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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Authentic BICOL EXPRESS at sidewalk stalls along QUEZON Ave.Legazpi City

 It rained on our 2nd day in Legazpi.I know right---the ATV,zipline over at Lignon Hill and the grand view of Mayon Volcano.Also had trouble withdrawing money from by bank (BPI) so most of the afternoon was spent lazying around hoping it would shine the next day.

We thought of walking around the city before dusk.Past streets filled with locals.Is it not yet tourist season in Legazpi City on February?I hardly saw foreigners.What's happening?Did we come early or Legazpi is simply losing the battle to lure tourists?Or maybe my impression of the place is wrong?
sidewalk stalls along QUEZON Ave.Legazpi City

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

BIGG's DINER: over-hyped and over-priced.

Me:We should not leave Bicol without trying Bigg's Diner.
Friend1:What's Bigg's?
Me: It's Bicol's Jollibee.

That was the easiest explanation I could give my friend and he didn't ask a second question afterward.I don't know if he knows exactly what I meant but I guess one way or another he did.

When we got to one of the branches in "Old Albay" District of Legaspi somewhere near the city hall,the creative display on the wall says "We''re good food,not fast food". In my face!hahaha.So I felt compelled to explain to my friends again.Actually,what I wanted to say is that "you are never in Bicol unless you try Bigg's",there! It is Bicol's biggest food chain.

Or,should I have just stick to my former explanation?

Bigg's Diner _Legazpi 
Bigg's Diner Old Albay Legazpi City

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The ORIENTAL LEGAZPI: Classy, Minimalist Hotel w/ a very good view of Mayon

After camping in Calaguas Island, I was soooooo excited to get to Legaspi.Another 2 hours from Daet to Naga,and 2 hours from Naga to Legazpi,the reassurance of being within the borders of the city and all its comforts means relief.I missed hot showers,convenience stores,restaurants,and yes,even mobile phone coverage.

There is also another thing which made me very excited (other than seeing majestic Mayon for the first time) that is,knowing that we will be staying at--------The ORIENTAL HOTEL Legazpi.


Monday, February 25, 2013

Wake up to fun news and your favorite coffee with NESCAFE KADA UMAGA App

Some mornings are quite a drag,and imagining a hot cup of coffee could definitely put you on your feet. Sipping coffee with your loved ones early in the day before the start of work are precious moments. I call it NESCAFE CLASSIC MOMENTS.

I remember growing up in the countryside. Every morning before going to school, my mom would prepare coffee for me so as to (in her words) to keep me awake and alert. Coffee has since then become a part of my daily routine.

As an adult, there are many other reasons why coffee is such a darling. For somebody working on a night shift and has to wake up early in the morning for a few hours of work, a cup of coffee sure is a big help. To stay awake is to stay in the loop. It’s like having a buddy tapping your shoulder reminding you to stay upbeat!

what's your #NescafeClassicMoments?


Every Holy Week, the towns of Boac, Gasan, Santa Cruz, Buenavista and Mogpog in the island of Marinduque become one gigantic stage for MORIONES FESTIVAL.The "Moriones" are men and women in costumes and masks simulating biblical Roman soldiers as interpreted by local folks.It's characterized by colorful Roman costumes, painted masks and helmets, and brightly colored tunics.

I've been getting invitations to go to Marinduque but I am still undecided on the matter.Yes,I still don't know where I want to go.I thought Moriones will be interesting though.Yun nga lang,pahirapan ang pagpunta,I heard via Ro-Ro.Stressful.

But for those who are interested,I am publishing the Moriones Festival 2013 Schedule for your reference. 


Sunday, February 24, 2013

CALAGUAS CHRONICLES: from "Survivor" to Temptation Island mode

The moment we stepped on the mainland and found mobile signal, I shouted in my FB status:"Grabe.me title nko s upcoming Calaguas blog post ko --- Calaguas:Shit this place! ---yang ganyan.So glad nakauwi ng buhay.hahaha".

Teng wrote: ".
"Hi Antonio Magno Carranza Jr, "I hope you reconsider the title of your blog kasi it will bring negative perception from the readers. As you said the place is wonderful and the experience is fun. The place and its people deserve a good push. Just my opinion and suggestion :)"

Shit naman talaga: Shit sa hirap pumunta pero Shit din sa Ganda.Sasadyain mo talaga at paghihirapan.And I guess that makes it sweeter.Yun nga lang,like what we did,mag-aala-SURVIVOR ka talaga.
 from "Survivor" to Temptation Island mode

Friday, February 22, 2013

CALAGUAS ISLAND: Paradise lost,Paradise found

I guess this is what they mean when they say success is measured by what you had to give up in order to get it.The struggle to get to Calaguas Island was such an ordeal....

