Festivals, jumps, and travel: your guide to April 2019

Festivals, jumps, and travel: your guide to April 2019

There’s a solemn week ahead for most Filipinos, but there’s also something for everyone else looking to have a good time or learn something new.

Summer is in full swing this April, and it’s only starting to reach its peak. While most people will try and get past the many pranks pulled during April Fools, most of us will want to settle down and rest. After all, April also signals the end of another school year.

April is known for its summer events and festivals, but it’s also known for workshops. Here are a couple of things you can’t miss this April:

World Travel Expo Lifestyle Edition 2019

Scenes from last year’s World Travel Expo 3, held at the SMX Convention Center – MOA in Pasay City. Photo from Ad Asia Events

It may be midway through summer, but that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the best travel deals for the upcoming seasons! On its first year, the World Travel Lifestyle Expo will become the first of two travel expos held every year by Ad Asia Events and features some of the biggest travel deals you’ve ever seen. Head on over to the SMX Convention Center from April 5 to 7 to score some fantastic deals for the rest of the year, be it local or international travel!

April 5 – 7, 2019
SMX Convention Center – MOA, Pasay City
Worldtravelexpo.com.ph

Parkour Workshop @ Ninja Academy Powered by Milo

There are a lot of skills that can be learned online, but some are better acquired in person, usually through a workshop. One such skill is the ability to move over, under, through, and around obstacles with ease like modern day ninjas or Jackie Chan. From April onwards, Ninja Academy, the country’s first gym dedicated to the practice of parkour, will hold workshops for six straight weekends where you’ll learn all the basics of this fast-growing sport.

April and May 2019
Ninja Academy – PH, Circulo Verde, Pasig City
bit.ly/MILOParkour

Siquijor Healing Festival

Healing Festival 2014 - Siquijor Island
A Japanese lady experiences folk healing in Siquijor last 2014. Photo by Soichi Yokoyama

Whenever you hear about the province of Siquijor, two things come to mind: an unspoiled island with spectacular vistas in Central Visayas… and witchcraft, though nowadays is on folk healing. The island now prides itself on its folk healers or mananambal and celebrate them via a Healing festival held during Holy Week. Festivities start on Holy Thursday and last until Black Saturday, and is mainly held in the town of San Antonio.

April 18 – 20, 2019
San Antonio, Siquijor

Centurion Festival in General Luna, Quezon

Centurion Masks
A mask maker from San Narciso, Quezon holds one of the many wooden masks they make for the annual Centurion Festival. Photo by Allan Barredo

Said to be the predecessor to the widely popular Moriones Festival, the Centurion Festival in the province of Quezon recounts the conversion of Longinus, a Roman centurion said to have stabbed the side of Jesus Christ, had His blood go into his blind eye and restored his vision. It’s just as colorful as Moriones and is even celebrated in other places like Pinamalayan, Mindoro.

April 15 – 21, 2019
Quezon Province and Pinamalayan, Mindoro

Capiztahan in Roxas City, Capiz

It’s a seafood spread for the ages, and it only happens in Roxas City, Capiz. Photo from the Capiz Tourism and Cultural Affairs Office

Roxas City is known across the country as the Seafood Capital of the Philippines, and you’d be hard-pressed to not give us a reason why we should change it to a different city. You can enjoy the freshest catch every single day from the waters surrounding Roxas City, and there’s no better time to do so than during Capiztahan. The festival is a seafood lover’s dream come true: streets lined with all kinds of seafood caught and cooked the same day!

April 12 – 15, 2019
Roxas City, Capiz

Bounce like it’s your last in these trampoline parks

Bounce like it’s your last in these trampoline parks

If you’ve ever been a fan of Tigger (yes, that TIGGER) and you’ve always had a dream of bouncing around all day, then hit these places up!

In today’s world, you’ll really only see bouncing happen at nightclubs, and that mostly means leaving them, not bouncing around in one. Very unlike the kind of bounce that the kids in us are yearning to try.

You can try and buy a trampoline or go to a mall and hope to find one that’s set-up in the middle, but then only your kids can enjoy those—and that’s a big bummer. Gymnastics facilities have trampolines, but those are (usually) used for training.

