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Monday, June 18, 2018

Church Hopping Iloilo : MiagAo Church Disappoints but Tigbauan, Jaro and Molo Churches More than Compensates for it

Like any other travel blogger, I had my share of blogging about Philippines churches especially when I was just starting, after all, there is no shortage of heritage/old/grand churches in the country. It is an easy material for newbie writers. And then at some point, I have grown tired of it. For one, because everybody writes about it, so what's new? And then there is this feeling na "pare-pareho nalang". Who was it who said "churches are all the same, enter one and you have seen all of them".?

But the churches of Iloilo ( both the city and the province) are on a different level. They capture your attention and entice your imagination. It is not just individual churches that are good but if you think of them collectively as well, you cannot help but marvel at the strong lineup. People here love their churches, and it shows at how elaborate they have created them and how much they care for them for future generations.

Molo Church


An hour ride from Iloilo. The 1st Baroque-style church I have seen. Yes, haven't been to Paoay Church kahit nakapag Pagudpud nako years back. So worth the trip down South from the city. Seeing it up close, I got to admire the intricate design of this church's facade. Don't expect too much on the interior though kasi kung ganu ka engrande ang harap ganun naman ka plain and simple ng loob. I heard Paoay Church is of similar predicament. Normal for Baroque-style churches? Could be. Still, worth the trip.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

U.S.O Bar and Restaurant Makati

Located in a quiet neighborhood at the corner of Taguig and Obrero streets in Makati City is U.S.O Bar and Restaurant. U.S.O stands for Under Starter's Orders and in English translates to"trendy". Although it might not be the trendiest one can find in Makati where competition among restobars is fierce, there is something about USO that makes people keep coming back.

A non-pretentious mid-size restobar with black-dominated interior enough to command class but simple enough not to be intimidating. Here, what you see is what you get -- not one of those high-end pubs with classy interior that will rip you off because you pay for whatever is added for the visuals. This is where you wanna hang out to chill and not worry about going home broke.


Their beer is the standard price in most pubs, say 330 pesos per bucket of 6 local beers with your choice of "pulutan". Beer tower is only at 300php.

I is the food that I was surprised at. Most pubs fail on this aspect. The "and restaurant" on the name is well deserved as one can enjoy a variety of dishes, not just side orders for drinking. Best off all, they are very affordable. Imagine, their nachos is priced at 120 pesos and it is full of ingredients. So much that we requested more nacho chips to finish it off. And very tasty too. I was with a friend who is a big fan of nachos and one who you can ask where in the Metro one can find the best nachos and this one he approved. Cilantro definitely has the best anywhere but their nachos at USO Bar and Restaurant can give Cilantro a run for the money.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Damires Hills Tierra Verde Farm Resort: Commune with Nature, Indulge in Adventure

We were having a great time in Iloilo City that at some point I questioned my decision to move North to Janiuay on our 3rd day. This is actually a little sketchy, Tripadvisor, the world's most popular travel review site ranks Damires Hills Resort #4 among B&B in Iloilo city, but Damires Hills is located 45 minutes from Iloilo City and already within the municipality of Janiuay. If you know how far the airport is from downtown, Janiuay is 2x farther North.

But getting here was a breezy 45 minutes. In a large city, 45 minutes could be hellish but here, it hardly felt like 45 minutes at all. Thanks to the good central terminals in Iloilo city and good flow of traffic in and out of the city. Last thing we know, we were already at the cozy lobby of Damires Hills.

Damires Hills Tierra Verde Farm Resort_1

About Damires Hills 
Tierra Verde Farm Resort
Nothing much could be found online in terms of information about this resort as their official website www.damireshills.com seems to be broken.

What we found out during our stay is that this is a huge property, if I can remember, 72 hectares. And it used to be the retreat house of the owners to escape the city on weekends and holidays until they finally decided to develop the property so that others could also enjoy its beauty.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

K-Pop Stars Visit Pyongyang and the Expectations from This Cross-Border Journey

The beginning of April is off to quite a start, already witnessing a “not-so-usual” cross-border visit. A few of South Korea’s famous K-pop singers have traveled all the way to Pyongyang for a special performance, along with concert staff, taekwondo demonstrators, reporters and government officials. So, what makes this journey special?

