One of the smaller cities that make up the Metropolitan Manila Area with a total land area of only 2,990 hectares, Makati is bordered on the northwest by Manila, on the north and northeast by the Pasig River and Pasig City, on the southwest by Pasay City and on the southeast by Taguig City and the Municipality of Pateros. Two major arteries connect this bustling city to the rest of Metro Manila: The first is Epifanio Delos Santos Avenue (EDSA), which cuts from Baclaran, Pasay City in the south all the way down to the north in Balintawak, Caloocan City making it directly accessible to Quezon City as well as the cities of Pasig and Mandaluyong. The other artery is the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX), which connects it to Manila, Muntinlupa City and the rest of Southern Manila.
Centuries ago, a large part of the lower portion of the city to the north bordering the Pasig River was swampland whose depth varied with the rising and ebbing of the tide, or “kati” in the vernacular. Subsequently, a small community of 2,500 inhabitants was established and was named San Pedro de Macati. In the 1930s, this was abbreviated to Makati by Commonwealth Act No. 2390, and on January 2, 1995 it obtained its cityhood by virtue of Republic Act No. 7854.
Within a span of just a few decades, a modern city of skyscrapers, well-planned road systems, commercial and business centers and clusters of high-end residential gated communities rose from the vast stretches of empty land transforming the once useless swamp land into the most expensive real estate in the country. Multi-national companies and other business firms set up shop in its business districts and the country’s most affluent families moved into its posh residential areas. Demand for high-end accommodations grew as expatriates and business travelers shuttled to and from the country.
In due time, Makati obtained the highest concentration of five-star hotels, high-end department stores, supermarkets, swanky boutiques, and stores. Head offices of major banks and financial institutions to include the Philippine Stock Exchange and the Makati Business Club located themselves along the posh Ayala Avenue making Makati known as the “Financial Capital of The Philippines.”
What to see in Makati
Nowhere in the Philippines is affluence and cosmopolitan lifestyle more ubiquitous and pronounced than in Makati. Just like any wealthy and highly urbanized city elsewhere in the world, the metropolis offers a vibrant nightlife for relaxation of its white-collar workforce and visitors; classy malls and commercial centers for a public with money to spend. When you are in Makati, you can rub elbows with young professionals and urban elite taking time off in the following places:
Jupiter Street-Makati Avenue Tourist Belt: Office workers, residents of nearby affluent communities and foreign tourists enjoy the best entertainment that Makati offers by night when neon lights of glitzy bars, cafes, exclusive night clubs and disco joints that line Jupiter Street and Makati Avenue lit up and open their doors to the public.
Ayala Center-Rockwell Center: Experience upscale shopping at the Ayala Center in the heart of the business district where two well-known malls are located such as the Greenbelt and Glorietta, which are at par with the world’s most modern commercial establishments. In this area, you’ll find well-known department stores like SM-Makati, Rustan’s and Landmark. Due north along J.P. Rizal Street, is the Rockwell Center where the upscale Power Plant Mall is located. This four- storey establishment which is popular with expatriates features local and international specialty brands and stores, state of the art cinemas and themed restaurants.
But if you are a history buff, try out the Ayala Museum located along Makati Avenue at Greenbelt Park and the Museo ng Makati which can be found along J.P. Rizal corner A. Mabini Streets which are the city’s primary repositories of heritage, history and culture.
Where to Eat in Makati
When hunger overtakes you while shopping around in Makati, you can always step inside one of the city’s malls where a host of themed and specialty restaurants abound. Chinese, Japanese, Italian, Mediterranean, Indian, and Filipino cuisine, are found all over the city. Food in these establishments are reasonably priced such as in Cibo Italian restaurant in Glorietta 4, Café Mediterranean in the Power Plant Mall which serves European, Italian, and Greek cuisine, Hossein’s Persian Kebab along Makati Avenue which serves authentic Indian, Persian, and Arabian cuisines, and Sentro in Greenbelt 3 which serves Filipino cuisine.
