable price.

Nomnomnom adventure

In Cebu City, two restaurants at Asiatown IT Park surely answered my gastronomic demands (yes, demands talaga) for a reasonable price!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Day 3: Sojourn in Bantayan Island

Slip away from the seemingly crowded city streets of Metro Cebu for a leisurely day tour at Bantayan Island where life is much simpler than the bustling regional center of the island.

Sugar Beach, Bantayan Island

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Day 2: Island Hopping at Malapascua

I was feeling a bit groggy when my friends woke me up at around 6:30 in the morning. Yesterday, we had arranged an island tour along with our transportation to Bantayan Island later that day.

Cliff diving at Malapascua Island

It was almost 8:30 in the morning (an hour and half behind schedule) when we finally sailed to Malapascua Strait.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Day 1: Start the Year-end Trip at Malapascua Island

As the plane started to gain altitude, I looked at the window for a while and took some photos of the clouds before going to sleep. It was rather a smooth flight, thanks to the sunny weather. An hour later, I was awakened by the loud thump of the plane. Touchdown Cebu. I honestly do not know what was in store for us in the next four days, knowing that the places that we were about to visit were at least three and a half hours away from Metro Cebu.

But nonetheless, we remained optimistic in the entire trip, hoping that we will enjoy and have a great time.

Beautiful sunset at Malapascua Island, Cebu

Cebu has been blessed with wide ranges of beaches, Spanish fortresses and historical landmarks. On our first day, we drove our way north to Malapascua Island.

Friday, December 9, 2011

How to Get a Philippine Passport

If you are planning to have an Asian Cruise in Singapore or to have a great time with some Disney characters at Hongkong Disneyland, you need to secure a valid Philippine passport first!

Finally got my passport today!

Here are the requirements and ways on how to apply for a legit Philippine passport or renew an old one.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Lost in Iloilo

Actually, the primary objective why I went to Iloilo last April was to study medicine at West Visayas State University (WVSU), but I didn't make it to the final cut... which was actually a good thing!

Jaro Church, Iloilo City, Philippines

But despite that, I was able to tour Iloilo with my cousin. A DIY tour, actually. In our first day, we went to the beautiful island of Guimaras and it was an awesome trip. But the succeeding days were more epic.

Monday, December 5, 2011

This Is How We Celebrate Christmas in Davao!

Christmas in the Philippines is pretty much different compared to other countries. While some countries celebrate it with only three dominant colors namely, red, gold and green, Philippines celebrates Pasko with a myriad of colors!

Pasko Fiesta at People's Park

Just recently in People's Park, Davao City, the local government officially launched the Pasko Fiesta sa Dabaw where Davaoeños, as well as visitors, can enjoy several Christmas events that will happen in the city for the whole month of December.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

My Travel Wishlist

Since December has already begun a few days back, I'm going to join the bandwagon and create my own travel wishlist!

I won't be wishing simple things like "world peace" or "good vibes all over planet Earth" though because haler Hitler! If I am going to make a wish, it has to be big!

Ika nga, Dream Big, Kapamilya!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Blogfest 2.0 and Philippine Blog Awards Experience

I do not know what was in store for us in the Blogfest 2.0 and the prestigious awards night of the Philippine Blog Awards which was held at the Tuna Capital of the Philippines, General Santos City. But anyway, I still signed up and paid $5.00 via PayPal last September (or was it early October?) and hoped that it would be an awesome experience.

The excitement escalated when I learned that I was one of the finalists for the Philippine Blog Awards Mindanao (Travel Blog Category).

But wait, there's MORE!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Chillin' at Guada's Villa

The thought of staying at a pension house seemed ordinary and blah - limited space, shared bathrooms and haunted.

Hey, it's Kuya Faust!

But everything changed when I opened the doors of Guada's Villa.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Journey to Ilonggoville: Guimaras Island

I must admit that I really, REALLY hate taking first flights.

You know, waking up at three thirty in the morning is not really my thing for I have to endure the ice-cold water from the shower and fight drowsiness. Oh, the laziness inside me.

Sunrise at Davao International Airport

It was around 4:15 AM when I finally arrived at the airport. I met up with my cousin and kaboom, a very long queue greeted us at the airport. But anyway we managed to squeeze our way to the check-in counter and waited for our 6:20 AM flight to Iloilo.

