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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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    Mahatma Gandhi: The Father of India at Mani Bhavan, Mumbai

    This day in 1948, only months after India gained independence, Mohandas Gandhi died when an assassin, a Hindu named Nathuram Godse, angered by Gandhi's benevolence towards Muslims and betrayed the Hindu cause, shot him point blank in New Delhi.

    Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, called Mahatma or "Great Soul," led a non-violent, civil disobedience campaign against the oppressive British Raj which led to India's independence in 1947.

    Mohandas K. Gandhi was quoted to have said "If I am to die by the bullet of a mad man, I must do so smiling. There must be no anger within me. God must be in my heart and on my lips." This was on January 28, 1948, two days prior to his assassination.

    During Tutubi's 3 weeks working, living in India in April 2004, he was able to visit Mumbai's Mani Bhavan museum near Malabar Hill, where Gandhi had lived while visiting the city and was the focal point of his political activities. (Picture of Gandhi bust at Mani Bahvan with Tutubi's two Korean friends)

    At Madame Tussauds Hong Kong, Mahatma Gandhi is honored by a wax figure on display.

    This day, ashes of the great leader were scattered on the shores of Mumbai on the Arabian Sea, sixty years after his death.

    Tutubi honors great people of history who gave their lives for the good of others!


    Information on Mani Bhavan:

    According to the official website of Mani Bhavan, "Mahatma Gandhi lived in this quaint Gujarati-style house from 1917 to 1934, and it was here in November 1921 that he conducted a 4-day fast in order to restore peace to the city. This quiet three-story home on a beautiful Laburnum tree-lined avenue now preserves the spirit of the man who selflessly put his nation before himself. There's a library of Gandhi-related works, as well as displays of photographs, posters, slogans, and other items that document and explain Gandhi's legendary life; dioramas depicting major events and turning points in his fight for the nation's freedom draw particular attention to his devotion to the poor. You can see Gandhi's old charkha (spinning wheel), which in many ways symbolized the struggle for independence, as it represented a return to roots and to sustainable home industry, where anyone can weave his or her own cloth. A visit to this tranquil spot makes a welcome change from the continuous hubbub of life in Mumbai -- go up to the roof to really appreciate the relative stillness of the surrounding neighborhood."

    How to go there:

    Address 19 Laburnam Rd, Mumbai
    Location near Malabar Hill
    Phone 022/2380-5864
    Web Site:

    Related Posts:

    Incredible India
    Incredible India part 2
    Incredible India: Tour of Mumbai

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    posted by GingGoy @ 8:42 PM, ,

    Travel Guide: Pagsanjan Falls in Laguna (Boat Ride Rates, Fare, How to Get There, Entrance Fee)

    Pagsanjan, famous for shooting the rapids of Pagsanjan Falls, is separated from Tutubi's hometown Paete by the towns of Lumban, famous for barong (formal wear of Filipinos), and the sleepy town of Kalayaan. The town got it's name from the word Pinagsangahan which means "a place where branch off" due to the town's location of the branch of theroad going to Lumban to the left and Luisiana (Cavinti and Lucban) to the right.

    UPDATED: August 2019

    These information and tips on this world-famous destination close to his home for the cheapest tour of Pagsanjan Falls if you're allergic to usual travel packages offered by travel agencies-- the best guide you'll see on the Internet for this famous tourist spot.

    Picture of Pagsanjan Falls (right) used with permission from Barok (hey, thanks)

    The true name of Pagsanjan Falls is Magdapio Falls and actually located in Cavinti town.

    There is a cave behind the waterfalls named Devil's Cave

    The river is called Bumbungan river that cuts through a gorge lined with lush vegetation and various small waterfalls.

    The 1979 movie Apocalypse Now winner of 1979 Academy Award, Cannes Palme d'Or and Golden Globe winning American film set during the Vietnam War. Directed by Francis Ford Coppola and starred Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando, Dennis Hopper, and Robert Duvall. (The surfing scenes were shot on the beaches of Baler, Aurora)

    The upstream boat ride takes about an hour while the return trip is just around 45 minutes.

    Each boat (banca) sits 4 people, two boatmen with paddles who jump from rocks on the way to steer the boat, and two tourists.

    Pagsanjan Falls painting by National Artist Fernando Amorsolo

    Cost of Pagsanjan Falls boat ride rate:

    PhP1350.00/head standard rate for local and foreign tourists
    This rate includes the use of resort lockers and washrooms after the boat ride

    P1250.00 boat ride
    P100 pagsanjan falls entrance fee

    P500.00 cottage for lunch at picnic area

    Pagsanjan Falls Package Tour:

    1. Drive down or commute to a Pagsanjan Falls Resort
    2. Pay the standard rate of PhP1250.00 which includes lockers and washrooms
    3. Ride the rapids

    Estimated budget is PhP2,000.00/person all in

    Map of Pagsanjan Falls (click to see full resolution picture) courtesy of Pagsanjan LGU:

    *There are also "optional" tips asked by boatmen and the ones manning the raft at the waterfalls (that gives you some sort of spa/hydro massage treatment)

    Pagsanjan Falls Budget:

    bus fare as of May 2019:
    P148.50 fare from Cubao to Sta. Cruz (HM Transport)
    P140.20 fare from Taft/Gil Puyat to Sta Cruz (Green Star)

    PhP8.00 jeepney fare from Sta Cruz to Pagsanjan
    PhP50.00 tricycle fare from Sta Cruz to Pagsanjan should you not take the jeepney

    Note: an alternate access to Pagsanjan Falls is in Cavinti (where's it is really located). You need to go to Pueblo El Salvador Nature Park and Picnic Grove located at Brgy. Tibatib, Cavinti, trek and rappel down the falls aand back up. Entrance fee of PhP270.00

    Commute time from Cubao to Pagsanjan via air-conditioned buses and the short jeepney ride is around 3 hours.

    Browse the Map of Pagsanjan

    Important Telephone Numbers:

    Pagsanjan Police Station +63.49.808.4045; +63.49.821.0422
    Tourism & Cultural Development Office +63.49.808.3544

    Christian General Hospital +63.49.808.4051
    Dr. Guillermo Chin Medical Clinic +63.49.808.4812
    Pagsanjan Medical Clinic, Inc. +63.49.808.4228

    Banks, ATM and Money changers:

    There is an ATM in Pagsanjan by Banco De Oro (near Shell Gas station, Mercury Drug, 7-Eleven and Pagsanjan Municipal Hall, others near by are those in neighboring Sta. Cruz town, a short jeepney ride away. Money changers at resorts/hotels or Pagsanjan Rural Bank and Rural Bank of Paete near the town plaza.

    Some resorts and hotels accept Visa, Mastercard credit cards.

    Fiesta and Festival:

    Town Fiesta is on December 12 in honor of of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the town's patron while there's also the annual Bangkero Festival, schedule varies in April, with boat race, street dancing and other activities.

    Tourist Traps and Travel Tips:

    You may opt to bring waterproof cameras, or casing to protect your gear.

    Should you take the bus to Pagsanjan from Cubao or Pasay/Taft, there are times when a man will approach you inside the bus and offer to take you to a resort via a tricycle. Nothing unusual or wrong with this. Tutubi has seen it many times particularly with foreign tourists, usually Koreans. Stiff competition from thousands of licensed boatmen is to blame for incidents like this.

    There are large billboards on the highway leading to Pagsanjan reminding you of the standard rates (PhP1,250.00 all in) for the boat ride with inclusions plus warnings and important telephone numbers.

    Book only with resorts and inns to be safe from "enterprising" people. Don't talk to people offering rates other than the standard price for the boat ride.

    Most of the time, you don't need to book a room or check in at a hotel/resort. There are cheap places where you can just rent a locker for a minimal amount that comes with use of a shower after shooting the rapids.

