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Monday, May 30, 2011

8 Awesome Adventures in the Philippines!

The Danao Plunge!, Bohol
Life is too short to waste on the usual day-to-day activities and meaningless travel. Over the 5+ years of exploring the Philippines, I've discovered the most awesome adventures guaranteed to make your hearts race and rave. These are the experiences that left indelible memories in my mind. I'm sharing these with you because these are the adventures that make the Philippines truly awesome! 

1. The BATANES Adventure
Lord of the Rings in Batanes

This is one of the last places in the Philippines that has its culture and traditions intact. The people who live here are very proud of that fact. You can also still see the bayanihan spirit alive in their communities.
I love the 30-minute falowa ride from Batan to Sabtang Island. The falowa is a  u-haul boat without any katig for balancing. It sways with the waves, which is safer for crossing the channel. People go to Sabtang to see the old bahay na bato that is still inhabited today. It is indeed a blast from the past. If you are adventurous enough, you can opt to try the 4-hour falowa ride from Batan to Itbayat Island. :)
The natural wonders of Batanes are awesome to behold, especially when you are in Racuh a Payaman (also known as Marlboro Country), which is a communal grazing land in the south of Batan Island. There are a lot of nature-tripping spots like the Vayang Rolling Hills and Valugan Boulder beach. But if  you'd like something more laid-back, spend a day on the terrace of Fundacion Pacita, one of the best boutique hotels in the country. There, you can just sit and marvel at your 270-degree view of the mountain, sea and sky.

2. Palawan: Puerto Princesa, Coron and San Vicente
Coron Tour-29

Palawan is indeed the last frontier. It's the place where we can start development with the right eco-mindset and sustainable tourism programs.
Puerto Princesa City is famous for its Subterranean Underground River Park, which will hopefully soon be part of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. The city is also home to Ka Lui (one of the best Filipino restaurants in the country) and one of the best fresh seafood markets. The air in Puerto Princesa is noticeably different – more fresh, more clean. Plus, you can feel the pride of the Palaweños in every person you encounter.
In the northernmost tip of Palawan is Coron, which is known for its wreck diving spots, Kayangan Lake (the cleanest lake in the country), and one of the best island hopping tours that ends with a relaxing dip in Maquinit Hot Springs. The city is also the jump-off point for the Calauit Safari or a trip to the exclusive twin resorts of Club Paradise and El Rio Y Mar.

3. El Nido Resorts Experience

El Nido is the first resort that we fell in love with. Its eco-friendly practices are very laudable. Early on, they realized that protecting their natural wonders is the cornerstone of their success.
There is a debate on which of their twin resorts is better: Miniloc or Lagen? For me, I prefer the rustic beauty of Miniloc resort because there is a natural pool in front of it, with lots of fishes that are not afraid to interact with people. Also, when you are in Miniloc, you can kayak to the Big and Small Lagoons – a good way to exercise and one experience you'll never forget.
You have to pay an all-in fee, which includes the buffet food and all the resort activities. You can also go on an island hopping tour that will also take you to the sand bar behind Lagen (it was once the setting of a very private and romantic beach wedding).
The best part, for me, is that you can arrange to have an island reserved all to yourself for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Don't forget to have this unforgettable experience in Entalula Island, one of the best beaches in the Philippines.

4. The Northern Road Trip to Pagudpud

My first road trip was when we drove to Pagudpud for 12 hours. We didn't know how to get there and we only had an atlas to guide us. The experience was exhilarating – driving through one town after another, looking for the secret spots along the way. I can't forget the first time we saw the giant windmills in Bangui. We were just standing there, with our jaws dropped, as we touched those gentle, white giants.
On the way to Pagudpud, it's a must to stop over in Vigan to see the proud, old homes on Calle Real. In Laoag, don't forget to eat bagnet and empanada. When you get to Paoay, visit Paoay Church (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and dine at Herencia Cafe, which serves Pinakbet Pizza and Dinuguan Pizza. Make sure to set aside time to try the sandboarding adventure in Paoay. It's an awesome way to experience the sand dunes of Ilocos Norte.
Some travelers are already satisfied with just reaching Saud Beach and seeing the Patapat Bridge. But you shouldn't dare miss the best part of the trip to Pagudpud, which is finally seeing and swimming in the Blue Lagoon, with some of its immaculate beauty still intact.