The sun was barely shining when we boarded the aircraft. One thing's for sure, I did not know what was in store for us . And oh, did I mention that my stomach constantly grumbled during the flight? Yeah, t'was a torture.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Goin' Italian at The Peak

Just after our meeting we headed straight to Gaisano Mall and holy gwakamowli, was I surprised after seeing the almost finished The Peak! It felt like I wasn't in Gaisano Mall!

The Peak

Anyway, we strolled our way around The Peak. While walking, Juy mentioned that Don Beppe offers delicious Italian food but comes with a price. We stopped by near Don Beppe and was a bit hesitant to go inside to dine there.

We were about to leave when Don Beppe himself chased us. Oh-oh, we're in big trouble.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Road Trip: Kidapawan, North Cotabato

Waking up is always the hardest thing to do. For me, it's a TORTURE!

These were the first few words I've heard when I woke up from my deep slumber (man it was the best sleep I've ever had) last Friday:

"Oh ano? Iwan ka nalang dito o sasama ka sa amin sa Kidapawan?"

What an awesome 'good morning' greeting. Yeah, and because I don't want to get stuck in our home together with our three noisy and forever hungry dogs, I groggily replied, "Opooooo sasaaamaaaa akoooo." I felt like a zombie that had gone back to life... back, back to life!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Road Trip to Dadiangas

Because a blogging event got cancelled due to personal reasons, I decided to tag along with mom and dad.

Destination: General Santos City.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

A Promised Land

DISCLAIMER: This is a work of fiction. Any similarity to persons living or dead (unless explicitly noted) is merely coincidental.

It has been two years since I've relocated here in Davao City for good. Like any other people who live outside Mindanao, the idea of living in an island filled with negative news is downright scary.

Manila Bay Sunset. Photo courtesy of jhaycalimbo

Leaving my hometown was truly heartbreaking but nonetheless, I regret nothing. It seemed like relocating to the island of Mindanao was truly a blessing in disguise because I learned a LOT of good things not just about the island but about me as a person.

And with that, I will share the most crucial moment of my life.


Monday, October 31, 2011

Seven Travel Tips for Philippines

Somewhere near mainland Asia lies an archipelago that consists of 7,107 islands, scattered like pearls on the deep blue sea. There's so much to see in the Philippines - picturesque white sand beaches, majestic underwater rivers, the towering mountains, volcanoes and plateaus and the lush green vegetation of rainforests.

Philippines is indeed one of the premier destinations in Asia. And because seven is my favorite number, I will share seven travel tips to have a worthwhile experience here in this tropical paradise.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

CARAGA Series: Balangay's Journey

Butuan City, Agusan del Norte, Philippines


While excavating the site in search of the Golden Tara, we have found something extraordinary. Believe it or not, our team had unearthed the remains of the historical balangay boat. Not just one, but three of them! Since these artifacts were all fragile, we carefully excavated them.

You won't believe that these boats have traveled as far as China!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

CARAGA Series: Cruisin' at Agusan River

After the two-day regional camp of VYLH, the organizers invited us to have a 30-minute river cruise at the mighty Agusan River (emphasize of the adjective mighty). It was my first time to experience such and I had learned so many things about the river - a story on how it served the lives of Butuanons for generations.

Water hyacinths

Sit back, relax and enjoy this virtual tour to the mighty Agusan River!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Mindanao: The Land of Promise and False Stories

About 800 kilometers from the capital city of Manila lies the island of Mindanao where people enjoy the abundant natural resources, dance barefoot to their own music, watch the beautiful sun as it sinks to the western horizon and children draw their dreams and aspirations on the pristine white sand beaches of the island.

The different colors of Mindanao.

However majority of the multitude didn't know about this. What they are reading on local and international news is just a part of the place called 'The Land of Promise'.

Monday, October 24, 2011

CARAGA Series: En Route to Butuan City

I was invited to become a facilitator and guest speaker of the Caraga-wide camp of VYLH (Volunteer Youth Leaders for Health) held at Butuan City, Philippines. It was the first regional camp of VYLH organized by the Caraga-based Pioneer and K4 volunteers of the said network.

The City Hall of Butuan

And I got excited after I learned that we're going to have a city tour after the camp.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Clean City of Tagum & Miko's Brew

The first time I've visited Tagum City was around 2005. We went to different banana plantations, the unfinished gargantuan Christ the King church, the mayor's office and other different places. Back then, the roads were chaotic and I didn't like it.

I went back there in 2006 to attend the Regional Press Conference in an elementary school located at Madaum. Nothing had changed.

