Search this site:


About This Blog
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!
Highly Urbanized Cities

  • Angeles City
  • Bacolod City
  • Baguio City
  • Butuan City
  • Caloocan City
  • Cebu City
  • Cagayan de Oro City
  • Davao City
  • Dagupan City
  • Gen. Santos City
  • Iligan City
  • Iloilo City
  • Lapu-lapu City
  • Las Pinas City
  • Lucena City
  • Makati City
  • Malabon City
  • Mandaluyong City
  • Mandaue City
  • Manila City
  • Marikina City
  • Muntinlupa City
  • Olongapo City
  • Paranaque City
  • Pasay City
  • Pasig City
  • Puerto Princesa City
  • Quezon City
  • San Juan City
  • Tagaytay City
  • Taguig City
  • Tacloban City
  • Valenzuela City
  • Zamboanga City

  • Philippine Provinces
  • Abra
  • Agusan Del Norte
  • Agusan Del Sur
  • Aklan
  • Albay
  • Antique
  • Apayao
  • Basilan
  • Bataan
  • Batanes
  • Batangas
  • Benguet
  • Bohol
  • Bukidnon
  • Bulacan
  • Cagayan
  • Camarines Norte
  • Camarines Sur
  • Camiguin
  • Catanduanes
  • Cavite
  • Cebu
  • Compostela Valley
  • Davao Del Norte
  • Davao Del Sur
  • Dinagat Island
  • Eastern Samar
  • Guimaras
  • Ifugao
  • Ilocos Norte
  • Ilocos Sur
  • Kalinga
  • Isabela
  • La Union
  • Laguna
  • Lanao del Norte
  • Lanao del Sur
  • Leyte
  • Maguindanao
  • Marinduque
  • Masbate
  • Misamis Occidental
  • Misamis Oriental
  • Mountain Province
  • Negros Occidental
  • Negros Oriental
  • Northern Samar
  • Nueva Ecija
  • Nueva Vizcaya
  • Occidental Mindoro
  • Oriental Mindoro
  • Palawan
  • Pampanga
  • Pangasinan
  • Quezon
  • Rizal
  • Romblon
  • Samar
  • Saranggani
  • Siquijor
  • Sorsogon
  • South Cotabato
  • Southern Leyte
  • Sulu
  • Surigao Del Norte
  • Surigao Del Sur
  • Tarlac
  • Tawi-tawi
  • Zambales
  • Zamboanga Del Norte
  • Zamboanga Del Sur
  • Zamboanga Sibugay

  • Airlines
  • Airports
  • Architecture
  • Art
  • Beaches
  • Bridges
  • Casinos
  • Caves
  • Churches
  • Delicacies
  • Ferries
  • Festivals
  • Flora and Fauna
  • Golf Courses
  • History
  • Hotels and Resorts
  • Jose Rizal
  • Lighthouses
  • Mosques
  • Museums
  • National Artists
  • National Heroes
  • National Cultural Treasures
  • Parks
  • Public Transportation
  • Restaurants
  • Rivers
  • Seaports
  • Spanish Forts
  • Volcanoes
  • Watchtowers
  • Waterfalls
  • World War II

  • Philippine Tourist Spots
  • Boracay
  • Clark
  • Corregidor
  • Subic
  • Follow/Affiliations

    San Pedro de Alcantara Church of Pakil: The Home of Our Lady of Sorrows of Turumba

    The old baroque church of Pakil, Laguna is memorable to Tutubi for during his childhood, he helped his mother sell papier mache in front of the church particularly during the Turumba and Lupi when people will flock to the small town next to the towns of Paete and Pangil on a pilgrimage.

    herewith are two (quite) recent photos of San Pedro de Alcantara (Pakil Church), the home of Nuestra Señora delos Dolores de Turumba (Our Lady of Sorrows of Turumba):

    pakil church san pedro de alcantaraSan Pedro de Alcantara Church taken in front of Pakil Municipal Hall
    pakil church san pedro de alcantara

    History of Pakil inscribed on the NHI marker

    Some of Tutubi's friends prefer to hear mass here either due to more convenient mass schedules or just to meet pretty girls of Liceo de Pakil :P

    How to get to Pakil, Laguna:

    Commute to Pakil, Laguna: Board a HM Transport bus, with terminal on EDSA, Cubao near Victory Liner, going to Sta. Cruz/Calamba (fare: P130.50) or Green Star Express with terminal on Taft Avenue near corner Gil Puyat (Buendia) and LRT Gil Puyat station (fare: P123.00)then drop off at the terminal in Pagsanjan. Board a jeepney bound for Siniloan then alight in front of the church (note: jeepneys don't pass by the town center during town fiesta and Turumba/Lupi)

    From Lucena and Lucban, Quezon: there are jeepneys plying the route Lucena to Sta. Cruz that pass by Pagsanjan, Cavinti and Luisina. Jumbo jeeps that go to Lucban, Quezon terminal at Pagsanjan town plaza where you need to transfer to a Siniloan-bound jeepney.

    Commuting from Cavite: board the Pagsanjan or Sta. Cruz vans at Pala-pala terminal in Dasmarinas, Cavite (near Robinsons Dasmarinas and SM) then transfer to a jeep to Siniloan

    Driving Directions to Pakil, Laguna:

    From SLEX take Calamba exit then head straight to Calamba. turn right at Calamba crossing and follow this road where you'll pass by Los Banos, Bay, Victoria, Pila, Sta Cruz, Pagsanjan, Lumban, Kalayaan, Paete before reaching Pakil.

    Driving directions to Pakil via Rizal:

    If you have your own car, it's faster to take the Rizal route by going to Marcos Highway, turn right at the junction Masinag Wet and Dry Market, on reaching Antipolo intersection turn left going to Baras (straight ahead leads to Antipolo Church while a right turn leads to Hinulugang Taktak) where you'll pass by Teresa, Morong, Baras, Tanay, and Pililla towns of Rizal province before reaching Laguna towns of Mabitac, Siniloan, Pangil, then Pakil. Follow only the highway in getting there where you'll pass the zigzag road of Manila East Road with great views of the shimmering Laguna de Bay.

    Related Post:
    Turumba Fiesta Schedule

    Labels: , , ,

    posted by backpacking philippines @ 10:07 PM, , links to this post

    Laguna: Pakil Turumba Fiesta Schedule 2009

    Turumba Fiesta (or Pistang Turumba)is the longest fiesta/festival celebration in the Philippines, something not witnessed by Tutubi in its entirety even if he grew up in the adjacent town of Paete.

    For those interested to get to Pakil to participate or witness the fiesta celebration, herewith is the 2009 schedule of Lupi.

    Schedule of Lupi and Turumba Fiesta 2009

    Unang Lupi Biyernes de Dolores April 3
    Ika - 2 Lupi Pistang Martes April 14
    Ika - 3 Lupi Pistang Biyatiko April 20, 21 & 22
    Ika - 4 Lupi Pistang Biyernes May 1
    Ika - 5 Lupi Pistang Linggo May 10
    Extra Lupi Pistang Pakilena May 12
    Ika - 6 Lupi Pistang Pag-akyat May 22
    Ika - 7 Lupi Pistang Pagpanaog May 31
    Ahunan sa Ping-as/Santacruzan/Misa May 30
    Our Lady of Sorrows/Domingo de Dolores September 20

    Others: Pakil Town Fiesta is celebrated on October 19 (that Tutubi used to go to every year with his father)

    Ping-as is the hill of Sierra Madre mountain in Pakil with a cross on the hilltop, similar to Paete's 3 Crosses (Tatlong Krus). Pakil used to be a barrio of Paete, by the way, before the "hating Pakil" was put into law.

    Note: during times of Turumba and Lupi in Pakil, the Paete-Pakil road (JP Rizal St. in Paete) is closed to vehicular traffic except motorcycles and tricycles). Use the national highway (Manila East Road) or pass by Paete
    town center (Quesada st. from Plaza Edesan, Paete Church, town plaza, Paete Municipal Hall (munisipyo) and public market then right turn on Manila East road going to Pakil. You may encounter difficulty looking for parking space for your car in Pakil due to narrow streets and many people flocking to the place.

    Pakil Turumba Festival 2009, Diocesan Shrine of Nuestra Señora delos Dolores de Turumba, Our Lady of Sorrows of Turumba

    How to get to Pakil, Laguna:

    Labels: , , ,

    posted by backpacking philippines @ 9:55 PM, , links to this post

    The Legend of Mayon Volcano and Magayon Festival of Legazpi City

    Mayon volcano, the pride of Bicolanos, with it's almost perfect cone shape is really magnificent when seen on clear, cloudless days with the crater visible. It's usually early mornings when you can see her "naked." There's also an "advisory" to first time travelers to Legazpi City that first-timers to Bicol won't be able to catch sight of the Daragang Magayon that has spawned various legends and epics.

    cebu pacific legazpi mayon volcanoa Cebu Pacific aircraft unloading passengers at Legaspi Airport. On the background's the almost perfect cone of Mayon Volcano and part of Lignon Hill

    The Legend of Daragang Magayon:

    Legend of Mayon Volcano tells about a beautiful young lady named Magayon who's beauty was so famous she was wooed by rich and powerful people.

