Wednesday, March 11, 2015

5 of Luzon's Best Places to Celebrate the Holy Week

Holy Week is fast approaching and this year, Filipinos can enjoy a break from work starting on Maundy Thursday on April 2, 2015.

Christians all over the Philippines celebrate the Holy Week to remember the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus Christ for the salvation of mankind and reenactments of His final days are held all over the country. Mahal na Araw celebrations are different in many parts of the country and some just stand out from the rest.

So get your maps ready, make sure your car insurance documents are in the glove compartment, check the expiry on your driver’s license, and fill up the gas tank because we’re going on a road trip to see some of the best places in Luzon to take part in Holy Week celebrations.

1. “Maleldo” in San Fernando, Pampanga

San Fernando, Pampanga is one of the most popular Holy Week destinations in the Philippines because this is where you can see devotees actually crucify themselves to a cross. There are several sites where you can see the crucifixion including San Juan and Sta. Lucia but San Fernando’s Via Crucis (Way of the Cross) is best seen in barangay San Pedro Cutud where it all started in 1962. You can also see penitents who carry wooden crosses and those who whip themselves during Holy Week.

2. Moriones in Marinduque

You’ll have to ride a RoRo if you want to drive all the way to Marinduque but making the trip during Holy Week gives you the chance to experience the vibrant Moriones Festival.  Men and women wear “Morion” masks to depict Roman soldiers who are part of the Passion of the Christ story. Longinus, the Roman soldier who pierced Jesus’ side while he was on the cross, takes center stage in the Moriones festival.

3. “Pagpapako” in Baler, Aurora

Photo credit: Gerard Castaneda via https://flic.kr/p/7QBALp
Bloody masked penitents wearing conical headdresses and garbed in dried banana leaves are some of the sights that I saw when I went to Baler, Aurora for Good Friday a few years back. “Pagpapako” is also celebrated at a hilltop of Ermita Hill and you can also catch a procession of different patron saints at Baler. While you’re at Baler, you can take surfing lessons and visit the Baler Museum. There are several beach-side resorts that you can stay at but book early as these can fill up easily.

4. Angono, Rizal, Lucban

If driving far is not an option for you, you can still join the Holy Week celebrations at Angono, Rizal. You can view the “Vigilia na Muling Pagkabuhay” at their church on Black Saturday. For Easter Sunday, young ladies called “Kapitana” and “Tenyenta” dance to celebrate the resurrection of Christ.

If you still have time, you can ask the locals to point you to the direction of the Angono Caves where you can see the Angono Petroglyphs, which date back to 5,000 years ago. Angono is known for its art scene and you can visit the Balaw-Balaw gallery and restaurant to view their large collection of paintings and sculptures.

5. Station of the Cross at the Kamay ni Hesus Shrine in Lucban

Going to different churches for Visita Iglesia is part of the Holy Week tradition for many Pinoys. Head south to Lucban, Quezon and you could visit several churches along the way. You could also visit the Kamay ni Hesus Shrine in Lucban as one of your stops, which also has a station of the cross.

There are 290 + steps to the top of the hill where a 50-foot statue of the Ascending Christ. You’ll be rewarded with a fantastic view once you reach the top of the hill.

Planning to take a long drive to any of these places? Make sure your car is covered by insurance so you’re protected from any unexpected occurrence. Review your car insurance policy and see if you’re adequately covered.

Note: This article is a guest post contributed by Kyle Kam. Additionally, the attached photo was submitted for reference. Please check below information about the author.

This post is brought to you by:
MoneyMax.ph is the Philippines’ leading financial comparison site where you can save money by comparing financial and car insurance products and services – fast, comprehensive, and free. We aim to give the power of smart purchase decisions back to Filipino consumers by providing everything they need to become financially savvy. Like us on Facebook to get the latest tips on how to save. 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Cebu at a Bird's-Eye View

People are particularly biased towards the things they cherished and I am no exception. The island of Cebu has been my home for years and still, it keeps surprising me whenever I decide to take a break and re-explore my hometown.  Being the centre for commerce in the Visayas region, Cebu has a progressive economy, with towering buildings at the heart of the city. But even with the fast-paced lifestyle that bounds people in Metro Cebu, I enjoy the humble and old-fashioned style of living (where farming, taking care of livestock and fishing are the norm) that still lingers in its land. I take pleasure in its resorts and white-sand beaches, with diving spots, which are highly coveted by locals and tourists. I truly enjoy bracing myself for festivals and fiestas in Cebu, where people celebrate life and their respective patron saints, mingle with other people, and especially, prepare a buffet of dishes. I guess you could say that food is one of the many things that excites Filipinos. Owing to our rich Spanish, American and Asian heritage, which shaped the mixed tastes of Filipino cuisine, Cebu hotels offer another adventure for their guests. Hotels or lodging establishment of all kinds have now ventured into offering a different dining experience and avenue – the rooftop.

