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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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    Manila: Hotels, Motels in Sta. Mesa, Pasay and Pasig

    Motels in the Philippines don't have very good reputation, unlike abroad where they're just hotels. They're usually tagged as places to stay, for a short time, for discreet encounters and sex trysts of lovers, illicit or otherwise.

    Motels, though primarily catering couples where privacy is valued, are legitimate cheap places to stay in Manila for weary travelers and even families, some even have themed rooms

    there are at least three places in Metro Manila that are populated with the so called "lovers' motels": Sta Mesa (Manila), Pasig and Pasay City

    Motels in Sta. Mesa, Manila

    Dubbed the Motel Capital of the Philippines, many of these have names of flowers and usually called and belong to the Flower Group, are located on Valenzuela St., Old Sta Mesa and V. Mapa Streets near PUP (Polytechnic University of the Philippines) and Stop N Shop (a no longer extant place near Ramon Magsaysay)

    Queensland Lodge
    Prince Court Lodge
    Town and Country

    Old Sta Mesa street with Gardenia and Halina room rates for "short time" taxi rooms, garage rooms and overnight rates. most taxis you will see here do a maneuver called "biglang liko" :P

    Motels in Pasig

    scattered near Shaw Boulevard and along Hillcrest Drive and Christian Route, many of these hotels also offer very good pancit canton and cheap motel rates

    Dahlia Hotel
    Hill View Lodge
    King Arthur Palace
    Orchids Drive-in Hotel and Restaurant
    Rosal Hotel (Jardin de Rosal)
    Victoria Court

    Motels in Pasay City

    located along F.B. Harrison, EDSA and Roxas Boulevard near Heritage Hotel

    Aliw Inn
    Copacobana Apartment Hotel
    Diamond Inn
    Liza Lodge
    Mabuhay Manor
    Pinoy Pamilya Hotel
    Sogo Grand Hotel


    garage rooms are hotels where you enter and park your vehicles on the ground floor then you walk up the stairs going up to your room. Places are usually dark and privacy guaranteed, you will only meet a roomboy who will also take your orders, check your room and take your payments. How did I know these without really knowing first hand? Google :P

    taxi rooms are rooms where taxis take you and you alight and ride taxis waiting for you. the entrance and exits are usually covered to protect your privacy, in case you need it

    these hotels/motels reported are fully-booked during Valentines Day

    most of these hotels offer discount cards, accept credit card payments (visa, mastecard) and even ATM cards of BancNet.

    Please get in touch with the hotels/motels offiical website , if any, or call for telephone numbers/contact numbers for latest room rates, promos, discount and food menu prices

    lastly, hidden cameras and one way mirrors are just urban legends in motels, it's their business, one faux pas or sex scandal video leak and their business is done.

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    posted by backpacking philippines @ 9:25 PM, , links to this post

    List of 2015 Holidays and Long Weekends per Malacanang Proclamation No. 831

    Tara na, biyahe tayo!

    Start planning for your trips for 2015 and buy your airplane tickets at promo prices soon with the recent release of national holidays for 2015 (and long weekends) per Proclamation No. 831:

    A. Regular Holidays

    New Year’s Day – 1 January (Thursday)
    Maundy Thursday – 2 April
    Good Friday – 3 April
    Araw ng Kagitingan – 9 April (Thursday)
    Labor Day – 1 May (Friday)
    Independence Day – 12 June (Friday)
    National Heroes Day – 31 August (Last Monday of August)
    Bonifacio Day – 30 November (Monday)
    Christmas Day – 25 December (Friday)
    Rizal Day – 30 December (Wednesday)

    B. Special (Non-Working) Day

    Chinese New Year – 19 February (Thursday)
    Black Saturday – 4 April
    Ninoy Aquino Day – 21 August (Friday)
    All Saints Day – 1 November (Sunday)
    Additional special (non-working) days
    – 2 January (Friday)
    - 24 December (Thursday)
    Last Day of the Year – 31 December (Thursday)

