Kalibo in a Day

Since I will submit an article for an in-flight magazine on Kalibo, I decided to blog it as well. Kalibo is famous for Ati-atihan festival. Foreign and local tourists flock to Aklan to feast with the locals. It is also famous for being a 'connecting' destination to the world famous island of Boracay. One trip to the island, made us decide to explore Kalibo in a day for a change.

We decided to stay at the home of the famous Precious Moments dolls and keepsakes - Sampaguita Gardens. It is located in New Washington, Aklan and is only 20 minutes away from the airport. Rates start from !,900 php.

Though Christmas is near when we went for a visit, we were told that even it is not the season, the place still gives the Christmas-y feel.

Other must-trys of Kalibo is having mango shake in Miggy's place. If you are heading to Manila for a Bora trip or waiting for a 'sundo' after a flight to Kalibo, this restaurant is a good food stop. Their spaghetti and local viands are also fave hits.

Travel Thoughts:

- People who forgot to buy some of their 'pasalubongs' in Boracay and will flyt to Manila via Kalibo, there are  pasalubong shops in the airport where one can buy Aklan's famous alimango (crabs) and pastries

- Sampaguita Gardens support some Aklan-based foundations, buying their souvenirs would help these charities.


Baguio: Not Just Your Summer Capital

Zigzag road to Baguio

One of the more frequent and most vivid memories of my childhood are those I had in Baguio. Differing from the most famous description of Baguio as Summer Capital, my memories are more of Christmas or cooler seasons around January or February. When I was a teen turning into yuppie and having my means to travel with friends, I had more experiences of the famous Panagbenga and summer seasons in Baguio.

Now, the things and places which made Baguio famous, have changed. The city did not escape from the sprouting malls. Thus ,having its own SM Mall. This mall is now considered one of the most famous landmarks in the city, when before the city only have the ukay ukay stalls and city market as options for pasalubong shopping. With its strategic view decks that offers the breathtaking view of the city, photo ops are frequent in the mall.

Compared to my childhood memories of horse back riding pictures and strolling in Session road, sidetrips to Tam-awan and strawberry farms or shopping at the outlet stores in Club John Hay are more likely the things people do now.
YMCA Hostel

My visits here are either backpacking (usually YMCA for accommodation) or a bit more luxurious (Baguio country club is one of the best). For commuters, Victory liner offers hourly trips and even a de luxe ride with no stop overs and spaceous reclining seats.

Baguio Country Club Connecting Rooms

Travel Thoughts:

Victory Liner travels daily from Pasay/Cubao to Baguio

- Victory Liner offers hourly trips (1am to 12 mn) to Baguio from Pasay Or Cubao (445 Php). For Deluxe trips (no stop over ; with free snacks), price range from 600 php (w/o rest room) up to 700 php (w/ rest room).
- Backpacking stay at YMCA is at 1500 php. They have clean and newly renovated rooms. The hostel is accessible (near SM Baguio and Session Rd)
- Try Mile Hi Diner for affordable meals with huge servings. Their milkshakes are must-trys!

- Baguio Country club is best for more luxurious vacation with family and friends. Their buffet meals are the best! Make sure to drop by the Raisin Bread - where literal rasin breads are unforegettable

Salad Buffet at BCC - talk about FRESH

Baguio Country Club's Raisin Bread

- Other dining options are Vizco's along session road. Their chicken cordon bleu and deserts are just flavorful. For budget dning, rice toppings at Andok's (also along Session road). For sizzling type of meals, I make sure to stop by Tender Joe's at John Hay

Vizco's Cordon Bleu

Rice Toppings at Andok's


Feature Writing 101 by Writers Block Philippines

I attended the Feature Writing 101 (2nd batch) by Writers Block Philippines held at Powerbooks,Greenbelt 3. The 8-hour workshop aims to uncover one's writing style and developing a lead and storyline.  It was facilitated by the women behind Wrter's block: Ana Santos of; Nikka Sarthou of Smile Magazine (in-flight magazine of Cebu Pacific Air); and Nina Terol-Zialcita of Asian Traveler.

Writer's block Philippines conducts regular workshops and writing events/networking nights for aspiring and  free-lance writers.

Some of their workshops include "Jumpstart Your Writing Career", "Walk Write This Way" - in partnership with Carlos-Celdran, and the just concluded Feature Writing 101.

I personally chose Feature writing to share my experiences as a foodie and traveler through writing. Based on what I have learned yesterday, I was not disappointed and very much glad that I joined.

Great job to the facilitators and attendees!


Pangasinan Perfecture

Our Lady of Manaoag

I have been in the province of Pangasinan for the nth time because it is the hometown of my Dad. Pangasinan is famous for Hundred Islands and Milkfish (Bangus). But, we go there almost every year to visit Our Lady of Manaoag. During these visits, we appreciate the landscape and the food even more :)
Manaoag Church Compound

On our last visit, Manaoag is still part of our list.And since my family's scheduled to go to Vancouver weeks after the visit, we made it a point to meet up with relatives and family friends at our favorite restaurants in Dagupan.
Pedrito's Dagupan City

First stop is Pedrito's. It is located in Tapuac District, Dagupan City. We love having breakfasts here so we cannot miss it this time. Each of us tried different kinds of omelets. I tried the unique version of their crab omelet. I find it different but delicious especially for the health conscious. Omelet servings range from 150+ php to 200+ php. Pedrito's offer Dagupan delcacies as well. Pasalubong packs' (ex: polvoron, crinkles etc) price range from 50php to 100+php. A bottle of the famous Pangasinan Alige is also available for 250 php minimum.
Crab Omelet at Pedrito's

Another must-try is Matutina's. I remember whenever we pass by Tondaligan beach (in Bonuan, Dagupan, Pangsinan), Matutina's is the venue of our lunch or dinner semi-reunions. I have also heard that former Pres. GMA is fond of having her food stopover here whenever in the province. The restaurant offer fresh seafood viands and ihaw-ihaw food as well. The place has already improved from having sandy flooring before to a cemented and more sophisticated interiors now. They even expanded and I just saw a branch along Central-North Luzon National Road (boundary of Pangasinan and Tarlac). Viands price range from 170 php to 400+ php.What else could be the must-try but the Dagupan Bangus!
Matutina's Annex II, Bonuan

Travel Thoughts

- Pangasinan is also famous for their sweet Mangoes (especially in the town of Malasiqui) and tasty Puto Calasiao.
- Another town in Pangasinan is Bolinao which is famous for its lovely beaches.
- Pangasinan is more accessible now that one can pass via SCTEX - Tarlac, where you can catch a breathtaking sunrise and sunset (depending on the time of your travel)
- Manaoag church area has been renovated recently. It is more spaceous for devotees and visitors.

SCTEX view on the way to Pangasinan