Iloilo: History’s Charming Companion

It would be difficult to look back at Philippine history and culture without taking a closer look at Iloilo’s unique role in nurturing and preserving fragments of the country’s rich colonial past. Once dubbed “La Muy Leal y Noble Ciudad” (The Most Loyal and Noble City) by Spain’s Queen Maria Cristina, Iloilo, in the Philippines’s Western Visayas region, became...

Mati: Davao’s Next Big Thing

It was around six o’clock in the morning on a Sunday when I found myself staring at a vast expanse of blues and greens, enveloping waves that were crashing a little too loudly and strongly for this hour of the day. I removed my slippers and dug my feet into the cool, soft sand and then decided to just...

Pampanga: Reclaiming Angeles and Clark

Even if your view of the world is not in the least left-leaning, you are still bound to see Angeles City and Clark through the prism of soul-searching–especially since these two destinations in Pampanga province are in a stage of recovery from havoc, both natural and man-made. Upon boarding the Golden Princess on America’s Independence Day, July fourth we were...

Negros Occidental: 5 Days of Summer in Negros Occidental

Ever heard the expression “as far as your eyes can see”? While cruising the roads of Negros Occidental, most of which are lined with endless sugar cane fields, I heard the expression again from my Negrense tour driver. I fell asleep during one of the long drives, and our talk before I drifted off was on who owned the...

Turkey: A gusta-Turkey feast!

If there ever was a dream closer to getting caught between the moon and New York City, then it must be to get caught in between two continents. Stepping onto the lands of Istanbul fulfills this fantasy. The 2010 European Capital of Culture is the only city that extends between two continents: Europe and Asia. It felt surreal to...

Legazpi, Albay: Legazpi, and loving it!

Writers always look for that “aaah” moment. That one, magical, unforgettable moment you will forever associate with a particular event or place. On my trip to Legazpi City (the capital of Albay province in the Bicol Region, the southeastern peninsula of Luzon, Philippines), I had far more than that. I had an “AAAAAAAAAAH!” moment. As I sped across a...

Barcelona: Finding your way through Barcelona

With Christmas just around the corner, the first thing on my list is finding the perfect place to spend a few days away from the hustle of Manila before the holidays finally set in. And thanks to its undeniably cheap outlet and boutique stores perfect for shopping, pre-Christmas celebrations similar to home’s own festivities, good food to enjoy before...

Sarangani: Falling in Love with Sarangani

I’d have to admit that when I was first told that I’d be going to Sarangani with photographer Lisa Cruz, I didn’t know much about it. I flippantly thought I would find the usual beautiful resorts that the Philippines seems to have no shortage of. Little did I know that I would fall head-over-heels in love, not only with...

Siquijor: Addicted to the Island of Fire

I have always wanted to visit Siquijor. The island and everything it represents has captivated my imagination since childhood. Siquijor has traditionally been known as a mystical island, a place where arcane beliefs and practices hold court but more and more, it is becoming well known because of a far simpler reason — the beauty of its beaches. The...

Dumaguete Delights

I have always wanted to go to Dumaguete. To me, the city conjured images of a laid back provincial lifestyle infused with an urban feel. My thoughts of it were always tenuous, as if when I finally got there, the place would be filled with a dreamlike fog, which would part to reveal the Siliman University campus, dolphins jumping...