Yesterday, I had the chance to go back there to attend my cousin's civil wedding and I was surprised... really surprised, well, in a good way.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Davao City's First Green Hotel

Nowadays a lot of hotels claim to be a garden hotel or a hotel with a garden but if you take a closer look, these hotels are not close enough to be considered as a 'green' hotel. If you want to get the complete nature look and feel even if you're in the middle of a sprawling city, you better check in at North Palm Hotel and Garden and see for yourself!

Suite Room of North Palm Hotel and Garden

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Eat Like A King at The Royale House

Nowadays, people have been constantly looking for cheap restaurants to satisfy their gastronomic needs at an affordable price, but eating there has its own pros and cons. Services may not be that good and so as the food. In the end, it's not worth it at all.

The newly renovated lobby of Royale House Travel Inn & Suites

But not at The Royale House Travel Inn & Suites where they offer mouth-watering authentic Japanese rice bowl cuisines at a very affordable price!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Planespotting Is A Fun Activity

Yesterday, I went to the airport control tower to try my 70-200 f/4.0 and 55-250 f/4.0-5.8 telephoto lenses. Seeing those mechanical birds arriving and departing at Davao International Airport really excites me.

Davao International Airport (DVO, PH)

More so, it was my first time to try the zoom lenses given by my generous uncle.

The following photos were taken from 9:10 AM to 3:00 PM at the airport control tower.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Other Side of Samal

Almost one month after my graduation, my high school barkada (who happens to attend the same university, except for one) decided to chill and unwind at one of the secluded beaches of Samal Island. I was fortunate enough to have a friend whose family partly owns a beach resort there.

I’ve been to Samal Island for countless times already but I was still excited for this trip, knowing that the place we’re going to stay was located at the other side of the island… and I haven’t been there.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

My New Travel Buddy: Canon EOS 1000D

All photos that I've posted on this blog were taken from my two trusty digital point-and-shoot cameras: Sony Cybershot S930 and Canon Powershot A480. My first camera was the former and it was an early Christmas gift from my parents back in 2009. On the other hand, the latter was bought by my mom but later gave it to me since she didn't like it.

Just last Sunday, something unexpected happened to me and it was one of the happiest moments of my life.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Transfiguratively Speaking

On our way back to Davao from Camiguin Island, we visited the Monastery of the Transfiguration (also known as Transfiguration Church) located at the outskirts of Malaybalay City, Bukidnon. Base from what I’ve learned from my Humanities (Art and Society) subject, this building was designed by Leandro Locsin, National Artist for Architecture. Coincidentally he’s the same man behind the iconic old terminal of Davao International Airport.


Monastery of the Transfiguration


Famous from its modern architecture, the Transfiguration Church houses the monks who vowed to follow the Rule of St. Benedict by living a contemplative life in their quest for God.

Monday, September 26, 2011

One Glanorous Trip

Honestly, we weren’t that excited after our Animal Ecology professor announced our scheduled field work at Glan, Sarangani. Yeah, we were aware that Sarangani offers one of the most pristine white sand beaches in Mindanao and all the yakiti-yakiti-yaks from my GenSan friends. But, the fact that we were going to be bombarded with four laboratory works seemed to be a stressful trip instead of a fun one.


Gumasa Beach, Glan, Sarangani Province, Philippines

And for the first time in history, we all got fed up with field works. I mean, we already had difficulties with time management and every decisions we partake is a matter of life of death.

Despite the four laboratory reports which were scheduled to be reported a week after the trip, we still found ways to make our trip fun and a memorable one.

Besides, this particular trip in Glan was the second to the last field trip that I’ve had in college.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Beyond The Four Corners of the Classroom

For four years, my life in UP had been a routine one… well almost. I usually wake up at three in the morning just to continue reviewing for my exam and sometimes finishing the half-baked laboratory reports. Then by seven in the morning, I go to school, still groggy and sleep deprived.

Oh yes without a doubt, I have learned a few essential things during my four-year stay in UP. I learned the art of speed-reading (LOL), I learned the basics of photography, I learned how to use Adobe Photoshop and InDesign and most of all, I learned how to dance (don’t ask why).

But since after graduating from the university last April (sniff sniff), I have become more open to the idea of exploring different places. But even after graduation, I still continue to learn important things about life. Indeed learning is not limited to the four corners of the classroom.

These are some of the essential things I learned from traveling:

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Life is Here in Davao City

“Talaga? May kuryente pala sa Davao? Akala ko wala!”

That was an ignorant statement by my mom’s dorm mate when she was still reviewing for her Medical Technologist licensure exam in Manila, twenty years ago. And boy, I can’t imagine how mom reacted about her dorm mate’s ignorance.