If you want to splurge on grub, try the five-star hotels around Makati which also have restaurants that offer service par excellence and gourmet food for the most discerning of guests such as Red or Shang at the Shangri-la along Makati Avenue. Greenbelt 3 Mall also has numerous cafes, bars, and restaurants. A couple of these, which can be found on the 3rd level are: Bollywood which serves Indian cuisine with a live band; Absinth Café Bar which is a disco café bar type that serves Asian, Continental, and European dishes; Congo Grill, which is a bar restaurant whose specialty is “ihaw-ihaw” and alcoholic beverages.
Where to Stay in Makati
The most exclusive and swankiest residential subdivisions are in Makati, such as Forbes Park, Bel-Air and Dasmarinas subdivisions where many of the country’s wealthiest families live. The ultimate avenue for a life of comfort and relaxation is further provided by five-star hotels that crowd the city like Shangri-La Hotel Makati, The Peninsula Manila and Intercontinental Hotel Manila. Despite of the prevalence of these plush and expensive accommodations, it is still possible to find great deals in this affluent city. Business travelers and tourists benefit from budget and mid-range hotels like the following:
St. Illian’s Inn: Located just four city blocks from Ayala Avenue and a block away from Legaspi Village, this reasonably priced hotel is a practical, cozy alternative to business and leisure travelers looking for quite comfort and amidst the hustle and bustle of Makati. With rates starting at P1,690 per night, guests will enjoy fully air conditioned rooms and essential amenities including cable TV, en-suite bathroom and telephone services.
Santillan Street, Legaspi Village
Tel. No. (632) 893-0754
El Cielito Inn: Located right in the heart of the Makati Central Business District a block away from the Ayala Center and Glorietta Mall this budget hotel is just walking distance away from the Metro Rail Transit Station which connects the city with the rest of Metro Manila. With rates starting at P1,554.00, this affordable place offers its guests fully air conditioned rooms, satellite TV, a minibar, telephone, internet connection, a hair dryer and room service.
804 Arnaiz Sreet
Tel.Nos: (632) 815-8951 to 54
Fax.No. (632) 817-9610
The Copa Businessman’s Hotel: Located along Pasay Road in the heart of the financial district, this mid-range hotel is a few minutes walk away from Glorietta and Greenbelt Malls and caters to tourists and businessmen alike. With rates starting at USD59.00, or P2,360.00 converted at current exchange rates, guests will enjoy fully air conditioned rooms, cable TV, IDD/NDD telephone, Hot and cold showers, Ref with minibar and coffee/ tea maker.
912 Pasay Road
How to Get to Makati
How to Go Around the City: The city is pedestrian friendly with a system of underpass, footbridges and flyovers crossing busy streets. Getting around the business district and malls are easily accomplished because of its interconnection of catwalks. Taxi cabs frequent hotels and restaurants in Makati. Buses plying from both ends of EDSA pass through the Central Business District of the city. Jeepneys ply the inner city roads and connect the rest of Makati to surrounding towns and cities. To avoid the nightmarish city traffic, you can ride the Metro Rail Transit whose elevated lines run along the entire stretch of EDSA from Monumento in Caloocan City to Baclaran in Pasay City. The MRT has four stations in the city: Guadalupe, Buendia and Ayala Avenues and Magallanes Stations. Commuting around Makati entails the minimum fare for a jeepney or bus ride.
Cebu to Makati and Back: To reach Makati from Cebu, you can either fly or sail from Cebu to Makati. Approximate cost of a round trip plane ticket is P3,500.00 – P5,000.00 while a round trip boat fare is approximately P3,000.00 – P4,000.00. After you disembark at the Manila Domestic Airport or Pier area, you can take a taxi cab, which will cost about P150.00 to P250.00 (one way). If you are not in a hurry, from your point of disembarkation, you can hop on a bus, jeepney or LRT which will take you to Makati for less than P30.00 (one way).
Dumaguete to Makati and Back: To reach Makati from Dumaguete, you can fly from Dumaguete to Makati. Approximate cost of a round trip plane ticket is P3,500.00 – P5,000.00. After you disembark at the Manila Domestic Airport, you can take a taxi cab to Makati, which will cost about P150.00 to P250.00 (one way). But if you are on a budget, you can hop on a bus, jeepney or MRT which will take you to Makati for less than P30.00 (one way).
