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BINONDO: REVISITING 3 FAVORITE QUICK TREATS

We arrived around 8 in the morning yesterday in Binondo, a destination my husband and I have not gone to for more than 2 decades so this short trip was surely a sentimental one. Click a related post – BINONDO: A QUICK VISIT.

For the benefit of foreigners, Binondo* is considered the Chinatown of the Philippines, considered the oldest in the world, established in 1594 by the Spaniards as a settlement for Catholic Chinese. It is a district in Manila, Philippines, and a hub of Chinese commerce.

We finally found a parking space and made our way to Ling Nam Noodle House at 616 T. Alonzo Street. Even this early, the restaurant was almost full.

Z-2-wall menuwall menu – Ling Nam Noodle House, Binondo, Manila

Ling Nam still has a limited, yet time-tested, menu consisting of: noodles (asado, beef, chicken, wanton, or combinations of 2 or 3 thereof), lugao (congee or hot rice porridge, with the following variants: bola-bola, chicken, fish, fish-bola, halo-halo, liver, kidney, or plain), siopao (steamed bun, in the following variants: asado, bola-bola, lotus, mongo and taipao – the 4-inch or largest meatball-chorizo siopao) and siomai (steamed Chinese dumpling, with or without soup).

Unfortunately, only siopao, siomai and different kinds of lugao (congee) were available that early (noodles are only available starting 9:30 am). So, we settled for CHICKEN LUGAO (175 pesos), HALO-HALO LUGAO (165 pesos), SIOMAI (2 pieces for 80 pesos) and ASADO SIOPAO (75 pesos).

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Complimentary Hot Tea – Ling Nam Noodle House, Binondo, Manila

Complimentary hot tea was served first, followed by our orders.

BeFunky CollageChicken Lugao and Halo Halo Lugao – Ling Nam Noodle House, Binondo, Manila

Both lugaos were served hot, accompanied by fresh calamansi (small, round citrus fruit also known as Calamondin). We squeezed the juice from the calamansi directly to the bowl and seasoned the lugao with patis (fish sauce) and a bit of pepper. This dish hit the spot and is definitely a comfort food for us.

 

Z-3-siomai-siopao2 pieces of siomai and asado siopao – Ling Nam Noodle House, Binondo, Manila

Siomai and siopao were then served. Toyo (soy sauce) and freshly squeezed calamansi juice were mixed as dipping sauce for the two pieces of siomai (per order) to be enjoyed in between spoonfuls of lugao. The siopao did not need any sauce because the tasty filling, along with the soft dough, was just right.

We asked for the bill and gave our senior citizen cards. An employee simply looked at our empty plates on the table and orally enumerated the quantity of the exact items we ate to the cashier who prepared the bill. Now I call that going paperless! So amusing!

Z-4-shanghai fried siopaoShanghai Fried Siopao – Binondo, Manila

We shopped for a while and found ourselves in the corner of Ongpin Street and Bahama Street, the location of (80 year old) Shanghai Fried Siopao. We ordered PORK ASADO fried siopaos, each costing 20 pesos. This hole-in-the-wall stall only has a simple store sign “Shanghai Fried Siopao” and offers takeout dumplings, kikiam (or quekiam, a steamed-deep-fried pork/seafood Chinese delicacy wrapped in bean curd skin), machang (the Filipino version of the pyramid-shaped Chinese steamed sticky rice-meat dish called “zongzi”), siomai and other cooked-food items, displayed on a small counter along the street.

Z-5-fried siopaoFried Siopao – Shanghai Fried Siopao, Binondo, Manila

The fried siopao displayed on the counter were not kept warm but you can observe that they were easily gone through the purchases of loyal and curious customers and the stock needed to be replenished regularly. The buns were still hot when it was handed to me. Amazing!

Z-6-fryer (2)Fryers used to make Fried Siopao – Shanghai Fried Siopao, Binondo, Manila

Just to be clear, we ordered FRIED SIOPAO which is steamed then pan-fried so that it has a toasted crispy bottom but still looks like a steamed siopao on top. It is definitely different from Toasted Siopao which is a baked “monay-looking” Bicolano specialty variation of siopao.

Z-7-manosaWe walked a bit more and could not resist to go to (30 year old) Ongpin Mañosa Restaurant.

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We ordered yummy maki (a Chinese soup with a brown, thick, starchy broth, and chunks of tender pork) which was served in a large bowl and can be shared by two seniors. We were still full so we did not order side dishes like kikiam and siomai.

Z-9-manosa-3Maki – Ongpin Mañosa Restaurant, Binondo, Manila

The maki was served hot and its thick, starchy and tasty broth was so satisfying, along with the tender chunks of pork.

Z-10-siopao-bitepoor fried siopao after I have eaten it halfway

We needed to leave Binondo, anticipating traffic going to our next destination. Sure enough, we were caught in traffic and decided to eat the Pork Asado siopaos we got from Shanghai Fried Siopao. They were no longer hot but we still ate them. When I bit into the siopao, I got a bit of a crunchy texture from the bottom, along with the usual soft siopao dough and tasty filling (of pork and leeks, among other ingredients; no need for sauce). We enjoyed the siopaos and I am sure that these would have been more satisfying when eaten hot. Anyway, we didn’t get stressed with the traffic! LOL

Next time, we need to stay longer and eat lunch or dinner in the famous restaurants in Binondo. Dear Seniors, do you have any recommendations?

Did you find this post informative? Do you also go to these places for a quick treat? Do you have your other favorite places to dine in Chinatown for a quick bite?  I would like to hear from you. Simply scroll to the upper right part of this post and click “Leave a comment”. Don’t forgollow me by clicking the “Follow” bar at the bottom right corner of your gadget. Thank you!

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*“Binondo,” accessed December 12, 2017, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Binondo.

 

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JASMINE: IRRESISTIBLE CHINESE FOOD

Location: Level 2, New World Makati Hotel, Esperanza Street corner Makati Avenue, Ayala Center, Makati City, Philippines

My group of five were in the Greenbelt area and I was craving for Chinese food and salted egg so off we went to New World Makati Hotel’s Jasmine, its dining outlet at Level 2. Jasmine is open for lunch (11:30 am – 2:30 pm) and dinner (6 pm – 10:30 pm).

Z-1-Jasmine-facadeThe entrance to the main dining room was so inviting. We arrived at a little past noon and most of the tables were occupied.

Z-1-Jasmine-interiorThe Chinese Art Deco interior was cozy and simply elegant. It is my second visit to this Chinese restaurant and this will definitely be a “cheat meal”! LOL

Jasmine offers authentic Chinese dishes created by renowned Hong Kong chef Wong Kam On: a wide variety of Cantonese baked, fried, steamed and vegetarian dim sum; chicken, fish and pork century egg congees; rice rolls (served only for lunch); Peking Duck; seafood specialties; barbecued appetizers; soups; live fish and seafood (with your choice of cooking method); poultry and meat dishes; bean curd, noodle, rice, vegetable and vegetarian dishes; desserts; and different kinds of tea (along with Jasmine Tea and Jasmine Chrysanthemum). Set menus, priced per table of ten persons, are also offered.

Z-1-Jasmine-menuOn our round table was a menu for unlimited  yum cha (traditional Cantonese brunch consisting of dim sum and Chinese tea), for 988 pesos per person. It was so tempting but we settled for a la carte orders for the group so we could savor the salted egg dishes which I have been craving for.

Z-2-JasmineWe ordered 4 kinds of dimsum. The BARBECUED PORK PASTRY was a welcome treat because the pastry was so flaky and the pork filling was delicious. The generously-sized PORK XIAO LONG BAO looked so enticing: steaming hot with its delicate folds and thin, white casing. Its yummy mild broth was just right for the well-seasoned pork filling.

Z-2-Jasmine-hargaoThe HAR GAO was served hot, the dough shell was soft and delicate, and the seasoned shrimp filling was tasty and juicy.

Z-3-JasmineThe PORK PASTRY SPRING ROLL was a delightful appetizer as well.

We enjoyed sipping the hot JASMINE TEA while we savored the various dim sum as well as succeeding courses.

SPINACH SOUP was requested by our 5-year old picky-eater-grandson and he finished it all so that says a lot about this soup! This healthy soup was served at the right temperature and was pleasantly seasoned so the kid enjoyed it till the last drop.

Z-4-JasmineWe ordered five main courses. Finally, I will satisfy my salted egg craving! The SOLE OF FISH SALTED EGG YOLK hit the spot! I definitely rave about this dish and, dear Seniors, this is definitely a MUST TRY! The tender fish was fried with just the right amount of yummy salted egg.

Z-5-JasmineThe crispy DEEP FRIED PRAWNS SALTED EGG YOLK was likewise delicious, accentuated by the salted egg coating.

The CHINESE STYLE PAN-FRIED BEEF TENDERLOIN was topped with Chef Wong’s special sauce. The beef was so tender. The flavor and texture of the sauce enhanced the enjoyment of this dish.

Z-6-JasmineOur picky-eater requested BROCCOLI WITH OYSTER SAUCE. The broccoli was cooked just right and the sauce was tasty, but not salty.

Z-7-JasmineThe EGG WHITE SEAFOOD FRIED RICE with conpoy (a type of pungent Cantonese dried scallop) and pine nuts, with its subtle, yet flavorful blend of ingredients and seasonings, aptly complemented our a la carte orders.

Z-8-JasmineMango Pudding, Jasmine, New World Makati Hotel

Finally, we ordered two kinds of desserts: Mango Pudding and Mango Cream-Sago.

Z-9-JasmineMango Cream-Sago, Jasmine, New World Makati Hotel

Both desserts were a refreshing treat after all the dimsum and main courses we enjoyed.

The staff were so accommodating and gave personalized service. They changed the plates as needed, replenished our tea and water, and asked if we enjoyed the meal and what else we needed.

We will definitely come back for more, what with their December promo called “Feast on Festive Treats”: (1) a Yum Cha Buffet Lunch consisting of baked, fried and steamed dumplings, buns, rolls and noodles, at 1,388 pesos per person; and, (2) a choice among three 10-course set menus for December 24, 25, 31, 2017 and January 1, 2018, featuring Chef Wong’s signature dishes like Suckling Pig, Braised Abalone with Black Mushrooms, Pan-fried Lamb with Black Pepper Sauce, Pan-fried Scallop with Egg White and Black Truffle Sauce, at 9,888 pesos for a group of 6 persons.

Private dining rooms are also available for your intimate get-togethers, dear Senior Citizens. You can inquire/book at (02) 811-6888. Visit their website: www.manila.newworldhotels.com. You can view their complete menu at www.zomato.com, just type Jasmine – New World Makati Hotel Menu.

Did you find this post informative? Have you also experienced dining in Jasmine? If so, what were your favorite dim sum and ala carte dishes? I would like to hear from you. Do scroll to the upper right corner of this post and click “Leave a comment”. Follow me by clicking the “Follow” bar at the bottom right corner of your gadget. Thank you!

 

 

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BINONDO: A QUICK VISIT

Location: Binondo, District of Manila, National Capital Region, Philippines

My husband and I were already in Metro Manila and decided to go to Binondo early for a quick and early visit since we haven’t been there for more than two decades.

For the benefit of foreigners, Binondo* is the Chinatown of the Philippines, considered the oldest in the world, established in 1594 by the Spaniards as a settlement for Catholic Chinese. It is a district in Manila and a hub of Chinese commerce.

Z-13-BinondoI saw the familiar Welcome Arch and prayed we could get a parking slot.

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Binondo still looks so busy especially during this time of the year.

Z-12-BinondoMemories of our past visits with loved ones and friends crossed my mind while we passed through the last arch.

Parking was full but we were able to find one accessible to the places we wanted to go to. We first ate breakfast in Ling Nam Noodle House. We then went to shop a bit then ordered a couple of  fried siopaos (steamed then fried meatball-chorizo buns) at Shanghai Fried Siopao for takeout. Before we left for lunch elsewhere, we didn’t miss the chance to eat maki (a Chinese soup with a brown, thick, starchy broth, and chunks of tender pork) at Ongpin Mañosa Restaurant. Click a related post – BINONDO: REVISITING 3 FAVORITE QUICK TREATS.

Z-14-BinondoFinally, we wouldn’t leave this place without buying yummy, freshly roasted castañas    (chestnuts). Then off we went for an important errand.

Did you find this post informative? Do you often go to Binondo? Do you also crave for castañas come the holiday season?  I would like to hear from you. Simply scroll to the upper right part of this post and click “Leave a comment”. Follow me by clicking the “Follow” bar at the bottom right corner of your gadget. Thank you!

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*“Binondo,” accessed December 12, 2017, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Binondo.

 

 

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GREEN PASTURES: FROM FARM TO TABLE

Location: G/F, Net Park, 5th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City, Metro Manila, Philippines

I had a scheduled meeting with someone in the Net Park area and arrived an hour before the designated time so I invited my companion to have a quick but not-so-sinful snack and we chose a casual dining and organic restaurant called Green Pastures, owned by Chef Robby Goco of Cyma, Charlie’s Grind and Grill, and Tequila Joe’s fame. It is located at the ground floor of Net Park and is open from 8 am till 10 pm.

Z-3-GP

For this restaurant, Chef Robbie offers healthy American and European homemade dishes which are made from fresh, organic, gluten-free and probiotic ingredients. Green Pastures also has 2 other branches: Eastwood Mall (in Bagumbayan, Quezon City) and (Level 4, East Wing) Shangri-la Plaza Mall (in Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong City).

We opted for outdoor dining despite the modern farm house interiors, ordered their Homemade Burrata (a fresh Italian cheese made from mozzarella and cream), served with toasted bread, and requested it to be served fast so we need not hurry eating it and I won’t be late for my meeting. It came as promised by the waitress and it had a simple yet appealing presentation.

Z-1-GP

The texture of the bread complemented the softness and freshness of the cheese, served with Mt. Atok (in the province of Benguet) organic strawberries, cherry tomatoes and basil oil. It was priced at 430 pesos and was worth it! The cold refreshing drinks, Organic Dalandan Juice (juice of the tangy, Filipino variety of a citrus fruit) and Iced Tea with Organic Honey (small, 120 pesos each), were a welcome treat too!

