Thursday, March 28, 2013

Palm Beach - Buena Mano of Summer 2013

         The Philippines consists of 7,107 islands, and a coastline twice the length of that of the United States, the Philippines can claim to be Asia's Beach Capital. Enjoy the warm crystal blue waters of both the China Sea and the Pacific Ocean. Mention the Philippines and images of long, white sand beaches and bodies of water blessed with a variety of marine life come to mind.
Beach Front

          Before summer 2013 comes, I visited Palm Beach Resort at Barangay Hugom, San Juan Batangas. This place caters activities like boat riding, banana boat riding, snorkelling, kayaking and jetski riding.


        It is a combination of privately owned homes and resort facilities to serve the needs of its residents and guests. Palm trees and Talisay trees dominate the green landscape that hugs the white buildings of concrete, wood and glass. Along the sandy resort road, opposite the buildings, the bamboo-floored, cogon-roofed open cabanas wait for guests beside the beach.

Infinity Pool

        The Resort is designed to be a private retreat for those who prefer the tranquility and peace of a place with a well preserved natural setting as an alternative to other overdeveloped destinations. 

       A must see beach in Batangas. Awesome, secluded, raw, best place to unwind.


1. The road from Manila to San Juan, Batangas, through the SLEX and Star Tollway.
2.  At the final stretch through that quiet cemetery, the narrow and unpaved road leads anywhere good. But there it waits that oasis of serenity called Palm Beach Resort.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


          Over the weekend, I had a day trip in Metro Cebu. I prepared my to-do list and part of this is Magellan’s Cross, Mactan Shrine and a glimpse of Su Tu Kil Restaurant beside the shrine.
Chapel of the Cross
          Magellan's Cross is one of the historical places in Metro Cebu. It was planted by Ferdinand Magellan when he arrived at Cebu City on 21st April, 1521. The Magellan's Cross is kept in a small chapel, which is next to Basilica Minore del Santo Nino.
           It is believed by some people that the cross is the replica of the original one. Magellan's Cross is a popular tourist attraction of Cebu City.

            The cross is now used by Cebu City Hall as a symbol and the image of Magellan's Cross can be seen in the seal of the city. There are more places of tourist interests in close vicinity of Magellan's Cross.
inside the chapel
           The 486-year-old cross is now housed inside a small chapel or kiosk located across from the Cebu City Hall along Magellanes Street, beside the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño. The original cross brought by Magellan is encased in a tindalo wood cross that stands at the center of the chapel. This was done to protect the original cross from devotees who, believing the cross to be miraculous, started chipping off pieces of it.

           Ferdinand Magellan was the first European who visited Philippines in the year 1521. When Magellan, along with his crew, arrived at Cebu, he was greeted by Rajah Humabon. During that time Rajah Humabon along with his wife and 800 natives was Christianized. Magellan planted a cross to signify this event.

           There is a sign below the Magellan's Cross. According to the sign, the original cross is encased in the tindalo wood cross displayed in the center of the chapel. According to some people, the original cross had been destroyed and the existing cross is the replica of the original one. On the ceiling of the kiosk, where the cross has been displayed, the tourists can see painting that depicts landing of Ferdinand Magellan in Cebu. The planting of the cross has also been displayed in the roof paintings.

Beside the shrine is Basilica Minor Del Santo Nino - built by Miguel Lopez de Legaspi and Fr. Andres Urdaneta on the site where the image of Santo Niño was found in 1565. The church was however destroyed by fire on November 1, 1568 and was subsequently rebuilt in 1602 under the administration of Juan Albaran and was rehabilitated in 1740.
entrance of the basilica
            On May 1965, the church was conferred the title of Basilica Minor del Santo Niño by Cardinal Antonuitte, Papal Legate during the Fourth Centennial celebration of the Christianization of Cebu.
In 1521 Ferdinand Magellan gave the Santo Nino Image to Queen Juana as a baptismal gift. Some 40 years later in 1565 Miguel Lopez arrived in Cebu and on finding the natives extremely hostile (arguably due to the actions of the Spanish Invaders) he and his army besieged the settlement and set fire to it.
painting showing the burning of Filipino settlement
          It was in one of these burnt out homes that a soldier Juan Camus found the image of the Santo Nino unscathed. From that point the Cebuanos have venerated the image as their Patron Saint.
           The image is kept in the Parish Convent and a replica adorned with gold and precious stones and enshrined behind glass is housed in a side alter inside the Basilica Minor Del Santo Nino.
Inspired by his success in bringing Christianity to the people of Cebu, Ferdinand Magellan crossed the narrow channel to Mactan Island in an effort to spread the Catholic faith.
Lapu-lapu Shrine