    C. Special Holiday (for all schools)
    EDSA Revolution Anniversary – 25 February (Wednesday)

    national holidays for 2015, long weekends list


    Read more after the jump!

    posted by backpacking philippines @ 8:14 PM, , links to this post

    Cheap Flights for a Trip to Hong Kong

    The exotic lure of Asian vacation destinations makes them a big draw for many people and there are some fantastic places to visit. Cheap flights to Hong Kong are low-priced and are backed up by world-class service. This makes it an affordable Asian destination and the following are a few tips for getting flights at a budget price.

    Use Comparison Sites

    A good place to start when trying to find cheap airfares to Hong Kong is to use flight comparison websites. They can search through the deals offered by hundreds of airlines and are an easy way to get an idea of typical prices. Use a few to see what they deals are like and identify the cheapest airlines for your route.

    Airline’s Website

    If you see cheap fares for a particular airline on a comparison site, it can also be worth checking the airline’s website. They may offer the flight at a cheaper cost and this is worth checking.

    Consider Budget Airlines

    A number of budget airlines have Hong Kong as a destination these days and it can be worth checking any that serve the route you are traveling. Budget carriers might not be included in the details provided by comparison websites, so it is worth checking these separately as they may offer unbeatable prices.

    Book Early

    The best prices for many flights tend to disappear early, so check the costs as soon as you know your dates of travel. If you get in early there may be promotional prices on offer that you can take advantage of to get a cheaper fare.

    Day of Travel

    When searching for flights try to be flexible on the actual day of travel. Prices can vary across the week, with midweek flights generally more affordable than weekend travel. Checking costs on a few different days around your time of travel might save you some money.

    A trip to Hong Kong need not be expensive and with a little planning and forethought it should be possible to find flights at a cheap price. The tips above are some ideas that can help with this. Take them on board to save some money on travel so you have more to spend on the many attractions Hong Kong offers once you arrive.

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    posted by backpacking philippines @ 8:44 PM, , links to this post

    Jose Rizal's Favorite Food (153rd Birthday "Party")

    On the 153rd birthday of Philippine national hero, get to know what the man's favorite eats, sort of like a foodie adventure into his stomach.

    What were Jose Rizal's favorite food?

    Answers: tinola (which was served at an event in the opening chapter of Noli Me Tangere), ginisang munggo, and tuyo (which was called sardinas secas). For dessert: toasted pastillas, yema, and empanada

    the dried fish called tuyo and fried rice, Jose Rizal's favorite breakfast

    What's his favorite fish?

    Answer: ayungin (silver perch), endemic to Laguna de Bay, served in different ways, with hefty servings of rice. This was also narrated in his acerbic novel Noli Me Tangere where he wrote "the ayungin is good for sinigang; leave the biya for the escabeche, the dalag and the buan-buan for pesa." They are actually typical Filipino food.

    What's his favorite breakfast?

    Answer: no happy meals here but it's fried rice, tuyo and tsokolate eh (Spanish hot chocolate using tablea)

    Now, Jose Rizal's secret to his genius is in his genes then later developed through hard work and study. It will not help you be a genius if you eat the same food he ate but at least you know geniuses eat like ordinary people.

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    posted by backpacking philippines @ 9:16 PM, , links to this post

    List of Countries with Visa-free Entry to the Philippines

    Here's an updated list of countries whose nationals can freely enter the Philippines visa-free or rather visa on arrival taken from the latest post from the Department Of Foreign Affairs



    Nationals from countries listed below who are traveling to the Philippines for business and tourism purposes are allowed to enter the Philippines without visas for a stay not exceeding thirty (30) days, provided they hold valid tickets for their return journey to port of origin or next port of destination and their passports valid for a period of at least six (6) months beyond the contemplated period of stay. However, Immigration Officers at ports of entry may exercise their discretion to admit holders of passports valid for at least sixty (60) days beyond the intended period of stay.

