Batanes e-book author Ferdz Decena takes us to the right spots in Batanes for an even more memorable experience of the northernmost Philippine province, and for them fantastic Instagram snaps.
It’s 2019, and we’ve got a bit of juicy travel bits for year straight from people who have been in the travel industry for several decades—the Philippine Travel Agencies Association (PTAA)—that might just surprise you. Travel, now a way of...
Or for most people, it will be. PTAA president Marlene Dado Jante sees more people embracing travel as a way of life rather than a luxury, thanks in large part to how affordable trips are becoming and how accessible information have become.
“Travel expos are the best place not only to get the most affordable deals out there, but also to know more about a destination.” Her tip: talk to travel agencies who frequent travel expos. Chances are they’ll [the exhibitors] know more about a destination and can explain it to you in 20 minutes better than you can do with online research
DIY trips are also becoming more and more popular, with blogs, vlogs, and books (e and tangible) that let you do your trip your way. Couple that with hostels and Airbnbs and you have a recipe that supports traveling as a way of life.
Vlogs, in particular, are perfect sources of itineraries, travel budgets, and travel hacks that equip anyone to travel. A simple search on YouTube and you’ll find budget itineraries complete with the actual experience you’ll get from people like Christian LeBlanc (Lost LeBlanc), Patrice Averilla (Avelovinit), and a lot more.
Rehab is apparently a new buzzword for the local tourism industry. It’s only been months since the island of Boracay was opened. El Nido is already being worked on, and everyone from your mother to that nosy neighbor you sometimes talk to is talking about how clean the shoreline of Manila Bay has become.
From speaking with Marlene, you can tell there’s good that’s going to come out of all the rehabilitation going on, but she wants to go further than simply sprucing up our best destinations. “Rehab is good and all, but what we really need is for both the locals and the tourists to be more responsible in looking out [after the tourist destinations]. This will lead to destinations being more sustainable.”
Camping is, well, camping. You get a sleeping bag or a tent, bring your own food, and find a place to sleep. It’s very sustainable albeit tough because you need to find a place where it’s okay to do that.
Glamping, on the other hand, is camping leveled up. It’s like staying in a hotel, but you’re in a tent. You’re outside and “exposed to the elements” but with all the creature comforts: a comfy bed, cooked food, “indoor” plumbing, and the like.
Crystal Beach in Zambales offers camping and glamping; Pass Island in Coron offers camping; Tagaytay has a number of hotels offering glamping.
There’s one type of tourism that’s been popping up since 2016, yet no one seems to be taking a hint: farm tourism.
It’s young, but it’s not that difficult to understand. What you do is you visit a farm, you learn what it’s about, what the farmers do, and what-not. It’s a great way of promoting what has sustained our country prior to the many wars—a way for us to go back to our roots. The souvenirs at the end aren’t half bad, and they let you buy their goods at affordable prices.
Check out FarmPlate if you’re planning for a farm tour. For info, click here.
The Philippines is predominantly Catholic ergo its handful of centuries-old churches, basilicas, and cathedrals that have stood the test of time both in the big city and distant islands. This fact brings about tons of people poking interest in the Philippines as a pilgrimage site. So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that travel agencies often include trips to churches.
Words by Andrew Del Rosario
Going on a social media purge as your penitensya (penance) or beach bumming in places like Boracay or Palawan for the Semana Santa is well and good, but don’t you ever get tired of the same trend every single year? Why not go on a simple summer holiday where you can enjoy your vacation AND still experience something relevant to Holy Week festivities? We have rounded up ideas for your Semana Santa escape.
Iloilo isn’t the first place that pops into people’s heads when it comes to answering the question “Where should I be this Holy Week?” It’s not as popular a destination especially that crowd favorite Boracay is merely on the northwest part of the island. But the sleep town of Barotac Viejo may just give you something new.
The little town is known for having a community that is takes their Holy Week seriously by mimicking the Passion of Christ. The townspeople themselves have been performing the Passion play, with “passion” Hiligaynon every Good Friday for almost half a century in their annual Taltal sa Barotac Viejoand it’s a delight to watch.
Places to see: Bucas Grande, Old Iloilo City, Miagao Church, River Esplanande, “Little Baguio” (Bucari)
Things to do: Party at Smallville, Walk along Iloilo River Esplanande, Island hopping at Concepcion
It’s an island north of the Cebu mainland that’s become popular for its stretches of fine-sand beaches that is expected to see an influx of tourists this Holy Week. What people shouldn’t miss while in the island paradise is the annual Pasko sa Kasakit, a simple celebration of the stations of the cross, but with a twist where the images in the Station of the Cross are supersized and paraded around.