shrine at night
Whilst still wading to the shore, he was killed by island chieftain Lapu Lapu leading his army of men during the battle for supremacy and freedom on April 27, 1521. Magellan's body was never recovered and in 1866 a marker was erected as a monument to this great explorer, marking the spot that Magellan was slain.
seafront where Magellan and Lapu-lapu fight
There is a great deal spoken with regards to the Hero of the Philippines, Chief Lapu Lapu, much of it surrounded in myth and legend.
It is a big memorial tower approximately 30 meters high, put up to commemorate the great Portuguese explorer, Ferdinand Magellan. The spot is purportedly where Magellan was killed.

 However this is a nice place to visit the grounds are very well kept and you can have a great seafood meal in one of the several fish restaurants next to the shrine. I tried the Mana Su Tu Kil Restaurant. The food was great for very affordable price. They serve sea foods cooked in variety of presentations.
seafood restaurant
yum yum yum

Another place beside the shrine is boutique of seashells decorations. Why not check out the shell vendors just outside the shrine and marvel at the exquisite designs made purely from shells.
i got one seashell decoration
            Meanwhile I notice that it was already nine in the evening and I have to leave the restaurant because my flight going back to Manila is at 9:45.

Son plus de plaisir dans les Philippines en raison de Magellan’s Cross and Lapu Lapu Shrine!


A daily flight from Manila to Cebu.

From Cebu International Airport, Magellan's Cross is located in front of Cebu City Hall. The tourists can reach the spot by availing taxis. Public transport is also available to reach the area. Jeeps can also be availed to reach Magellan's Cross in Cebu.

Mactan Shrine is located in the north-eastern part of the island. From Cebu, one can traverse using the 2 connecting bridges. The easiest is taking the Marcelo B. Fernan Bridge (New Bridge). Take the road going north (to Mactan Export Processing Zone 1) and just follow the main road. About 5 kilometers you will reach the Mactan Shrine. It’s a well-known landmark and asking directions from the locals would be easy.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Balayan is a first class municipality in the Province of Batangas, Philippines. Balayan is bounded by Tuy on the north; and Lian on the west, Calaca on the east and the Balayan Bay on the south. The town is rich among the natural resources of sugarcanes, coconuts and corn. Significant events includes the Parada ng Lechon (every June 24) and the Feast of Immaculate Conception celebrated every December 8 of the year. Widely known products originating from the area include the Bagoong Balayan.

The Parada ng Lechon (roasted pig parade) is one of the festivals in the Philippines. Every 24th day of the month of June, Parada ng Lechon celebrated in Balayan Batangas, and the feast day of San Juan (Saint John the Baptist).
Lechon is one of Batangas delicacy, and even in other provinces in the Philippines such as Cebu and La Loma Quezon City. It’s a main dish most Batagueños have for celebrations or fiestas. According to the old villager, lechon was served before the Spanish arrived in the Philippines. The dish became a symbol of Batangas tradition to serve lechon during celebrations.

These succulent roasted pork form the highlight of the parade ng Lechon, decked out in their platforms with all kinds of décor. Since the Lechon Parade coincides with the feast of St. John the Baptist, be prepared to get wet as people observe the feast by repeating the ritual of baptism - pouring water. Lechon is a roasted whole pig or cattle cooked in charcoal and are the national food of the Philippines. Lechon are cooked during national festivities (known as Barrio Fiestas) and holiday season. Lechon was originally a Spanish cuisine and can be found in many other Hispanic countries. Leche means milk in Spanish and lechon originally meant suckling piglet.

In the Philippines, it is not unusual for lechon or whole roast pig to grace any Filipino fiesta table. Parada ng Lechon is a parade of golden-red and crispy roasted pigs. The delicious aroma of this sumptuous dish made more favourite.

