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Monday, May 27, 2013

Pusangkalye's TOP PINOY TRAVEL BLOG 2013

Talked to people and many of them are not yet aware of blogs, especially travel blogs.I am pretty confident though that when they hit google and search for a place and how to reach it, chances are, they would land on a travel blog of which they are not aware of. The power of social media is a big push for Philippine Tourism and I am proud to be part of the revolution.

And there are so many travel blogs out there making sure every inch of the country is covered.You can see bloggers go to places never heard of before.It's amazing how through word of mouth and online, new tourists destinations are created.

My travel blog is an offspring of my 5-year old then confused blog. On shaky ground as it might have started, I have always maintained it to be highly personal.And when it eveolved into more of a travel-lifestyle blog, the highly personal approach is still there.After all, -----travel is a personal experience.

Filipino travel bloggers are very active. And since www.outoftownblog.com is having a survey on the
2013 Top Pinoy Travel Blog , I would like to take the opportunity to mention the blogs that has influenced, inspired and surprised me through the years.This in no particular order.

Pusangkalye's TOP PINOY TRAVEL BLOG 2013

"Let's-get-it-over-with" MASSAGE at BAO JIAN Reflexology Bukit Bintang KL

By the time this is posted,I might be somewhere in Bangkok having "authentic" Thai massage. I wanna experience what real Thai massage is like and see if their masseurs are really good. Having said that,I remember the massage I had along Bukit Bintang in Kuala Lumpur last year.

We were warned by our tour guide from Tourism Malaysia to be careful not to walk along Bukit Bintang alone at night. "Women in mini-skirts and spaghetti straps (and possibly ladyboys) might approach you to offer sex-for-pay" he said, "the best thing to do is to simply walk away". On our 2nd night at KL though, I was alone at the hotel as all of my blogger companions went to different places.

READ: http://www.pusangkalye.net/search/label/Kuala%20Lumpur

Left with nothing to do,I set out to try full body massage at BAO JIAN Reflexology along Bukit Bintang Kuala Lumpur. They call it full body massage, I call it "Let's-Get-Over-It" Massage. :)

BAO JIAN Reflexology Bukit Bintang KL 

Monday, May 20, 2013

PAHIYAS 2013: a taste of Lucban's Festival of Colors

photo and text by: Ysa Lavadia

Ever since I learned about the Pahiyas Festival when I was younger, I've always wanted to go. But every year, it's been excuse after excuse, and I always end up not going.

This year, a friend brought it up, and I decided no more excuses. On the morning of May 15, I got on a bus and made it happen.

A house decorated with stalks of rice and kiping chandeliers 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Li Li Restaurant's All-You-Can-Eat DIM SUM Buffet for only 888php #HyattManila

I feel guilty every time we travel on limited budget coz the first thing that we always have to sacrifice is food. Not that we don't eat but we often end up in fast food chains. On our Macau-HK trip in 2011 for example, we failed to fully experience Chinese cuisine. How sad. We know better now that you can always find a good place to eat without necessarily hurting your pocket ---even locally.

We always regard hotel buffets as expensive.I actually get the feeling that hotel buffets in the Philippines are relatively more expensive than in Malaysia for example.Weird.

To hear that HYATT MANILA has an All-You-Can-Eat DIM SUM Buffet for only 888php nett (really????) was a surprise and at the same time ---a celebration.

It's for real. Dimsum All You Can at Li Li Hyatt Manila for ONLY 888php!!!
Steamed fresh scallops dumpling 
aty Li Li Restaurant's All-You-Can-Eat DIM SUM Buffet

Monday, May 13, 2013

Bridal Buff Package at AHAVIA LOUNGE SPA San Juan

I guess this is what they mean with "A Slice of Manila's Hidden Places".

AHAVIA SPA LOUNGE is no secret but one which is literally hidden (being located inside a residential area in the middle of San Juan rather than on a main road where most business establishments are.) Kailangan mong sadyain tong place na to coz it's not even accessible by public transport but for all the right reasons, it's all worth it!