I compiled a list of different hotels, condominiums and residential buildings in general, that you could check out when in Cebu to enjoy the rooftop dining experience.

·Blu Bar and Grill (Marco Polo Plaza Hotel)
Photo source: http://www.marcopolohotels.com/media/en/images/marco_polo/hotels/philippines/cebu/marco_polo_plaza/restaurants_and_bars/ceb_din_rest_i_i_blubargrill.jpg
·If you are a classy traveller, Blu Bar and Grill on Marco Polo Plaza Hotel is the place for you. They have a wide array of desserts, wine selections, cocktails, grilled food, and other luxurious treats. A flairtender is also available to entertain guests.  Since it is located in Nivel Hills, Cebu City, it has a stunning view of almost all of Cebu City, Mandaue City and Lapu-lapu City. Unlike other hotels, they are only open for a shorter period, from 6:30pm to 10:30pm only.

·Chips Cafe (Copenhagen Residences)
·For people living in the Northern part of Cebu, you dont have to travel far to get a gorgeous view of Cebu island. Located in Mandaue City, Chips Cafe offers a 360-view from Lapulapu City to Mandaue City as well as the neighbouring mountains of Cebu City.  They serve American food as well as the all-time Filipino favorites. You can choose either indoor or outdoor dining plus, they also have a bar to keep guests refreshed. Chips Cafe is great if you are after good food  and a better view of the ocean.

· Blue Elephant Sky Lounge (Apple One)

·Blue Elephant Sky Lounge is a Thai-cuisine inspired restaurant that also offers other Asian dishes you can try out in Apple One building near Ayala Cebu. They have an al fresco dining, which is closer to viewing the beautiful cityscape of Cebu and the indoor VIP lounge, perfect if in case the weather goes bad. You pay P 300 per head if you decide to dine in the al fresco area and P 350 per head if you eat inside the VIP Lounge. But no worries since these are consumable with both food and drinks. They are open from 5pm til 12mn.
·Highlights Lounge (Harolds Hotel)

·Harolds Hotel is a business hotel situated in Lahug, Cebu City. It has a gorgeous view of Metro Cebu. While other hotels designed their rooftop restaurants in dimmer lights with an exaggeration of colourful neon rays that upsurge the desire to get in the groove to the latest pop songs, other hotels, like Harold's went for a subtle yet intimate ambience, playing mellow, classic music They have an adjoining bar for liquor-enthusiasts. They are serving from 5pm to 12mn. Prices of the food is relatively affordable compared to other restaurants.
·Sinugba Bai (Holiday Plaza Hotel)

·The Sinugba means “grilled food”, while Bai is something that you would call a friend. So if you like grilled pork and seafood, Sinugba Bai is a definite for you. It also offers a Filipino fiesta-inspired aura, with nipa cottages adorned with colorful lights. Sinugba Bai also has a bar, if you are after some liquor to accompany your conversations. They are open from 6pm til midnight.
I don't know about you but I love being on rooftops, especially during the twilight hours,  wherein people can enjoy the different blend of hues that colour the sunset sky and welcome the cool breeze of the evening wind. It also gives me the opportunity to see Cebu in a different angle. That does not  mean that I don't enjoy the cityscape of Metro Cebu during daytime since I don't really mind bathing in the rays of the sun on a hot afternoon. I like hearing the distant sounds of vehicles. When looking for an accommodation, look for places where you can enjoy Cebu at a bird's-eye view. Its more peaceful up there and there's nothing better than adding food to the experience.

Note: This article is a guest post contributed by a Content Specialist from Copenhagen Residences. Additionally, the attached photos were submitted for reference. Please check below information about the author.

AUTHOR BIO:
Roy Aznar worked as a reporter and news anchor for RPN TV 9, a local TV station in the Philippines. He is currently working at Iron Wood Property Ventures Corp. as its Public Relations Officer.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Colour's Landscape Photography Workshop with Randall Cipriano

Heads up Cagayan de Oro as Fujifilm X-Photographer Randall Cipriano will share his knowledge and skills on Landscape Photography this coming March 07, 2015 (Saturday) at Centrio Mall, Ayala Center, Cagayan de Oro with hands-on tutorials.

THE SPEAKER:
Randall Cipriano is a renowned Filipino Landscape and Architectural Photographer and a Brand Ambassador for Fujifilm Philippines. He has been documenting landscapes through photography since 2007. A proud X-Photographer, Randall's work of images with copyright license has been featured here in the country and acclaimed internationally. On a much recent work, Randall was one of the Award-winning Speakers of the successful Photo World Asia 2015 "Merging Technologies: Photo Show and Convention" with topics on the "Principles of Landscape Photography" last January 29 to February 03, 2015 held at Glorietta Mall, Ayala Center & (ACCM) AIM Conference Center Manila, Makati City, Metro Manila back to back with the Japanese X-Photographer Masaaki Aihara.

