Monday, August 15, 2016

Four Historical Tourist Spots of Pampanga

"I cannot look at modern buildings without thinking of historical ones." - Kevin McCloud

Considered as the culinary capital of the Philippines, Pampanga is well-known for things other than their delectable food. In fact, the province is teeming with culture and is a remarkable place for tourists with a penchant for history. It has been said that over the years, Pampanga has developed a uniqe culture all its own and aside from the must-try wide array of gastronomical dishes, this has also been a long-standing aspect that adds to its overall allure. Undoubtedly, Pampanga's history is rich and multifaceted which as a self-respecting Filipino; one should thoroughly explore, and you can do so by commencing your next trip by visiting these places.

St. Augustine Church, Lubao, Pampanga
san agustin church.jpg
Constructed in the early 17th century, St. Augustine Church of Lubao Pampanga is considered as the province’s oldest church made out of brick and sand, mixed in egg white—a contribution of the townsfolk of Lubao. It was initially founded on 1577 in Barrio Sta. Catalina but was proved to its present site about thirty years later due to incessant inundation. It was primarily headed by the Augustinian priest Antonio Herrera. The church’s façade is typical of most Filipino churches where it consists of the main church building which is adjoined by the belfry and the convent.

Museo Ning Angeles
museo ning angeles.jpg
History enthusiasts with a proclivity towards ancient artifacts and relics should never miss a visit to Pampanga’s well-known museum. The museum recently opened its doors to local and foreign visitors in 1999 and had since then featured a wide selection of various photos, paintings, artworks and dioramas all representing the pride of the town. In June 2012, the museum was acknowledged and honored by being recognized as an “Important Cultural Property of the Philippines” by the National Museum of the Philippines. Today, the museum features a coffee shop with coffee made from the town’s finest beans which you can enjoy while taking a break from your historical artifact appraisals.
Kamikaze East Airfield
  Photo by Gino T. Manalastas
Located east of Mabalacat Pampanga, the Kamikaze East Airfield was a single runway built by the Americans and was used by the Japanese during the Japanese occupation. Semantically, the word Kamikaze is associated with the word “suicide mission” with its origins coming from the Japanese aircraft filled with explosives and tasked with a mission of crashing into the target. The Kamikaze East Airfield used to be the base of such. Although the airway has been stripped away today, a memorial shrine can be found in the airfield which was built as a stringent reminder that such incident should never happen again.

San Guillermo Church
san guillermo church.jpg
 Photo by JanMichael Marasigan
Apart from being one of the oldest churches in Pampanga, San Guillermo Church has another unique facet to it that makes it worth the visit. San Guillermo Church has been known for its resiliency—in fact, the church was able to survive innumerable natural calamities which struck the town. During the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo back in 1991, half the size of the church was buried. As a result, it took quite a while before the community was able to restore it to its original façade and structure. To honor and commemorate its restoration, many locals and travels come to visit it.

san guillermo church - inside.jpg
Note: This article is a guest post contributed by Glenn Domingo. Additionally, the attached photos were submitted by the guest writer for reference with photo credits. Please check below information about the author.

Author Bio: Glenn Domingo is a Filipino Blogger that loves to travel and write about the unique places in the Philippines, mostly in Pampanga (his hometown) to share the importance and attractiveness of it. He is currently writing for Alviera.

Friday, August 5, 2016

5th Mindanao Fashion Summit: Solidifying the Fashion Community of the Land of Promise

Presented by the Oro Fashion Designers Guild (OFDG) together with the Designers’ Assembly, the Mindanao Fashion Summit (MFS) officially opened its 5th edition yesterday (August 04, 2016) at the Rotunda Limketkai Center, Cagayan de Oro City.
Ms Nicole Inovero wearing the gown designed by Boogie Musni Rivera
Considered as one of the core events of the city’s Higalaay Festival 2016, The 5th Mindanao Fashion Summit is a 3-day gathering and convergence of some of the most artistic and sought-after fashion designers of Mindanao showcasing their intricate yet creative designs on a runway to the audience starting from August 04 to 06, 2016. This year, the MFS participating designers are said to become more connected to their crafts and confident in showing their imaginative craftsmanship, hence, solidifying the fashion community of Mindanao.
Dress designed by Mavy Cooper De Leon
The first day officially kicked off the Mindanaoan Collection, Menswear Collection, and the Ororama Orange Collection. Accordingly, the fabrics used came from the resuscitate community of local weavers from the island of Mindanao imbued with the inventive talents of these notable fashion designers to create an incomparable yet outstanding style.