I paid for this snack and all the comments are based on my dining experience. I will definitely go back to try the other items in the menu!

Did you find this post informative? Have you also experienced dining at Green Pastures in any of its branches? I would like to hear from you. Simply scroll to the upper right corner of this post and click “Leave a comment”. Follow me by clicking the “Follow” bar at the bottom right corner of your gadget. Thank you!

 

 

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A SENTIMENTAL PINOY MERIENDA AT VIA MARE

Location: G/F, Greenbelt 1, Greenbelt Drive, Ayala Center, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines

My husband and I were accompanied by three relatives when we were in the Greenbelt area for early Christmas shopping. It was the middle of the afternoon when we all became hungry and they agreed to join me in a sentimental Pinoy merienda (snack) at Via Mare in Greenbelt 1 which was one of my favorite casual dining Filipino restaurants when I was single.

Z-1-VMfacade – Via Mare, Greenbelt 1, Makati City

Now, dearest Senior Citizens (SCs), you might ask, why there, Tita S? There is one at Greenbelt 3 and it is newer. I know that, SCs, but this Greenbelt 1 branch is so memorable for me before I got married. Anyway, indulge me, please, ok?

This outlet is open from 8 am till 9:30 pm (M-F), 9 am till 9:30 pm (Sat.-Sun.), and 10 am till 10 pm (during holidays). It is located at the ground floor of Greenbelt 1, opposite National Book Store, my favorite bookstore. Via Mare’s facade and interiors still looked the same and the diners were mostly families or seniors, alone or with a companion.

I can’t help but think that the other seniors also eat there not only for the yummy dishes but recall delightful memories of dining there for years/decades as well. For me, it was way back 1990s.

This outlet offers breakfast, a wide selection of Filipino merienda treats and kakanin (native Filipino rice cakes served mostly for snacks), as well as different soups, main dishes, oyster specialties, vegetables and rice for lunch/dinner.

I was feeling nostalgic when I got hold of the menu and I wanted to order lots of native merienda (snack) treats but stopped myself because of eating out too much when I go to Metro Manila.

Z-Via Mare-2We ordered only four kinds of merienda items First was BIBINGKA VSP (175 pesos), meaning this traditional Filipino rice cake was very special because it had all the toppings possible. It was served warm and soft and its flavor was enhanced by the yummy toppings (butter, cheese and salted egg), accompanied by freshly grated coconut and sugar.

Z-Via-Mare-3PUTO BUMBONG, with two pieces per order, served with muscavado sugar (partially refined sugar with a strong molasses content and flavor), quezo de bola (Edam cheese) and freshly grated coconut (106 pesos), was also ordered. It looked so delicious and we even ordered additional queso de bola for a more delightful combination.

Z-Via-Mare-4The PALITAW (a traditional, sweet, sticky Filipino rice cake), with three pieces per (55 peso) order and a generous topping of freshly grated coconut, sugar and linga (sesame seeds), was served next. It is definitely a MUST TRY, dearest Seniors! This boiled, flattened, small, rectangular, Filipino rice cake was so delicately soft, contrasted by the texture of the freshly grated coconut mixed with sugar and linga. We had to ask for an additional order because we couldn’t have enough of this native delicacy.

Z-Via-Mare-5DINUGUAN AT PUTO (205 pesos), another Filipino favorite, was a satisfying, thick, savory pork-blood stew with pork offals and meat, complemented by the small white putos (traditional, round, soft, Filipino steamed rice cakes).

Bottomline, we enjoyed all our orders but rave about the palitaw! My younger companions learned to appreciate these Filipino treats while I reminisced good times in this restaurant with every bite I took. Happy tummies! Happy memories! Happy meee! Happy weee! We will surely go back for more, perhaps for lunch or dinner!

Prices stated were based on charges when we dined in this outlet; they may change. Visit its official website: www.viamare.com.ph for outlets, catering services, updates, etc. You can also call (02) 815-1918. For a quick look at the menu of this outlet: (1) simply type “via mare greenbelt 1 menu” and click on the www.munchpunch.com option, or (2) type www.zomato.com and type café via mare greenbelt 1. View the menu at the bottom of the page.

Did you find this post informative? Have you also experienced dining in this restaurant or in any of its other branches? I would like to hear from you. Do scroll to the upper right corner of this post and click “Leave a comment”. Follow me by clicking the “Follow” bar at the bottom right corner of your gadget. Thank you!

 

 

 

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EL NIDO: Islands and Caves – Part 3

Location: Province of Palawan1, MIMAROPA2 Region, Philippines

In our fourth day in the picturesque town of El Nido3 in the province of Palawan, my husband and I felt that we gained weight after three days here especially with Sea Cocoon’s yummy buffet breakfast, Hello El Nido’s finger-licking grilled buffet lunch during our island hopping, and the seafood dinners we had along the beach! This is paradise, but is not-so-good for our waistlines! But what can I say! When on vacation, NO DIET! Or, we have a SEE-FOOD DIET, i.e., when we see food, we eat! Right?!

Did you see my posts of our first two tours of El Nido? If not, click here for EL NIDO: HEAVEN ON EARTH – Part 1 and click here for EL NIDO: HEAVEN ON EARTH – Part 2.

Anyway, our third tour called TOUR B – WHITE SAND GALORE: ISLANDS AND CAVES, costs 1,300 per person. Just like the first 2 trips, I packed my hard-plastic beach bag with my needs for the day: sun block, bottles of mineral water, comb, towels, sunglasses, cell phone and power bank, snacks, cash, etc. After breakfast, we all met at the lobby, trooped again to the beach and boarded our big “banca” (boat) for the day.

3-El Nido-Snake Island-Gani
Snake Island, El Nido, Palawan – Photo by: Gani

The first stop was SNAKE ISLAND. I enjoyed this unique island because it had a natural S-shaped sandbar visible during low tide. And guess what, it was low tide today, lucky us! My husband and I walked the whole sandbar and we wished we had a drone to video our walk. We finally reached the end of the sandbar which was a mangrove. We stopped a bit and headed back to the starting point where we were ushered to head up and hike to a small gazebo with a spectacular view of the sandbar and the clear water! The bottled water came in handy to hydrate us going up and down this trail. Take your time, dearest Seniors, it is worth the effort!

Next was ENTALULA BEACH, reputed to be the best beach in Bacuit Bay. It can also be reserved for an intimate lunch/dinner.

The CUDUGNON CAVE was the next stop and cash was handy to enjoy fresh buko juice/cold soft drinks. This site was believed to be the burial site during the Neolithic period4 (10,200 – 2000 BC).

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A brief stop at the CATHEDRAL CAVE followed but we did not stay long because the water was a bit rough. However, each passenger was given a chance to have pictures taken with the cave as backdrop.

4-El-Nido-Pinagbuyutan Island-Gani
Pinagbuyutan Island Photo by Gani

The PINAGBUYUTAN ISLAND was the last stop. It is a powdered white sand island ideal for snorkeling, laying at the beach, or swimming with loved ones.

This last packaged tour is good but not as good as the first two … anyway, the sandbar was more than enough to make this a memorable trip! Thanks again, Gani Ricarte of Hello El Nido! Just search for his website: www.helloelnido.com

My final words re El Nido: This town is indeed a paradise and a precious treasure for all Filipinos and foreign visitors to visit and experience for generations to come! I pray it will not suffer the same fate as Boracay if they just continue to consistently and strictly implement the El Nido-Taytay Managed Resource Protected Area (ENTMRPA)5.  I hope the local government will be able to continue to plan and successfully implement programs against the threats of high human activities and the booming tourism industry in the these towns such as: pollution from waste and sewage disposal; beach erosion; damage to coral reefs due to snorkeling, diving and illegal collection; and, disturbance of bird nesting and marine sites.

I would love to hear from you, dear Seniors! Did you find this post informative? Have you gone to El Nido? Did you also experience this package tour? What are your observations of the tourism impact to the environment? Just scroll to the upper right corner of this post and click “Leave a comment”. Follow me by clicking the “Follow” bar at the bottom right corner of your gadget. Thank you!

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1Palawan, according to the Wikipedia page, “Palawan,” accessed November 29, 2017, s a province in the Philippines located in the MIMAROPA Region of the Philippines, founded in 1818, and is now called the Philippines’ Last Frontier. SOURCE: “Palawan,” accessed November 29, 2017, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palawan.

2MIMAROPA, according to the Wikipedia page, “Mimaropa,” accessed November 29, 2017, is an administrative region of the Philippines which is an acronym for its constituent provinces: Mindoro (Occidental and Oriental), Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan. It was designated as Region IV-B until 2016. It is now also called the Southwestern Tagalog Region. SOURCE: “Mimaropa,” accessed November 29, 2017, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mimaropa.

3El Nido, according to the Wikipedia page, “El Nido, Palawan,” accessed November 29, 2017, is a first class, highly urbanized city located in the western province of Palawan, the westernmost city in the Philippines, with 66 barangays, and the capital of Palawan. The airport is located in this city and it is also known for the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, named one of the New7Wonders of the Nature. SOURCE: “El Nido, Palawan,” accessed November 29, 2017, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/El_Nido,_Palawan.

4“Neolithic,” accessed November 29, 2017, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neolithic.

5El Nido-Taytay Managed Resource Protected Area (ENTMRPA) is the largest marine sanctuary in the Philippines, according to the Wikipedia page, “El Nido, Palawan,” accessed November 29, 2017, It covers 18 barangays in El Nido and 3 barangays of its neighboring town, Taytay, involving more than 900 sq. km, using various forest and marine conservation and protection programs, to protect and develop the livelihoods of the seaside local population, amidst the development of tourist in the area. A very small (50 US cents) daily conservation fee is required per visitor. SOURCE: “El Nido, Palawan,” accessed November 29, 2017, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/El_Nido,_Palawan.

 

 

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LAS CASAS FILIPINAS DE ACUZAR: A HERITAGE TREAT

Location: Barangay Pag-asa, town of Bagac, province of Bataan, Central Luzon Region, island of Luzon, Philippines

6-Las Casas

Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar is an 18th-century heritage park and open-air museum located along Umagol River, in the town of Bagac, Bataan, Philippines. It was created in 2003 by Jose “Gerry” Acuzar, owner of New San Jose Builders, and opened it to the public in 2010. It is managed by Genesis Hotels and Resorts Corporation.

1-Las Casas

It presents a 400-hectare sprawling settlement of 27 Spanish colonial-heritage houses from various cities and provinces of the Philippines (e.g., Biñan, Bulacan, Cagayan, Ilocos, La Union, Manila, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, and Quezon City). Each house or “casa” was dismantled in situ (in its original place), brick by brick, numbered, transported to this site, where they were reassembled and restored. The houses are often made with a stone foundation on the ground level and made of wood on the upper floor. If parts are missing, bricks and woodwork were replaced to resemble the original structure.

19-Las Casas-layout

If you have arthritis, no worries, dear Seniors, the property offers the following transportation facilities to take you around:

  • Bicycle – reserve, for a fee, per hour;

9-Las Casas-jeepney-MarissaDG

  • Jeepney – pick-up starts in front of Casa Mexico and drops off at Casa New Manila;

 

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  • Kalesa – a horse-drawn carriage; reserve at the Concierge and meet Makisig, the horse, used for this traditional mode of transportation good for 2 to 4 persons;

 

10-Las Casas-A-golf cart-MarissaDG

  • Golf Cart – reserve at Casa Mexico for a fee per hour, whether self-driven (maximum 4 persons) or tour guide-driven (maximum 3 persons); and,

 

7-Las Casas-tram-MarissaDG

  • Tram – a vehicle which goes around the property along a metal railway or track.

 

For Seniors who can afford and who have an architectural, cultural and/or historical interest, this place is for you! You will also have lots of “muni-muni” (reflection) time while strolling from one house to another along the brick pavements or cobblestone streets, or while riding any of the above vehicles and feeling the gentle to strong (depending on the weather/season) wind from the Beach Area, direct from the West Philippine Sea. If you love taking selfies or unique Spanish architecture, more reason to go, just apply lots of sunscreen! If you enjoy spending time walking/strolling with family or “balikbayan friends”, enjoying freshly-baked pandesal from La Panaderia or native delicacies for “merienda” (snacks) at La Parilla/Pica Pica, indulging in local fruity-flavored “sorbetes” (ice cream) peddled by a roving “sorbetero” (ice cream vendor) wearing a wide-brimmed straw hat, swimming, sunbathing and appreciating the beautiful sunset while sipping beer/cocktails by the beach, and without the “noisy” nightlife of the city even for just one night, then check this destination out!

4-Las Casas

Stay at least overnight to enjoy this unique resort and savor its beauty on a leisurely pace, preferably on a weekend, to witness traditional native activities (listed below). I visited this nostalgic property on February 2017, along with my high school buddies as part of our 45th jubilee. There are 217 rooms to choose from; check-in is 2 pm and check-out is 12 noon.

12-Las Casas-Casa-New-Manila-QCWe checked-in at the first “casa” or house upon entering the compound, the Casa de New Manila Quezon City.

3-Las Casas

I stayed with my husband in a Deluxe Room with a “retro ambiance” yet still enjoyed the comforts of air-conditioning, a queen-sized bed, television with cable, an in-room safety deposit box, a bathroom with hot and cold water and a separate bathtub and shower, and breakfast was also included.

Other types of rooms are the:

  1. Executive Suite – located at Paseo de Escolta with a view of the plaza and gazebo; for 6 adults; with 3 queen beds with 2 extra beds;
  2. Family Suite – located at Estero de Binondo with a view of Plaza Marcelino (river view) or beach front, for 6 adults, with 3 queen beds and 2 extra beds;
  3. Large Superior Deluxe – located at Estero de Binondo with a view of Plaza Marcelino (river view, beach front, or plaza); for 4 adults, with 2 queen beds and 2 extra beds; and, the
  4. Studio with Loft – located at Paseo de Escolta with a view of the plaza; for 4 adults, with 2 queen beds and 2 extra beds.