5. The Southern Road Trip to Bicol

The roadside to Bicol is equally as beautiful as the road trip to the north. With a lot of food stops along the Quezon Viaje del Sol route, you can either dine at Ugu Bigyan in Tiaong, Quezon, or eat crispy pata in Candelaria. Most people stop over at Lita's in Gumaca, Quezon for cocido or sinigang na isda.
Like Vigan in the north, Naga is the progressive town of Bicol with a vibrant row of restaurants along Magsaysay Avenue and an active nightlife. I enjoyed eating kinalas in one of the secluded houses and getting my fix of Bicolano cuisine from Naga Garden.
On the way to Legazpi, you have to travel early in the morning to get a great view of Mayon Volcano. There are two great photo spots: the Cagsawa Ruins and Lingñon Hill Natural Park. At the latter, you have to hike all the way to the top where you can zipline with Mayon as your backdrop.
Don't leave Legazpi without tasting the best halo-halo in the Philippines – DJC Halo Halo in Tiwi. They now have branches in Legazpi and Naga.
Finally, there's Donsol. This is the place where you can interact with the majestic yet gentle whale sharks. Every summer, these giant creatures appear because of the abundance of plankton in the area.

6. Eco-Adventure in Bohol

Bohol is the eco-adventure tourism capital of the Philippines. With year-round tourism (because typhoons don't pass through here often), this is the best place for eco-adventure.
Our favorites are:
- the canyon swing and canyon zipline in Danao, Bohol;
- the 4x4 adventure ride through the Chocolate Hills;
- the Loboc River Cruise lunch;
- the Loay River Firefly Watching Cruise at night; and
- the Dolphin Watching tour on Pamilacan Island.
You can also choose your own beach experience here. There's the long, private stretch of white sand at Bohol Beach Club; the vibrant, bohemian vibe of Alona Beach; or your own, secluded beach resort. Any Bohol Adventure would be incomplete without savoring the healthy, organic food of Bohol Bee Farm. :)

7. Extreme Adventure: Cagayan de Oro - Bukidnon
River Trek Waterfall Challenge - 4-37

Cagayan de Oro (CDO) is finding its niche in providing fun, extreme activities to tourists. It all started with its White Water Rafting Adventure. At first, there was just a Beginner route, then Advanced and, now, an Extreme route that goes up the CDO river.
Aside from that, Cagayan de Oro is starting to become famous for the Mapawa River Trek, where you go through 5 natural waterfall challenges. The first few waterfalls are easy because you just have to slide down the falls. But the best parts of the trek are the challenging ones – the 20-ft jump off the waterfall and the 65-ft rappel down the waterfall.
After CDO, most adventure seekers go to the latest adventure destination: the Zipline Park in Dahilayan, Bukidnon, which currently boasts the longest zipline in the Philippines.
Every second Sunday of the month, a lot of people journey to Malaybalay, Bukidnon to experience the Sunday Brunch Buffet with the monks of the Monastery of the Transfiguration. Some people opt to stay overnight in the monastery to pray with the monks as early as 3 a.m. Don't leave Bukidnon without eating steak at the Del Monte Farms and buying fresh milk from the cooperative canteen.

8. Kayaking in Tuguegarao and White Water Rafting on Chico River

No doubt, the best White Water Rafting experience in the country is in Chico River in Kalinga because of its wild beauty and difficult rapids. Before going on that exciting river ride, you can practice White Water kayaking along the Pinakawan River in Tuguegarao. You can also explore Callao Cave, known for the church built inside the cave's natural dome formation.
Tuguegarao is also the jump-off point for people who want to visit the pilgrimage site of Our Lady of Piat or to explore more places up north. Some go all the way to Sta. Ana, Cagayan to check out the supposedly haunted Cape Engaño Lighthouse.

