a journal on hiking and traveling around the Philippines

Mt. Pulag's Akiki-Ambangeg Trai

A day hike to Luzon island's highest peak

Review : Asus ZenFone 2 Laser

Check out my experience using an Asus ZenFone 2! :)

Hiking 6 peaks over the weekend

Click to read about one of my all-time favorite hiking adventures. :)

Osprey Pack : Nova

My new reliable backpacking buddy

Hiking in Bukidnon

A day hike to Mt. Kitanglad and Dulang-Dulang

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Booking a Nice & Budget-Friendly Hotel via the Traveloka App

Most of my travels are short and involve a mountain hike so I’m often dirty and tired (but still all smiles!) at the end of the day.  After an adventure, all I want is to be able to change my clothes and rest somewhere nice, so if I’m spending a night or two away from home, I always, always make it a point to book my accommodation in advance so I could get comfortable rooms at better deals and spend what I saved up on food or perhaps for another trip (but it will be most likely on food. :P).
Traveloka is a fairly new booking site where you can snag cheap flights and hotel bookings. Making it even more easier and convenient for travelers is its app which I recently downloaded. Its clean, highly-responsive and user-friendly interface is delightful. At its homepage, you can easily navigate your away around whether you’re looking for a flight, hotel or just checking out ongoing promos. 

I've recently used the Traveloka App to book a hotel for my next hiking trip in Pangasinan. To find a good deal, I clicked on “ongoing promos.” Fortunately, there was one that was ending on the same day so I took advantage! The deal was for a hotel discount of up to 50% off if I completed a booking within the promo period.

I entered “Pangasinan” at the Destinations and my check-in dates. I blurred out my travel dates in below screenshot but on the app itself, you’ll be able to select and see the dates. 
After clicking the “Search” button, the app immediately led me to all the available properties on my travel dates. The variety of options by which you can sort out the accommodation is really useful. If budget is a concern, you can sort by “Price” (the icon to sort is at the bottom of the page).  Just make sure it’s not too far from where you’re going so you don’t overspend on transportation costs. 
When choosing an accommodation, I always check out the reviews within the app and on other sites  (other blogs, review sites, Facebook pages). On the app, Traveloka shows feedback from the popular travel review site, TripAdvisor.

There are several options located all over Pangasinan, which is an enormous province so I opened up Google maps on my laptop as well to check the proximity of the hotel from my destination. In the end,  I chose Hotel Monde in Dagupan for its excellent location, reviews online and its reasonable price. 

When booking through apps or websites, I only do the actual booking once I’ve made up my mind. This way, I avoid making errors or encountering a website timeout which is an additional hassle since you need to verify if your booking went through. 
After pressing “Select Room”, I was led to another page that showed the price, room details and the cancellation policy. 

 For a stylish private room with shower located near the city center, plus the promo discount, I thought this was a fair deal.

After finalizing my room choice, I provided my contact details. On this page, you can specify whether you’re booking for yourself or for another person. You can also enter your special requests such as a room away from the main road, late check-in, late check-out, etc. You will also see the price at the bottom of the page. After pressing “Continue”I was led to another page where I saw my booking details  again and this makes it easier for you to review and make revisions on your booking before you pay. (Note : Actual travel dates were blurred on below screenshot)
I clicked “Continue” and this led me to the payment page. 

Traveloka App provides you with a variety of payment methods. For convenience, you can pay through credit or debit card. You can also pay at 7 Eleven stores, M Lhuillier, Cebuana Lhuillier and through banks BDO, BPI, Metrobank. BDO, Landbank, UCPB, RCBC and Chinabank. Note that Traveloka gives you a specific timeframe to make a payment and while there are several payment options, some may not be available at the time of your booking. When paying through banks, it is best to do it during their business hours. 

Credit card has always been my preferred payment mode as I can get instant confirmation and it’s more hassle-free for me.  (If you want to check out how payment goes through via bank payment, check out Lakas ng Trip’s Post here)

In below screenshot, you’ll notice a time frame beside each payment method. That is the number of hours/minutes you have to make a payment to secure your booking.
On the next page, I entered my card details. Before paying, I applied the coupon code which I copied from the “Ongoing Promos” section and  gleefully saw the room rate reduced to 50% off. Yay!
I clicked “Pay Now” to finalize my payment. Since I used a credit card enabled with a verification code for online payments, I had to enter the code sent to me which took less than a minute.  After I received confirmation that payment was successful, I received a text right away confirming my booking then after another minute, I received my Traveloka voucher containing my booking details along with a receipt. 