Visit its website for prices/availability/more information: www.lascasasfilipinas.com

16-Las Casas

The following tours are offered (but note that schedules/prices may be changed, so inquire beforehand):

  • A WALKING HERITAGE TOUR held about 7 times daily (9:30 am, 10:30 am, 11:30 am, 1:30 pm, 2:30 pm, 3:30 pm, and 4:30 pm), subject to weather conditions, for 1,500 pesos. A trained and eloquent tour guide gives the history of each house. Experience this special one-hour tour with your “amigos/amigas” or family.

Here are some tips for you to maximize this tour: choose comfortable footwear that is easy to remove and wear (since you will be required to leave it at the door of each house before entry; wear socks for hygiene, if desired; wear comfortable and light clothes; during summer or hot days, apply sunblock, wear a cap or hat and even bring an umbrella; and, bring water for hydration. If it is windy, bring a shawl or something to keep you warm and, for ladies, apply a lip balm to protect your lips.

Since my husband and I stayed overnight, we availed of this tour and learned to appreciate more of our country’s rich history, architecture and culture. The tour guides were fluent in both English and Tagalog.

  • An ALL-DAY TOUR for a minimum of 5 persons, with 2,000 pesos nett per person, paid in advance, and cannot be combined with other promotions. There are several schedules daily, subject to weather conditions.
  • A RIVER/BALSA TOUR for a minimum of 4 persons per ride, on an “intimate and romantic” cruise around the property using a “balsa” (raft) for 500 pesos each. You can leisurely float along the Umangol River and the glide along surrounding balconies, brick walls, verandas and arched bridges.
  • A HOTEL DE ORIENTE TOUR is a tour of the faithful replica of the first luxury hotel in Binondo during the Spanish colonial era of our country, for 200 pesos. It is the property’s “premier 3-floor convention center” which can accommodate functions for at least 10 persons to banquets of up to 600 persons. Its lobby boasts of wooden sculptures crafted by Betis and Paete carvers, both well-known for wood-carving.
  • A WORKSHOP TOUR is an in-house workshop where woodcarvings and bricks are traditionally made. The tour starts at Casa Mexico and is held Tuesday to Thursday (9 am/3 pm) and Friday to Sunday (9 am/11 am/3 pm).
  • BATAAN TOUR PACKAGE – Please inquire at 09178329361 (Monday-Saturday, 8:30 am – 5:P30 pm) or visit their website mentioned above.
  • An ART TOUR is coming soon.

Dining outlets include: (1) The Beach Bar; (2) Café del Rio – a tapas1 bar at Casa Sta. Rita; (3) Café Marivent at Casa New Manila – a Filipino-Spanish restaurant at the 2nd floor of the said casa; (4) Cusina ni Nanay Maria – a Filipino restaurant located at Casa Unisan;  (5) La Bella Teodora at Basa Biñan – an Italian restaurant located at Casa Biñan; and, (6) La Parilla and Pica Pica – an open Filipino “street food and beverage” outlet located at Plaza de Castro. I enjoyed their turon (fried, sweet banana spring roll), bibingka (Filipino rice cake), puto bumbong (steamed, rectangular, purple rice cake) and salabat (hot ginger tea).

Other activities are (but schedules/prices/venue may be changed, so inquire beforehand):

  1. Carabao Parade and Race – A colorful parade which starts at 4 pm at Gate 2 and extends to the Beach Area every Saturday and Sunday. A carabao (Filipino swamp-type water buffalo) race and a “palosebo2” are also held at the Beach Area.
  2. Center of Filipino Arts and Culture – An exhibit at Casa Candaba, open daily from 9 am till 5 pm.
  3. Cockfighting – A famous Filipino pastime held every Sunday at 10am at the back of Casa Tondo.
  4. Cultural Show/Mini Fiesta – A show of traditional Filipino dances (maglalatik3, singkil4 and tinikling5) held every Saturday at Casa Hagonoy/Paseo de Escolta at 6 pm (sundown).
  5. Entertainment and Game Room – A room located at Casa Lubao, just a few steps away from Tulay ni Lola Basyang which offers billiards, darts and other board games free of charge, open daily, from 7 am till 7 pm. Contact a Game Coordinator for Filipino games like: patintero6, piko7, sipa8 or sungka9. Casa Lubao also offers fish feeding for 50 pesos.
  6. Fotografia de la Escolta – A professional in-house photography studio where you can schedule a photoshoot wearing the traditional baro’t saya10 or barong11.
  7. Music Shop – A guitar and ukulele shop located at Paseo de Escolta (beside Fotografia de la Escolta).
  8. Napiya Spa – The in-house spa and wellness center located at Paseo de Escolta (Room 212) which offers the traditional Filipino massages like “bentosa12”, “dagdagay13” and “hilot14”. It is open from 10 am till 9 pm.
  9. Pocket Performance – A performance held at the Tanghalang Tasulok every Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 9:30 am/11:30 am/2:30 pm/4:30 pm.
  10. Sunday Mass – A Catholic mass held at the church called Santuario de San Jose every Sunday at 10:30 am.
  11. Swimming Pool and Beach Area – A “batis15”-inspired swimming pool open daily from 7 am till 9 pm; the Beach Area is open from 6 am till 6 pm daily.
  12. Water Activities – Activities such as banana boat, boat ride, island hopping, jet ski, kayaking and wakeboarding16, subject to weather and current conditions. Make it to Yasa Point for a zip line ride, ATV17 ride, mountain biking and wall climbing for the younger members of your family.

 

18-Las Casas-MarissaDG

This property is part of Historic Hotels Worldwide and part of the Conde Nast Jahansens Luxury Global Collection and Peninsula Hotel’s Pencities Luxe Guide. It is also the 2017 Asia Awards of Excellence winner.

17-Las Casas - Copy

Here are three “casas” and their stories:

11-A- Las Casas-Casa-ByzantinaCasa Byzantina, a 3-storey, intricately designed “floral” stone house from Binonda, Manila, built in 1890 by Don Lorenzo del Rosario, using Neo-Byzantine19 and Neo-Mudéjar20 influences with elaborate and delicate embellishments. It was demolished in 2009 and transferred to Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar.

5-Las Casas-Casa Luna

Casa Luna, built in 1850 and owned by Primitivo Novicio, the uncle of the famous Luna brothers: General Antonio Luna (the first Filipino general who fought in the Philippine-American War) and Juan Luna (the renowned Filipino painter, sculptor and political activist). It was originally located in the municipality of Namacpacan (now Luna, in the province of La Union, named after the brothers). The house is symmetrically constructed and reflects the typical Ilocano18 stone house, with a “cochera” (a garage for carriages and “carrozas” as well as a storeroom for farm produce) at the ground floor, an “entresuelo” (a mezzanine for the servants), the main second floor for bedrooms, toilet and bath, the grand living room, kitchen, and an “azotea” (a flat roof/platform on the top of the house) at the back.

 

13-Las Casas-Casa Mexico-Pampanga

Casa Mexico-Pampanga, a stone house from the municipality of Mexico, in the province of Pampanga, salvaged from a junk shop and reconstructed based on an old photograph.

Overall and personally, this cultural escapade was memorable for me and my high school buddies. We had enough quality time to bond with each other amidst our leisurely strolls as well as “kalesa”/tram/jeepney rides. We had so many beautiful pictures to look back to in the years to come!

Did you find this post informative? Have you also experienced going to this destination site, either just for the day or overnight? I would like to hear from you. Simply scroll to the upper right corner of this post and click “Leave a comment”. Please scroll below and click the “Like” tab and “Facebook” to share this post. Thank you!

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1Tapas are small, savory Spanish dishes.

2Palosebo is a traditional Filipino game for boys during a town fiesta or on special occasions in the provinces using a long, straight, polished and greasy bamboo pole with a small bag or flag tied to the top as a reward to whoever could successfully climb, reach it, and retrieve the bag/flag.

3Maglalatik is a male folk dance from the Philippines where coconut shell halves are secured onto the dancers’ hands and on vests upon which are hung 4 or six more coconut shell halves. The dancers perform the dance by hitting one coconut shell with the other, alternately on the hands, on the shoulders and body, to the beat of a fast drumbeat. NOTE: The dance means “latik-maker”, from “latik”, a syrupy, caramelized coconut cream used as a dessert sauce or garnish, used in Filipino cookery.

4Singkil is a popular folk dance of the Maranao people of Lake Lanao (in Lanao del Sur, Mindanao),  performed during celebrations and other festive occasions, based on the epic legend, Darangen, the pre-Islamic Maranao interpretation of the ancient Hindu Indian epic, the Ramayana, an ancient Indian epic poem which narrates the struggle of the divine prince Rama to rescue his wife, Sita, from the demon king Rayana. This dance was popularized by the Bayanihan Philippine National Folk Dance Company, the oldest dance company in the Philippines, founded in 1957 by Helena Z. Benitez and debuted at Expo ’58 on May 27, 1958, upon the request of President Ramon Magsaysay. Originally, only royal women danced the singkil, as a conscious or unconscious way of attracting potential suitors. A kulintang (an ancient musical instrument composed of a row of small, horizontally laid metal gong kettles, upon a rack, accompanied by larger, suspended gongs and drums, played by striking the bosses of the gongs with 2 wooden beaters) and agung (an ensemble composed of large hanging, suspended or held, knobbed gongs which act as drones) ensemble always accompanies this dance. The female lead dancer gracefully steps in and out of closing bamboo poles arranged in either parallel, rectangular, or criss-cross fashion, while skillfully manipulating either a fan, scarf or by just artistically waving ones bare hands. NOTE: The name of the dance means “to entangle the feet with disturbing objects such as vines or anything in ones path.”

5Tinikling is a Filipino folk dance which involves 2 people beating, tapping, and sliding 2 or 4 parallel pairs of bamboo poles on the ground (or on 2 raised pieces of wood) held by 2 or more sitting or kneeling “clappers” or “clickers” as a percussion instrument, and against each other in coordination with two or more female dancers, wearing embroidered baro’t saya19, and male dancers wearing barong20, who step over and in between the poles, weave through the rapidly moving bamboo poles with bare feet and ankles, traditionally danced to rondalla music, an ensemble of stringed instruments (e.g., bandurrias, guitars, laúdes, octavinas or ukuleles). Traditionally, the poles are tapped twice on the ground on the first 2 beats then brought together on the 3rd beat, with the tempo progressing faster and faster. The dancers need to be skillful and agile not only to follow the rhythm but also not to get their ankles/feet caught between the poles as they are snapped closed. The barefoot dancers start with their hands at their hips or clasped behind their backs, but when the tempo becomes faster, they hold hands, then end by letting go of each other’s hands and stepping out of the moving bamboo poles. NOTE: Tinikling means “to perform like a ‘tikling’, a local bird” which walk gracefully and speedily between grass stems and run over tree branches.

6Patintero is a popular, traditional Filipino street game, using 2 teams, an attack and a defense team, with 5 players each. The attack team must try to run along the perpendicular lines from the home base to the back end, and return without being tagged by the defense players, called “it”. The latter must stand on water/fire lines with both feet each time they try to tag attacking players. The player at the center line is called “patotot”. The perpendicular line at the center allows the “it” designated on that line to intersect the lines occupied by the “it” that the parallel line intersects, thus increasing the chances of the runners to be trapped, even only one member of a group is tagged, the whole group will be the “it”.

7Piko is the Filipino version of hopscotch where players stand behind the edge of a rectangular box, and each should throw their “pamato” (cue ball or flat stone). The first to play is determined on the players’ agreement on the placement of the “pamatos” on a designated line/location and whoever throws the “pamato” nearest the agreed place, will play first. The next nearest is second, etc.

8Sipa is a traditional Filipino game where players kick or toss a washer covered with colorful threads using a foot. A player is thrown upwards and the player starts to toss the washer and counts the number of times s/he does it successfully without the washer touching the ground. The player who has the most kicks wins the game. Sipa literally means “kick”.

9Sungka is the Filipino mancala game played in a wooden board and cowrie shells or stones called “sigays”. A boatlike sungka board has 2 rows of 7 small pits called “bahay” (houses), initially with 7 “sigays”, with an additional bigger hole at both end of the board for each player, called an “ulo” (head) or “inay” (mother) or storehouse, for the captured seashells or stones, owned by a player to his/her left. A player empties one of his/her small pits and distributes its contents in a clockwise direction, one by one, into the following pits including his/her own storehouse but passing the opponent’s storehouse. If the last stone falls into a non-empty small pit, its contents are lifted and distributed in another lap. If the last stone falls into the player’s onw store, the player gets a bonus move. However, if the last stone falls into an empty pit, the move ends and the player is “patay” (dead). If the move ends by dropping the last stone into one of your own small pits, you capture the stones in the opponent’s pit directly across the board and your own stone. The captured shells are “subi” (deposited) in your storehouse. However, if the opponent’s pit is empty, nothing is captured. The first move is plated simultaneously, after which the players take turns alternately. The game ends when no stones are left in the small pits. The player who captures the most shells wins the game.

10Baro’t saya is the national dress of the Philippines traditionally made of piña (pineapple fiber); the feminine equivalent of the barong20. This conservative attire is composed of a blouse is called “baro”, with butterfly sleeves, and the skirt is called “saya”, generally fashioned out of opaque plaid or striped cotton and sinamay varieties. An “alampay” is a square kerchief usually made of the same fabric as the saya, worn over the “baro” to cover the breasts which also doubles as a veil, later called the “panuelo”. An overskirt made of a darker and thicker material called a “tapis” is wrapped around the lower half of the woman’s body and tied at the waist or below the breasts. It is the pre-colonial clothing of the Tagalogs and Visayans made of silk in matching colors, exclusively worn by women from the upper class; those belonging to the lower caste wore a “baro” made from pounded white bark fiber.

 

11Barong is the short term for barong Tagalog, the traditional, lightweight, long-sleeved, embroidered, formal shirt for Filipino males. It is worn untucked over an undershirt. It is considered the national dress of the Philippines.

