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Showing posts from November, 2011

Destination Food Find - Patio Vera

As someone who was born and raised in various cities where noise can be overbearing , developed communities are not my top choice for a quick, quiet escape.  Once in a while though, I come across places that digress from the negative characteristics of urban living. 
Patio Vera, a new restaurant located within a community of modern and old houses in Marikina serves generous portions of Spanish and Filipino cuisines amidst an outdoor, classy yet comfortable set-up. It induces a relaxing vibe that entices friends, lovers, families and colleagues to openly converse. Despite being located along a busy street frequented by cars and jeepneys, the  noise does not make it past the gate and diners are able to enjoy a quiet, filling meal.
Patio Vera is furnished with art works, antique decors and footwear creations.  It formally opened on the 1st of October 2011 and is owned by a member of the Caballes family. Vera is the name of their grandmother who was a shoemaker. Today, their shoemaking busi…

Destination Runs in the Philippines

Fresh air, beautiful scenery and not your average road run are among the attractive points of an out of town organized run.These type of events are sprouting around the Philippines and most people are taking advantage of the opportunity to  travel and get fit at the same time.
Overseas, destination running is not a new idea. Ever heard of the Sahara Desert Marathon or the Vibram Hong Kong 100? I'm glad that various brands operating in the Philippines are beginning to notice its potential to draw crowds  and are jumping at the opportunity to expose runners  to  various routes  around the country. With proper management, it should  to be  a good thing because it helps drive business to the community.
There have been previous races that were raved by its participants such as the CDO-Dahilayan Run, a 55 KM Ultra marathon  which  took runners around CDO  and Dahilayan in Manolo Fortrich, Bukidnon. There’s also the local TNF 100 Series which is dear to my heart as several friends are par…

Body Surfing - Cagayan Valley

Body Surfing eh? You've probably done it before without realizing it. It's the art of riding  waves without the use of a buoyancy device. It's a form of making love with the water. Fun right?!
While it can be scary for the first time, because you're going to need tall waves (and most of them are pretty strong), the experience is exhilarating. It requires proper timing so you have to practice. You also need to control your nerves and remain calm even if you get squashed under the water. Most importantly, you need to know how to swim or at least float.
During my pre-teens, me and several cousins spent some time at Claveria Beach in Cagayan Valley. It's at the tip of the municipality of Claveria, just across the Babuyan Channel.
Early morning, we'd walk to the ocean to play with the waves - twice as tall as we are, and wait until it's a few feet in front of us. On queue, we'd jump as high as we can and glide with the waves. If we don't get it rig…

Solo Hiking Tips

(post updated September 2016) In relation to an earlier post on recommended solo hiking destinations around Luzon, I am sharing some tips, some of which are from friends who are equally passionate about mountains. 

While a standard safety tip in hiking is to never go alone but sometimes, a companion is unavailable and you find yourself craving for a mountain adventure. Here are my tips for those doing a solo hike :
1. Choose a short, well-established trail that can be completed within 4 hours, has mobile signal, close to the jump-off and popular to visitors. Research and ask around before going. It is also recommended to hire a local guide - one that you can secure from the barangay or recommended by someone you trust. Register at the Barangay or Tourism Office as soon as you arrive so you can get a safety advisory or travel tips. (For hiking itineraries, visit

2. Always inform someone where you’re going or leave them a copy of your itinerary. You could also ask…

The Shoesharing Project

Hola amigos! (practicing my Spanish for a dream trip some time in the future :P)
Me and several blogger friends (JourneyingJames, and Batanggala) collaborated and launched, ShoeSharing Project. It's a shoe drive where we aim to collect footwear (old or new) for the young athletes of Bayawan City in Negros Oriental (Why them? Read about it here.) We are also accepting cash donations. 
You can contact me or anyone of us if you want to help (it will be very much welcomed with open arms!). Our contact details are on the poster below. We also need store owners who can accept shoe donations. We're hoping we can ship everything to Negros by December 1. If you want to partner with us, just send an email to 
More details about the project were posted in James' running site - Running.JourneyingJames
Thank you for taking time to read this. Have a great weekend! Feel free to spread the word! :)

Sayonara Green Passport - Philippine Passport Renewal

I felt slightly sad as the DFA personnel plunged two holes into my green passport as I was having it renewed. Taking its place is the more advanced - maroon machine readable passport (so not my color, haha!).
As I fumbled on the immigration stamps, I found myself reminiscing about some of the great adventures I experienced overseas - Putrajaya, Kinabalu Mountain Race, hiking in Borneo, ohhh baby! Those were amazing! Well, I won't be rambling "emo" thoughts about it. I just wanted to share with you that passport renewal was a breeze! Just make sure you have all the requirements and that all information in the form are correct. Better arrive early and be in proper attire (wear a collared shirt and do not wear shorts or slippers!) I felt really sorry for those people who were refused entry because they were wearing improper footwear. One lady in a mini red skirt was also not allowed. Maong pants are okay though.  is the official site where you can get all the…

Gift Ideas for the Outdoor Hotties

Thinking of what to give to that adventurous special someone?

Strain your brains no more  and save it on other things! Here's a  list of gift ideas or better yet, add these to your wish list. :P These items are all useful, handy,  funky and easy to find.

1. Head Accessory : Headware
This is a great gift for people who love bandanas and despise wearing caps. 

What to Buy : Headware is a Philippine brand that features creative and functional head accessories. It can be worn as protection from the heat, dust, pollution, sandy situations (like that 4wd to Mt. Pinatubo) or a fashion piece! What's great is that it comes in designs that caters to adventurers with varied preferences. It comes in  light, neon and dark colors. The most awesome thing? It's budget friendly!

How Much? 195 Pesos and above, depending on the design

Where to Buy It: R.O.X.(Bonifacio High Street, Cebu, Pampanga), Outlet Store  (Market Market) , Other Sports shops

2. Headlamp 
As the name implies, it's basica…

My Top 5 Mindanao Adventures

Mindanao is the second largest of the 3 major islands in the Philippines. Its land area spans 37,657 square miles and although its reputation is marred by news of conflicts occurring in several provinces, a traveler should not take this against the entire island. It is politically divided into 26 provinces, and of this number, you can only hear about 5 of them constantly in the news. This leaves the other places absorbing gossip that Mindanao is unsafe for visitors.   Not fair!
Let me share with you my favorite adventures, personally tested during my previous travels to Mindanao. Hey, I’m still very much alive and ready to hit  my 30th birthday as of this writing! :)  (in fact, I am flying to Zamboanga two weeks from now...I am excited! Great weather please!)
1. Davao Del Sur - Water Tubing in Sibulan River
As I walked from the main highway towards the tubing site, I was met with curious stares from bystanders, to which I returned a warm smile. I wasn’t sure where to go so I decided to…

Five Mountains in Luzon For Solo Hikers

If you have taken a Basic Mountaineering Course, one of the things you will be taught is to  climb with a partner for safety reasons. But sometimes, a companion is unavailable and you find yourself craving for that liberating rush to engage in a solitary mountain adventure.
As Luzon (and the rest of the Philippines) is abundant with mountains that are ideal for solitary hikers, it’s difficult to conjure an excuse why you should pass up the chance to experience the summit on your own. 
Here’s a list of several tried and tested hiking destinations. Each can be climbed in a day and with the exception of Mt. Tarak, will not take you more than 3 hours to reach the summit as long as you're in good condition. 

These were selected for the quality of trails, safe atmosphere, convenience of travel from Manila and with proper research, the services of a guide (although advisable) are unnecessary. (Just a friendly reminder to my fellow hikers to adhere to the LNT Principle by heart when you v…