On the event day itself, a mass is held at the Immaculate Conception Church. After the mass, at least, large numbers of lechon are gathered in anticipation of the celebration. The parade proceeds after the holding of blessing of the pigs and people in St. Johns' name. At this celebration, one can witness a hilarious sight when the roast pigs are dressed according to the theme of the participating social organizations. Some of the lechon are inspired like chef, donut, surfer, Filipina, motor cycle rider this year.
Filipina inspired Lechon
surfer inspired lechon

In an event of sheer madness such as this, one can expect mischief just around the corner. During the celebration, pranksters toss water or beer over the lechons, drenching not only the lechons, but the bearers and onlookers as well. Some will even attempt to have a free sample of the roast pig's prized crispy skin.
wrap lechon

Dousing of water during the festival is to signify the baptism of Jesus by St. John the Baptist. The festival is a religious ceremony for the villagers of Balayan. It also gives a place for trade-off to happen.
dousing of water
           Now, the parade and merry making starts on the streets of Balayan. While the parade passes by the streets, bystanders will drench the participants with water. Bystanders are even free to take a piece of the lechon while on parade. These make the occasion exciting and extraordinary.

After the fiesta, the lechons are then brought back to their respective home for yet another celebration of drinking and feasting. As for those who believe in the spirit of sharing, they will gracefully give away their prized lechons to the crowd of audience. But be extra careful, the lechon is rich with cholesterol and might put your health into trouble.
Son plus de plaisir dans les Philippines en raison de Balayan Lechon Festival!

Extra Tshirt because you will surely get wet even you don’t want to and a bottle of water.

From manila, ride a bus (BLTB) with a sign 'Balayan' via Tagaytay, the terminals are located in Pasay or Sta. Cruz,  Manila. If there is no bus bound to Balayan, ride the one with a 'Nasugbu' sign, alight at 'Palico' and ride a jeepney bound for Balayan.

         You can also try the bus bound for Lemery, terminals are found near Buendia LRT Station. Once you are already in Lemery, ride a bus going to Nasugbu and alight at Balayan or ride a jeepney bound to Balayan.

Friday, May 25, 2012


Before the start of whole year stressful and hectic work, we are able to have retreat to replenish our energy and feed our soul.

Organized by the administration of the institution in coordination of the Human Resources, they look for specialized speaker to give inspirational talk for all employees.

Now, the venue is at Tagaste Retreat House. Tagaste Retreat House was established in 1991. This is an Augustinian Recollect Sisters' integral part of a new ministry in order to comprehensively assist and guide people of all walks of life to re-establish, re-strengthen and to re-define their foundation of faith.

wide grounds

Located at Magallanes Drive, Tagaytay City, Province of Cavite, Philippines. This is an integral part of a new ministry of the Augustinian Recollect Sisters, who trace their roots to the investiture of blood sisters Dionisia Mitas and Cecilia Rosa Talangpaz of Calumpit, Province of Bulacan in 1725 as Tertiaries of the Order of the Augustinian Recollect (OAR). A two minute ride from the corner of the highway (Magallanes Drive), feel the essence of scenic Tagaytay.  Wide grounds which are beautifully landscaped, clean & green, surrounded by a concrete perimeter fence, with round-the-clock security service of competent uniformed security personnel.

       There are many reasons why we need to participate in a spiritual retreat. Replenishing your energy, feeding your soul, taking time out, going deeper into your practice, listening to your intuition, joining others of like heart, letting go of stress, Self discovery, and reflection are a few of these reasons. The many challenges of the current times affect us personally, nationally and globally. The mind can easily get caught in the web of fear, anger and confusion. Going within directs you towards your inner knowing. You discover the great wealth of intelligence and love that dwells within you at all times, and this new found clarity brings awareness, stability, and grounding into your life.
minutes of silence
        Meditation and contemplation are forms of retreat that we use in your daily schedule. Meditation is both a technique and a state of consciousness. Meditation occurs naturally when you are walking on the beach or watching a bird glide across the sky, listening to music or sitting in silence with your Beloved. Meditation is a natural state of consciousness that occurs when you are not caught in your thoughts or emotions. When the mind is still, you receive sustenance directly from within.
move around and pray
        Singing God’s name is another form of retreat. When you open your heart and lungs to chant or sing the many names of the Divine, a softening takes place. Feelings of nourishment and love are some of the gifts of this practice. Gathering together for prayer, storytelling, or singing devotional chants and hymns are practices found on many spiritual paths. Coming together in community allows you to focus on finding the heart of our shared humanity. In bringing these experiences back to your families, workplace and community (students), you are able to share this nourishment with the world. The truth of our humanness is profound, and retreat helps you stay focused on that truth.