12Bentosa is an ancient Chinese method used to remove aches and pains and improve the circulation by cupping. It is also spelled “ventosa”. It has 2 types: fire cupping and dry cupping. Fire cupping uses a cup or glass to suction the cold parts at the back of the body which lack blood circulation and have blockages so that they will have normal energy flow. It is executed with a glass cup, candle and oil. Massage oil is applied on the back to create a better seal on the cups, then a candle is lighted with a cotton candle ball on the top. Once the candle is lighted, the cup is placed over the candle so the oxygen is removed and the suction will appear when the skin bloats or puffs. The red marks that will appear after the cupping will disappear after 1-2 days. Dry cupping uses a glass/plastic cup on the skin using a pump so the air is removed by suction.

13Dagdagay is a traditional Filipino acupressure treatment for the legs and feet, originally from the Mountain Province of the Philippines, a way of accessing the body’s entire immune system through the soles of the feet. It begins with a soothing foot soak on healing herbs in a huge clay vessel and capped with a relaxing herbal foot wrap and massage. The therapist uses 2 bamboo or rattan sticks, in pack of finger pressure, to stimulate the soles and cleanse/purify the feet.

14Hilot is the ancient Filipino art of healing in rural areas where, originally, a “manghihilot” uses chiropractic manipulation and massage techniques to treat musculoskeletal ailments, to reset dislocated and sprained joints (ankle, fingers, knee and metacarpal bones). Modern spas use this technique to relieve stress and promote rejuvenation and balance the harmony of the body, emotion and mind, using warm strips of (naturally ionized) banana leaves laved with virgin coconut oil applied on the body before and after a session. The therapist identifies areas of energy imbalance in the body through touch diagnosis. A full body massage involves a combination of slow moving fingers and hand pressure over various pressure points throughout the back and legs, and relaxing the tension in the head and neck.

15A batis is the Tagalog term for a small stream, river or brook.

16Wakeboarding is a surface water sport which involves riding a wakeboard21 over the surface of a body of water. It is a combination of snowboarding, surfing and water skiing. The wakeboard is usually towed behind a motorboat or personal water craft at a speed of 30-40 km/hr, depending on the board size, weight, and type of tricks.

17ATV, or All-Terrain Vehicle, is a vehicle that is designed to handle a wide variety of terrain and travels on 3-4 low-pressure tires with a seat that is straddled by the operator, along with handlebars for steering control. The rider sits and operates it like a motorcycle and is stable at slower speeds. It is used in some destinations for a thrilling ride.

18Ilocano is a term which refers to the ethnolinguistic people who live, or come from, the Ilocos Region in the northwestern part of the island of Luzon7, in the Philippines.

19Neo-Byzantine is an architectural revival movement in the 1840s in Western Europe, prevalent among public and religious buildings, especially in Germany and Russia. It combines the Byzantine style with Eastern and Orthodox Christian architecture from the 5th till 11th centuries.

20Neo-Mudéjar is a type of Moorish Revival architecture which started in Madrid, Spain, in the late 19th century, and spread to the rest of that country. It is characterized by abstract-shaped brick ornaments for facades, arabesque tiles and horseshoe arches.

21A wakeboard is a small, mostly rectangular, buoyant and thin board with the core usually made of foam, honeycomb or wood, mixed with resin and coated with fiberglass. It has very little displacement and shoe-like bindings are mounted to it. Metal screws are inserted to attach bindings and fins.

 

 

 

Featured

EL NIDO: Heaven on Earth – Part 1

Location: Province of Palawan, MIMAROPA1 Region, Philippines

My husband and I visited Puerto Princesa2, Palawan3 years ago. The former is a first class, highly urbanized city located in the western province of Palawan, the westernmost city in the Philippines, with 66 barangays, and the capital of Palawan. The airport is located in this city and it is also known for the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, named one of the New7Wonders of the Nature. Palawan is a province in the Philippines located in the MIMAROPA Region of the Philippines, founded in 1818, and is now called the Philippines’ Last Frontier.

We were invited by my high school buddies and their families to El Nido (a first-class municipality in the northernmost tip of mainland Palawan), from February 19 to 22, 2017. It was our first time to visit this wonderful destination known for its awesome coral reefs, white-sand beaches, unique lagoons and limestone cliffs.

We were likewise curious how tourism can thrive amidst the so-called El Nido-Taytay Managed Resource Protected Area (ENTMRPA)4, the largest marine sanctuary in the Philippines, covering 18 barangays in El Nido and 3 barangays of its neighboring town, Taytay, involving more than 900 sq. km, using various forest and marine conservation and protection programs, to protect and develop the livelihoods of the seaside local population, amidst the development of tourist in the area. A very small (50 US cents) daily conservation fee is required per visitor.

We heard so much about El Nido’s beauty so we did not hesitate to join the group to discover this new destination which was part of our bucket list.

21-El-Nido

Everything was pre-arranged by my very dependable and travel-savvy friend from the US so my husband and I just paid for our share. Here is the first part of our unforgettable adventure!

Our group arrived at the Puerto Princesa Airport and two vans were waiting for us provided by Daytripper Palawan. The mini-packs of banana chips, bottled water and, of course, the professional driving skills of our drivers were very much appreciated. It was about a 6-hour trip from the airport to El Nido, and we stopped a couple of times for the “call of nature”, to stretch a bit, as well as have our lunch. Some of us appreciated the view while some slept along the way.

We finally arrived at Sea Cocoon, our hotel, and we all checked-in. We used the remaining time to explore the town, its market and retail stalls, the beach, and savored its local and fresh seafood for dinner along a seaside restaurant. We slept early the previous night because this will be the first of our 3 day-tour that will take us around this awesome destination.

We had a good night’s rest after a hot shower and slept soundly on a comfortable bed in our air-conditioned room. We woke up to a beautiful sunny morning and the hotel’s sumptuous buffet breakfast was so good!

I am also lucky to have a well-organized friend who even provided durable hard-plastic beach bags where I could place all my (and my husband’s) needs for the day: sun block, bottles of mineral water for hydration, comb, towels, sunglasses, well-protected cell phone and power bank, snacks, cash, etc. Photos were taken after breakfast, all met at the lobby, trooped to the beach (which was just about 3 minute-walk from our hotel) and before we knew it, we were all aboard our big banca (boat) for the day.

My friend contracted Hello El Nido for the 3 packaged tours and may I say that my husband and I were very satisfied with the services of the management and all the boatmen/crew. Just search for his website: www.helloelnido.com

It also seemed that the local government has standardized the packaged tours of El Nido which is beneficial for us, first-time tourists. Our tour that day is marketed as TOUR C – SECRET ISLANDS AND BEACHES, costing 1,400 pesos each person.

We wore our safety vests and enjoyed the natural beauty – 360 degrees! Worried that you cannot swim? Don’t be! You can stay in the banca but I do not recommend that and I am so sure you will not because of the beauty of all the stops. All destinations are safe for all ages and all stops are worth the trip! So, listen up, it’s our first packaged tour of El Nido and I know you will be excited with me as I recall our tour.

The first stop was SECRET BEACH which can only be accessed by swimming and going through a small crevice in a rock wall. No worries, dearest seniors, I gained weight and still fitted LOL! Besides, the kind boatmen will always be ready to assist you: seniors, kids, and whoever else needs assistance. Once inside, you will be awed by this pristine beach and its beauty and thus, a secret no more!

Next was HIDDEN BEACH, surrounded by fantastic limestone rock formations. You can just float with your life vest or swim, just be careful not to be near sharp corals.

The STAR OF TALISAY BEACH was the next stop. It is a snorkeling site and was also our lunch stop. Now, I am sure you are curious to know about the buffet lunch. Let me tell you that all such meals for our 3 package tours were soooo good, thanks to Hello El Nido! The freshly cooked “inihaw” (grilled) pork and seafood (shrimps/fish/squids), along with fresh vegetables/seaweed salad, hot steamed rice, and fresh fruits were always a welcome feast for our group! Burp! Drinking water was also provided. Happy tummies always! My best advice is for you to bring cash for fresh buko (young coconut) or cold softdrinks sold in island stops.

1-El-Nido- lunch buffet

The MATINLOC SHRINE or the SHRINE OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN, is located in an island maintained by the descendants of the original owner. Be prepared for a 100 peso-entrance fee. The shrine is serene and satisfies the religious among us seniors. The big old house seemed abandoned but you can imagine its splendor when it was new and operational. Our group went up a cemented area with steps leading to the peak where we had an unforgettable view for miles and miles!

Last was HELICOPTER ISLAND, a helicopter-shaped island when viewed from afar, ideal for snorkeling and diving.

This first packaged tour was indeed wonderful! Thanks, Gani Ricarte of http://www.helloelnido.com! Your kind boatmen returned us to our shores early so we can enjoy the majestic sunset in this picturesque island! We felt so lucky to have another dinner along the shore for us to breathe in all the good vibes while we savored the fresh seafood treats we ordered!

Did you find this post informative? Have you experienced this package tour? I would like to hear from you. Just scroll to the bottom of this post and type your comment in the designated box. Follow me by clicking the “Follow” bar at the bottom right corner of your gadget. Thank you.

Watch out for my next post and discover the other beautiful islands of El Nido!

Do visit my El Nido posts:

EL NIDO: Blue Lagoons – Part 2

and

EL NIDO: Islands and Caves – Part 3

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1MIMAROPA, according to the Wikipedia page, “Mimaropa,” accessed November 29, 2017, is an administrative region of the Philippines which is an acronym for its constituent provinces: Mindoro (Occidental and Oriental), Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan. It was designated as Region IV-B until 2016. It is now also called the Southwestern Tagalog Region. SOURCE: “Mimaropa,” accessed November 29, 2017, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mimaropa.

2“Puerto Princesa,” accessed November 29, 2017, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puerto Princesa.

3“Palawan,” accessed November 29, 2017, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palawan.

 4“El Nido, Palawan,” accessed November 29, 2017, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/El Nido,_Palawan.

 

 

 

 

 

Featured

TAO YUAN RESTAURANT: YUMMY CHINESE-SINGAPOREAN TREATS

Location: 2/F Newport Mall, Resorts World Manila, Pasay City, Philippines

A niece of ours brought us to Resorts World Manila (an integrated resort1) in Pasay City and since it was almost lunch time and we were already hungry, she suggested we try this Chinese-Singaporean seafood restaurant at the second floor of Newport Mall. We said we were willing to try it and here is our dining experience for four.

The dining area was spacious, the air conditioning gave a comfortable ambiance and the head receptionist was very accommodating who led us to a table and graciously took our orders. I appreciated coming early for lunch because I heard that this place is popular and crowded during lunch and dinner.

1-Tao Yuan
Singaporean Fried Fish Skin

Our appetizer was Singaporean Fried Fish Skin and this is to die for!  The salted egg taste along with the crispy fish skin was so yummy so I told myself, this is definitely a Cheat Day for me due its generous portion and this was just for starters! It was worth 328 peso. We were not able to finish it so we asked this to be wrapped and we continued to enjoy it at home after being heated in the microwave, and was still so yummy!

2-Tao Yuan
Scallops with Minced Vegetable Soup

We just had a small order of Scallops with Minced Vegetable Soup and it was served at the right temperature, subtle yet delicious. The texture and delicate taste made this dish a delectable treat at 498 pesos.

3-Tao Yuan
Hainanese Chicken

We had half an order of their Singaporean Boneless Hainanese Chicken, a favorite among its customers. Now I know why! It is so tender and its delicate taste, along with the accompanying dips, makes you want to dig in for more. The 750 price was worth it.

4-Tao Yuan
Salted Fish and Diced Chicken

The Fried Rice with Salted Fish and Diced Chicken was tasty yet complemented the dishes we ordered so I enjoyed them all together or even just the fried rice alone! A small order costs 398 pesos.

5-Tao Yuan
Roasted Crispy Pork Belly

The Roasted Crispy Pork Belly was a winner! The crispy skin yet tender meat with its dip was just right for meat lovers. It costs 428 pesos.

6-Tao Yuan
Scallops with Broccoli Flowers

Scallops with Broccoli Flowers was ordered for someone craving for vegetables. Even the kid with us enjoyed this dish. The contrasting texture of the broccoli along with the smooth and the pleasantly-flavored scallops was a great combination. A small order costs 980 pesos.

We were given a complimentary dessert of almond lychee and it was refreshing with just the right sweetness, after all the dishes we enjoyed!

I just want to say that I paid for our meal and these are my personal comments based on the orders we made. It is a bit pricey but we had value for money and we were very satisfied! Happy tummies!

We will definitely come back to this restaurant and try their other dishes. I was told that dimsum is served in their other branch and would like to try it too.

Did you find this post informative? Have you also experienced dining in this restaurant or in any of its other branches? Do you know other Chinese restaurants you want me to feature? I would like to hear from you. Do scroll to the upper right corner of this post and click “Leave a comment”. Follow me by clicking the “Follow” bar at the bottom right corner of your gadget. Thank you!

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1An integrated resort is a type of resort which features lodging, gaming, convention failities, entertainment shows, fine dining outlets, high-end retail outlets, and theme parks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Short and Simple: WHAT IS BLUE SPACE?

Dearest Wandering Seniors, have you heard of “blue space”?

Blue space is the term for visible water needed by people to improve their quality of life.1 Examples of blue spaces are beaches, canals, fountains, harbors, islands, islets, lakes, marinas, ponds, ports, rivers, streams, and waterfront parks.

Seeing a beach, appreciating the clarity of its water, witnessing a beautiful sunrise or sunset along the beach, gazing at the waves and the soothing motion and rhythm of water, hearing the waves hit the shore, feeling the cooling effect even by just wading on the beach, the feeling of walking near the shoreline and smelling the ocean, riding a boat along a body of water and feeling the water with your hand, among others, definitely have a positive, relaxing and soothing effect on people. The refreshing clean, cool air, as you breathe in and out, somehow gives you a re-energized feeling from the polluted air in the city.

Environmental health research as well as environmental psychological studies have revealed that living near, or spending time close to lakes, rivers and the sea, has a positive impact on mental health and promotes physical activity. It reduces stress and improves mental health and one’s well-being.

