Friday, August 8, 2008

Of Zeroes And Infinities

As zero represents having nothing as a beginning, infinity connotes something that lasts forever.

But on this day of zeroes and infinities - 080808 - I would have to bade goodbye. This is not a sad goodbye though, as I am simply starting anew with zero, albeit in another blog.

As businesses would say -- "We have moved to a better location, please visit us." In the same way, I am encouraging you, my readers and visitors to visit my blog in a new and better home -

This is the same travel blog, but I have merged it with my foodblog as they are closely related. In Let's Go Sago, I am introducing a blog character named...oops, I'm not saying it. It's for you to find out HERE. Click away! Paalam!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Cebu Pacific Moves All Flights to NAIA-3

Starting the 1st of August 2008, Cebu Pacific will transfer all its domestic and international flights to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3.

The move of
the country's largest domestic airline will mean a more spacious check in area with 28 new counters from the 22 old ones in the Domestic Terminal. Boarding gates will also more than double from four to nine. But don't get all excited just yet, especially if you're traveling on the first week of August. I can just imagine the adjustment nightmare and confusion that comes together with physical transfers (even for CEB staff & crew). So be prepared. I hope they would be able to iron up the frizzles by then just in time for my first international flight on the 8th of August (hehe). =)

By the way, they're celebrating this move with a system wide seat sale. P888 & P699 for one-way international and domestic routes, respectively. Check it out here.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

A Short Trip to Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf

A few months ago, I visited CBTL High Street branch and took some photos. I've posted here two of the good ones I deemed fit for the What's Your Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf Story? photo contest.

If you think I deserve a merit, please feel free to vote for me CLICK HERE for Photo 1 (First Photo).

CLICK HERE for Photo 2 (Lower Photo).Thanks in Advance.

The first one is "The CBTL Ambiance"

My second entry is "Life is Full of Choices"

I also submitted an entry for the Essay section entitled "Coffee & My 'Tatay'". You may vote for the essay/short story entry HERE.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

A 3D Journey

It's a night launch party but wear your sunglasses - 3D movie glasses, that is. SM Cinemas formally introduced their Cinema 1 at The Block as D-Cinema, the first true digital cinema in the Philippines as it uses digital technologies from production, post-prod, distribution, up to projection. The featured movie was Journey to the Center of the Earth starring Brendan Fraser - an action-and-CGI-effects-packed movie really fit for 3D projection.
D-Cinema vs IMAX
My fellow watchers said that IMAX's Screen is bigger vertically and more involving. D-Cinema is more like your regular cinemas plus the 3D and great surround sounds. The eyewear is not the red & blue film child-like toy.=) It's a plastic sunglass with a darker-shaded left lens. The 3D experience was great, together with the movie's engaging journey. It ended with a hint of a sequel. =)

The Block is part of SM City North Edsa. Regular showing of the mentioned movie starts July 10. They also had a previous soft launching with the movie Beowulf last November 14, 2007.
More photos at

Friday, July 4, 2008

hOtSpOT eXPreSs: Bangui Windmills, Ilocos

One of the 15 giant fans each about 70 meters high. They are actually wind turbines situated about 326 meters apart along the 3km stretch of Bangui Bay, Ilocos Norte province. It was built to generate clean energy from wind power.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Itchy Feet: BOHOL-CEBU Island Hopping

Fast Facts:
What: Travel Factor Island Hopping: BOHOL - CEBU
: July 10-13, 2008
Where: Bohol, Cebu
Why: Island hopping, snorkling/diving, dolphin watching,
Cost: 5,500/pax (group of 10pax)
Click Here

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Trivial Advisory

With regards to the Coffee Bean &TL blogger's event last night, I gave away calling cards with this site but the actual post about the event can be found in my food blog

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

hOtSpOT eXPreSs: Urbiztondo Beach, La Union

Urbiztondo Beach can be found in San Juan, La Union. This beach is famous for its surfing friendly waves. Surfing season here starts on the month of August and lasts until March of the following year.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

hOtSpOT eXPreSs: White Island, Camiguin

This dynamic C-shaped sand bar 2km. off coast Camiguin is a white powdery sand paradise. There are no vegetation, trees, or inhabitants in the island; only minimal 'kawayan' structures for shade. It is ideal for sunbathing, snorkeling and plain beach bumming.

