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Preview: Lawstude's Journeys

Oman is an Island

A Corporate Slave's Tales of Travel in the Islands Philippines and Beyond.

Updated: 2018-04-27T07:12:19.272+08:00


Dubai : Livin' the Life at Burj Al Arab


Burj All Arab, a Seven-Star Hotel"Oman, pack your backpack!, errr make it a suitcase coz' you'll be staying in Dubai's only Seven-Star Hotel - the Burj Al Arab." A moment of disbelief turned into excitement when I finally got a confirmation e-mail that I will be staying in Burj Al Arab for two nights. Well, to those who know me, especially those I have traveled with, they know that I am not a hotel-person. That is, I prefer to explore the nooks and crannies of the places I visited rather than staying in a hotel. Thus, for me, as long as the accommodation is safe and pretty decent, then I'll check myself in. But Burj Al Arab... let me say that again... BURJ AL ARAB! Well, it is a different story. I mean, it is a destination in itself. I wouldn't mind just staying inside its facilities and not go anywhere else. Luxury is an overstatement. High sail-inspired exterios, huge seawater aquarium, private beach, an outdoor pool, indoor pools, full service spa, restaurants and several bars on site. Why would you wanna leave this hotel? So, bear with me with me on this post as this has gotta be one of the most photo-loaded posts I had in the history of this blog:Burj Al Arab InteriorOnce you enter the hotel, your attention will be captured by a laminar flow fountain with water jumping in synchronized manner. This fountain combines finely atomised water with fibre optics to produce a unique kaleidoscope effect. The fountain terraces leads to the second floor where a sea-water aquarium will keep a share of your attention. A full-sized circular fountain awaits you at the 2nd floor.   Playful FountainWelcome Treat - Apple Crumble PieI was billeted at a two-storey suite which I guess is ten-times larger than the condo unit where I am living). On the first floor was the dining area, a living room, a work-station complete with apple computers, a wash room and a mini bar. On the second floor was the bedroom and the bathroom. Welcome Tray of FruitsAnother Welcome Treat - DatesHow does a 24-hour butler service sounds like? Oh no, the photo below is not the butler in the mini bar but me haha. There was a complimentary sparkling date wine and a tray of fresh fruits at the bar. The hotel also gave a date... well, the fruit one dubbed the miracle fruit of the desert. And barely few minutes inside the hotel, the butler served me an Apple Crumble Pie for snacks.Posterity at the BarThe Stairs and the ChandelierApple Work StationBurj Al Arab's is a businessman's hotel. It has a workstation of Apple desktop with internet speed faster than Usain Bolt, a printer, telephone and stationary. I love their pen too that I have to keep it as a souveneer. Lawstude @ Work (Station)And the food, ooh don't get me started on the food. The suite comes with a complimentary breakfast. For lunch and dinner, you can make reservations at their restaurants. Al Muntaha and Junsui are popular choices. I tried the buffet dinner at the latter and luckily there are Filipino Chefs in there who graciously offered some of their best recipes that are not offered in the buffet table. I had wagyu beef, seafood teppanyaki, tempura and lobsters among others that night.Seafood TeppanyakiLobster in Butter and Garlic SauceWagyu BeefTempuraAsian Fruit PlatterKingly DreamsLike a BossBathroom for a KingFull-Sized Hermes ToiletriesGood MorningCome morning, still full from the night's indulgence, a light breakfast of cold cuts and fruits was just perfect to start the day.Modest BreakfastThe second morning, before heading to the airport, I had Asian breakfast of dimsum, maki and laksa. That's China, Japan and Singapore all in one morning meal.   Dimsum GaloreLaksa and MakisMire FruitsHappy LangTime to Send some Complimentary PostcardsWaiting for Sunset at the Private BeachBurj Al Arab at Night[...]

Arizona : The Grand Canyon... A Once In A Lifetime Dream Experience


The Grand CanyonBehold this wonder: I must be dreaming, you have to wake me up! But as I open my eyes, I blinked, then I blinked again... you are still there. As wide as the corner of my eyes could reach. I am awake, I am widely awake. And in front of me is The Grand Canyon.There are places you include in your bucket list that are easily stricken-off. Then there are those places which remain year-after-year. In my case, The Grand Canyon has been on that list for more than two decades now. So when the opportunity of traveling to the USA arrived, I made sure that going to the Grand Canyon will be included in my itinerary. And so, after months of planning with my best buddy who resides in USA and  who also happened to love The Grand Canyon, my dream of finally seeing The Grand Canyon came true. The Grand Canyon National Park is located in Arizona and is home to much of the immense Grand Canyon, with its layered bands of red rock revealing millions of years of geological history.It is considered as one of the world's most awesome erosional features. It is 277 miles long, including 60 miles of Marble Canyon upstream. The depth of the main segment of the Grand Canyon varies between 3,000 and 6,000 feet, with rim-to-rim width between 4 and 18 miles.More stories about my experience in Grand Canyon will be featured in my future posts. But for now, do enjoy these photos of such an amazing place:Room KeysScenic LocatorSeeing The DreamGrandeurWide as the Eyes Can SeeMajestic OverloadBlessedLawtude and Best BudBreath-taking[...]