Tags: Metro Manila
Wreck Diving in Malapascua
Malapascua Island in Cebu is not just a great dive site for thresher sharks because the place is also a good dive site for wreck diving. There are a number of wreck dive sites in Malapascua Island that are worth the visits of beginners and experienced divers. The Lighthouse Wreck – A landing craft of the Japanese during the World War II can be found in the dive site. The wreck is situated about three meters deep in average, so the dive site in Malapascua Island is a shallow dive.
Interesting sea creatures are giving life to the wreck dive site in Malapascua Island such as hermit crabs, yellow-tailed barracuda, pipefish, octopus, banded sea snakes, and juvenile harlequin sweetlips. Near the Lighthouse Wreck in Malapascua Island is a dive site called Lighthouse West where you can find numerous seahorses and mandarinfish.
The Doña Marilyn Wreck – It is a passenger ferry that is about a hundred meters long that sank near Malapascua Island due to a typhoon about 20 years ago. The vessel in the dive site is still in one piece that is now lying on the sandy sea floor on the vessel’s starboard side.
Under the bow of the vessel, the blue-spotted and marble rays make their home together with the whitetip sharks. You can also see the devil and eagle rays just passing through. Beautiful and healthy soft corals grow covering the wreck allowing the reef fishes to grow large.
Penetration inside the vessel in the dive site in Malapascua Island is possible for those divers that are qualified. Inside the vessel, there are lots of interesting things to see because the vessel was not salvaged.
The Tapilon Wreck – A cargo carrier of the Japanese during the World War II sank near Malapascua Island because it was hit by torpedoes. The carrier was separated into many sections but the wreck is still recognizable. The dive site is alive with marine creatures and a beautiful growth of soft corals covered the wreck. A great sight to behold in the dive site is the small barracudas that are swimming around in number of thousands.
The MV Asia Wreck – The vessel sank near Malapascua Island many years had passed and one prop is still attached to the vessel. The dive site will truly give a great diving experience for wreck lovers because the vessel’s decks are open so penetration inside the vessel is very safe for the divers.
The Pioneer Wreck – A Japanese gunboat during World War II that was hit by torpedoes and sank near Malapascua Island in the depth of 42 to 54 meters. Because the vessel is in the deep waters, the wreck is still in a very good condition, almost remain to be in one piece, and has an upright position. The dive site is a deep dive and divers that are trained for decompression diving are only allowed to go.
Malapascua Island is a great diving destination in Cebu for both reef and wreck divers looking for amazing adventures at sea.
Settling down in another country apart from your own is pretty tough. It is like starting your life all over again. In a friendly place such as the Philippines, however, expatriates are able to adjust a lot easier to the lifestyle and the culture that are completely strange.
The Philippines is a third-world country, yes. But it is definitely trying hard to improve its current state. Aside from that fact, there are many other features that the country has as a set of attractions that any foreigner would love.
Filipinos use English as their second language. It would not be difficult to get around because you will most likely find someone who knows the universal language. The extremely nice citizens would also be ready to take in every query, every concern, and every need that you may have with high regard. Filipinos are known for their hospitality. They are always warm and welcoming.
The Philippines also boasts of nature-blessed surroundings. The beaches, the mountains, and every form of natural resources you may think of can be found there. It is like everything that you wish for and more – at a very low cost, mind you.
The Philippines allow for a premium living standard to be enjoyed at minimal costs. Hotels and accommodations are topnotch in terms of service and reasonable in terms of price. The brand of security and proximity that Philippine hotels mostly offer are irresistible. You can easily feel right at home on your first three nights!
The Philippines is also never short of the fun aspect. Anywhere you go, you will find an entertainment venue that will keep you thrilled according to your preferences every time. A variety of restaurants, sports centers, beach resorts, malls, and every kind of establishment you can imagine could be found accessible.