    Beware of people offering you boat ride to Pagsanjan Falls far from Pagsanjan. There have been reports of people forced to cough up more money in addition to the standard rate.

    There are reports about "optional" tips from boatmen who have their own standard rate. This is bad for tourism in the long run. those boatmen are only thinking about a day's money not knowing such practice can kill the thriving tourism industry just like years ago when "shooting the rapids" was de-listed by the Department of Tourism due to the presence in the past of pedophiles, mainly foreigners, looking for "naked boys swimming" in the area.

    If your travel agency has a van waiting for you in Sta. Cruz, chances are there are also police escorts to accompany you to Pagsanjan. It seems local tourism officers pamper tourists but in the process disregard traffic rules thereby relegating ordinary citizens to mere spectators watching policemen blatantly disobey traffic rules just to please foreign tourists.

    Where to Stay: Pagsanjan falls Resorts Inns, Lodges, and Hotels:

    Pagsanjan falls is just a day tour for most people but if you want to stay for the night, there are many resorts from pricey hotels to cheap inns in town from simple and affordable Bonanza Resort to touristy La Corona de Pagsanjan Hotel. Telephone numbers of resorts and hotels below:

    Pagsanjan Rapids Hotel +63.49.808-4181

    Pagsanjan Falls Lodge and Summer Resort +63.49.808.4209; +63.49.808.4251
    Pagsanjan Garden Resort +63.49.808.4451
    La Corona de Pagsanjan Resort Hotel +63.49.808.1752
    Lolo Tuge's Landing and Lodging +63.49.501.7550
    Pagsanjan Paradise Resort +63.49.808.5494; +63.49.808.5493
    La Vista Pagsanjan Resort and Landing Area +63.49.808.1229
    Magdapio Hotel, Inc. +63.49.808.4128
    Bonanza Landing Area and Restaurant +63.49.821.0409
    Camino Real Lodging House +63.49.821.0051; +63.49.821.0016
    Tropical Inn and Restaurant +63.49.808.4697; +63.49.808.5677
    Rio Vista Lodge Resort +63.49.808.2210
    Fresh & Green Lodging House +63.49.808.4498
    818 Lodging House +63.49.821.0409
    Wendy's Resort +63.49.821.0283
    Monetevel Resort & Restaurant +63.49.808.6403
    Pagsanjan Palm Resort
    Pagsanjan Riceland Hotel and Restaurant
    Lagaslas Picnic Area (Entrance Fee: P20 daytour, P200 overnight camping site/campsite)

    *call the contact number or visit official website for room rates, day tour rate, sample restaurant menu or swimming/entrance fee. No information on cheap accommodations; pictures to follow also.

    Other Waterfalls Along the Route to Pagsanjan Falls (Magdapio River):

    Monkey Falls
    Kalay Falls
    Bridai Veil Falls
    The First Falls (Talahib Falls)
    Hugusan Falls
    Lingkagang Malaki

    Where to eat in Pagsanjan (restaurants):

    The ultimate Pagsanjan Restaurant is Jollibee at Pagsanjan Public market on the highway :P

    Seriously, mostly on the mainroad (Manila East Road):

    83 Gallery,
    Binalot sa Dahon Bar and Restaurant
    Pansitan sa Plaza Restaurant
    Dura-Fe Restaurant
    Aling Taleng's Halo-halo Since 1933
    Calle Arco Cafe and Restaurant
    Hana Japanese Restaurant
    Yellow Bell
    Deco's Bar Grill and Restaurant
    Barrio Ihaw-ihaw Restaurant and Videoke
    Hidden Garden Restaurant
    Ningning's Fastfood Bulalohan
    Foreplay Bar and Restaurant
    Rajah Sulaiman Restaurant
    Emin and Mila's Canteen
    Balai Ilocos
    New Ylaya Bakery
    Lolo Tuge's Halo-halo

    There's also these places in nearby towns:
    Kamayan sa Palaisdaan sa Bay
    Isdaan Laguna Floating Restaurant in Calauan
    Chef Mau Restaurant in Liliw
    Exotikk Restaurant in Kalayaan

    Tutubi's tip: Look for the matamis na calamansi (sweetened Philippine lemon) at Aling Emma's Kakanin in front of Step Rite footwear store near Pagsanjan church. It's said to be a favorite of the late actor Fernando Poe, Jr. but unknown to most people of Metro Manila. Try also old-style New Ilaya Bakery on Rizal St near Pagsanjan arch selling heirloom breads and biscuits.

    Other Interesting places to See near Pagsanjan:

    Old Churches of Mabitac, Pakil, Paete, Longos (Kalayaan), Cavinti, Majayjay, Pila, Luisiana, Liliw, Magdalena, Nagcarlan.

    Old houses and historic square in Pila, Underground Cemetery in Nagcarlan, paper mache and wood carvings in Paete, Barong embroidery in Lumban, Tsinelas in Liliw, Caliraya Lake, Japanese Garden in Cavinti, kesong puti (white cheese) factory in Sta. Cruz

    How to get to Pagsanjan Falls:

    How to Commute to Pagsanjan Falls: Board a HM Transport bus, with terminal on EDSA, Cubao near Victory Liner, going to Sta. Cruz/Calamba (fare: P148.50) or Green Star Express with terminal on Taft Avenue near corner Gil Puyat (Buendia) and LRT Gil Puyat station (fare: P140.20)
    then drop off at the Jam terminal in Pagsanjan. Board a jeepney bound for Pagsanjan, Lumban, Paete or Siniloan then alight at your destination resort or inn (or ride a tricycle).

    Driving Directions to Pagsanjan from Makati: from SLEX take Calamba exit then head straight to Calamba. turn right at Calamba junction and follow this road and highway until you reach Pagsanjan (after Los Banos, Bay, Victoria, Pila, Sta Cruz towns). There's parking inside the Pagsanjan patio or inside your resort/inn of choice.

    Directions by car from Quezon City, 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, Pakil, Paete, Kalayaan, Lumban then finally Pagsanjan. 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.

    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.

    Commuting from Cavite: board the Pagsanjan or Sta. Cruz vans at Pala-pala terminal in Dasmarinas, Cavite (near Robinsons Dasmarinas and SM). Board a jeep for Pagsanjan (or Lumban, Paete, Siniloan) or a tricycle to your destination resort.

    Bus Companies:

    Terminal: Taft Avenue in Pasay and Edsa, Cubao
    Fare: LRT Gil Puyat Avenue to Sta. Cruz: PhP132.00
    Trip Schedules: daily, first trip at 4am, last trip at 10pm

    Green Star Express
    Terminal: Taft Avenue near corner Gil Puyat, Pasay City (accessible from LRT Buendia)
    Route: Pasay Taft/LRT to Sta. Cruz/Calamba, Laguna
    Telephone Number: +63.49.808.3172; +63.49.808.3701
    First Trip is 4am and last trip at 10pm with trips depart about every 20 minutes (there's no fixed schedule). There's no advance or ticket reservation, just show up at the terminal

    HM Transport
    Terminal: EDSA Cubao, Quezon City near Victory Liner terminal
    route: Cubao, Quezon City to Sta. Cruz/Calamba, Laguna
    Pagsanjan Terminal Contact Number: +63.49.821.0531
    Cubao Terminal Tel. No.: +63.2.416.6192
    First Trip is 4am and last trip at 10pm with trips depart about every 20 minutes. There's no advance or ticket reservation, just show up at the terminal

    HM Liner route: Alabang, Muntinlupa to Sta. Cruz/Calamba, Laguna
    (note: ordinary buses only)

    AH Transportation
    Route: Lucena City to Infanta Real via Lucban, Tayabas, and national highway of the towns of Pagsanjan, Lumban, Kalayaan, Paete, Pakil, Pangil, Siniloan, and Famy in Laguna
    Terminal: Lucena City, Quezon; Famy, Laguna; Infanta, Quezon

    Bus terminals of the three is in Brgy. Pagsawitan, Pagsanjan, Laguna
    (jeepney drivers call the terminal Jam, after Jam Transit. Jam Transit is also the company behind Laguna Trans.)