    Nationals from the following countries are allowed to enter the Philippines without a visa for a
    period of stay of thirty (30) days or less:

    Antigua and Barbuda
    Brunei Darussalam
    Burkina Faso
    Cape Verde
    Central African Republic
    Costa Rica
    Cote d’Ivoire
    Czech Republic
    Democratic Republic of the Congo
    Dominican Republic
    El Salvador
    Equatorial Guinea
    Guinea Bissau
    Lao People’s Democratic Republic
    Marshall Islands
    New Zealand
    Papua New Guinea
    Republic of Korea
    Saint Kitts and Nevis
    Saint Lucia
    Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
    San Marino
    Sao Tome and Principe
    Saudi Arabia
    Slovak Republic
    Solomon Islands
    South Africa
    Trinidad and Tobago
    United Arab Emirates
    United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
    United Republic of Tanzania
    United States of America

    *The following are allowed to enter the Philippines without a visa for a stay not exceeding
    fifty-nine (59) days:

    1. Holders of Brazil passports; and
    2. Holders of Israel passports

    The following are allowed to enter the Philippines without a visa for a stay not exceeding fourteen
    (14) days:

    1. Holders of Hong Kong Special Administrative (SAR) passports
    2. Holders of Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) passports

    The following are allowed to enter the Philippines without a visa for a stay not exceeding seven (7) days:
    1. Holders of Portuguese Passports issued in Macao
    2. Holders of Hong Kong British passports.

    Important Note:

    Nationals who are subjects of deportation/blacklist orders of the Department and the Bureau of Immigration shall not be admitted to the Philippines. Further inquiries may be addressed to the Visa Division (Telephone numbers:556-0000 and ask the operator to connect you to Visa Division), Department of Foreign Affairs, 2330 Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City or to any Philippine Embassy or Consulate abroad.

    for Swedish nationals, you may check out visum usa-ESTA,
    for Indian nationals, Visa for Indians and for Chinese nationals visa for Citizens of China

    Source: Department of Foreign Affairs


    Read more after the jump!

    posted by backpacking philippines @ 9:48 PM, , links to this post

    Reasons Why I Travel, Explore and Blog

    (This blog's eight anniversary post)

    I've been blogging for more than ten years now but this travel blog is celebrating just its eight years in the blogosphere (quite old by the way, the blog, not the blogger)

    One of the most frequently asked questions about travels and bloggers is this:

    Why do we travel?

    I travel because I want to explore the world, because it's there. I want to learn. I want to see, taste, experience something different

    I want to get out of my comfort zone, to try new things, to escape from the hustle and bustle of life

    When I started traveling, I had a bucket list of sorts like traveling to all 80 provinces (now 81) of the Philippines, to visit all countries of ASEAN, to set foot on 6 continents. My latest count on provinces is around 64 and I lately slowed down so I can prepare for my future. I have visited Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore (2x), Thailand (2x), Mumbai (India) and Sydney (Australia)

    When you're growing older (i said older not old), you realize so many things.

    No longer am I in a hurry to visit new places and blog about it. I still have the itch, it's such that I have no time now.

    As i've always been mentioning that you need four things in order to travel: passion, strength, money and time. Take one of them away and you can't travel and explore

    Now, I've realized what is the most important thing that my travels did to me:

    A beautiful sunrise accentuated by reflection from serene sea of Coron in Palawan taken exactly ten years ago

    It's actually not the number of places you've visited, cultures experienced and food tasted. It's how you were able to see the best of cultures you've seen and use the knowledge to improve yourself.

    With traveling, I've become more friendly to nature, more non-judgmental, my taste for food become well-rounded, I've become more nationalistic, observed discipline even if others are not looking.

    What about you? Why do you travel? What did your travels do to you?