We’ve found an answer to your bouncing dreams: trampoline parks. As the name implies, these places house dozens of trampolines in a set-up that lets you fully enjoy all of them at the same time. It’s quite common in other countries, but it’s a bit of a rarity in the Philippines, so much so that these are your three best bets:

Trampoline Park

Did we mention it’s purple? Photo from Trampoline Park
The Gladiator won’t be able to hold a candle to this: Bubble Ball Fights! Photo from Trampoline Park

It’s the park that started it all. Trampoline Park opened its doors in February 2016 and it hasn’t stopped sending people skyward with its many trampolines. They’ve got tramps that go wall-to-wall that you can use for a variety of activities: volleyball, dodgeball, parkour, basketball, and overall fitness. They even have fitness and dance classes on trampolines!

The best part: you’re having fun AND losing weight! Photo from Trampoline Park

The best part, though, has to be what happens when the sun goes down. The lights are turned off and the lasers are turned on—it’s a party venue

Mayflower St., Greenfield District, Mandaluyong City
Trampolinepark.ph, FB: Trampoline Park – Zero Gravity Zone

Jump Yard

Ever had dreams of being “Like Mike”? Grab your chance at Jump Yard. Photo from Jump Yard PH
The Jump Yard Obstacle Course. Live out your Ninja Warrior dreams here! Photo from Jump Yard PH

The second of the metro’s three trampoline parks, Jump Yard is often tagged as the “biggest and coolest“ trampoline park in the country. From what we’ve seen, there isn’t much to hold them back from saying so, mainly because of their own obstacle course and the many trampolines they have.

You can leave your kids at a local playground, but why stop there? Photo from Jump Yard PH

They also offer coaching for those who want to learn how to bounce, as well as a separate space for the little ones! Make sure you drop by on a Wednesday for Volleyball Day, where you can live your dreams of flying like the characters from the popular sports anime Haikyuu!

Road E, Frontera Verde, Ortigas Ave. cor. E. Rodriguez Jr. Ave (C-5), Pasig City
Jumpyard.ph, FB: Jump Yard

Bounce Philippines

Platforms, tramps, and a foam pit. All inside a mall. Photo from Bounce Philippines

Remember when we said you don’t want to head to malls to find trampolines? Well, we take that back. Bounce Philippines, the third trampoline park in the country, might be the easiest to get to thanks to its location.

Will you be joining this cutie on her climb? Photo from Bounce Philippines

Imagine bouncing around their trampolines, skying for dunks, playing dodgeball, knocking your buddies off a beam, climb, do parkour, or challenge their Ninja course—all while being in either SM North EDSA in Quezon City or SM Southmall in Las Piñas?

2/F, North Tower, SM City North EDSA, Quezon City
G/F, South Tower, SM Southmall, Almanza Uno, Las Piñas City
Bounce.ph, FB: Bounce Philippines

Tiki cocktails ‘til dawn at Coco Bar in Coron

Tiki cocktails ‘til dawn at Coco Bar in Coron

Heads up, dudes and dudettes! There’s a new tiki bar in Coron, and it promises a vibe as chill as the cocktails they serve.

Yes, there are bars in Coron that stay open well into the night, but they’re what we would call “classic” bars: good bar chow, beers, and a couple of drinks here and there. While these places are great, it’s hard to find a place in town that serves cocktails you’d normally find in tiki bars (they’re normally on the islands well outside of Coron)… that is, until you come across Coco Bar along Calle Real in downtown Coron.

Welcome to Coco Bar, your tiki bar hangout in Coron. Photo from Coco Bar PH

Walk through the doors of Coco Bar and you’ll feel like you’ve stepped away from town and onto an island. You’re welcomed with a combination of thin bamboo, thatch, and wood, with small tables and high chairs that encourage standing more than sitting. They want you to socialize and move about the restaurant, hence the set-up.

It’s like seeing a nipa hut with spirits galore. Photo from Coco Bar PH

The cabinet-behind-the-bar is similar to something you’d see in Manila’s bars, lined with the many spirits they can use to either make your night more interesting or put you out of commission for the rest of the night.

Eat

A good way to start (or sustain) your night at Coco Bar: Wings & Mojos. Photo from Coco Bar PH
Or you can engulf this: a Coco Burger. Photo from Coco Bar PH

As with most Coron bars and restos, they give you their best interpretation of what goes well with their drink menu. The stands outs? the Coco Burger and the Loco Moco. These use the same homemade pure beef patty that’s sure to satisfy any burger lover’s palate, whether it’s in a bun or on top of rice.

