All posts filed under: Travel Tales

The Underwater Sto. Niño of Bien Unido Bohol

There were some videos of scuba divers and a priest that showed a giant statue of the Holy Child and also a statue of the Blessed Mother, being installed underwater. With a lot of gullible people believing these to be miraculous and defying rules of nature, I knew better because I have been to the site myself and know the real story behind it. An hour or more away from the shores of Bien Unido, is a portion of the Danajon Bank, one of the six only double barrier reefs in the world. Sad to say this area of Bohol used to be plagued with Dynamite fishing and so the mayor then decided that in order to discourage fishermen from destroying the reef, a placement of  religious symbols was to be done. This was back in 2010. Sad to say in the time I was able to go there around 2016 the local boatmen shared: though dynamite fishermen did avoid the areas where Sto. Niño and Mother Mary, these destructive fishermen still pursued nearby reefs …

Hole in the Wall: Dong Bei Dumpling Manila 东北水饺

Seldom do I travel to a certain destination JUST FOR FOOD but when I do fall in love with a certain dish or delicacy, I go the extra mile (or in this case, the extra miles) just to get a bite of that dish. When I was still frequently flying to Manila, this became my number one favourite in the big city: Dong Bei Dumplings (东北水饺)Located at the end of Yuchengco Street which is just a few minutes walk away from the Binondo Church, Dong Bei (Pronounced as “Tong Pei”) Dumplings was a delightful discovery when they were mere mentions from friends when I asked “what to eat in Binondo?” Now Binondo is quite far from the usual cities I go to like Makati and Taguig but since I’m very critical about authentic Chinese food, I decided to give this a go. Off to Dong Bei One LRT ride, one MRT ride, and 30 minutes walk later I finally arrive at what seems to be a very small eatery that can only accept 10 customers a …

The Venice Grand Canal in the Philippines

As a country, the Philippines is known for its own unique natural wonders such as mountains, rivers, waterfalls, beaches and even caves. But when it comes to malls and physical structures I tend to see a pattern of building designs aspiring to be similar to structures found in other famous cities of the world. In this particular trendy mall in the metro, we get a taste of Italy through The Venice Grand Canal Mall. I’ve seen some friends not too happy about being another “copycat” of something that already exists but I personally wanted to check it out myself when it was still quite new. Fortunately I had the opportunity to go around when there were not yet too many people. So for this post I want to share what I observed and what I felt about the whole mall itself. Walking around you do give a feeling that we commonly refer to as “parang wala ka sa Pilipinas” (as if you’re not in the Philippines) which is a big check mark on the objective of the …

When in Cagayan de Oro, Go Somewhere Else

When in CDO and you’re looking for a fun evening, go Somewhere Else. I had several opportunities to go around Cagayan de Oro on my own and the city has become a special city to me as its tagline “City of Golden Friendship” manifested in the many times I visited Mindanao. Normally an evening in CDO would be spent in an al fresco setting with a band playing pop music or something soothing. Drinks on the tables would either be a bucket of cooled beer bottles or a whole bottle of Captain Morgan. Like most cities, CDO has their own signature nightlife. Above is what I describe to be a usual night out in CDO but two young entrepreneurs with a vision for a classier and more intimate nightlife experience decided to explore a new nightlife in the city. Somewhere Else opened back in 2015 and is home to the best club music events that Cagayan de Oro has to offer. Every now and then top DJ’s from all over the Philippines, play in this …

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 …