Unlike normal cross-border traveling by pop stars with itineraries primarily including concerts and recreational activities at fancy resorts, this latest trip was part of a mission. It was much more than recreational. Indeed, it was a visit intended to normalize the relationship between the two Koreas.

It is a proven fact that to normalize a relationship between any two entities, be it two countries or two states, person-to-person trust must be established first. And what better way to establish person-to-person relations than a shared cultural exchange. The concert, titled Spring is Coming, was organized to do that.

K-POP” by Travis Wise is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The concert featuring the K-pop girl band Red Velvet and a few other influential artists like Cho Yong-pil was held at the East Pyongyang Grand Theatre. Incidentally, it was Cho who held the last concert by a South Korean artist in the north before this performance, which was a solo concert in Pyongyang, more than a decade back, in 2005. Another concert, providing an opportunity for artists from both the North and the South to perform together was arranged at the Ryukyung Chung Ju-yung gymnasium. These concerts and other cultural exchanges were organized with an expectation to warm the air before the much-awaited April 27 summit.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Richmonde Hotel Iloilo: Large Room Cuts, A Pool to Envy and A Restaurant with Lots of Wow Food Finds

"What do we do in Iloilo for 6 days?" , asked my partner after I accidentally booked return tickets without noticing that it is indeed too long for a supposed pre-summer quick getaway. " Then we just chill around, not rush into going here and there and not stuffing our itinerary of things to do and see" I said. Maybe it's a sign of old age but I am already tired of the amazing-race-style travel. I think you get to know and feel the place for real if you tune with the pace of locals.

"Don't worry, I found some nice hotels to try" , I assured him. Of course he didn't completely take my word for it. But day one proved to be so good and on day two, we transferred to Richmonde Hotel and the trip got even more exciting.

Iloilo City is in an economic boom and with it is the onslought of both leisure and business travelers. I was here in 2013 and I see the big progress. Back then, Iloilo was "ok but nothing much to see". Now, you can stay for 1 week and you you will find out that there is more to try.


Tel. No.: (63 33) 328-7888
Email: rhi@richmondehotel.com.ph

Located within the expanse of Iloilo City’s newest township development is Richmonde Hotel Iloilo. Its prestigious address, Iloilo Business Park, is a budding economic district consisting of important corporate offices, modern residential area, and a stylish shopping and entertainment complex.

Complementing the Iloilo City’s progress is its rich cultural heritage, colorful festivals, exceptional cuisine, and natural wonders, creating a remarkable balance of old and new, making the Philippines’ “City of Love” a popular destination in Western Visayas. Source

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Keep Your Iron Level Up While Traveling

These days more and more people dine out so ensuring food quality has become a priority for not only the restaurants, banquets but also at homes during small parties. Not only tasty but foods rich in vitamins and minerals must be served to people.

One of the most important components of our food should be an intake of iron. Iron is in the blood majorly as hemoglobin. It is very vital for survival and its deficiency leads to deadly anemia.

Iron is essential for the human body. It is one of the top six nutrients, which are required for the sustenance of human body. Iron content becomes vital for pregnant women, who produce more red blood cells to supply the growing fetus with oxygen and nourishment.


Deficiency of Iron has become a common phenomenon in the United States. As per findings, of The World Health Organization (WHO), 1.62 billion people suffer from iron deficiency. Excessive loss of blood takes place in the deficiency of iron and the cells are not able to repair them.

Sore throat, anemia, fatigue, pale skin, shortness of breath are major symptoms of iron deficiency.

It is advisable not to take an overdose of iron as it leads to acute diarrhea, stomach pain and severe vomiting.

Here is a list of 7 most essential foods containing Iron. While traveling you can order dishes which include these ingredients to keep your iron level up:

Saturday, March 31, 2018

URBAN SANDS Iloilo: Where Small Hotel Means Warm, Intimate and Big On Service

There is nothing grand about this hotel. It is small and has only 12 rooms. But TripAdvisor ranks it at #1 among Hotels in Iloilo ( as of writing) and we found out why. Tripadvisor is not lying. This hotel punches way abovie its weight and truly deserving of the accolade. And we are glad we got to experience staying here during our recent Iloilo- Guimaras trip.


Where your stay in the city brings you closer to the shore.
"Urban Sands is a concierge-type hotel dedicated to giving guests everything that they could ask for in a hotel. Urban Sands reflects a coastal feel with a sizzle of tranquillity and rejuvenation, and yet, it is still proximate to metropolitan Iloilo. 