My Top 10 Travels of 2017


An epic US road trip that begins in Phoenix, Arizona and ends in Glendale, California covering four states, six days and 1,200 miles. A luxurious stay in a seven-star hotel in Dubai. Rekindling all-time fave places in Bataan, Batangas and Quezon Provinces. And exploring Sorsogon for the first time. These sum-up my 2017 travels and here are my Top 10 favorites:

1. Arizona
(The Grand Canyon, Horse Shoe Bend and Lower Antelope are places not to be missed. Dream come true for me)

2. Utah
(Zion National Park is just amazing. Gratuitous words are not enough to describe the place)

3. Dubai
(Two night stay in Burj Al Arab, need I say more?)

4. Sorsogon
(No minor thrills for this major value-for-money laid-back destination) 

5. Illinois
(Snow... you'll never forget your first time.) 

6. Nevada
(Sin baby, sin!)

7. Abu Dhabi
(A mosque that will put all others to shame.)

8. California
(Be one with the stars)

9. Batangas
(Eat, pray, love.)

10. Bataan
(One of the best escape places near Manila)

12 Years



Batangas : Marian Orchard


The Marian OrchardAbout two hours away from Manila is a prayer park set amidst sprawling land reminiscent of European Gardens. With the Sacred Heart Tower and Church as its centerpiece, surrounded by picture-perfect sights such as Two Hearts Promenade, Garden Steps, Via Crucis Garden, Meditation Gardens and Mary Mediatrix of All Graces Prayer Hall, among others, this place will provide relaxation for the eyes and respite for the weary souls. The Marian Orchard was started by Lazaro L. Katigbak in 1986 and is located at Brgy. Malabanan, Balete, Batangas. It is a pilgrimage site managed by Marian Orchard Faith Foundation Inc. New features of the place include the New Angels Gate, Rosarium and Chimes of Mary. In the future, the Orchard has plans of unveiling a second chapel - the Immaculate Heart of Mary, a Marian Plaza, Marian Museum, Our Lady of Fatima Garden and the St. Joseph the Carpenter Workshop. It is open everyday from 7 am to 7 pm and holy masses are celebrated every first Friday of the Month, Saturdays and Sundays at 4 PM.Here are some photos of the pilgrimage site:Catholic DevotionSacred Heart TowerInside the Sacred Heart Chapel Jesus on the CrossVia Crucis GardenSolaceThe Last SupperPrayer GardenPicture Perfect PlaceMary Mediatrix of All Graces Prayer HallAngels and Candles at the Prayer HallHall of Petitions Promenade FountainChimes of MaryHuge RosaryRow of SaintsTwo Hearts PromenadeSit Beside JesusLawstudeFor more information please check their website at[...]

Manila : Open House @ The National Museum of Natural History


The Tree of LifeThe National Museum of Natural History held an open house last October 29, 2017 giving glimpse of a fascinating collection of the country's rich flora and fauna in the first museum in the Philippines dedicated to natural history.The one-day preview showcased just 20% of what the museum will offer but that 20% is enough to keep you wanting to go back there once the museum is fully operational and open to the public. Once fully operational, the museum will have eleven permanent galleries across five floors.At the center of the museum is the imposing Tree of Life which is actually a huge DNA helix-shaped elevator that leads to a canopy of triangular steel panels. Notable pieces include the replica of Lolong, the longest crocodile held in captivity as well as collection of preserved specimens of birds, reptiles and mammals. If the timeline will be followed, the museum will have a grand launch in May 2018. In the meantime, here are some photos taken during the one-day preview:Elaborate DomeFilm Showing of Natural WondersInteractive EarthReplica of LolongGiant TakloboNaturalist at WorkPencil Pushing Interactive SketchingPhilippine DeerBook of BotanyKitchen HelpersA Cabinet Full of Stuffed StuffNaturalistCrowd Waiting to EnterThe National Museum of Natural History[...]

Manila : Reflections... Identity... Audacity - The Medical City at 50


The Medical City Celebrates 50th YearIt was a night of tribute filled with music as The Medical City celebrated its 50th year anniversary at the Marriott Grand Ballroom last October 14, 2017. The event featured a musical dubbed "TMC Golden Journey" where homegrown talents of doctors and staff starred in the musical that tells the TMC story filled with milestones and music.While I am barely a baby in TMC where I am currently working for just more than four years, I have been a witness and an eager learner of how TMC evolved through the years as told from the many stories of our dear President.  And as our President always says, it is important that we look back at our rich history, and the stories that molded TMC to what it is today, along with its identity and audacity to embrace genuine patient partnership and strengthen healthcare leadership.And through these pictures, we hope to share our stories:Photo from the Roving PhotomanThe SVP with the Men of Finance GroupRibbon Cutting with the Big 3Piano ManAll SmilesSumptuous BuffetSteaks and MoreLovely Violinists Keeps Everyone EntertainedChairman of the Board Dr. Augusto P. SarmientoTMC PerformersG-7 Leading the WayPresident and CEO Dr. Alfredo R.A. BengzonGlittering 50Cheers to 50 More YearsThe Finance, Administrative and Management Support Services [...]

