Top Romantic Places in the Philippines to Visit On Valentine’s Day

By urban On January 30th, 2016

Generally, Filipinos are a romantic bunch, but for the love-struck Pinoys, a romantic dinner is an expected Valentine’s Day celebration while a box of chocolates and cute stuffed toys are the usual gifts. But if you are looking for other romantic ways on how to celebrate Valentine’s Day 2016, why not go on a roadtrip? It doesn’t have to fall on the 14th of February per se. You can take advantage of the long weekend on February 6 to 8, especially that the 8th of February is the Chinese Lunar New Year’s Day and it’s a Special Non-working holiday. Yay!

But where should spend your three days and two nights romantic travel with your honey? Here are some top romantic destinations in the Philippines that you can visit.

 

Enjoy the Stunning Landscapes of Batanes

The long stretch of stunning landscapes, rocky shorelines and sandy beaches, not to mention the breathtaking view of Batanes are simply perfect for some days of romantic adventure. You can go biking around the town proper, visit lighthouses and talk to the locals. You can go on a guided island tour, or enjoy a laidback afternoon in one of the majestic hills or experience how it is like inside an Ivatan stone house. However, your three days might not be enough to really enjoy Batanes. So staying in Batanes for two days more will further set that romantic mood.  

Image Source: commons.wikimedia.org

 

Take A Romantic Tour Around Vigan

If you are up for a long roadtrip, Vigan is a perfect place for an evening of romantic walks. The cobblestone roads, historical bahay na bato or stone houses, and calesas or horse-drawn carriages are the perfect setting for some good old pagliligawan days. If you are a couple, it is time to rekindle and bring back the kilig while riding the calesa or walking down the historical streets. You can also go for a side trip and visit the wind farm at Bangui, Ilocos Norte. If you are an adventurous couple, try sand boarding and a 4 x 4 ride.  

Image Source: commons.wikimedia.org

 

Chill Out In Baguio

The cool and crisp air of Baguio makes it a perfect place to stay indoor and snuggle. For a memorable romantic vacation, you can rent a house with a fireplace, bring a bottle of wine, or dine out in one of the popular restaurants. In the morning, the thick fog and cool weather is again a perfect setting to enjoy of cup of freshly brewed coffee with your loved one. You can also go on a city tour, pick fresh strawberries, or spend an afternoon boating at Camp John Hay.

Image Source: ilo.wikipedia.org

 

Enjoy A Cup of Coffee in Tagaytay

For just about two hours or so, Tagaytay is the nearest destination to spend a romantic three days vacation. The accommodations in Tagaytay is reasonable, the food is superb, and the green foliage and panoramic view of Taal lake are simply majestic.

Just like Baguio, the cool weather in Tagaytay makes it a nice place to spend an afternoon sipping a cup of coffee or enjoying a bottle of wine.  You can also visit Nurture Spa and have a couple’s massage, or make a sidetrip to Sonja’s Garden in Alfonso, Cavite for some sumptuous meal.  

Image Source: ilo.wikipedia.org

 
Be Adventurous in Siargao

For the adventurous couple, a visit in Siargao is a must. The tear-drop shaped island boost with a long stretch of shoreline, coral reefs, and waves that are perfect for a day of surfing. In fact, a visit in Siargao wouldn’t be complete without trying surfing at least once. Besides, the province won’t be called the surfing capital of the Philippines for nothing.

For some romantic walk and romantic sunset watching, head out to the Boardwalk. You can also enjoy a romantic dinner amidst the captivating scenery.

So, what is your favorite romantic destination? If you have suggestions on where to go, please tell us in the comment section below.

 

January Kicks Off With Three Top Philippine Festivals

By urban On January 14th, 2016

Fiestas are part of Philippine culture and regardless of economic situation, the fiesta must go on. And relatively all fiestas in the country celebrates the feast of its patron saint, so there’s always some celebration in every town. And this month, the festivity kicks off with three major celebrations in honor of the Sto. Niño.