        At the end of two days retreat, it helps me reach a whole new level of living. I move up out of chronic frustration, fear, anger, sadness, boredom, anxiety, grief, powerlessness, depression and other lower vibrations to peace, joy, or even bliss. Issues resolve, life circumstances transform to match my new, higher vibration--and it not only lasts, it keeps expanding forever after. As an educator, it made me clear how heavy my responsibility in guiding and being a parent to more than hundreds of students.

One quotation that struck me goes like this:
In life the greatest handicap is FEAR;
The hardest thing to do is to BEGIN;
The most useless asset is PRIDE;
The most scary thing to make is CHANGE and
The greatest mistake is GIVING UP.
     Now I’m ready to start the school year with right mindset and fully energized. I will become a natural catalyst without "doing" anything--just by being me, whatever I "do" in the world, I’ll change others' lives (students) without trying, despite my human imperfections.
author in orange

1.    Personal experiences
2.    Willingness to listen and change
3.    Open heart and mind
From Batangas:
Route 1: Bus
  1. Ride a bus to Cubao, Quezon City. Ask for the one that will pass by Tagaytay and the rotonda circle of Tagaytay City.
  2. Ask the driver to drop you off at Tagaytay.
Route 2: Bus
  1. From Nasugbu, ride a bus to Pasay.
  2. Ask the driver to drop you off at Tagaytay.
From Caloocan:
Route 1: LRT-1-Bus
  1. Take the LRT-1 to EDSA station.
  2. Ride a bus to Nasugbu.
  3. Ask the driver to drop you off at Tagaytay.
Route 2: LRT-1-Bus
  1. Take the LRT-1 to Baclaran station.
  2. Ride a bus to Tagaytay.
From Laguna:
  1. From Balibago bus terminal in Sta. Rosa, ride a jeep to Tagaytay.
From Las Pinas:
  1. From Alabang-Zapote Road, ride a jeep/bus to Alabang, and get off at Manuela Metropolis Alabang (Metropolis Mall).
  2. Ride a jeep or bus to Balibago/Sta. Rosa via SLEX or National Road (passes by SM Sta. Rosa).
  3. From Balibago Terminal, ride a jeep to Tagaytay.
From Makati/Mandaluyong/Pasig:
  1. Take the MRT to Taft terminal station.
  2. Ride a bus to Nasugbu.
  3. Ask the driver to drop you off at Tagaytay.
From Manila:
  1. From Taft, in front of Rizal Park (Luneta), ride a bus to Tagaytay.
From Muntinlupa:
  1. From the West Service Road or Alabang-Zapote Road, ride a jeep to Manuela Metropolis Alabang (Metropolis Mall).
  2. Ride a jeep or bus to Balibago/Sta. Rosa via SLEX or National Road (passes by SM Sta. Rosa).
  3. From Balibago Terminal, ride a jeep to Tagaytay.
From Paranaque/Pasay:
Route 1: LRT-1-Bus
  1. Take the LRT-1 to Baclaran.
  2. Ride a bus to Tagaytay.

Route 2: LRT-1-Bus
  1. Take the LRT-1 to EDSA station.
  2. Ride a bus to Nasugbu.
  3. Ask the driver to drop you off at Tagaytay.
From Quezon City:
  1. From Cubao, ride a bus to Batangas. Ask for the one that will pass by Tagaytay and the rotonda circle of Tagaytay City.
  2. Ask the driver to drop you off at Tagaytay.
From Taguig:
  1. From Net2, Market! Market!, or the Fort Open Field, ride the Fort bus/shuttle to Ayala.
  2. Take the MRT to Taft terminal station.
  3. Ride a bus to Nasugbu.
  4. Ask the driver to drop you off at Tagaytay.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Life is Colorful at Hot Air Balloon Festival

Once again, this is another late post about my tour. Last February 2011, I attended the 16th Hot Air Balloon Festival. Leaving Manila early morning we arrived at Angeles Pampanga just exactly before the start of the show.