We have tried so many good spas so I feel nervous each time we check a new one.Nervous for myself for not getting satisfied and nervous for the establishment for the possibility of being bashed out in my blog.haha

Ahavia Loungue Spa_San Juan

Globe Tattoo Brings MARLON STOCKINGER and Lotus F1 Team closer to fans

Okay, I didn't get to see Marlon Stockinger up close and personal coz I came from a food event at Hyatt Manila and the venue at MOA Concert Grounds was already cordoned off when I got there but at least I got to see him drive the Lotus F1 race car and it was amazing! Tindi pala ng sound ng F1 cars, very intimidating.You can feel its power with the sound of the engine alone.

Lotus F1 race car, piloted by Tattoo brand ambassador Marlon Stockinger

TATTOO, the most reliable broadband in the country, literally took to the streets last weekend to showcase speed and power as it unleashed the fastest car on the planet by flying in to Manila for the very first time an authentic, race-tested Lotus F1 car.
TATTOO Brings Marlon Stockinger closer to fans

Behind the Doors of CHATEAU 1771: 25th year celebrated with a book launch

Filipinos are very discriminating when it comes to food.I say, one of the most difficult to please. So many critics and so many picky eaters. Idagdag mo pa yung mga maaarte.To stay in the restaurant business for years is tough.I have nothing but big admiration therefore for CHATEAU 1771 for 25 years of solid presence in the industry. That's a wow!

And what better way to celebrate 25 years of success than with a book ------ "Behind the Doors of Chateau 1771" which was launch last May 18 at Ayala Museum Makati.

All those who attended got their own copy of the book with autograph from Chef Vicky Pacheo who is no doubt one of the main driving force if the brand as well as the owners themselves Ricky Gutierrez and Tess Bautista See who opened the first branch 25 years ago taking inspiration from Ricky's address being 1771 Adriatico Street.
Behind the Doors of CHATEAU 1771 book launch

Sunday, May 12, 2013

SHELL ISLAND at Hundred Islands National Park

I am writing this entry for my blogger friends and occasional travel buddies Mil and Ed of www.pinasmuna.com as they will be going to the Hundred Islands in Alaminos on May 18-19.

Of course 100 Islands is next to my hometown so I frequent the place.It's more of a love-it-hate-it destination for me since medyo nakakasawa na.It's weird though coz despite so many visits, I am still not very familiar with the place. We frequent the usual spots like "Quezon Island, Children's Island, Governor's Island".That until 2010 when Mica of www.senyorita.net and I organized a Hundred Islands Blogger's Tour.

We coordinated with the Local Tourism Board and they were very accommodating.Thanks to Mr. Rey Livara for assisting us, I came to appreciate Hundred Islands in a different light.

Of course, bagsak parin namin on our last leg of the Island Hopping Tour was Quezon Island, but at least, we got to visit Shell Island which for me was one of the highlights of the trip.

Here are some photos of Shell Island.

SHELL ISLAND at Hundred Islands National Park

DFA PASSPORT APPLICATION/RENEWAL GUIDE: Online Appointment, Requirements, How Much, Tips, etc.

Update: May 19, 2018
I renewed my passport today for the 2nd time, and as usual I was in a rush as I got a flight on July but took me until May to renew. Never again, I should renew 6 months before expiry next time, some even get an appointment a year before. Although to be honest, getting an appointment is not easy,  DFA usually opens schedule two consecutive months at a time. I have been waiting since January to get an appointment and always missed. Finally got one end of April, and almost missed, less than 24 hours after they opened May, June and July and slot in Metro Manila and as far as Lucena, Lipa, Pampanga, Marquee Mall and Calasiao were full. I was able to secure one in San Fernando La Union, imagine? San Fernando, and it was July 7 at that! Good thing a friend of mine a week before May 19 mentioned about it, that he secured one for June in San Fernando. So the advise is, regularly check the DFA website as additional slots are sometimes opened and some cancel their appointments to transfer to other sites. I was able to secure one in DFA Alabang at an earlier date. Saved me on the cost of taking the bus all the way to La Union and back just to get a passport, not to mention the time constraint.

