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Travel Video: The Enchanting Lake Sebu

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Location: Lake Sebu, South Cotabato

I've already created countless of  Lake Sebu travel videos in the past. I couldn't help, I always find myself visiting the place over and over again. Obviously, it's my favorite place on earth. The lake, the serenity of the place, its cold breeze and my dear relatives. Because there, I always feel I'm home.   
So, without further ado, let me share my enchanting Lake Sebu trip video (watch it in HD) :) Check out my other Lake Sebu Videos: 2 Part TourismVideo, Mystical Fog Exhibition, Mountain hiking and T'boli dance.

Tacurong City Celebrates Talakudong Festival 2013

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September 18, 2013. Under the scorching heat of the morning sun, I patiently walk the streets of Tacurong as I struggle to find a decent spot to take photos and witness for the very first time the Talakudong Street Dancing and Field Demonstration. My burnt skin due to previous festivals and farm visits screams for some time out, but I just couldn't let the unforgiving sun ruin my excitement. It's another day to explore the city, my birthplace and my family's home province on this one festive day. Plus, this is after all, the fourth and last festival of my almost 3 month long Mindanao itinerary.  

performers swaying their vibrant kudongs

Sultan Kudarat: Not Your Ordinary Provincial Capitol

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Provincial Capitol of Sultan Kudarat
The capitol carries a design that is a combination of Muslim and Christian symbols with a commanding gold painted dome. The exterior is magnificent, a far cry from the country’s usual capitols. This landmark, more so, is said to be Southeast Asia’s biggest. 

Of Herons and Egrets: A Walk Inside Baras Bird Sanctuary

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Black Crowned Night Heron
It’s been sunny for the past 2 days in Tacurong so I decided to push through with an afternoon visit to Baras. The day is good and the roads are dry, it's a perfect time to see those migratory birds. This simple barangay located west of poblacion, houses one of Sultan Kudarat’s most sought after tourist spot, giving visitors a one of a kind bird watching experience.

20 Awesome Ways to Enjoy South Cotabato’s T’nalak Festival

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My first ever T’nalak Festival experience happened in 2008. Unfortunately, it was just a (half) day short as I booked my return trip to Manila the day the festivity started. Little did I know I would be missing on a lot of fun street festivity. I was able to do a quick tour though of the bahay kubo exhibit, the agri-trade fair and did last few minute pasalubong shopping inside the Protech Center. It was a very short introduction to T'nalak Festival but it sure did ignite my interest to watch the much talked about parade on my next visit. 
In 2010, I made sure to catch the Street Dancing Parade. I was on the streets of Alunan by 6am before the street dancing started with the tribal music pumping the festival vibe, I was extremely excited as it was my first ever festival parade experience. But rain poured, hard. Despite that, I was totally blown away to see student performers, still in full spirits, merilly dancing in the rain draped with t'nalak costumes. I wasn’t able to wat…

Packing For a Mindanao "Backpacking" Trip

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I'm now in Tacurong city, Sultan Kudarat. I plan to embark on yet another long trip to this southern part of the Philippines. With just one way ticket, my first long trip to Mindanao, happened in 2008, right after I left my job. It lasted for a month. Then in 2010 I found myself wandering in South Cotabato again for 2 months hopping from one habalhabal to another. This 2013, I'm back in Mindanao.
my packs onboard Yellow Bus Liner from GenSan to Tacurong
For this particular trip, a Sandugo Ascent 45L Backpack will serve as my home for 3 months.

How To Prepare for a Mindanao Backpacking Trip

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Who says you need a travel agent to put together a great vacation backpacking trip?


This post aims to provide some helpful tips for anyone who wanted to travel long term in Mindanao. While mine may not be a hardcore backpacking trip as most of the provinces I’ll be visiting comes with a relative living in the area, my plan could still be adapted and customized by whoever wants to go on a Mindanao trip. Without further ado, allow me to share some of my preparation plan for this Mindanao backpacking trip.
Plane Tickets

I booked roundtrip tickets (Mla-Gensan-Mla) last August 2012 during their much awaited Piso Fare Promo. As you can see, that’s like almost one year before my travel date. Excited lang right? But hey, booking that piso fare promo way in advance meant I was able to save more or less Php6,000.
Approximate year round fares (roundtrip): Php7,000+ My Cebu Pacific Piso Fare Promo (roundtrip, with check-in baggage on my return trip): Php611.04 Savings of: Php6,000+
Tips for a succ…

Making A Travel Photobook

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Imagine your most treasured travel photos printed inside the pages of a crisp, glossy coffee table book. House guests can flip through the pages filled with your own photo snaps like the mountain highway leading to your first destination, the vibrant indigenous flower, fiesta parties, the spooky forest trek and the scrumptious shot of your plate. That coffee table book would indeed be a great conversation piece.

I have scrapbooks filled with many 4x4 prints. That's before digital cameras happen. Today, we seldom print and simply upload our jpeg files it to our computers, photosharing and social media sites. I miss the art of creating a new scrapbook for my latest photos. The idea of slowly flipping through pages filled with images of my travels is just irresistible. So a month ago, I finally made one for myself and created my own Travel Photobook.