In a matter of minutes, I was able to book a room through Traveloka’s user-friendly app. My stay will be in May and I will update this post to tell you how it went.:) 

Check out my posts on hiking here.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Review : Supremo 4K Action Camera for the Everyday Adventurer

When I started hiking about 16 or 17 years ago, my mentor, a mountaineer from AMCI Mountaineering Club, formerly called Ayala Mountaineers shared with us this outdoor philosophy when in the mountains : 
Leave nothing but footprints
Take nothing but pictures
Kill nothing but time
Supremo 4K action camera 
Starting young, this got imprinted in my head but back then, taking  even just one photo or video clip was costly. You need to load your camera with a film and have it printed - and if you want videos, you need to buy  a separate gadget!  Nowadays, with technology, taking pictures or videos as souvenirs of a happy adventure is now cheaper and much more convenient.  I’m so happy I don’t have to borrow a friend’s film to get a copy of pictures, whew! There’s also so many options that would fit your budget. 

As a matter of convenience, I use my phone to take photos and videos but I’m not comfortable bring it out all the time especially when there’s water involved such as river trekking, canyoneering or kayaking. 

Thankfully, Supremo Philippines sent me their latest action camera to try, the Supremo 4K which can take 4K videos and quality photos up to 16MP. When put inside its waterproof casing, you can bring it underwater upto 30 meters, so that's around 98 feet. That's deep enough to enable you to take shots while snorkeling as most spots are close to the reef. 

It came in a nice box and packed with an overwhelming number of accessories which you can use to attach or mount the camera depending on your adventure. 

Here’s a list of what you’ll get along with the Supremo 4K camera :
Supremo wrist remote, Waterproof case + replacement backdoor, Frame, Quick Release buckle, J-hook buckle, 360-degrees rotating swivel arm, 3-way pivot arm + thumb screws, Lock bolt, Flat mount, Curved mount, Clip mount, Handlebar mount, Safety tether, Straps, 3M Adhesives, Rechargeable batteries (you get 2 for each unit!). Wall charger, USB Cable and User manual

Technical Specs : (Skip  this part if you're like me who's not quite keen on the technical specs. To be honest, the only thing I was interested in was knowing how deep I could use it underwater, hehe!) 
Lens angle - 170 degrees, 7G A+ FIsheye Super Wide Angle Lends
Screen - 2.0" LCD screen (960*240)
Video - 4K at 24fps, 2.7K at 30fps, 1080p at 60fps video quality
Photo - 16MP (20MPx interpolated/14MP/12MP/10MP/8MP/5MP JPEG
Battery - 1000mAh, 3.7V lithium battery
Waterproof - maximum at 30 meters
Ports - HDMI Mini (Type D) and USB 2.0 ports 
Memory Card - 4GB to 32GB Micro SD Card (sold separately)
Diving Mode - Red light compensation function in diving mode 

Note that you'll need a Micro SD card to be able to use it. As mentioned above, it's not included in the unit but other retail stores may offer it. Supremo recommends using a Class 10 MicrosSD card with at least 48mb/s writing speed to enjoy seamless HD and 4K video recording. The memory card can be expanded up to 32GB. I'm currently using a 32GB Samsung Evo microSD  which I bought from Lazada. I haven't had any issues with it so far. Transferring files from my camera to the laptop is quite fast. I just plug the cable in, select Mass storage from the camera and I can easily view the files and videos. 

Supremo 4K retails between 3,680-6500 Pesos depending on where you buy it. It's 3,680 Pesos at Kimstore as of this writing.  I posted a list where you can buy Supremo 4K below. 

I’m also sharing with you this informative unboxing video which I found online by Life is Kulayful and Manila Shaker. Click here.

So, how do I find Supremo 4K?  
Like I've said, I’m not a very techy person. In fact, when I opened my Supremo 4K, I felt a bit intimidated but following the manual and user guide  was quite easy and in about 30 minutes, I felt comfortable using it. Don’t lose it!  