The Philippines never runs out of adventures for travelers to experience. So, what are you waiting for? Start exploring!

Friday, May 27, 2011

8 Most Awesome Filipino Restaurants in the Philippines

Isla Naburot Food-1

I love Filipino food, and I’m not just saying that because I’m Filipino.
Filipino fare is always a celebration of what’s fresh and in season -- cooked slowly with love, served with warm hospitality, and enjoyed with the laughter of family and friends.
Here are the Top 8 Most Awesome Filipino Restaurants that Pinoys should experience in their lifetime:

 1. Ka Lui, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan
Ka Lui Palawan

Eating in Ka Lui (named after the owner, Louie Oliva) is like eating in a Filipino home, where each guest is treated like a VIP. Here, the menu changes daily, depending on what the freshest seafood, vegetables and fruits are available at the Puerto Princesa market. The dishes are quite unique, and their presentation can surprise you.
When you enter the restaurant, you have to leave your shoes outside. As you rest your feet on the clean and polished floor of Ka Lui, enjoy the bahay kubo-inspired ambiance as the fresh air of Puerto Princesa cools you off while you eat. Nothing beats the Ka Lui experience.

2. Isla Naburot Resort, Guimaras
Isla Naburot Swimming-1

This secluded and rustic island resort in Guimaras is a secret beach escape for foodies and beach lovers. There is no electricity on the island --  only solar-powered lights at night so that you can enjoy a no-TV, no-telephone experience. This Saldaña family-owned island resort does not advertise to preserve its “un-commercial” charm.
It really is back-to-basics, where the food is prepared using slow cooking methods and wood-fire oven techniques. They only serve the freshest seafood from the market and the best mangoes from the island of Guimaras. All you have to do is literally swim, sleep and eat five times a day. Indeed, Isla Naburot lives up to its name, which means “beautiful island”.

3. Claude Tayag’s Bale Dutung, Pampanga
Claude Tayag's Bale Dutung

Pampanga is the culinary center of the Philippines, and Claude Tayag’s Bale Dutung (House of Wood) is the best place to taste true-blue Pampanga cuisine. They offer a private dining group experience (minimum of 10) where you enjoy a long, slow-cooked, five-hour lunch.
You have the option of having the Kapampangan menu or the now-famous 5-Ways Lechon with Sisig menu. Each dish is cooked to perfection. They only serve one dish at a time to ensure that guests get to savor each one until the desserts are served. So when you’re there, just sit back, relax, enjoy the hospitality of the Tayags, and take in the simple yet artistic ambiance of Bale Dutung.

4. Breakthrough Restaurant, Iloilo
Breakthrough Food, Iloilo-1
Breakthrough is the undisputed king of fresh seafood in Iloilo, and the number one tourist spot in the city. It is famous for its Aligue Rice and the Managat fish (also known as red snapper or mangrove jack). Native Chicken Inasal, and fresh and baked oysters are also served here.
The restaurant is the brainchild of marine biologist Raymundo Robles, who just wanted to have a side restaurant business for his wife. It was named after every scientist’s aspiration, which is to achieve a breakthrough in his/her field.
The best part of the Breakthrough experience is being able to enjoy the glorious food (and the popular vinegar called Sinamak) with the fresh sea breeze blowing around you.

5. Ugu Bigyan, Tiaong, Quezon
Kulawo, Ugu Bigyan

The internationally renowned potter Ugu Bigyan opened his garden for merienda, lunch and dinner in his private home in Tiaong. There are no signs leading to the place. In fact, his neighbors don’t even know that such a place exists.
Ugu Bigyan is famous for his Kulawo, a banana-heart dish that is charcoal-grilled in coconut milk, which tastes like creamy tuna. The Filipino set menu is fixed for a minimum of 5 persons.