The fiestas are the country’s version of the mardis gras wherein the feet stomping, hip swaying, and booty shaking of the dancers garbed in colorful indigenous costumes always attract local and foreign tourists. So if you are planning to visit the Philippines, now is the right time. Grab your plane tickets, make a quick stopover in Manila and rest at a bed and breakfast, or you can go straight to one of these festivals.

 

Ati-atihan Festival in Kalibo, Aklan

The Ati-atihan Festival is the mother of all festivals due to its longevity. Ati-atihan, loosely translated as make believe atis or aetas, is a pagan animist festival that originated during the Spanish times. Accordingly, Magellan gave the native queen of Cebu a gift of Sto. Niño in 1521 and the feast was actually a commemoration of that fateful event.

Image Source: en.wikipedia.org

 

However, there are other versions about the origin of the festival. The Aetas are the native dwellers of Kalibo and most of Panay Island, but due to some wrath of nature, the crops of the Aetas were wiped out, hence leaving them no choice but to ask the help of the brown-skinned dwellers in the lowlands. As the story goes, the people in the lowlands shared their harvest, and it became a yearly thing. To show their appreciation for the helping hand, the Aestas danced  and sang. Not long, the lowlanders painted their faces black to show their solidarity and friendship, hence the Ati-atihan was born.

This year, the week-long celebration runs from January 8 to 17, 2016. Tourists will be treated to a spectacle of amazing indigenous and creative costumes, street dancing, Holy Mass celebrations, trade fairs and pageantry.

 

Sinulog Festival in Cebu

Sinulog, just like Ati-atihan, is coupled with a series of choreographed street dancing and exciting merrymaking. It is also dubbed as the biggest and well-attended festival in the country. Normally, a weeklong festival will suffice, but if the festivity is as grand as the Sinulog, a one month celebration is just about right. Hence, from January 3 to February 6, 2016, Sinulog has lots of activities in store for you.

Image Source: flickr.com/biagkensiak

Tourists will be treated to a list of activities that range from photo exhibits, trade fairs, beauty contest, sports fest, cultural shows (lots of it), fluvial processions, and the much-awaited street dancing and competition. But if you want to witness the grand parade and street dance competition, it is slated on January 16 and 17, so it is better to book your ticket now.

 

Dinagyang Festival in Iloilo

If Cebu’s Sinulog is the grandest and biggest, Dinagyang in Iloilo may exhibit the best dance choreography and spectacle. Ilonggos exerted a great deal of effort and preparation for their grand parade and street dance competition. In fact, Iloilo’s Dinagyang were hailed as the grand champion in the Aliwan Festival, a Manila-based street dance competitions.

Image Source: en.wikipedia.org

The festivity is also a month-long celebration that runs from January 3 and culminates on the 24th of January. Tourists will be treated to beauty pageants, trade and cultural fairs, food fairs for some delectable Ilonggo delicacies, religious processions, and the street dancing competition. If you are planning to witness the Dinagyang 2016, be sure to be there between January 22 to 24. However, it is best to arrange for your accommodations ahead of time.

 

Paskong Pinoy: Philippine’s Festive Christmas Tradition

By urban On December 15th, 2015

Christmas celebration in the Philippines is dubbed as the longest and it starts when September or the ‘ber’ month sets in. But while the holiday season has a universal tradition like the setting up of the Christmas tree, Christmas Eve feast and gift giving, there are holiday traditions that remain uniquely Filipino. And here’s why.