    Note: there's an alternative route to Pagsanjan Falls via Cavinti with entrance fee to Pagsanjan Falls price of P270.00 only but with trekking and rappelling instead of boat ride

    UPDATED: November 2016 (the best travel guide to Pagsanjan Falls)

    Related Posts:
    Bunga Twin Falls
    Laguna Waterfalls
    Kalayaan Twin Falls
    Taytay Falls, Majayjay

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    posted by GingGoy @ 10:20 PM, ,

    A Flowerful Visit to Manila Seedling Bank in Quezon City

    On a lazy Saturday morning, a quick visit to the a "secret garden," a place tucked within a city oblivious to the wonderful collection of flowers, seedlings, saplings, and other landscaping materials made the day for Tutubi in search of some flower seedlings and a bonus photo opportunity.

    The place, called Manila Seedling Bank, teems with various flowers, plants, trees, herbs and organic vegetables at unbelievable prices you never knew exist in the megalopolis.

    Just sharing some pictures of flowers: hibiscus (gumamela), bromeliads and exotic orchids below:

    kiapo quiapo plant a small pond of kiapo/kiyapo/kyapo from where Manila's Quiapo district was named after

    What made Tutubi's day was a garden/store with his "cousin" photo below:

    A few pictures taken sparingly during a visit that lasted just about an hour...
    hope you enjoyed them!


    How to gt to Manila Seedling Bank, Quezon City:

    Commute: The place is just walking distance from MRT Quezon Avenue station. From Manila, jeepneys bound for Fairview/Philcoa pass by the place. Alight at the corner of EDSA and Quezon Avenue, and walk towards the pedestrian entrance. (There's no entrance fee)

    Directions by car: entrance of private cars/taxis is located on Agham Road (near Office of the Ombudsman and Philippine Science High School (PSHS)). From EDSA Cubao, drive towards Monumento then turn right on Mindanao Avenue (Trinoma Mall), right again on North Avenue then another right on Agham Road. There you'll see the entrance to the place. There's no parking fee!

    Photos taken using Canon EOS 300D 18-55 f/3.5-5.6 (go super kit lens!)

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    posted by GingGoy @ 9:48 PM, ,

    Paypal Withdrawal in the Philippines: Transaction Fees

    Using eBay in the Philippines using Paypal and yet unable to withdraw funds from your own bank accounts? The news is already here with the opening up of Paypal allowing your funds to be withdrawn from your bank accounts.

    There used to be a time when Paypal wasn't allowed in the country due to incidents of fraud (committed mostly by foreigners), then opened it up for one-way outgoing transactions, later opened up receiving payments but only through credit cards and lately this news.

    To initiate funds withdrawal, login to your Paypal account, click My Account ==> Withdraw page. You then need to have a credit card (VISA or Mastercard) or EON debit card from Unionbank to verify your account. After verification, you have the option directly transfer funds to your bank account by entering your bank, Philippine Bank Code for your bank account to be linked and you're all set.

    Paypal "promised" withdrawal transactions to be processed within 5-7 business days.

    No charge if transaction amount is equal to or more than PhP7,000. Transaction fee of PhP50.00 fee if amount less than PhP7000.00.

    Be careful in entering details since a charge of PhP250.00 return fee for incorrect information.

    Now, Tutubi is really keen on opening an online store and use Paypal to accept payments :P

    Related Posts:

    Philippines Bank Code List
    ATM Charges and Transaction Fees in the Philippines


    posted by GingGoy @ 8:02 PM, ,

    Zambales, Iba Ka Talaga!

    Tutubi's memories of Iba, Zambales include his visits to the pink sand beach-fringed Potipot Island in Candelaria where he just passed by the capital town with it's church (St. Augustine), old houses and large public square. This time, however, Tutubi found himself adrift for a day in Iba and Palauig towns where he visited a black sand beach with few people frolicking early in the morning yet too late for the "Golden Hour" that landscape photographers seek.

    Zambales has around 100 kilometers of coastline facing the South China Sea where you can also see (and buy) beach front property for sale plucked by foreigners looking for a nice, retirement place.

    the approach to the beach after the tricycle ride from Palauig.

    a family frolicking in the early morning waves on the beach's fine black sand
    picture of butterfly on a mango tree. Butterflies are cousins of Tutubi :P
    here's a rare picture of Tutubi, a self-portrait

    The trip was just a short one so Tutubi didn't have the time to explore more of Iba and Palauig since his main purpose was to visit a relative and check out a piece of land in Bangkal, Botolan he wants to acquire someday.

    Zambales remains off the radar of most tourists but it holds much promise. Only Subic Bay seems to be promoted and developed for mainstrean tourism which is good for backpackers looking for secluded places away from the crowds.


    Notes and Related Posts:

    Other Zambales "places to see" include the white sand beaches of San Antonio (Anawangin and Pundaquit), Cabangan (where Mango Camp Adventure and Leisure Farm is) and Subic where White Rock, The Lighouse Marina Resort and others are located in addition to Ocean Adventure and Zoobic Safari. Other natural attractions are Balon Falls, Sto. Nino and Sagrada Familia Caves, and Baloc-baloc Springs. Historical marker of the birthplace of Ramon Magsaysay and ancestral house in Castillejos.

    Similar to Corregidor Island guarding the mouth of Manila Bay, Grande Island acted as sentry to the entrance of Subic Bay with bunkers and batteries for defense.

    San Salvador Island, off Masinloc town, is a white sand beach island similar to Potipot Island in Candelaria.

    Capones Island and Lighthouse Pundaquit, San Antonio,
    Ocean Adventure, Subic Bay

    How to go to Zambales, the commute way:

    At Victory Liner bus terminal on Rizal Avenue (Avenida), Caloocan (near Monumento LRT station), buses bound for Iba can take you there and will pass by Double Happiness for a stop-over, Olongapo, Subic, Castillejos, San Marcelino, San Antonio, San Narciso, San Felipe, Cabangan, Botolan, Iba, Palauig, Masinloc, Candelaria, and Sta Cruz (which is the northernmost town adjacent to Pangasinan). Bus fare from Manila (Caloocan) to Iba, Zambales is P371.00 (as of posting time) while commuting time is around 5 hours, 3 hours to Olongapo City from Manila.

    If you're looking for directions to Potipot Island, board a bus to Sta. Cruz, Zambales and ask the driver to drop you off at Dawal Resort in Candelaria where you can hire boats for the 15 minute ride to Potipot Island.

    "Zambales, Iba Ka Talaga" means "Zambales, you're really different!" in Pilipino.

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    posted by GingGoy @ 8:58 PM, ,

    Fish Spa: Boracay, Manila and Tibiao, Antique

    Fish spas have become the latest fad in Asian countries such as China, Vietnam, Thailand and Turkey. There are currently three fish spas in the Philippines: one in Boracay, another in Manila Ocean Park and the third and cheapest one in the town of Tibiao in Antique Province.

    Fish spas work using fishes that swarm guests feet to nibble off dead skin, calluses and cuticles, creating a ticklish, soothing feeling.

    The fish, usually Gara Ruffa fish species (expensive one that costs P150 to P300 each), feed only on dead skin layer, leaving the healthy ones untouched to heal and rebuild after fish exfoliating effect.

    List of Fish Spas in the Philippines:

    Tibiao Fish Spa,
    National Highway, Barangay Poblacion,
    Tibiao, Antique
    Tibiao Fesh Spa costs P10 per 10 minutes and P1 for every succeeding minute (now ain't that a cheap price indeed)

    Remarks: two hour ride from Caticlan jetty port. Uses a native fish species found in Tibiao (unindentified as the business needs to patent the technology first). About 25 people can enjoy the fish spa service simultaneously in the U-shaped pool.