Participating Fashion Designers who presented their designs on the opening are as follows:
1. Ann Semblante
2. Benjie S. Manuel
3. Boogie Musni Rivera
4. Gil Macaibay III
5. John Mark Magallanes
6. Joshua Guibone
7. Juniel Doring
8. Kiko Domo
9. Mark Christopher Yaranon
10. Mavy Cooper De Leon
11. Alma Mae Roa
12. Angela Soriano

Second day will feature a guest designers collection, Fashion Institute of the Philippines Collection, and the Loop Lifestyle Fashion Show while on the 3rd day, a holiday grand collection is expected.

Ms Vika Nin, a Russian model wearing Gil Macaibay III's dress
5th Mindanao Fashion Summit Ribbon cutting.
Ms Nicole Inovero wearing the gown designed by Boogie Musni Rivera
The inventive design of Juniel Doring with Ms Charinna Gamaya Barro (Miss Cagayan de Oro 2015) creating an incomparable yet outstanding style.
Ms Charinna Gamaya Barro wearing Juniel Doring's gown
Ms Charinna Gamaya Barro wearing the gown designed by Juniel Doring
Ms Charinna Gamaya Barro wearing the dress designed by Juniel Doring
Dress designed by John Mark Magallanes
Ms Charinna Gamaya Barro wearing the dress designed by Juniel Doring
This dress is designed by Mavy Cooper De Leon
Ms Charinna Gamaya Barro together with Ms Nicole Inovero
Dress designed by Benjie S. Manuel
Dress designed by Gil Macaibay III
Dress designed by Kiko Domo

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Top 10 Restaurants with the Best Sisig in Luzon

What usually comes to your mind when you hear the word "Sisig?" Perhaps, a lot of us would think about  Pampanga– The Culinary Capital of the Philippines. Pampanga is not just known for its exotic foods, but it is also a home for Kapampangan signature dish – Sisig. As what most people know it, sisig is made from chopped parts of a pig's head such as the ears, cheeks, and snout) and liver served on a sizzling plate. But the word sisig is originally referred to a Kapampangan way of cooking meat with slightly sour seasoning. That is why there's nothing more satisfying than a Food trip in Pampanga.
Naturally, we often find ourselves drawn to restaurants that offer delectable meals. But locating a good restaurant that serves the best sisig can also be a little bit tricky. There are actually various restaurants in the Philippines that offer delicious sisig. And we list down the top ten of them below.
#10 Sisig Hooraysisig hooray.jpg
Sisig Hooray is known to be a franchising food chain that serves freshly prepared sisig. The restaurant actually serves different versions of sisig. They have the original recipe pork sisig, smokey steak sisig, chicken sisig, pusit sisig and bangus sisig. Sisig Hooray is a place where most sisig lovers go. Moreover, they also offer promos such as the solo meal and the barkada size, which is good for three. Aside from their bestsellers, you can also try their different dishes found on the menu. It is easy for a food enthusiast to find the restaurant, Sisig Hooray is all over Metro Manila.
#9 Cafe Juanita cafe juanita.JPG(photo from foodtrip.blogspot)
Located in Pasig City, Cafe Juanita is known for its organic and sustainable products all throughout their menu. The restaurant also has their own version of sisig referred to as the "sisig on tofu' where the dish is mildly hot crisply fried pork minced with chicken liver, onions, seasoned with calamansi and chili, and served on a bed of soft tofu. You can also try their sizzling tuna sisig.
#8 Aysee
aysee sisig.jpg(photo by Julian Paraiso)
Aysee is a Filipino restaurant located in Pasig City that is known for bringing traditionally made and downright decadent sisig to their customers. Aysee's bestsellers are Sisig (served on a sizzling plate) and Papaitan (served in a hot pot). Of course, you can also try other dishes on their menu, where you can choose from sizzling meals, specialties and pulutan, Aysee inihaw, soup and rice meals.