 

  1. Simbang Gabi. The Philippines is predominantly Catholic, thus the observance of Simbang Gabi or a series of 9-day masses celebrated at the wee hours of the morning starting from December 16 and culminates on Christmas Eve on December 24 at four in the morning. According to researches, the Simbang Gabi started during the Spanish occupation, the time when Spain inculcated Catholicism in the fabric of the Filipino society. On the reason why it was held at 4 in the morning is to accommodate the farmers that till the land at the crack of dawn, while the nine days series of masses marked the novena, prayers and devotions done in nine consecutive days.  Although the Simbang Gabi heralds the official start of the Christmas celebration, there’s no stopping the festive Filipinos to start prepping up for Christmas as early as September.
  2. Parol or Christmas lanterns. Although most well-to-do homes have Christmas tree complete with trimmings and fake snowflakes, the Philippines has its own parol or Christmas lantern. The lanterns made of indigenous or local materials like capiz shells, bamboo and colorful papers are placed outside the homes supposedly symbolize the Star of Bethlehem.
  3. Panunulúyan. This is a Filipino tradition that depicts the journey of Joseph and the pregnant Mary and their attempt to find a house to take them in. The actors playing Joseph and Mary go from house to house to perform a chant to rouse the owners. And as the story goes, nobody will take them and that they will soon find a stable, which a replica is set up at the parish church. The birth of Jesus is then heralded with a midnight mass called misa de gallo.
  4. Noche Buena. Other countries have their own version of the Christmas feast, yet in the Philippines, a noche buena is a celebration not only of the coming of Christ but also a thanksgiving for the bountiful harvest. According to researches, the Spanish influence during the occupation successfully transformed the seemingly pagan ritual of harvest celebration into a Christmas Eve feast, hence the noche buena.
  5. Media Noche. If noche buena is for Christmas, media noche is a lavish feast to welcome a bountiful New Year. Apart from having the usual Filipino kakain or sticky rice delicacies that symbolizes a sticky or close-knit family relationship, the New Year’s feast is also influenced by the Chinese tradition of preparing 12 rounded fruits to symbolize 12 months of prosperity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

Image Source: en.wikipedia.org

Clearly, catholicism has a great influence on how Christmas is celebrated in the Philippines. But what makes the celebration uniquely Filipino is the confluence of cultural influences from the Spanish colonizers, Chinese merchants and Western countries.

 

Do you have a family holiday tradition? Tell us in the comment section below.  

 

Intramuros: Revisiting Manila’s Rich Cultural Past

By urban On November 30th, 2015

Who would not know Intramuros? Intramuros was penned in the Philippine history books, taught in schools, and featured a lot on TV. So, the majority, if not all Filipinos, must know Intramuros.  Unfortunately, some Filipinos, even those living in Metro Manila, haven’t been to Intramuros. The Walled City was like a world confined in the textbooks, travel shows, historical documentaries, and movies. But it shouldn’t be that way since visiting Intramuros is one of the ways for Filipinos to appreciate and revisit the country’s rich cultural past. In fact, you can explore and enjoy Intramuros without breaking the bank. You can even explore the historical streets of the Walled City without spending, and here’s how.

 

  1. Walking around Intramuros will not cost you anything. It will also make you will better appreciate the old yet grand colonial bahay na bato, palatial houses of the ilustrados, old and magnificent churches like the Manila Cathedral and San Agustin Church.
  2. The Walled City and cobblestone streets are good backgrounds for selfie and groufie. Old and huge wooden double doors of the grand colonial houses and archways that showcase skilled masonry are good photo backgrounds.
  3. Sit and ponder in one of the plazas. You can visit Plaza Roma, Plaza España, Plaza Mexico, Puerta Isabel II, Plazuela de Santa Isabel, and Memorare Manila for free.  
  4. Visit Manila Cathedral or San Agustin Church and say a little prayer. Or just visit to appreciate the magnificent architecture and antique statues.
  5. Visit a souvenir shop and appreciate the indigenous craftsmanship. Enjoy window shopping at Casa Manila Patio, The Manila Collectible Co., Silahis Souvenir Shop, The Papier Tole Shop, La Monja Loca, and Mananzan Handicrafts. They can be great backgrounds for selfies and groufies.
  6. Talk to a friendly kutsero (coachman) and take a selfie beside his kalesa or horse-drawn carriage.    
  7. Visit museums for free. Several museums like the museum-souvenir shop The Silahis Center to appreciate the Philippine’s traditional artifacts and crafts, The Bonsai Library and Museum for the different local endangered plants, and Archdiocesan Museum of Manila for the religious artifacts have no entrance fees.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image Source: commons.wikimedia.org

If you are to spend a little, there are other museums that you can visit like The Rizal Museum inside Fort Santiago, San Agustin Church Museum, Casa Manila that gives you a glimpse on how the ilustrados live during the Spanish era, Bahay Tsinoy that features wax figures that depicts Tsinoy or Filipino-Chinese merchants and workers during the Spanish time, and the Light and Sound Museum that gives you an educational tour using digital images, animatronics, and sounds.