    The Tibiao Fish Spa dreams of becoming the biggest fish spa in Asia someday.

    Boracay Fish Spa

    If you're vacationing on Boracay Island, you can also try out Footzee's Boracay Foot Spa for 30 minutes at a cost of P550.00 (a package of Dr. fish and foot scrub costs P1,200.00)

    Footzee’s Boracay Foot Spa
    Boat Station 2, D’Mall
    Boracay Island
    Telephone No.: +

    The fish spa in Manila can be found at the Manila Ocean Park whose fish spa service can be had at a price of P120 (in addition to Manila Ocean park entrance fee)

    Please call published contact numbers for the latest price and promos.

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    posted by GingGoy @ 9:43 PM, ,

    Backpacking Philippines Travel Guide and Tips

    This Backpacking Philippines Guide and Tips is written particularly for foreigners, tourists and ex-pats, wishing to travel around the country. This will supplement whatever information and travel guides you already have about Tutubi's beautiful yet underrated Paradise Philippines!

    Cheap Flights to the Philippines:

    The cheapest flights to the Philippines are available from budget carriers from Singapore (Tiger Airways), Malaysia (AirAsia) or Cebu Pacific (Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur (KL)), Macau, Thailand (Bangkok), Singapore, China (Guanghzou, Xiamen, Shanghai), Japan (Osaka), Taiwan and Korea) or occasional low fares promo of Philippine Airlines. No information yet on the cheapest of the cheap flights to the Philippines from the US, Japan, UK, Germany, France or other European countries outside of the list.

    Philippine Visa Requirements:

    Most foreign nationals can visit the Philippines Visa-free for 21 days provided they have a valid passport up to 6 months and a plane ticket out of the country.Visa extensions can be availed at the Philippine Immigration Office for a minimal fee and can be extended up to two years (beyond two years, just a board a plane out of the country even for a day then return for a fresh 21 day visa). Complete information can be found here. The 21 day visa does not include citizens of India and most Middle Eastern countries.

    Warning for unaccompanied minors, i.e.children below fifteen years of age, traveling to the Philippines with foreign passports and unaccompanied by parents (unless one of the parents is in the Philippines), inquire about the Waiver of Exclusion Ground (WEG) at the nearest Philippine Embassy of Consulate.

    What to wear:

    T-shirts, shorts, sneakers, sandals are fine but also bring dresses and attire suited for a particular place, meeting or occasion. Note that some places don't allow sandos, shorts, thongs or flip-flops so be prepared for things like this.

    Climate and Weather:

    The Philippines has a tropical climate with plenty of sun, generous rainfall, gentle winds, humid and with an average temperature of 26 degrees Celsius. Off-season for tourists is June to October where typhoons and storms visit the country, the cool months of November to February, probably the best time to visit, and and the hot summer months of March to May.

    Filipino Time:

    Philippine Standard Time (PST) GMT +8, the same time zone as Singapore, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur. Sunrises and sunsets occur at around 6am and 6pm give or take thirty minutes. This is different from the so called Filipino time, by the way.

    Languages Spoken:

    Filipino is the national language while English is widely spoken and understood. You may want to learn a word or two in Tagalog, where Filipino is based, or Cebuano, which has the most number of native speakers. Learning to speak a few phrases, even with wrong pronunciation, will elicit smiles from locals!

    Entertainment, Nightlife, Arts and Culture

    Metro Manila thrives with exciting nightlife with bars and restaurants offering live bands, karaoke bars, sometimes spiced up with scantily-clad women in red light districts of Malate in Manila, Burgos street in Makati and Quezon Ave in Quezon City.

    Popular venues for performing arts is the Cultural Center of the Philippines in Pasay City, while various museums are present to give visitors a glimpse of culture of the islands of yore. A throbbing art scene is also visible in various art galleries in Metro Manila and around the country.

    Watching movies in cinemas cost just around PhP150.00 to PhP200.00 (around US$4 to US$6), still a bargain compared to most of Asia for first-run movies shown in modern movie houses and theaters (sometimes days ahead of showing in the US)

    Airport Terminal Fees and Travel tax:

    All passenger departures require payment of airport terminal fees prior to departure at airports (except for domestic departures from Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA, formerly Manila International Airport (MIA)), and Mactan-Cebu International Airport where the terminal fee is already included in your plane ticket.

    Airport terminal fee for international departures is PhP550.00, while it varies from PhP20.00 to PhP200.00 for domestic destinations. Herewith is the list airport terminal fees for departing passengers.

    Travel tax for international travelers, economy class, is PhP1620.00 (around US$38) and is usually included in the plane ticket price (check your plane tickets to verify though).

    Travel tax exemptions for OFW with exit clearance OEC

    Refer to Manila Airport Guide for information on Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), the gateway to the Philippines. Also refer to this post on airport transfer between terminals

    Airport Taxis:

    Cabs at NAIA can be specially-marked airport taxis (expensive and flat rate fare matrix depending on destination e.g. PhP550.00 for Makati, PhP770.00 for Quezon City). Metered taxis can be flagged down at the departure area of the airport; on exit, look for escalators or elevators going up to the departure area then negotiate with the taxis there (drivers can be choosy at times or negotiate for a rate) before boarding. (Taxi fare to Makati business district is around PhPhP150 to PhP200, Pasig City and Ortigas area is PhP200.00 range, Manila is PhP150.00-PhP200.00, while those for Quezon city is around PhP220.00 to PhP350.00 depending on traffic)

    Manila Domestic Airport has both airport taxis and metered ones. Remember to get the taxi coupon from the dispatcher in case of problems or complaints.

    Where to eat and notes on Filipino food:

    Philippine cuisine is an eclectic fusion of Filipino, Malay, Chinese, Mexican, Spanish and American influences so prepare yourself for the unique blend of tasteful food available. Cosmopolitan that it is, restaurants from Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Mexican, Vietnamese, Arabic/Persian, European and fast food chains are present and easy to find. Restaurants offering halal food are also present.

    One such example is the famous Filipino adobo which is a way of stewing in vinegar, while kare-kare is of Indian origin. The kilaw/kinilaw/kilawin, meat or fish soaked in vinegar, is one of those dishes devoid of foreign influences.

    Where to Stay:

    Cheap Hotels/Apartelles/Accommodations/Condotels/Homestay/Hostels/Pension Houses/Bed and Breakfast need research and reservation prior to showing up unlike in other countries. In more established tourist areas like Malate, cheap hotels are easier to find. Most of the small backpacker hotels don't have websites so your most logical choice is an actual telephone call or you may ask a Filipino friend/fiancee to search for you.

    Budget hotels will cost around PhP500.00+ outside Manila and cities; the cheapest form of accommodations present in these islands, even in Boracay, Puerto Galera, Pagudpud are homestays where nearby households rents out rooms to visitors with rates usually around PhP200.00-PhP350.00 per person. Don't expect them to be air-conditioned though

    Interesting Places to See and Things to do,More than the usual Tourist Spots in the Philippines:

    The biggest thing about the Philippines is DIVERSITY!

    There are so many options you can choose from if your want to explore old Manila, Intramuros, of the whole Metro Manila (composed of the city of Manila and all other sixteen cities and lone municipality of Pateros (Click on the Categories on the right navigation pane to see interesting places and posts)

    Include Manila in your Philippine itinerary like a day tour of Intramuros in the old walled city of Manila, Rizal Park, Manila Ocean Park, visits to various Manila museums then hie off to Tagaytay to see Taal Volcanoand another day trip to Pagsanjan Falls in Laguna to "shoot the rapids."