So, what are you waiting for, urban-based Senior Citizens? This Holy Week, or even just a weekend this summer, go find a “blue space” for your mental well-being! Who knows, I will see you around!

Did you find this post informative? Do you have other travel issues/concerns which you would like me to feature? What is your “blue space” escapde this summer? I would like to hear from you. Simply scroll to the upper right part of this post and click “Leave a comment”. Follow me by clicking the “Follow” box on the lower right corner of your gadget. Thank you!

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1www.simplicable.com

SIMPLY THAI: Simply Delightful!

Location: Level 1, Greenbelt 5, Ayala Mall Center, Legaspi Street, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines

B-1-facadeI was back in Makati to do some errands, accompanied by a niece last Friday. It was lunchtime and she suggested we eat at Simply Thai in Greenbelt 5. It was chosen as one of Philippine Tatler’s Best Restaurants in 2016 and 2017. So off we went!

B-2-ceilingWhen seated, I looked up and appreciated their orange hanging lamps.

B3-dining rmThe simple, yet cozy, dining ambiance, along with the cheerful wait staff was a welcome treat for me.

This casual Thai restaurant basically offers classic Thai dishes. Menu cards and beverage lists were given to us. Simply Thai has an extensive menu (offering soups, appetizers, salads, main dishes – house specialties, curries, stir fries, vegetables, vegetarian dishes, rice and noodles, desserts) and drink list (branded water, canned sodas, juices, shakes and cocktails).

v9Nmq1521103434Soup and Appetizer Selection, Simply Thai

2-appetizer-saladAppetizer (continuation) and Salad Selection, Simply Thai

3-salads-house-specialtiesSalad (continuation) and House Specialty Selection, Simply Thai

4-house specialties-curries-stir-friesHouse Specialty, Thai Curry and Stir-Fry Selection, Simply Thai

5-stir-friesStir-Fry Selection (continuation), Simply Thai

6-stir-fried-vegs-rice-noodlesStir-Fried Vegetable and Rice-Noodle Selection, Simply Thai

7- rice-noodle-vegetarianRice-Noodle and Vegetarian Selection, Simply Thai

This restaurant is also VEGETARIAN-friendly since it offers a selection of vegetarian dishes: Tom Yum Tofu Soup and Tom Khaa Tofu Soup (P180 each), Pomelo Salad (P295), Green Mango Apple Salad (P270), Grilled Aubergine with Tofu Salad (P275), Green Papaya Salad (P280), Golden Tofu with Tamarind Sauce (P230), Mixed Vegetables in Yellow, Green or Red Curry Sauce (P275), Stir-Fried Bokchoi and Mushrooms (P275), Vegetable Medley in Garlic and Lemongrass Sauce (P275), Vegetarian Phad Thai (P310), Pineapple Fried Rice (P310), and Vegetable Fried Rice (P310).

8-dessertsDessert Selection, Simply Thai

B-4-barYes, Seniors and non-Seniors, Simply Thai has a bar for alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages! However, we did not order any beverage since we wanted to concentrate on food orders. Anyway, for Seniors who want to indulge in an occasional Happy Hour once in a while, Simply Thai offers Bottomless Cocktails daily from 4:00-7:00 pm for only P299! Just drink in moderation, ok dearest reader?

Here are our orders, opting mostly bestsellers:

7LBfw1521103134TOM YUM KUNG, the hot and sour prawn soup (P185, good for 2 Seniors) – This soup was served hot. We, Seniors, requested it to be slightly spicy but we still found it too spicy for our taste so the waiter gave us coconut milk to temper the spiciness and we were satisfied.

A-3-chickenPANDANUS CHICKEN, coconut-marinated chicken fillets wrapped in pandan leaves (P385 for 5 pieces, good for 2-3 Seniors) – This chicken dish was tender and tasty.

A-2-porkCINNAMON PORK RIBS, barbecued honey-coated cinnamon ribs (P300, good for 2-3 Seniors) – This house specialty was very tasty and so tender that that meat falls off the bone. This is a flavorful dish and the consistency and amount of sweet-smokey sauce was just right for the very tender ribs.

A-6-vegetablePAT BUNG WITH CRISPY PORK, morning glory (swamp cabbage) with garlic and shrimp paste and crispy pork (P310, good for 2-3 Seniors). This dish was simply stir-fried kangkong with bagoong (what we Filipinos call morning glory and shrimp paste) and the thinly-sliced pork was delightfully a bit crispy.

9wMqu1521102801KHAO KLUK KAPI (Thai Bagoong Rice), fried rice in Thai shrimp paste, with sweet pork, shreds of scrambled egg, thin slices of fresh green mango, chillies and cucumbers (P365, good for 2-3 Seniors) – The fried rice was served separate from the other major ingredients and the waitress cheerfully mixed it for us but we requested her not to include the chillies (and just place them on one corner of the serving plate).

A-4-riceTHAI SALTED FISH FRIED RICE (P280, good for 3-4 Seniors) – This fried rice order was pleasantly appealing and seasoned just right.

A-7-dessertHOMEMADE DURIAN ICE CREAM (P185, good for 2 Seniors) – My husband loves Durian Ice Cream from Davao so I ordered this dessert and asked to share it with him. We personally feel that this dessert can be improved. The durian was pureed and so pure and does not have to be so dominant or strong but, instead, can be developed into a creamier ice cream with just the right amount of durian flavor to delight both durian lovers as well as newbies to the durian taste.

The manager and servers were cheerful, very efficient and rendered commendable service, with a keen eye on the needs of diners, like refilling glasses of water and bussing out empty dishes.

Simply Thai offers both indoor airconditioned dining as well as an outdoor dining area. The comfort room is communal yet decent and clean.

Food servings are ample and for Seniors, orders can easily be shared among 2-3 persons. For Seniors who are not fond of too spicy dishes, simply request the order taker to tell the chef to adjust the amount of spiciness.

Prices quoted were as of March 2018, VAT inclusive and subject to 10% service charge. I paid personally for my meal and all comments are personal. I find the prices reasonable since serving portions can be shared, especially among Seniors.

This restaurant opens 11 am (except Monday at 3pm) and closes (9:30 pm Monday, 11 pm – Tuesday till Thursday, 12 am – Friday till Saturday, and 10 pm Sunday).

Here are the contact details for Simply Thai Greenbelt 5: landline: (02) 7296860; telefax: (02) 7290860; mobile number: 09178380487. For now, their Facebook account is down but you can email: simplythairesto@yahoo.com or call the manager, Mr. Armani Zamonte II at 09560747696.

Of course, nothing beats authentic Thai cuisine in Thailand but overall, if you crave for Thai food in the Greenbelt area, you can try Simply Thai.

Did you find this post informative? Please scroll below and click the “Like” tab and “Facebook” to share this post. I would like to hear from you too. Simply scroll to the top right part of this post and click “Leave a Comment”. Do not forget to follow me by clicking “Follow” on the lower right corner of your gadget.

Why not go to my others related posts?   JASMINE: IRRESISTIBLE CHINESE FOOD

and       TAO YUAN RESTAURANT: YUMMY CHINESE-SINGAPOREAN TREATS

ANILAG FESTIVAL 2018: Hali na! Tara na! Masaya sa Laguna! (Come on! Let’s go! It is happy in Laguna!)

Location: Laguna Provincial Capitol Compound, J. P. Rizal Street, Sta. Cruz, Laguna, Philippines

The Anilag Festival is a week-long celebration held yearly during the second week of March, in the Laguna Capitol grounds located in the town of Sta. Cruz. It started in 2004, changed to La Laguna in 2012, and renamed Anilag in 2016.1

For 2018, this festival is scheduled from March 10-17 and the theme is: “Sama-sama ang Pamilya sa Masayang Laguna” (Together as a Family for a Happy Laguna).2

Z-2

 

 

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This festival is like a smorgasbord of daily activities which caters to all ages, gender and interests.

 

Z-4Carnival Rides, Anilag 2018 (February 24-March 17)

Carnival rides opened early, starting February 24 and will end on March 17 (Saturday, last day of ANILAG) for the kids and kids-at-heart.

Here is the calendar of events for ANILAG 20182:

Days 1-3Anilag 2018 – Schedule of Events: March 10-12

MARCH 10 (Saturday) is the first day of Anilag 2018. It started with a Heritage Fluvial Parade (4-7 am), followed by: a Thanksgiving Mass (7-8 am), Ecumenical Prayer & Formal Opening of ANILAG Festival 2018 (8-9 am), Opening of Trade Fair Exhibit & Competition (9-10 am), Lakbay Lawa Forum (10 am-12 noon), Street Dance Competition & Land Float Parade (3-10 pm), and Fireworks Display (12 am).

MARCH 11 (Sunday) is the second day of Anilag 2018. It started with the First ANILAG Color Run: “A Run for Mayon Evacuees” (5-7 am), “Mardi Gay” & LGBT Parade Queen (2-5 pm), and ANILAG Miss Laguna Gay Queen 2018 (8 pm-12 am).

MARCH 12 (Monday) is the third day of Anilag 2018. The morning show “Unang Hirit” covered the event (5-8 am), followed by: a Flag Raising Ceremony (8-9 am), Landscape Competition (10-11 am), Little Mister and Miss Laguna 2018 (3-5 pm), Enchanted Kingdom Magical Show (5-6 pm), and ended with BandANILAG: OPM Battle of the Bands (8-11 pm).

Days 4-6Anilag 2018 – Schedule of Events: March 13-15

MARCH 13 (Tuesday) is the fourth day of Anilag 2018. This day was full of activities: Drum and Lyre Competition (8-11 am), Ani-Laki and Fishery Contest (1-3 pm), Culinary Arts & Flairtending Competition (1-5 pm), Artisans Demo: Fruits, Vegetables & Ice Carving (2-5 pm), Pinakamagandang Lola ng Laguna 2018 (6-9 pm), and Dance Revolution: Inter-Collegiate Dance Battle (9-11 pm).

TODAY! MARCH 14 (Wednesday) is the fifth day of Anilag 2018. Three events are scheduled: a Job Fair (8 am-12 noon), Bird Show (8 am-5 pm), and Burdang Lumban, the Laguna Fashion Designers Competition and Wedding Cake Competition (8-10 pm).

TOMORROW! MARCH 15 (Thursday) is the fifth day of Anilag 2018. The following activities are scheduled: Palarong Pinoy Traditional Games (9 am-12 noon), 3D Street Art Compeititon and Water Color Competition for PWD (12 noon-2pm), ANILAG Singing Idol (4-6 pm), and Pre-Pageant: Ginoo at Binibining Laguna 2018 – Casual Wear (8-11 pm).

Days 7-8Anilag 2018 – Schedule of Events: March 16-17

DAY AFTER TOMORROW! MARCH 16 (Friday) is the sixth day of Anilag 2018. The following activities are scheduled: Corn Congress (8 am-5 pm), Tricycle/Motorcycle Show (8-11 am), Car Show Competition (8-11 am), and Coronation Night: Ginoo at Binibining Laguna 2018 (7-11 pm).

LAST DAY, GO WITH YOUR FAMILY THIS WEEKEND! MARCH 17 (Saturday) is the seventh and last day of Anilag 2018. The following activities are scheduled: Short Film: AdNILAG and Laguna Photo Contest (9 am-12 noon), Dog Show Compeititon (2-5 pm), Pyromusical Competition (7-8:30 pm), and People’s Night Extreme (8:30 pm).

Each town in Laguna was assigned a trade fair booth to decorate in order to showcase its local pride, products and tourists attractions.

Z-AlaminosALAMINOS BOOTH, ANILAG 2018

The 2018 booth of the town of ALAMINOS highlights its religious patron saint, Nuestra Señora Del Pilar (or Our Lady of the Pillar, the name given to the Blessed Virgin Mary associated with Her apparition to Apostle James the Greater as he prayed by the banks of the Ebro at Caesaraugusta – Zaragoza, Spain, in AD 40).3

 

Z-BayBAY BOOTH, ANILAG 2018

The 2018 booth of the town of BAY (pronounced “ba-eh”) replicates the facade of its church, St. Augustine Parish Church.

 

Z-BinanBIÑAN BOOTH, ANILAG 2018

 

Z-CalambaCALAMBA BOOTH, ANILAG 2018

The 2018 booth of CALAMBA CITY showcases its famous CALAMBANGA, a giant water clay pot which symbolizes part of the city’s name – “banga” with the names of all the 54 barangays inscripted on it.

 

Z-CaluaunCALAUAN BOOTH, ANILAG 2018

The 2018 booth of the town of CALAUAN features a gigantic PINEAPPLE, its main product which is so sweet and juicy!

 

Z-CavintiCAVINTI BOOTH, ANILAG 2018

The 2018 booth of the town of CAVINTI proudly shows its Guinness World Record for the LARGEST SAMBALILO HAT (13.05 meters, or 42 feet 9.7 inches, in diameter; 2 meters in height; 3 meters width of the central dome) as of August 1, 2016.

 

Z-FamyFAMY BOOTH, ANILAG 2018

 

Z-KalayaanKALAYAAN BOOTH, ANILAG 2018

The 2018 booth of the town of KALAYAAN features its BUTTERFLY FARM for nature lovers.

 

Z-Los-BanosLOS BAÑOS BOOTH, ANILAG 2018

The facade of the 2018 booth of Los Baños is a giant cake, honoring the town’s famous bake shop, Mernel’s Bakeshop.

Z-Los-Banos-2Various products, displayed and/or sold, inside the Los Baños booth

 

Z-LuisianaLUISIANA BOOTH, ANILAG 2018

The 2018 booth of the town of LUISIANA features Pandanan, its San Isidro Festival, in honor of the patron saint of farmers, held every April 3.

 

Z-LumbanLUMBAN BOOTH, ANILAG 2018

Z-Lumban-2The 2018 booth of the town of LUMBAN, the “Embroidery Capital of the Philippines”, showcases various products.

 

Z-MabitacMABITAC BOOTH, ANILAG 2018

 

Z-NagcarlanNAGCARLAN BOOTH, ANILAG 2018

Z-Nagcarlan-2The 2018 booth of the town of NAGCARLAN offers various sweets and snacks for sale. The representatives of Nagcarlan are all very friendly and courteous. Next time, I will try their Bignay Wine and other delicacies.

