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Flight chronicles of the backpacker Tutubi, with travelogues, pictures/photos/videos, travel guides, independent and honest reviews, affordable, recommended resorts and hotels (including inns, guesthouses, pension houses, lodges, hostels, condotels, bed and breakfast and other cheap accommodations), commuting guides, routes (sometimes street maps and GPS coordinates/waypoints) and driving directions to answer "how to get there" questions, information and tips on tourism, budget travel and living in Philippines, Exotic Asia and beyond!

Backpacking, independent travel, and flashpacking are cheaper than the "cheapest package tours" and promotional offers around but you can also use travel information for family vacations, even romantic honeymoon destinations.

More than the usual tourist spots and "places to see," this blog advocates heritage conservation, environmental protection, and history awareness for Filipinos, foreigners, and ex-pats wishing to explore Paradise Philippines and Exotic Asia!
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    Windmills in Rizal? 54MW Wind Farm in Pililla, Rizal by Alternergy Wind One Corporation

    When Tutubi fifrst heard the news of the construction of a 54 megawatt windfarm to generate electricity using wind turbines (not wind mills), he already forewaw that those "wind mills" would become a tourist attraction similar to the now famous "windmills" in Bangui, Ilocos Norte by NorthWind near the beaches of Pagudpud.

    Tutubi has been passing by the area for months now yet only recently did he drove up to the viewdeck to go nearer the gigantic turbines






    Note:

    No entrance fee to enter Pililla Wind Farm, there are enterprising individuals there who wants to make money

    How to Get to Pililla, Rizal:

    driving directions from Manila:
    take Marcos Highway, right to Sumulong up to Antipolo, left after Antipolo Public Market and Robinsons Antipolo, go around the rotonda to turn left,
    pass Teresa Rizal, left in Sambat (landmark: Flying V), take the highway of Morong and Tanay then the twisties of Pililla. you see markers on the highway by Alternergy.

    Commuting to Pililla, Rizal is easy but getting to the actual viewdeck is not. From EDSA Crossing/Starmall, take a jeepney going to Tanay, Rizal. In Tanay, transfer to a SIniloan, Laguna jeepney but drop off near the service road to Alternergy then walk up

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    posted by backpacking philippines @ 9:34 PM, , links to this post

    UBE Express: NAIA Premium Bus Service (Fare and Schedule from Manila Airport)

    Here's good news to passengers to/from Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA or simply Manila Airport)), besides the yellow taxis, coupon taxis, and car rentals, you may now take the premium bus from NAIA Terminals 1, 2 and 3.

    UBE Express Fleet: 6 units for interim service, 42 units for permanent service by June 2016


    Premium bus fare: PhP300.00 (this is premium guys, not economy. you can catch city buses to EDSA from NAIA Terminals, 1, 2 and 3)

    Routes:

    1. Makati CBD Stops: Glorietta 4, Glorietta 5, Ascott Hotel.

    2. Roxas Boulevard stops: Midas Hotel, Hotel Jen, Manila Hotel, Mall of Asia, and the Entertainment City



    Per the official Press Release:

    "Each bus can accommodate 24 passengers and has large compartments for baggage.

    The premium bus is equipped with closed-circuit television cameras (CCTV), Global Positioning System (GPS), and an on-board Wi-Fi facility.

    Passengers who wish to take the premium bus may approach the transportation desk personnel at the arrival curbside area for assistance. An automated fare collection system will also be developed in the future to provide the option for advanced online booking.

    The premium bus service has an LTFRB-approved flat rate of P300.

    The buses will be manned by trained drivers and an on-board transport attendant, similar to an airline flight attendant."

    Are you interested in taking this premium bus service from the Aiport or only if you have no choice.
    that the taxi queue is too long?

    Tip: you can link up this service with the point-to-point buses to Ortigas and Trinoma from Glorietta 5 too :)

    How about letting GrabCar/GrabTaxi or Uber to serve airport passengers? Oh I remember, the car rental companies are controlled by shenanigans in the airport :(

    Related posts:
    Bus Terminals in Cubao
    Bus Station in Pasay/Taft/LRT Buendia
    Bus Stations in Pasay Taft EDSA Rotonda

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    posted by backpacking philippines @ 8:01 PM, , links to this post

    Victoria Court Hotel is Not Just a Short Time Motel

    A friend of Tutubi just sent some pictures and few words on Victoria Court Hotel, which has a distinction as a premium "short time" motel, as a viable hotel for families and party venue too.