Abu Dhabi Sight Seeing Day Tour


Sheikh Zayed Grand MosqueAbout a year ago, I had a post about Abu Dhabi where I narrated that anyone can visit the place on a budget. Although I have never been to Abu Dhabi that time, I decided to share the post to show experiences of friends who have been there and to earn few bucks, (ok, that was a paid post haha), with the hope of going to Abu Dhabi someday.But lo and behold, as Coelho once quoted, "when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it." Yes, achieve is what I did when I find myself doing a sight-seeing tour on the many attractions of Abu Dhabi. The Huge and Beautiful ChandelierAbu Dhabi is the opulent capital and the largest of the seven emirates of United Arab Emirates. It houses the federal government offices, is the seat of the UAE Government snd home to the Emiri Family and the President of UAE. It's rapid development and urbanization has transformed the city into a large and advance metropolis.  Silver and Gold Sky Scrapers Side by SideThe LandmarkAbu Dhabi is considered a sky scraper center due to some of its structural wonders.There's Etihad Towers, The Landmark, Sky Tower, Capital Gate, Capital Plaza and Silver Tower to name a few. These imposing sky scrapers, with their individual character but formed together, collectively make a worthy attraction to see. Beach and a Sky ScraperWalk This WayView of Buildings By the BayAbu Dhabi EyeOne of the main attractions of Abu Dhabi is the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, the hub of worship for the country and a scene of much prayer and spirituality. A tour to this place is the highlight of any trip to Abu Dhabi. I gather that this is the final resting place of the first president of the UAE. More than three thousand workers took part in its construction and much of its interiors is made from natural materials like marble, stone, gold, crystals and ceramics. It is one of the most revered monuments of Islam, and is the third largest mosque in the world. Heritage VillageOld Relics in the Wall Other than the Grand Mosque, you will also have that Mediterranean feel when you visit their Heritage Museum, Al Jahili Fort and a glimpse of Emirates Palace, even from afar.Centerpiece of the Heritage Village DatesCarpet with Gold ThreadsFerrari World Roller CoasterBut one of the places I enjoyed the most was the Ferrari World. The park was created in tribute to Ferrari's passion, heritage, excellence, innovation and performance. Each area and attraction in the park brings life to different part of the Ferrari story of speed, power and freedom.My Ferrari on DisplayB and I[...]

Sorsogon : Nothing Wild in Gubat


Gubat's Lola SayongGubat translated in english means Forest. While its english counterpart means a place covered by trees and plants and inhabited by wild animals, Gubat is more of a laid back place where one can choose to chillax or explore its many eco-wonders. At the forefront of terrific places that can accommodate you is Lola Sayong Eco Surf Camp. It is built by locals, run by locals and makes you feel like a local too. According to the owners, Lola Sayong was created from deep story of the love for sirfing, love of community and awareness of the environment. The place has retained its rustic hippie charm that will appeal to both adults and kids alike. Continuous hand made developments are done to keep cleanliness in check. Gubat Marker along the HIghwayBestiesApart from Lola Sayong, there are other worthy accommodations along Rizal Beach. And if the place is full, one can opt to pitch a tent along the beach for that more relaxed camping vibe.Camping at Rizal BeachLucky for me, I was hosted by a local of Gubat who let me stay in their house. I even got to join their family and friends and enjoy the sumptuous meals they offer:Fried Crabs in GarlicShellfish in Coconut SauceLaingOmanHow to go there?Gubat can be reached mostly through land transport from Manila by bus taking about 12 hours. There are several bus companies that operates daily from Manila to Gubat and vice versa.Or you may opt to fly from Manila to Legaspi City in Albay and ride bus or van headings to Gubat.There are also jeepneys that provide transportation to Sorsogon City, Bulusan, Barcelona, Prieto Diaz, Casiguran and Irosin among others. Local tricycle travels ply the inner barangays of the town.[...]

Sorsogon : Matnog's Pink Beach and Fish Sanctuary


Matnog's Pink BeachPink Beaches are rarity, so given chance to visit one, I excitedly said yes. From a residence in Gubat where we are staying, it was almost a two-hour ride to the pier of Matnog Public Market, the jump-off point to the Pink Beach of Tikling Island.From the pier, it will be another 30 minute boat ride to the beach. The boat ride is uneventful save for some occasional interesting landscapes of rocks and islets along the way. Approaching the beach, you will be amazed on how the white sand glistened with the ray of the sun. It was almost midday so the sun is scorchingly hot.Where is the pink? I thought to myself. It's clearly not apparent but if you will scoop a sand in your hands, you will see particles of red crushed corals mixed in the sand, thus making it appear that the sand is pink. Although it may not be too noticeable that time, I was informed that during rainy season, the red crushed corals came plenty and the shoreline appear more pink. Waiting By The BeachThe Obligatory Writing on th SandBut other than the novelty of having a pink sand, the beach in itself is just so amazing. Its water is so clear and refreshing to the body that you won't feel the heat of the sun when you are submerged in it. Add to that is the scenic backdrop of palms and fauna facing the beach. Bathing in the beach alone made the trip worthwhile.There's Pink in ThereUn-synchronized Jump ShotAnd while you are in the area, a good place to visit is the Fish Sanctuary. It is a great place to check out how they are breeding different variety of fishes,, from small ones to large, err huge, ones. From, the islet entrance, you have to transfer to a wooden balsa into a  wooden and bamboo structure where schools of fishes are located. For a minimal entrance fee, they will provide you chopped fishes to feed the fish.School of FishViewing StructureGiant FishesFish SanctuaryIn going to the beach, you need to bring all your supplies there. While there is a small sari-sari store in the island, the inventories there are limited and the cost could be quite high. Also, if you happen to contract a boat going there, the boatman and crew will offer to grill your food for you. This is such a delight because you will more time enjoying the beach either thru swimming, sun bathing or just taking photos. [...]