On top of all those attractions, the Philippines embrace foreign settlers tightly. In fact, the country’s government has created laws that will protect, serve, and just accommodate expatriates in the best way it could.
The Philippines is truly a dream come true for any expat. Its offered premiums for every possible need foreign settlers may have are truly endearing. The friendly culture and the positive attitude that the country exhibits lay evidence that living could be a breeze for any foreigner there. It is one good, comfortable place to start anew. It provides amazing opportunities for business and leisure, two of the most important things that make living worthwhile.
February 19th, 2014 · 2 Comments
Diving in Cabilao
Cabilao is a small island that is under the jurisdiction of Loon, Bohol. Cabilao has a land of area of 7.2 sq. kilometers. The reefs within the crystal clear water of Cabilao makes it an ideal place for diving. The best dive site in Cabilao is the House reef. This dive site is situated right in front of Cabilao Diver Center. On the left side of the House reef is a fish sanctuary of Cabilao. The House reef has about a thousand meters long of Gorgonia Wall.
The Gorgonia Wall of the House reef runs in parallel to the shore of Cabilao. There are several small caves to explore including overhangs. Of all the corals that cover this dive site in Cabilao, the giant fan corals are the most interesting ones.
The house reef can really amaze any diver because of the variety of marine life it contains. Diving is possible any time of the year but there are some dives that must be planned carefully because of the unstable water current of Cabilao.
After the Gorgonia Wall is a plateau that is about 30 meters in depth. This dive site is called the Shark View Point because of the presence of large pelagics such as Thresher, Blacktip, Whitetip, and Hammerhead Sharks. This dive site is at the corner side of the House reef in Cabilao.
From the Shark View Point plateau, you will come to the slope area of the House reef in Cabilao. This dive site is the Lighthouse where you can find a very wide slope with seagrass meadow and coral formations. The depth of the Lighthouse is about 20 meters. This dive site is best in Cabilao for muck diving.
From the shores of Cabilao, another dive site is within reach. This dive site is called the Chapel Point, which is about 10 minutes away from Cabilao Dive Center by boat. Some of the interesting things that can be seen in Chapel Point are hard corals, caves, overhangs, and lots of reef fish. The Chapel Point is a great dive site to look for Pygmy seahorses.
Another dive site in Cabilao is the South Point that is about 15 minutes away from Cabilao Dive Center. The South Point is a great dive site where you can observe the various marine species compete for space and light. Due to this competition, the result is an amazing reef structure that is ancient and undamaged up to this day.
These dive sites in Cabilao are worth every diver’s visit. The friendly community of the island would welcome you with warmth and hospitality.
February 18th, 2014 · 1 Comment
The Philippines is a good option for foreigners who seek comfort lifestyle in a country apart from their own. The beautiful country with the most pristine waters, wonderfully-shaped mountains, amazingly-designed structures, and the friendliest locals can easily embrace a foreigner tightly.
Business is especially good in a Philippine setting. If you want to have a business of your own there, the country would be able to offer you a bunch of options, given you have the budget for it. The Philippines is very friendly to independent businessmen who are looking for extra income out of their funds. It offers versatile investment opportunities that would fit to anyone’s budget and preference.
Before taking the leap in doing business in the country, make sure that you have considered all the possible factors that may get in the way of your success. There are specific laws that govern expats like you. You must read and understand all those so you know where to start. Doing something that is outlawed could be very dangerous for you and your properties.
Foreigners looking for local jobs in the Philippines could find a difficult time. There are not enough jobs for the qualified locals that is why the country’s government is quite strict in allowing foreigners to creep in. Aside from that fact, compensation is very low in the Philippines compared to the other countries.
The best way to earn while enjoying the Filipino way of life is building a business of your own. There are currently a lot of industries booming in the country. You just need to make your choice. Doing business about something that you care about is the best way to do it. Start by thinking about your guilty pleasures and your interests. From there, you could pick up ideas on the most ideal business that you think will click and will give you the career satisfaction that you needed. International franchises and export opportunities are also available in the Philippines. If you want to closely to your home country, you could well do so by taking those alternatives.