You can also buy and enjoy a cone of dirty ice cream while walking down the cobbled streets, or you can dine in one of inexpensive restaurants.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image Source: flickr.com

So, why don’t you plan your visit and enjoy a historical walk in Intramuros? Reaching the Walled City is easy too since you can take the LRT train up to the Central Terminal, walk passing the underpass going towards Intramuros. You can also use the MRT to reach Taft station and then transfer to LRT and head out to Central Terminal.  

 Do you have any suggestions on how to enjoy and revisit Intramuros for free? Tell us in the comment section below.

 

 

 

Tips On How NOT To Look Like a Hapless and Annoying Tourist

By urban On October 30th, 2015

Tourists can surely relate to this: you got off the bus and vendors came in flock selling items unimaginable. It really shouldn’t come as a surprise because one look at you and they can clearly tell that you are a tourist; and with your big backpack and map in hand, nobody would think otherwise. But how can you stay culturally sensitive yet keeping yourself safe during your travels? Here are some tips on how not to look like a hapless and annoying tourist.

 

  1. Try not to look very much like a tourist. Going in full tourist gear with a huge backpack, map, shades, cap, belt bag and a water bottle clearly show that you are new in town. But aside from looking very much like a tourist, try not to pose for photos at every lamp post, landmarks and culturally interesting that you will see. Of course, you will argue that you simply can’t help it, but at least try to be more subtle about it. You can first leave your backpack at your hotel and just bring the essentials when you got. Take photos and selfies, but try not to make so much fuss about it.
  2. Try not to be too loud. It’ll be fun to travel with a group, but some groups have a tendency to be rowdy and loud at times. Hence, you are attracting the attention even from shady characters who might take advantage of you. Sometimes, it is even better to travel with a small group of people, especially that you don’t have to deal with varying opinions and argue whether you will visit an iconic ice cream shop or not.   
  3. You can wear the local attire, but make sure you understand how it should be worn and when it should be worn. In some cultures, specific types of dresses and accessories are acceptable for specific occasions only. So donning a bindi on your forehead without knowing what it’s for might offend the locals.  
  4. Before you travel, make necessary researches about your destination. Know how much the food, fare and souvenir items usually cost, and stop peering and counting your money in public.
  5. Learn some basic words like ‘how are you’, ‘how much’, ‘where is the (name of location)’, ‘bathroom’, ‘thank you’, ‘goodbye’, ‘no’, ‘yes’, and ‘please’.  Knowing even just a handful of words can go a long way.
  6. Know the local rules and customs. It’s bad that you’ll get fined for jaywalking, and you couldn’t use the ‘I don’t know the rules because I’m a tourist’ as an excuse. It is your responsibility, tourist or not, to know the rules.
  7. Be mindful of your surroundings. It’s really exciting to visit and explore new places, but you should be mindful of the people around you. Well, this is not to say that you should be paranoid and distrust other people. You should, however, know the security of the places that you are going to.
  8. Expensive smartphones can be a must-have where you came from, but it’s a luxury item for some. Its cost can even be equivalent to the yearly income of one person in some countries.

Visiting new places is indeed exciting, but also try to blend in and not to attract too attention to yourself.

If you have other tips that you want to share, tell us in the comment section below.  


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image Source: pixabay.com 

 

 

Realizations Travel Can Teach You

By urban On October 15th, 2015

Travel will not only make you appreciate the wonders of nature, but it will open your eyes to a list of realizations. Some realizations may help you confirm the capabilities that you already have, while some realizations can be life-changing; it can give you a whole new perspective about yourself, the people around and your surroundings. But what are these realizations that travel can teach you?


