All posts filed under: Travel Tales

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque: a House of Peace and Diversity

Back in 2015 my family booked a group tour to Dubai so that we could experience this part of the globe. This would be our first time going to the middle east since most of our travels have been confined in the US, Europe and Asia. One of our destinations for the tour is a city just 140 kilometres away from Dubai: Abu Dhabi. We were off to visit the largest mosque in the UAE: Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque! Truth be told, it is only when I started to travel on my own did I build interest and curiosity about religious structures and the stories behind them. During my teenage years I would pay no attention to the part of the tours where temples, churches, or other centres for worship were involved. My interest was devoted to natural sciences. This time I came prepared with a more open mind and now more curious about going to the little details that go beyond the aesthetics of the structure. Why did they build this? Who built it …

La Castellana Conference Center

A Retreat at La Castellana Conference Center in Negros

Every year it is in our religious practice and norms to attend a retreat where one will experience detachment from the usual activities of our worldly lives and just spend the time in silence and in prayer. Normally I have the retreats in the local center for Opus Dei in our city but this time I opted to go for a closed retreat far away from home. To date this had to be my best retreat experience ever. Coming from Cebu we had rode on an L300 and braved the highways, rode the waves on a barge, and finally wrestled the damaged roads of La Castellana. The total trip was roughly around 8 hours. It wasn’t too hard to find the place as the conference center was distinctively surrounded by tall walls of rocks cemented together. Beside the structure were trucks, a basketball court and what I believe was a welfare center. La Castellana Conference Center The car drove in and we were all impressed by the natural beauty just surrounding us! The house in …

Tinago Falls – The Hidden Falls of Iligan

When I got to Iligan City I had absolutely no other plan than the agenda (conduct a safety seminar) I have already set for the next day. So I contacted one of my friends @wanderingteddybear who is from around here and told him: “surprise me!” Initially he started with a quick city tour to get me a feel of the local city vibes and how to get around and then he decided to take me to one place that would quickly give me the iconic idea of what Iligan City is known for: waterfalls! True enough, Iligan is known as the City of Waterfalls due to the numerous accessible and inaccessible waterfalls in the city!  In Cebu, if you want to reach one of the waterfalls (referring to Mantayupan and Kawasan), it’s a couple of hours drive or trek to even get to one that you could enjoy. Here, it’s just less than an hour away and it’s not very expensive to get there! Just one thing though, this particular waterfall we visited actually requires …

Raven Nigthclub – Best Nightlife in Xiamen

Typically if one were to spend an enjoyable evening in Xiamen you’d be off to the streets of Wang Shan Lou where shopping and a whole line of food selection can be found. But as the lights start turning off, shops start closing, and the people start going home, there’s only one place you’d rather be as you party the night away: Raven Nightclub! Just point to the Conrad Building which is one of the beautiful towers that standout in a continuously growing skyscraping city of Xiamen and the taxi drivers will quickly take you there. It’s not very far from Zhong Shan Lou so it’s really a great place to be in right after your food trip or touristy walk around the shopping street. The people coming here are all in for a grand time and you can really tell the Chinese people really know how to bring out the goods! You can see a whole lot of Champagne bottles, Möet, and delicious bowls of fresh fruits served for the guests. I can also …

Cebu Island, Cebu Province, and Cebu City

Did you know that Cebu City is not part of Cebu Province and the Lapu-lapu City is not part of Cebu Province or Cebu City but is part of Cebu? Confused already? Read on. For a good number of people, Cebu is basically Cebu City. Especially for those who have not really read into what Cebu has to offer, the common assumption is CEBU is Cebu City or even their neighboring cities. Well, I think it’s time to clarify exactly the division of Cebu in geographical partitions: The North, South and the Metro First off, it would be best to identify Cebu as a group of islands in Central Visayas, the biggest being the main island and 167 other islands surrounding it. So to clarify, so long as you are in CEBU islands, yes you’re in Cebu. But what about Cebu City? Well Cebu City is a city on its own and does not include the other cities like Mandaue, Talisay, and Balamban. We’ll get to those divisions further later. First thing you need to know, in …

Cebu’s Fort San Pedro

One of Cebu’s popular tourist historical destinations is the Fort San Pedro or “Fuerza de San Pedro” located in Plaza Independencia. Today the Plaza is beautifully clean and attracts several locals who wish to frolic around the park under the old acacia trees. Fort San Pedro Cebu was initially built by Spanish and indigenous Cebuano laborers under the command of Spanish conquistador, Miguel Lopez de Legazpi and the Spanish Government in Cebu. What we see today is actually an improvement of the original structure which were made of logs. General Admission for Fort San Pedro is 40php while students get a discount of 20php. The place is rich in cultural history. You can almost feel like when it was hundreds of years ago where the Spaniards newly settled in Cebu. Upon entering the main entrance of the fort you can already see the pictures of how the fort developed over the years. Looking at those old pictures made me realize that Cebu used to have a LOT of space. Apart from the education you will …

Island Hopping in Mactan

One of the most common activities which I often hear from visitors requesting instead of me suggesting is Island hopping. There are plenty of places to go Island hopping in Cebu but the easiest and most convenient would be in Mactan. Just less than an hour away from Cebu City, the Island of Mactan is well known as a diver’s school ground for basic diving courses, and also a favorite activity among tourists: Island Hopping. The best thing about Island hopping in Cebu is that it’s not just going from one island to another, you actually get to swim in the waters, dock on the islands and experience the natural beauty surrounding you. It’s you stepping away from the city and just experience the Islander’s life. 

Igotann Cave in Talisay

A few years ago I had the wonderful opportunity to be invited once again by the Cebu Normal University Biology Students. This time they brought me to Igotann Cave in Talisay. Igotann Cave is a wonderful place to go to if you want some risky adventure and if you want some quiet time. If you want to have one of those barkada hang outs this place is where you want to go.

Malabago Beach Asturias

One of the places my family usually goes to is the beach in Asturias Balamban: Malabago Beach Resort. The beach is just two hours ride from our place. You can pass by the Trancentral Highway to get there. The only public transportation that can get you there safely is the V-hire. I don’t recommend getting there on a huge Ceres Bus.

Philippine Eagle

The Philippine Eagle Foundation in Davao

This has to be one of the best places I also went to Davao. It’s because this was the place where I saw the Philippine Eagle for the very first time. This is after all the Philippine National bird. Also one of the most amazing raptors the country has, endemic to the archipelago and always a sight to behold when pictures cannot give justice to this magnificent bird of prey.