Monday, May 26, 2008

I Did Not Survive

My apologies to all my supporters =), but I did not survive the auditions. The next paragraph will narrate how everything unfolded.

May 23, my cellphone alarm rung at 0400hrs and I arrived at SM Manila 0545. A crowd-filled walkway area of the mall's west side entrance greeted my sleepy eyes. I overheard that some guys were there as early 0130hrs. I initially estimated the crowd to be around 500. Joining an activity of such kind being my first, I got cold feet. "So this is how it feels lining up to audition for a TV show", I said to myself. It brought back some UP Diliman registration memories but this was different. Instead of having fellow students of about the same age, the crowd was a mix of all sorts. From teenagers to a lola with a walking cane at hand who probably maximized the qualifying age of 60. =) The long line of hopefuls(including me) came from all walks of life. There are guys who look like gym trainers (as expected) and there are also some who look like taho-vendors =) and everything in between.

The lady beside me, after some exchange of greetings, turned out to be a PBB season one top 30. She's trying her luck again. The lady after her is gambling for a second chance after having been declined the previous day. Dream, Believe, Survive, oops, iba pala yun. My fellow travel buddy and friend Jane came a few minutes later. The security guard made a head count where Jane & I turned out to be Survivor Wannabees No. 397 and 398. (quite good for my earlier estimate of 500, oh I will not forget that number) =)

Fast forward, the mall opened 10am and we were let in according to queue. The crowd is pretty much behaved and civilized, far from what I expected of such activities. We were let in the mall 1030 (At last - aircon!) and the audition proper started in a jiffy. The line was amazingly moving fast and we were in the pre-screening table by 1115. We felt that the process was rushed as the production team might already had reached their toll after two grueling days. My few seconds of chance to be part of my hoped adventure was concluded after the interviewer didn't find the surfer from La Union 'interesting' enough. At least, Jane made it to the 2nd level.

It turns out that they were looking for some emotional appeal from the applicants which I do not have. If only I knew, I would have put some drama to my storyline; perhaps as surfer from La Union who was a former drug addict and how he managed to battle the evils and 'survived' through it by instead focusing on sports - such as surfing. =)

Here are other realizations/theories from this experience Jane and I concocted:
1) Audition on the first day, so that in case you were declined, you can line up again the next day, if allowed (and desperate enough).
2) Audition on the first day because they might already be looking for a specific profile they haven't found during the previous audition days.
3) Audition on the first day when the interviewers are not yet tired and exasperated from hopefuls like you.
4) We now know better, so kitakits nalang sa season 2! Haha! (Leia/Tyx, sali na!)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Should I Audition for Survivor Philippines?

Pero pano kung sumikat ako? Can I handle the pressure of being a celebrity? =) Haha, just kidding.

Seriously now, I know I don't have the visual appeal of being a competitor on national tv but my inner self really wants to partake of the adventure. I never thought of myself actually joining a reality TV show and I have yet to finish any US series of the show either.

Nonetheless, after further considerations, I realized that I may be able to 'survive' at least the early auditions if not become part of the 16 castaways.(kahit 1 of the 5 alternates/reserves lng pede narin)

