"I want something just like this" as Chris Martin  ringing in my head while riding the van going to El Nido, Palawan. My excitement erupted as "I want something just like this"  to be up close and personally meet the gateway to the Bacuit Archipelago. But before that, it was a tiring and exhausting travel going there. Our flight was  moved to later time in the afternoon not to mention the 6 hours van travel from Puerto to El Nido. 

I was compelled to agree with the van driver that we were going to eat our dinner around 9 pm even if I know my stomach cannot hold it. My mind traveled along the winding road, jumping, running and racing with the acids of my stomach. I wonder "some fairytale bliss" just to save me from erupting. I could feel the rush to devour a whole cow. Well, I guess the price to pay just to reach El Nido - "I want something just like this". 


"She said, where'd you wanna go? How much you wanna risk? I'm not looking for somebody with some superhuman gifts. Some superhero, some fairytale bliss. Just something I can turn to. Somebody I can kiss..." the song played on repeat - to infinity. 

I found myself looking into the beach at 12 midnight - euphoria as they say. 

Now let us start. I will not introduce Palawan anymore in this post. Because I believe the world knew the place after the Puerto Palawan Underground River listed as the New 7 Wonders of the World which further cemented Palawan's reputation as the Last Frontier in Asia. 


WHEN IN EL NIDO

JUST LAZE ALONG EL NIDO BEACH
Simply relax at El Nido's beach which gently curving along with several hotels, pension houses and beach bars facing straight the Bacuit Bay. Talk to locals. Have a walk in the center stage of El Nido's busiest place that usually cramped by pump boats offering island activity tours. Stay at Ogie's Beach Pension situated right in the middle of  the beach with a sitting area in the 2nd floor, which gives you views overlooking the ocean. 

ISLAND HOPPING, SNORKELING, DIVING of course  do not  miss it - the most popular activities in El Nido. The sea, sun and sun-kissed-skin  hashtags for your social media feeds. 





ENJOY THE NIGHT AT THE SAVA BEACH BAR
Considering that El Nido is one of the Philippines' primes tourist destinations, it's not surprisingly that bars are everywhere. Enjoy and dance to the beat as the DJ spins some groovy music at the first high end bar in El Nido - the Sava Beach Bar. After the whole day touring the Bacuit Archipelago,  treat yourself with their specialty crafted cocktails, wines and local beer. Don't worry  the ocean breeze do a great job of keeping you cool. 



EL  NIDO CANOPY WALK
Experience El Nido at the top through Canopy Walk. A  much safer way to enjoy the spectacular view of El Nido. But if you dying to climb the highest point of El Nido, go to Taraw Cliff and be ready to scramble over sharp limestone. 




DO NOT FORGET NIDO SOUP
Visit Skyline Restaurant for this bird's nest soup.

CATCH THE BEAUTIFUL SUNSET AT SEVEN COMMANDOS BEACH
A perfect place to end your whole day of island hopping.





RENT A BIKE
Roam around El Nido via scooter or a bike which can be rented around town easily and go on a little adventure. 



In spite of moving with the times to offer all the amenities, Palawan has retained its own enduring identity, thus offering an appealing sense of peace.


Planning for your summer getaway? Go to El Nido, Palawan.

Cheers to your El Nido adventure. 

We are imagining Sagada as the place where hanging coffins stacked in the boulders, cool-vibe temperature, hot traditional mountain tea and coffee, and the place where the broken hearts go and shout out loud "walang forever" in the sea of clouds in Kiltepan peak. Well it might be however, there are stories you don't want to miss while visiting the place. 

We settled down in Sagada Homestay with a woody character in the interior built by polished pinewood and boasts an overlooking view of the town square and Cordillera mountains. Considerably with an affordable rooms which can house up to five guests, a shared bathrooms with hot shower and a reliable wifi connection.


Sagada Experience
St. Catherine's Church by @eyesbucks_the_adventurer

Few meters further dwon the road from Sagada Homestay will lead to the town center. Where the municipal building, police station, tourist information center (with a working ATM), market place and the bus and jeepney departure point are located. Also, do not miss ate Remmy's staple sticky-rice "puto" with a twist paired with a hot coffee in a small roadside stall just along the municipal building. She also sell rice wine, wild honey, mountain tea, a bit elusive Sagada's lemon pie which sold out most of the time and Sagada brewed coffee among others. 


Sagada Experience
with Ate Remmy by @eyesbucks_the_adventurer


Sagada Experience
Sagada's town center by @eyesbucks_the_adventurer

One more thing, do not forget to try their "Binatog" it's a malagkit na mais mixed with brown sugar and condesed milk. While most of the inns and guesthouse has their own cafe's, there are also stand alone cafes which offer good food where you can fuel up from an hours of caving and hiking. Well, some tourists are craving for the home made oatmeal cookies while we were dying to taste the Sagada's lemon pie. 