Sorsogon : Lake Bulusan @ Dusk


Bulusan LakeWhen one speaks of Sorsogon, one attraction that comes to mind is the Bulusan Lake. As I remember when I was in grade school, this Lake is featured prominently with other Philippine natural attractions like the Mayon Volcano, Ifugao Rice Terraces, Maria Cristina Falls and the Hundred Islands. So, when I got the chance to explore Sorsogon, I made it sure to include a visit to Bulusan Lake.Bulusan Lake is a popular picnic spot among locals and tourists alike. There is a 1.8 kilometer walking trail around the lake crater. When the mist is lying low over the surrounding forest and the birds are singing, it is a lovely, peaceful spot and the clear, still water makes for an inviting swim or a relaxed hour's fishing for tilapia. There are no visitor facilities of any sort apart from the track around the lake.Kayaking remain to be a popular activity in the area as well as boating around the lake. However, these are limited only until dusk. Camping around the river is still prohibited because the place is a protected area filled with snakes and other wild animals.Kayaks and BoatsReflectionCome CloserTimid Colors of DuskHow to get there?From Sorsogon City main highway, you can take a bus bound for Matnog. Ask the driver if the bus will pass by Bulusan because some buses ply the Irosin route that do not pass Bulusan.You may also take the bus bound to Barcelona, then take a jeepney going to Bulusan for a 16km ride.You may also ride a van or jeepney bound for Gubat, then take a jeepney going to Bulusan.Upon reaching Bulusan, book a tricycle which will bring you to Bulusan Volcano Natural Park. Fare is around Php 150 one-way. Since there are no available transportation back, it will be a good idea to ask the tricycle driver to wait for you.[...]

Bataan : Revisiting Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar


It was in 2008 when I first visited Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar. I remember that it was barely open to guests and roaming from house to house is a d-i-y activity. Almost ten years after, a lot has changed.  The heritage and convention center with a battle cry of "Pride in the past, Hope for the future." has turned into this awesome themed place where guided tours for day trippers are offered.  Casted Sky Over Las CasasLocated at Brgy. Ibaba in Bagac, Bataan, Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar, which translates to Houses in the Philippines of Acuzar, is a fine showcase of Philippine History and craftsmanship that takes you back to the 18th century.Bike AroundStatuesqueAll of the houses built therein came from various places in the Philippines where materials were gathered bit-by-bit and piece-by-piece from the original structure. At present, there are more than forty houses built in the area with each house boasting itself with rich stories. Photo MeLola BasyangI Heart YouThe Grandeur of Hotel de OrienteBeep BeepPrivate cars are not allowed inside the center. There are designated parking area just right after the main bridge. The mode of transportation inside the center are jeepneys with normal route from the reception area/restaurant to Casa Mexico. Waiting time for jeepneys is normally 10 minutes.  Casa CagayanCasa Cagayan is composed of four houses along the shoreline of the property, which are originally from Cagayan Province. During the early 1900's, these houses were referred to as as the Poor man's Houses. The typical house was built on stilts with the tree trunks in its natural shape used as posts/columns, in order to give its residents extra space for relaxation, storage and livelihood activities.Sanctuario de San JoseThe Sanctuario de San Jose is still under construction. It's unfinished state showed huge blocks of marbles. It would definitely be grand when it's finished.Mga Bata sa CasaSungka in Casa MexicoThe materials used in the reconstruction of Casa Mexico came from salvaged materials bought from a junkshop. The house was built based on an old photograph which the owner used in reconstructing the house.BatisThe Batis is a freshwater take of a swimming pool. It is just few meters away from the open sea.Walkway to Hotel de OrienteFor reservations and additional information, you may contact them at any of the following:Tel (02) 546-9123Cel (0917) 872-9371E-mail reserve@lascasasfilipinas.comwebsite[...]

Quezon: Cagbalete Island Revisited


IsolatedOne of the islands I have visited when I was new at travel blogging is Cagbalete Island. The trip back then brought some lasting memories... the long shoreline during low tide... the beautiful sunrise ...the captivating Bonsai Islets... and of course, traveling with "the" Dong Ho and meeting some other folks I have become friends with.And now, almost a decade after, I was given a chance, thru an office team building outing, to once again revisit the Island of Cagbalete. Much has change... more people ... more resort ... less tranquil but still captivating.Writings in the sandSolitudeThe jump-off to an island is through Mauban Port. Now, this place has totally changed. Due mainly to the influx of travelers to the island, there is now a registration process where each tourist has to pay Php 50 for environmental fee. You have to proceed to the basketball court where the paying booth is located. BeachAlmost Low TideAlso, at the port of Mauban, there is now long stainless fences that separates the port from the sea. When we were there few years ago, there are no fence so we can sit on the elevated cemented porch while waiting for our boat ride. FetchWhite SandAnd speaking of boat rides, I remember then that there were only few scheduled trips to the island. On our first trip there, we have to ride a balsa-like boat where we have commodities like chickens, sacks of rice, vegetables and hardware supplies among other as co-passengers. Now, the trips are more frequent and you can even rent a private boat if you do not want to fall in line.SunsetNever FadedAs this is a team-building event for the office, here is our itinerary and some other things prepared:Day 13:00 am – assembly time at the Medical City4:00 am – estd Manila 8:00 am – esta at Mauban packed breakfast9:00 am –boat ride to Cagbalete10:00 am – esta CagbaleteRest of the day – set camp/ prepare lunch and dinner/ chill and relaxDay 26:00 am – watch sunrise, breakfast preparation, chill, relax9:00 am – estd Cagbalete10:00 am - estd Mauban 11:00 am – estd  to Manila3:00 pm – esta at ManilaFood/MenuDay 1Breakfast – (packed) hotdog, boiled egg, dilis, riceLunch – (boodle fight) fried tuna, assorted gulay, ensalada kamatis/manga/bagoong, chicharon,kaninDinner – grilled liempo, seafoods (isda/hipon/pusit), kaninDay 2Breakfast – tuyo/pusit, scrambled egg, spam, fried riceLunch on the roadPersonal Stuff – bring your ownToiletries and sunblockTentBlanketsMosquito-repellant lotion Flashlight Maintenance MedicinesFirst-aid KitSwimming GearWater-proof camera If you want to have a worry-free stay in Cagbalete, you may want to check out:JOVEN'S RESORTBelow are accommodations available, that Joven's Beach Resort offer:ACCOMMODATION TYPECAPACITYAMENITIESPRICECottage – ORANGE6 – 8 paxAir-conditioned with bathroomPHP 4,500.00Cottage – RED4 – 6 paxAir-conditioned with bathroomPHP 3,500.00Cottage – GREEN4 – 6 paxAir-conditioned with bathroomPHP 3,500.00Cottage – LILAC / YELLOW / BLUE2 – 4 paxAir-conditioned roomPHP 2,500.00Duplex KUBO15 – 20 paxWith 2 Bathrooms and 2 Electric FansPHP 6,000.00Half-Duplex KUBO10 – 12 paxWith 2 Bathrooms and 2 Electric FansPHP 3,500.00KUBO w/ Balcony2 – 4 paxFan RoomPHP 1,500.00KUBO6 paxFan Room with 1 BedPHP 2,000.00KUBO2 – 3 paxFan RoomPHP 1,300.00TENT and spaceWith Mat and PillowsPHP 950.00On the other hand, below are the activities and amenities Joven's offer. Quite cheap I must say, just fitting for someone who is traveling on a tight budget.ACTIVITIESPRICEKayak – SinglePHP 200.00 / hourKayak – DoublePHP 300.00 / hourFull Body MassagePHP 300.00 / hourVolleyball Court RentalPHP 50.00 / hourDartPHP 50.00 / hourSnorkeling [...]