Ugu Bigyan Pottery-1

Most visitors end up purchasing pottery before leaving, especially during the twice-a-year sale -- May 15 (to coincide with the Pahiyas festival) and August 14 (his birthday, where the discount increases every year, equivalent to his age).

6. Kinabuhayan Café, Dolores, Quezon
Kubli Springs Experience-6-1

Every stay in Kinabuhayan Café is magical. Its bed & breakfast is designed in such a way that you feel like you are living in a theater stage set – any photo you take is photogenic. Plus, every dish that comes out of the kitchen is really good. Jay Herrera is the heart and soul of the place, with his charming, bohemian persona and magical touch when it comes to food. He is popular for his Alagaw Leaves appetizers, Risotto, and cooked-on-the-spot Lamb Chops.

Kinabuhayan Cafe Food-1

Jay has a secluded place called Kubli Springs where they set up beautiful-looking lunches and dinners. The spring waters running down your feet and just-enough lights at night all add to the ambiance for a romantic evening under the stars.
The place is popular during the Holy Week because it is located at the foot of Mt. Banahaw. It is used as a home base by people who want to go to the blessed caves to recharge their powers.

7. Café Juanita, Pasig
Cafe Juanita Ambiance

Dr. Boy Vasquez wanted to honor the culinary heritage of his family by serving their heirloom recipes in this colorfully homey restaurant. Artistically done comfort Filipino food is the specialty of the house -- from Molo, to Kare-kare, to Twice-Cooked Adobo. But you also have the option of ordering other Asian-inspired dishes.

Cafe Juanita Food

The most unique feature of Café Juanita is its kitschy ambiance. The place has a hodge-podge of decorative items. Dr. Vasquez makes it a point to move one piece (or more) each day so that the restaurant feels alive as small changes are made. Café Juanita’s vibrant, evolving, eclectic collection is actually a good reflection of the “halo-halo” culture of the Philippines.

8. Pendy’s, Bacolod City
Pendy's Ambiance-1

When it comes to good food in Bacolod, Pendy’s is the foodies’ choice because it is run by Omon Maravilla’s family (a family of foodies too). Pendy’s is already an institution in the area, and it is resisting the temptation to expand to keep its quality and consistency intact.

Pendy's Half Moon-1

There’s a wide array of dishes on the menu, but don’t leave Pendy’s without trying the well-made Negrense cuisine. Among the crowd favorites are the Chicken Dinuguan, Pancit Molo, and Batchoy with Lechon. The menu is quite diverse because it is based on the food that the family likes and the food that they can cook well. Some people actually line up for their Korean Beef Stew, Spareribs and Pad Thai.
But the best part of the Pendy’s experience is having the Napoleones and Half-moon for dessert!
Besides the comfortable and homey restaurant, Pendy’s also has a pasalubong center that carries the best pasalubong: Bailon’s Piaya and Dulce de Gatas.

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Kate Middleton's Obama meeting dress sells out

kate-middleton-reiss-dress.jpgMarriage hasn't slowed down the woman formerly known as Kate Middleton's abillity to influence fashion trends. The camel-colored, body-hugging Reiss dress Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge wore to her meeting with Barack and Michelle Obama  on Tuesday (May 24) is sparking yet another fashion frenzy.

"The dress is flying off the shelves in stores in both the U.K. and the U.S.," a spokesperson for Reiss tells If you don't have a Reiss retail location nearby, you may be out of luck procuring one for the time being. The company's website is "currently not available due to unprecedented demand."

The "Shola" dress sells for approximately $340 and we wouldn't be surprised to learn Reiss is rushing more into production. In November 2010, the blue Issa London dress Middleton wore when the royal engagement was announced also sold out within hours of the event.

And, immediately following the couple's April 29 wedding, knockoffs of Middleton's Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen gown were already available in a range of prices.