As an ordinary user who just wants to take nice photos and videos as keepsakes, I’m quite satisfied and would happily recommend Supremo 4K to everyone who is looking for a budget-friendly action camera that takes quality photos and videos. I also swim in a pool about 1-3 times a week and I love how I can record my swim sessions so I can see how I'm doing since I normally swim alone.  It‘s also worth noting that you would may need to change or experiment with the settings to fit to your liking. I can’t deal with poor image quality and I don’t like editing too much so I searched online for suggestions on the proper settings. 

Supremo 4K sample photo#1
I only cropped it a bit as my hand popped in the screen :P. 
Settings : 
Photo size - 8MP
Picture quality - fine
HD On

The sky was really dark and cloudy when I took the shot and there's a bit of fog at the peak. 
Taken on a hike at Manabu peak in Batangas
Supremo 4K sample photo #2  
I didn't edit this in any way. This was taken deep in the forest so it's also a bit dark when I took it. 
Papaya river at Mt. Tarak, Bataan

Supremo 4K sample raw video 

Settings : 1080P 30fps

*When watching a video on YouTube, remember to update the viewing quality (click the settings button near the bottom right of the video on YouTube) as default view might be a low resolution. 480p is clear enough and easier to load if your internet access is slow. 

Tip : Should you need more sample videos taken with Supremo 4K, just type "Supremo 4K" on the search box  on YouTube. 

As for durability, I’ve only been using it for about two months so I can’t give a fair verdict yet. I’m the type who absentmindedly drops stuff (which is why my phone is in a reliable Otterbox case :P). You can ask me again on Instagram after a few months if you’re curious to know if my Supremo 4K is still functioning. My IG user ID is @Jovialwanderer.

To help you make a decision, you can also check out what other users have to say about Supremo 4K in this Facebook GroupI'm not sure if it’s affiliated in any way with Supremo Philippines but it’s helpful.  It's a closed group so you need to join to view the content.  

Where to buy Supremo4K in the Philippines?
Abenson, Ambassador, Automatic, AV Surfer, D'24K, Electroworld, F8 Photo, 
Globe Telecom Stores, IGIG, J&R Appliances, Kimstore.com, Lazada.com, M20 Enterprise, 

Macys Camera Shop, Photoline, PRG Photo Shop, The Landmark Corp and SupremoWorld.com

Supremo World 
Facebook Page :  facebook.com/supremoworld 
Website : http://supremoworld.com/

Here are other reviews on Supremo 4K which you may want to check out :
Pinoy Adventurista
Justin Vawter

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Feature : Save money for your next travels with Shopback

Not everyone enjoys malls or have the time or energy to visit one, especially if you’re someone who’s either hiking or swimming or just sleeping or eating :P. (ehem!)

I only go when I really, really have to and it’s a chore I just have to get over and done with.

Fortunately, it’s so much easier these days to just buy stuff online and it’s become more secure too which is why I love online shopping. It’s just so convenient and if I see several options online, I have time to do more research or ask around (thank you Social media!) before making a purchase.

Since I love shopping online, I got excited when Shopback invited me to try out their platform. Shopback is a website that helps you get the best deals and discounts on 300+ stores, plus Cashback! Cashback is really just "getting cash back" when you make a purchase passing through Shopback’s site.



ShopBack works with merchants who reward them with a commission when referring a customer to shop on their site. When you spend online through ShopBack, they give
you a portion of your purchase back as Cashback.

Just recently, I had to buy a MicroSD card for my Supremo 4K action cam. I decided to go to a mall and sadly, not only did it stress me out having to talk to sales people (I wasn’t feeling sociable that day), I also didn’t find anything that suited my needs.

The next day, I followed a friend’s advice to check out Lazada and in a few minutes, I was able to buy one, a reliable MicroSD card that came at a good price!  I only wished I learned about ShopBack before I bought one.  (Lazada vouchers and promotions up for grabs  at ShopBack!

So, how to get Started with ShopBack?
Go to ShopBack website. Create your profile – either use your Facebook login or sign in using your email address.

Here are some screenshots that explain how Shopback works : 



You can request for payout once you've reached Redeemable Cashback of P300.00
Bonus can only be cashed out when your Redeemable Cashback reaches P300.00

How to get your cash?
You can get your cash through PayPal or bank account:
Paypal
BDO
BPI
Metrobank
Eastwest
Chinabank
Security Bank
RCBC
UCPB
Globe GCash
Unionbank
PNB


For easier access, you can also download its app on Google Play, Apple App Store or through Shopback Cashback Buddy website (for laptops and desktops only)

You also get a PHP100 Bonus on your first purchase. Cool deal eh?