    Magayon, with all her suitors, however, fell in love with a warrior named Handiong, who came from an enemy tribe of Magayon's.

    When their families learned of their love for each other, they tried to separate them and fought a bitter, bloody tribal war.

    To end the conflict, the lovers just decided to commit suicide together rather than separating but were buried separately by their respective tribes.

    As time passed, a volcano with a perfect cone emerged out of the place where Magayon was buried that locals called it Daragang Magayon (means beautiful lady in Bicolano)

    To highlight the beautiful volcano, the Magayon festival is celebrated all month of April in Legazpi City. Tutubi was there on the last day of March and he doesn't have information on Magayon Festival schedule of activities.

    How to catch a magnificent view of Mayon Volcano:

    Mayon Volcano, if you want to see it's full beauty, is usually not covered by clouds early in the morning (usually but not always, so don't take Tutubi's word on this) so be there early in the morning as in around daybreak up to around 7am (and also to catch the "golden lighting" perfect for landscape photos)

    Book an early morning flight to Legazpi City through PAL, Cebu Pacific or ZestAir and request to be seated on the left window side (the A column). Avoid the middle rows so as not to be obstructed by the airplane wing. You can do this by checking it early or booking online with Cebu Pacific using the seat selector feature for a small fee (Cebu Pacific Sure seats will be given away if you failed to check in 45 minutes before ETD). Tutubi always try to book seat 2A up to 8A so as to be one of the first to deplane also.

    Flight time to Legaspi from Manila is just about 45 minutes so don't sleep or you'll miss it. Be ready with your binoculars or cameras, snap a picture in haste just before the fasten your seatbelt sign is switched on indicating you need to switch off all electronic devices, including your camera, in preparation for landing.

    See this picture of Mayon Volcano taken in 2005 on a Philippine Airlines shortly before landing...

    mayon volcanoMt. Mayon is green during the rainy season

    mayon volcano crater lakeMayon volcano crater tip up close using digital zoom (Canon Ixus 30)

    Isn't Mayon volcano really Magayon? It's more beautiful than the snow-capped Mt. Fuji of Japan, the most photographed mountain on earth. Don't wish for Mayon to have snow though for the drastic change in weather would be disastrous in tropical Philippines.

    tags: ang alamat ng mayon, legend of Mt. Mayon, alamat ng bulkang mayon

    Related Post:
    Legazpi Airport

    Labels: , , , ,

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

    Bicol: Legazpi Airport Terminal Fee and Travel Guide

    The airport at the foot of Mayon Volcano in Legazpi City servicing not just the province of Albay but the entire Bicol Region. It's in this airport where tourists wishing to commune with butanding (whale sharks) of Donsol, Sorsogon pass by to get to the tourist town.

    cebu pacific legazpi mayon volcanoa Cebu Pacific aircraft unloading passengers at Legaspi Airport. On the background's the almost perfect cone of Mayon Volcano and part of Lignon Hill

    Legazpi Airport Information:

    Flights to Legazpi from Manila are offered by Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific and ZestAir(formerly Asian Spirit) with airline offices inside the airport compound. (guess which airline offers the cheapest flights to Legazpi?)

    Legaspi Airport Terminal Fee:PhP30.00

    legaspi airport

    From Legazpi Airport to your destination:

    There are no taxis in Legazpi, only tricycles that can be hired for PhP50.00/trip to vans and bus terminals where you can ride vans and buses to the Albay towns of Bacacay, Nabua, Tiwi; Sorsogon City, Pilar, Donsol in Sorsogon; Naga City (Camarines Sur) and also back to Manila.

    There are vans for hire available though the Legazpi Tourism officers at the airport. Tutubi was quoted a van to Donsol for PhP1500.00 good for 10 people (one way) and willing to wait in Donsol back to Legazpi. (Van to Donsol fare is currently PhP60.00/head plus the two tricycle rides: one from the airport and another to a Donsol resort ). The same V-Hire also quoted PhP2,200.00 for a six hour Legazpi City Tour covering 16 tourist spots in Albay.

    Contact Numbers:

    Albay Tourism Bldg., Albay Astrodome Complex,
    Capt. F. Aquende Drive, Legazpi City, 4500 Albay, Philippines
    Tel. No.: +63.52.820.6314; +63.52.820.6316
    Fax: +63.52.820.6315

    Related Post:
    Donsol Whale Sharks

    Labels: , , ,

    posted by backpacking philippines @ 10:07 PM, , links to this post

    Sorsogon: How to get to Donsol: Map, Bus Commute and Driving Directions

    There are only a few places Tutubi would really love to return to. One of them is Donsol, Sorsogon that he visited in Holy Week 2003 (Good Friday) in an unplanned, spur-of-the-moment trip.

    He had no snorkels, mask, fins then, even a waterproof camera.

    Now that he has all of them, he didn't find the time to return there when he visited Sorsogon again due to lack of time. He just asked around for updated information and fares to Donsol for your information.

    How to get to Donsol, Sorsogon:

    For an online map of Donsol, please click here

    How to commute to Donsol, Sorsogon:

    Bus to Donsol, Sorsogon are available serviced by Philtranco and some bus companies in Araneta Center Bus Terminal and several bus lines (ordinary) on EDSA, Pasay.

    Flights to Donsol, Sorsogon:

    There currently are no flights to Donsol, not even flights to Sorsogon City Airport, the nearest airport to the "whale shark capital of the world." Fly in to Legazpi City via Cebu Pacific, Philippine Airlines or ZestAir.

    In Legazpi Airport, board a tricycle (as there no taxis in Legaspi City) and ask the driver to take you to the bus terminal (or the van terminal) where vans and buses to Donsol are waiting (tricycle fare: PhP50.00).

    Legazpi Airport to Bus terminal: PhP50.00 travel time about 10 minutes
    Van to Donsol Fare: PhP60.00 travel time is 1.5 hours

    If you're a bunch of clueless tourists, there are vans for rent at Legazpi Airport to take you to Donsol (the vans can seat 10 people, less if you have lots of excess baggage). Van rental rates to Donsol are PhP1,500.00 one-way then another PhP1,500.00 going back (the driver said he'll wait for you in Donsol after your whale shark interaction tour). The same driver also quoted PhP2200 for a tour of Legazpi's 16 tourist spots for 6 hours. (Tutubi inquired this from Legazpi City Tourism officers at the airport as well as the van driver accredited by Legaspi Tourism)

    Coming from Samar or Leyte (Tacloban or Ormoc), the Ro-ro buses that pass by Bicol via ports of Allen in Samar and Matnog port in Sorsogon are the cheaper way of going to Donsol from the Visayas. Just drop off in Putiao, Pilar then ride a jeepney to Donsol.

    Driving Directions to Donsol, Sorsogon:

    For those with cars, follow this route that the same directions to Bicol: SLEX batangas exit, Maharlika Highway, Sto. Tomas (a few kilometers from Rose and Grace and Jollibee, there's a fork on the road. Choose left going to Alaminos, the other road leads to Sto. Tomas town proper), Alaminos, San Pablo (Laguna), Tiaong, Candelaria, Sariaya, Lucena, Pagbilao (this is Maharlika Highway or Pan-Philippine Highway) onwards to the Bicol provinces of Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Albay's Legazpi City, Daraga then Sorsogon province. On reaching the town of Pilar in Sorsogon, turn right on a road in an area known as Putiao. The road will lead to Pilar town proper and Donsol. Travel time from Legazpi city to Donsol is about 1 - 1.5 hours.


    Donsol Celebrates the Butanding Festival in April. this is the cheapest way to get there, unless you want to be part of a donsol package tour for convenience

    Related Posts:

    Legazpi Airport
    Donsol Whale Sharks
    Donsol Beach Resorts

    Labels: , ,

    posted by backpacking philippines @ 9:10 PM, , links to this post

    The Camachile Fruit (Guamachil, Manila Tamarind)

    To the average city dweller living in the north of the metro, camachile is just a place in Caloocan City with a flyover connecting traffic-prone Quirino Avenue (going to Baesa, Quezon City and Novaliches) with North Diverson road to NLEX with an Iglesia ni Cristo kapilya as landmark for commuters.

    To people who grew up in the provinces, it's a tree and fruit that conjures images of ones youth, similar to memories of the aratilis of one's childhood.