 

  1. People are more worth remembering. More than seeing the new places, the people you meet in your travels are worth remembering. Take notice of the people around you and see how they live. You may not understand why they do what they do, but a brief conversation with them will stick better in your memory more than the scenic spots you went to.
  2. Take it slow. Sure, you are a tourist and you have your itinerary to follow. But setting your eyes on the tourist spots will make you miss other wonderful things, like the amazing wall art, or the young cute kid garbed in a local costume, or the interesting architecture of the rows of apartment you just passed by.
  3. Delays shouldn’t stress you out. Delays are quite frustrating for some, but it’s a part of your travel experience, so learn how to embrace it. Before you decide to travel, you should prepare yourself to face any kind of situation, including unexpected delays and other travel nuisances.
  4. Getting lost is a part of the adventure. It is nice to plot your itinerary to a T, but losing your way can be an adventure, too. It’ll also test your patience and confidence that you can go back unscathed to your hotel.
  5. Packing light means more time to go around. So pack only the essentials and pack lightweight clothes. Besides, who needs so much clothes if you can buy a pair of shirt and shorts that you can leave behind before you go back home. And of course, there’s always the laundry service in your hotel or you can always learn how to hand wash a pair of socks.
  6. If you really want to capture the moment, then put the camera down. There’s really no sense in taking photos to see it later for the memories. The things that you see with your own eyes are more worth remembering than just remembering it through the photos that you took.
  7. Trying new things is a way to test your capability. Trying new activities like rappelling, bungee jumping, snorkeling, surfing and other stuff that you don’t usually do will give you a sense of accomplishment. The memories of it last longer than just sitting on the sideline and watching others.
  8. Travel teaches you to take a leap of faith. Even though how much you carefully plot your itinerary, it is best to still expect the unexpected. You just have to take a leap of faith for all the good and unpleasant things to come.
  9. Travel lets you appreciate life and living more. Having an 8-hour job and living your life following routines and predictability is good, but it can be better if you will live life and actually experience it how it is like. Well, it may be vague, but going to new places and experiencing things will help you appreciate that there’s more to living than holding  stable job and living each day in a routine.

 

For sure, there are other realizations that you must have encountered in you travels. So why don’t you tell us in the comment section below?


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image Source: pixabay.com
 

 


 

Philippines October Festivals That You Must Visit

By urban On September 30th, 2015

In the Philippines, you will never run out of fiestas, or festivals to visit and take part in. There’s the  highly popular Dinagyang of Iloilo, Ati-atihan of Kalibo, and the Sinulog of Cebu, which are all related to the celebration of the patron saint Sto. Niño or the child Jesus. Some festivities also showcase the arts and crafts of a town, or the flora and fauna that are abundant in the area, just like Baguio’s flower festival called Panagbenga.

 

So for the coming month of October, here’s a list of festivities to look forward to.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image Source: airasia.com

 

1. Zamboanga’s Hermosa Festival or Zamboanga La Hermosa Festival and also popularly known as Fiesta Pilar, which is a celebration of the patron saint Nuestra Señora Del Pilar. Marking the 89th year celebration of Fiesta Pilar, local and foreign tourists will be treated to colorful street dancing, pageantry, a showcase of Zamboanga’s arts and crafts, and the much anticipated Vinta racing. Fiesta Pilar is celebrated every 1st  to 12th of October.

2. The Siargao Surfing Cup that is usually held during the 1st week of October is a much awaited event for professional surfers and surfing enthusiasts from around the globe.

Philippine festivals, travel destinations, surfing haven, surfing destination, Siargao

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image Source: holidaybackpack.com

 

3. Ibalong Festival in Legazpi, Bicol is held every 6th to 12th of October. The festivity showcases Bicol’s rich history.