Original Post, Published Dec. 5, 2013

This has been another learning process. Ako na ang travel blogger na tanga. And I was negligent. I will be flying to Vietnam on May 24 and it was only on May 2 that I decided to renew my passport which will expire June 16. Of course Philippine Immigration will not allow me to fly out of the country unless my passport is valid for the next 6 months on the day of departure. I was so relaxed thinking that it takes only 1 week now to renew a passport especially because the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) already has satellite offices in SM-Megamall, SM-Manila and Robinsons Galleria for renewals. I remember getting my passport in 2008 via travel agency and it took me only 2 weeks. Fast forward May 2, 2013.  checked appointment slots online via http://passport.com.ph/,

SM-Megamall, earliest available slot June 5, omaygad!
SM-Manila, June 7!
Robinsons Galleria June 15.
I was in panic!



PHILIPS LED PH "Promise of a Greener World" photo exhibit + photo contest winners

Last Saturday, May 4, was the launch of Philips LED PH's photo exhibit at SM-Mall of Asia Main Mall Atrium where 16 photographs by the Young Photographer's Club of the Philippines (YOPHO) where showcased among which was my picture entitled "Generation Green".Thank you very much to all the support of my friends as my photo was voted "People's Choice" and it also entered the top 8 of the competition.Unfortunately, it wasn't able to make the cut for the top 3 spots.Still, I don't feel less and I am very thankful for the support and I am very proud of my photo.

PHILIPS' Promise of a Greener World Campaign is aimed at using LED lighting solutions can help reduce the Philippines’ carbon footprint, and avert the drastic effects of global warming.

Kuya KIM for Philips LED PH

Friday, May 10, 2013

#TheBayleafIntramuros: the SKY DECK VIEW BAR dinner date

The first three (3) years of marriage they say is the most critical stage.Ours has been one with a lot of fun and excitement. We love doing things together so we have been having a wonderful adventure especially because we don't have kids yet. I wouldn't deny though that there have been a few bumps along the way.But nothing couldn't be solved with "good communication".

I realized that there have been small issues building up lately and my wife was starting to manifest her disappointment with me. I thought about a dinner date at The Bayleaf Intramuros' SKY DECK VIEW BAR as a perfect place to reconnect and patch things up.I sure am glad the planned pushed through.

the SKY DECK VIEW BAR dinner date

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

breakfast buffet at 9 SPOONS The Bayleaf Intramuros

I really mean it when I said that dining is one of the strongest asset of The Bayleaf Intramuros.

Do the Math. If you have a room accommodation worth approximately 3,500php (less than $100) which includes breakfast buffet for two, you would assume that all you can be afforded would be a "simple" breakfast.Wrong.I was surprised when I saw the selection they have at 9 Spoons which is where breakfast buffet for in-house guests is served daily.

Here are the photos to give you an idea.

breakfast buffet at 9 SPOONS The Bayleaf Intramuros

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The BAYLEAF INTRAMUROS: Amazing view, Unbeatable Dining Experience

What makes a hotel a cut from the rest?That is a hard question. Minsan kasi pare-pareho na. That was also the first thing I asked myself when we tried The BAYLEAF INTRAMUROS. 
Fortunately, it's easy to answer.

No other hotel is situated inside the walled city of Intramuros, that in itself is something.

2.Amazing View
None among any of the hotels I experienced has a SKY DECK VIEW BAR with a view of Metro Manila skyline this nice.Read on.

3.Unbeatable Dining
Great food  + a perfect cityscape view (day in and day out) compliments to an unbeatable dining experience.That, without hurting your pocket.
the lobby of The Bayleaf Intramuros

Monday, May 6, 2013

my failed ALIWAN FIESTA 2013 coverage + List of Winners

"Anton,what is Aliwan?" one blogger asked. "It is the convergence of all major festivals in the Philippines on a single festival" I said as if reading from a script.I remember watching Aliwan way back 2003 and I haven't repeated it since.Back then I wasn't convinced.But Aliwan survived the years and 2013 marked it's 11th year.The idea is simple, not everybody has the time and resources to go to each festivals so why not bring them together in a single festival where they compete for the title "Champion of Champions".Brilliant!