    Camachile (scientific name: Pithecellobium Dulce), like the aratilis, is not native to the Philippines. It's brought in from Mexico, where it's known as guamachil, by the Spaniards, spread to other neighboring Asian countries as far as India where it's called Manila tamarind. It's fruit is about one centimeter wide and several several centimeters long. The fruit is eaten by some people and taste a little sweet and sour, to some it may produce a pucker face though.

    Camachile Guamachil Manila Tamarindcamachile fruits bought by Tutubi on MacArthur highway in Pangasinan for PhP20.00

    Camachile trees line the highways of Tarlac, Pangasinan and other northern provinces where you'll find children selling camachile fruits on MacArthur highway.

    When an officemate of Tutubi, a fifty-something man who grew up in the town of Sexmoan (the former name of Sasmuan, Pampanga), saw his camachile, he narrated a game he used to play where his childhood friends will get camachile seeds and try to peel off the seed cover without exposing the white pulp otherwise he'd lose the game. This game, however, is foreign to Tutubi since he has no childhood memories of the trees unlike the aratilis, lanzones, santol, mami (scientific name: calucarpum sapota), kaimito, guavas, and, of course, mangoes.

    Lastly, is Camachile, Caloocan City named after the camachile fruit? Was the area planted with camachile trees that's why it's called that way? Will somebody please confirm history of camachile?

    Labels: , , ,

    posted by backpacking philippines @ 6:25 PM, , links to this post

    Star Tollway Map and Star Toll Fees/Exits

    Formally called Southern Tagalog Arterial Road Tollway, Star Toll for short or Calabarzon Expressway as locals call it, is a 42 kilometer 4-lane toll road that cuts across Batangas from Sto. Tomas up to Batangas City.

    The South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) expansion intends to link it with Star Toll thereby eliminating the traffic gridlock of Maharlika Highway (Pan-Philippine Highway) particularly in Turbina area in Calamba where traffic all the way from Bicol converge going to Metro Manila.

    Star Toll Exits:

    1. Sto. Tomas: start of the tollway, soon to be linked with SLEX
    2. Sambat (Tanauan City)
    3. Bulihan (Malvar): better way to Lipa Cathedral and Mt. Carmel Church
    4. Sto Toribio: (Balete Under Construction)
    5. Tambo (Lipa City)
    6. Malainen (Ibaan)
    7. Balagtas (Batangas City): end of expressway going to Batangas Pier

    Buses to Batangas City with Calabarzon on the signboard use this tollway

    Star Tollway Toll Fees:

    Sto. Tomas to Batangas City: PhP55.00 Class 1 (PhP109.00 Class 2, PhP164.00 Class 3)
    Lipa City to Batangas city: PhP26.00 Class 1 (PhP52.00 Class 2, PhP77.00 Class 3)

    Interactive Map of Star Tollway:

    Map of StarToll centered on Sto. Tomas toll gate. Just follow the blue line up to Balagtas Exit using the navigation controls on the upper left corner of the map. Follow the green line upwards to get to SLEX.

    Related Posts on Batangas:

    Directions to Batangas Pier
    Mt. Carmel Church
    Mt. Malarayat Golf and Country Club

    Labels: , , , ,

    posted by backpacking philippines @ 5:28 PM, , links to this post

    Hotels Near Manila Airport (NAIA Terminal 1, 2, 3, 4): Cheap Room Rate and Travel Time

    To answer questions from people looking for accommodations and budget hotels near Manila Airport (officially Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA)) to stay at for those who who have to wait for connecting flights or just to be comfortable striking distance from NAIA.

    Note that the word "near" is relative and needs to be defined first for it to be used in this post and will not answer questions on "how far is this hotel" from the airport kind of thing. Tutubi will just use approximate travel time, not absolute distance from the airport terminals as reference.

    Guide to Sleeping at Airports or near them?

    The nearest hotel to NAIA Terminal 1 (International Airport) is located inside the airport terminal, on the fourth floor Terminal 1 beside Sampaguita lounge. Each of the twelve air-conditioned hotel rooms measures 3x3 meters, with double beds and private shower and toilet and can be had a room rate of US$19.00 (about PhP840.00) for 24 hours stay.

    The nearest hotels to NAIA Terminal 3 are luxury Marriott Hotel, Maxim's Hotel, Remington Hotel and Belmont condotel and the planned Hamilton Hotel inside the spanking Newport City opposite the terminal on Andrew's Avenue. It's also very near to the other airport terminals.

    The nearest hotel to NAIA Terminal 2 used to be the government-owned Philippine Village Hotel but is closed indefinitely.

    UPDATED: June 2014

    List of hotels in "nearness order" from the airport:

    About 30 minutes or less from all NAIA Terminals (within five kilometers from the airport)

    Wine Museum Hotel (Aurora Blvd (formerly Tramo St))
    Nichols Airport Hotel (in front of Pearl Plaza Mall on Quirino Avenue)
    RAF Mansion (Roxas Blvd)
    Heritage Hotel at the corner of EDSA and Roxas Boulevard
    Networld Hotel (Roxas Boulevard)
    Traders Hotel Manila (Roxas Boulevard)
    Radisson Hotel Manila Bay and Regent Manila Bay (under contruction) within SM Mall of Asia complex
    Microtel Inns and Suites within SM Mall of Asia complex
    Hotel Sofitel Philippine Plaza (CCP Complex, Pasay City)
    Hotels and (seedy) Motels in Pasay at the corner of EDSA and F.B. Harrisson St. not recommended for tourists unless you're looking for some "action" and hassles
    Kabayan Hotel Pasay on EDSA near Corner Taft Avenue, walking distance from MRT and LRT Stations (remarks: accessible by public transportation)
    Solaire Resorts and Casino at the PAGCOR Entertainment City

    30 minutes to an hour from Manila Airport:

    ayala avenue makati shangri-la hotelMakati Avenue corner Ayala Avenue at night with view of Makati Shangri-La Hotel and The Peninsula Manila, (picture taken through dirty glass window using Canon 300D in slow shutter)

    Hotels in Makati e.g. Shangri-La Makati (Ayala corner Makati Avenue), The Peninsula Manila (Ayala corner Makati Avenue), Dusit Thani Hotel (EDSA near Ayala Center), Hotel Intercontinental (Ayala Avenue near corner EDSA), The Ascott (formerly Oakwood at the Glorietta Mall complex), Holiday Inn Manila, Fairmont Hotel, Best Western Astor (Makati Avenue near Kalayaan), Great Eastern Hotel (Makati Avenue near Kalayaan), Fairmont Makati Hot, Renaissance Makati City Hotel, Sommerset Olympia Makati (Makati Avenue), Mandarin Oriental (Makati Avenue corner Paseo de Roxas), Makati Palace Hotel, Jupiter Suites,
    St. Giles Hotel, Riverview Apratelle, Robelle Hotel (J.P. Rizal St),

    Hotels in Fort Bonifacio (The Fort or Bonifacio Global City (BGC)), Taguig City e.g. Shangri-la at The Fort and Grand Hyatt Hotel (both under construction), Best Western Premier F1 Hotel, Seda Hotel BGC, The Fort Budget Hotel, Global City Hotel (Luxe Residences), Kukun Hotel,

    Hotels in Mandaluyong City e.g. Go Hotel (EDSA beside Forum Robinsons Pioneer), Richville Hotel (EDSA near Crossing/Shaw Blvd), New Horizon Hotel (EDSA corner Boni Avenue), EDSA Shangri-la Hotel (beside SM Megamall), Lancaster Hotel (Shaw Blvd), The Legend Villas (Pioneer St.) and Nice Hotel EDSA Crossing.

    Hotels in Pasig City Ortigas Center e.g. Discovery Suites, Linden Suites Hotel, Richmonde Plaza Hotel (San Miguel Avenue), Astoria Plaza (Jose Maria Escriva Drive), budget-friendly Tune Hotels on Shaw Boulevard near EDSA Crossing.