Sagada Experience

Sagada Experience
"old and new generation" captured by: @eyesbucks_the_adventurer
One of the most visited tourist attraction in Sagada is their hanging coffins especially in Echo Valley, Hanging Burials. The people in Sagada are called Igorot, which is derived from the word "golot" meaning mountain. Their ancestors practiced the old method of burying the dead. Because they were the only Filipinos who weren't influenced by Spanish invaders, they didn't know the conventional funeral practice for the deceased. Most of the coffins are small for a full grown person because their ancestors placed their dead in a fetal position due to their belief that a person should exit the world with the same manner that he/she entered into. 

Sagada Experience

After preparing the coffin it will be carried to its final resting place and it was believed that the person who smeared with the blood from the deceased will allow to possessed the skills of the deceased. During the ceremony women are not allowed to go beyond the deck of Echo Valley; only men can go near the corpse who will then nail and hang the coffin to the side of the cliff. Although this practice is seldom being used today (with the latest burial of this kind was on 2010) by the Igorot people, it will remain part of their rich culture and tradition as Igorot people. 


Echo Valley view deck
Another activity in Sagada that every tourist should not miss to is caving or spelunking. Apart of having the hanging coffins, caves were also the place where their ancestors put the coffins as their resting place. Coffins dated hundred years old (if not thousand) will greet tourists at the entrance of Lumi-ang cave where cave connection activity usually start. It will take couple of hours wandering inside before reaching Sumaging cave and another couple of hours to end. It is interesting that guides know how to make their guest enjoy during spelunking. They have a unique way of telling the story about the different rock formations inside.  


Guided with alcohol powered lamps, it was fun knowing how these guides came up with the story about the "king and queen" and probable the entire kingdom was there.  Some of these rock formation are pigpen, elephants, pregnant queen, giant footprint, turtle, king's organ, cake, mermaid, the prince, king's curtain, anaconda, fossils, natural painting and the princess - the penis and vagina rocks are here.



Caving in Sagada is absolutely a must-do when visiting the place. Great chambers and stunning rock formations will amaze and test your imagination. 






Sagada Experience
King's curtain at the back.


Be a responsible visitor and respect the place. Do not bring your noise inside the cave if you don't want to disturbed them. 

People come up to this look out point called Kiltepan peak and take a photo overlooking the mountain ranges of Cordillera and the beautiful sea of clouds - it pretty much something you've seen in your dreams; the land of Avatar "Ang" the last air bender. This point gets overcrowded during peak season but if you're looking for Instagram likes go there and snap an Instagram worthy pictures. 


The food is pretty standard. You can have your meals for 90-120 pesos. Cafes and restuarants can be found at every blocks of the road. A talk of the town food specialty in Sagada is Pinikpikan, it's a local soup from battered chicken actually.  We went in Sagada without trying this, yeah we're loser. Drop by in in Pinikpikan Haus for this kind of recipe and please tell me what it taste like. 


Okay enough with the battered chicken. Let's head to the picturesque view for our "blagiir pose" aaannnd snnnaaap!!. There!


Sagada Experience


Sagada once a sleeping small town atop of Mountain Province but now she can hardly rest from the the flock of tourists together with the discriminating and preying eyes of social media. Sagada can offer so much about the mother nature if we know how to take care and respect her. 

Sagada Experience


Share your Sagada moments by linking it below the comment section. Cheers!





Reasons to get The Citi Prestige Card

The days when  mileage collectors were exclusively concentrated among those who either travelled business class or those who flew every so often are long gone. With the advent of credit cards that led to airlines miles, redeeming award flights and flight upgrades are made attainable for many. And this becomes more so as Citibank Philippines launched its new travel card, the Citi Prestige Visa Signature Card. 

Recently launched in December 2015, the Citi Prestige Card has been aimed by the American bank's premium clients. When my banker called to sell me the new card, I was initially dumbfounded upon hearing the card's annual fee, a staggering 12,000 Php, non-waivable, payable immediately upon the card's activation. Nonetheless, a few minutes through the call, I found myself agreeing to sign up for Citi's new card, and here are the reasons why I chose to spend such a hefty sum for a credit card.