10hours on the bus to Naga
1.5hours via FX to Daet
20minutes on tricycle to Vinzons
4hours boat to Calaguas Island.

Not to mention the time spend going back to Naga again + the scary boat ride pabalik.All in all,we spent 23 hours to and from Calaguas via Naga.

Was it all worth it?If I have written this post a few days after the trip,I would have said NO!Yes,me tandang padamdam.But thinking about it now,I somewhat miss Calaguas,its beauty that is unspoiled and its unique charm.The trip might have been not as smooth as we hoped it would be but thinking that we survived it all made it such a memorable place.It's true that victory is sweeter if it's hard earned.

Will I be coming back,I guess not soon.But given the right timing (and season),I would like to experience it again.For now,I keep and reminisce the rough,yet memorable adventure.

And the beauty that is Calaguas,Paradise lost,Paradise gained.......

 Mahabang Buhangin CALAGUAS
   Paradise lost,Paradise found in CALAGUAS ISLAND

Thursday, February 21, 2013

the "sugal buhay" boat ride to Mahabang Buhangin CALAGUAS ISLAND

It's interesting how one's perspective of things could change in a span of few days.If I would have written about our Calaguas experience earlier,I might have nothing but bad words for the place.Seeing it now,I could at least rationalize what happened and at least look at the brighter side a little more.

Calaguas has been one of my dream destination which I haven't pursued due to limited time.Korean New Year long weekend was finally the chance.We took the night bus from Manila----luxury bus which turned disaster because of engine failure even before exiting Alabang Metro Manila.As if a jinx,it set the negative tone to our travel experience.

READ: I am Never Riding BICOL ISAROG Bus Line Again!
should the title be better with ---"the Shitty boat ride to Calaguas Island? :)

How to get to CALAGUAS ISLAND from Naga

I am writing this because I feel guilty for Naga that I couldn't feature anything about the place as we used it only as a set off point to Calaguas and then to Legaspi.I know it deserves a better mention.I heard of the attractions at Mount Isarog and CWC of course na di manlang namin nadaanan kasi sa byahe palang to and from Calaguas ubos na oras.Even the church of Penafrancia downtown,di narin namin nasilip manlang.

One notable thing about Naga is that they have good central terminal for buses/jeepneys and FX.

The Terminal for  Provincial buses is near SM-Naga,for fx to Daet are at LCC Mall,for fx to Legaspi,also near SM,just across the street.

NAGA LCC central terminal
LCC Transport Terminal Naga

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

I am Never Riding BICOL ISAROG Bus Line Again!

I have always dreaded going to Bicol because of the long bus ride.Lately,I heard they have good buses.Luxury couch kung luxury.The bus comes with it's own restroom too.So I thought it's high time to experience the region.

Bought Luxury Couch tickets via Isarog bound Naga for me,my wife and three other friends.It was all good at first.I even thought if all provincial buses are like this,traveling would be #fun.But fun turned into horror when the bus was suddenly engulfed in smoke in the middle of South Superhighway.The engine malfunctioned.We hurriedly got out (panicky),scared it might explode or something.

I am Never Riding BICOL ISAROG Bus Again

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


And there's  another reason why your stay at Ten Cents To Heaven can be  an adventure  of a lifetime ---The JUNGLE BASE  4x4 ADVENTURE

After  the 4x4 ride experience in Mt.Pinatubo a few years ago,I thought this  one will be a child's play.I was wrong again.Walang sinabi ang 4x4 Ride  sa Pinatubo!I  underestimated the terrain in the Sierra Madre  side of Tanay Rizal.If  the Mt.Pinatubo trail is bumpy,this one is 3x  more extreme!

Jungle Base Tanay Firing Range and 4x4 Center 
 JUNGLE BASE TANAY 4x4 Adventure

Monday, February 18, 2013

TEN CENTS TO HEAVEN Tanay w/ the Longest Zipline in Luzon

Move over Mt.Samat,here comes the Longest Zipline in Luzon! With a total lenght of 1.1km, the zipline of TEN CENTS TO HEAVEN Leisure Park Tanay Rizal easily dwarfs that of 540m zipline in Mount Samat Bataan.

