Oops… I did it in Panglao!

Along the southern portion of Alona Beach in Panglao Island, Bohol sits a gem of a place for those who want to stick with a tight budget but don’t want to sacrifice comfort.

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A Glimpse of Baclayon Church

The grandeur of the Baclayon Church serves as an edifice of history but it is also a living witness to the cruelty of the Spanish regime. Check the whole article at

Meguyaya: A Festival of Thanksgiving

My new website tells the whole story.

Meguyaya Festival

Indian Influence to Filipino Cuisine

The presence of Indians in the Philippines can be traced even before the written historic era of the country...

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I’m Proud of my Teduray Bag

Teduray basketry is known to have one of the most intricate designs among all ethnic groups in the Philippines. The symmetry of shapes and the execution speak about their craft. To get further details about their basketry, I phoned my mom who herself was born and grew up among Teduray children and has a modest knowledge about the basketry.

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Teduray Bag for male.

Pulso Beats at the Cultural Center of the Philippines

VARIOUS performing groups will showcase their talents dubbed "Pulso: The Filipino Soul in Dance" on March 31, 2012, Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo (Main Theater) of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) at 3pm and 8pm. 

The CCP will honor Filipino ingenuity in movement and precept featuring the best artists in the country. The production will exemplify a diverse culture that has produced dancers moving as one soul - from ethnic, folk, contemporary to classical ballet - with the distinct grace that charms audiences worldwide. 

Directed by Edna Vida Froilan, "Pulso: The Filipino Soul in Dance" integrates national and international works by renowned choreographers showcasing the versatility of the Filipino artist. 

Featured artists are Ballet Philippines, Ballet Manila, Philippine Ballet Theater, Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group, UP Dance Company, Teatro Ambahanon, Dance Afficionados, and Unschooled (Hip hop dance group). 

For inquiries, contact the CCP Performing Arts Division at 832-1125 loc. 1602.

Ballet Manila with Lisa Macuja, a renowned Filipina Ballerina

Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group

Ballet Philippines

Philippine Ballet Theater

Beyond the Colors of Red, White, Blue and Yellow

One of the challenges in the Philippine leg of Amazing Race 5 (watching reruns) was to identify the Philippine national flag among three flags in the islands of Palawan with the aid of binoculars. The two other flags were the Czech Republic and Equatorial Guinea. The trick was that both of the flags have striking similarities to the Philippine flag. Three of the four teams got the correct flag in two attempts while the other one failed twice. This scenario prompted me to do more research online about the national flag of the Philippines to enrich my current knowledge about it. Here’s what I found:

The Philippine National Flag. Photo courtesy of Kino Leonardo

Glancing Into an Ancient Filipino Tradition

Glancing Into an Ancient Filipino Tradition

“The preservation of culture in the midst of modernism is a remarkable endeavor.”

An experience of Benguet especially in the Municipality of Mankayan, which is the northernmost part of the province in Luzon, Philippines, gives a glimpse of the primeval period in the Filipino’s celebration of life. This ancient celebration is called the Cañao of the Kankanaey people and the rest of the tribes in Cordillera.

Sinangag (fried rice)

Fried rice in the Philippines is usually served during breakfast made out of leftover rice of last night’s dinner. Obviously, this dish is of Chinese origin, which speaks of their presence in the country even prior to the arrival of the Spaniards. This can vary from one region to another.

English: fried rice
Tagalog: sinangag 
Hiligaynon (Ilonggo): kalokalo nga kan-on
Ilokano: kinirog
Cebuano: sinangag nga kan-on 
Tausug: guiling kawnon

This is my version of Sinangag.

Sinangag with malunggay (moringa)


2 cups of steamed rice or leftover rice
1/2 cup of malunggay
minced garlic
minced onion
1 egg
pinch of salt to taste
soy sauce 

Scramble the egg, fry and finely slice. Set aside. Saute garlic until light brown. Add onion (don't burn it). Add rice and soy sauce, mix.  Add malunggay, mix until it turns into bright green. Add the egg and mix well.

Fried fingerling potatoes cut into halves can be a good side dish. 

Philippines: The Gem of the East

The Philippines has been one of the most sought after archipelagoes in Asia for many, many years because of its natural resources and beauty. With its 7,107 islands, it is the second largest archipelago in the planet. It was colonized several times, the Spaniards for 333 years, the Americans for 44 years and the Japanese for 3 years. The battle over freedom was always a constant cry. Despite all the atrocities though, the optimism among its people is ever burning.