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    posted by backpacking philippines @ 9:00 PM, , links to this post

    Unplanned, "Buwis Buhay" Trip to Osmena and Tambobong White Beach, Dasol, Pangasinan

    "Buwis buhay" aptly describes this Pangasinan trip straight from Zambales where almost all ingredients of Murphy's Law were present: unplanned trip, wrong turn due to unreliable information provided by a local, twenty kilometers of very rough road, vehicle was trapped on the sand of the beach and had to be helped by three locals who helped Tutubi push Scarlett back on the road then an almost empty gas tank with the nearest gas station many miles away, it's getting dark where 24/7 gas stations may not be present.

    Osmena Beach and Tambobong White Beach are the hidden gems of Dasol, Pangasinan, unreachable by the usual tourists and where you can find only one beach resort (you can pitch a tent on the beach though if you're adventurous enough as a small community of fishermen lives around the area)

    The unplanned adventure road trip to Osmena Beach and Tambobong White Beach in Dasol, Pangasinan in pictures:

    after twenty kilometers which took more than one hour from the main highway, Tutubi and Scarlett reached this road fronting Tambobong Beach. It's past 6pm and the sun's about to set

    Scarlett got trapped on the sand of the beach. Backing up didn't get it. Luckily, three locals in two motorcycles passed by and helped pushed her back to the road.

    Osmena, Dasol, Pangasinan written near the bow of the banca. Notice the fine white sand?

    one end of nice secluded beach with coral stones and small caves, pointed out by some locals as the location shoot of several teleserye like GMA7's Dyesebel starring Marian Rivera

    it took Tutubi more than an hour to get there but he stayed for just about fifteen minutes to take pictures. This sunset though is priceless!

    Coming Up:
    How to Get to Dasol, pangasinan,
    Beach Resorts in Tambobong
    Travel tips et al

    Tutubi truly knows Scarlett well. He can go running empty from his office in Makati to Quezon City endure heavy EDSA traffic and gas up at his favorite gas station offering EuroDiesel 4.

    The wrong turn was due to right direction but very bad information by a local. Tutubi should have driven to the next town where the road is so much better even if longer.

    The beach is open to the public, no entrance fee, you can actually pitch a tent there to camp overnight.

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    posted by backpacking philippines @ 7:38 PM, , links to this post

    Pangasinan: Hundred Islands National Park, Entrance Fee, Boat Ride Rates, How to Get There

    Want to visit Hundred Islands National Park in Alaminos, Pangasinan on a tight budget? Here's latest information on how to get there plus standard price of island-hopping/boat ride rentals for day tour or overnight tours.

    Travel Guide to Hundred Islands National Park:

    One of the large boats for hire for island-hopping in Hundred Islands, Alaminos, Pangasinan

    Hundred Islands Rates/Fees (to be booked at Lucap Wharf in Alaminos, Pangasinan)

    Entrance Fee and Island-hopping rates are standard, no worries against overcharging here

    Day Tour:
    Entrance Fee: PhP20.00
    Small Boat (1-5 persons): PhP800.00
    Medium Boat (6-10 persons): PhP1,000.00
    Bog Boat (11-15 persons): PhP1,100.00

    Overnight Tour:
    Entrance Fee: PhP40.00
    Small Boat (1-5 persons): PhP1,400.00
    Medium Boat (6-10 persons): PhP1,800.00
    Bog Boat (11-15 persons): PhP2,000.00

    A bit of spelunking/caving on one of small islands

    How to get to Hundred Islands National Park:

    How to Commute to Hundred Islands

    from Manila, take a bus to Alaminos, Pangasinan

    Bus to Alaminos, Pangasinan:
    Victory Liner
    Cubao to Alaminos, Pangasinan via Camiling, Tarlac
    Fare: PhP393.00
    Trip Schedules: 4am (first trip), 5:30am, 6am, 7am, 8am, 9am,
    10am, 11am, 12nn, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm, 4pm, 5pm, 6pm, 7pm, 8pm, 9pm
    10:40pm, 11:50pm (last trip)
    Travel time around 5 hours