Any business could be profitable in the Philippines if you know how to make it one. Aside from your excellent business skills, you will need a profound knowledge about the country to get to the best industry that you must be in. Study the Filipino lifestyle well enough to get ideas on how to make good business there. You have lots of options in your hands. Your only limitation lies in your skills and your budget capital as well.
February 18th, 2014 · 7 Comments
What was once an agricultural town mostly devoted to cow pasture has metamorphosed into the new residential haven of Metro Manila. Muntinlupa is the southernmost city of Metro Manila bounded on the east by Laguna de Bay; on the southwest by the provinces of Laguna and Cavite; on the west by Las Piñas; on the northwest by Parañaque; and, on the north by Taguig City.
Owing to its general topography, which is somewhat hilly, this tiny poblacion was referred to by its inhabitants during the Spanish period as “monted de lupa,” a vernacular phrase meaning “hills” from which, many believed the name of Muntinlupa originated. Just a few decades ago, this place was at the receiving end of unfair jokes and bad press and has earned undue notoriety. The mere mention of the word “Muntinlupa” always brought to mind the chilling image of the New Bilibid Prison which is located within its jurisdiction. However, palpable progress has a way of changing for the better negative impressions created by the stigma of it being the home of hardened criminals.
During the last decade, the city has undergone rapid development particularly in its Alabang district. The Filinvest Corporate City and the Madrigal Business Center District which host the biggest and swankiest residential communities and business establishments have changed the face of Muntinlupa from a once sleepy town to a bustling modern metropolis. Some of the wealthiest and famous personalities that live in these classy villages include a former Philippine president, well-known show biz celebrities and even the prince of an oil-producing nation. Recently, it received the status of “Most Competitive and Improved City.” Like a precious stone plucked from the mining quarry in its raw form, then cut and polished to perfection, Muntinlupa City—the new glistening jewel of Metro Manila, is now referred to as the Emerald City of the Philippines.
What to See in Muntinlupa
Muntinlupa boasts of the Ayala Alabang Village which is the largest and cleanest exclusive residential subdivision in the country; Alabang Town Center along the Ayala-Alabang-Zapote Road; Festival Mall at the Filinvest Corporate City; and, Manuela Metropolis below the South Super Highway Flyover which are considered as some of the largest malls in the country that feature indoor theme parks.
Visitors who believe that the things to see in a modern city like Muntinlupa that has recently emerged from rural obscurity can only be found in its modern commercial districts and plush residential subdivisions. But for the more adventurous and curious visitor who had seen enough of modern malls and plush villages, the unique spots that define the city’s character and its past may prove a more interesting justification for their trip.
Ironically, this once-in-a-lifetime sightseeing experience can be found at the very place that has given the city its past notoriety—The New Bilibid Prison located at Barangay Poblacion. Hidden within the grounds of this sprawling 530–hectare state penitentiary reservation complex which is surprisingly peaceful and safe, are the following attractions?
Jamboree Lake: Said to be the country’s smallest natural lake, whose water and surrounding park are surprisingly clean.
Monument Hill: Located a few meters from the lakeshore is a mound with a cross that serves as the marker for the resting place of Eriberto Misa, a prison director during World War II who made a mark in history by initiating programs that made prison life more bearable.
Yamashita Shrine: A burial site for Japanese soldiers killed during World War II. General Tomoyuki Yamashita, the “Tiger of Malaya,” is said to have been buried in this place after he was executed for war crimes committed by Japanese troops in World War II.
Where to Eat in Muntinlupa
The best places to visit whenever you feel the urge to go on a shopping spree or a food trip are the modern and comfortable malls of Muntinlupa.
Gerry’s Grill: Located at Alabang Town Center, this food establishment is just the perfect place for the visitor who loves to feast on freshly grilled or cooked food on a budget of P200.00 per meal.