    The Flower Group Motels in Pasig City on Shaw Boulevard and Kapitolyo area (again, not recommended for usual tourists and family vacations)

    Budget Hotels in Manila (Malate and Ermita districts) (can be reached in less than an hour but unpredictable) e.g. Century Park Hotel (P. Ocampo near Harrison Plaza and SM), Hyatt Hotel and Casino Manila (Pedro Gil Corner MH Del Pilar), Waterfront Manila Pavilion Hotel (UN Avenue), Bayview Park Hotel (across US Embassy on Roxas Boulevard), G Hotel (boutique hotel on Roxas Boulevard), Midland Plaza Hotel, Manila Diamond Hotel (with Free Internet Access in all rooms, Roxas Boulevard), Palm Plaza Hotel (Pedro Gil corner M Adriatico St), Pan Pacific Manila (M. Adriatico corner Gen. Malvar Streets , Malate), Manila Hotel (Roxas Boulevard), Hotel Intramuros de Manila (Cabildo corner Urdaneta, Intramuros), Manila Grand Opera House Hotel (Sta. Cruz, Manila)

    An hour or two from Manila Airport:

    Hotels in Quezon City (it's a big city north of the airport so be forewarned) e.g. Eurotel Araneta Center, Sulo Hotel, Great Eastern Hotel (Quezon Avenue), Hotel Rembrandt (Tomas Morato), Imperial Palace Suites Hotel (Timog corner Tomas Morato), Tri-Place Hotel, Nice Hotel, Astrotel (Cubao), Gran Prix Hotel

    List mostly on five star, four star or three star hotel accommodations, even budget hotels
    No information on the cheapest room rates available.
    Please visit official websites for inquiries and reservations.
    Travel time is based on taxi travel from the airport and will be much less on lean times i.e. late night, dawn and early mornings.

    A typical dawn trip of Tutubi from Quezon City to the airport takes about an hour via EDSA and costs PhP300.00 on the taxi meter fare. Metered taxi fare from the airport to Makati CBD is just around PhP150.00 (a little over US$3)

    This site does not offer online booking nor promo room rates, it's just a rough guide to hotels near Manila airport for your reference so as not to be misled by other websites on the distance of your chosen hotel from your airport disregarding practical travel times and normal traffic situations.

    Related Posts
    Manila Airport Guide
    How to get to NAIA Terminal 3
    Airport Terminal Fees
    Overnight Parking at NAIA Terminal 2

    Hotel Near NAIA Terminal 1, Hotel Near NAIA Terminal 2, Hotel Near NAIA Terminal 3, Hotel Near NAIA Terminal 4, Hotel near old Manila Domestic Airport Terminal

    Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

    posted by backpacking philippines @ 9:32 PM, , links to this post

    Interactive Map of Boracay Island

    For those first timers to Boracay or people looking for new thrills and adventures beyond the usual beach bumming and partying in Boracay, here's an interactive Boracay map for your virtual exploration before coming to the famous island destination.

    With this interactive road map, you can actually zoom in and locate your resort and determine how far or near from the beachfront or other interesting places.

    To navigate, use these keys on the upper left corner of the interactive map as you do with Google earth or Wikimapia

    It's sad though that Boracay map satellite view is not high-resolution. the road-map is almost complete wtih contributions from people of Philippines Openstreetmap.

    Related Blog Posts on Boracay:
    Backpacking Boracay
    Boracay via Ro-Ro
    Puka Beach
    Diniwid Beach
    Mt. Luho
    Boracay Lake Town Bar
    D'Talipapa Seafood Market
    Boracay Kitesurfing on Bulabog Beach
    Umagang Kay Ganda in Boracay
    Boracay White Beach
    Boracay Courtyard
    La Carmela de Boracay
    Boracay Church Mass Schedule
    ATM in Boracay

    Labels: , ,

    posted by backpacking philippines @ 6:09 PM, , links to this post

    Emilio Jacinto Kartilya ng Katipunan English

    Filipinos who're indifferent to the reason why there's no classes and work last Monday don't care

    Emilio Jacinto (December 15, 1875 - April 16, 1899), was a Filipino revolutionary known as the Brains of the Katipunan

    On the highway of Magdalena town in Laguna near the boundary of Liliw, there's this forgotten marker about the battle of Katipuneros against the Spaniards where Emilio Jacinto was wounded. He was taken to Magdalena Church but was denied refuge and later transferred to Sta. Cruz where he was treated for his wounds by assuming the identity of another person.

    Note: inside the Magdalena Church is the alleged blood stains and bloodied bolo of Emilio Jacinto encased in glass. National Historical Institute chair Mr. Ambeth Ocampo however doubts the authenticity of the blood stains but points out the display is good for tourists (this is according to Tutubi's personal correspondence with the noted scholar)

    # Brains of the Katipunan
    # wrote the Kartilya ng Katipunan
    # born December 15, 1875 in Trozo, Manila
    # died April 16, 1899 in Majayjay, Laguna

    Spanish cartilla which at the time meant a primer for grade school students

    Note the last item, a variation of the Golden Rule: "Do not do unto others what can be done today..."

    Apologies to Foreign readers of this blog for Tutubi's too lazy to translate this for you

    Kartilya ng Katipunan
    ni Emilio Jacinto

    Filipino foreword of the first edition of the Kartilya



    A. N. B.


    Sa pagkakailangan, na ang lahat na nagiibig pumasuk sa katipunang ito, ay ay magkaroon ng lubos na pananalig at kaisipan sa mga layong tinutungo at mga kaaralang pinaiiral, minarapat na ipakilala sa kanila ang mga bagay na ito, at ng bukas makalawa’y huag silang magsisi at tuparing maluwag sa kalooban ang kanilang mga tungkulin.

    Ang kabagayang pinag-uusig ng Katipunang ito ay lubos na dakila at mahalaga; papagisahin ang loob at kaisipan ng lahat ng tagalog (*) sa pamamagitan ng isang mahigpit na panunumpa, upang sa pagkakaisang ito’y magkalakas na iwasan ang masinsing tabing na nakabubulag sa kaisipan at matuklasan ang tunay na landas ng Katuwiran at Kalinawagan.

    (*) Sa salitang tagalog katutura’y ang lahat nang tumubo sa Sangkapuluang ito; sa makatuid, bisaya man, iloko man, kapangpangan man, atbp., ay tagalog din.

    [edit] The Kartilya Code of Ethics in Filipino

    1. Ang buhay na hindi ginugugol sa isang malaki at banal na kadahilanan ay kahoy(puno) na walang lilim, kundi (man) damong makamandag.
    2. Ang gawang magaling na nagbubuhat sa paghahambog o papipita sa sarili (paghahangad na makasarili), at hindi talagang nasang gumawa ng kagalingan, ay di kabaitan.
    3. Ang tunay na kabanalan ay ang pagkakawang-gawa, ang pag-ibig sa kapwa at ang isukat ang bawat kilos, gawa't pangungusap sa talagang Katuwiran.
    4. Maitim man o maputi ang kulay ng balat, lahat ng tao'y magkakapantay; mangyayaring ang isa'y hihigitan sa dunong, sa yaman, sa ganda; ngunit di mahihigitan sa pagkatao.
    5. Ang may mataas na kalooban, inuuna ang (dangal o) puri kaysa pagpipita sa sarili; ang may hamak na kalooban, inuuna ang pagpipita sa sarili sa puri.
    6. Sa taong may hiya, salita'y panunumpa.
    7. Huwag mong sayangin ang panahon; ang yamang nawala'y mangyayaring magbalik; ngunit panahong nagdaan nay di na muli pang magdadaan.
    8. Ipagtanggol mo ang inaapi;kabakahin (labanan) ang umaapi.
    9. Ang taong matalino'y ang may pag-iingat sa bawat sasabihin;matutong ipaglihim ang dapat ipaglihim.
    10. Sa daang matinik ng buhay, lalaki ang siyang patnugot ng asawa at mga anak; kung ang umaakay ay tungo sa sama, patutunguhan ng inaakay ay kasamaan din. (Ang simula nito ay obserbasyon sa ugnayan ng babae at lalaki sa panahon ng Katipunan; para sa kasalukuyan, iminumungkahing ipalit ang sumusunod: "Sa daang matinik ng buhay, ang mga magulang ang patnugot ng mag-anak; kung ang umaakay ay tungo sa sama, and patutunguhan ng inaakay ay kasamaan din.)
    11. Ang babae ay huwag mong tingnang isang bagay na libangan lamang, kundi isang katuwang at karamay (ng lalaki) sa mga kahirapan nitong buhay; gamitin mo nang buong pagpipitagan ang kanyang (pisikal na ) kahinaan, alalahanin ang inang pinagbuhatan at nag-iwi sa iyong kasanggulan.
    12. Ang di mo ibig gawin sa asawa mo, anak at kapatid, ay huwag mong gagawin sa asawa, anak at kapatid ng iba.
    13. Ang kamahalan ng tao'y wala sa pagkahari, wala sa tangos ng ilong at puti ng mukha, wala sa pagkaparing kahalili ng Diyos, wala sa mataas na kalagayan sa balat ng lupa: wagas at tunay na mahal na tao, kahit laking gubat at walang nababatid kundi sariling wika, yaong may magandang asal, may isang pangungusap, may dangal at puri, yaong di nagpaaapi't di nakikiapi; yaong marunong magdam-dam at marunong lumingap sa bayang tinubuan.
    14. Paglaganap ng mga aral na ito, at maningning na sisikat ang araw ng mahal na kalayaan dito sa kaaba-abang Sangkapuluan at sabungan ng matamis niyang liwanag ang nangagkaisang magkakalahi't magkakapatid, ng liwanag ng walang katapusan, ang mga ginugol na buhay, pagod, at mga tiniis na kahirapa'y labis nang matutumbasan.

