More of Cebu: Oslob’s whale sharks and Carcar’s lechon (GMA News Online)

See whale sharks skim the surface of the ocean

(This feature was published in GMA News Online last February 13, 2016)

Swim with the whale sharks – check! Eat lechon and chicharon in Carcar – check!

It feels good to tick items off my bucket list, and my most recent trip to Cebu made it possible to do so.

My travel buddies and I allotted one whole day to head 120 kilometers south of Cebu City to rural Oslob, where swimming with the whale sharks has become the main attraction. It takes approximately four hours to drive from the city center to the seaside, which you have to reach from 6 a.m. to 12 noon so you can sign up to swim with the gentle giants of the sea.

Road trip to the south 

Travelers may commute by bus, but our tour operator provided a private van with driver and limited its passengers for maximum comfort. We left past six in the morning, just after sunrise, and I made sure to wear my swimsuit underneath my casual beachwear for utmost convenience.

<Read the rest of the article HERE>

Touring Cebu City in style (GMA News Online)

Devotees hear mass at the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño de Cebu

This feature was published in GMA News Online last February 2, 2016)

Whenever I travel to a place I’ve never set foot in before, I try to sneak in a quick city or day tour in my itinerary. I believe it’s the best way of getting to know a destination, and I find it especially convenient when I only have limited time in that particular place.

I admit that I’ve been to Cebu a couple of times already. But I’ve never had the chance to do a city tour until my recent trip, and I’d never felt so welcome. The moment I stepped outside the airport, the Best of the Best Travel and Tours tour guide, Keane, greeted us—not just with a big smile, but with goodies as well.

It’s typical to see shuttle services in the driveway, but ours stood out because it came with treats like dried mangoes, otap, cold mineral water, and even cool face towels for freshening up. I felt pampered already and looked forward to my latest Cebu experience.

Read the rest of the article HERE.

Planning your DIY Taipei vacation (Rappler)

Go shopping and food tripping in Ximending night market

(This feature was published in Rappler last November 1, 2015)

Taipei, Taiwan is a haven for foodies. Its themed restaurants and street food offerings are enough reasons to fly to this nearby food destination. But Taipei will not just please your palate; it will fascinate you with its charming cityscapes and alluring activities.

Read the rest of the article HERE.

Tips for traveling on a shoestring budget (GMA News Online)

Have you been bitten by the travel bug?

(This feature was published in GMA News Online last February 27, 2015)

In the spectrum of types of travelers, I would classify myself as somewhere in between the luxurious kind and the backpacker sort. Five-star hotels aren’t my first choice and neither are dormitory-type rooms. Whether I visit a domestic or international destination, I choose to travel within my means, but still make sure that my experience will be comfortable and enjoyable.

Here’s how to make the most of your next trip.

Be a travel agent for a day

Booking through travel agencies has become passé with the advent of the Internet. Nowadays, anyone can book a flight, reserve rooms, and even schedule tours as long as you are connected to the World Wide Web. It’s easy to search for promo airfares, budget accommodations, and itinerary suggestions with just the click of a button.

<Read the rest of the article HERE>

Things to do in Palawan (Triptipping.com)

(This feature was published in Triptipping.com last May 22, 2013)

Puerto Princesa in Palawan has been enjoying the limelight ever since the Puerto Princesa Underground River was declared as one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature. The town is the gateway to this natural wonder, which has attracted local and foreign tourists alike.

Breakfast

Hotel Centro serves a mean buffet breakfast that includes rice and a selection of viands, which is a standard Filipino breakfast. The menu vary but guests have a good chance of tasting local delicacies such as lamayo (dried fish) in the buffet.

Hotel Centro – San Pedro National Highway, Puerto Princesa; (048) 434-1111

Morning Activity

While it’s early, book a city tour with a licensed tour guide. The tour includes a visit to the following places: Crocodile Farm, Baker’s Hill, Mitra’s Ranch, and Iwahig Penal Farm, among others.

For those who have time to spare, go island hopping in Honda Bay to get a glimpse of the beautiful beaches in Palawan. A typical tour would take you to Starfish Island, Snake Island and Pandan Island.

Lunch

Sample local cuisine in Badjao Seafront, a restaurant by the bay. While you take in the wonderful view of the mangroves and landscape, fill your belly with delicious seafood such as fish, crabs, shrimps, and squid.

Badjao Seafront – Abueg Road, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan; Telefax: (048) 433-9912; [email protected]

Afternoon Activity

A must while in Puerto Princesa is to take an adventure tour to the Underground River, which includes transportation to Sabang (the jump-off point to the subterranean river), lunch, and all the necessary permits. Visitors will have fun taking the guided boat ride where the boatman would share trivia about the place. Be amazed with the different rock formations inside the underground river.

 

<Read the rest of the feature HERE.>

Things to do in Capiz (TripTipping.com)

(This feature was published in Triptipping.com last May 1, 2013)

Touted as the “Seafood Capital of the Philippines,” the province of Capiz has an 80-kilometer coastline and quite a number of fishponds that are abundant with marine life. It is located in the Western Visayas region of the country, particularly in the Panay Island, which is composed of four provinces.