Cabalen: This restaurant can be found at the 3rd Floor of the Festival Mall. It features food from Pampanga like its famous native sausages and processed meats at a mid-range cost of P300.00 per meal. If you feel up to it, try its exotic snails cooked in coconut milk. A pricey appetizer in French cuisine cooked with garlic and parsley butter with an equally pricey sounding name—“escargot,” which simply means snail is very popular in European and North American fine dining. You can eat this delicacy with an Asian twist for a fraction of the cost at Cabalen.
Red Crab Seafood and Steaks: For P500.00 per meal, you can stuff yourself with its crowd drawer—different crab dishes cooked just right to tickle your taste buds from hot to gingery sweet and spicy flavors. A culinary experience to remember for first time visitors of this establishment located at the 2nd level, Cortes de las Palmas along Alabang-Zapote Road.
Where to Stay in Muntinlupa
Parque España Residence Hotel: Whether you are a well-traveled businessman or a leisure traveler, you will definitely fine in this hotel all the comforts, warmth and security which will make you feel that you have never left home at all. For a starting rate of USD70.00, or P2,800.00 converted at the prevailing forex rates, visitors will enjoy living and dining areas with complete dining facilities, cable TV, kitchen with complete cooking facilities, IDD/NDD telephone, broadband internet connectivity, mini bar and hot and cold shower.
5309 East Asia Drive, Filinvest Corporate City, Alabang
Muntinlupa City 1781, Philippines
Tel. Nos.: (632) 850-5847
Fax Nos.: (632) 850-5660
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Vivere Suites: Every room in this mid-range hotel features Asian elegance designed to provide for your comfort and convenience. Starting at USD120.00, or P4,800.00 converted at prevailing forex rates, each standard room is equipped with a living, dining and kitchen area aside from the usual bathroom and bedroom.
5102 Bridgeway Avenue
Filinvest Corporate City
Alabang, Muntinlupa City
Tel.No.: (632) 771-7777
Fax No.: (632) 771-0158
The Bellevue Manila: Located at the plush Filinvest Corporate City, this high rise hotel offers a wide range of recreational facilities and a fully equipped business center to meet the needs of both the leisure and business travelers. With rates starting at USD179.00.or P7,160.00 converted at current exchange rates, this 222 room high rise provides in-room fax, in-house movies, broadband internet connection, air-conditioning, telephone, mini bar, room safe, satellite TV, voice mail and tea/ coffee maker.
North Bridgeway, NorthGate
Cyberzone, Filinvest Corporate City
Alabang, Muntinlupa City
Tel. No.: 771-8181
Fax No.: 771-8282
How to Get to Muntinlupa
Manila to Muntinlupa and Back: Air-conditioned and non air-conditioned buses ply the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX), which is the major route going to Muntinlupa City. Coming from Manila, you can catch the bus at the Taft Avenue corner Buendia Avenue station. Ask the bus conductor to remind you to get off the bus when it reaches Alabang. Traffic is sometimes very heavy at the SLEX and the trip could take about two hours. The bus ride should not cost more than P100.00.
Cebu to Muntinlupa and Back: To reach Muntinlupa from Cebu, you can either fly from Cebu to the Manila Domestic Airport in Pasay or sail from Cebu to Manila. Approximate cost of a round trip plane ticket is P4,000.00 – P5,000.00 while a round trip boat fare is approximately P3,000.00 – P4,000.00. From your point of disembarkation, you can take a jeepney or taxi cab to the bus station in Taft Avenue corner Buendia Avenue and board the bus bound for Cabuyao, Laguna and ask the bus conductor to let you off at Alabang. The taxi fare to the bus station costs about P250.00-P300.00 while the bus trip should not cost more than P100.00.
Dumaguete to Muntinlupa and Back: To reach Muntinlupa from Dumaguete, you can fly from Dumaguete to the Manila Domestic Airport in Pasay. Approximate cost of a round trip plane ticket is P4,000.00 – P5,000.00. From the airport, you can take a taxi cab to the bus station in Taft Avenue corner Buendia Avenue and board the bus bound for Cabuyao, Laguna and ask the bus conductor to let you off at Alabang. The taxi fare to the bus station costs about P250.00-P300.00 while the bus trip should not cost more than P100.00.