Places to see: Alice Beach, Camp Sawi, Kota Beach (all in Santa Fe), Malapascua Island, Virgin Island, Hilantagaan Island, Kota Park
Things to do: Biking, snorkel, freedive/scuba, beach bumming, tour the town of Bantayan for heritage houses
This island is starting to blow up more for the views you’ll get than what happens here during Semana Santa.
Siquijor, known across the country as a home to witchcraft and mysticism, but locals have since shed that image and now proudly celebrate their folk healing expertise with the annual Folk Healing Festival, taking place during the last few days of Holy Week. Get yourself treated by local healers or witness how they make various concoctions with the promise of curing almost anything you can think of—yes, including heartaches.
Places to see: Century-old balete tree, Salagdoong Beach, Paliton Beach, Kagusuan Beach (extremely hidden, possible that not even the locals know about it)
Things to do: Go around the island on a scooter, visit a ranch, hit the island’s peaks on a mountain bike, snorkeling, beach hopping
If there’s a Holy Week destination that’s never left off any list, it’s Marinduque. Known as the geographical heart of the Philippines, it’s basically an island that’s made itself known for a festival that celebrates a Roman soldier who became a believer in Jesus Christ: the Moriones Festival.
Most of you will know what this festival centers on commemorating Roman soldier Longinus, who stabs Jesus on the side, witnesses His resurrection, tells the Romans about it, and (gruesomely) gets his head chopped off. This part is often depicted in their version of The Passion play, which talks about Christ’s last moments before He eventually passes on.
Places to see: Tres Reyes islands, Mt. Mataas, Boac, Palad Sandbar, Ungab Rock Formations, Bathala Python Cave
Things to do: Visita Iglesia, Beach hopping
It’s the piece de resistance of a list of Holy Week destinations, and something that’s also been a source of controversy as to whether or not it should be considered a tourist attraction. We’re talking, of course, about the Maleldo Festival in San Pedro Cutud, Pampanga.
The Maleldo Festival is the full (and very real) re-enactment of Christ’s crucifixion. Yes, it’s the whole 10 miles: the garb, the Crown of Thorns, crying depiction of Mary Magdalene, people marching on the streets whacking their backs with things that make them bleed, and someone actually getting nailed to a cross that they’ve been carrying for several miles.
Places to see: Mt. Pinatubo, Subic Bay, Sandbox at Porac, El Kabayo, Skyranch Pampanga, Nayong Pilipino
Things to do: go on a food trip, adventure activities, Visita Iglesia
Yes, you read that right. It’s an option for those who don’t want to go out of the city yet still want to witness something that only happens once a year. The citizens of Makati, particularly those who live in the restaurant-and-bar hub that is Poblacion, stage a parade commemorating Lent.
They hold a grand procession every Holy Wednesday (closed roads, of course) and put up booths with life-size depictions of The Passion of Christ. Another plus: some establishments stay open even during Holy Week!
Places to see: Sts. Peter and Paul Parish (one of the oldest churches in the country), Circuit Makati (but hold off on that after Holy Wednesday), art galleries in Poblacion
Things to do: staycation at one of the many hotels in the area, food trip, pub crawl
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.
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
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.
University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon 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
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 city—a perfect backdrop without the risk of being sent to the police station.
4/F, Century City Mall, Kalayaan Avenue, Makati 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
The world is at least a century late on having discovered the wonderful flavor of the humble purple yam or ube. It’s sweet; has a bit of a gritty texture (in a good way); and goes well with virtually any dessert, especially with the next item on this list.
To enjoy this delicious treat, it’s best served on a plate drizzled with either condensed milk, coconut milk with a bit of sugar, or cheese.
Widely considered the quintessential Filipino dessert because it has it all. It’s like the Japanese shaved ice dessert kakigori but with more to it than ice. You’ve got beans of nearly every size and shape, green and red gelatin (or really any color you want), strips of macapuno, jackfruit, or maybe some bananas. Some throw in corn kernels to the mix. Have it topped with some ube, a scoop of ice cream, and the next item on this list.
A staple in every Filipino celebration that involves food, the leche flan looks like a simple custard but it’s more than that. It has that distinct combination of sweet and creamy, making it an ultra sinful, hard-to-resist dessert. Its many forms include the LeCheesecake from Nikita’s Pastries.
Two things combine in this ridiculously simple (yet delicious) dessert: glistening green pandan-flavored gelatin and the ever-refreshing and popular strips of coconut. Take these two and combine them with all-purpose cream and sweetened milk and you have yourself something that is a sure hit at any party table.
A dessert hailing from Philippine gastronomy capital, Pampanga in the North, that has graced many holiday buffet tables in Central Luzon and Metro Manila. The taste is akin to a spoonful of the widely-known maja blanca—soft, delicate, almost melt-in-your-mouth—but this one is a tad bit salty, thanks to the use of carabao’s milk.
Words by Andronico Del Rosario, with information from members of Let’s Eat Pare®