In 1994, three years after the devastating effects of the Mount Pinatubo eruption, Tourism Secretary Mina Gabor together with Korean businessman and hot-air balloon pilot, Mr. Sung Kee Paik, and British Airways General Manager, Mr. John Emery, and the German aviation enthusiast Max Motschmann engineered the Philippine International hot air balloon festival to help jumpstart the local economy and spirit of the Central Luzon region with the commitment of developing hot air ballooning as an aviation sport in the country and making the Philippines one of the leading sports aviation and travel destinations in the Asia Pacific region.

The Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta is an annual event that occurs between January and February at the Omni Aviation Complex in Clark Field, Angeles City, Pampanga. It features multicolored hot air balloons with more than a hundred balloon pilots from around the world. This three to four day hot air balloon event is the biggest aviation sports event in the Philippines.

The festival also features a number of events in skydiving, flag jumps, micro light and rocketry demonstrations, small plane fly-bys and fly-ins, remote-control airplane and helicopter flying exhibitions, freestyle aerobatics, precision maneuvers, light airplane balloon bursting, ultra-light flying formation and bomb dropping, kite-making and choreographed kite-flying, hi-start launch gliding, pylon racing, banner towing, aero-modeling symposium and races between ultra lights and motorcycles.
colorful kites
Colorful balloons will start to invade the morning sky and after that numerous sky activities can be watched like para-gliding, sky diving, aircraft formation flying, aerobatic display, kite flying exhibition etc.

 What makes a hot air balloon? The main parts of a hot air balloon are the envelope, the basket and the burner. The envelope is the fabric gas bag which is usually made of light-weight and strong synthetic fabrics. Attached to the envelope is the basket or what they call gondola, too. Obviously, this is where it carries people. The basket is usually made of woven wicker or rattan because these materials are proven light and durable for balloon flights. Lifting the balloon up in the air, we need a burner. It is mounted above the basket and centered in the mouth. This is the main fuel of the flight well aside from the wind. The burner is fuelled by propane and liquefied gas.
balloons at night

Currently, the Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Festival continues to be a popular international sports aviation event. The 2006 festival featured 30 multicolored hot air balloons and more than a hundred balloon pilots from Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands, Germany, the Czech Republic, the Slovak Republic, Hungary, the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines. It also drew an approximated 60,000 visitors to the event.

Simple Tips:

You should bring, water and food, mat and portable chair and go early.

Son plus de plaisir dans les Philippines en raison Hot Air Balloon Festival-Clark Field Angeles Pampanga!

Way Points:

By Land:

Clark is located 80 kilometers north of Manila and is reachable by land or air. Driving by car from Manila takes an hour and a half. Take the North Luzon Expressway and exit at Dau, Mabalacat, Pampanga. Make a left turn toward Angeles City and then a right turn toward Clark

Clark may also be reached via the new Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX). From the North Luzon Expressway, continue the drive leading to the SCTEX exit. You may use either the Clark North Interchange (Panday Pira access road near Nayong Pilipino) or Clark South Interchange (near Yokohama and Clark Main Gate) to enter Clark. From Clark, via the newly-opened Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway, you can reach Subic within a 30-minute drive and the Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac in 15 minutes.

Public buses also ply the routes on a daily basis. Ride a Victory Liner bound for Dagupan and alight at Dau common terminal. Walk a bit toward the highway where jeepneys or tricycles are available. These vehicles can take you right up the Clark gate. Another bus line, Philippine Rabbit, also has trips to Angeles, Pampanga, via Dau, and other buses going north may also pass by the area. Ask the driver or conductor beforehand to be sure.
By Air:
Five airlines offer domestic and international flights to Clark’s Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA).
Where to stay:
If your cowboy/cowgirl, you can rent overnight transient house for affordable price.