#7 Leony's Ihaw-Ihaw
Located in Cabanatuan City, Leony's Ihaw-Ihaw is also a popular restaurant that serves sisig. They also have their own version of sisig where most people would love to try. And aside from sisig, they also serve manok, liempo, pork barbecue, chicken barbecue, lumpia, tilapia, hito, bangus, and many more. Moreover, Leony's Ihaw-Ihaw also accept delivery requests from their customers.
#6 Cirkulo Restaurantcirkulo.JPG(photo from
Cirkulo Restaurant is known to have a more fun approach to every meal. It offers a pleasing and casual dining experience. The restaurant's signature dishes are the sisig, slow roasted U.S Beef Belly with horseradish cream sauce and the Paella Montana with Portobella mushrooms, whole roasted garlic, truffle oil and asparagus. The restaurant is located in Makati City.
#5 Trellis
(photo from divine_viva)
Trellis is also a popular restaurant when it comes to sisig. Most people paired the dish with an ice-cold beer, which is also perfect for a relaxing meal after work. Aside from sisig, they also have some bestsellers such as the lechon kawali, crackling liempo, inihaw na liempo with KBS, arroz ala cubana, kangkong in oyster sauce, mini drumstick, crispy pata and many more. You can visit Trellis in Quezon City and try their best dishes found on their menu. Moreover, trellis also offers services such as delivery.
#4 Kubo sa Lawn
(photo by Mea in Bacolod)

Kubo sa Lawn in Bacolod also has its own version of sisig. The restaurant serves either pork or squid sisig that is served on a hot sizzling plate. The dish also includes chopped white onions, with squid that are tender and fresh. You will find a cluster of open-air native huts, which is a perfect place to unwind especially during night time. You can also try other dishes on the menu such porkchop and kinilaw.

#3 Mely's Barbeque
In Mely's Barbeque, they serve a large cut version of sisig. Although the pork is cut into a bigger size, the dish has still a tender texture of it. And unlike with the typical plating where sisig is served in a sizzling hot place, in Mely's Barbeque, it is served in a bowl. Aside from their bestseller sisig, they also have a delicious tocino barbecue. Mely's Barbeque is located along the roadside in Pampanga, so it is easy to stop over.
#2 Luring's BBQ House
Luring's BBQ House is also known for serving tasty Filipino viands in Pampanga. Of course, one of their bestsellers is the sisig. The restaurant is best when you are craving for comfort Filipino foods. And aside from sisig, they also serve barbecue and other grilled meat products.
#1 Aling Lucing Sisigsisig.jpg(photo by Mac Centeno)
Yes! the best Sisig If you want to try and know where the sisig originated, then head to Aling Lucing Sisig in Pampanga. It is in this restaurant where the sisig is born. Aling Lucing's version of sisig is slightly sour and less oily than any other versions of sisig. They serve the dish on a sizzling plate with a savory and cholesterol-icious treat.

One way to enjoy sisig is to try different versions of it. And as a food enthusiast, this is also one of the many ways you will know which of the restaurants you have tried serves the best sisig in town. Well, we can definitely enjoy every version of it, since we all have different tastes buds.

Note: This article is a guest post contributed by Glenn Domingo. Additionally, the attached photos were submitted by the guest writer for reference with photo credits. Please check below information about the author.