    What differentiates Victoria Court and other motels/hotels from the usual hotels is that they don't follow the strict check in time of 12nn (up to 2pm) and check out of 12nn (or 11am) the following day. You only pay approximately per hour of stay, the shortest of which is usually 3 hours then you pay their overtime rate. This flexible check in/out time is convenient for may travelers and thus offer cheaper alternative to usual hotel accommodations.

    Victoria Court Review:

    These pictures were taken from Victory Court Pasig branch, specifically Victoria Court Hillcrest (the other 2 branches in Pasig, all just beside each other are Victoria Court Canley and Victoria Court Panorama)

    typical deluxe room of Victoria Court Hillcrest, they have the queen size bed, 32" LED TV with cable and porn/adult channel (so they say), hot/cold shower with bidet and lots of mirrors. You can even food and drinks to be delivered to your room

    Victoria Court room rates for 3 hours (short time), 12 hours and full 24 hours plus overtime rate per hour. Note: Victoria Court Pasig has the highest room rates of their branches when inquired through their Facebook page, please inquire from them directly for the latest room rates (they have an official website and telephone number/contact number and email). For example the three hour rate for other branches is PhP595.00

    Checking in to Victoria Court and other motels in Manila is fairly easy and very discreet and private for those who have a car (or came in via taxi "biglang liko"), just drive in, tell the room boy/attendant what kind of room you want (they even have a hand signal), park your car, then enter your room just beside (or above) the garage. You don't need to go to the lobby (where you can be seen). After your stay, just call the operator to check out, the room boy will hand you the bill himself. Just pay him, he will raise the garage door and you drive off.

    For taxi rooms, you hire a taxi to get there and be dropped off in taxi rooms. on check out, you can even call front desk for a taxi/vehicle which is heavily tinted. You can also walk in to check in but you need to pass by the lobby where you can be seen (if you want to be discreet but if this not an issue for you, it's ok)

    Like typical high-end hotels, Victoria Court room rates are inclusive two complimentary bottles of water plus toiletries like two toothbrushes, soap and shampoo and a condom :)

    Victoria Court Branches

    Victoria Court Pasay
    Victoria Court Malate
    Victoria Court Las Pinas
    Victoria Court Gil Puyat (Pasay, near NAIA, Manila Airport)
    Victoria Court Cuneta (Pasay, near NAIA, Manila Airport)
    Victoria Court North EDSA (Caloocan)
    Victoria Court Malabon
    Victoria Court San Fernando (Pampanga)

    Some branches of Victoria Court have special theme rooms like the 50 Shades of Grey room which is a replica of the room of Christian Grey in the 50 Shades of Grey movie, The Asgard Room from Thor of Marvel Comics, Game of Thrones and others. Just be prepared to shell out much higher room rates for deluxe/super deluxe suites though. Some rooms are even so big thay they have bath tubs and jacuzzis where you can hold parties (including stag parties and bridal showers) for men, women and even kids alike.

    Lastly, Vitoria Court discount cards are available for loyal clients to get discounts on room rates, food and beverages.

    for other budget motels, please check this link:
    Short time motels in Manila

    *this is not a sponsored post but should Victoria Court provide Tutubi with a discount card, he'll accept it and use on Valentines Day for a change :)




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    posted by backpacking philippines @ 8:36 PM, , links to this post

    Froelich Tours Double Decker Buses on EDSA: Fares, Trip Schedules and Issues/Concerns

    Tutubi drives everyday from home to work as a matter of convenience as the present public transportation is chaotic, inconvenient and unsafe.

    the DOTC and the LTFRB started the holiday point-to-point express bus service with the aim of convincing car owners to leave car at home to avail of the premium bus service of just park their cars at SM North EDSA, SM Megamall or Glorietta

    UPDATE Effective February 15, 2016, trip schedules posted here via Froelich Tours FB page


    these premium double decker buses have a seating capacity of 70 passengers. The VIP lounge has a toilet (comfort room or CR), Refrigerator, TV at tables. There are GPS, free Internet wifi and CCTV for security (hold-ups and pickpockets can be avoided

    Trinoma to Glorietta 5 Trip Schedules :
    first trip: 5:30am and every fifteen minutes thereafter

    UPDATE Effective February 15, 2016, trip schedules posted here via Froelich Tours FB page


    Double Decker Bus Fare:

    Route SM Megamall – Glorietta 5: PhP40.00
    SM North Edsa – Glorietta (vice versa): PhP55.00

    Tutubi's issues and concerns

    It would be better if they also solve last mile problem from Glorietta to Ayala Avenue (probably near Paseo de Roxas) as this can walked of transfer to derepit buses plying the Ayala/Leveriza route?