    [edit] English translation of the Kartilya Code of Ethics

    1. A life that is not dedicated to a noble cause is like a tree without a shade or a poisonous weed.
    2. A deed lacks nobility if it is motivated by self-interest and not by a sincere desire to help.
    3. True piety consists of being charitable, loving one’s fellow men, and being judicious in behavior, speech and deed.
    4. All persons are equal, regardless of the color of their skin. While one could have more schooling, wealth, or beauty than another, all that does not make one more human than anybody else.
    5. A person with a noble character values honor above self-interest, while a person with a base character values self-interest above honor.
    6. To a person of honor, his/her word is a pledge.
    7. Don’t waste time; lost wealth can be retrieved, but time lost is lost forever.
    8. Defend the oppressed and fight the oppressor.
    9. The wise person is careful in all he/she has to say and is discreet about things that need to be kept secret.
    10. On the thorny path of life, the man leads the way and his wife and children follow. If the leader goes the way to perdition, so do the followers. (Note: This begins with an observation of the vertical relationship of husband and wife during the time of the Katipunan; now, we can say that the parents lead the way and the children follow.)
    11. Never regard a woman as an object for you to trifle with; rather you should consider her as a partner and helpmate. Give proper consideration to a woman’s frailty and never forget that your own mother, who brought you forth and nurtured you from infancy, is herself such a person.
    12. Don’t do to the wife, children, brothers, and sisters of others what you do not want done to your wife, children, brothers, and sisters.
    13. A man’s worth is not measured by his station in life, neither by the height of his nose nor the fairness of skin, and certainly not by whether he is a priest claiming to be God’s deputy. Even if he a tribesman from the hills and speaks only his tongue, a man has fine perceptions and is loyal to his native land.
    14. When these teachings shall have been propagated and the glorious sun of freedom begins to shine on these poor Islands to enlighten a united race and people, then all the lives lost, all the struggle and the sacrifices will not have been in vain.

    Source of Kartilya: Wikipedia

    Tags: ,

    Labels: , , ,

    posted by backpacking philippines @ 6:11 PM, , links to this post

    Baguio: Pasalubong from the Strawberry Farm, La Trinidad, Benguet

    Strawberries are one of the most popular Baguio pasalubong besides ube jam from Good Shepherds and peanut brittle. One of the more popular "things to do in Baguio" is picking strawberries at the Strawberry Farm in Baguio's neighboring town of La Trinidad.

    Tutubi wanted to visit the farm again after so many years but due to the grueling schedule of the convention, he begged off at the last minute and decided to wake up late than join the free trip to the farm offered by a convention sponsor.

    fresh strawberries at a roadside stall

    Just before going back to Manila, Tutubi and his friends stopped by a stall near Kennon road selling fresh strawberries at PhP100.00. Tutubi just bought a kilo and selected not so ripe ones since it's not for immediate consumption plus the danger of "beaten black and blue" strawberries due to travel from Baguio to Manila. He also hand-carried the strawberries instead of stuffing them in his bags to avoid damage.

    After just a few minutes in Manila, the strawberries were consumed in no time at all!


    If Baguio celebrates the Panagbenga Festival in February, Benguet has the Adivay Festival scheduled in October annually.

    If you still want to try the "strawberry fields forever" experience in La Trinidad, Benguet, don't be surprised that the price of strawberries there is double the price of the the prevailing market cost-- you're actually paying for the experience and not the actual strawberries. As usual for your information, here's Tutubi's guide on how to get to the Strawberry Farm in La Trinidad, Benguet:

    Commute to La Trinidad from From Baguio City: board jeepneys going to La Trinidad on Gen. Luna near the University of Baguio. Request the driver to drop you off at the Strawberry Farm. You need to cross the road plus a little flexing of your leg muscles to get to the Strawberry farm for your strawberry picking "adventure."

    Driving Directions to La Trinidad From Baguio: From Session Road, head towards Magsaysay Road where you'll pass by Bell Church and La Trinidad welcome arch. The strawberry farm is about six kilometers from the welcome arch and look for street signs to the farm to turn left. At the entrance of the farm are the usual stalls, souvenir shops and hawkers selling their wares and mostly "strawberry-powered" delicacies.

    The common strawberry varieties grown in Benguet are the Sweet Charlie from Argentina, the Festival and Camarosa from California in the United States, and the Toyonaka and Haronoka from Japan. Organic planting method also use predator mites to help eliminate spider mites, a major pest that destroys strawberry flowers and leaves.

    Related Post:
    Cemetery of Negativism
    Directions to Baguio

    Labels: , , ,

    posted by backpacking philippines @ 10:31 PM, , links to this post

    HM Transport and Green Star: Bus to Laguna Calamba, Los Banos, Sta. Cruz, Pagsanjan

    Years ago, when people wanted to commute to Sta. Cruz, Laguna by bus, one of the popular bus companies was Kapalaran Bus Line (KBL) but the bus company folded up due to labor disputes. The other two companies then were BLTB and the newer Laguna Trans owned by the same owners of JAM Transit.

    Updated: March 2014

    At present, BLTB no longer services the route while Laguna Trans split to two bus lines: HM Transport servicing Cubao to Sta. Cruz route and Green Star plying the LRT/Taft to Sta. Cruz route. The two bus lines share the same bus terminal in Pagsanjan right after barangay Pagsawitan, Sta. Cruz (the fork on the highway where most passengers alight to transfer to jeepneys going to other Laguna towns). DLTB Bus Co. now also serves these two routes.

    Due to lack of official website, Tutubi's posting these information on the bus companies of his home province:

    HM Transport

    Route: Cubao to Sta. Cruz: EDSA, SLEX, Calamba (Mayapa, Paciano, Parian, Crossing, Halang, Bucal, Pansol, Bagong Kalsada), Los Banos (Lalakay, College (UPLB)), Bay (poblacion), Victoria (highway), Pila (poblacion), Sta. Cruz., JAM Terminal in Pagsawitan, Pagsanjan. Travel time is 3 hours (2 hours for early morning trips)

    hm transport bus

    Cubao Bus Terminal is at the corner of Monte de Piedad street and EDSA (southbound), Cubao, Quezon City near Victory Liner and the concrete pedestrian overpass. The terminal has a JAM sign with peach colored wall and Mang Inasal and Dunkin Donuts. It's walking distance from MRT Cubao-Araneta Center Station and LRT 2 Cubao Station.

    HM Transport Contact Number
    Sta. Cruz Terminal: +63.49.821.0349
    Cubao Terminal: +63.416.6192
    Binan Terminal: to be updated once available

    Trip Schedules (according to bus conductor): first trip Cubao - Sta. Cruz is at 3:30am, last trip at 9:30pm spaced about 20 minutes apart. first trip from Sta. Cruz to Cubao is at 2am and last trip at 7:30pm

    to report arrogant and abusive bus driver and conductor:
    +63.2.520.8224; +63.49.839.4837 mobile: +63.923.725.6293; +63.932.602.0375
    email address:

    Green Star Express

    Route: LRT Taft to Sta. Cruz: Taft, Buendia, SLEX, Calamba (Mayapa, Paciano, Parian, Crossing, Halang, Bucal, Pansol, Bagong Kalsada), Los Banos (Lalakay, Olivarez Plaza, College (UPLB)), Bay (poblacion), Victoria (Highway), Pila (poblacion), Sta. Cruz. Terminal

    Bus terminal is shared with South Star and Grand Star (buses going to Lucena and Tagkawayan, Quezon), on north-bound Taft Avenue near corner Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue, Pasay City. It's walking distance from LRT Buendia Station, is beside Arellano University, also near bus terminal of JAM Transit and Tritran (buses going to Batangas).

    Green Star Express Contact Number
    Sta. Cruz Terminal: +63.49.808.3172; +63.49.808.3701
    Pasay Terminal: (to be updated once available)

    Trip Schedules: first trip LRT/Taft - Sta. Cruz is at 3:20am, last trip at 9:30pm spaced about 20 minutes apart. First trip from Sta. Cruz to LRT/Taft is at 2am and last trip at 7:30pm

    Bus fares (all air-conditioned units, no ordinary), as of April 2011:

    Calamba: around PhP80.00 (depends on where you're going: Crossing, Halang, Pansol, Bucal), travel time around 1 to 1.5 hours
    Los Banos (UPLB, Olivarez Plaza): around PhP100.00
    Bay (poblacion)
    Pila (Poblacion, Linga)
    Cubao to Sta. Cruz: PhP148.50
    LRT to Sta. Cruz: PhP140.50


    HM Transport and Green Star use Alabang viaduct and do not drop off/pick up passengers in Alabang. Try H.M. Liner servicing Calamba-Lawton route and it's competitor Calamba Megatrans but using ordinary buses. These buses will not take you directly to Pansol Resorts, if you're going there, you have to transfer to jeepneys going to Sta. Cruz.