    Five Star Bus
    Cubao to Alaminos: PhP393.00 (air-conditioned) PhP300.00 (ordinary)
    Pasay to Alaminos: PhP403.00 (air-conditioned) PhP308.00 (ordinary)
    Trip schedules: please call Five Star hotline +63.927.712.4349 for the latest bus trip schedule

    Driving Directions to Hundred Islands:

    From Manila, head to EDSA then NLEX and SCTEX all the way to Tarlac then take the road going to Camiling, San Clemente, Mangatarem (Pangasinan), Aguilar, Bugallon, Labrador, Sual, and Alaminos


    swimming, snorkeling, diving, beach bumming (some beaches have lots of jelly fishes (dikya) if in season), rappeling

    Coming Up:

    Hundred Islands Beach Resorts, Hotels, Accommodations

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    posted by backpacking philippines @ 8:41 PM, , links to this post

    Walter Mart Mall Hours Holy Week 2014

    For those like Tutubi who'll be stuck in Metro Manila for Holy Week and needed to chill literally, all SM malls in Manila are closed in Holy Week, there's Walter Mart, by the way, that will be open on Holy Thursday.

    So to answer the question is Walter Mart open during Holy Week?

    Walter Mart Mall Schedule for Holy Week 2014:

    April 17, 2014: Maundy Thursday All malls open (up to 7 p.m., 8 p.m. or 9 p.m.)
    April 18, 2014: Good Friday All malls closed
    April 19, 2014: Black SaturdayAll malls open (up to 8 p.m., 9 p.m. or 10 p.m.)
    April 20, 2014: Regular mall operating hours

    WalterMart Mall locations:

    North Luzon

    Gapan City, Nueva Ecija
    City of San Fernando, Pampanga
    Plaridel, Bulacan
    Guiguinto, Bulacan
    Sta. Maria, Bulacan

    Metro Manila

    North EDSA, Quezon City
    E. Rodriguez Sr., Quezon City
    Pasong Tamo Ave., Makati City
    Dr. A. Santos Ave., Paranaque City

    South Luzon

    Gen. Trias, Cavite
    Dasmarinas, Cavite
    Carmona, Cavite
    Trece Martires, Cavite
    Sta. Rosa, Laguna
    Cabuyao, Laguna
    Real, Calamba City, Laguna
    Makiling, Calamba City, Laguna
    Tanauan City, Batangas
    Bicutan, Parañaque City
    Sucat, Parañaque City

    Related Post:

    Ayala Malls Holy Week Schedule
    LRT, LRT2 and MRT Holy Week Schedule
    Trinoma Mall Hours Holy Week

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    posted by backpacking philippines @ 10:01 PM, , links to this post

    SM Malls Holy Week Schedule: Open on Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Black Saturday, Easter Sunday?

    Tutubi knows most people will leave Metro Manila during Holy Week, but this time, he won't be one of them in escaping the summer sun of the metropolis to the beach or Visita Iglesia outside Mega Manila. He intends to stay in the big city probably to drive around to enjoy traffic-free thoroughfares (except EDSA).

    If you're like Tutubi staying again in Manila in Holy Week, brace yourself for super heavy traffic on EDSA and other parts of the city as DPWH will have concrete re-blocking from Tuesday (April 15) to Sunday April 20. Normally, MMDA suspends number coding starting Tuesday April 15. Makati though, historically, does not suspend number coding during Holy Week

    Only SM Baguio is really open for business during Holy Week (Robinsons in Tagaytay is also open)

    Herewith is the Updated latest Schedules of SM Mall Hours Schedule for Holy Week 2014:

    April 14, 2014 Monday NORMAL SCHEDULE 10am to 9pm
    April 15, 2014 Tuesday NORMAL SCHEDULE 10am to 9pm
    April 16, 2014 Wednesday NORMAL SCHEDULE 10am to 9pm
    April 17, 2014 Maundy Thursday CLOSED
    April 18, 2014 Good Friday CLOSED
    April 19, 2014 Black Saturday OPEN (10am to 10pm) (others up to 9pm only)
    April 20, 2014 Easter Sunday OPEN (10am to 10pm) (others up to 9pm only)

    Normal schedules of malls: Mondays to Thursdays is from 10am to 9pm and 10am to 10pm on Fridays to Sundays. Restaurants around SM Mall of Asia are open.