Mayor Inday Sara Duterte answers some queries during the launching of the new Davao City Tourism Brand Campaign held at Gran Men Song Hotel, Davao City.

For years, Davao City has emerged as one of the most progressive cities of the country. Since early 90s, the local government had exerted extra effort to promote the city. But unfortunately, the city itself had suffered from bad images portrayed by the media.

Today, with perseverance and determination, the local government together with the Department of Tourism - Region 11 has brought Davao City into the next level.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Operation Agco

Lieutenant, this is Private Officer Maro, reporting.

0545H / Davao

The sun has just risen.

Another brand new day for my new mission, sir. I know it was a bit hard to locate this young man you were searching. I thought it was implausible to locate him, but no.

While lighting my cigarette along the junction of Ulas and Bukidnon-Davao Highway, I saw three Toyota Hi-Ace vans. They all looked brand new… and suspicious. There I saw groups of young people who were busy talking to each other. I surmised, sir, that they were all excited for their trip. And then, I saw someone that exactly matches the description of the person you were searching.

Finally, the long wait has come to an end.

Lake Agco, Kidapawan, North Cotabato

Male. 5’6” to 5’7” in height. Slim. Semi-faux hawk hairdo. Loves to wear aviator shades. Certified lefty as he wore his wristwatch on his right hand.

Positive identity of the subject.

So I followed their van. They were driving south of the city. Little did I know was, they were embarking on a trip near our camp at Kidapawan, North Cotabato.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Confessions of an Aviation Geek

I am one of those people who dreams of flying and touring around the world. Despite the exorbitant tuition fee of flying school (yes, I’m talking millions here), it didn’t make me to stop dreaming about it.

Besides, when you dream, you have to dream BIG.


I always fancy airplanes, Boeing-made airplanes to be precise. My fascination started when I was little. My grandmother gave me a souvenir from Saudia Airlines, a 1:500 model scale of Saudia’s A330-300 plane.

Since then, I’ve started to appreciate those big birds, majestically flying in the sky.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Hello, Strangers!

If you have been reading this blog since its inception, you’d probably read my entry about my 9-hour delay experience at Zamboanga International Airport last April. Good thing was, Cebu Pacific treated us well by serving us free food from Jollibee and a free one-way ticket to any domestic destination valid for six months.

Since my two friends are going to have their board exam review sessions starting July, we decided to claim our free one way flight before it expires in October. We originally planned to take Cebu but one of my friends insisted to book a flight to Manila instead. After hours of deliberation, we finally settled of booking a flight to Manila.

(Jump shots! Top: Bagets at Passig Islet, Sta. Maria, Davao del Sur. Photo courtesy of Jerome Baluyut. Bottom: Couchsurfers at Kaputian Public Beach Park, Island Garden City of Samal, Davao del Norte. Photo courtesy of Edgar Yap.)

So, we availed a promo fare from AirPhil, called for our free one-way flight at Cebu Pacific and finalized our itinerary.

Little did I know, I was about to meet the coolest group of people who have inspired me to travel around the country.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

I Found My Heart in Bacolod

We used to eat together, sleep together and be together… just the two of us. Everything seemed perfect; my world revolved around her. I just love everything about Lexie - her tantalizing eyes, her sweet smile and her soft lips. God knows how much I love her.

It was until I woke up on a cold and rainy Monday morning of October. I was all alone in my bed. I stared at the ceiling, thinking of what to do next. And then it dawned on me - it was just a dream, just a dream… or so I thought. Ever since the day she left, my life has been a routine one. I keep on doing the same things over and over again. And frankly speaking, I’ve lost my drive to do something new and exciting.

Work was suspended due to bad weather. After finishing my coffee, I went to the drawer and looked for my passbook. While rummaging my drawer, I dropped something on the hardwood floor. It was an unopened envelope from Lexie dated back three years ago.

(MassKara Festival of Bacolod City, Philippines. Photo by –hbm-)

I opened the envelope and read her letter. It brought back those bittersweet memories of us.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Flavors of Iloilo: Ted’s La Paz Batchoy

The April sun shone brightly as I climbed down the stairs connected from an Airbus A320-200 plane and walked to the tarmac of Iloilo Airport. While waiting for my cousin, I took a deep breath and welcomed the Ilonggo air to my system.

Finally, Iloilo na guid!

Like any other modern airports in the country, we had a long walk from the tarmac to the the arrival hall. My tita was already there, waiting for us.