Author Bio:
Glenn Domingo is a freelance writer and blogger for Alviera. He is a traveler who loves to experience the uniqueness of different places and food trips here in the Philippines.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Virgin Island – A personal reflection of the Hidden Oasis of Bohol, Philippines

“No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow.” - Lin Yutang

The beauty of Virgin Island increases every time I ponder upon my last trip to Bohol. I love Bohol -- the people, the memories, and the scenery. Every remnant in my mind about my time in Bohol is fond. There, I first learned about how small the world is; the genuine joy and cheerfulness of the Filipinos taught me how connected each person is to another. The Virgin Island epitomizes this all.
Near the famous tourist destination Cebu, Bohol is a province of the Philippines, which includes a group of small islands and the main island.  Besides the cute little Tarsiers and Chocolate Hills of Bohol, island hopping earns top place among travel activities in Bohol. In the typical island hopping itinerary, visitor starts the adventure by boarding a boat from the Tagbilaran Bohol Port.

Stop 1 Alona Beach
Located on Panglao Island, Alona Beach offers extensive tourist facilities. Visitors can find various beach resorts and vendors for water activities. Visitors can easily spend an entire day relaxing by the beach with a glass of cocktail and playing volleyball by the beach. Larger in size, Panglao Island definitely should not be missed. Yet, do not stop there! Rent an outrigger boat from Panglao Island to Virgin Island, where the true gem lies.
Stop 2 Virgin Island
Around 20 minutes away, Virgin Island awaits. Upon arrival, visitors will see a long outstretched trail of white sand, connecting to a small cluster of topical trees. No one inhabits this remote island.  During hide tide, Virgin Island disappears from plain sights, leaving only traces of green. During low tide, visitors can walk along the sand, which is soft and pure.  The view looking outward is surreal when you stand in the middle of the sandbar. One can easily forget where he or she has travelled. The sky blends into the vast blue ocean.

For those who enjoy local culture, you can try some of the fresh seafood sold by vendors. Freshness guaranteed, dining on Virgin Island is priceless. Interacting with the local jewelry salesperson, you may find it hard to tell the quality of the pearls. But the eagerness he sells his goods with adds value to this little piece of the Virgin Island which you can bring home to keep forever.

That’s what I appreciate about Virgin Island. The gorgeous and breathtaking views are unparalleled. Growing up in Hong Kong, I have been to many beaches but none could compare to the sand on the Virgin Island. More importantly, being in the Virgin Island, being in Bohol, reminds me of the serenity and delight of simplicity. Untainted by the busyness of a cosmopolitan city, Bohol is not a place without troubles. The people I met there have their shares of difficulty, sometimes much larger than mine. But they always find a way to smile in the most genuine and simple way. Like the Virgin Island, the Bohol people remain beautiful and always ride above the tides.

Note: This article is a guest post contributed by Rachelle Ng. Additionally, the attached photos were submitted by the guest writer for reference. Please check below information about the author.

Author Bio:
Studying hotel administration in the States, Rachelle Ng is spending the summer interning at Klook Hong Kong. An avid traveller, she also enjoys learning about innovative tech, movies, and cultures around the world.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Metro Manila's Top Ten Most Picturesque Wedding Venues

More often than not, wedding venues can make all the difference between good wedding photos and bad wedding photos.

Nowadays, wedding venues are not simply considered as mere places to host your wedding reception; but they play a more critical and pivotal aspect to your weddings by giving you the right ambiance and setting for your much-awaited event and serve as the necessary backdrop to most of your wedding photos.  Your wedding venue is more than just a mere setting; it is the place where some of the most poignant memories are--it is a place that witnesses the transformation of you and your spouse-to-be from separate individuals to a single, unified unit. Unfortunately, though, some of the most picturesque wedding venues can rack up several hundreds of thousands in pesos just for a single day booking and for those of us who are on a tight wedding budget, this can be a tad bit too demanding on our pockets. However, if money is a non-issue and if you truly want that blissful, majestic and romantic aura and tinge to your wedding venues, here are ten of the best places.

1.) White Space Manila
There is no subtlety when it comes to this wedding venue's name, its moniker is an allusion to what you can expect if you booked this place for your wedding. If you are looking for a contemporary modern or minimalist aspect to your wedding, setting your venue in White Space Manila may just be the answer. As the place is completely white-washed, couples are given more leverage in dressing up the place however they wish. This place is located in Makati City and is approximately priced around P156,800 for exclusive usage.