Tags: Metro Manila
Many believe that the forefront of the diving industry in the Philippines is the place of Anilao in Batangas. Anilao is also known as the diving birthplace in the Philippines. Many enchanted, beautiful and amazing dive sites are in Anilao making the place a popular diving destination in the Philippines. For underwater photographers, the dive sites in Anilao are perfect because the visibility is often good than not. Any dive site in Anilao can accommodate any diver ranging from novice to experienced divers.
The Maricaban Island is a dive site in Anilao with mild to strong water current. Its depth ranges from six to 37 meters. The Maricaban Island is only a short boat trip from the coastline of Anilao. The dive site has a variety of diving challenges. There are drop-offs, sandy slopes, overhangs, and caves. The dive site is excellent for macro-photographers.
The Bonito Island is a dive site that has a strong current with a depth of 18 to 24 meters. The dive site is a marine sanctuary in Anilao that have lots of coral heads. Fusiliers, snappers, and jacks are abundant in the Bonito Island. Moray eels, stingrays, sea cucumbers, and sea urchins can be found in the sandy area of the dive site.
The Malajibomanoc is a dive site that has a number of hot springs at the depth of 20 meters. This dive site is also a marine sanctuary in Anilao where corals are abundant together with the crinoids and barrel sponges. Encounters with parrotfish, batfish, groupers, trumpetfish, pufferfish, and other more are very common. Frequently, presence of blacktip reef sharks is in the area of the dive site.
The Layag-Layag is a dive site that has a depth of ten to 18 meters with a medium to strong water current. This dive site in Anilao has an extensive formation of corals within the steep and shallow slope. The marine life is truly abundant with a very excellent visibility especially for underwater photography. The presence of the huge Spanish Dancer nudibranches is the main attraction of the dive site.
The Mapating Rock is a dive site that has a depth of 20 to 40 meters with very strong water current. The dive site is also called the Shark’s Reef because of the occasional presence of Grey Reef and Whitetip sharks. The dive site has a series of drop-offs with very strong current, hence, only experienced divers are allowed in this area in Anilao.
Other wonderful and enchanted dive sites in Anilao aside from the ones mentioned above are Arthur’s Rock, Beatrice Rock, Mainit Point, Koala, The Cathedral, Ligpo Island, Twin Rocks, Bethlehem, Devil’s Point, Sombrero Island, and many more.
Indeed, Anilao is a haven and forefront for the diving industry in the Philippines. Local foreign divers crowded the dive sites in Anilao to get a magnificent and memorable view of the underwater ecosystem.
February 18th, 2014 · 9 Comments
The City of Baguio is perched on a plateau 1,500 meters above sea level in the southern end of the Cordillera Mountain Ranges in the Province of Benguet about 250 kilometers north of Manila. Its pine covered slopes; the colorful flowers in its parks and open spaces; and, the crisp mountain breeze easily fits the idyllic setting of a romantic novel. The fresh and delightful air that is eight degrees cooler on the average than any place in the islands makes the city a perfect retreat from the sweltering heat of the Luzon lowlands. From March to May, thousands of visitors crowd into this upland city to cool off and enjoy the refreshing pine-scented breeze blowing in from the misty mountains.
In the early days this area was known as Kafagway which was inhabited by the Ibaloi and Kankaney tribes of the Cordilleras who have constantly driven away the Spanish colonists who have long coveted their upland home for its gold deposits. In 1846, the Spaniards finally gained a foothold by setting up a “commandancia” on the valley below, which they called La Trinidad and which was later to become the capital of Benguet Province.
When the Americans occupied the Philippines in 1900, they made the place accessible to jumping points in Pangasinan province and the Ilocos regions by carving the now-famous Kennon Road out of the granite mountainside. The new colonists proceeded to develop the place into a mining town and a recreational facility for U.S. servicemen. By 1903, the Americans had built the 695-hectare Camp John Hay and the Mansion House, which served as the summer residence of the American Governor-General. The succeeding year, Burnham Park was completed and named after Daniel H. Burnham, who master planned the development of most of the surrounding areas.