And Aliwan hasn't just survived,it has flourished and it continues to go grander and grander.That's the reason why I was raving about it on Facebook and twitter and even told the Manila bloggers I was with during our Panagbenga Tour that we shouldn't miss it this year.


Sunday, May 5, 2013


Not one, not two, not three but 12.Yes, 12 new routes for Philippine Airlines!

Philippine aviation is in full swing and Philippine Airlines beefing up its fleet in response to the expected increase in tourist arrivals as well as the surge of Filipinos from abroad going back and forth to the country.

In a kick-off ceremony at Diamond Hotel last week, Philippine Airlines (PAL) announced launching of 12 new destinations in Australia, China, Malaysia and Middle East, including a new domestic service to Northern Luzon in the continuing expansion of PAL's route network.
Costumes of the different countries for the new destination routes
PAL announced 12 New Routes 

where to eat in El Nido: SEA SLUGS + PUKKA Resto Bar

You don't go cheap on food on your first night in a new place.Dapat pyesta-pyesta muna.So we looked for restaurants along the beachfront even if we know it's much cheaper inland.Tripadvisor mobile app was there to help with with what restaurants are famous in the area but not so much on how to get there.We ended in SEA SLUGS.

 SEA SLUGS Restaurant El Nido

Friday, May 3, 2013

The Mysterious and Creepy MATINLOC SHRINE #ElNido #summer2013

There are soooooo many things to write about El Nido and I thought it would be wonderful to write on each island we hopped in but I thought it would be too much of an effort so I made this travel summary instead
#ElNidoSummer2013: COMBINATION TOUR A and C.

There is one island though (or should I say "spot"), that I would like to specifically discuss for the reason that I find it mysterious.And by saying mysterious,I mean creepy. It's MATINLOC SHRINE.

from the dock of the mysterious and creepy MATINLOC SHRINE

Thursday, May 2, 2013

El Nido COMBINATION TOUR A and C via #NorthernHopeTours

Most people prefer not looking at photos of their travel destination so as not to spoil the fun.That can't be helped in my case since I do all the planning in our trips.Fortunately,in most places we visited,there's always the element of surprise.No matter how researched you are,something unexpected always comes up.That's the beauty of life.

With El Nido though, no matter how many good photos you have seen,the actual experience will always go beyond how good you think it is.It will literally blow your mind.This place is definitely my favorite to date!

There are four (4) main tours in El Nido ----A, B, C and D.Arranging for your island hopping is as easy as buying fast food.All you need to do is to drop by one of the travel/tour companies kiosk somewhere in town.Don't worry where to look coz they are scattered everywhere too.

In our case, we had to pick only one (1) tour since we didn't have the luxury of time.Half of our first day was spent on the transfer from PP to El Nido and the sidetrip to Nacpan-Calintang Twin Beach while the third day meant we have to return to PP to catch our flight back to Manila.That leaves us with Day 2 to go island hopping.

Among the four (4) tours, many said Tours A and C are the best. Good thing many tour agencies now offer COMBINATION TOUR A and C.That means you can get a sample of the best of Tour A and the best of Tour C . Hallelujah!
Island Hopping Rates in El Nido
El Nido Combination Tour A and C


As I said, it's as easy as 1,2,3 in arranging a tour.But if you are sigurista like me, better contact a tour company even before going to El Nido.This is way better coz your contact in El Nido can make life a breeze.They can arrange for everything from van transfer to your hotel accommodation.And don't worry about being overcharged. You even get special discounts!

My Tour Agency of choice of course WHEN IN EL NIDO is Northern Hope Tours.
Ate Neriz: 0939 902 2216 is a superwoman.She is amazing.Actually, tawag ko sa kanya is BDO ----she finds ways .Hehehe

El_Nido Palawan Isalnd Hopping

EL NIDO Island Hopping Rates (2013)
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