Ilocos: Beyond Vegetables and Fried Pork

When Ilocano cuisine figures in any conversation, two distinct dishes come to mind- the exciting mélange of flavors in the vegetables of pinakbet and the heart-stopping browned crunch of the fat-brimmed bagnet. These two representative tastes offered up north somewhat illustrate the local virtues of resourcefulness using what the harsh ilocandia terrain can offer and the capacity to elevate...

Japan: The Japanese Food for Thought

By the time I finished cramming a piece of takoyaki into my mouth, I’ve come to believe that Osaka, albeit its diligence and restlessness, has yet to relinquish its zest for life. It is a mouthful of a theory to say the least. But the city’s famed octopus dumpling can dish out quite a compelling testament. “There are many places...

Iloilo City: God, Namit!

Skip the soup and eat big at these seven heavenly food-trip spots in Iloilo City. Friends and colleagues of mine who hail from Iloilo City, or who have visited this premier city of the Western Visayas region, are unanimous in their declarations: you go to Iloilo to eat. And since most of them insist that I should not miss a...

Congressman Weslie T. Gatchalian: Owner’s Representative of Waterfront Hotels and Casinos

It is easy to understand why Congressman Weslie T. Gatchalian has much confidence in local tourism. The figures, after all, are on his side. The waves of tourists rolling toward Philippine shores have become greater than ever. The numbers hit around 3.5 million in 2010 and since then, they have been growing at a nearly consistent pace. Just this year,...

Have Pet, Will Travel

Travel is one of life’s greatest pleasures. The opportunity to escape from the daily grind and immerse in a new destination is nothing short of enthralling. But like most experiences, what makes traveling even more pleasurable is the company you keep. As a pet parent, one of my favored travel companions is none other than my furry, four-legged baby!...

Ayumi Takahashi: Director of Japan National Tourism Organization’s Bangkok Office

“Visit Japan”—a slogan used by the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO)—is as direct and as simple as the very order that spurred it; increase tourism, improve the economy. It should be of note, however, that simple doesn’t always mean easy. When the Japanese government recently sought to increase the number of annual travelers visiting the country, it sought to increase...

Zamboanga: The Spirit Must Soar

As it hosts an international bird festival, Zamboanga City flies high towards ecotourism renown. Bird-watching requires patience. This was something I learned from a bird-watching assignment a few years back, just in the outskirts of Metro Manila. Bird-watchers must have the patience to get up before dawn, knowing that the most elusive of species will not wait for them if...

In Pursuit of Palawan

In a lengthy and extensive discussion of Palawan, it is difficult to avoid the use of superlatives. The land, after all, is the largest province in the Philippines. It is home to some of the country’s most untouched areas, even though it is also among the most popular of its tourist destinations. And then there’s the moniker; there are...