Located in M.H. del Pilar Street in Molo, Iloilo City, this paradise is one ride away from restaurants, shopping malls, grocery stores, and other essential structures in the city. Enter a threshold into another world – of peace, calm, and serenity, disparate from the features of the city." - source

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

10 Reasons Why We Keep Coming Back to Ten Cents To Heaven Leisure Camp

If there is one place we keep coming back to in Tanay Rizal, it's Ten Cents to Heaven. We were here before it officially opened in 2013, again in 2015 when they opened the zipline section which was at that time one of the longest in Luzon and again last month. It is interesting how we witnessed how the place has transformed from an accommodation by the hills to escape the chaos of the city into a leisure camp complete with facilities for recreation and team building activities. Each time we come back, there is always something new to experience. And that is the beauty of this place. It keeps evolving and surprising even the frequent patrons. No wonder we keep coming back.


This was actually by request of Angel, my wife's youngest sister as a treat for her birthday. Along with her and wifey, we also brought our niece, Jhanine, with us and it was another weekend bonding filled with fun and excitement. Not only the kids enjoyed it but we adults similarly had a great time. This place will make everyone of all ages fall in love. Here are the 10 Reasons Why We Keep Coming Back to Ten Cents To Heaven Leisure Camp.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Lub d Makati: The Lub d Hostel Brand Known the World Over has Arrived in the Philippines! @Lub_d

HOT NEWS: Lub d Phuket was awarded BEST NEW HOSTEL 2017 by Hoscar Awards.

So I guess you can understand the excitement that the news  "Lub d has expanded in the Philippines"  has stirred in me. Finally, my wish of " I hope we have a world class hostel in the Phillippines" came true! Not only that they brought all the goodness that is Lub d, they have created the largest hostel in the Philippines --and no doubt One of the Best.

I have been to Bangkok on two separate occasions and in both trips stayed at a
Lub d hostel -- 2013 ( Lub d Silom) and 2017 ( Lub d Siam). I instantly fell in love with Lub d Silom's hip, trendy and modern lobby and very comfortable rooms. Thus we tried Lub d Siam last year which I find more accessible thanks to being literally next to a BTS Skytrain station. Both are what one can wish for in a hostel.

Lub D Bangkok Siam Square: The Most Accessible Modern Hostel in Bangkok
- Fall in Love with LUB d BANGKOK Silom 

Large Lobby with Co-Working Space
Cheers to the Lub d hostel with the largest lobby which covers the whole 2nd level of a 12-storey building. Other than reception, at the lobby is the cafe, a recreational area with billiards table, video game machines and the foosball table we enjoyed playing.

Another section is a co-working space managed and operated independently by Garage Society. So they get their own clients and bring them here. I find it really interesting that a hostel in the Philippines has a dedicated co-working space. With this kind of cool lobby space Lub d Makati can provide, working here will not feel like working at all.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

PILILLA WIND FARM: How to Get There + What to Expect #PilillaWindmills #Rizal

UPDATED February 27, 2018

Why go as far as Bangui if there is already a wind farm in Pililla Rizal? Yes, the same company which operates Bangui Windmills in Ilocos Norte is constructing a wind farm in Rizal and it is not yet operational but one can already see the completed towers up close. This post will tell you how.

Pililla Windmills in Rizal are on top of the hills overlooking the beautiful plains of Tanay Rizal on one side and Laguna on the other. Of course you also get a very good view of Laguna de Bay. This is a welcome development in terms of renewable energy and a sure boost for local tourism in Rizal Province.
Pililla Windmills in Pililla Rizal

I actually noticed about this while driving through the highest section of my village in Binangonan Rizal. I immediately googled it and to my surprise, nobody has blogged about it.

Quick Facts:

Operator: Alternergy Wind One Corp
Location: Brgy. Halayhayin, Pililla, Rizal
# of Wind Turbines: 27 towers (on full operation)
Type: Renewable energy
Energy Production: 54-megawatts
Expected Start of Operations: mid 2015.


How To Get To 
Pililla Wind Farm/ Pililla Windmills.

via Private Transportation

1. Get to Tanay Town
2. Go up Brgy. Sampaloc in upper Tanay
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