Boracay Island, Philippines. Photo credit: Mark Sorne

Philippine flora and fauna is one of the most diverse in the world, making the country a virtual biodiversity hotspot. The largest and the fiercest of all eagles, the Philippine eagle, the smallest fish, the sinarapan, and the smallest primate, the tarsier, live in this land, not to mention the largest wild sea crocodile now in captivity named Lolong.

Its beaches can be secluded like those in Sabang Beach, Palawan or can be very much alive like those in Boracay, Puerto Galera, Bantayan Island in Cebu and Panglao Island in Bohol. The waves let you soar to cloud nine in Siargao, Pundaquit in Zambales or Pagudpud in Ilocos Norte where surfing is at its best.

Ah, and speak about diving. Where else can you find it? The whole Philippine archipelago is part of the Coral Triangle. You have swim with the barracuda in Sabang Bay, Palawan or thresher sharks in Monad Shoal in Malapascua, explore the Taiei Maru sunken wreck in Coron, play with sharks and tuna in Anilao, Batangas or just dive in the world-famous Apo Reef in Mindoro or in Coconut, Apo Island near Dumaguete City and a lot more.

Mount Pulag Summit. Photo Courtesy of Kino Leonardo
Though the country could only boast of a high peak at 10,311 feet, hiking to Mt. Apo is an adventure that shouldn’t be missed. Mt. Dulang-Dulang, a.k.a D2, is the second highest mountain found in the Kitanglad Range in Bukidnon. Mt. Pulag on the boarders of Ifugao, Benguet and Nueva Vizcaya is the third highest yet one of the most popular destinations because of its grandeur, the climate and the sea of clouds. Its vegetation goes in this order from the jump off point to the summit: grassland, pine trees, mossy forests and dwarf bamboo grassland. The perfect symmetry of Mt. Mayon in Daraga, Albay makes a mountain of distinction. While Bukidnon has D2, Romblon has its G2, Mt. Guiting-Guiting, which is dubbed as the most challenging in Philippine mountaineering due to having a treacherous 90-degree ascent and descent as well as unpredictable weather. The country may not have the highest tropical mountain yet we have the smallest active volcano in the world, the Taal Volcano. Taal is a volcano within a lake that is within a volcano in an island.

Philippine cuisine may not be as popular as its neighboring Asian countries but it’s now getting the attention it deserves and it’s absolutely a must try. Adobo, which is one of the most popular dishes, varies from one region to another, even from one island to another. And so does the cuisine in general. Pampanga, the culinary capital of the country, boasts of sisig made from parts of a pig’s head, ears, snout and brain served on a sizzling plate with chili, onion, some with mayonnaise, seasoned with calamansi and soy sauce, best served with ice-cold San Miguel Beer. Bicol has the Bicol express and there’s also pancit Malabon of Malabon City. Iloilo in the Visayas has batchoy, pancit Molo and bischoco. Bacolod has napoleones and piaya. Zamboanga has the curacha.

A modern version of Bahay Kubo, half concrete, half native materials.

While the Latin Americas have their mardi gras, regional festivals in the Philippines are also at par. The Dinagyang Festival of Iloilo, the Sinulog of Cebu, Ati-atihan of Kalibo, the Panagbenga of Baguio, Kadayawan in Davao are just some of the more popular festivals in the country known for their colorful costumes, superb choreography and historical connection.
Philippine countryside
And what else could there be more than these bounties of nature than the people itself? Foreigners who come to this land find Filipino hospitality to be exceptional. Every Filipino home has something kept for unexpected visitors. That something can go from utensils to bedding to anything, and even basic meals could be extra special too. The people especially in the countryside can be happy go lucky, finding joy and something to smile at even in the simplest way of living. And having a conversation or two with a foreigner is unavoidable.

Come to the Philippines and experience the Pearl of the Orient, the gem of East.

Nagsasa Cove: Campers’ Haven

The beauty of the sea, the mountain and the lake all rolled into one can surely captivate your heart. The natural splendor of this hidden spot is a must-see.

Beneath the towering mountains where shallow seawater kisses the gray shoreline lies a cove embraced by the foot of the hills, protecting the calm and pristine blue waters from huge waves. Nagsasa Cove is best described as a place where the lake and the sea meet, where pine trees abound the beach, and where a picturesque landscape governs its magnificent beauty. This unspoiled treasure is becoming popular to outdoor enthusiasts for beacheneering and as a camping destination.

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Nagsasa Cove: Campers’ Haven

Trekking the Way to the Eel’s Tail

A towering 80-meter high waterfall cascading 90 degrees into huge boulders, creating a misty environ guarded by massive rocky cliffs, surrounded with lush vegetation and cool water from mountain springs, is a perfect escape for the polluted and urban life. Buntot Palos, as it is popularly known, derived its name from the dwindling mountain trail likened to an eel’s tail.

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