In addition, Randall is one of the pioneers of digital false-color infrared in the country which resulted in dynamic and surreal images imbued with his unique methods of post-processing and long-exposures setting.

According to him, he value the challenges of learning something new by visiting new places and revisiting the old; meeting new people, and looking for the chance to use tools and new technologies to improve upon the craft of photography. He treats photography as a journey and a path of continued learning and "that is my goal- to use whatever spare time to travel and explore; to see and capture the amazing show of landscape and light wherever that may be" as he added.

Follow him at www.randallcipriano.com to check his works.

Right Photo courtesy by Piolo Pascual

Brought to you by Colours and Fujifilm Philippines, all photographers are invited to join this event. The workshop is open to the public regardless of the camera brand someone uses. And what's more? The workshop is FREE!
Fujifilm X-T1, XF10-24mm F4 R LM OIS, Formatt-Hitech Prostop IRND 3 Stops,Phottix Aion

Important information to consider below are as follows:
- EVENT TYPE: Landscape Photography Workshop
- EVENT TIME:
         - Registration: 10:00am
         - Lecture: 10:00am to 12:00nn (3rd Level Foyer, Centrio Mall, Ayala Center CdeO)
         - Meet up: 01:30pm (Colours Centrio)
         - Hands-on: 02:30pm to 06:00pm (High-Ridge and Old Pier)
- REGISTRATION: FREE
- THINGS TO BRING:
    - Digital Single Lens Reflex cameras and/or Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens cameras
          - Point and Shoot camera owners are also welcome to join.
          - Your creativity!
          - Yourself! Yourself! Yourself!

Again, this workshop is open to all. For inquiries and/or pre-registration, please register at http://goo.gl/ZRKmEk. Slots are limited.

Please do us a favor! Kindly spread this word to all your Canon user friends living in Cagayan de Oro City and nearby provinces!

See you on March 07, 2015!
Fujifilm X-T1, XF10-24mm F4 R LM OIS, 10mm F4 30s ISO2000, 240 frames stacked star trails (2 hours)
With built-in intervalometer of the X-T1
Disclaimer Policy:

Photos are owned by the Speaker himself (Randall Cipriano) and used for information drive only.

Monday, January 26, 2015

8 Summer Destinations Near Manila You Can Drive to

Next to a house, a car is one of the biggest and most useful purchases you will make in your adult life. Given the costs of the vehicle itself along with fuel, maintenance, and car insurance in the Philippines, you’ll naturally want to make the most of your investment.

A car isn't just for commuting to and from the office; you can also use it to take spur-of-the-moment outings alone or with your loved ones. And with summer fast approaching, now’s the perfect time to start planning your next road trip. Here we have a small selection of places you can drive to for the weekend.

1. Antipolo
By far the shortest journey on this list, Antipolo shows that you can find lots of fun places to visit right in Metro Manila’s backyard. Take a tour of the city’s old churches and religious sites like Via Dolorosa and Mystical Cave. You can also check out one of the city’s best-kept secrets: Hinulugang Taktak, a protected national park and waterfall.

2. Bulacan
Located just outside Metro Manila, Bulacan offers plenty of choices for those with an avid interest in history. Visit places you’ve read about in textbooks, such as Barasoain Church in Malolos. The province is also home to natural wonders such as Biak-na-Bato National Park, Verdivia Falls, and Pulilan Butterfly Haven.

3. Pampanga
In addition to serving as a gateway to nearby provinces like Bataan and Zambales, Pampanga boasts fun activities you can try with your family. Make time in February for the annual Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta at Clark Freeport Zone, where you can also visit parks like Paradise Ranch, Deca Wake Park, and the relocated Nayong Pilipino. You can also try your hand at exploring Mount Arayat, or unwind at Abe’s Farm in Magalang.

4. Tarlac
Tarlac is fast making a name for itself in both history and eco-tourism. Head on down to Capas to see the Capas National Shrine or to embark on a trek to Mount Pinatubo. You can also visit the municipalities of Bamban, Mayantoc and San Jose for nature hiking, or dine at the whimsical Isdaan Restaurant in Gerona.

5. Tagaytay
Tagaytay is a popular road trip destination for ManileƱos, especially during peak season and Holy Week. Enjoy the city’s iconic view of Taal Lake, take your kids to local hotspots like the Picnic Grove and Sky Ranch, or get in touch with your inner nature spirit at Sonya’s Garden. Don’t forget to sample the area’s fresh fruits and buko pie while food-tripping along Aguinaldo Highway.