    How about premium buses from BGC, MRT, Ayala (or Buendia) to LRT and even up to SM Mall of Asia?
    this solves the inconvenience of commuting from BGC to Makati CBD which usually takes a taxi ride?
    Government don't know this because they don't take public transportation

    If they can fix the MRT to be efficient, connect it to LRT 1 at SM North/Trinoma then have another convenient link to Ortigas CBD (sort of loop service) and to BGC, I will really leave my car at home but for now-- it's a BIG NO!

    to really professionalize and make efficient public transportation, buses drivers and conductors must be paid fixed and decent wages, same with jeepney drivers and remove the medieval boundary system. This way, drivers can load/unload only at designated stops, won't engage in racing, won't linger at corners and be more disciplined too


    Note:
    pictures source unknown as of this time

    Bus Terminals in Cubao
    Bus Station in Pasay/Taft/LRT Buendia
    Bus Stations in Pasay Taft EDSA Rotonda

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    posted by backpacking philippines @ 10:28 PM, , links to this post

    DFA: How to Apply for Passport Validity Extension: Fees and Appointment Schedule

    You'll be traveling abroad soon and you realized that your password will expire within six months of your departure, to which you cannot depart due to the six months validity rule of your foreign destination. You head over/inquire at the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) for the earliest passport renewal schedule and you get at least two months

    Worse, even if you get an earlier passport renewal appointment, the very efficient guys at the DFA cannot deliver your passport due to passport printer issues and huge backlogs.

    Solution: apply for a passport validity extension for free, for a maximum of one year, subject to evaluation

    Procedure on How to Apply for Passport Validity Extension

    1. Confirm with DFA ASEANA or various DFA Regional Offices for appointment schedule for passport extension. This post is for the DFA NCR-Central, Office of Consular Affairs
    in Robinsons Galleria mall in Quezon City. Other malls in NCR with DFA offices are SM Megamall in Mandaluyong and

    Passport extension applications are processed in the afternoon at DFA Robinsons Galleria, after the 150 passport applicants are done, with priority given to overseas Filipino workers (OFWs)

    Robinsons Galleria Lingkod Pinoy Center where the Department of Foreign Affairs, Office of Consular Affairs office accepting passport applications and extensions are processed


    2. At DFA or OCA office, line up for the Passport Application Form and queue number issuance
    3. Fill out passport application form and queue at the Verification Counter to submit the form
    4. Proceed to cashier (passport extension fee is free/gratis but a necessary step)
    5. Wait for another 30 minutes for the release of passport with extended validity stamp

    Passport validity extension stamp on a new passport extension, similar to a VISA stamp


    In Summary (Rant mode):

    How to Apply DFA Passport Extension:

    1. Visit DFA Aseana (near SM Mall of Asia) or any DFA Regional Office
    2. Line up for the Form (which the bright people of DFA hasn't thought of making available online) and queue number
    3. Line up again at the Verification counter to submit the form (wait for your queue number to be called)
    4. After checking your verfication documents, and signing of logbook
    5. Proceed to cashier, just to stamp that it's free as in gratis
    6. Wait for 30 minutes for your name to be called
    7. Receive your passport extended validity with a stamp

    Total Time Wasted: FOUR freakin' HOURS due to government inefficiency of huge passport printing backlog

    Other DFA Regional Offices:
    Angeles City, Bacolod, Baguio, Butuan, Cagayan de Oro (CDO), Cebu, Cotabato, Davao, GenSan, Iloilo, San Fernando (La Union), Legazpi, Lipa City, Lucena, Pampanga Robinsons StarMill City of San Fernando, Pampanga Puerto Princesa (Palawan), Tacloban, Tuguegarao, Zamboanga

    Related Posts:
    OFW OEC Scam
    DFA Passport Application in SM Megamall and Robinsons Galleria
    Green Star Express

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    posted by backpacking philippines @ 8:16 PM, , links to this post