1. Complimentary Prestige Membership to Priority Pass + 4 Guest Visits

Priority Pass:  Every economy class passenger's best friend. There was a time when airport lounges were exclusive to business class passengers or those belonging to high tier airline memberships. However, some companies, like Priority Pass, grant their  members access to more than 900+ lounges all over the world, but not without price. For 250.00 USD, members can sign up for the Standard Plus Package, with 10 annual visits to partner lounges. For 450.oo USD, members can enjoy unlimited visits for one membership year, while their guest pay 27.00 USD per visit. With Citi's Prestige Card, you can enjoy unlimited visits AND four guest visits every year. That's 450.00 USD, roughly 20,700 Php, compliments from Citi. 


Reasons to get The Citi Prestige Card

To date, I've already paid 12 lounges a visit.

Monetary Value: 20, 700 Php 

2. Citi's Concierge dedicated for Prestige cardholders to cater your lifestyle and travel needs

Imagine reserving a full-packed restaurant, grabbing limited concert tickets, arranging airport transportation hassle-free with one simple phone call, any time of the day, any day of the week. And as added bonus, they give you periodical updates about your booking, from sending me emails to recap my whole trip until calling me a day before my flight to Chiang Mai to remind me of my stay. Exceptional service. 


Reasons to get The Citi Prestige Card

Monetary Value: let's give it 2, 000 Php. 

3. Unlimited Complimentary 4th Night Free at any hotel on hotels.com. 

When you book a hotel listed on hotels.com for at least four straight nights with Citi's Concierge, the bank automatically pays for your 4th night. How cool is that? I booked a four-night stay at the Sofitel Singapor Sentosa Resort and Spa, with a nightly rate of 12,000 Php, last March, and all i paid was 36,000 Php. And the saving of 12,000 Php is just for one night's stay.


Reasons to get The Citi Prestige Card

Monetary Value: 10,000 Php depending on how you often you travel, and which type of hotels you frequent. 

4. Generous spend-to-mile ratio.

This is little tricky, I have to admit. The Citi Prestige Card awards you 1 Thank You Point for every 30.00 Php spend, and to earn 1 airline mile ( Asia Miles, KrisFlyer, Qmiles, etc ), you need 3 Thank You Points, or 90.00 Php. This can be very expensive in comparison to HSBC's Platinum Card, BDO's Cathay Pacific Credit Card and even Citi's own PremierMiles. However, it gets interesting when you use your card on shopping, dining and all transactions on foreign currencies, as Citi multiplies you Thank You Points by 5 for every eligible transaction. That translates to 1 mile for every 18 pesos spent! No card gives you that much miles.

Tip: Use your Prestige Cards on all shopping, dining and transactions in foreign currencies, while keeping your PremierMiles for local airline tickets, groceries and others. 

5. Complimentary Airport and Complimentary Meet and Assist.

The Prestige Card also offers members 2 one-way transfer for four people with luggage each, to and from select airports in Asia-Pacific per calendar year. I haven't availed of this yet, but I'm considering getting this in Singapore as taxi rates are exorbitant there. One-way Uber ride from Changi to Sentosa cost me around 1,200 Php, so this can be helpful.

The card also offers Meet and Assist twice per year at airports in Asia-Pacific, meaning assistance from the moment you step off the plane, until you claim your baggage and you waltz through the airport. Talk about 5-Star landing. 


Reasons to get The Citi Prestige Card

Monetary Value: 3,000 Php.

6. 3 Complimentary rounds of golf  for select golf clubs per calendar year. 

I'm not a golfer, and I don't think I'll try my luck at it soon, but I guess this can be a bonus to golf aficionados. If not, I'm thinking of giving it as a gift to a friend!


Reasons to get The Citi Prestige Card


So there it is. The 6 Reasons why I was talked into subscribing for a card that charges a little premium than most (if not all ) cards in the Philippines. 




This guest post is written by Sygrex Nino Deiparine



Summer Playlist

Now that you've likely planned out some adventures, here are some  of the best songs for your Summer Soundtrack:

1. Click click click click - Bishop Allen ( for the ultimate summer shutterbug )
     "Take another picture with your click, click, click, click camera"

2. March Into the Sun - Echosmith ( for the endless summer wanderer )
     "It's how we start a fire, with a natural high"


Summer Playlist
@aloralorame
3. Mountain Sound - Of Monster and Men ( for the mountain vagabonds )
     "Alone we travelled armed with nothing but a shadow... We fled, far away"

4. You belong Here - Leagues ( for the tourist at heart ) 
    "Open up all the windows. Don't be afraid to let sunlight in"


Summer Playlist
@aloralorame
5. "Lush Life" - Zara Larson ( for the travelers with great sensory pleasure )
    " I live my day as if it was the last...Live my day as if  there was no past"

6. Walking in the Wind - One Direction ( for the laid-back adventures seeker )
    "If you're lost, just look for me....You'll find me in the region of the summer stars"


Summer Playlist
@aloralorame
7. "Fun" - Coldplay ( for the fun-loving summer people )
    "I know it falls at the water face...I know it's over, an ocean awaits"

8. Life in Colors - One Republic ( for the kaleidoscopic summer view )
    "The sun bursts, clouds break...This is life in color"

9. Something You Need - Against the Current ( for the unforgettable summer memories )
     "Uh, oh, we got lost in the summer heat...Now you just can't get over me"


@aloralorame

Plug in your headphones, turn up the music, close your eyes and let your summer music-capade begin..