 

Z-PaetePAETE BOOTH, ANILAG 2018

Z-Paete-2The 2018 booth of the town of PAETE showcases different wood carvings. Paper maché products are displays outside the booth.

 

Z-PakilPAKIL BOOTH, ANILAG 2018

The 2018 booth of the town of PAKIL sends a message that one can still have fun with faith through their TURUMBA FESTIVAL, in honor of Our Lady of Sorrows held seven times from April till May of each year (the first held on the Friday before Palm Sunday and the last held on Pentecost Sunday), commemorating the seven sorrows of the Virgin Mary, celebrated with the people of the town singing and dancing to praise Her.

 

Z-PangilPANGIL BOOTH, ANILAG 2018

 

Z-RizalRIZAL BOOTH, ANILAG 2018

 

Z-San PabloSAN PABLO BOOTH, ANILAG 2018

Z-San Pablo-2The facade of the 2018 booth of SAN PABLO CITY features the COCONUT and inside, I was so happy to know that it exports COCOPLUS, powdered, organic, centrifuge extracted skimmed coconut milk to Japan.

Z-San Pablo-3Inside, the SEVEN LAKES OF SAN PABLO, the famous seven crater lakes around the city, is promoted. I appreciated the hospitality of the city’s representatives, especially Maria Donnalyn E. Briñas (Assistant City Tourism Officer).

 

19-San PedroSAN PEDRO BOOTH, ANILAG 2018

The facade of the 2018 booth of SAN PEDRO CITY is abloom with giant sampaguita flowers, reminding visitors of its SAMPAGUITA FESTIVAL, a week-long festival celebrated during the second week of February.

 

Z-SiniloanSINILOAN BOOTH, ANILAG 2018

The 2018 booth of the town of SINILOAN features its GUILINGAN FESTIVAL, held annually in August, named after the old rice grindstone used to make their local delicacies (e.g., kalamay, puto).

 

Z-Sta CruzSTA. CRUZ BOOTH, ANILAG 2018

The facade of the 2018 booth of the town of STA. CRUZ offers a replica of the PROVINCIAL CAPITOL building since it is the capital of the province of Laguna, as well as a giant KESONG PUTI between two carabaos as it celebrates the Kesong Puti Festival every April 4-11.

 

Z-Sta MariaSTA. MARIA BOOTH, ANILAG 2018

The facade of the 2018 booth of STA. MARIA exudes the town’s bountiful agriculture which made me recall the town’s MARILAG FESTIVAL, celebrated as a thanksgiving for their harvest.

 

Z-Sta RosaSTA. ROSA BOOTH, ANILAG 2018

The 2018 booth of STA. ROSA CITY proudly features its industrial estates (like the car manufacturing plants) and its famous theme park, Enchanted Kingdom.

 

Z-VictoriaVICTORIA BOOTH, ANILAG 2018

The 2018 booth of the town of VICTORIA, the “DUCK RAISING CENTER OF THE PHILIPPINES”, has eggs (their salted eggs are so good) and ducks (prepared like Kinulob na Itik) as accent pieces in the exhibit’s facade.

Z-Victoria-2I admire the ceiling treatment in the inner part of Victoria’s booth.

 

Z-VzBambooThe LAGUNA BAMBOO PRODUCERS AND MANUFACTURERS ASSOCIATION (LBPMA) also has a booth to showcase their products.

 

Z-VzFood-Stall-1I briefly went around and walked through the different food stalls selling enticing snacks and meals but I didn’t give in to their temptation LOL

                            Z-VzFood-Stall-2The newly cooked giant stuffed squids caught my eyes                                 but I finally decided to skip them as well.

 

Z-Vz-PasalubongI only stayed for less than three hours and was able to purchase these as “Pasalubong” (souvenir treats for my family): Pianono, 2 kinds of Macapuno Balls, Dalandan Concentrate, Santol-Mango Bites, 3-Layered Brazo de Mercedes-Leche Flan-Ube, and Gatas Tisoy and 3Cows Choco-Milk Drinks

 

So, what are you waiting for? You still have until this Saturday, March 17, 2018, to go to this special Laguna festival, the ANILAG FESTIVAL! Hali na! Tara na! Masaya sa Laguna! (Come on! Let’s go! It is happy in Laguna!)

Did you find this post informative? Please scroll below and click the “Like” tab and “Facebook” to share this post. I would like to hear from you. too Simply scroll to the bottom of this post and click “Leave a reply”. Do not forget to follow me by clicking “Follow” on the lower right corner of your gadget.

Visit a related post: THE ANILAG FESTIVAL

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1www.anilagfestival.ph

2Anilag Festival 2018 Facebook account

3“Alaminos,” accessed March 13, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alaminos.

 

Short and Simple: THE ANILAG FESTIVAL

The ANILAG FESTIVAL is an annual week-long event of the province of Laguna, in the island of Luzon, in the Philippines, held every second week of March at the Laguna Provincial Capitol grounds in Sta. Cruz (the capital of the province).

This festival started in 2004 during the time of Governor Teresita “Ningning” S. Lazaro. It was renamed La Laguna Festival (called the “The Festival of Life”) on August 1, 2012, after the colonial name of the province, La Laguna, by then Governor Emilio Ramon “ER” Ejercito. However, on January 18, 2016, the Anilag Festival was reinstated by Ordinance No. 2, S. 2016 by the incumbent Governor Ramil L. Hernandez to continue the legacy of its origin.1

“Anilag” is the shortened term for “ANI ng LAGuna” (Harvest of Laguna).

This provincial festival serves as: a celebration of the foundation day of Laguna, a thanksgiving for agricultural prosperity, the promotion of tourist attractions, a showcase of the creativity of its people, and a source of community pride.

This event is called the “Mother of All Festivals in the province of Laguna” because it incorporates in its programs and activities parts and facets of the cultural and economic assets of all cities and municipalities of Laguna.2

Days 1-3

Days 4-6

Days 7-8The activities per year have evolved to appeal to all ages, gender and interests. The pictures above show the seven-day calendar for ANILAG 2018.

The La Laguna Festival or “Festival of Life” was awarded back-to-back the Best Tourism Event of 2011 and 2012, Provincial Category, one of the Best Tourism Practices from the Association of Tourism Officers of the Philippines (ATOP) and then honored as a hall of famer in the Provincial Festival category.3

Did you find this post informative? I would like to hear from you. Simply scroll to the upper right part of this post and click “Leave a comment”. Do not forget to follow me by clicking “Follow” on the lower right corner of your gadget.

Visit a related post: ANILAG FESTIVAL 2018: Hali na! Tara na! Masaya sa Laguna! (Come on! Let’s go! It is happy in Laguna!)

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1www.anilagfestival.ph

2Anilag Festival 2018 Facebook account

3http://www.laguna.gov.ph

 

March – December 2018 Long Weekends … “Byahe Na”! (Travel Now!)

Wandering Filipino Senior Citizens (SCs), this year, 2018, is in our favor!

I was not able to post early this year, but it is better late than never …

Just look at my table below and see all the long weekends starting this March! So, what are you waiting for? Start planning your trips beginning this Holy Week till the end of this year! Let’s go!

2018 Holiday

Day 1

Day 2 Day 3

Day 4

Holy Week

  March 29   Maundy Thursday

National Regular Holiday

March 30   Good Friday

National Regular Holiday

March 31   Black Saturday

Special Non-Working Day

April 1 (Sunday)

 

Araw ng Kagitingan             or             Day of Valor

 

   April 7      (Saturday)

April 8 (Sunday)

April 9 (Monday) National Regular Holiday

           –

Eidul Fitr (end of Ramadan)

       June 15           (Friday)      National Regular Holiday

 

June 16 (Saturday)

 

June 17 (Sunday)

 

National Heroes’ Day

August 25 (Saturday)

August 26 (Sunday)

August 27 (Monday)

National Regular Holiday

     All Saints’            Day                  and             All Soul’s Day

       November 1         All Saints’ Day (Thursday)

Special Non-Working Day

November 2 All Souls’ Day (Friday)

Special Non-Working Day

 November 3  (Saturday)

November 4 (Sunday)

Bonifacio Day (celebrating the birth of Andres Bonifacio,  “The Father of the Philippine Revolution”)

November 30 (Friday)

National Regular Holiday

December 1 (Saturday)

December 2 (Sunday)

            –

Christmas Day

December 22 (Saturday) December 23 (Sunday) December 24 Christmas Eve (Monday)

Special Non-Working Day

December 25 Christmas Day (Tuesday)

National Regular Holiday

Rizal Day   (to honor the heroic death anniversary of Jose Rizal, the national hero of the Philippines)

&

New Year 2019

December 29 (Saturday) December 30 Rizal Day (Sunday)

National Regular Holiday

December 31 Last day of the year     (Monday)

Special Non-Working Day

    January 1,          2019         New Year (Tuesday)

National Regular Holiday

Other (March-December) 2018 Philippine holidays are:

May 1 (Tuesday) – Labor Day – National Regular Holiday

June 12 (Tuesday) – Independence Day – National Regular Holiday

August 21 (Tuesday) – Ninoy Aquino Day (a Special Non-Working Day to commemorate the assasination of Senator Benigno Aquino, Jr., which eventually led to the ouster of Presient Ferdinand Marcos) and Eid al-Adha (a National Regular Holiday to commemorate the end of the Hajj, the required Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca)

December 8 (Saturday) – Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary – a Non-Working Day which will be celebrated for the first time as a holiday this year, 2018

We are connected by our love for travel, Wandering Senior Citizens! See you around …

If you haven’t been to El, Nido, Palawan, I suggest go see my previous posts:

EL NIDO: HEAVEN ON EARTH – Part 1

EL NIDO: Blue Lagoons – Part 2

EL NIDO: Islands and Caves – Part 3

Did I miss any March-December 2018 holiday in the Philippines? Did you find this post informative? Do you have suggestions where to go during these holidays? I would like to hear from you. Simply scroll to the upper right part of this post and click “Leave a comment”. Do not forget to follow me by clicking “Follow” on the lower right corner of your gadget.

SOURCE: Dates taken from www.rappler.com (with permission)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Short and Simple: ATOLL, SKERRY, CAY and KEY

Seniors and other followers, it would be nice to know the difference among these terms when you visit various destinations …

An atoll is a ring-shaped coral reef1, island2, or a group of closely-spaced small coral islands, enclosing or nearly enclosing a shallow lagoon3. It is sometimes called a coral atoll. Most of the atolls in the world are in the Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean, according to the Wikipedia page, “Atoll”.4

The largest atoll in the world is the Great Chagos Bank in the Chagos Archipelago, south of the Maldives, with a total area of almost 13,000 km2, and administered by the United Kingdom through the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT), according to the Wikipedia page, “Great Chagos Bank”.5

A skerry is a small rocky island2 too small for habitation but may have moss and small grasses, sometimes rested upon by animals liked birds and seals, according to the Wikipedia page, “Skerry”.6

A cay, caye or key, is an islet7 formed by the accumulation of fine sand deposits on top of a coral reef1, found in tropical places (Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans). Examples are the Elbow Cays (Bahamas), Florida Keys (USA) and Rama Cay (Nicaragua), to name a few.

You can check out the following posts: EL NIDO: Heaven on Earth – Part 1 and other related topics: Short and Simple: ISLAND, ISLE or ISLET?  and Short and Simple: EXACTLY HOW MANY ISLANDS ARE THERE IN THE PHILIPPINES?

Did you find this post informative? Do you have other terms or travel trivia which you would like me to feature? I would like to hear from you. Simply scroll to the upper right part of this post and click “Leave a comment”. Follow me by clicking the “Follow” box on the lower right corner of your gadget. Thank you!

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1A coral reef is a ridge of a rock in the sea formed by the growth and deposit of corals (marine invertebrates in the class Anthozoa of phylum Cridaria which secrete calcium carbonate to form a hard skeleton), according to the Wikipedia page, “Coral reef”.8

2An island/isle is a large, isolated landmass that is surrounded by water but not as large as a continent9, according to the Wikipedia page, “Island”10

3A lagoon is a shallow, often elongated, body of salt water separated from a larger body of water, like a sea, by barrier islands11, coral reefs1, shoal12 or low sandbanks, according to the Wikipedia page, “Lagoon”.13

4“Atoll,” accessed March 3, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atoll.

5“Great Chagos Bank,” accessed March 3, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Chagos_bank.

6“Skerry,” accessed March 3, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skerry.

7An islet is a very small island2. An example is Capitancillo Islet in Bogo City, Cebu, Philippines.  I hope I can see it someday …

8“Coral reef,” accessed March 3, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coral_reef.

9A continent is a very large landmass of the world, according to the Wikipedia page, “Continent”.14. Recall that there are 7 (largest to smallest): Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Antarctica, Europe and Australia.

10“Island,” accessed March 3, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Island.

11A barrier island is a coastal, flat or lumpy landform made of sand formed by waves and tidal action parallel to a mainland coast, and usually occurs in chains, according to the Wikipedia page, “Barrier island”.15 The longest barrier island in the world is Padre Island in Texas, USA, according to the Wikipedia page, “Padre Island”.16

12A shoal is a naturally submerged bar, bank or ridge, made of, usually covered with sand, and rises from the bed of a body of water to near the surface. It is also called a sandbar, sandbank or gravelbar, according to the Wikipedia page, “Shoal”.17 A beautiful sandbar I have visited last February 2017 was Snake Island Sandbar in El Nido, Palawan, Philippines. See my link below. Another example is Scarborough Shoal, a shoal located between Macclesfield Bank and the Luzon island in the South China Sea; it is disputed by the Philippines, People’s Republic of China, and the Republic of China. I do not think I can be able to see this shoal since it is being disputed and dangerous to go to.

13“Lagoon,” accessed March 3, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lagoon.

14“Continent,” accessed March 3, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Continent.

15“Barrier island,” accessed March 3, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barrier_island.

16“Padre island,” accessed March 3, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Padre_island.

17“Shoal,” accessed March 3, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shoal.