4. La Naval is a festivity that is celebrated every 2nd Sunday of October. Celebrated in Quezon City in NCR and Angeles City in Pampanga, La Naval is a festivity that recalls the victory of the Filipinos against the Dutch in 1646.    

5. Masskara Festival in Bacolod City is celebrated every 14th to 21st of October. The colorful masks, magnificent costumes, and awesome dance moves will make you love this City of Smile and its people even more.

6. Lanzones Festival in Camiguin is celebrated every 3rd week of October. Camiguin is known for its tropical fruit called lanzones. In fact, you will never find lanzones as sweet than those grown in Camiguin.  And just like the other Philippine festivals, Lazones is showered with street dancing, pageantry, a showcase of the fruit lazones and crafts of Camiguin.

Lanzones festivals, Philippines festivals, colorful festivals in the Philippines

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image Source: oceanislandtravel.com

 

7. Sagingan Festival in Tubod, Lanao del Norte is a festivity wherein dancers make use of the banana plants for their costumes. The festival is held every 16th to 19th of October.

8. Leyte Gulf Landing is a historical festivity to commemorate the arrival of the Allied Forces landing on Red Beach. The festivity that is held every 20th of October also commemorate the return of American General Douglas MacArthur.

9. Catandungan Festival is a celebration of the founding of the province of Virac. Colorful costumes following the theme of local fauna will surely make any street dancing interesting. And with the beautiful lass of Virac, Catandungan is a festivity that is held every 22nd to 24th of October a must see.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image Source: wowcatanduanes.com

 

10. The Battle of Surigao Strait is another naval commemoration festival that takes place every 25th of October. Surigao proudly commemorates the historical battle of the brave Filipinos during World War II.

11. Fiestang Kuliat or the Festival of Pride is held every last week of October at Balibago, Angeles City. Pampangueños, local tourists from other parts of the Philippines and foreign tourists alike will be treated to a night of pageantry, street dancing, and unique crafts of Angeles. The famous delectable cooking of Pampagueños is another reason why you should visit Angeles and join the festival.

 

If you know other Philippine October festivals that are not included in our list, leave us a comment below.  

 

10 Ultimate Reasons Why You Should Travel

By urban On September 15th, 2015

There’s so many wonderful things written about the benefits of travel. According to surveys and researches, those who travel are happier as compared to those don’t. Even science dipped its fingers and noted that money spent on experiences like enjoying the great outdoors, learning new skills, and travelling are more rewarding as compared to spending money on material things. But aside from being more happy, there are 10 other reasons why you should travel, and here’s why:

 