Pampanga : The Lahar-Sunken Church of Bacolor


San Guillermo Parish ChurchSan Guillermo Parish Church is one of the more popular church in the Philippines, thanks largely to Santino of May Bukas Pa Show. Only half of the original facade of the church can be seen today due to the eruption of Mount Pinatubo in 1991 which half-buried the church.  After the volcanic eruption, the town’s people painstakingly excavated the altar and the retablo and relocated it under the dome in order for the tall wooden retablo to fit. The retablos niches are filled with centuries- old statues which were saved from destruction of the lahar. The citizens of Bacolor take pride in their rich heritage which is why they carefully excavated the ornately carved main and side altars and restored in its immaculate condition.The church boasts of having main retablo, side retablos and pulpit that are heavily gilded with gold leaves. The rich decorations of the church depict the Baroque style of architecture. Here are some photos of the heritage church:Facade of the Sunken ChurchMain AltarView of the InteriorParish MuseumThis Used to be a WindowHe Guides[...]

Airline Passengers' Bill of Rights


If you are planning on flying home or to any other destination this Lenten Season, you are not alone. An estimated half a million Filipinos will travel international and domestic airlines during this time and all they really want is to get to where they are going ON TIME.But it doesn't always work-out like that. Bad weather is a major cause of delay but there are also things like mechanical problems, staff sickness and certain regulatory problems like what is happening right now at the Bureau of immigration, which can hinder your timely travel plans. The best advice is to always get to the airport early because queues and check-in and security will suck. However, if things go wrong, if the flight is cancelled or delayed, you are entitled to help and sometimes even compensation.The Passenger Bill of Rights provides for your right to compensation and amenities in case of cancellation of flights:If the cancellation happened at least 24 hours before the estimated time of departure (ETD), the air carrier has to notify its passengers beforehand of the fact of the cancellation and to rebook or reimburse the passenger, at the latter's option.If the cancellation happened less than 24 hours before the ETD, the air carrier still has to notify its passengers beforehand the fact of the cancellation plus provide amenities which may include food and drinks and hotel accommodations. In addition, the passenger should be reimbursed of the value of the fare, taxes, surcharges and other fees paid by the passenger. Moreover, the air carrier should endorse the carrier to another airline without paying any fare difference or to re-book the ticket without incurring any additional charges.If the cancellation is not attributable to the air carrier such as force majeure and safety and/or security reasons, the air carrier should reimburse the passenger the full value of the fare."Magbangka Na Lang Ako"In case of delays, the passenger has the following rights:In case the delay is at least 3 hours after the ETD, the passengers are entitled to avail of refreshments or meals, free phone calls, texts or e-mails and to first aid, if necessary. Passengers may also rebook or refund the ticket or be endorsed to another carrier.In case the delay is at least 6 hours after ETD, the flight can be considered cancelled for the purpose of availing the rights and amenities provided for in case of actual cancellation. Passengers are also entitled to additional compensation equivalent to at least the value of the sector delayed and to board the flight if it takes place more than 6 hours after ETD and the affected passenger has not opted to rebook and/or refund.If you do make it on the plane, there are tarmac delays to deal with. The airlines can't hold you on-board without taking-off for more than 3 hours for domestic flights, although it sounds hellish, you should get food and water after delay of at least 2 hours."Inumaga na ko kakahintay"For delayed, lost and/or damaged baggage, the passenger has the right to be informed of the fact of off-loading. He shall be entitled to a compensation of Php 2,000 for every 24 hours of delay. There should also be a refund of checked baggage fees if the baggage was not delivered within 24 hours from the arrival of the flight.And if the baggage is lost or suffered any damage, the relevant convention shall apply for international flight while the right to a maximum amount equivalent to half of the amount in the relevant convention in its Peso equivalent apply to Domestic Flights.Lastly, the passengers affected has the right to immediate payment of compensation either through check or cash or any document convertible to cash within 15 days from the date whe[...]