 

Short and Simple: ISLAND, ISLE or ISLET?

Hey, Senior Citizens and other wanderers, let’s see if you know the difference …

There is no difference between an island and an isle and they can be used interchangeably. An island/isle is a large, isolated landmass1 that is surrounded by water but not as large as a continent2, according to the Wikipedia page, “Island”.3

A landmass can be called an island3 if it is above sea level, and on high tide, it should remain above water at any given time. It should also be capable of supporting plant and/or animal life through hard substrates4.5

The word “isle” is originally a French term. The term is included in the name of a specific place like the Isle of Wight and the Isle of Sheppey, both small islands of England.

An islet is a very small island. An example is Capitancillo Islet in Bogo City, Cebu, Philippines. Hope I can see it someday …

Did you find this post informative? Do you have other terms or travel trivia which you would like me to feature? I would like to hear from you. Simply scroll to the upper right part of this post and click “Leave a comment”. Follow me by clicking the “Follow” box on the lower right corner of your gadget. Thank you!

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1A landmass is a large area of continuous land (i.e., in one piece), mostly surrounded by water (not broken up by a body of water).

2A continental is a very large landmass1 of the world. Recall, Seniors, that there are 7 (largest to smallest): Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Antarctica, Europe and Australia, according to the Wikipedia page, “Continent”.6

3“Island,” accessed March 3, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Island.

4A substrate is a layer of substance that has something underneath it that goes through a process in which an organism can thrive and live.

5www.philstar.com

6“Continent,” accessed March 3, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Continent.

Short and Simple: EXACTLY HOW MANY ISLANDS ARE THERE IN THE PHILIPPINES?

Do you really know exactly the official number of islands1 in the Philippines, whether it is high tide or low tide?

Admit it, dearest Filipino Seniors, we grew up knowing there are 7, 107 islands in our beloved country. Well, as of 2016, not anymore!

There are currently 7,641 islands in the Philippines, according to the Wikipedia page, “List of islands of the Philippines”!2 An additional 534 islands were added, mostly located in the Mindanao region.3

Now, you might ask: who gave the official announcement and why is this so?

Secretary Ramon Paje of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) made the announcement during the Philippine Environment Summit on February 2016.

It seems that the Philippines embarked on a 2013 Philippine Islands Measurements Project headed by the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority (NAMRIA)4 which is responsible for the official count of our islands.5

All these additional islands/islets were detected/located by an Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR or IfSAR)6 and will be included in a new map which will be released soon (how soon, it was not specified!). It seems this new equipment is more advanced to detect landmasses than those used in the past using older technology. These new islands can also be attributed to changing land forms.5

So, dear Seniors, the next time someone asks you how many islands our country has, you know the updated answer: The Philippines officially has 7,641 islands! Better still, tell your friends and relatives, especially those abroad, that there are now 534 new reasons to visit our beloved country!

Go see the links below if you want to know more about the different kinds of landmasses6.

Did you find this post informative? Do you have other travel trivia which you would like me to feature? I would like to hear from you. Simply scroll to the upper right part of this post and click “Leave a comment”. Follow me by clicking the “Follow” box on the lower right corner of your gadget. Thank you!

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1An island/isle is a large, isolated landmass7 that is surrounded by water but not as large as a continent8, according to the Wikipedia page, “Island”. Source: “Island,” accessed March 3, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Island.

2“List of islands of the Philippines,” accessed March 3, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_islands_of_the_Philippines.

3www.philstar.com

 4The National Mapping and Resource Information Authority (NAMRIA) is a government agency under the Department of National Resources (DENR) in the Philippines responsible for providing mapping services and collection of pertinent data used in facilitating natural resources required in creating charts, maps and statistics. Visit its website: www.namria.gov.ph

5 www.cnnphilippines.com

6Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) is a new high-resolution radar-mapping technique used to generate maps of landmasses4, using a satellite.

7A landmass is a large area of continuous land (i.e., in one piece), mostly surrounded by water (not broken up by a body of water). A landmass can be called an island1 if it is above sea level, and on high tide, it should remain above water at any given time. It should also be capable of supporting plant and/or animal life through hard substrates9.3

8A continental is a very large landmass4 of the world. Recall, Seniors, that there are 7 (largest to smallest): Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Antarctica, Europe and Australia, according to the Wikipedia page, “Continent”. Source: “Continent,” accessed March 3, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Continent.

9A substrate is a layer of substance that has something underneath it that goes through a process in which an organism can thrive and live. The NAMRIA4 can collect samples of actual sediments from the surface of a landmass6 through shallow digging.

Smart Senior: THE AIR PASSENGER BILL OF RIGHTS OF THE PHILIPPINES

Hello there, Wandering Filipino Senior Citizens (SCs)! I am sure you have been an air passenger but do you really know your rights as such? Read on!

The Department of Transportation and Communication1, with the Department of Trade and Industry2 (DTI), jointly made a Bill of Rights for Air Passengers and Carrier Obligations, implemented since 2012. See www.tourism.gov.ph

It is important to remember that your airline ticket is your contract of carriage with an air carrier so the latter is “obliged to transport you by air safely, efficiently and conveniently along a stipulated route at a given date and time, subject to certain conditions and/or restrictions.”

On the other hand, you, as a passenger, decide to buy that airline ticket and it binds you to “all the conditions and/or restrictions attached to that ticket on an all-or-nothing basis, without any say, whatsoever, with regard to the reasonableness of the individual conditions and restrictions attached to that ticket.”

So, read all texts especially the small, fine prints in your airline ticket and do not be afraid to ask the ticketing office or your travel agent. Do not forget to wear your glasses when reading (admit it, you sometimes forget where you placed it and are always tempted to simply press “I agree” in online options or sign your name just to get over that phase of your booking) … and use a magnifying glass or enlarge text fonts in your screen for online bookings, if need be!

There are 12 rights of air passengers, based on the Philippine Air Passenger Bill of Rights:

A. The Right to be Provided with Accurate Information Before Purchase

  1. The right to full, fair, and clear disclosure of the service offered and all the terms and conditions of the contract of carriage – The disclosure includes: documents to be presented at check-in, provisions on check-in deadlines, refund and rebooking policies, and procedures and responsibility for delayed and/or cancelled flights. The terms and conditions may include claim-filing deadlines as well as liability limitations and other crucial conditions. These must be printed and/or published as well as verbally explained to the air passenger in a language easily understood, especially the ff. terms: baggage allowance, check-in policies, rebooking, and refunding.
  2. The right to clear and non-misleading advertisements of, and important reminders regarding, fares in any medium – The following should be disclosed in not less than 1/3 the size of the advertisement: baggage allowance policies; conditions and restrictions attached to the (regular or promotional) fare type; contact details of the air carrier; government taxes and fuel surcharges; refund and rebooking policies; other information necessary to apprise the passenger of the conditions and the full/total price of the ticket purchased; and, other mandatory fees and charges. Promotional fares must also disclose the aforementioned along with the: CAB3 Approval No. of Fares; duration of the promo; and, the number of seats offered on a per sector basis. A copy of the above must be attached to, or printed on, the airline ticket in English and Filipino.
  3. The right against misleading and fraudulent sales promotion practices – All sales promotion campaigns and activities of air carriers shall be carried out with honesty, transparency and fairness, and in accordance with the requirements of the Consumer Act of the Philippines and its Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR). The air carrier shall provide to DTI2 a copy of its promotional materials for post audit, not later than the publication, release, or launch date, whichever is earlier.

B. The Right to Receive the Full Value of the Service Purchased

4. The right to transportation and baggage conveyance – Every passenger is entitled to transportation, baggage conveyance and ancillary services, in accordance with the terms and conditions of contract of carriage with the air carrier. If the air carrier is negligent, the air passenger shall be compensated or be entitled to alternative arrangements which are acceptable to the passenger as provided by this Bill of Rights.

5. The right to be processed for check-in – An air passenger holding a confirmed ticket, whether promotional or regular, with complete documentary requirements and have complied with the check-in procedures, shall be processed accordingly at the check-in counter within the check-in deadline. The airline shall clearly designate the boundaries of its assigned check-in area/s or counter/s.

A passenger within the air carrier’s cordoned or other designated check-in area, at least one hour before the published ETD4 shall not be considered late or a no-show, and shall not be denied check-in.

A late passenger, who came after the aforementioned period, shall be denied check-in and directed to a standby or rebooking counter for proper processing. Disputes shall be resolved by the air carrier on-site.

  1. The right to sufficient processing time – Passengers shall be given enough time before the published ETD4 within which to go through the check-in and final security processes.

Air carriers operating in international airports and other airports designated by the DOTC1 shall open their check-in counters at least two hours before the ETD. A separate dedicated counter for a flight nearing check-in deadline shall be open to facilitate check-in of passengers at least one hour before the published ETD.

In other airports, they shall open check-in counters at least one hour before the ETD5.

For senior citizens, PWDs5 (who should declare his/her need for special assistance or handling upon booking a flight), and their companions, an air carrier shall: (1) designate at least one check-in counter; and, (2) coordinate with the appropriate authorities for the use of proper airport equipment, entryways and/or aerobridges, when available, to facilitate transactions, movement, boarding and/or disembarkation of such people at the airport, duly informed of additional costs, if applicable.

  1. The right to board the aircraft for the purpose of flight – A passenger checked-in for a particular flight has the right to board the aircraft for the purpose of flight, except when there is legal or other valid cause (e.g., immigration issues, health concerns, safety and security, non-appearance at the boarding gate at the appointed boarding time, CAB3-endorsed government requisition of space6).

Re overbooking, the air carrier shall: (1) determine the number of passengers in excess of the actual seat capacity of the aircraft; (2) announce that the flight is overbooked and are looking for volunteers willing to give up their seats in exchange for air carrier compensation; (3) provide interested passengers or volunteers a list of amenities and offers (e.g., cash incentive; priority booking in the next flight with available space; endorsement to another air carrier upon payment of any fare difference); and, (4) increase the compensation package be certain degrees or by adding more amenities/services, until the required number of volunteers is met.

Bottomline: (1) the settlement of such compensation for passengers shall not be an excuse for the undue delay of the flight’s ETD; (2) the compensation, if accepted by the passenger, shall constitute liquidated damages for all damages incurred by the passenger as a result of the air carrier’s failure to provide the passenger with a confirmed reserved seat.

C. The Right to Compensation and Amenities

8. The right to compensation and amenities in case of cancellation of flight – In case of flight cancellations:

  • attributable to the air carrier, a passenger: (1) shall have the right to be notified beforehand via public announcement, written/published notice and flight status update service (text); (2) when already in the airport at the time of the announcement of the flight cancellation shall be provided sufficient refreshments or meals (e.g., snacks – at least a sandwich and a bottle of water; breakfast, lunch or dinner, or a voucher for the same, as the case may be); hotel accommodation (conveniently accessible from the airport); transportation from the airport to the hotel and v.v.; free phone calls, text or emails; and, first aid, if necessary; and (3) three options: (a) reimbursement of the value of the fare, including taxes and surcharges, of the sector cancelled, or both/all sectors, in case the passenger decides not to fly the ticket or all the routes/sectors; (b) be endorsed to another air carrier without paying any fare difference, at the option of the passenger, and provided that space and other circumstances permit such re-accommodation; or (c) rebook the ticket, without additional charge, to the next flight with available space, or within 30 days, to a future trip within the period of validity of the ticket. For rebooking made in excess of the aforementioned 30 days for a trip likewise within the validity of the ticket, fees, and/or fare difference shall apply.

In case the air carrier cancels a flight at least 24 hours before the ETD4, it shall not be liable for the foregoing amenities, except, it shall be obliged to notify the passenger, and, in accordance with the preceding provisions, to rebook or reimburse the passenger, at the option of the latter.

  • by force majeure, safety and/or security reasons, as certified by the CAB3 of the Philippines, a passenger shall have the right to be reimbursed for the full value of the fare.

The above provisions shall be the minimum entitlement of a passenger in case of cancellation, and shall not prohibit the air carrier from granting more favorable conditions or recourses, as it may deem appropriate.

Remember, a confirmed reservation is necessary to make a passenger eligible for compensation through a written confirmation issued by the air carrier or its authorized agent, even if the air carrier cannot find the reservation in its electronic records. The passenger should not have cancelled the reservation or missed a reconfirmation deadline.

  1. The right to compensation and amenities in case of flight delay and exceptions thereto – In case of flight delay7 and exceptions thereto –
  • For Terminal Delay of at least 3 hours after the ETD4, whether or not such is attributable to the carrier, a passenger shall have the right to: (1) be provided with refreshments or meals (sufficient snacks, breakfast, lunch or dinner), free phone calls, text or emails and first aid (if necessary); (2) rebook or refund his/her ticket in accordance with 8a.
  • For Terminal Delay which extends to at least 6 hours after the ETD4 for causes attributable to the air carrier, it shall be deemed cancelled for the purpose of making available to the passenger the rights and amenities required to be provided in case of actual cancellation, as provided in 8a, and in addition, an affected passenger shall be given the following: (1) additional compensation equivalent to at least the value of the sector delayed or deemed cancelled to be paid in the form of cash or voucher, at the discretion of the air carrier; and, (2) the right to board the flight if it takes place more than 6 hours after the ETD and the affected passenger has not opted to rebook and/or refund; the air carrier is obliged to exert all efforts to contact the passenger for the flight.
  • For Tarmac Delay of at least 2 hours after the ETD4, reckoned from the closing of the aircraft doors, or when the aircraft is at the gate with the doors still open but passengers are not allowed to deplane, a passenger shall likewise have the right to be provided with sufficient food and beverage.
  • The provisions shall be the minimum entitlement of a passenger in case of delay and shall not prohibit the air carrier from granting more favorable conditions or recourses, as it may deem appropriate.
  1. The right to compensation for delayed, lost and damaged baggage – In case of delayed, lost and damaged baggage – A passenger shall have the right to have his/her baggage carried on the same flight that s/he takes, subject to considerations of safety, security, or any other legal and valid cause:
  • in case a checked-in baggage has been off-loaded7 for operational, safety, or security reasons, the air carrier shall inform the passenger at the soonest practicable time, and in such manner that the passenger will readily know of the off-loading (i.e., that his/her baggage has been off-loaded and the reason for such). If the passenger’s baggage has been off-loaded, the air carrier should make the appropriate report and give the passenger a copy thereof, even if it had already announced that the baggage would be on the next flight.