Staying true to its name---Ten Cents To Heaven is not just a destination for a romantic retreat but also for Adventure.

I was lucky to be in the place a few weeks ago and tried the zipline myself.I think I mentioned before that I am no fan of ziplines but I guess I now have a new addition to the activities that I wanna do.The Philippines is zipline crazy and it's great that my first 'real' zipline experience was at Ten Cents To Heaven.

 Ten Cents To Heaven Zipline
Longest Zipline in Luzon at TEN CENTS TO HEAVEN Tanay Rizal

Sunday, February 17, 2013

TEN CENTS TO HEAVEN Tanay: Where Romance Meets Adventure

Is there a place where Adventure Meets Romance?Yes.But an hour land tour from Manila?That might be a difficult feat.Well,read carefully---places like this do exist.

At the foot of Sierra Madre in Tanay Rizal lies a leisure park where you can have the adventure of your life and still experience that Romantic Getaway less the grind of traveling far ----at TEN CENTS TO HEAVEN Tanay.


Spain’s Finest

Ah, Spain. Land of the siesta. The godfather of beach holidays. Home of sangria. And one of the UK’s most popular holiday destinations. Spain has a lot going for it and as thousands, even millions of sun-starved Brits will tell you, it’s certainly a cracking holiday destination.

But holidays in Spain are not always, well, in Spain. That’s because there are plenty of outlying islands that are Spanish owned, meaning you can still enjoy the Spanish culture (and sangria) without sticking to the mainland.

Menorca is one such destination. As part of the Balearic archipelago located just off the coast of the mainland, Menorca holidays have got all the hallmarks of Spain except it’s a lot more condensed. But there’s something else too. Unlike its livelier neighbors of Majorca and Ibiza, Menorca is much quieter, and it typically attracts visitors looking for a tranquil break in beautiful surroundings. With gorgeous beaches, pine-fringed bays and sprawling nature reserves, Menorca certainly ticks those two boxes.
Menorca Holidays
photo source:here

Friday, February 15, 2013

Seafood Overload at MARINOLD Bar and Grill Seaside Macapagal

Because I was inspired by the seafood experience in Baybay Roxas City,I thought, why not try Macapagal Boulevard?

Both places offer a seafood market with a "paluto" concept.Meaning,you buy your fresh seafood from the market in the complex,pick a restaurant,and have it cooked by that establishment for a particular charge.

Craving for seafood? MARINOLD BAR AND GRILL is the answer.

Seafood Overload at MARINOLD Bar and Grill Seaside

Thursday, February 14, 2013

WORRY FREE TRAVEL w/ GLOBE: useful iPhone apps while on the road

I was in Bicol Region for  four days navigating the provinces of Camarines Norte,Camarines Sur and Albay a few days ago.Except for Calaguas island where cellphone signal is impossible to any network,my mobile phone company Globe  kept me on the know all throughout the tour.

The final leg of the trip, (Legazpi,Albay) proved to be a bit challenging.I have to admit I didn't research much on the place coz I thought it would be such a breeze.But the weather was uncooperative during our stay that I had to go from plan A to plan B.The problem was,I only had plan A.The rest,I had to compensate on real time mobile searches.This the time when you appreciate a reliable mobile data subscription. Using my favorite iPhone travel apps, I was able to maximize my stay in Legazpi and pulled out a few discoveries.

Here are two iPhone travel apps which kept me in the loop.......


Show how MAX YOU LOVE YOUR WIFE this Valentines month

How do you measure love?Is it even measurable?These are difficult questions to answer.This I can say though ----LOVE IS AN ACTION,NOT AN EMOTION.I have to constantly remind myself that,not just because it's love month but because love is something we need to express through our actions every single day.

Simple manifestations can go far.You cannot just keep saying "I love you" without a corresponding act to support it.As a lover, you should know what excites your wife,girlfriend or boyfriend.

Here are some of the things I do to keep the spark in my relationship with my wife.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The ORIENTAL'S Hot and Perfect V-Day!

What is your plan for Valentines Day?