    There's also HM Transport serving The Fort bus routes in Bonifacio Global City.

    The air-conditioned buses have reclining seats with four columns and may be standing room only if you ride in Calamba going to Manila.

    Bus drivers take their time and don't speed up but their 3 hours travel time is consistent.

    On summer months, expect heavy traffic between Calamba and Los Banos, particularly in Pansol where the hot spring resorts are located.

    On reaching Sta. Cruz you can transfer to jeepneys going to Siniloan (will pass by Pagsanjan, Lumban, Kalayaan, Paete, Pakil, Pangil then Siniloan (where jeeps to Tanay, Rizal are present, also tricycles to Famy and Mabitac)), Pagsanjan, Lumban, Paete, Liliw, Magdalena, Majayjay, Lumot (Cavinti, Lake Caliraya and Lumot Lake), Luisiana, Nagcarlan, Rizal, San Pablo and the Quezon towns of Lucban, Tayabas and Lucena City.

    Updated: March 2014

    as of now, there's still no free wi-fi Internet and big TV on-board so unlike DLTB :(

    Related Posts:
    Bus Stations in Pasay Taft corner Buendia
    Bus Stations in Pasay Taft EDSA Rotonda
    Cubao Bus Stations
    Pagsanjan Falls
    Hot Spring Resorts in Pansol, Calamba, Laguna

    Labels: ,

    posted by backpacking philippines @ 10:19 PM, , links to this post

    The Next Boracay on Jessica Soho's Summer Special

    Last week Tutubi saw a teaser on TV about an adventure attraction in Cebu that he intends do in his upcoming trip to Cebu (for the nth time). But due to his channel surfing ways, he forgot about it almost missed the entire episode of Kapuso Mo Jessica Soho's Summer Special.

    The first segment featured some destinations tagged as alternative summer destinations to Bora, or groomed to be the next big thing as Bora-- very fine white sand beach, resorts and accommodations for every budget and an island of party animals.

    If you weren't able to watch the KMJS April 4 episode, here's the summary of suggested destinations plus Tutubi's reviews and comments of the places mentioned-- because he's been to all of them-- and why he disagrees with the suggestion that the places won't be and can't be the next Bora
    1. Anawangin Cove

    A boat ride ride away from Barangay Pundaquit in San Antonio, Zambales (Also the gateway to Capones Lighthouse) is really picture-perfect place with a cove of fine white sand beach complimented with a backdrop of pine trees (actually agoho trees (Casuarina equisetifolia)), common to Zambales beaches) making the place a fusion of Bora and Baguio combined. It's a backpacker place, much like Bora decades ago, a favorite of trekkers who trek to the place and camp out.

    Perfect, but, beware of a lurking danger in Anawangin with the presence of untertows/undercurrents making the beach not suitable for children and family vacations besides the place lacking facilities for such. Tutubi suggest staying at a Pundaquit beach resort (the best one seems to be
    Punta de Uian though pricey), just hire a boat to get there and don't forget your life vests!

    2. Pueblo Por La Playa

    An exclusive members-only resort development in Pagbilao, Quezon was also visited by Tutubi recently when he saw the resort with people frolicking and riding the jet ski from Silangang Nayon Park & Restaurant. After he left Silangang Nayon, he proceeded to visit the place before going back to Lucena City.

    pueblo por la playaPueblo Por La Playa sign on the main entrance gate

    Tutubi's Note: Pueblo Por La Playa has nice multi-colored houses and family-friendly facilities but the beach, again the beach, doesn't compare with Bora's if you're going to tag it as the next one. Tutubi wanted to explore the nearby Pagbilao Grande Island's beaches said to be very good but it will take time. To be able to enter the place, there's a membership fee of PhP300,000.00, plus the annual dues of course, making the place out of reach of ordinary mortals in the Philippines. Tutubi also loves to visit other places rather than to spend vacations regularly in just one place.

    3. Munting Buhangin Beach Camp

    A beach resort on a long stretch of fine white sand beach in Nasugbu, Batangas. It shares the beach with the exclusive Terrazas de Punta Fuego, beach resort partnered with Club Punta Fuego (they're different but within a few minutes driving distance from each other). The beach front can only accommodate a few more resorts and so the infestation of beach resorts there won't happen unlike in Bora's four kilometer long stretch.

    munting buhangin beach campMunting Muhangin beach with "munting" visitors

    4. Calaguas Group of Islands

    An island group part of Vinzons town of Camarines Norte in Bicol Region. It's about 3 hours by boat from Vinzon's port, Mercedes or even Bagasbas Beach in Daet and about an hour away from Apuao Grande Island. (Note the header, as of posting time, of this blog was taken on Calaguas Island in May 2008)

    The super fine sand of Calaguas Island's Mahabang Buhangin beach doesn't feel hot on your feet

    Feedback: The pristine long stretch of super fine white sand beach also perfect for swimming on Calaguas Island's Mahabang Buhangin has what it takes to make Boracay a run for its money. The sand is so fine, as fine as those in Bora, if not finer. It doesn't also feel hot on your feet probably due to its unique chemical composition similar to Boracay's white sand. It doesn't have the notorious green moss that litter Boracay's shoreline on summer mornings.

    Calaguas Island as the next Boracay? Tutubi doesn't think so. It's too far from civilization making it fit for adventurous backpackers, the same mold of backpackers who leaked photos of Boracay to the world decades ago that started its ascension to its current place in Philippine tourism, when backpackers were displaced by the usual tourists and turned the paradise into a party-place if not of sex, drugs and booze. Calaguas Island is also not a place for all seasons, Tutubi doesn't recommend going there during the typhoon season lest you get stranded by big waves. He wants to return to the island again someday to find it like it was before: a communion with nature, sand, sun, stars at night, without the trappings of modern civilization for there's no electricity on the island.


    Boracay is Boracay, it has a different persona than the places mentioned, and there's absolutely no other place that can rival it at this time for being the place to be seen (even during Holy Week), but that doesn't mean there are no better alternatives to it. It only depends on your own taste and preferences.

    Jessica Soho's episode researchers fell short of Bora's salacious charms if KMJS is really serious about the places, including two resorts, in tagging them as "The Next Bora."


    Kapuso Mo Jessica Soho
    Schedule: Saturday, 9pm at GMA

    About Melvic Brinas, the guy from Daet Tourism officer as contact person for Calaguas Group of Islands, all he can say about him for you readers are these two words: Caveat Emptor!

    Please visit the links on this page for the contact numbers, reviews, driving directions and other details

    Labels: , , , , , , ,

    posted by backpacking philippines @ 12:30 PM, , links to this post

    Isdaan Floating Restaurant in Tarlac

    Combine tried and tested Barrio Fiesta Singing Cooks and Waiters Atbp's restaurant experience and Filipino cuisine, native-themed palaisdaan restaurant with an ambiance of native huts with Buddhist-inspired landscaping and you got yourself a satisfying meal and relaxing place called Isdaan Floating Restaurant.

    Located along Gerona, Tarlac portion of MacArthur Highway where Tutubi passed by so many times in the past but never actually visited. This time, his officemates, coming from Camp John Hay in Baguio City, acquiesced to drop by for late lunch at the popular palaisdaan floating restaurant in Tarlac. This place is half-way to Baguio, and other northern provinces making it a popular stop-over for road trips reachable from Manila via NLEX, SCTEX and Tarlac City.

    Cory Aquino, a Tarlac native, consulting with the late Jaime Cardinal Sin

    From MacArthur Highway, one can see the giant Buddhas, fishes and other Buddhist-inspired statues and mythical creatures that remind you of Buddhist nations of Southeast Asia like Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos if you've ever been to one of them.

    golden giant buddhaGiant Buddha at Isdaan

    Price of food at Isdaan Floating Restaurant is only slightly lower than Barrio Fiesta restaurants in Manila but worth it due to the relaxing atmosphere, beside rice fields with fresh air, conducive to sleeping after a heavy meal.