Lindsay Lohan Braless See-Through Candids In Miami, Wow Lindsay Lohan’s Vagina Upskirt

Here are some Lindsay Lohan braless see-through photos from a recent photoshoot in Miami and you kinda can see her boobs in her blouse. Oh wait, is that Lindsay Lohan’s vagina? Nice… It as been awhile since we last saw this chick’s pussy… At least two or three years would be my guess. I hope that chick at eye level with Lindsay’s crotch got a good sniff too.LOL! I was getting ready to post these lame candid Lindsay Lohan braless see-through photos when her vag catch my eye. Not so lame anymore thanks to the upskirt and some sheer panties. Enjoy. Click on pictures to enlarge.

Wiki Bio

Lindsay Dee Lohan (born July 2, 1986 in New York City, New York, United States) is an American actress and pop music singer. Lohan started in show business as a child fashion model for magazine advertisement and television commercials. At age 10, she began her acting career in a soap opera; at 11, she made her motion picture debut by playing identical twins in Disney’s 1998 remake of The Parent Trap.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Top 10 Beaches of the Philippines!

1. White Beach, Boracay Island
Boracay will always be the BEST beach place in the hearts of many Filipinos. The island is a feast for the senses – there’s gourmet food, a variety of cuisines, luxurious hotels, exotic spas, adventure sports, and the best nightlife on any island.
People go to Boracay not only for the powdery white sands and the energetic nightlife, but also to experience the bohemian beach spirit. This spirit lives on in the people who have decided to stay in Boracay despite the overdevelopment on this small island off the coast of Caticlan.
The people of Boracay are now more eco-conscious, and eco-friendly programs are being rolled out to protect the beauty of Boracay for the next generation.

2. Entalula Island, El Nido, Palawan
Palawan Adventure-2
Entalula Island is the best beach island in the Bacuit Bay group of islands in El Nido, Palawan. It is a small, secluded area with limestone cliffs protecting the beach.
It is a private island owned by El Nido Resorts, but a small portion of the beach can be publicly accessed by island-hopping tourists from El Nido town.
The beach has sugar-fine, white sand that could very well match Boracay’s famous sand. I'm glad they decided not to build a resort on the island to maintain its pristine charm.
The best part of the Entalula Island experience is that you can request the resort to arrange lunch or dinner there for you. That way, you get to enjoy the beach privately and you can savor the time spent with your group or just your special someone.

3. Long Beach, San Vicente, Palawan
San Vicente, Palawan-1
Long Beach in San Vicente, Palawan is said to be the last beach frontier in the Philippines, boasting a 14-kilometer stretch of white sand that can rival the best beach destinations in the world. Its beauty is raw and undeveloped (no big resorts yet).
The runway of the area’s international airport has already been developed, meaning it can accommodate the big international planes. People are just waiting for the terminal to be built so that the first official flights to San Vicente can commence.
A lot of people have already invested in the beach lots, but its future remains speculative. On a positive note, this time, we get the chance to develop a beach destination with resorts far away from the shoreline and constructed in an eco-friendly way.
One day, I hope to run barefoot across that entire 14-kilometer stretch – from end to end!

4. Daplac Cove, Boayan Island, San Vicente, Palawan
Daplac Cove, Boayan Island-1
Daplac Cove is relatively undiscovered and rarely talked about, except maybe for the controversies regarding its ownership. I had the pleasure of visiting the island and the small solar-powered house built by Ditchay Roxas. I was blown away by the beauty of the entire cove.
Just imagine: fine, white Boracay-like sand beside aquamarine waters. You can actually open your eyes underwater and it wouldn’t hurt since there is a mix of fresh and seawater.
Daplac Cove also has a vibrant marine life. Sometimes, you can view the cove’s sea inhabitants very close to the shore.
The island is also a nature preserve for the endangered Tabon Bird and the vulnerable Palawan hornbills and eagles. The people of Boayan are protecting the island from illegal fishing and illegal cutting of the kulasi trees.