The air carrier shall carry the off-loaded7 baggage in the next flight with available space, and deliver the same to the passenger either personally or at his/her residence. For every 24-hours of delay (commencing one hour from the arrival of the flight of the passenger carrying such baggage) in such delivery, the air carrier shall tender an amount of 2,000 pesos to the passenger, as compensation for the inconvenience the latter experienced. A fraction of a day shall be considered as one day for purposes of calculating the compensation.

  • in case such baggage, whether carried on the same or a later flight, be lost or suffer any damage attributable to the air carrier, the passenger shall be compensated in the following manner: (1) for international flights, the relevant convention8 shall apply; and (2) for domestic flights, upon proof, a maximum amount equivalent to half of the amount in the relevant convention (for international flights) in its peso equivalent.

For compensation purposes, a passenger’s baggage is presumed to have been permanently and totally lost, if within a period of 7 days, counted from the time the passenger or consignee should have received the same, the baggage is not delivered to said passenger or consignee.

  1. The right to compensation in case of death or bodily injury of a passenger – In case of death or bodily injury of a passenger –
  • For international flights, the relevant convention8 and inter-carrier agreement shall apply. However, for an international carriage performed under the 1966 Montreal Inter-Carrier Agreement, which includes a point in the USA as a point of origin, a point of destination or agreed stopping place, the limit of liability for each passenger for death, wounding or other bodily injury, shall be US$75,000, inclusive of legal fees and costs, provided, in the case of a claim brought in a state where a provision is made for a separate award for legal fees and costs, the limit shall be US$58,000, exclusive of legal fees and costs.
  • For domestic flights, the compensation shall be based on the stipulated amount in the relevant convention which governs international flights, the same to be given in peso denominations.

12. The right to immediate payment of compensation – An air carrier liable for any and all compensations shall make the same available to the affected passenger at the air carrier’s counters at the airport on the date when the occasion entitling the passenger to compensation occurred, or at the main office or any branch of the air carrier at the discretion of the passenger. The air carrier shall tender a check for the amount specified, or cash, or the document necessary to claim the compensation or benefits mentioned above, provided that such document shall be convertible to cash within 15 days from the date when the occasion entitling the passenger to such compensation occurred.

D.  Administrative Matters

  1. Air Carrier and CAB3 Complaint and Assistance Desks – Air carriers shall provide Customer Service Representatives who can address common problems (e.g., arranging meals and hotel rooms for stranded passengers, settling denied boarding compensation, arranging luggage resolutions, and settling other routine claims or complaints, on the spot).

The CAB3 may provide Complaints and Assistance Desks in all airports, manned by CAB or CAB-deputized personnel, who shall assist passengers whose rights to the service have not been fully satisfied by the air carrier. The said personnel shall assist in the filing and prosecution of the complaints of passengers whose rights have been violated and who wish to go after the concerned air carriers.

  1. Refund of Other Fees – Every air carrier must refund checked baggage fees and other optional service fees (e.g., insurance, donation to WWF9, seat selector fee), if the passenger did not use his/her ticket, provided that the said ticket is refundable and that the passenger is not at fault. The refund of checked baggage fees will also apply, if the baggage was not delivered to the passenger within 24 hours from the arrival of the flight, on top of the compensation fee as mentioned in air passenger right number 10.
  2. Written Reports – Air carriers shall submit a monthly report to the CAB3 on the following:
  • The number of regular and promotional fare passengers who have been denied boarding, or whose flights were delayed or cancelled;
  • The number of regular and promotional fare passengers whose baggage was lost, damaged, or off-loaded7; and,
  • The number of regular and promotional fare passengers who died or sustained an injury during the course of the flight or performance of the contract of carriage, as well as the reasons and other circumstances of such occurrences.

Air carriers shall maintain a database containing the names, addresses, and/or other particulars of such passengers, their flights, concerns or complaints, as well as records of the air carrier’s personnel regarding the same, if any, and other pertinent information, available to the CAB upon request.

 

That’s it! So, Senior Citizens, by now you know your rights when it comes to air travel …

Did you find this post informative? Do you have your own inputs re the bill of rights of air passengers? I would love to hear from you. Simply scroll upward towards the right and click “Leave a comment”. Follow me by clicking on the bottom right corner of your gadget. Thank you.

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1The Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) was primary the policy, planning, programming, coordinating, implementing and administrative government agency in the Philippines responsible for the promotion, development, and regulation of a dependable and coordinated network of transportation and communications systems, as well as the fast, safe, efficient and reliable transportation and communications services. It was dissolved in 2016 with the creation of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT). Visit its website: www.dotr.gov.ph

2The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is the executive department of the Philippine government which is responsible for an innovative and competitive business environment, job generation, and consumer empowerment. It accelerates and sustains economic growth through comprehensive industrial growth strategies, progressive and socially responsible trade liberalization and deregulation programs, and policymaking designed for the expansion and diversification of (domestic and foreign) Philippine trade. Visit its website: www.dti.gov.ph

3The Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) is the agency of the Philippine government mandated to regulate the economic aspect of air transportation, and shall have the general supervision, control and jurisdiction over air carriers, general sales agents, cargo sales agents, and air freight forwarders, as well as their property, property rights, equipment, facilities, and franchise. It is under the Department of Transportation and Communications1. See its website: www.cab.gov.ph

4ETD stands for Estimated Time of Departure, the date and time which an aircraft is expected to depart from an airport.

5PWD is the abbreviation for Persons With Disability and includes people who have long term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.

6Government requisition of space refers to a formal request by the government or its agencies to an air carrier company for the use of an aircraft, or any part thereof, for regulatory, safety, security, and/or emergency purposes.

7Off-loading is the solution of an air carrier which overbooks and more passengers appear than the number of airline seats for a particular flight. Airline passengers are asked to volunteer not to join the flight and join the next flight in exchange for certain monetary compensation and the appropriate arrangement for their accommodation in between flights. This term can also apply to a baggage of a passenger which was not with him/her in his/her flight, for operational, safety or security reasons. See Air Passenger Right # 10.

8Convention refers to the applicable international agreement, convention, or treaty on carriage of persons or goods by air, signed and/or ratified by the Philippines.

9WWF stands for the World Wide Fund for Nature, formerly called World Wildlife Fund (but still used in North America), and considered the world’s largest conservation organization. It is an international non-governmental organization which is focused on wilderness preservation and the reduction of human impact on the environment, and founded in 1961. Visit its website: www.worldwildlife.org

TIM HO WAN: MICHELIN-STAR DIM SUM AND THEN SOME

Location: Ground Floor, Uptown Mall, 36th Street corner 9th Avenue, Uptown Bonifacio Complex, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City, Metro Manila, Philippines

I was shopping with my husband and 3 relatives early evening in Uptown Mall at the Uptown Bonifacio complex in the northern part of Bonifacio Global City (BGC) when we all decided to eat dim sum in Tim Ho Wan.

Tim Ho Wan is a Chinese dim sum restaurant chain, established on March 2009 by Mak Kwai-Pui, located in Mongkok, Hong Kong. It is the first and only Michelin-starred dim sum restaurant in the world and has been in the Philippine since 2014!

Z-2-facadeTim Ho Wan Uptown Mall facade

It currently has 45 locations in Australia, China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, the USA and Vietnam. It is called “the world’s cheapest Michelin-star restaurant” since it earned one-star in the 2010 Hong Kong and Macau Michelin Guide, then 3 other locations also received one Michelin star in 2015.

 

Z-3-outdoor-adsTim Ho Wan Uptown Mall outdoor advertising

This Uptown Mall branch was almost full but we found a table. The dining area had a relaxing and comfortable atmosphere. The glass wall overlooking the exterior showed a beautiful water-and-light-show and we enjoyed it while waiting for our orders. A young juggler/mime was also within the area showing his various tricks which enthralled the kids passing by and those inside this restaurant.

Tim Ho Wan has a typical Cantonese dim sum menu to satisfy your palate, dear Senior Citizens (SCs). It claims to have the same menu as its original Hong Kong outlet. It offers small, individual portions, just right for one person or for sharing (for us, Seniors).

Z-4-order checklistTim Ho Wan order checklist

The table has an order checklist and ballpen, so we indicated the items and quantities we wanted, and handed them over to a waitress who clarified our orders just to be sure that what we wanted would be served. I asked for the waiting time and it was met.

Z-5-placematTim Ho Wan placemat

For the budget-conscious SCs, just don’t be carried away with your orders. The price range per dim sum order is 120-200 pesos and drinks are 50-60 pesos each. For a quick look at the dim sum selection, first time SC-customers, look at the paper placemat menu which is complete with colored pictures of each item and corresponding prices.

For Seniors like us, I recommend sharing an order with another person so you can try different items in one visit. It is very easy to re-order once you want more of a particular item. For noodles, ask for an extra bowl. If you have difficulty using chopsticks, ask for a fork and spoon. Remember, orders are all served hot and best enjoyed hot, so dig in once they are served. Just blow at little before you put a biteful in your mouth to be sure LOL!

Tim-Ho-Wan-Baked-Bun-BBQ-Pork             Baked Bun with BBQ Pork                           The poor bun after I compress & bite it

Of course, on top of our list of dim sum orders is the Michelin-recognized BAKED BUN WITH BBQ PORK (3 pcs. for 145 pesos). It was delicious indeed! The bun was crusty and the pork barbecue filling was delightfully savory. For seniors who prefer it spicy, I suggest you bite into the bun then add some chili sauce to the filling inside, or add a little sauce for each bite you take.

Z-8-wasabi-dumplingWasabi Salad Prawn Dumpling

The WASABI SALAD PRAWN DUMPLING (3 pcs. for 140 pesos) is a very good choice for those who like the taste of wasabi. It’s like enjoying a deep-fried prawn dumpling with just the right amount of kick from the wasabi-Japanese mayo topping.

Tim-Ho-Wan-Vermicelli-Pork-Rib-Spare-RibsVermicelli Roll with Shrimp   Pork Rib with Black Bean Sauce     Spare Ribs Rice

We also enjoyed the flavorful VERMICELLI ROLL WITH SHRIMP (3 pcs. for 190 pesos), PORK RIB WITH BLACK BEAN SAUCE (120 pesos) and SPARE RIBS RICE (170 pesos).

Z-9-pork dumplingsPork Dumpling with Shrimp

PRAWN DUMPLING (4 pcs. for 160 pesos) and PORK DUMPLING WITH SHRIMP (4 pcs. for 150 pesos) were served hot, steamed in a bamboo basket, and were tasty with the dips.

Tim-Ho-Wan-Beef-Brisket-Beef-Tendon-Noodles                  Beef Brisket Noodles                                              Beef Tendon Noodles

We also ordered two kinds of noodles: BEEF BRISKET NOODLES and BEEF TENDON NOODLES (190 pesos each). The flavorful broth for each order was served hot in a bowl, separate from the plate with the noodles, vegetable and beef item/s with a generous amount of viscous sauce, decorated with spring onions. Both noodle dishes were good. The beef brisket and even the tendons were tender. However, my husband wanted more tendons LOL!

Tim Ho Wan does not offer alcoholic beverages but you can order: iced tea, hot or cold barley water, sodas in cans, or jasmine and oolong teas. I recommend you to order tea (60 pesos per pot), sipped in between bites of the various dim sum you will order.

Service was a bit slow due to the volume of customers but we were told about the waiting time and when the dishes were finally served, they were really hot so it was worth the wait while we gazed outside at the water-and-light-show and talked endlessly.

Call 02-7764549 for table booking to be sure you will be seated due to the popularity of this restaurant. Bring cash for payment. Prices quoted were as of December 2017, VAT inclusive and subject to 10% service charge. So, budget-conscious SCs, better check prices before visiting or ordering for your 2018 (and beyond) visit/s, just in case they will be changed.

This outlet is open from 11 am till 3 am daily. Yes, my dear SCs, you read it right! This Tim Ho Wan branch is open till early morning. So, when you get hungry and crave for a quick Chinese meal, you can walk to this outlet after your last featured movie in Uptown Mall, or if you are at home, cannot sleep and it is midnight/early morning, you can drive to the said mall to pamper yourself to a dim sum noodle treat.

Aside from Uptown Mall, Tim Ho Wan has 5 other outlets in Metro Manila: Makati (Glorietta 3), Mandaluyong (SM Megamall), Manila (Robinsons Place Manila – Ermita), Pasay (SM Mall of Asia), and Quezon City (SM City North EDSA). Type Tim Ho Wan, Metro Manila in www.zomato.com, choose the outlet, check out their operating hours, and click on the menu to view the selection with corresponding prices.

Tim Ho Wan is definitely the most affordable Michelin-starred restaurant in the Metro! No wonder it is very popular! Oh, SCs, do not forget to give your SC cards when you ask for the bill, ok?

Our tummies were finally “happy”. Looking back, we only tried one of their “Big 4 Heavenly Kings”: the Baked Bun with BBQ Pork. So, for our next visit, we will try the 3 other “heavenly” items (Beancurd Skin Roll with Pork & Shrimp, Pan Fried Radish Cake, and Steamed Egg Cake) as well as their congee, dessert, vegetable, and other rice, soup, stir-fried, steamed, and vermicelli dishes. Definitely, these are reserved for another cheat day! LOL

Did you find this post informative? Have you also experienced dining in Tim Ho Wan Uptown Mall or in any of its other branches? How do they compare with their Hong Kong counterparts, especially the one-star Michelin rated Baked Bun with BBQ Pork? I would like to hear from you. Simply scroll to the upper right part of this post and click “Leave a comment”. Also click “Follow” at the bottom-right corner of your gadget. Thank you!

Visit my other posts:

JASMINE: IRRESISTIBLE CHINESE FOOD

and

TAO YUAN RESTAURANT: YUMMY CHINESE-SINGAPOREAN TREATS