For travelers, below’s a screenshot of ShopBack’s partner merchants. I have an upcoming trip soon and I’m looking forward to getting good deals on accommodation.  



Over-all, ShopBack presents another fun and creative way of giving customers a discount, a treat for us online shoppers. J

Need more information on ShopBack? Check out these articles about their service on Inquirer, Manila Times and The Philippine Star

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Hiking in La Trinidad : Tayawan View Deck and Mt. Kalugong

After hiking Mt. Yangbew (post here), my friend and I walked back to Tawang Barangay Hall. Just outside its building is a path that leads to our next stop, Tayawan view deck. 
 Similar to the start to Mt. Yangbew, we were welcomed by a steep trail, but thankfully, not as "breath-taking". 

Interestingly, there is a cemetery built on a mountainside along the trail, so we walked  quietly as we passed tombs out of respect for the deceased. 

It took around 30 minutes to get to the shed  of Tayawan View Deck. Fortunately, we had the spot to ourselves. It was almost 12 noon and the sun was out to play but we could hardly feel its heat as the breeze was cool. Once again, we put on our jackets, slumped on the benches and ate our snacks. 

From where we sat, we can see houses and other structures in La Trinidad. Gazing down, everything looked like tiny, colorful Legos scattered at the foot of mountains. 
Tayawan View Deck in Barangay Tawang, La Trinidad
From Tayawan view deck, we followed a trail to Mt. Kalugong, our last stop.
Again, the trail was easy to spot and unlike the first two trails we did, it was much easier but still scenic. Along the way, we spotted huge rock formations at the side of the trail.
Trail from Tayawan view deck to Mt. Kalugong
Behind us, a view of Mt. Yangbew. It was amusing to see where we were a few hours earlier. :)

The hike from Tayawan to Mt. Kalugong took less than an hour. We emerged at the side of the eco park where we found nice picnic tables, tree swings and traditional huts. There's also a store selling snacks. After paying the entrance fee (50 Pesos), we explored the area to check out more rock formations.
One of the numerous areas in Mt. Kalugong where you can see La Trinidad.
To be honest, climbing over rock formations has become very scary for me every since my rock climbing accident in 2009 where my left leg got stitched up and took months before I fully recovered.  If it wasn't for my brave friend Jules, I may have skipped the rocks at Mt. Kalugong, which would be a shame because seeing clouds hovering over the town below was beautiful, truly a must see for nature lovers!

Mt. Kalugong has several small peaks that can accommodate several small groups. Though there were other visitors, we enjoyed a quiet time and even met the friendly manager of its cliff side cafe! (Check it out here.)

On the way down, we took the road to Barangay Cruz which is close to the main road to La Trinidad where you can take a jeep or cab back to Baguio city. This is also the road used by non-hikers or people who just want to enjoy the park's facilities at Mt. Kalugong. You can actually take your vehicle or cab all the way up to the entrance. 

How to Get to Mt. Kalugong 
From the jeepney terminal along Magsaysay Avenue in Baguio city, take a jeep bound for La Trinidad and asked to be dropped off at Barangay Cruz (Upper). Your marker would be Baguio Memorial Services which is an establishment along the main road. From there, ask for directions to Mt. Kalugong. You can also take a cab either from Baguio or La Trinidad town proper until you're close to the park entrance. Take note that Mt. Kalugong is in Barangay Tawang but is accessible from Barangay Cruz. 

Entrance Fee : 50 PHP

Check out my post about other easy hike in La Trinidad, Mt. Yangbew. :)

Other helpful resources:

https://roamulofied.wordpress.com/2016/01/10/mount-kalugong/
http://www.pagnapagna.com/2015/11/mt-tayawan.html
http://francramon.com/taleofthetrail-mount-kalugong-and-mount-yangbo-la-trinidad-benguet








Saturday, February 4, 2017

Hiking in La Trinidad : Mt. Yangbew

To kickoff 2017, I  returned to the Cordillera region with one of my closest friends, Jules. We wanted to take it easy  so we decided to try a couple of short but very scenic trails in Benguet I found online (References posted below). 