This guest post is written by Rhej Kleyr.

Caption this adventure


                     



LESSONS I LEARNED FROM WATCHING DOTA 2 TOURNAMENT

I was never a fan of DOTA or other similar M.O.B.A (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) games, not until my boyfriend invited me to watch ESL ONE Manila as SM MOA Arena. It was Southeast Asia's first Premium DOAT 2 Tournament.


LESSONS I LEARNED FROM WATCHING DOTA 2 TOURNAMENT
photo by Google
I was never thought that I will be getting some lessons from watching the tournament considering that I'm not into DOTA. But by deeper observations of the game, I discovered some practical lessons that are product of both passions and hardwork from the different competing teams. 

1. Patience and Perseverance

DOTA is not just about routines and repetitions, it is a game that needs enough time to master the desired hero you want to play. Being a professional gamer does not happen overnight. It takes a lot of practice and discipline. It is like any other sport that needs training - only that you don't have to look athletic to play the game. As long as you have the alertness of mind and body (quick calculations, quick hands, quick eyes and quick reactions in analyzing critical situations) then you can be a skilled and fearsome player. 

2. It is actually a Mind Game

Watching DOTA is like observing a chess game as a spectator. Your key hero is your Queen. Your tanks are your pawns. Supports are your bishops and horse. Other carriers are rook. I saw that each team had their own game play carefully planned out in the early game and they will give you unpredictable strategies that will surprise you in mid and later part of the game. I appreciate the kind of game play that stimulates planning and strategy - and that's DOTA. 


LESSONS I LEARNED FROM WATCHING DOTA 2 TOURNAMENT
photo by Google
3. It develops Forward Thinking

Anything can happen in a DOTA game. You cannot predict what will happen but you can think few steps ahead and immensely utilize counters to beat the opponent. Everything is so fast that you will have no time to feel down or be overwhelmed by your feelings in tense situations. So best thing to do is to get your head in the game and move forward.

4. Know Your Enemy

For me, this is the top lesson I learned from watching it. Socrates once said that "know thyself". But knowing your enemy is equally important as knowing your strengths and weaknesses. The pick-and-ban part is really my favorite because it showcases the team's chosen heroes and it also shows how well the team knows about their opposing team by banning their strong heroes. 


LESSONS I LEARNED FROM WATCHING DOTA 2 TOURNAMENT
photo by Google
5. Focus and Have Fun

Concentration is very important in this game. Your mind should predict enemies' plans, your plans of attacks, your plans of escape and your next move. You should be very alert and careful in playing. Of all the things I observed, one thing really struck me is that all players do have fun while playing. You may see their serious game face on but after every game, you can see that they all have that calmness and satisfaction of a good game.


LESSONS I LEARNED FROM WATCHING DOTA 2 TOURNAMENT
photo by Google
After all, e-sport is still SPORTS. You may have different opinions with you game friend or boyfriend and you see DOTA as immature, boring and for dumb - think again. 


LESSONS I LEARNED FROM WATCHING DOTA 2 TOURNAMENT

DOTA is for mentally strong, emotionally brave and intellectual beings. I can attest to that. 



This guest post is written by Rhej Kleyr.




Best Travel Destinations in Mindanao
photo by: Madayawwowdagway
Mindanao notoriously subject to different travel warnings from different countries because of the current conflicts and inhuman acts that instill fear to every tourists and travelers which deeply concealed the beauty of Mindanao. As a way of promoting the island, I compiled some of the best travel destinations from different travel bloggers who visited the "Land of Promise"- Mindanao. 