    Sample menu prices:

    Crispy Pata: PhP254.00 (crispy pork knuckles)
    Ginataang Hipon Sipitsipitan Luto sa Buho: PhP139.00 (a recommended dish of prawns in spicy coconut milk served in bamboo),
    Lechon de Leche PhP2,800.00 (one whole pit-roasted baby suckling pig, quite cheap actually)
    Lechon Manok (Inihaw sa Dahon): PhP191.00 (one whole roast chicken)

    lechon de lechelechon de leche (roast suckling pig) only costs PhP2,800.00

    picture of the table with the food gone, reason why Tutubi doesn't take pictures of food if he's with hungry office mates. Note the restaurant serves food in environment-friendly banana leaves and bamboo-- no plastic except straws

    Activities at Isdaan Floating Restaurant, Gerona, Tarlac:

    Tacsiyapo Wall: Release your anger
    Ungoy-Unggoyan: survive the spitting, urinating monkeys for a kilo of free fish
    San Kilo Bridge: for 1 kilo of free fish, cooked the way you want it, cross the long bridge and survive
    Mga Mahiwagang kamay: experience the legend of the giant hands
    Wishing Buddhas: make your dreams come true

    Cross this concrete bridge called "Sang Kilo Bridge" about 20 centimeters wide and 30 meters long, laden with sea shells as obstacles, and get 1 free kilo of fish cooked to your preferred way...the fishpond is about 6 ft to 9 ft so prepare to get wet should you fall

    Note the place is dangerous for playing kids to roam around unattended so better stick to the restaurant's policy of using life vests for hyperactive kids. Be careful also when stepping on or leaving the floating huts, this is specially for non-swimmers as you can get a splash of your life there.

    the tyrannosaurus rex dinosaur is out of place, it should've been moved to a children's playground as its a really distracting figure

    Talking about negatives, their non-acceptance of credit cards -- it's a cash-only establishment so better bring wads of cash before visiting the restaurant. Budget about PhP300.00 and up per person and you'll really have a really nice meal. The establishment seems to be almost always full, attracting families of tourists and balikbayan so be early in order to get your desired seat/hut in the place.

    How to get to Isdaan Floating Restaurant, Gerona, Tarlac:

    Directions to Isdaan Floating Restaurant is easy, just follow this route: NLEX, SCTEX, exit at Tarlac, turn left going to Tarlac city proper and Hacienda Luisita then right on MacArthur Highway. Continue until you reach Gerona where the restaurant can be seen on your left. Travel time is about an hour from NLEX Dau exit entering SCTEX.

    Update August 2010: there's an on-going construction of Isdaan restaurant in Bay, Laguna in between Kamayan sa Palaisdaan sa Bay and Samaral Seafood Restaurant. No information on opening date though.

    UPDATE: November 2011: Isdaan Laguna is now open for business. No information yet on Isdaan telehone number for reservation nor contact person.

    Labels: , , ,

    posted by backpacking philippines @ 9:27 PM, , links to this post

    Boracay via Roro Bus Ferry: Batangas-Mindoro-Caticlan: Motorcycle Car Rates/Fare/Fee

    Manila to Boracay via RO-RO (Roll-on Roll-off): the cheapest way to to go Boracay Island for those with ample time to spare and armed with adventurous souls. A contractual officemate of Tutubi went to Boracay recently and took a Ro-ro reportedly for 15 hours. With his actual experience and Tutubi's updated information (some of which were taken from official websites and actual phone calls to telephone numbers, here's everything you need to know about how to get to Boracay via Roro.

    UPDATED April 2013

    Roro to Boracay via Rodastco Vans:

    Rodastco Manila Tel. No.: +63.2.732.6891; +63.921.524.5394
    Rodastco Vans to Caticlan fare: PhP963.00 one way, inclusive of ferry fares

    Rodastco Van (Roro) to Boracay Fare Schedule:

    Manila to Roxas (Mindoro) including ferry: PhP 650.00/person
    Roxas to Caticlan including ferry: PhP313.00/person
    Caticlan port to Boracay boat ride: PhP150.00/person (around 15 minutes)
    Tricycle from Cagban Jetty port to your resort: PhP150.00 (special trip)

    If your hotel/resort package in Boracay is inclusive of boat transfers then they will fetch you at Caticlan Jetty Port

    Telephone numbers of Boracay RORO buses and vans:
    ( Board a bus/van at the terminal to take you straight to Caticlan where Boracay is a short ferry ride away)

    Ro-ro Bus to Boracay:

    philtranco roro busPhiltranco Ro-ro Bus at Caticlan Jetty Port

    Philtranco Services Enterprise Incorporated
    Terminal: Araneta Center, Cubao, Quezon City; EDSA, Cubao, Quezon City; and EDSA, Pasay City
    For trip schedules, please visit Philtranco official website:
    Contact Number: +63.2.851.8077, +63.2.851-8079

    Bachelor Express
    Tel. No.: +63.2.731.7287
    Roro Bus Fare to Caticlan: PhP945.00 one way

    Dimple Star Transit
    Tel. No.: +63.2.862.3075
    Bus Terminal: Ali Mall, Araneta center, Cubao, Quezon City; Alabang, Muntinlupa City
    Roro Bus Fare to Caticlan from Cubao: PhP945.00 one way

    Driving Directions to Boracay via Roro (Strong Republic National Highway):

    If you want to bring your own vehicle to Boracay, you need to get to Port of Batangas (Pier), board the Ro-ro vessel (Montenegro Shipping Lines or Starlite Ferries) to the Port of Calapan (Oriental Mindoro), drive again up to Roxas (Oriental Mindoro) then board the ferry to Caticlan (you need to park your car in Caticlan as cars are not allowed on Boracay Island)

    Travel time estimates:
    Manila to Batangas port: 3 hours (land travel)
    RORO to Calapan Mindoro: 3 hours (sea travel)
    Calapan to Port Roxas: 3 hour land travel
    RORO to Caticlan port: 4 hours (sea travel)

    Waiting time is not included here, better be early to catch the next available Ro-ro ferry schedule.

    Ro-Ro Vessels Contact Numbers:

    Montenegro Shipping Lines
    2nd Floor Old PPA Admin Building
    Sta. Clara, Batangas City 4200
    Official Website
    Reservation, Travel & Tours : +63.43.723.6980; +63.43.723.8294
    Caticlan office: +

    RORO Ferries of Montenegro Lines have 12 trips plying the Batangas Pier to Calapan spaced 2 hours apart starting at 12 midnight. Visit Montenegro Lines official website for the latest rates for passengers and car/vehicles (rate is based on the length of the vehicle).

    Roxas to Caticlan ferry leaves Roxas port at 4am, 10am, 4pm (tentative), 8pm and 10pm with estimated cruising time of 3.5 hours. Visit Montenegro Lines official website for the latest fares for vehicles based on vehicle length.

    Starlite Ferries (often misspelled Starlight Ferry)
    Official Website:
    Contact Number: +63.2.724.3034; +63.43.722.0162

    Telephone Numbers of Ports/Piers:

    Port of Batangas: +63.43.723.1701
    Port of Calapan (Oriental Mindoro): +
    Port of Roxas (Oriental Mindoro): +

    Related Post:
    Directions to Batangas Pier
    Boracay ATM
    Boracay Travel Guide

    For more Boracay posts, please click the Boracay label below or use the search box.

    Labels: , , , , , ,

    posted by backpacking philippines @ 9:06 PM, , links to this post

    Directions to Batangas Pier via Startoll

    Those planning to motor down to Batangas Pier to get to Puerto Galera, Isla Verde, or Mindoro Island (the home of the wild tamaraw, the hardy Mangyan tribe and Mt. Halcon), herewith is a guide on how to get to the Port of Batangas to catch a ferry to your intended destination.

    How to get to Batangas Pier:

    Directions to the Port of Batangas: From Makati, head towards SLEX and take Batangas Exit (the second to the last one), drive straight on Maharlika Highway past Turbina (Landmarks: Shell gasoline station and Turbina Bus Terminal) until you reach the Batangas welcome arch marking the Laguna-Batangas boundary and indicating you're already in Sto. Tomas. A few kilometers from the arch (and the entrance of (First Philippine Industrial Park (FPIP), you'll see on your right the entrance toll gate of Star Tollways. Turn right to enter Startoll and drive all the way to the end of the expressway at Balagtas exit, pay the toll fee (PhP55.00 for class 1 vehicles and PhP109.00 for class 2) then continue driving (you will see two ALPS Bus Terminals as landmarks) until you see the entrance gates of Batangas Pier.

    For inquiries on updated parking fees at Port of Batangas, try these contact numbers:
    Batangas Pier Telephone Number: +63.43.723.1701
    Customer Service Center: +63.43.723.8243

    Instead of overnight parking at Batangas Pier, why not try the Roll-on, Roll-Off ferries (Ro-ro) to Puerto Galera, or Calapan, Oriental Mindoro so you can explore the island with your own wheels. Roro ships are available from Montenegro Shipping Lines and Starlite Ferries.