Just got back last night from a tour of Bicol Region. Camarines Norte,Camarines Sur and Albay with Legazpi as the final stop.We stayed in one of the best hotel (if not the best) in Legazpi-----THE ORIENTAL--- and I know how romantic the place is.You too can experience a romantic celebration this love month.

The Oriental Hotels and Resorts offers the perfect place to celebrate love as it sets the stage for passion during the most romantic season of the year amidst the backdrop of nature’s wonder- the Mt. Mayon in Legazpi City or a wonderful historical site--.MacArthur Landing Memorial of Leyte.
The ORIENTAL'S Hot and Perfect V-Day!

18th Philippine HOT AIR BALLOON FIESTA 2013 Schedule + Event Map

It's 8 days to go before the grandest HOT AIR BALLOON Festival in the Philippines.Save the date, February 21-24,2013.Locals know it as Clark Hot Air Balloon Festival and 2013 is going to be the 18th installment.Sabay ng Panagbenga Festival. Haven't tried both so I am now confused where to go!haha

Here is the Schedule of The 18th Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta 2013.

 18th Philippine HOT AIR BALOON FIESTA 2013 Schedule + Event Map
photo courtesy of Rock Gonzales 

THE GREAT OUTDOORS: Ultimate Energetic Pursuits

Many of us have said, and continue to say, that they want to do more with their day; get outside, enjoy the fresh air and try a new sport, perhaps? But how many of us actually do it, or even have time to do it when we’re not working or homemaking? Make a New Year resolution this year and promise yourself that you will try something new. What better way to hone a new skill than in an environment that a holiday abroad brings? Here are ten activities for inspiration.
Cycling in Japan
photo source:here

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

ALTA VISTA DE BORACAY + Puka Beach = Worry Free Travel

Who says Boracay is not for Solo Travel?I actually dread the idea of going to Boracay alone.For the many times I've been here,I always had my wife by my side.It is after all famous for couples and honeymooners.Travel +Leisure in its February 2013 Issue actually placed it 5th among the Most Romantic Island in the World.But as I said, in Boracay, there is something for everybody.

I was here in transient for the final leg of my #Roxas-Kalibo-Boracay Extended Weekend with Ati-Atihan as the main event.That didn't stop me from making the most of my stay here though.And I stayed in one of the best kept accommodation on the island.On top of the hills of Brgy.Yapak lies ALTA VISTA DE BORACAY.
ALTA VISTA DE BORACAY + Puka Beach = Worry Free Travel

Thursday, February 7, 2013


Boracay was the final leg of my Roxas-Kalibo-Boracay extended weekend.An icing on the cake.If there is one thing I loooooove about white beach,it's that it's awashed with hot bodies.And as I said,it's not even summer yet! Weather is weird lately and some of friends were in Boracay the day before I arrived and they complained about the gloomy weather.It was all sunny when I arrived 3pm in the island though.Equipped with my 200mm Nikkor telephoto lens,I feasted on the sight.Paparazzi mode at Boracay White Beach activate!

Remember  teleboso in WHITE BEACH Boracay ????
Consider this a sequel :)

 sunbathing at WHITE BEACH BOARACY

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

PUERTO DEL SOL Wedding Package Rates + Inclusions

This the love month and the "Wedding Season"in the Philippines has officially started.Or,has it? As early as December I guess.Actually, when we were at Puerto Del Sol Beach Resort & Hotel Club last November 10, a wedding was ongoing.Beach Wedding!

Posting photos in my previous post 10 Reasons why I keep coming back to PUERTO DEL SOL BEACH RESORT  prompted some followers to ask about their Wedding Package Rates and Inclusions.Here is the complete list para madali nang mag-explain.lol

Beach Wedding @ Puerto Del Sol 
 PUERTO DEL SOL Wedding Package Rates + Inclusions

18 Twitter online specialists for @Talk2Globe

"Globe is humanizing the experience of consumers and building relationships that matter." I like that line!
As such Globe launches 18 new faces on Twitter’s @Talk2Globe.

As part of its commitment to deliver superior customer experience to complement its modernized network, Globe Telecom has beefed up its online customer support with the launch of eighteen new online specialists who will engage customers via Twitter @Talk2GLOBE, operating 24/7.

18 Twitter online specialistsfor @Talk2Globe

From CHATEAU 1771 with Love

US Angus Bone-in Rib Steak ,Rougie Duck Leg Confit ,Chilean Seabass in Salt Crust.Spice up your Valentines date with these rare French classics!