Here is a list of my 'surviving qualities/experiences' which may give me a chance:
  1) Being a freelancer, I have my time in my hands. I have a ready passport too! (Kasi hindi sa pinas ang shooting).
  2) I was a boyscout from first to third year in high school. This exposed me to learn essential knots (rope tying skills), camping, and basic survival skills in harsh conditions. (antagal na kaya nun!) =)
  3) I took Swimming, Self Defense and Arnis classes back in college. (huh?) =)
  4) I jog, play badminton and is an amateur surfer in La Union(started Jan 2007 - surFvivor) (so?)
  5) I am physically active in traveling around the Philippines since 2005 including Pagudpod, Vigan, Laoag, La Union, Batangas, Mindoro, Albay, Legaspi, Donsol, Camarines Sur, Naga, Pili, Coron, Palawan, Cagayan De Oro and Camiguin among others. (sige ito pede na) =)

So, should I audition for Survivor Philippines? I'll never know unless I try. Now I am ready to show the world audience what a Filipino survivor truly is. =) Survivor Philippines, here I come!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Watching GMA7's "Sisid"

I just watched GMA7's news and public affairs underwater special entitled "Sisid", meaning "dive". It was a pleasurable trip to some of the country's natural underwater wonders, albeit through an electronic tube.

First to be featured was the diver's paradise of Tubattaha Reef. Minutes away from Puerto Princesa, the dive site revealed a rich biologically diversified ecosystem of underwater communities of corals and fish species. It surely shows why it deserves to be one of the new Seven Wonders of the World.

My next favorite segment feature would be the visit to the Turtle Group of Islands in Tawi-tawi. Doc Ferds Recio, one the show's host, joined some mother Pawikans as they lay their eggs on hidden beach sands during the night and caught some baby Pawikans on cam during their way back to the sea in the morning. The show also featured Anilao diving sanctuaries and Taytay of Palawan. It reminded us of the Philippines' natural beauty and why we should preserve them.

The segments also revisited the island of Guimaras on how it is currently recovering from the oil spill tragedy 2 years ago. Manila Bay's weekly collected trash, enough to fill 3 dump trucks, did not escape the spotlight either. Thanks to the weekly coastal cleanup project of the Philippine Navy.

It surely made me want to travel again to the beach after my recent Caramoan trip. Alhough the rainy season seemed to be starting quite early. =(

Thursday, May 15, 2008

From Piso to Zero!

Cebu Pacific is at it again! Form their renowned PISO fare now comes "ZERO comes before JUAN!". They're giving away 500,00 seats to international and local destinations from May 15-18,2008 or until it solds out. Travel period should be within June 9 to Dec 31 of the same year.

Tara na! Travel tayo (! Details? Click here.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

hOtSpOT eXPreSs: Virgin Resort - Laiya, Batangas

Virgin Resort in Laiya, Batangas. A good 3hrs away from Manila, the resort maintains its calm atmosphere by locating its rooms/lodging a good distance from the shore. Aptly named, the seemingly untouched beach leaves a feeling of solitutde and peace to the visitors.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Itchy Feet: Surfing in Baler

Fast Facts:
What: Travel Factor Surfvivor Baler
When: May 09-11
Where: Baler, Quezon
Why: to Surf the waves of Baler (even beginners are welcome)
Cost: 3,500/pax (15pax)
How: Roundtrip bus transfer (Manila-Baler-Manila)

Sunday, April 27, 2008

hOtSpOT eXPreSs: Cayangan Lake

Sometimes also referred to as Kayangan Lake, this beautiful lake is one of Coron Islands' well known spots. More than once recognized as the cleanest lake in the Philippines, it's underwater stalagmites-like structures and caves are even more majestic than the limestone walls surrounding it.

hOtSpOT eXPreSs

I'm introducing the start of 'hOtSpOT eXPreSs'. These will be single photo blogs followed by a brief description. It aims to provide a quick overview and stimulate the reader's excitement about the featured Philippine travel spot.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Caramoan's Pre-War Treasure Island

Formally known as Lahuy Island in Sitio Manlawi, it was once called the treasure island of the Caramoan peninsula. This was brought about by the fact that some parts of the island cove were mined for gold way before the second world war. However, current operations are now small-scale and limited.