  1. People who travel tend to be more analytical than those who don’t. They are exposed to people of different personalities and culture, hence they have a deeper understanding about life in general. Case in point, a concern that may seem trivial to some may be a big deal for others. Simply put, a busted car air conditioning can easily blow your lid off, but people in other countries walk a few kilometers just to buy a kilo of fish or attend school.  And knowing this, your reaction to a busted AC will not be the same as before.
  2. People who travel and who are exposed to different cultures are more creative. Researches even even show that integration to other cultures develop a person’s cognitive flexibility, wherein a person was presented with different concept and way of life as compared to what he was accustomed to. Hence, a person was presented with different ways on how to think and approach issues analytically and creatively.
  3. People who travel have more self-confidence and they are more trusting. First time travelers, especially those who are travelling to another country, may feel a bit uneasy. It is perfectly understandable since they will be walking in unfamiliar streets, eating unfamiliar food, and not to mention the possible communication difficulties. However, these difficulties are just part of the adventure for travelers that instead of feeling anxious, they are excited. Visiting new places, trying new things, and learning the language and culture is all just part of the excitement. Hence, they are more confident about themselves and they are more trusting of the people that they meet.  
  4. People who travel are more open to try new things. Since traveling exposes you to different cultures, boost your self-confidence, and make you are more trusting to other people, it will also make you open to new experiences. Perhaps, the baptism of fire for most, if not all, travelers is the food. Just try going around China and you’ll see what their street food offers. So, care for some stinky tofu?
  5. People who travel are more aware about other people and the nature around them.  Travel makes you aware about the other people around you, and it’ll make you better understand others. It’ll also open your eyes to your surroundings and nature and perhaps feel the cool breeze and run your fingers in the patterns of cloth that local merchants peddle in the night market.
  6. Traveling and being in the great outdoors improve your mental clarity. Communing with nature a few minutes a day can help you clear your mind than spending your rest and recreation in a shopping mall or an enclosed space. Studies also show that looking at a photo of nature for less than a minute can help improve your focus so go out, travel and commune with nature.
  7. Traveling helps you better understand yourself. Traveling lets you reflect, find your purpose, search for meaning, and reinvent yourself.  Traveling also lets you find your inner peace and strength.  
  8. Traveling teaches you to be patient. If you are quick to anger and impatient, traveling teaches you to be more patient. It also teaches you to control your emotions. The rigid security check at airports is a good patience test. You just have to have enough control of your temper and emotion to endure the long check in cues and security checks. It will also help if you’ll arrive early to avoid stress.
  9. Travel can make you happier and feel more alive.  Happiness and the memories of those happy moments during travel is more lasting that the happiness upon receiving a new gadget or material things. The experience and the awe of seeing a new place for the first time, the horrid taste of stinky tofu, and the hilarious famous you made after the first bite are stories that you will recall and tell your friends over and over. And after realizing that you are experiencing new food, seeing new places and meeting new people makes you feel more alive and ecstatic.
  10. Traveling helps you get over a loss. Going to new places after losing a loved one is not running away. In fact, it can help you reflect and find yourself. A new place can also help you grieve and heal.  

So, why don’t you book your next flight to Manila, explore the city, or head out to the wonderful beaches in the Philippines? For the accommodation, Manila has several 5-star hotels and there are Bed and Breakfast boutique hotels like Urbanmala, too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image Source: pixabay.com

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Airline Passenger Rights That You Should Know

By urban On August 30th, 2015

Airline travelers might agree that the most common cause of boiling blood pressure and rant is flight delays. Seating in the uncomfortable airport lounge and waiting for the tick tock of the clock, wondering when your plane is gonna show up can take a toll on the temper of some. If you have an impatient kid in tow, an hour flight delay is disastrous that you simply can’t wait to get home for some quiet time in the solace of your warm and comfortable bed.  

Another cause of flaring temper is the offloaded baggage or baggage that was loaded in a different flight. Just imagine waiting in the baggage carousel…and waiting, yet no baggage is in sight. Anxiety and irritation creep in, especially after asking a couple of airline personnel about the fate of your luggage. Alas, after a few minutes or so, the airline personnel will tell you that your luggage is heading towards Timbuktu, while you are heading to an island resort for the much anticipated and deserved dream vacation.

But rant and anxiety aside, did you know that airline passenger has rights? Yes, your rights are never curtailed. Instead of ranting and boiling your temper, read the following.

  1. It is your right to receive conveniences like free food and drinks, phone and internet use when your flight was delayed during departure. Filipinos are resilient so an hour delay is okay, but more than an hour can slowly get on the nerves of some. On some circumstances, airlines can provide you with hotel lodging until your flight arrives and departs. If you’ve been waiting for six hours or so, your flight can be considered as cancelled and you have all the right to receive proper compensation.
  2. There are stories about passengers that are not allowed to check-in even though they arrived an hour before. Well, did you know that airlines are obliged to accommodate if you arrived at the check-in are within the allowed time or an hour before the time of departure?
  3. It is your right to know if your luggage was offloaded. Airline personnel should immediately tell you if your luggage was offloaded for some certain reasons. Yes, they should tell you ASAP instead of playing Sherlock Holmes from trying to figure out where your luggage might be. You should also have your luggage within an hour, but it will be so much hassle if you are on a group tour, hence your tour mates, tour guides and your service vehicle are all anxious to head out to the beach and have fun. And in case your luggage still doesn’t show up after 24 hours, the airline is compelled to pay you P2,000 for 24 hours or a fraction of a day of delay.
  4. Did you know that overbooking a flight is an industry practice? Well, if it is, it shouldn’t be a problem or a burden for air travelers as long as they will be accommodated on the next flight. It is also your right not to choose to be bumped off if you checked in on time, but if you voluntarily do so (voluntarily chosen to take the next flight) the airlines should compensate you in terms of food, drinks and comfortable amenities, or they can offer you cash incentives.  
  5. You have the right to be informed ASAP if your flight is cancelled. An SMS, if not an actual call, will suffice to let you know that your flight was cancelled due to force majeure or other reasons. You also have the right to receive reimbursement of the full value of your airfare.
  6. You have the right to know the limitations like rebooking and refund policies, weight of baggage allowance, surcharges, taxes, and other fees for airline ticket promotions. Many airlines offer affordable ticket sales like those below P500 in various local travel destinations. And they are actually a good deal. But you should be wary on the limitations like hand carry luggage only, no rebooking, etc.