Barangay Tawang in La Trinidad,the capital of the province of Benguet  is less than an hour from Baguio city and features several accessible, scenic mountain trails - Mt. Yangbew (also known as Mt. Jambo), Tayawan view deck and Mt. Kalugong. These are all beginner-friendly or as the younger Pinoy millenials would say, pabebe-friendly. :P
Facing one of the several clusters of rock formationat the summit of Mt. Yangbew in La Trinidad, Benguet
 (Photo taken by Jules Picato)
Since we were taking a super early bus ride,  (1:30 AM early! :P), we made sure  we got nice, comfy seats. Fortunately, with 3 days prior to the trip, we were able to book online via iWantSeats.

In five hours, we arrived in the City of Pines and walked towards Session Road to hunt for a hotel. Fortunately, a vacant room was immediately available at Benguet Prime Hotel so we were able to leave our bags.  We took our sweet time and grabbed a simple breakfast at Zola, a 24 hour restaurant along Session road. 
Tawang Barangay Hall located a few blocks off the main road. 

From Session Road, we took  a cab to Barangay Tawang in La Trinidad. Taking Ambiong road, travel time took less about 30 minutes, maybe even less. After registering at the barangay hall, we walked about a kilometer or two towards the trailhead of Mt. Yangbew. Guides are not required but should you need one, you can inquire at the reception.  Personally, with only one trail leading to the summit from the jump off, I can't imagine anyone getting lost in its trails. 
A view of La Trinidad from Mt. Yangbew
It takes an hour to get to peak, if you take it  slow. The trail is relatively easy - nothing technical. You basically just walk your way to the top. The most difficult part for me was this steep, sweat-inducing cement road at the start of the hike. It was a shock to our lowlander lungs!  

After this section, we went up a mildly steep dirt road and took numerous stops  along the way because the view of La Trinidad from behind is so nice! The weather was perfect - bright, clear blue skies and though it was past 9:00 AM, it was still cold and the sun was gentle on the skin. We actually wore our jackets while hiking because it still felt very chilly. 
My yogi friend Jules 

The peak is so enormous, there's a riding trail for horses! There's also stunning views everywhere, which includes the entire La Trinidad and other mountains in the Cordilleras. From afar, we saw the radio transmitters from Mt. Cabuyao in Tuba,which are shaped like the ears of Mickey Mouse.  

There's so much to see at the peak that we spent about an hour, admiring the view and taking tons of souvenir shots. 

Mt. Yangbew, with its scenic peak and short, beginner-friendly trails is a recommended mountain for those who are looking for a quick hike close to Baguio. 

Our next stop was Tayawan View Deck which has a trail at the side of Tawang Barangay Hall (Post here).

Environmental Rates as of January 2017 (in Philippine Pesos)
Local hikers and bikers - 30 PHP
Local Students - 25 PHP
Foreigners - 50 PHP
Campers, those who are spending the night (foreign and local) - 100 PHP
Notes : 
- Walk-in hikers, campers and bikers are welcome.
- Bring your own trash back down with you. 

How to Get to Mt. Yangbew
From Manila, take a bus to Baguio.  The closest terminals from NAIA airport are Victory Liner and Genesis, both in Pasay  (just refer to Google maps to locate the terminals). Joy Bus is the deluxe bus service of Genesis, which we took. You can book online via iWantSeats or PinoyTravel. I prefer the former because I can choose seats in advance. However, payment mode is through bank deposit. For online payments, try the latter. I haven't booked with them but my colleagues have and it's legit. 

From Baguio city, take a cab to Tawang Barangay Hall in La Trinidad. Our driver took Ambiong road to avoid the traffic and our fare was 120+/- PHP. (Note : GrabTaxi, a ride hailing service is now in Baguio. Download the app to book a cab). You can also take a jeep bound for Tomay from Magsaysay Avenue in Baguio and asked to be dropped off at the junction to Brgy. Tawang.

Where to Stay in Baguio?
I prefer staying close to Session road and my favorite hotels in the area are Hotel 45 Main which is almost, always fully booked, City Center Hotel (2000+/-/night) and Benguet Prime Hotel (starts at 2000 PHP/night). I also usually check Agoda. Click here to search for excellent deals on your accommodation. 