    Some tourists like the cold weather of Baguio City (up north) and Tagaytay (nearer to Manila). Others love the cooler and crisper air of Sagada, a favorite backpacking haven full of nature treks, waterfalls and caves besides seeing the famous hanging coffins.hanging coffins of sagada hanging coffins of Sagada: high up Mountain Province

    Speaking of the country's rich Spanish heritage, old baroque churches are still extant in many towns while remnants and ruins of Spanish forts and watchtowers can be marveled at. Examples: Fort Santiago in Manila, Fort San Pedro (Cebu and Iloilo), Fort San Felipe (Cavite City), Fort Pilar (Zamboanga City)

    Near Sagada are the UNESCO-inscribed Banaue Rice Terraces that look like stairways to heaven.

    In Pampanga and Zambales stood Mt. Pinatubo where trekkers can ascend to the crater in three hours past pristine volcanic ash landscape.

    Hill Tribes and people still living a tribal culture can be found on several islands. In Mindoro, the Hanunuo and Buhid groups of Mangyan tribe still use the their own ancient script.

    mayon volcanoMt. Mayon is green during the rainy season

    In the Bicol peninsula towers the majestic Mayon Volcano with it's near-perfect cone while less than two hours from Legazpi City beckons Donsol Whale sharks, locally known as butanding where so many of the gentle giants live in Donsol bay.

    Swim with the largest fish in the world in Donsol, a place frequented by locals, foreigners for the giant whale sharks, locally called butanding

    Cebu Island, where Cebu City, the Philippines' oldest city is located, is a favorite retirement place for Americans, Australians and Europeans with a nicer city than Manila close to the beach. In January, Cebu City comes alive in full color with the Sinulog Festival.

    chocolate hills boholThe Chocolate Hills of Bohol, 1268 limestone hills turn brown during summer, thus the name

    Davao City, settled at the foot of Mt. Apo, the highest mountain in these islands, offers less crowded and liveable city peaceful and pleasant weather free from typhoons. Kadayawan Festival in September showcases Davao's best.

    The Philippines is a Golf Mecca with lots of golf courses and driving ranges with it's low green fees compared to other countries.

    Diving in the Philippines is one of the best with dive sites at the center of the richest marine biodiversity in the world known as the Coral Triangle co-bordered by Malaysia, Indonesia, Timor Leste, Papua New Guinea and Solomon Island. Reputed to be the best dive site in the country is the UNESCO-listed Tubbataha Reefs in Palawan.

    Bird Watching, Butterfly Watching, Whale Watching, Dolphin Watching, Dragonfly watching are very enjoyable due to the Philippines' rich biodiversity, said to one of the highest in the world in terms of endemicity. There's a guaranteed sighting of giant manta rays in Ticao Pass in Sorsogon.

    Cable Wakeboarding at Lago de Oro in Calatagan, Batangas, Camarines Sur Watersports Complex (CamSur or CWC), Republic Wakepark in Nuvali, Sta. Rosa, Laguna, and Deca Wakeboard Park in Davao City and Angeles City.

    Surfing in the Philippines include beaches in La Union, Baler (Aurora), Siargao, and Bagasbas Beach in Daet, Camarines Norte. Wind surfing is an activity in some resorts and places like Caliraya Lake in Laguna province, Bulabog Beach on Boracay and other areas.

    Kitesurfing and Kiteboarding can be enjoyed at Bulabog Beach on Boracay said to rival similar sites in Vietnam.

    For adventure seekers, the Philippines is a zipline crazy nation with zipline (sometimes called flying fox or cable-gliding) at Outland Adventure in Davao City. Other zip lines in Davao are at Camp Sabros in Digos City, Eden Nature Park in Davao City and Tree Top Adventure Park in Subic Bay, Tagaytay Zipline at Picnic Grove, and La Mesa Ecopark and Quezon Circle in Quezon City (within Metro Manila).

    Some of the world's best beaches bannered by the world famous Boracay plus hundreds of virgin islands and undeveloped beaches beckons, majestic waterfalls, unexplored caves (spelunking), kayaking, whitewater rafting, parasailing, water tubing, snorkeling and other water-based activities are yours to enjoy.

    calaguas islandThe secluded beach of Calaguas Island called Mahabang Buhangin: fine white sand all for yourself, perfect for backpackers

    Adrenaline-filled Whitewater rafting in the rivers of Infanta/Real in Quezon, Cagayan de Oro River in CDO and Chico river in Kalinga in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR).

    Massage services and spa are mushrooming with 1 hour massage in Manila typically costing just PhP300 and up. Try also traditional massage called hilot performed by a manghihilot and traditional foot spa/massage of the Cordilleras called dagdagay (or kolkolis)that uses bamboo sticks to massage your feet.

    Colorful Philippine fiestas and festivals are there for your visual feast and shutterbugs all year round. Just look for the schedules and start your travel planning there.

    philippine festivalcolorful festival costume during street-dancing parade

    You'll never run out of great suggestion for your travel itinerary!

    Public Transportation and Moving Around:

    Thinking of driving in the Philippines? You may avail of an international drivers license but not recommended. Filipinos drive like crazy; better let locals do it for you.

    In Metro Manila, the fastest way to move around is to use the elevated rails, called MRT (Metro Rail Transit) and LRT (Light Rail Transit) cheap at PhP12.00 to PhP20.00 (about $0.50) depending on distance, then short cab or jeepney rides.

    Taxis in the Philippines charge PhP40.00 ($1.00) for the first 500 meters, PhP3.50 for additional 300 meters and PhP3.50 for every two minutes of waiting time. This doesn't hold true in Baguio where the flagdown rate is only PhP30.00 due to lack of air-conditioning (unnecessary because of its cold weather).

    Ferries are available to go island-hopping. You may check this site for some ferry companies and their trip schedules. Small outrigger boats, locally known as banca, can be hired at piers and beaches to transport you to nearby islands, go diving or snorkeling.

    Cheapest domestic flights in the Philippines are those low fare promos various airlines: Cebu Pacific, Philippine Airlines (Asia's first airline), PAL Express, SEAir, ZestAir (formerly Asian Spirit), SkyPasada, SkyJet and AirAsia Philippines.

    Buses ply EDSA, the megalopolis' main artery but prepare for heavy traffic so take the trains as much as you can. Bus terminals going to the provinces are mostly located in Cubao (Quezon City), EDSA Pasay City, LRT/Gil Puyat, and Caloocan/Monumento. All these scattered bus terminals will be transferred to central bus terminals near Balintawak in the north and the Magallanes in the south in the next few years.(Posts on destinations in this blog have guides on how to get to places you're interested in)

    Jeepneys, who trace their origin to abandoned GI jeeps of WW2, offer connecting routes to every nook and cranny of the city and the whole country with preset routes and low fares, one of the cheapest in the world.

    Tricycles, motorcycles fitted with sidecars, will get you to destinations in small towns and cities without taxis though, in some towns, cumbersome for lanky and wide-bodied people.

    In remote areas, motorcyles are fitted to accommodate more people, called habal-habal or skylab.

    Cheap car rentals and vans for hire can be contacted at hotels if they don't have hotel cars (this one usually works in the provinces)

    Philippine Shopping Tips:

    The Philippines is a shopping mecca with cheap souvenirs, goods and other items. Mall culture permeates in society evidenced by the mushrooming of large malls e.g. SM, Robinsons, Rustans, NCCC, Gaisano et al.

    Haggling is acceptable in public markets like Divisoria, Baclaran and other bazaars (locally called Tiangge). If you're a local, you can get a better price if you can speak the local language or get one to haggle for you.

    Please read Manila Shopping Guide for more information.

    ATM, Banking and Money matters:

    Currency used is the Philippine peso divided into 100 centavos. Denominations of PhP0.25, PhP1, PhP5, PhP10 coins and PhP20, PhP50, PhP100, PhP200, PhP500, PhP1000 paper bills.