5. Matukad Island, Caramoan, Camarines Sur
Matukad Island, Caramoan-11
Matukad Island offers a wonderful combination of the great features of other beaches. Its sandy beach can be compared to Boracay; its limestone cliffs are like those in Palawan; and its location in a group of islands is similar to that of Hundred Islands. It is located across the popular Gota Beach, which is the location shoot for the TV show Survivor. I like how the island is undeveloped and that it will remain that way.
From Matukad, Laos Island can be found nearby. This is quite a unique place because it has two beach coves that face different sides of the island. You can stand in the middle of the intersection of the beach and you'll have different beach views on your left and on your right. Two limestone cliffs anchor the beach, adding to a visual feast you'll never forget.

6. Mahabang Buhangin, Calaguas Islands, Camarines Norte
Mahabang Buhangin, Cam Norte-29
The next beach frontier: Calaguas Islands. The place is far from being developed but a lot of backpackers are already visiting the island. You have to cross open seas for two hours onboard a big fishing boat (which could carry a carabao from one island to another).
Once you arrive in Mahabang Buhangin, you'll be captivated by its raw beauty. Its long, uninhabited cove gives you the feeling that you have arrived on the set of The Beach. If you plan to swim, be careful because the beach slopes down drastically. If you want to stay overnight on the island, you have to pitch a tent.
This is perfect for groups of adventurous people who want to bond while enjoying nature. Your only source of entertainment would be your shared life stories and funny misadventures along the way.

7. Club Paradise Beach, Coron, Palawan
The Calamianes Group of Islands in Coron, the northern part of Palawan, is known for its dive spots instead of its beaches. However, there is one island that seems to be blessed with all the white sand that surrounds the area.
The island has a fully developed resort called Club Paradise, which offers urban amenities like good buffet food and modern beach huts (that open to the beach). There, you can also find a dive resort, a videoke room, a jungle bar, and conference rooms for team building sessions.
But the best parts are the hiking trail to the topmost part of the island, the little nature museum, and the secret beach. :)

8. Balesin, Polillo Islands, Quezon
Balesin is a forgotten island. This used to be a popular beach escape during the Marcos era. All developments stopped at one point in time and the island became less accessible. There were only two ways to get there: via a 4-hour boat ride or a cost-prohibitive charter flight.
The Balesin resort was not well-maintained and the food needed a lot of improvement. Soon, the island resort was forced to cease operations. With its halted development, the beauty of its beaches became the centerpiece again.
Balesin’s beach is safe for kids because it slopes gradually. I was actually able to visit the place before it closed down. I remember hopping from one secluded beach cove to another on foot. It was very relaxing -- all I did was lie down on the beach and enjoy nature’s splendor.
One of my best beach photographs was taken in Balesin. I’m glad to know the entire island is being developed by Alphaland in an eco-sustainable way. For sure, a lot of beach lovers can't wait for its opening.

9. Kota Beach, Bantayan and White Beach Malapascua Island, Cebu
Malapascua Adventure-3
My first beach love: the twin island beaches of Malapascua and Bantayan. We would often go on an inter-island boat cruise on a rented banca just to experience both beaches on one trip.
Kota Beach in Bantayan is like a corner beach. There, you can view nature on both left and right sides – a great muni-muni spot to reflect on your life and its many aspects.
Malapascua Beach, on the other hand, is the “undeveloped Boracay”, where you can enjoy the beach without the noise of overdevelopment and the nightlife. It's a place where you can escape, write a book, or simply lounge around incognito.

10. "Blue Lagoon" Maira-ira Beach, Pagudpud
Blue Lagoon in Maira-ira was once the hidden beach that was considered the “Boracay of the North”. It has a natural cove that turns turquoise blue when seen from a high vantage point. The lush foliage and rice fields surrounding it made its pristine condition even more charming.
However, such beauty was not able to escape enterprising developers. A big resort was built very close to the beach, promising urban amenities and beach sports activities. The resort started to destroy the Blue Lagoon by pouring cement over the rice fields and cutting down all the trees in its path.
I wouldn't be surprised if, one day, most of the rice fields are cemented and, soon, Blue Lagoon will just be a distant memory for those who were lucky enough to experience its raw beauty.


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