This peaceful 10 kilometer long island of Caramoan boasts of white virgin beaches and friendly locals. But it came at a steep price. With 47 other adventurers/travelers, we had to endure almost 14 hrs of total travel time starting from the 10-hour bus travel from Manila to Sabang port, 2-hour boat ride to Guijalo port, 30-minute topload jeepney ride to Caramoan centro, and finally a 1-hour boat ride to the island cove itself.

We arrived early in the afternoon and enjoyed the clear high tide waters of the beach. Before the sun set, we set-up camp. The rest of the night was filled with merry-making...or should I say wild merry making. =) What can you expect from 48 young beach-deprived city dwellers encircling a bonfire while listening to the beats of their battery-powered Ipod speakers? =) It was clean fun nonetheless... and no one was hurt including the environment, mind you. =) Although I just have to mention that four short-lived rainfalls at dawn, sand, and tent does not mix well for a good night sleep.

We were greeted with a great weather in the morning. However, something is missing --the beach water! It has turned into dry land! Ok, I am just exaggerating, it just moved a couple of meters from shore and continued to do so until we left mid-day. Most of us had to walk about 300 meters just to get to our boat since the water level is now too shallow for docking. It was quite an experience walking on the seabed where we met some small crabs, several starfishes, and some flying/hopping fish. I'm not sure if they are indeed the "flying fishes" but they did jump out of the water a number of times as they flee from us.

And that's about our overnight stay in Lahuy Island of Caramoan. Here's some trivial facts about the municipality of Caramoan. It is one Camarines Sur's thirty-five municipalities in the province located on the eastern-most. It currently has at least 40,000 inhabitants. Other famous spots in the peninsula include Hunongan Cove, Gotang Malaki, Sabitan Laiya, and Gota Beach which is temporarily impenetrable and 'under development' while Survivor Asia is shooting for the months of April and May. =)

Thanks to the accommodating residents of Lahuy (who prepared our meals) and the friendly & playful children who gamely posed for photos.

* All photos ©
* Tour organized by

Friday, March 21, 2008

Van - "Wawa" Dam

Yes, you can take your van in going to - Wawa Dam. But it would be advisable to park it in front of the local tourism office nearby since even a mountain bike would not have an easy time going through the rocky trail, and less likely your van.

Surrounded by the limestone walls of the Sierra Madre mountains, Wawa Dam was constructed by the Americans in 1909 to serve as a reservoir. It used to supply water to Metro Manila but was later de-commissioned after better dams were built in other places. Currently, officials of the metro's water system is considering the possibility of sourcing water again from Wawa together with 3 other old dams. They would act as back-up for the dwindling supply of Angat Dam during the summer seasons. But this angle might be too political for this travel blog, so let's revert back to the essence of the article. =)

The actual dam can be reached with a 20-minute trek from the aforementioned local tourism office. You would pass by a number of small caves which was said to have been used as a holding point by Japanese soldiers during WWII. If you would allow a further stretch, it was said that the 19th century Philippine revolutionary movement against Spanish regime, KKK, met in one of the caves in April of 1895.

As a scenic spot, the traveler would be amazed with the enormous limestone walls lining the mountain side. The sound of strong rushing water from the upper Marikina River, beating against boulders of rocks, would guide you along till you reach the actual dam. Some locals even dip for a swim further up stream where water is calm. Picnics are also allowed in safe areas and Nipa sheds are available for rent.

No entrance fees! Just be extra careful in trekking along the rocky cliffs and as you pass by the short and 'rusty'(but so far stable) steel bridge. Lastly, be sure to be back at the foothills (where the Van is) before dark since there are no lamp posts lining the trail back.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

The Three Auras of Bangui Wind Mills

Wonder why it's windy in Ilocos Norte? How about having 15 giant fans each about 70 meters high?

Seriously now, the Bangui Wind Mills of Ilocos Norte was built to generate clean energy from wind power. Aside from providing electricity in the local area, it stores power for the main station which in turn supplies some provincial substations.