Visit below sites for additional information : 
http://www.sunstar.com.ph/baguio/local-news/2016/07/06/mount-yangbew-re-opens-hikers-483787
http://www.cordilleransun.com/2016/03/hiking-destination-in-la-trinidad-gets.html
http://francramon.com/taleofthetrail-mount-kalugong-and-mount-yangbo-la-trinidad-benguet/
http://www.pagnapagna.com/2015/11/mt-tayawan.html
http://roamulofied.wordpress.com/2015/05/26/mount-jumbo-la-trinidad-benguet-ph/

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Travel News : Take a Glamorous Sea Adventure from Manila to Taiwan and Hong Kong with Star Cruises

Here's something to add to your travel bucket list this 2017! If you've been wanting to join a cruise, no need to go out of the Philippines as Star Cruises introduces the first cruise ship to homeport in Manila, the gigantic beauty that is SuperStar Virgo! :) 

Read on for more info!
Photo from GreenBulb PR
Itinerary 
6 Day/5 Night Cruises to Laoag, Kaohsiung and Hong Kong on board SuperStar Virgo

Travel Dates 
From 19 March to 28 May 2017

Itinerary Departing from Manila
- Laoag, the capital of Ilocos Norte, Philippines, featuring Spanish colonial buildings, baroque churches and white-sand beaches
- Kaohsiung, the largest southern port city in Taiwan, a centre of Chinese culture and cuisine
- Hong Kong, a bustling metropolis world famous for shopping, dining, entertainment and nightlife. 
SuperStar Virgo (Photo from GreenBulb PR)
Facilities Onboard SuperStar Virgo
- 13-storey SuperStar Virgo equipped with 935 cabins, including sea-view cabins and balcony suites. 
- offers a variety of dining, shopping and entertainment choices, her facilities embrace Chinese, international and Japanese restaurants, an alfresco bar
- duty-free shops
- foot reflexology salon and spa, gym, steam and sauna rooms
- hairdressing salon
- two-level theatre
- for the water babies, a 100-metre mega water slide, outdoor swimming pool
- mini golf course
-  karaoke room, children's activity centre and more
- A calendar of themed entertainment constantly refreshes the onboard fun and excitement, ensuring every voyage is a brand new enjoyable experience.

About Star Cruises
Star Cruises is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Genting Hong Kong, a leading global leisure, entertainment and hospitality corporation. A pioneer in the Asia Pacific cruise industry, Star Cruises has been operating its fleet since 1993, taking on the bold initiative to grow the region as an international cruise destination with a fleet of six vessels including SuperStar Virgo, SuperStar Libra, SuperStar Gemini, SuperStar Aquarius, Star Pisces and The Taipan.

Rates 
Early Bird Discount starting from PHP 24,500* Per Person (Twin share) will be accorded for cruise departures on 19, 24 and 29 March 2017; third and fourth persons (Quad share) can enjoy an additional 50% off from PHP 12,250 per person*.

Inclusions 
Deluxe accommodations, up to 6 sumptuous meals daily, spectacular performances, pampering recreational facilities and much more – all part of Star Cruises promise to deliver exceptional cruise experiences infused with a touch of warm Asian hospitality.

How to Book
For more information and reservations, please call Star Cruises at (632) 836 6830/ 31/ 32 or visit their website www.starcruises.com.

*Fares shown above are based on twin-share in an Inside Stateroom on SuperStar Virgo, excluding port and gratuity charges, subject to Star Cruises’ terms and conditions.

Star Cruises on Social Media
Facebook:  www.facebook.com/starcruises 
Instagram: www.instagram.com/starcruisesasia 
Twitter:  www.twitter.com/starcruisesasia 


NOTE : Information on this post was from a Press Release provided  by GreenBulb Public Relations. For bookings and additional inquiries, please get in touch with Star Cruises directly. 

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Discover Treats from Around the Globe with World Bites

Here's some exciting news for you fellow adventurous foodies!

If you're curious about snacks from other countries and want to try some,  head to World Bitesa new online store and subscription box service  offering popular international snacks.

For those who are not familiar with a subscription box service - it's basically paying a service provider a fixed fee per month to curate stuff  and send it to you. It's for people who want to try new things but don't have the time or the patience to research on what's good to try. In the Philippines, I've seen subscription box services on books and cosmetics but food is quite new. 
Trying out some snacks from World Bites
Related Post : Gift ideas for travelers and outdoor lovers 

Two weeks ago, I received a World Bites Classic Box which contained a selection of 10 snacks from various countries in Asia, Europe and North & South America.  I opened the package with my siblings and friends -  open-minded foodies who welcome new flavors.  