(Ted’s Special La Paz Batchoy. Photo courtesy of efrenefren)

It was a long drive from Iloilo Airport to the city proper. We had the usual kamustahan stuff for a minute or two, then dead silence.

And my aunt knew the reason why.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Davao City Eyed to be the Next Football Capital of the Country

Nowadays, Football has become the latest trend in sports, all thanks to the Philippine Azkals. Over the years, the team has been to several cities and provinces of the country and has sought several young players with big potentials of becoming the next Football stars.


And in line with this, some of the team members namely Misagh Bahadoran, Yannick Tuason, Roel Gener and Paolo Pascual together with the Marketing Manager of Cortal SQR (Safe Quick Release), Vik Oliveros have flown to Davao City to promote Football.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Lachi’s: Home of Davao’s Finest Sans Rival

Food junkies and first-time visitors of Davao City should not miss Lachi’s, the home of the world’s most delicious and finest desserts. Ever since its inception along Ruby St. of Marfori Heights, I have always wanted to try their desserts. I always hear good stuff from Lachi’s!


This year, I had the chance to dine at Lachi’s. Indeed, it answered my gastronomic needs.

Monday, August 29, 2011

First time travelers: What to Expect in Dinagyang Festival 2012

I was not in mood to do something productive because (i) my earphones got busted; and (ii) there’s a possibility that I may not join the Soccsksargen Tour 3 this coming September.

Dinagyang Festival dancers, photo courtesy of woofoo via Flickr.

I originally planned to sleep at around midnight when Marx sent me a message on Facebook.

It read: Renz, piso fare ng Cebu Pacific!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Curious Case of Singapore’s Time Zone

Three years ago, my friend went to Singapore to spend her summer vacation. She told me that sunsets in Singapore were a bit late, usually at 7:30 PM. Also, it was still dark even at 6:30 in the morning. Being a geography geek, she was perplexed since Singapore is not located beyond the 25th degree of latitude; it is only a hundred miles or a degree north of Earth’s equator, thus the number of hours of day and night in Singapore is equally distributed.

(Beautiful Singapore. Photo credit: zoompict of Flickr)

Then, she noticed its geographical location and time zone. It follows the same time zone with Philippines, China and Taiwan (+8.00 GMT) but it is located within the time zone of Thailand (+7.00 GMT).

I was a bit puzzled with Singapore’s time zone too. Little by little I began to unearth the mysteries behind Singapore’s time zone.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

First Impressions Last: Davao City

The Kadayawan Festival had surely brought millions of tourists worldwide.


And with that, we asked some of the local and international tourists about their first impressions of Davao City and Kadayawan Festival. Here are some of their answers:

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

My First Kadayawan Experience

It’s official! I am not a Kadayawan virgin anymore!


Last August 20 and 21, I had the chance to cover Kadayawan’s main events namely, Indak-indak sa Kadalanan (Street Dance Competition) and Pamulak Sa Kadalanan (Floral Float Parade). Because I had a media pass, I had a great vantage point; bigger opportunity to capture one of Philippines’ most colorful festivals.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Survivor Manila: The Php 1500 Challenge

Three days prior my trip to Manila, my mom told me that she didn’t have enough money; she can only give me Php 1,500.


I was a bit worried because I might run out of cash in the middle of my trip. But, being an adventurous and a risk taker, I took it as a challenge.

Sit back and relax as I reveal how far I traveled Manila, armed with only Php 1,500.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Manila in the Eyes of a Davaoeño


“Horrendous traffic. Very dirty. Crowded. Stressful way of life."

These are some words that my friends use to describe Manila. Some of them discourage me of visiting Manila; they keep on insisting that I should visit Baguio, Batangas or Laguna instead. But I always have this urge to travel and explore Manila. Behind the towering skyscrapers of Makati Central Business District, and the heavily polluted waterways and highways lies the soul of Manila, curled up in her own bed, crying. One misunderstood soul.

Armed with only Php 1,500, I flew to Manila in search of her soul while braving its chaos.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Everlasting Power of Love Waterfalls

There’s this cascading waterfalls located within the highlands of Davao named Epol. For the past years, it had drawn tourists from neighboring towns and cities. I was curious back then about its name. Of ALL possible names, why Epol? Is it because it’s located within the premises of an apple orchard? Does the water taste like apple juice? I did not have any clues or answers about its etymological origin.

Just recently, I learned that Epol is actually an acronym which stands for Everlasting Power of Love Waterfalls.

Now I know the reason why it was named as such.