They are actually wind turbines situated about 326 meters apart along the 3km stretch of Bangui bay. A little more than an hour from Laoag, visiting this wind farm in Bangui and seeing the gigantic fans would leave you in awe. You would feel like Regine Velasquez waving by the shoreline with the sea wind blowing against your face and flowing through your long hair while the wind mills are behind you; just like in the Department of Tourism TV commercial. =)


Having visited the place in three different times of day somewhat gave me an authority to suggest that it is most picturesque at sunset. My first visit was on a sun-scorching noontime of April 2 in 2007. We didn’t mind the angry sun while we were beside the white 'electric fans' taking jump shots.


8 months later, together with a bus load of photographers, we made sure to wake up very early in the morning to catch the sunrise. It was freezing cold but we were at the site before daybreak.


In the third recent visit, again as a tour guide, we hurried the day's itinerary to capture the sunset. However, the sky turned dark along the way, as if warning of a forthcoming rain. Nonetheless, we were glad that the set of rain clouds were on the other side of the horizon when we reached the site. With strong winds and sandblasted digital cameras, we froze the giants’ blades and the colorful hues of the late afternoon sky behind them.

*Photos from

Friday, February 1, 2008

La Union Surfvivor Challenge

Surfvivor Challenge, a surfing competition presented by Travel Factor International Ventures() will be held in San Juan, La Union on Feb 2-3, 2008.

It is a 2-day outdoor activity filled with surfing festivities. It celebrates Travel Factor's first year anniversary celebration of its Surfvivor series which started a year and 2 months ago.

Major events include the 1st Surfvivor Challenge, Surfvivor Photo Challenge, Night Party and the usual Surf Clinics for our beginner friends and clients. The Surfvivor Challenge is a surfing competition having two categories namely the Surfvivor Solo & the Surfvivor Tandem. The former is the usual type of surfing competition while the latter involves a surf-instructor assisting the surfer on a limited basis. The competition will be judged on how the surfers will catch the wave while on their surf stance, long ride and wave height.

Judges include Billabong San Juan Surf School owner Luke Landrigan, one of the most famous surfers in the country having won the 2005 Lanuza International Longboard Invitational and the La Union Long Board Open, to name a few.

Other activities include the Surfvivor Photo Challenge where ready-for-print photos should be taken on the same day. The submitted photo should include at least one surfer, surfboard and the beach. Surf clinics for newbie friends and clients will also be held in the morning before the competition proper in the afternoon of the same day.

The day will be capped by a night beach party and bonfire where awards for the surf champs and raffle prizes for everyone will be given away including a brand new NSP surfboard courtesy of San Miguel's Antonov Vodka.

Supporting sponsors for the event include Billabong Surf School, Stoked Inc., J&S Surf Shop, La Union Surf Club, Team Kuzbax, Swordfish, Aloha Boardshorts, Unilever and Sanuk.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

2007, A Year of Firsts

Whew! 2007 was surely a blast in terms of travels and new places I've been to. It sure surpassed 2006.

January started with surfing in La Union. A first for me. Followed by my first plane ride to Cagayan De Oro! It was my first to be in Mindanao Island too. And since it was very near Camiguin island, who would let it pass!

If I have conquered the north on the third month of the year, the north followed in the next. April started with a trip to Ilocos Norte's Pagupod and Ilocos Sur's Vigan and Laoag. My first in the northern part of the Philippines.

As embarrassing as it is for me to admit, I have not been to Baguio, the Philippine's summer capital. But that became a fable until May of 2007. I treated a small set of my close relatives to Baguio!

The rest of the year was filled with repeat trips. I endured the 6hr La Union van trip at least four times. It was worth it anyway. Another was the Vigan-Laoag-Pagudpod trip. I never thought I would go here again in a short while, but I did. =)

It was capped by a December zoo visit by the name of Avilon and the nearby historic site Wawa Dam in Montalban, Rizal as well.

These are just the tips of the iceberg. See the specific blogs about them in the coming weeks.

Goodbye 2007, welcome 2008!