It’s a staple in Hawaii, but not so in the Philippines: a Spam Musubi. Photo from Coco Bar PH

In the hunt for something interesting? Try their Spam Musubi, a sushi-style treat from Hawaii that combines the ever-reliable Spam with Japanese rice and nori.

Drink

Tiki bars are known for chill drinks that reflect the very essence of island living: laid back with a sense of community. This is where Coco Bar shines, thanks to its lineup of tiki cocktails.

The Adonis. Photo from Coco Bar PH
Palawan Sling. Photo from Coco Bar PH
Malajon Martini. Photo from Coco Bar PH

A couple of their best picks (as of now) include the Adonis, the Palawan Sling, and what might possibly be an island exclusive: the Malajon Martini.

The Basics
About Php520 (USD10) per person; tiki cocktails start at Php220
FB: Coco Bar PH, IG: @cocobarcoron

Solo beach trip at Misibis Bay

Solo beach trip at Misibis Bay

Albay doesn’t necessarily scream “beach vacation,” even though it is next to the ocean. Can Misibis Bay change this?

Let’s get one thing straight: the province of Albay isn’t known for the beach. It’s got a gulf named after it, but unless you venture out to its neighbors Sorsogon, Camarines Sur, and Camarines Norte, it’ll be tough to say “I went to Albay and enjoyed the beach.”

Yes, the conditions weren’t perfect, but it’s still a sight to behold especially from the balcony…
… or from your room.

That is the case, of course, unless you go for an hour-long ride outside the city and go to this resort called Misibis Bay or go to any one of its off-the-beaten beaches. I braved the rain and the possibility of not being able to go home from a lack of available buses to Manila in hopes of experiencing a beach vacation… in a place known for a volcano with a perfect cone.

Sun and sand

Misibis Bay’s secluded location doesn’t really hide the fact that it’s a big resort since they offer a shuttle to whiz you around the property. It has over 100 rooms, with views of either their garden or the Pacific, and 37 villas spread over a five-hectare island that can only be reached by their private shuttle.

I call this “back beach” because it’s not their main beach area

The beach isn’t as sprawling as you’d expect, but it’s definitely up there in my list of “places I’d rather be” as far as beaches are concerned. It’s not (and probably might never be) crowded because of the number of guests they get, which lets me do the things I enjoy doing at the beach: take photos, relax under a beach umbrella, and throw a flip or two.

Comfy rooms, good views

I say good views because it depends on where your room is, but views from their Standard Pacific View rooms aren’t something you can scoff at. These rooms give you a sunset that’s close to what you’d get at a resort in Boracay or Coron—all from its own balcony, no less.

My Misibis Bay room was bigger than our living and dining room at home combined

The room itself is quite spacious. The room I got had enough space for two to four guests, what with two double beds and all. It had two bedside desks and a coffee table in front of the door towards a small balcony, which gave it a sense of having more room than it should.

Two double beds good enough for as many as four people

It felt as big as a one-bedroom condo unit thanks to how the bathroom was done: you had a big bathtub right in front of a mirror that’s longer than my height.

Good food, not enough options

I’m not the biggest fan of Bicolano flavors due to me not having eaten Bicol cuisine as much but I did expect a good spread. Their menu has Bicolano specialties, but with most of them being unavailable and their focus being on the buffet, the a la carte menu was sort of left to the wayside. Truth be told, I was left wanting more.

Also, who can’t say no to views like this? Photo from Misibis Bay

That’s not to say the food wasn’t good; the buffet spread that night was satisfying, but it wasn’t enough to rave about, though that might have been because of the number of guests they had that night (there was a wedding the following day).

I’ve heard good things about Spice Market’s (the name of their resto) Misibis Beef Steak Tagalog, made with Angus beef that’s been marinated in lemoncito. One personally liked that they’ve got their own bar offering homemade cocktails.

Final words

Misibis Bay might just convince you to visit Albay for a beach vacation. The price may be steep but they can guarantee exclusivity. Spacious rooms and IG-worthy views add to its value, but the lack of food options lets the resort down unless you go for private dining.

It definitely made me see Albay as a beach destination, the kind where one prefers quiet ones.