Mountain Province : The Bontoc Museum


The Outdoor MuseumWhen traveling to the capital town of Bontoc in the Mountain Province, one has got to check out the Bontoc Museum. The Bontoc Museum began as a small collection of gifts from people in the different barrios of Bontoc, Mountain Province to Sister Basil Gekiere, one of the first Belgian sisters who began her missionary work in Bontoc in 1931. Many years later, a cultural worker who saw her modest collection suggested that Sister Basil put up a museum.In 1975, the initial collection was temporarily set up in a room at the Sister's Convent and opened for public viewing for the first time. This gave the villagers a chance to see the objects in a new light. The building as it stands today was constructed in 1980 by William Brasseur, then Bishop of the Mountain Province.Museum FacadeOver the years, the museum collection expanded and more objects were acquired from the different provinces of the Cordillera region. The collection now includes artifacts, ritual objects and heirloom pieces from different ethno-linguistic groups of the Cordillera.Local Cherry Tree and a Rice GodThe range of artifacts in the museum started out as being mostly from the Bontoc and Kankane-ey communities in the Mountain Province. However, when the Bontoc Museum opened to the public in 1980, the range of objects already included those from the indigenous communities in other Cordillera provinces of Kalinga, Apayao, Ifugao, Benguet and Abra. The extensive repository that it is today has made it one of the few ethnological museums in the country.Outdoor PiecesSimilarities in certain aspects of the people's cultures are revealed in the basic forms of crafts that were created for specific uses. Handwoven cloth, tools and wood, rattan and bamboo crafts, among others, reveal remarkable craftsmanship with designs ranging from the very rudimentary to the highly elaborate. While some types of crafts may have been outgrown their usefulness, certain art forms still persist and continue to develop.A Weaver, a Bulol and a CoffinThe museum also has an invaluable heirloom collection of centuries-old Chinese porcelain and stoneware dating back to the Sung, Ming and Ching dynasties. Artifacts and heirloom pieces such as beads, jars, plates, bowls and other exquisite ceramics from different parts of the Cordillera region affirm the early trade relations which upland people had with lowland Filipinos and foreign merchants.Widow's HutMy favorite spot in the Bontoc Museum is the outdoor museum which is a representation of a traditional Bontoc village showing key aspects of village life. It has traditional Bontoc Hut, a pig pen, a rice granary, an ato and an olog among others. It also has a huge local Cherry Tree in the middle and is surrounded by herb garden and various mountain plants.Bontoc Hut for KadangyanToday, the museum plays an important cultural and educational role, helping to deepen other people's appreciation for the distinct richness of the Cordillera people's way of life.Note: Information in this post courtesy of The Curator, Bontoc Museum. The Bontoc Museum is located at 2616 Bontoc, Mountain Province. You may inquire/call them at (074) 606-8084.[...]

Travel Stories : Younger


It's not uncommon, when you're young, to gather together a few peso, strap on a backpack and spend part of a summer wandering through an unfamiliar place, searching for unknown adventure or merely trying to postpone the inevitable adulthood responsibility called "work". For those who have just finished college, wandering to an unfamiliar place, be it foreign land or local, beckons irresistibly from one's being, a powerful magnet to hungry seekers of romance or naive pretenders to what is considered self enlightenment. When I was young, I dream of conquering the world. That was then, but my stories are now!

Though I shared some of this inspiration in my travel stories through this blog, I also had something else in mind, something that gave my first few trips unique qualities. Unlike my more practical fellow travelers who had scraped together modest but sufficient funds for their journeys, I had not saved enough money to last the month I hoped to stay in the Visayan Region. But I had a plan that I thought would set my trip apart from the rest - I would earn my own way by doing the thing I know best...


Rizal: Pelilla Wind Farm


Pelilla Wind MillsIt is certainly a welcome relief from all those APEC-related traffic madness because 2 hours away from Manila, Lantaw, Ironwulf and I found ourselves dwarfed beside 27 wind mills measuring 125 meters high. The Pililla Wind Farm covers an area of 4,515 hectares. Construction started sometime 2009 where the windmills were strategically scattered over the hills of Pelilla. Pelilla was among those identified under the Philippine Wind Atlas as potential sites for wind farms due to good to excellent wind resources. There is a visitor's area in the farm where info-graphic materials are located. This is where most tourists are located because it is a good vantage point to see most of the windmills. However, we chose to explore the area and went as far as the boundary of Sampaloc, Rizal to search for a good place to do sunset shoot and here are some of the shots I had: ScatteredGentle GiantTower of PowerLantaw and Ironwulf DwarfedSunset ThreesImposing StructureThe Sun and The Wind MillOff From WorkIn ActionTravel Notes:1. You can freely roam around the area but the guards will caution you to maintain a 10-meter distance away from the Wind Mills. 2. There is no entrance fee but Barangay Tanods will ask for a minimum donation. 3. It is best to bring your own vehicle because there are very few commercial vehicles plying he route. Also, as of this writing, there are no organized transport such as habal-habal available in the Farm. Tricycles can be hired from Sampaloc for Php 300 one-way. 4. Bring sweaters or windbreakers because it could get really windy approaching the night.[...]