For something to be defined as “signature dishes” it’s already successful. But for a restaurant with a solid fan base says that there’s something for a limited time only, it should capture anyone’s attention. And for the first time in twenty five years, Chateau 1771’s executive chef Vicky Rose Pacheco introduces her top picks for lunch and dinner set menus for the Valentine’s Day.

For lunch, worth the highlight is the watercress soup with lavash bread and its relieving, sophisticated texture. A natural super food, it’s heartwarming and oozing with revitalizing nutrients. While the main course, it will give you two options, but since grilling steak is a serious business at Chateau 1771, the seared U.S. beef tenderloin with blue cheese stuffing (P1, 300+) is a hefty reward for any meat lover.
US Angus Bone-in Rib Steak
US Angus Bone-in Rib Steak at CHATEAU 1771


February is not only love month but it also the signals the start of PyromusicalCompetition in the Philippines  ---the 4th PHILIPPINE INTERNATIONAL PYROMUSICAL COMPETITION 2013 will start February 16!

For six weeks, the skies of Manila will light up again as SM Mall of Asia hosts the 4th installment of this event.It's interesting to see the entry of Taiwan this year. Canada was the Champion last year but they will not be joining this year.Watch out therefore for 2nd placer Australia.And China is the perennial favorite of course!
Finland (12)
photo courtesy of Chris Vallejera

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

sneaked into SAN ANTONIO RESORT Roxas City

This is where I initially wanted to stay.it's close to the airport and Baybay,the seafood restaurant district of Roxas City and the resort setting attracted me at first.But since I came as a solo traveler,I find their rooms a bit pricey especially that most of the time will be spent exploring the new place.They have rooms worth 800php,I think to cater to backpackers, but they were fully booked that time.SAN ANTONIO RESORT Roxas City was slashed out of my options.

But that didn't stop my curiosity.I really wanted to see the resort.We dropped by for a quick peek which turned out to be some sort of sneaking in to a private property.hahahaha

San_Antonio_Resort_roxas City 

Churros and Special Buko Pie at SPANGGO CAFE & Pasalubong Center

We instructed Manong tricycle driver to take us back to Roxas City and drop us at the Heritage House of Manuel Roxas.Yes,the city is named after the last president of the Philippine Commonwealth,Manuel Roxas.

Unfortunately,the house was closed that time.Francis and I decided to take a walk instead back to the city's old center when we noticed a small but chickly designed Cafe ---- SPANGGO Cafe and Pasalubong Center.

Francis said it is new but is making a name in the city so we checked it out.

 Churros at SPANGGO CAFE & Pasalubong Center

Monday, February 4, 2013

PAN-AY CHURCH: beauty in old age + the Biggest Church Bell in Asia?

If you think Immaculate Conception Metropolitan Cathedral is already the grandest in the area of Roxas City,think again.Around 30 minutes outside the confines of the Capital of Capiz lies the town of Pan-ay where the 3-century old Sta.Monica Parish Church is located.It's popularly known as PAN-AY CHURCH.

If you think Immaculate Conception is old,this one is ooooold.If you feel that Immaculate Conception is wow, this one is woooooooow!Yang ganyang pakiramdam.:p

There's beauty in old age.
 Pan-Ay Church Roxas City 
 PAN-AY CHURCH: beauty in old age

Sunday, February 3, 2013

seafood galore at BAYBAY Roxas City

Time to check if Roxas City lives to its name as the Seafood Capital of the Philippines.

Close to the airport is an area they call Baybay. Baybay is the local word for the sea or seaside and true enough,Baybay is the beach area of Roxas City where there are many restaurants selling fresh seafood and offer "paluto".It's past what they call  "Peoples Park" which is an open space for people to stroll while contemplating on the seaside view.This is Roxas City's answer to Manila's Baywalk.
Buttered Scallops at Bebing's Seafood Restaurant Baybay Roxas City

Friday, February 1, 2013

SKY GARDEN HOTEL Roxas City: clean,classy,affordable

Accommodation in the Philippines is diversifying.The sector is maturing.Translation:there is something for everybody.

There is therefore no excuse try budget accommodation these days.More and more budget hotels are breaking the stereotype that anything cheaper than 3,000php is trash.Another testament to that is the place where I stayed in Roxas City two weeks ago----- SKY GARDEN HOTEL.

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