The Basics
From Php12,927 (USD250) per night for two, room onl
Misibisbay.com
+63917 599 1606/+63921 487 3869

Get there
Book for your shuttle to Misibis Bay (Php1,370 per adult) once you book your room. Ride a bus bound for Legazpi, Albay from either Cubao, Pasay, or Alabang in Manila. Head for Hotel St. Ellis from the Legazpi Grand Central Terminal by tricycle (Php40 per ride) where you’ll then be picked up by their shuttle.

Words and photos by Andronico Del Rosario

5 places in Manila to ‘brighten up’ your sunset game in IG

5 places in Manila to ‘brighten up’ your sunset game in IG

You don’t need to leave Manila to add reds, tangerines, yellows, or even salmon in your Instagram feed. We’ve headed for that best-sunsets-in-Manila hunt just for you.

Spending one late afternoon in Manila Manila Bay got us thinking: ‘are there other places in the Metro where you can see the kind of a sunset you get from here?’ The first thing that popped into our heads was on the rooftop of Makati’s skyscrapers but they’re not exactly open-access.

Today, we list down five places in Metro Manila where you can capture a sunset as stunning as Manila Bay’s without the need to worry about being caught for trespassing.

An all-too-common photo since that weekend rehab: a sunset shot of Manila Bay, either from the bay walk or at the SM Mall of Asia

Sofitel’s Sunset Bar, Pasay City

It’s exactly the same body of water as the one along Roxas Boulevard, but there’s a bit of a twist. Visit Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila’s Sunset Bar just before sundown and you’ll enjoy a clearer view of the world-class Manila Bay sunset by the pool and a glass of margarita in hand.

Make your sunset extra special and drop by on a Friday or Saturday night when the hotel offer their famous grilled barbecue specialties on the menu definitely worth the traffic you’ll possibly encounter along the way.

CCP Complex, Roxas Blvd, Pasay City
Sofitelmanila.com/restaurants-bars/sunset-bar/

University of the Philippines, Diliman

Feb20: Lovers in the light
If you’re there on a weekend, you might just catch people playing ultimate Frisbee. Photo by Daniel Ansel Tingcungco from Flickr

The University of the Philippines’ main campus in Diliman, Quezon City isn’t only home to some of the country’s brightest minds. It’s also home to places that you can take stunning photos of things like The Oblation or the Sunken Garden.

Good olOble is a bit shy since he faces away from the sunset, but get it right and you’ll have a non-risque silhouette. The Sunken Garden is an open field in the middle of the campus with benches at road level and people scurrying about in the middle of the field. Point your camera towards the sun and you’ll get a shot of both the field, the UP Main Library, and the mini forest that act as shade for the weary.

University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City

Libingan ng mga Bayani, Taguig City

This one is a bit eerie, but it’s worth the trip. The Libingan ng mga Bayani or Heroes’ Cemetery in Taguig is home to row upon row of crosses marking the graves of those who have served the country.

You won’t just see a sunset that’s both eerie and serene thanks to the white crosses; you’ll also come across graves of some of the most notable names in Philippine History, including National Artists and former Presidents.

Bayani Road, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City

Hole in the Wall, Century City Mall, Makati City

Couldn’t catch those wonderful reds and oranges, but sunset shots here are always a treat. Photo by Andronico Del Rosario

Yes, there are a lot of places in Makati for you to catch a beautiful sunset. It’s full of skyscrapers, after all. But not all are accessible to anyone out to see a sunset on a whim. Good thing there are places in Makati like Hole in the Wall at Century City Mall.

It’s an easy enough “climb” to the top (Century City only has four floors, and it’s on the fourth floor). The way Hole in the Wall is designed makes it easy to look out onto the citya perfect backdrop without the risk of being sent to the police station.

4/F, Century City Mall, Kalayaan Avenue, Makati City
FB:
@HoleintheWallPH

Antipolo City

Okay, this one’s admittedly a bit of a cheat, but Antipolo, Rizal is only one ride away from Metro Manila. That’s the same amount of time it will take you to move from one city of Metro Manila to another in today’s world of traffic congestion.

Being on top of a plateau, it’s easy to get a sunset shot of most of Ortigas, especially from places like Cloud 9 or any of the restaurants on its side of Sumulong Highway.

Sumulong Highway, Antipolo, Rizal

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