Breakfast

Enjoy an overnight stay in San Antonio Resort where guests have complimentary buffet breakfast. Familiarize your taste buds with local dishes like dried fish and other seafood specialties.

Baybay Beach, Roxas City, Capiz

Morning activity

Go swimming in the pools at the San Antonio Resort or go boating in their fishpond. If you prefer the beach, walk across the street and stroll along the shore of Baybay Beach. Let your feet wander in its fine gray sands or take a dip into the water. Or you may rent a boat and go to the nearby Olotayan Island where you can go snorkeling.

Lunch

The Baybay Beach is lined with various open-air restaurants where you can enjoy both the fresh seafood and cool breeze at the same time. The meals are affordable and delicious. Try RML Manokan Haus and order some buttered shrimps, squid adobo, kinilaw (ceviche) and other native dishes.

Bay-bay, Roxas City; (036) 621-0322

Afternoon activity

Explore the Talon Adventure Park where you can lounge at Ayagao Beach and have a picnic in one of the cottages for rent. Or feel the excitement of riding the park’s zipline and other outdoor activities.

For those who want to know more about the history and culture of the place, ride a jeep to the town of Pan-ay where you can see the Sta. Monica Church, a national historical landmark that houses the biggest church bell in Asia, which weighs 10,400 kilograms.

Barangay Talon, Capiz

Dinner

Ted’s La Paz Batchoy

Gaisano Mall offers a variety of restaurants including fast-food favorites like Jollibee, Chowking, Goldilocks and more. A must-try while there is Ted’s La Paz Batchoy where you can chow down on some hot noodle soup with pork innards, crunchy pork rinds, egg and spring onions. It makes for a very hearty meal.

Gaisano Mall, Roxas Boulevard, Roxas City, Capiz

Evening activity

Enjoy the cool atmosphere in one of the restaurants/bars along the Baybay Beach and grab a beer or two to cap off your stay in this peaceful province.

 

Of scorching eats and scoping out bazaars in Kuala Lumpur (GMA News Online)

(This feature was published in GMA News Online last April 28, 2012)

I’ve heard a lot of great things about the national capital of Malaysia, and what made my trip possible was when my sister and mom booked tickets for a flight. I wasted no time joining them.

See, I’ve always been fascinated with Asia’s diverse cultures and traveling throughout the region is certainly on my bucket list. Which is how my wandering feet recently took me to Kuala Lumpur for the first time.

Truly Asia fits the city

From Manila, Kuala Lumpur is approximately just a three-hour flight, but its airport is in the outskirts of the city proper, about an hour away from the main thoroughfares. We chose a budget taxi for convenience since we didn’t want to lug around our bags,  but you can also take a train or public transport to get to the city.

Our hotel was strategically located in the Bukit Bintang area where luxury malls are next door. That famous landmark, the Petronas Tower, is also within walking distance. After checking in, we then headed to the Pavilion Mall to look for a place to eat since I couldn’t wait to get a taste of authentic Malay cuisine.

Curry and street food eats

I went for the more familiar sounding dish, Curry Laksa, which are noodles served in curry soup with chicken, fresh prawns, beansprouts, dried beancurd topped with mint leaves.

This is a noodle soup that’s hot in every sense of the word with its red-orange broth (the color itself is a give away!) searing my tongue and warming my belly. I could barely taste the prawns through my numbed my tongue. It pairs well with a sweet and cold beverage like milk tea or a Milo Dinosaur.

Other local cuisine must-tries are rice meals like Nasi Bojari (tri-colored rice with assam prawns, beef rending, and deep-fried chicken drumstick) and noodle dishes like Char Kway Teow (stir-fried rice cake strips with vegetable and seafood toppings).

<Read the rest of the article HERE.>



Seoul Essentials: Five Things To Do In Seoul, Korea (ClicktheCity.com)

(This piece was published in ClicktheCity.com last March 30, 2012)

I confess, I am child to a mother who is riding the hallyu—otherwise known as the Korean wave. It has become the norm for me to hear and see Korean shows on television whenever she is glued to it. I have even become familiar with some Korean words from too much exposure. Annyeonghaseyo!

I knew it was just a matter of time for her to express her interest in visiting the country that she has only seen in the small screen. It finally happened when we were able to get a good travel deal to Incheon, which is the gateway to Seoul.

We stayed there for four whole days and I discovered that it still wasn’t enough to really see the place and experience the people’s culture. But if you are traveling there on a limited time, I would suggest you do the following.

Taste authentic Korean cuisine

From street food to fine dining, there are a variety of places where you can sample true Korean food. My mom and I especially enjoyed trying the local fare being peddled by street vendors. We were enticed by the delicious aroma of the food and were also impressed by the many locals who went in line for it.

It was also nice to eat in a restaurant where it’s warm inside and you get to relax while enjoying your meal. The best thing about having a sit-down meal is that they serve complimentary appetizers with your order. Of course, thekimchi is a staple there so expect to sample different kinds in various restaurants. While there, I tasted the local bibimbapmandu (their version of a dumpling), and other dishes that made my mouth burn. Nearly everything was hot and spicy but I still enjoyed my eating experience there.

<Read the rest of the article HERE.>