Zambales : Team Building in Anawangin


As a designated lakwatsero of the group, I was again assigned (for the 3rd year in a row), as the planner for our department's yearly team building activities. And like our first two trips, the group decided that it will be another camping trip... and this time we unanimously agreed to visit the popular backpacking cove of Anawangin.The Anawangin Cove is one of the most popular destination for campers and beach goers alike. It is the nearest cove from the town proper of Pundaquit and is currently the most visited and developed amongst its neighboring coves and islands like Nagsasa and Capones.The place is made popular by pine trees that are abundant on the cove. That is why, it felt like you are in Baguio but then run just a couple of minutes and you are in a warm beach... such novelty that only Anawangin can bring.  Approaching AnawanginAshed BeachfrontScenic CoveA Lady in a TentBreakfast is ServedSimple Sun SetFenced ParadiseDwarfedTeam LegalPros:1. Near Manila2. Pine Trees3. Beautiful Sunset4. Clean Restrooms5. Camper Friendly6. Can be combined with island hopping to Capones and Camara IslandsCons:1. Can be crowded2. Waves can be rough3. There is a sudden deepening on shore due to water current4. No celphone signal5. Other campers can be quite noisy with drinking with loud music.Here is our 2D1N ItineraryLSD Anawangin Team Building2D/1NDay 13:00 am – assembly time at the Medical City4:00 am – estd Manila8:00 am – esta at Pundaquit, packed breakfast9:00 am –boat ride to Anawangin10:00 am – esta Anawangin Rest of the day – set camp/ prepare lunch and dinner/ chill and relaxDay 26:00 am – watch sunrise, breakfast preparation, chill, relax9:00 am – estd Anawangin10:00 am - optional trip to Capones Island11:00 am – estd to Manila3:00 pm – esta at ManilaFood/MenuDay 1Breakfast – (packed) hotdog, boiled egg, dilis, riceLunch – (boodle fight) mixed adobo, assorted gulay, ensalada kamatis/manga/bagoong, chicharon,kaninDinner – grilled liempo, seafoods (isda/hipon/pusit), kaninDay 2Breakfast – tuyo/pusit, scrambled egg, hotdog, fried riceLunch - Stop at Rico's Eat all you can in Subic.Package Inclusions1. Three Tents (4 pax per tent)2. Cooking Utensils3. Mineral Water4. Ice5. CoolerThings To Bring1. Food – Seafoods shall be bought at San Antonio Public MarketPacked Breakfast, Marinated Liempo, Mixed Adobo, Eggs, Chicharon, Gulay2. Cooler3. Plates, fork, spoon, cups4. Burner and Butane5. Playing Cards and Game MaterialsPersonal Stuff – bring your own• Toiletries and sunblock• Blankets• Mosquito-repellant lotion• Flashlight• Maintenance Medicines• First-aid Kit • Swimming Gear• Water-proof camera• Large trash bags to cover bags during boat rideNote: 1. Only 3 tents are provided so it is advised to bring your own tent or hammock. [...]

Batanes : A Dozen Photos That Show Why I Love Sabtang Island


Why do I love you? Let me count the ways...(1) your rugged yet refreshing beauty...(2) your port that tells thousand stories...(3) the view of your lighthouse while approaching your port... (4) visiting your villages that seems frozen in time...(5) errr, frozen in what?,  this ivatan woman has a satellite tv...(6) your magnificent landscape that goes to the sea...(7) your scenic roadtrip...(8) your modern welcome arch with native touch...(9) your handshake logo that reflects the warm welcome of your people...(10) your Chavayan Village known for its preservation and protection...(11) the way you made me wish that time should be longer...(12) how you symbolize strength by overcoming the forces of nature!Oh Sabtang, promise I'll come back soon...[...]

My Top 10 Travels of 2016


On the spur of the moment, nothing planned, just on the spur of the moment. That is how I describe my 2016. Compared to previous years where I find myself booking piso fares whenever there are seat sales not minding whether I have available vacation leaves, 2016 was somewhat different... nothing booked, nothing planned... ahead at least. Everything happened on the spur of the moment. Premiere ParadiseNot Your Usual HighDesignated CamperWhy So Cold?A Weekend with NanayTribute To A LadySpent New Year HereYearly PanataNothing Feels Like HomeGastronomic CapitalTime to improve that Work-Life balance and bring Lawstude back![...]

Eleven Years


Time flies so fast... more than half done but still too many places to go. Thank you to those who give their time reading and browsing thru this humble blog. Although traveling has taken the best seat, it will never be second best.

Mountain Province : Chillax Mountainscape @ Maligcong


Maligcong Rice TerracesFor Gwen Estafani, the idea of a Sweet Escape is to recreate a place that is her own world where she could be his favorite girl. For me, I need not recreate my own world but instead just pack my bag, hop on a bus (twice), topload on a jeep and be in Maligcong - Mountain Province's heaven on earth. Natural SmokeI have been to countless rice terraces in the Philippines and I consider the rice terraces in Maligcong to be one of the most beautiful. What I like about it also is that these rice terraces are not confined in single place but is scattered almost everywhere in the Barangay. Also, the planting season vary in each place so you can have different views of greens in one place then a view of watered terraces on the other.My Favorite ViewTo wander around the barangay, all you need to do is walk. There is a level of narrow cemented path that takes you all the way to different villages, although some portion need repair, it is an easy walk if you have the stamina for the up and down of the stone steps. Further up, you could visit Mount Fato and Mount Kopapey for breathtaking view of the village.Enveloping CloudsOr if you just want to chillax, you could simply stay at Suzette's Homestay sipping one of the most delicious coffee you will ever taste. You could just sit down at the veranda with a pleasant view of the rice terraces. Depending on the time of day, you could watch how the clouds envelope the mountains or of how the blue skies complement the lush greenery of the mountains.Wild FlowerOr you could play with Maku, Misty, Tiny and of course, the canine king of the mountains, Kunig. In fact, in Maligcong, you must love dogs. They will accompany and guard you when you trek to the mountains and they will join you especially during meals. Kunig and these lovable dogs are just one of the reasons why you will miss the place.Galawang BreezyOr you could just sleep all day because the weather is so bed-conducive. In my almost five days there, I spent almost half of it in my bed... well, that includes reading books too.Mountainous TerraceOr you could just eat, drink and be merry. The place has the freshest produce there is. There are ripened guavas, mushrooms and spicy peppers in the backyard, so I cooked Binabayasan. There are also papaya fruits, ginger and sili leaves in the garden, so I cooked Tinola. Suzette also fermented some rice wine, so we drank some to combat the chill of the night.Awesome ViewAt Maligcong, you can be as adventurous as you want or you just chill. For me, all I do what eat, pray, and walk. And as I walk in the rice fields of the mountains, with the music on my phone playing... "Follow me @ InstagramIf I could escape and recreate a place that's my own world And I could be your favorite girl (forever), perfectly together Tell me boy, now wouldn't that be sweet? (sweet escape) If I could be sweet, I know I've been a real bad girl (I'll try to change) I didn't mean for you to get hurt (whatsoever) We can make it better Tell me boy, wouldn't that be sweet? (sweet escape)I could only muster... " WOOHOO, YEEHOO!"For more photos of Maligcong with its abundant flora and of course, Kunig, please follow mw at Instagram by clicking the link at the sidebar or here. And for the best accommodation, please contact Suzette's Homestay at this link. [...]