    Select SM Mall of Asia during Holy Week:

    Veranda Tenants – Regular Operating Hours
    SM by the Bay – Regular Operating Hours
    SM Marketmall Dasmarinas
    Wet & Dry Market – 24 Hours
    Bagsakan – 24 Hours
    Mezza Savemore – 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM

    Robinsons Galleria, Robinsons Place Malate, Robinsons Magnolia, Forum Robinsons (Pioneer) are all closed except Robinsons Tagaytay (similar to SM baguio) which is open and on regular mall hours.

    Ayala Malls' Trinoma, Glorietta, Greenbelt, Alabang Town Center, Fairview Terraces are all closed on Holy Thursday and Good Friday but open on Black Saturday and Easter Sunday.

    Bonifacio High Street will be closed on Holy Thursday and Good Friday except for some restaurants around the mall. there are also station of the cross at the Fort.

    Lucky Chinatown Mall, 168 Shopping Mall, 999 Mall, Fisher Mall, Starmall, Puregold, Metro Gaisano, Walter Mart (Waltermart), SunStar Mall,

    Disclaimer: Some malls have different operating hours e.g. in Holyweek 2008, SM Baguio was open due to the influx of tourists and holy week vacationers to the City of Pines.

    List of SM Malls for your information along with contact numbers (tip: call them up to confirm)
    SM City North EDSA
    SM City Sta. Mesa (formerly SM Centerpoint)
    SM Megamall
    SM City Cebu
    SM Southmall
    SM City Bacoor
    SM City Fairview
    SM City Iloilo
    SM City Manila
    SM City Pampanga
    SM City Sucat
    SM City Davao
    SM City Cagayan de Oro
    SM City Bicutan
    SM City Lucena
    SM City Baguio
    SM City Marilao
    SM City Dasmariñas
    SM City Batangas
    SM City San Lazaro
    SM Center Valenzuela
    SM Center Molino
    SM City Sta. Rosa
    SM City Clark
    SM Mall of Asia
    SM Center Pasig
    SM City Lipa
    SM City Bacolod
    SM City Taytay
    SM Center Muntinlupa
    SM City Marikina
    SM City Rosales
    SM City Baliwag
    SM City Naga
    SM Center Las Piñas
    SM City Rosario
    SM City Tarlac
    SM City San Pablo
    SM City Calamba
    SM City Novaliches
    SM City Masinag
    SM Marketmall Dasmariñas
    SM City Olongapo
    SM City Consolacion
    SM City San Fernando
    SM City General Santos
    SM Lanang Premier
    SM Aura Premier
    SM City BF Parañaque

    It's recommended to try to call the published telephone numbers of Mall operators for the updated schedule. You can also try to contact the official websites of SM Prime Holdings, the Operator of SM Malls, for the official schedule for Holy Week 2014.

    Some SM Malls, mostly those outside Metro Manila, have free parking. Others have flat parking fee from PhP40.00 - PhP45.00 for covered parking and PhP20.00 - PhP25.00 for open parking.

    Note: No information on Eastwood City Mall if open during holy week.

    Related Post:

    Ayala Malls Holy Week
    LRT, LRT2 and MRT Holy Week Schedule
    Trinoma Mall Hours Holy Week

    SM mall hours holy week 2014, is SM open during holy week?, SM Mall of Asia Holy Week 2014, What are SM mall hours in holy week?

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    posted by backpacking philippines @ 9:07 PM, , links to this post