    Travelers checks are not honored in most establishments so better bring cash for most purchases and credit cards (VISA/Mastercard/JCB/Diners Club, AMEX) for those who accept them.

    Exchange money at legitimate money changers and be wary of short-changers in hole-in-the-wall money changing shops (lots of them in Malate)

    You may withdraw money from ATMs using your VISA/Plus/Mastercard/Cirrus/Maestro/JCB/CUP from several local ATMs. ATM charges apply, usually 3.5% of your withdrawal transaction plus PhP200.00 access fee per transaction.

    Current Peso-Dollar exchange rate: US$1 = PhP45.00 (approximately, April 2014)

    Safety and Security in the Philippines:

    Is it safe in the Philippines? The Philippines, with its share of trouble spots common in the world, is a relatively safe destination and not really a dangerous backpacking destination. Just practice street smarts, similar thing you do in New York, L.A., London or other big cities; dress down so as not to attract attention. There are certain places that should be avoided at night but it should never apply to the whole country or risk losing the chance to see and experience what the Philippines offers to tourists!

    Philippine tourism lags behind other southeast Asian countries like Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore but it doesn't mean the Philippines is not a beautiful place. You're missing lots of things should you decide to bypass these paradise Philippine islands.

    UPDATED: April 2014

    Note: This is a living document. Periodic updates will be made if you will ask questions or leave comments


    posted by GingGoy @ 5:49 PM, ,

    Butuan Regional Museum and Balangay Shrine

    It is a common knowledge of Filipinos that the barangay, the smallest unit of government in the Philippines was named after the balangay (or balanghai), the ancient boat their forefathers used to travel across the seas and got in touch with other Asian civilizations.

    It's the thrill of actually seeing the sites where the ancient balangay specimens were excavated, rather than being a part of the exhibit of archeology at the National Museum in Manila.

    True to his being a history buff, right after checking in at Dottie's Place Hotel, hurried for quick lunch of chicken inato at Lutong Bahay ni Aling Cora, finished his work errand for the day and hied off, via a jeepney, to Butuan Regional Museum near the Butuan City Hall where he saw with his own eyes the things that he's been reading all these years.

    picture of balangay on the Butuan tourism brochure. Picture taking is not allowed inside the museum that Tutubi followed even if others blatantly disregarded the rule-- Tutubi is not pasaway!

    The balangay is a plank-built, edge-pegged wooden boats of yore that used to sail across the seas of the Philippines that enabled Butuanons (how people living in Butuan call themselves) to reach China where official historical accounts tell of Butuan Trade Mission in the year 1001.

    bas relief outside the regional museum showing the balanghai paddled by ancient mariners.

    Inside Butuan Regional Museum are two sections, Archeology that showcases Butuan's archeological finds unique and rare in the Philippines including the Golden Tara of Butuan and Butuan Paleograph. There are also skulls of aristocratic people recognized by the deformities in skull shape introduced during infancy to signify aristocracy as mentioned by the museum curator.

    Sample items on display are tribal costumes of the Manobo people, a replica of a laksoy (nipa palm wine) distillery and various farming and hunting implements.

    golden tara of butuanphoto of the golden tara on the brochure. note the wrong information printed on the brochure regarding the year of Sailendra. Sailenda (or Sailandra/Cailandra) period was also the time when the Buddhist temples of Borobudur in Indonesia were built. The golden tara is thus proof of Butuan's link with the Sri Vijaya and other Asian people. The original golden tara, sadly, is now kept at Chicago Field Museum, USA

    Besides the Golden Tara, other notable exhibits in the museum are the 14-15th century Butuan silver strip (or Butuan Paleograph), and the 10th century Butuan ivory seal, boring ancient writing/scripts still undeciphered up to this day.

    Two other artifacts that give clues to pre-hispanic Philippines include the 15th century Calatagan jar that's still undeciphered and the Laguna copperplate (now known as LCI for Laguna Copperplate inscription), found in Lumban, Laguna, now displayed at the National Museum in Manila, has been deciphered in 1994 by a Dutch named Antoon Postma. The LCI is a debt pardon executed in 900 AD and is the oldest surviving document in the Philippines using an ancient script (Kavi).

    The following day when Tutubi's peers arrived, he again visited the Regional Museum (where the curator recognized him) and shortly after went to the Balangay Shrine in Brgy. Libertad, which is the site of the excavations of ancient balangays the oldest dated in 320 AD according to carbon dating. Some of the balangay are still in their original excavation pit drenched in water years after their found due to the perennial lack of funds.

    butuan balangay shrine

    butuan balangay museum

    Tutubi will again visit Butuan this year to complete his unfinished business and also slated to visit the alleged true anchorage of Ferdinand Magellan in 1521 plus the place where the first mass in the Philippines was held, reported by chronicler Pigafetta as Mazaua, long claimed to be Limasawa in Leyte, but alleged by Butuanons to be their Masao.

    If you still think Philippine History began with the arrival of Ferdinand Magellan in 1521, better read again about Butuan and other documents that pushed the frontiers of history to earlier times. It is sad, however, that when civilization was blooming in these islands, the white men came and changed the course of history, a process that bore both good and bad fruits.

    Butuan is a historic City that claims “In the beginning, there was no Philippines but there was BUTUAN.”


    How to get to Butuan Regional Museum:

    from Montilla Avenue or Gaisano Mall, board a jeepney with signboard R-4 to take you there or flag a tricycle (minimum fare only)

    The Balangay Shrine can be reached by public jeepneys with signboard Libertad followed by a tricycle ride. Taxis, though present, are rare in the city of Butuan. There's also minimal entrance fee at Butuan museum

    Related Post:
    List of Museums in the Philippines

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    posted by GingGoy @ 9:41 PM, ,

    CARAGA: Dottie's Place Hotel, Butuan City

    The landing of Philippine Airlines plane at Bancasi Airport in Butuan was the roughest Tutubi has had possibly due to the short runway of the airport. The plane feltlike it slammed on the runway as if it skidded before taxying to the terminal. This flight was due to Tutubi's "exile" for a few days in the historic city of Butuan in Agusan del Norte, Mindanao for a work errand and seminar. He was booked for few nights stay at Dottie's Place.

    Traveled alone in this city ahead of all his officemates, checked in at Dottie's Place along Butuan's main artery,Jose C. Aquino Avenue, which would be his home for a few days loaded with official things to do but managed to squeeze sometime to wander around.

    dottie's place hotel butuanTutubi's twin sharing room for he's expecting a companion the following night.

    dottie's place hotel swimming poolDottie's Place's swimming pool is said to be the largest in Butuan according to his officemate who surveyed tghe area

    Review and Comments: Dottie's Place is a nice, cheap hotel in the city with nice facilities for the price though there are cheaper accommodations available. The only problem he's had in this hotel was that on his first night, he received a call apparently from the hotel staff asking him if he ordered a massage. He later found out what the girl meant was if he wanted some "company" for the night. The security guard, unknown to the hotel management, is letting the pimp to do her job under his watch.

    In later posts, Tutubi will take you on another journey in history as he explores the city of the balangay, the boat of ancient Butuanons and from where the barangay, the smallest unit of government in the Philippines, was named after.