6. Laguna
While Laguna is home to the world-class theme park Enchanted Kingdom, there is so much more to the province in terms of native attractions and handicrafts. Drive down to Calamba and see the childhood home of Jose Rizal, watch expert woodcarvers at work in Paete, tempt fate with the local legends of Mount Makiling, or take home a pair of native slippers from Liliw. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can also attempt paying a visit to all of the Seven Lakes of San Pablo.

7. Cavite
You may be surprised to hear that Corregidor Island, the island fortress that played a key role in World War II, is technically considered part of Cavite. The province is located just south of the Greater Manila Area, and is home to historic sites like the Aguinaldo Shrine in Kawit and the Andres Bonifacio House in General Trias. Along the Cavite side of Manila Bay you can also find beach resorts like Puerto Azul, Caylabne Bay, and Pico de Loro Country Club.

8. Batangas
Drive a little further past Tagaytay and you will reach Batangas, where you can get a taste of the province’s native chocolate and authentic kapeng barako. Charter a boat to Taal Lake in Talisay and explore Volcano Island on foot, or drive as far south as Mabini to the coast’s many beaches and dive spots. The province also has its share of old churches and ancestral homes for those who want a glimpse into the country’s past.

Before embarking on any road trip, you must always have all the necessary precautions in place to prepare for your long drive out of town. If you’re travelling with a group, you can take turns driving or plan your route (rest stops and all) beforehand. Don’t forget to invest in a good car insurance plan and carry emergency supplies in case of road accidents. And above all, drive safely and have fun!

Is your car protected yet? Visit MoneyMax.ph and check out the Car Insurance portal to compare the most affordable rates in the Philippines. For more budget and finance tips, don’t forget to give the MoneyMax blog a quick peek.

Note: This article is a guest post contributed by Kyle Kam. Additionally, the attached photo was submitted for reference. Please check below information about the author.

AUTHOR BIO:
Kyle Kam is an online marketing specialist for Moneymax, the Philippines’ leading financial comparison website. Whenever he’s not working, he’s busy at home watching MMA videos the whole day. You may follow him on Twitter @undisputedkyle

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The PTAA's 22nd Travel Tour Expo 2015

The Travel Tour Expo organized by the Philippine Travel Agencies Association, Inc. (PTAA) will once again showcase the products and services of its members on February 13, 14 and 15, 2015 at the SMX Convention Center, Seashell Drive, Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City, Metro Manila in connection with the #VisitPhilippines2015 Tourism campaign by the Philippine Department of Tourism this year.

The Travel Tour Expo which was conceptualized by PTAA in 1994 is already on its 22nd year and considered to be the biggest and most awaited event for the travel and tourism industry in the Philippines.

Accordingly, the Travel Tour Expo 2015 will occupy the entire SMX exhibition halls; all four halls of the ground floor and the four function rooms on the second floor.

This year 2015 might be the biggest travel event in the Philippine Tourism as the Travel Tour Expo will showcase 257 exhibitors and 5 Sponsors/Media Sponsors within the Halls 1 to 4 of the Ground Floor and 1 to 4 Function Rooms. According to their official website, as of October 21st last year, there were 261 exhibitors occupying the 640 booths. There are 701 total number of booths being prepared for this event.

Below are the profiles of exhibitors:
23 - Airlines
70 - Travel Agencies and Tour Operators
103 - Hotels & Resorts
16 - Food Concessionaires
12 - Government / Local and National Tourist Organizations / Travel & Tour Associations /
Embassies
6 - Theme Park / Entertainment
5 - Cruise Liner
5 - Travel Insurance
12 - Merchandisers
5 - Travel Related Entities
5 - Sponsors/Media Partner

The total number of anticipated visitors for this year might double the last year's performance of 70,000 which includes Holiday Travelers, Incentive & Convention Planners, Government and Business Leaders and Direct Buyers and Investors. Last 2012, there were more than 65,000 travelers/visitors recorded which had 492 booths occupied by 255 firms. Additionally, as per TTE last year 2014, the total generated sales was P517,788,004.78 by all exhibitors.

Aside of the products and services offered by its members, accompanying events will also showcase such as raffles, entertainments, games, and even Exhibitors and Sponsors' Presentations. Even cultural presentations from different countries will add the spice to it.

What are you waiting for? Buy your tickets now and make your schedule today!

For more information, contact the organizer/event manager below:

Philippine Travel Agencies Associations, Inc.
12-1G EGI Rufino Plaza, Taft cor. Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue, Pasay City, Philippines
Tel No: +632-8310124, 9049280, 5520026 and 29
Fax No: +632-5520030
Email Address: traveltourexpo@ptaa.org.ph
jeanine@ptaa.org.ph
pearl@ptaa.org.ph

Contact persons:
Ms. Jeanine G. Oliverio
Ms. Pearl Joy B. Moreno

Or check their website:
PTAA ==============  WEBSITE
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