So if you are a constant traveler or traveling for the first time, it wouldn’t hurt if you’ll know your rights and the things that should be extended to you as an airline passenger.

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image Source: wikipedia.org

 

Checklist for First Time International Travelers

By urban On July 30th, 2015

There are stories about offloading, disgruntled travelers, and money down the drain due to incomplete travel documents. So when traveling in another country, especially if you are a first time traveler, make sure that you have all documents at hand. This will save you from frustration, embarrassment, and wasted hard-earned cash.

 

What to bring before check-in?

First, the check-in process for local and international flights are quite similar in so many ways. You need to prepare the basic requirements like a printed copy of your airline ticket and valid IDs. But for international travel, aside from the valids IDs and printed round-trip itinerary, which you will present during check-in, when paying your travel tax, when paying your departure fee, and show the immigration officer, you also need to prepare the following:

 

  • Passport – Don’t forget your passport and also make sure that it’s expiration date is at least 6 months from the date of travel.
  • Company ID aside from your government-issued IDs. You can show the Immigration Officer your company ID as an additional proof that you have a job to go back to in the Philippines.
  • Bring enough money. For a 4-day trip, prepare at least US$600 or PhP25,000 to PhP30,000. But of course, you need not spend all of your budget. Having enough cash will give the Immigration Officer an assurance that you will be able to visit all the tourist destinations that you want to go. Not having not enough baon will sometimes result to denial of entry.
  • Prepare your credit card. Local or international flights would require you to present a photocopy of the credit card use to book your ticket. So better prepare one. You will also need at least 1 credit card as a safety net just in case you ran out of cash. Checking in some hotels would also ask from your credit card as deposit.
  • You must know where you are staying. If you are staying with a relative or a friend, list down the name of your relative / friend, his / her contact number, and address. If you are staying in a hotel, get the address and contact details of the hotel.
  • List down your travel itinerary. Where you will go, places to see, etc.
  • If you are traveling with a minor relative, make sure to secure a DSWD Clearance.  

 

What to do upon check-in?

After making sure that you have all the things and documents you need before checking in, here are some things that you need to do upon check-in.

 

  • Secure and accomplish a Departure Card or also known as Immigration Form at the Check-in Counter.
  • Pay the Travel Tax and prepare at least PhP2,000 for it. Keep the receipt and don’t lose it.
  • Check-in and present your Travel Tax receipt, Departure Card, passport and printed airline ticket to the check-in agent.
  • Get your boarding pass from the check-in agent and proceed to the Departure Fee booth and pay PhP750.00
  • Proceed to the Immigration Booth and have your passport stamped.
  • Check your boarding pass for the boarding gate and wait for the boarding call.

It is to note that for domestic flights, be in the airport at least 1 hour before departure, but it would be best if you can arrive earlier than 1 hour. If you are traveling abroad, give at least 2 hours or even more for the processing of other documents and possible long cue. And lastly, it would be helpful to know what NOT to bring.

If you have comments or suggestions, please tell us in the comment section below.

Image Source: cnn.com