Benguet : La Trinidad's Colorful House Murals


La Trinidad's New AttractionLa Trinidad's newest attraction is bursting with colors. Painted with the colors of rainbow and more, a clump of concrete houses in Barangay Balili in La Trinidad, Benguet turned into a huge, vibrant work of art. A place collectively called "Stobosa" (Stonehill, Botiwtiw and Sadjap located strategically between Baguio and La Trinidad were painted in various colors and patterns, as somehow inspired by the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Some facts. Jordan Mang-osan, a popular Igorot artist from the Cordilleras led a team of Tam-awan artists in painting the houses as if it were one big mural. The team paid homage to what they claimed to be the area's origins as a mountain of sunflowers and limestone rock formations. Davies Paints provided environment-friendly paints for the project, while the local government gave paintbrushes and other necessary materials. Here are some photos I have taken from the colorful place: Flowers and Painted HousesCreek and ColorsBright ColorsFootbridgeRed and BlueBreezy ColorsSidewalk ViewHow to go there?Stobosa is located within the boundaries of Baguio and La Trinidad. You can ride any jeepney that is bound for La Trinidad. It is about a 5 minute walk from the Bell Tower.[...]

Visiting Abu Dhabi on a Budget


Abu Dhabi is fast becoming one of the most popular places to travel, with an extremely glamorous and luxurious reputation, but that doesn’t mean you have to break the bank to have a good time in Abu Dhabi! If you have already removed it from your bucket list and written it off entirely, you might want to keep reading and find out what you are missing. Hearing from friends who have spent a lot of time in Abu Dhabi, I can tell you that you really can have an amazing time on a budget; you just have to know where to look. Luckily for you, I have gathered some information that will make it that little bit easier!After your flight from London to Abu Dhabi you’ll probably want to unwind for a while and what better way to do that than to relax in Abu Dhabi’s largest and most picturesque park - Khalifa Park. For just a very small fee you can visit the aquarium, ride a train around the park, see the Museum of History of Abu Dhabi or simply relax and enjoy the beautiful fountains! It’s a great place for a picnic and you will definitely find many UAE residents doing exactly that.Alternatively, you could just spend the day relaxing onone of Abu Dhabi’s free, public beaches! Al Bateen Beach and Al Gharbia beach are both free, along with 5 beautiful beaches in Al Raha. That’s already a different beach for every day of your 1-week vacation.Fancy a Camel Ride? In Abu Dhabi’s beautiful Heritage Village you can do just that for a minimal fee! Set up to give you an insight into Abu Dhabi’s history, the Heritage Village is an inspiring and exciting day out set up like an open-air museum. It’s one of those hidden gems that many people in Abu Dhabi have never visited.When it comes to finding places to stay, you might think that Abu Dhabi is out of your price range but again you’d be wrong, Abu Dhabi has a vast number of hotels and accommodates everyone. Affordable doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to miss out on luxury!Traders Hotel, Qaryat Al Beri, is an affordable but luxurious contemporary style hotel with its very own spa and souk!The Premier Inn is in a convenient location in Abu Dhabi’s city centre. Clean and comfortable and complete with a restaurant, bar, swimming pool and gym, it is the perfect hotel for a luxury break on a budget!The Hilton, with its picturesque views of the Arabian Gulf is ideal for a relaxing holiday. With its own beach, tennis courts, and award-winning restaurants, the Hilton does not disappoint! Rosewood is a hotel for those who want to splash out a little on luxury. There are often great deals to be found on rooms there and it is definitely worth trying to find some because Rosewood is a hotel like no other! Inspired by the Arabian Gulf, this hotel is all about sleek designs, water features and relaxation!Of course if your budget is extremely tight, there’s always a whole host of things you could do for free! Spending the day by the pool, watching the sunset, using the hotel gym or going for a run along the beach…The Yas Viceroy hotel in Abu Dhabi hosts its own impressive art gallery, featuring different artists throughout the year and is free to look around.You don’t need to spend all of your money to experience Abu Dhabi’s culture or have the relaxing holiday you need! Just looking around Abu Dhabi would prove to be an unforgettable holiday but luckily there is plenty to do on every kind of budget! Only question is…wha[...]