    Where to Stay in Butuan (hotels/inns/pensions/motels):

    Almont Inland and Convention Center
    ALmont Hotel
    Dottie's Place Hotel
    Hotel Karaga
    Balanghai Hotel
    Butuan Royal Plaza Hotel
    Luxury Hotel
    Embassy Hotel
    Emerald Villa Hotel
    Jet's Inn
    Luciana Convention Center
    Lucianna Inn
    FortuneInn 1
    Fortune Inn 2
    Hensonly Plaza Lodge
    Lucky Inn
    Imperial Lodge
    Mavel's Lodge
    Maxcer Lodge
    Donia Lodge
    Country View Lodge
    Mitz Lodge 1
    Mitz Lodge 2
    Adlin Lodge
    Orient Lodge
    Julian's Pension
    Beverly Pension
    Majestic Pension
    White House
    Wendells' Place
    Caraga Ultimate

    Source: Butuan Tourism Brochure

    Can't recommend the best one nor the cheapest one, not much information available on the brochure.
    Tutubi will update this page later for the contact number, details, room rates, official websites... :P

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    posted by GingGoy @ 9:12 PM, ,

    Banaue Rice Terraces, Manunggul Jar, Langgal : Philippine National Treasures on the 1000 Peso Bill

    A few weeks ago, Tutubi was asked by a friend, while holding a crisp 1000 peso bill, if he's been to the famous Banaue Rice Terraces. Tutubi replied affirmatively, reached for the P1000 bill, not to pocket it but to explain the other pictures on the reverse side of the Philippine bank note.

    He went on to explain the meaning and significance of the Banaue Rice Terraces, the langgal and manunggul jar in Philippine culture and national pride.

    photos of the three national treasures of the Philippines on the P1000 bank note: the rice terraces on the left, manunggul jar at the upper right and the langgal on the lower right.

    Hagdan-Hagdang Palayan ng Banawe (Rice Terraces of Banaue) is estimated to have been in existence for two thousand years. Tutubi was able to see this "wonderful staircase to the heavens" in 2004 after his tour of breathtaking Sagada and Bontoc Museum with Ferdz as guide. It was raining that time that hindered picture taking. The rice terraces, together with local customs and traditions tied to it, is enlisted as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and made it to the list of "1000 places to see before you die."

    Manunggul Jar, excavated in Manunggul Cave near the famous Tabon Caves in Lipuun Point, Quezon, Palawan by US Peace Corps volunteers, is a burial jar with a cover portraying a boat-of-the-dead with souls sailing into the next world (quite similar to, but not copied from, Charon in Greek Mythology ferrying dead across the river Acheron or Styx). Now exhibited at the National Museum of the Filipino People in Manila, it dates back to the Neolithic period of Philippine history. Note the boat even has a face that denotes the makers belief in the anito of yore where inanimate objects possess spirits and therefore should be respected. The manunggul jar is one of those exhibits displayed at the National Museum that Tutubi never fails to miss every time he goes there.

    The langgal, sometimes called ranggar by the Maranao people of Mindanao, is a Muslim place of worship in the Sulu Archipelago (particularly the Yakans) headed by an imam, and assisted by two helpers, the habib and the bilal, as prescribed by Islam.

    These three vignettes project a new cultural image of the greatness of the Filipino people here and abroad but, sadly, only the rice terraces seem to be well-known and won't even show up for list of common Filipiniana list of most Filipinos.


    How to go to National Museum, Manila:

    Commuting there is easy with jeepneys from Quezon City with signboards Kalaw, Mabini, Harrison Plaza, Taft, Herran, PGH all pass by Rizal Park (Luneta) where the museum is located. It's also within walking distance from LRT UN Avenue station. Driving there is no problem also as it's fairly popular. Parking space, however, is a problem.

    How to get to Banaue Rice Terraces:

    Commute to Banaue by bus: Autobus, with terminal at Espana corner Cataluna St in Manila, has the Manila to Banaue daily trip that takes about 8 hours. Its terminal is mere walking distance from the rice terraces view deck and Banaue Hotel and Youth Hostel for cheap accommodations.

    Travel Tip: In Banaue, you may also visit Sagada and Bontoc Museum to complete your itinerary.

    Further Reading:
    Artes Filipinas on Manunggul Jar

    BSP: Know Your Currency

    NOTES: The only other place in the Philippines that made it to the "1000 Places to See Before You Die" list is the über-exclusive and pricey Amanpulo Resort in Palawan (though Tutubi sort of looks at the book as trivializing travel to just a mere shopping list)

    Jose Abad Santos, Vicente Lim, and Josefa Llanes Escoda featured on the obverse side of the bill are three heroes/martyrs during the second world war.

    If you're interested in Paleolithic Pre-history of the Philippines, go to the museum in Tuguegarao where excavations in Cagayan Valley proved the presence of paleolithic life in these islands.

    If you're a treasure hunter hunting for treasures in the Philippines, just follow directions on how to "discover" the treasures discussed above. No details and maps will lead you to the lost treasure of Yamashita or the golden buddha.

    Related Post:
    How to Get to Banaue

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    posted by GingGoy @ 8:56 PM, ,

    San Sebastian Church: Manila's Unique All-Steel Church and Gustav Eiffel

    So much has been posted and written on this unique structure, so many cameras clicked their shutters to capture the beauty that is San Sebastian Church, officially called Basilica Minore de San Sebastian, one of the Philippines' minor basilicas but many of them still doubt one thing: that the structure shares something in common with the famous tower in Paris as well the precursor of Ayala Bridge.

    san sebastian churchthe magnificent gothic facade of San Sebastian Church

    the lit up altar with a wedding taking place. It's such a popular wedding venue

    the dark interiors,taken without a tripod and a canon kitlens. The huge columns and interiors were made to look like marble but actually made of steel to make the structure resistant to earthquakes
    Stained glass windows were made by Germans

    Gothic look of the adjacent building part of Baste, colloquial term of students of the College of San Sebastian

    trompe l'oeilceiling paintings done using trompe l'oeil technique to make them look 3-dimensional similar to the ceiling paintings of San Agustin Church in Intramuros

    even the confessionals sported the Gothic look but designed by Filipinos

    San Sebastian was elevated to the status of a minor basilica by Pope Leo XIII in 1890.

    On the claim of Gustave Eiffel link, according to noted scholar and pop historian Ambeth Ocampo, San Sebastian Church was "bought from the Eiffel company. the handful of bridges--like the ayala bridge--built at the tail end of the Spanish period, were called "puente Eiffel." In Eiffels' list of work there is mention of an all steel-church in Manila...what else is that but San Sebastian?"

    There you go, friends, who still insist there's no link between Eiffel and San Sebastian Church.

    The basilica is a declared National Historical Landmark and tentatively listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its heritage and historic value.

    Basilica Minore de San Sebastian-- commissioned by the Spaniards, structure designed by a French, constructed by Belgians, stained glass windows by Germans, interiors by Filipinos--a heritage landmark in the Philippines!


    Pope Leo XIII was also the pope during much of Jose Rizal's time and had no hand in Rizal's retraction and later death

    You may refer to Tutubi's post on Grand Bridges of Pasig River for Philippine history link with the famous builder of world-renowned Eiffel Tower in Paris, France.

    How to get to San Sebastian Church, Quiapo, Manila

    Commute: MRT Shaw Blvd Station or Pasig Shaw Blvd, Quiapo-bound jeepneys pass by Legarda, cross Recto and Mendiola. Drop off on the first road after Recto i.e. San Rafael from where the Basilica can be seen with its spire towering over Plaza del Carmen.

    From LRT Doroteo Jose Station, board a jeep bound for Sta Mesa on C.M. Recto. Alight before reaching Mendiola then walk towards Ayala Bridge then turn right on San Rafael St.

    From Quiapo, Jeeps bound for San Miguel, Pasig, Bacood, Punta, Cubao (via Sta. Mesa) all pass near the place. Be careful with Lealtad and Balic-balic-bound jeeps. Not all of them pass Plaza del Carmen, only those with Bustillos signboards do.

    By Car: from Makati, make your way to Ayala Bridge drive past P. Casal then make a left turn at the corner of San Rafael St (the church's spire is too visible not to be seen)

    By Car from Quezon City, the easiest route is via C3 then Ramon Magsaysay heading to Nagtahan. Take J.P. Laurel St instead of Legarda to avoid usual heavy traffic, at the fork, choose right Concepcion Aguila then right turn to Mendiola, left to Legarda then right San Rafael St.