1. Lake Sebu 



photo by: Windowseat Ph

Settled at 1000-meters above sea level and is sandwiched between Roxas-Matulas and Daguma Mountain Ranges, the municipality of Lake Sebu is unsurprisingly temperate and abundantly vegetated. Springs and rivers from these rolling hills provide continuous water supply to the three important watersheds of the town, namely; Lake Sebu, Lake Lahit, and Lake Seloton. Read more. Blog post by Freedom Wall 

2. Asik - Asik Falls

Best Travel Destinations in Mindanao

Alamada‘s bizarre Asik-Asik Falls has intrigued travelers across the country which led to a drastic increase in tourism influx since its discovery in 2010. Getting to Asik-Asik Falls requires a challenging habal-habal ride on Brgy. Dado’s uphill roads composed of rock, dirt, and clay. From the jump-off, a trek on a steep concrete staircase, lies between you and the reward of charming curtain falls that will make the uncomfortable journey worth the effort. Amid the difficulty, the waterfalls receives an average of 500 visitors daily which doubles during weekends. Read more. Blog post by Biyaherong Barat 

3. White Island, Camiguin


Best Travel Destinations in Mindanao
photo by:  Adrenaline Romance
Have you ever marveled at the breathtaking beauty of an elegant ring, earring, or pendant? You would probably realize that it’s not the shiny setting or the intricate design that mainly draws your attention to it. It’s the gem, the heart of the ring—be it a ruby, diamond, emerald, or pearl—that makes the jewelry come to life. In the beautiful island of Camiguin, that gem is the idyllic White Island. Read more. Blog post by Adrenaline Romance

4. Maria Cristina Falls 


Best Travel Destinations in Mindanao

Also known as the “twin falls” because of a large rock at its brink that seems to split the falls into two, Maria Cristina Falls is truly a marvel of nature. Its water comes from Agus River, the only outlet of an ancient lake (the Great Lake Lanao). The waterfall continues down through the Agus VI Hydroelectric Plant operated by the National Power Corporation (NAPOCOR). This power plant was commissioned on May 31, 1953 and has provided power to Mindanao to this day. Read more. Blog post by Traveling Morion.

5. Dahilayan Forest Park


Best Travel Destinations in Mindanaophoto by: Kim Roel

Dahilayan Forest Park Resort has a refreshing take on adventure, leisure, and nature. Situated in the cool mountains of Bukidnon, surrounded by epic scenery, Dahilayan Forest Park Resort is definitely a go-to place for an all-day casual weekend adventure, a quick getaway from the city, or an exciting family day. Read more. Blog post by Fueled by Caffeine.

6. Enchanted River, Surigao

Best Travel Destinations in Mindanao

Hiding in the rocky mountains of Hinatuan, Surigao Del Sur, lies a river that is something you've never seen before. A river so enchanted, very little is known about this mysterious river and it's unexplored cave. Yet, it's beauty and crystal clear waters make people from all over the world visit this place. Read more. Blog post by Angelo the Explorer.

7. Golden Mosque in Cotabato


Best Travel Destinations in Mindanao
photo by Out of Town Blog

Traveling to and from the Golden Mosque is a bit exciting. To reach the Mosque, we rode an Awang bound jeepney from the City center to Sinsuat Avenue in Barangay Kalangan (near the Husky Terminal) then had a habal-habal ride to the Grand Mosque. Im still not used to riding habal-habal but thanks to the paved road and scenic villages along the way, it helped me forget how scary the habal-habal ride was. Read more. Blog post by Out of Town Blog.

8. White Water Rafting, CDO


Best Travel Destinations in Mindanao

The ONLY thing that keeps people from moving forward and achieving their dreams is FEAR. It enslaves us and prevent us from becoming who we really want to be or do whatever we want to do. We fear FAILURE. REJECTION. FALLING DOWN. Being HURT. BROKEN. Being ALONE. We fear DEATH. The list is never-ending that even Science has listed phobias one by one from A to Z. Read more. Blog  post by Awanderful Sole.

9. Samal Island 


Best Travel Destinations in Mindanao
photo by Philippine Get Away

The airfare to Davao is always expensive and it's very rare that you get to catch it in a really low rate, so when I did it's a no-brainer. Another impromptu lucky seat sale booking led us to the paradise of Davao. Read more. Blog post by Monique de Jesus

10. Asia's Latin City

Best Travel Destinations in Mindanao

Located at the tip of Zamboanga Peninsula, Zamboanga City is one of the most progressive cities in Mindanao. It is labelled as “Asia’s Latin City” because of its Spanish-influenced Chavacano dialect – dating back to the Spanish era in the 1600's. Today, Zamboanga City continues to attract travelers who want to experience the city's interesting dialect, Spanish inspired dishes offered in may restaurants, beautiful beaches, and many other historical and natural attractions. Read more. Blog post by Escape Manila


Undoubtedly, Mindanao is beautiful. It might be off the beaten path, but the high, rugged, faulted mountains; almost isolated volcanic peaks; high rolling plateaus; and broad, level, swampy plains; marvelous seascapes and colorful festivals make it worth the trip. 

Visit Mindanao - adventures are waiting to happen.