My Hardbound, Medium Portrait (8.5x11) Imagewrap Travel Photobook
My first ever photobook was ordered in 2008 showcasing our big fami…

What's Inside my Sandugo Backpack?

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Every traveler carries a couple of staples as well as extra special somethings in their backpacks each time they hit the road.
Traveling has not only opened up my world to sights, people and food adventures, it also taught me how to appreciate the most important little things to be able travel light and move more freely. In 2008, when I decided to fly south of the Philippines and spend a good 2 months in the province, I bought this red SkyTravel trolley bag with a weight capacity of 15 kilos to carry all the things I THINK I NEED but still ended up paying a hefty Two Thousand Pesos excess baggage fee on my return flight to Manila due to stashing too much pasalubong. Obviously I was newbie on packing. From then on, I swore to myself there's no way will I ever pay again for an excess baggage and to strictly bare with the minimums. Four years of local and international travels later, I slowly learned the craft of travel packing strictly carrying just 7 kilos or less. I wouldn't c…

Catanduanes: 3D2N Itinerary and Expenses

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Puraran Beach
As it turns out, January isn't really a good month to see Catanduanes' full bloom beauty. The weather’s not cooperating and the breeze was too cold for us, we couldn't even gather the courage to drag ourselves into the water and swim. Not to mention the very strong waves. I passed the yearning to swim and bond with my camera underwater as the last thing I want is to find myself in the middle of Pacific Ocean. The water was  rough even near the shoreline.
Despite the gloomy weather (which happened all throughout our stay), we didn't pass the chance to see Catanduanes famous tourist spots especially two of the top beaches of the province, Twin Rock Beach Resort and Puraran Beach. Travelers shouldn't miss these two gorgeous beaches especially during the calm summer months and even during the rainy season for seasoned surfers.

The trip happened last January 18-20 with college buddy Yael.  Here's how we spent the days....

Majestic Waves of Puraran: To Surf or Not to Surf?

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(click here to read Day 1)

Day 2

'Ma'am maalon pa din po.' is what appears on the text message.

Ok fine. We give up, no Caramoan for us. No Matukad island, no island hopping, no caving, no beach bumming, no snorkeling, no secret lagoon, nothing! Guess we're left with no other choice but to give a particular surfing spot a chance, the Puraran Beach in Baras, Catanduanes. It's that one tourist destination we consistently hear from the locals. Problem is, we don't know how to surf!


To surf or not to surf? Guess we'll decide when we get there.

A Bittersweet Exploration in the Land of the Howling Wind

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January. Virac, Catanduanes.
We're supposed to be doing island hopping in Caramoan, our main destination that weekend. A Bicolana friend recommended making Codon Port in Catanduanes our jump-off point, said to be the fastest way to reach the famed group of islands. Prior to the trip, being the "Ms. D-I-Y Planner" that I am, I was able to contact a boatman who offered us the cheapest rate among others for island hopping. I was expecting an epic Caramoan beach bumming kind of tour, thinking I was able to cover everything there is that I need to know for this trip.
swimwear - check! waterproof camera - check! cheap accommodation - check! Cheapest Island Hopping Tour - check! Super discounted plane ticket (Mla-Virac-Mla) - check na check at last year pa namin binili yung ticket!
There's just one big problem and a major factor I failed to (seriously) consider - the WEATHER!

Travel Video: Catanduanes

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Location: Bato Church, Maribina Falls, Twin Rock Beach Resort and Puraran Beach

I am making 2013 a meaningful year. So I started the year traveling with my college buddy Yael along the splashy shorelines on the Pacific side of Catanduanes province, the Land of the Howling Wind. Isolated from its sister provinces in Bicol region, this slice of paradise has remained concealed from the invasion of tourists. Take a look what this laidback province has to offer.

11 Great Ways on How to Travel Cheap

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Travelling cheap need not mean sacrificing comfort and security. The idea is you want to get the best value for your money, and still get the best experience without having to drain much cash. Here are some ideas that may help you stretch that hard earned travel fund.

1. Get the cheapest plane fares

my Cebu Pacific Piso Fare roundtrip plane ticket
Manila - GenSan - Manila (regular price "no check-in baggage" - Php7,200+) (Piso Fare RT - Php579)
I can't stress enough the big savings one can get if plane fares are secured during airline promos, special mention on Cebu Pacific's Piso Fare and Air Asia's Free Seats Promo. These promos are offered for both local and international destinations. How to score these cheap offers? Like these airline companies on their Facebook and Twitter pages and you'll be one step ahead. Remember to check them during holidays as they usually offer these promos on "special days." Travel period are usually 6 months to one ye…

6 Ways to Boost Your Travel Fund

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So you've taken down notes of Philippine Holidays for 2013, you've probably have plane tickets purchased during last year's Piso Fare waiting to be used, or you've just completed your To-Go list of provinces and festivites, question is, do you have enough resources to fund your dream trips?

How can you pay for trips if your budget is tight? I'd like to welcome 2013 by sharing some of my travel tips.