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    posted by GingGoy @ 8:08 PM, ,

    Unplanned Photo Shoot and Walking Tour of San Miguel, Manila

    A text message from Ferdz on a Friday night asking for information on San Miguel, Manila, the row millionaires, the seat of power in the Philippines that is Malacanang Palace and the birthplace of eponymous beer: San Miguel Beer, took shape with Tutubi accompanying Ironwulf on a photo shoot on the streets of San Miguel district of Manila.

    Tutubi, accompanied by J who joined also on a moments notice, waited for Ferdz at San Sebastian Church in Quiapo, took a few pictures of the all steel church then walked towards Legarda St and Mendiola to San Beda College's Abbey of Our Lady of Montserrat by the Benedictine monks. The abbey was closed but the attendant let the group in for picture taking of the dark abbey.

    abbey of montserratpicture of Abbey of Montserrat dark interiors, what more with the lights on? Tutubi, as usual, was too lazy to bring a tripod, only Ferdz did :P

    Due to growling stomachs, the threesome took a quick snack at KFC at the corner of Mendiola and Concepcion Aguila, proceeded to ask the guards at the gate of Malacanang Palace for directions, didn't go inside for a peek of St. Jude Church (also nearby were Holy Spirit School, La Consolation, V. Mapa, and Centro Escolar University (CEU)) then dragged their itchy feet to San Rafael St, a place known for cheapest dentures, braces and retainers in Manila due to the presence of numerous dental technicians and students of dentistry.

    A few meters away entered another world that seemed not to belong to the Manila most people know where grand mansions stood, caught sight of La Cocina de Tita Moning, a fine dining restaurant tucked away in the hidden enclave that is not part of Tutubi's radar screen due to the pricey menu. (Only Ferdz was audacious enough to take pictures of the American era mansions and majestic homes since Tutubi saw guards from a distance in this highly-secured environs)

    At the end of San Rafael corner J.P. Laurel St. is a memorial, called Freedom Park, to the victims of the Battle for the Liberation of Manila during the second World War honoring the dead. The memorial is an obelisk about ten meters tall with a dove perched on top.

    They turned right as the logical choice since the cynical guards guarding the official residence of the iron lady were watching. This is such a disappointment since the place is so picturesque and should belong to the Filipino people.

    On reaching San Miguel Church, a church that was the temporary seat of the Archdiocese of Manila when the Manila Cathedral was bombed to smithereens during World War 2, a wedding was taking place so proceeded only to take pictures of the facade and the bronze statue of St. Michael the Archangel.

    san miguel churchFacade of San Miguel Church

    san miguel church manilaThe bronze sculpture of St. Michael slaying the serpent-devil in front of San Miguel Church

    Since it was getting dark, they decided to call it day, boarded a jeepney bound for Quiapo, walked J to the terminal of Lealtad-bound jeepneys on Hidalgo St, took Lacson underpass to Plaza Miranda then to the vendor-filled Hidalgo Photographer's Haven, unto SM Sta Cruz, Isetann and LRT Carriedo Station fora ride back to Makati via MRT.

    Thus ended another unplanned walking tour of Manila. Sorry Ferdz, your Tutubi-guided tour of Pasig River Ferry will come next time.

    If you want a guided tour of San Miguel, you may get in touch with Ivan ManDy. You will be surprised to learn about the history of the secluded place as well sample the menu of La Cocina de Tita Moning.

    Related Posts:

    See another DIY walking tour of Tutubi and Ferdz tandem:

    DIY Escolta, Manila Walking Tour
    Visita Iglesia Manila

    How to get to San Miguel, Manila

    In Quiapo, near the area under Quezon Bridge, the Quiapo-San Miguel jeepneys pass by Arlegui St then Globo de Oro (where the Golden Mosque is) going to San Miguel. The jeep loops through San Miguel even in front of San Miguel Church.

    From LRT Doroteo Jose Station, board jeepneys going to Cubao (via Sta Mesa) on C.M. Recto and alight on Mendiola (when you see barbed wires, it's Mendiola)

    Directions by car from Makati, make your way to Ayala Bridge, on reaching P. Casal, turn right to Arlegui St. where you can also pass by San Miguel Church looping through Alfonso St.

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    posted by GingGoy @ 9:28 PM, ,

    Kamayan sa Palaisdaan sa Bay Laguna

    What was initially planned by Tutubi as a return visit to Kamay ni Hesus in Lucban, Quezon and a sidetrip to Kamayan sa Palaisdaan Tayabas also in Quezon turned out into a visit to Calumpang, Laguna to get some lanzones/langsat, coffee seedlings and other herbs including basil (that Tutubi initially thought was taheebo) then a quick drive towards Bay town, famous for monay (local buns), caught sight of Victoria's "mighty duck," into the sister restaurant of Kamayan sa Palaisdaan in Tayabas, Quezon.

    It was already nearing 12 noon and good thing they arrived a tad early for, after a while, all the huts were occupied and some waited for vacancies not wanting to dine in the place's usual restaurant preferring the floating bahay kubo ambiance.

    picture of floating native huts near the entrance
    childrens' playground even for the young at heart

    ginataang hipon (shrimps in coconut milk) (price: P210), Tutubi's choice though there's only 4 pieces of shrimps.

    inihaw na talong with bagoong (roasted eggplant with fish sauce (that stinks to most people yet tastes heavenly to some) (price: P35/order)
    sinigang na panga ng tuna (tuna jaw in sour soup Filipino style)(P600 per order but can be half only like this one at P300)
    sizzling pusit (squid) that's a little rubbery but the sauce is good though Tutubi prefers it to be a little more spicier

    Fresh Buco Juice to wash them all down with its malauhog greatness

    The total bill for 5 people was only P1,050.00, not bad for the great food, rustic ambiance and picturesque place about 40 minutes drive from Paete.

    It's another unplanned trip that turned out great. Next time, Tutubi will visit the original one in Tayabas reportedly owned by a sibling of the owner of this restaurant...stay tuned!

    Kainan sa Palaisdaan sa Bay
    Open from 8am to 10pm (last order at 9pm)
    Brgy. Dila, Bay, Laguna
    Landline: +63.49.568.0255
    (better reserve in advance)

    Kainan sa Palaisdaan Tayabas, Quezon
    Brgy. Dapdap, Tayabas, Quezon
    Tel. No.: +63.42.793.3654
    Fax NO.: +63.42.793.3655

    How to go to Kamayan sa Palaisdaan sa Bay:

    Commute:the floating restaurants can be reached only via tricycle from Bay town. Not yet sure if the jeepneys that ply Calamba-Sta Cruz route pass by it.Green Star and HM Tranport buses from Pasay and Cubao pass by Bay, Laguna.

    If you've strayed into blog looking for directions to Calumpang, Laguna, it's a town accessible via Laguna's capital town of Sta. Cruz. Driving from SLEX, take Calamba exit then turn right at Calamba national highway, head straight passing by the resort town of Los Banos, then Bay (you'll see Kamayan sa Palaisdaan on the highway to your right) soon after you'll see the big duck of Victoria, the heritage town of Pila with its old houses and historic plaza, before Sta. Cruz. After passing by SunStar Mall you'll see a traffic light. Turn right if you want to go to Calumpang or Liliw, turn left going to Sta Cruz poblacion or Laguna Provincial Capitol or straight ahead going to Pagsanjan (where Pagsanjan Falls is), Lumban, Kalayaan or Paete.

    Update: there's an on-going construction of Isdaan Floating restaurant near this restaurant and Samaral Seafood Restaurant. There's also Kamayan sa Palaisdaan sa Tayabas, Quezon

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    posted by GingGoy @ 8:29 PM, ,