We got really excited pulling out snacks from the box one at a time. It was amusing to find out which countries it came from!  We actually yelled the countries as though we're announcing contestants in a beauty pageant, haha! 

Here are the snacks we tried out : 

Photo from World Bites

Kurkure Masala Munch from India are shaped like Cheetos - orange, crunchy, short sticks and filled with strong flavors. My brother commented, "it tastes like India in a snack". Being a fan of herbs, I actually enjoyed its salty, mildly spicy and tangy taste.  

After consuming  salty food, I always crave for something sweet, so we opened the Crvenka Jaffa Cakes next. Originating from Serbia, these chocolate-covered  biscuits with orange jelly has been around for 30 years now. It crumbled easily, a bit messy to eat, but I liked the mix of citrus and chocolate. 


Hanuta. Photo from World Bites
If you love Nutella, you'll surely enjoy the familiar flavor of hazelnut from Ferrero Hanuta! This wafer snack from Germany is crispy, aptly sweet, perfect for cheat days or that time of the month when we ladies crave for sweets. The pack can be consumed in one sitting and not fun to share with others, haha! :P 

My sister and I are huge football fans and another country which we associate to the world's most popular sport is 5-time World Cup winners, Brazil! Finding a snack from the same country turned out to be  a nice surprise.  Nestle Passatempo are biscuits  with milk chocolate filling - you can't go wrong with that. :) 

I love eating falafel,  balled up chickpeas usually served with a pita. Ossem Bisli Falafel from Israel has recreated its flavors wonderfully into thin, noodle crisps. (Foodie tip : If you want to try some good falafel, the real deal, visit Beni's Falafel in Makati!)

All the way from Romania, Eugenia Original biscuits are crisp sandwich biscuits with a generous and enjoyable filling of cocoa and rum cream. 


Takis Fuego. Photo from World Bites
Trying out Barcel Takis Fuego, a snack claiming to be the hottest chips on earth was intimidating.  These  corn chips from Mexico are red, matching the color of red peppers. It looked so spicy, but after taking a careful, small bite, I realized it wasn't so bad. While it is too spicy for my taste, I enjoyed the flavor of lime which was mixed in it. One bite is all it took for me to move to the next snack but another friend enjoyed it and actually finished off the entire pack. 

Samai Jungle Chili Plantain Chips from Ecuador puts a nice twist to plantain chips. Instead of the usual sugar or honey, the chips are mixed with jungle chili and medium hot spices, making it tolerable to the palate. 

Another treat for those with a sweet tooth is Ahlgrens Bilar Original. Originating from Sweden, these car-shaped  marshmallows are chewy and fruity. It's not too sweet, something you can have to get you to the next big meal. 

I've seen Nestle Violet Crumble around but I don't remember ever tying it out.  First made in 1913, this bar made of creamy chocolate with a honeycomb in its center is one of Australia's favorite chocolate bars.

Being a curious foodie, it was a great experience trying out a World Bites Classic box. The selection of snacks were quite good - a mix of flavors - sweet, salty and spicy. Serving size is good for one person but it's really fun to open everything at the same time and try it out with a group. It's also a nice gift idea  for your foodie loved ones. 

If you missed my blog giveaway, visit World Bites to order a box of snacks from around the globe now. 

About the website:
The Worldbites website has a clean, straightforward  and user-friendly interface.  
From the main page, you can easily find the "Subscribe" and "Shop" buttons - two ways you can buy from them. 

Clicking "Shop" shows you all the available snacks you can order while "Subscribe" button provides instructions on how you can receive snacks per month. The subscription plans are quite flexible ranging from 1-12 months in case you want to try it out for a month or so. In case you're trying to limit your food intake, you can also choose from a World Bites Mini which contains 5-6 snacks or World Bites Classic which has 10-11 snacks. :) For a World Bites Mini, rates range from 499-595 Pesos per month and 998-1190 Pesos/month for the World Bites Classic, depending on the subscription. For subscription details, go here

The Helpdesk contains frequently asked questions  and if if you have more questions, there is a customer chat box on the lower right part of the page.

Buy a box and try it out with friends or family as part of a bonding activity or it can also be a gift for your foodie loved ones.  Ahem! :P

Related Read : Cosmo Philippines - A Cute Gift Idea for the Traveler (And foodie) in your Life


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