    How to commute to Batangas Pier:

    Cheaper alternative to Batangas Pier is by commuting, board buses on EDSA, Cubao (ALPS); EDSA Kamuning (Jam Transit); at the corner of Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue and Taft Avenue (JAM, accessible from LRT Buendia station) with signboard Batangas Pier via Calabarzon (for faster trips since they use Star Tollways rather than the traffic-heavy Tanauan City proper and the old highway); and vans at Metropoint Mall at the corner of EDSA and Taft Avenue (accessible from MRT Taft Avenue station or LRT EDSA station) (Bus fare is around PhP175.00, depending on which terminal you rode the bus of course). Trips to Batangas City starts at around 3am in the morning and travel time from 2 to 3 hours.

    From Batangas Pier to Puerto Galera:

    Ferry to Puerto Galera Fare is now PhP450.00 plus terminal fees so expect around PhP500.00 for a round-trip fare to White Beach. For those looking for convenience, try the Sikat Bus to Puerto Galera in front of Great Eastern Hotel in Malate every 8am daily. It includes bus to Batangas Pier and ferry transfer to Puerto Galera.

    Going back to Manila:

    Buses going back to Manila are available inside the Port of Batangas as well as vans, so it's really very easy. Jeepneys to various Batangas towns are also available. Pasalubong vendors also will offer their products to you at every opportunity.


    posted by backpacking philippines @ 8:32 PM, , links to this post

    Aliwan Festival 2009 Schedule of Activities:

    A former officemate of Tutubi emailed him the schedule of the upcoming Aliwan Fiesta to be held on April 23-25 in Manila, something he missed these past few years but expects to miss again this year due to personal reasons.

    The Aliwan Festival 2009 schedule of activities:

    April 23, 2009 (Thursday)

    Streetdance Forum (CCP Silangan Hall)

    * One Town, One Product Shoppers Bazaar
    * Band Concert and Pasakalye (Aliw Theater outdoor stage - 7:00 p.m.)

    April 24, 2009 (Friday)

    * One Town, One Product Shoppers Bazaar
    * Aliwan Festival Queen Talent Competition (Star Theater, 1:30 p.m.)
    * Aliwan Festival Queen Pageant Night (Aliw Theater outdoor stage - 7:00 p.m.)

    April 25, 2009 (Saturday)

    * One Town, One Product Shoppers Bazaar
    * Grand Parade (Aliw Theater Complex to Quirino Grandstand - 4:00 p.m.)
    * Awarding Ceremonies (Quirino Grandstand - 9:00 p.m.)

    Do visit the official website of Aliwan Fiesta for the updated schedules and latest news. Tutubi intends to try his luck someday in the photography contest...after improving his really mediocre photography skills of course. Note the parade route and festival venue from Quirino Grandstand up to CCP complex in Pasay City


    posted by backpacking philippines @ 9:55 PM, , links to this post

    Holy Week in Pampanga: Live Crucifixion in Cutud, San Fernando

    Live crucifixion re-enactments in the Philippines are always sensationalized by foreign media in the Philippines making foreigners believe the practice is prevalent in the Philippines. This coming Good Friday, throngs of curious people, tourists and foreign media will once again troop to a place in Pampanga called San Pedro Cutud to witness people flagellating themselves before being crucified on an improvised Golgotha complete with wooden crosses and stainless-steel nails driven on their palms and feet.

    Note that the people submit to crucifixion for decades now as a form of penitence. The practice though is not really sanctioned by the Catholic Church.

    live crucifixions cutud pampangaPhoto of actual crucified man in San Pedro Cutud (photo by Sidney Snoeck, used with permission)

    For more pictures of the live crucifixions, check out Sidney Snoeck's blog about it here (Sidney is a Belgian who now calls the Philippines his second home)

    For those wishing to personally witness the bloody event, herewith is the schedule and instructions on how to get to the crucifixion sites.

    Live crucifixion Schedule April 10, 2009 Good Friday Holy Week 2009:

    Barangay San Juan: 9am to 12nn
    Barangay Sta. Lucia: 10am to 12nn
    Barangay San Pedro Cutud: 12nn to 3pm

    How to get to Cutud, San Fernando, Pampanga:

    Driving directions to Cutud: take the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) exiting via San Fernando going left towards San Fernando city proper. Turn left under the San Fernando flyover to MacArthur Highway. When you reach a fork on the right with a statue (the so called rotonda), choose the right road (Gen Hizon) that leads to Metropolitan Cathedral of San Fernando (Coordinates: 15°1'42"N 120°41'34"E), and San Fernando City Hall on Consunji St.. Turn left on Sta. Lucia St then follow the road map to Cutud below (map provided by the Government of San Fernando City):

    Road map to Cutud

    It takes time to figure out the map, to aid in deciphering it, you may refer to the road map via Wikimapia(centered on San fernando City Hall), click here. Should you get lost, ask people for directions (The local government of San Fernando should install street signs and assign traffic aides to guide people to the place).

    How to commute to Cutud:

    Commuting to Cutud on Good Friday may be a hassle as bus trips are mostly erratic due to lack of passengers in Metro Manila. Nevertheless, you may board a bus of Victory Liner (on EDSA Pasay or Cubao). Get off the Victory Liner Terminal in San Fernando then transfer to a jeep, tricycle to San Pedro Cutud.

    Related Posts:

    Holy Week in Paete, Laguna
    Manila Visita Iglesia

    Labels: , ,

    posted by backpacking philippines @ 5:49 PM, , links to this post

    Suggested Metro Manila Holy Week Activities: Visita Iglesia et al

    As you know, Tutubi's stuck in Metro manila for the Holy Week for a change. This is his first time to spend Holy Week in Manila and just the third time he'll miss Holy Week in Paete, Laguna, his hometown.

    Suggested Activities for Holy Week in Metro Manila (a city without the people and traffic)

    1. Visita Iglesia in Manila: Visit seven churches according to traditional bisita iglesia itineraries. Here you can see many people walking to churches some barefoot, avoiding riding public transportation, as a form of penitence. (for sure the LRT and MRT trains will stop operating during Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Black Saturday and Easter Sunday and the Pasig River Ferry may also do the same due to lack of people so you're stuck with buses, jeepneys and taxis)

    malate churchThe historic, old church of Malate, usually part of visita iglesia itineraries

    2. See fishes and other marine animals at Manila Ocean Park, open throughout the Holy Week from 9am to 9pm.

    3. Complete the 14 Stations of the Cross at Nayong Pilipino in Pasay City (it's been ages singe Tutubi visited the place). Starting April 6 (Holy Monday) up to April 12 (Easter Sunday) from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Nayong Pilipino will be opened to the public. The same is true for Nayong Pilipino Clark.

    4. Sightseeing tours of Manila: Quiapo, Luneta (Rizal Park), Binondo, Lawton (Liwasang Bonifacio), Sta. Cruz (Q: Is Manila Zoo open during Holy Week?)

    5. Drive around Quezon City: Circle, Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife, even visit the Lung Center Sunday Market.

    6. Cool down at Wawa Dam, something refreshing and cheap too, in Montalban, Rizal, just an hour from Tutubi's home. Nearby resorts in Antipolo and other Rizal towns are good too.

    7. Visit SM and other open malls on Black Saturday and Easter Sunday for those availing of free air-conditioning to escape the searing summer sun...nagpapalamig lang :P

    8. Staycation: stay at home vacation - cheap and comfortable with the air-con at full blast.

    Do drop by later which of these activities Tutubi did for Holy Week 2009. One thing's for sure, he won't visit the malls for he's not a mall-rat unlike most Filipinos :P

    Related Posts:
    Manila Visita Iglesia
    SM Malls Operating Hours during Holy Week
    How to Get to Manila Ocean Park


    posted by backpacking philippines @ 1:21 PM, , links to this post

    SM Mall Hours Holy Week 2014

    UPDATED: April 2014

    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.

    He asked around friends for schedules of SM Malls operation in Metro Manila, perticularly SM City North EDSA and SM Megamall where his friends work.

    Only SM Baguio is really open for business during Holy Week

    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.

    sm city north edsaSM City North EDSA: One of the Largest Mall in the World (picture taken from Trinoma Mall parking lot

    Robinsons Galleria, Robinsons Place Malate and 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 in Binondo, Fisher Mall in Quezon City, Starmall, Festival Mall
    Metro Gaisano, Sun Star Mall (Sta. Cruz, Laguna), Cherry Foodarama, Ever Gotesco, Victory Mall, Market! Market!, SNR BGC, NCC

    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.

    UPDATED: April 2014

    Related Post:

    Ayala Malls Holy Week 2011 Schedule
    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

    Labels: ,

    posted by backpacking philippines @ 10:39 PM, , links to this post