2.) The Blue Leaf Pavilion
This seemingly nondescript place in McKinley Hill in Fort Bonifacio is perhaps the most versatile wedding venue in this list. The Blue Leaf Pavilion plays host to three halls in various sizes--perfect for couples looking for an elegant urban setting for their reception. As the place comes in three varying sizes, it can accommodate a large number of invited guests without feeling too cramped or a small number of guests without the place overwhelming the entire affair. Wedding bundles which include catering services start at P300,000 pesos.

3.) Elements at Centris
Suitable for festive affairs and events, Elements at Centris is a couple of tented spaces located in a popular commercial district in Quezon City. The white space can give a contemporary aura to your wedding event and is rather easy to dress up according to your chosen theme. Tent halls can accommodate as much as 350 people. Rent is at P75,000 for four hours.

4.) Secret Garden
The aesthetic and natural ambiance this wedding venue are perfect for couples dreaming of having a garden wedding. As the place comes with many various garden sections, finding a place to tie the knot would not be so much of a challenge. The venue is equipped with diverse flowering plants and other flora that would definitely enhance the ambiance of your wedding ceremony and the place also comes with manmade waterfalls which would really add to the overall aesthetic feel.

5.) The Loft at Manansala
Sophisticated, simple and seemingly unassuming, The Loft gives couples the unique option of having the breathtaking view of the city serve as a backdrop and an interesting embellishment. It is located on the 38th floor of the Manansala in Rockwell, Makati The Loft is suitable for weddings with a modern touch and can accommodate as many as 300 people.

6.) The Atrium
Situated inside a popular culinary school, The Atrium offers couples more than just palatable and savory dishes and meals during the reception. It offers them a unique and charming view of the garden courtyard while they dine and celebrate the festivities. As the place seats only 150 people, it is suitable for more muted and intimate affairs.

7.) Blue Garden
Nestled in Commonwealth, Quezon City, Blue Garden is yet another picturesque and heavenly garden wedding venue suitable for couples who wish for a more romantic and intimate ambiance. Bedecked with flowers and other gorgeous plants, the place is sure to enhance any of your wedding photos taken.

8.) Light of Love
As garden settings have been a rather popular choice for couples who wish to wed, more and more garden wedding venues have cropped up around Metro Manila. The Light of Love is just one of them. Though it has been slated as one of the premier wedding gardens couples can tie the knot, the place also features intimate halls where couples may choose to exchange their vows.

9.) Sitio Elena
This glass-walled pavilion offers guests and couples the wonderful opportunity of experiencing the magnificence of the outdoors while safely nestled indoors. A well-manicured garden is just one feature in this picturesque wedding venue, the place also features a contemporary pavilion where events can be held.

10.) Fernwood Gardens
Unassuming and nondescript, Fernwood Gardens is nestled within a quiet subdivision in Quezon City. Yet somehow, that only adds to the allure of the place instead of diminishing it. Fernwood Gardens has been a popular choice made by couples over the years as it has a trustworthy name in the business, the place also has a vintage ambiance--a strong selling point which draws couples and debutantes alike.

BONUS! Additional wedding venue.

11.) Versailles Palace Grand Ballroom
If you are looking for a place that exudes class, look no further than Versailles Palace Grand Ballroom. The place is given the unique backdrop of Manila's dreamy city lights making this the perfect setting for the classic European motif. Luxurious, sophisticated and classy, Versailles Palace Grand Ballroom is the ideal place to celebrate one of life's milestones such as exchanging vows where one can get that interesting feel of being in France.

Note: This article is a guest post contributed by Abbeygail Urie. Additionally, the attached photos were submitted by the guest writer for reference which came from the aforementioned wedding venues. Please check below information about the author.

Author Bio:
Abbeygail is a freelance writer and blogger for Hizon’s. It is a catering company that offers catering services in Marikina to any type of events. Abbeygail also loves to travel with her love ones and try different kinds of food here in the Philippines.
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