In a session held on June 1, 1903 at the higher end of what is now the famous Session Road, the Philippine Commission declared Baguio as the “Summer Capital of the Philippines.” And, on September 9, 1909, it was incorporated as a city by the Philippine Assembly. Today, Baguio is one of the premier first class urbanized cities in Northern Luzon and is the seat of government of the Cordillera Administrative Region. The name of the city came from the Ibaloi word “bagiw,” which meant “moss,” for the mossy plants and orchids that grew in abundance in the pine forests.
What to See in Baguio
Baguio City will never disappoint the visitor as it has probably the largest number of attractions packed in its 4,900-hectare area than any tourist destination in the Philippines. The wonderful thing about it is that the most popular tourist attractions are located near each other making the city one of the easiest places to explore considering the availability of inexpensive public transportation.
Mines View Park: Located near the Mansion House and Wright Park at the extreme northeast side of the city, Mines View Park is known for its spectacular view of Benguet’s gold and copper mines with the Cordillera Mountains as a backdrop. Today, a lot of houses have been constructed over the old mine sites and souvenir and silverworks stores abound by the park.
Baguio Botanical Garden: Also known as the Igorot Village, it showcases the native huts typical of the architecture of the Cordilleras and captures the cultural legacy and the proud ethnic spirit of the Igorot tribemen dressed in their traditional colorful costumes. It is officially named as the Botanical Gardens because it grows the pine seedlings and other flora used in the never-ending greening projects of the city and its environs.
Burnham Park: This thickly wooded park is the oldest in Baguio where one can contemplate the beauty of nature amidst its colorful flowers, the laughter of children frolicking and biking on its grounds and the languid sound of paddles on the water as small boats glide on the man-made lake.
Mount Santo Tomas: If you love being close to Mother Nature, trek up to Baguio’s highest peak, which offers a 360 degree view of the entire city and as far as the eye could see up to La Union Province below and the shimmering waters of the South China Sea beyond the horizon.
These tourist spots and places of interest are just a prelude to all of Nature’s splendor and other historical places that lie beyond the city limits because Baguio is also considered as the gateway to the wonders of Northern Luzon: The centuries old “Stairway to the Sky,” otherwise known as the Banaue Rice Terraces in Kalinga-Ifugao; the Kabayan Mummy Caves of Benguet; the famous Hundred Islands of Pangasinan; the beautiful beaches of La Union; the heritage houses and cultural relics of Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur; and, the colorful culture of the proud tribes of the Cordilleras.
Where to Eat in Baguio
Just like many cities in the country and across the world, Baguio did not escape the encroachment of malls which host the many different western and oriental style fast food chains that have sprouted all over the Philippines. Sure, you can snag a seat in any of these joints and grab a bite to eat. But why come all the way to Baguio to eat burgers and fries or noodles and dimsum out of Styropor packs when you can very well turn your summer vacation into a memorable culinary experience at the following places:
Bliss Café: For an average price of P300.00, this food joint along Leonard Wood Road offers splendid vegetarian meals that its patrons swear do not taste like vegetables at all.
Cafe by the Ruins: Along Otek Street, the hungry visitor can grab a chair in this eatery and enjoy ethnic cuisine like mountain rice, native chicken and strawberry wine at a cost of about P350.00.
Eve’s Garden: Looking for this eatery that is nestled along Lamtang Road is an adventure in itself. But finding it and sampling its organic freshly picked lettuce will definitely make your trip—and the P550.00 price of set meals quite worthwhile.
Where to Stay in Baguio
Baguio is just about the only place where most hotels do not have to provide for air conditioning. All you have to do is open the windows of your hotel room and let the cool mountain breeze rush in and fill your room and lungs with clean, fresh air as you enjoy the panorama of pine trees gently swaying in the wind.
The following are many different types of visitors to this “Vacation City” and their likely accommodation preferences: Honeymooners looking for a more private and intimate setting where service is more personalized may consider staying in an inn; businessmen and convention delegates who follow a strict itinerary and don’t mind buying in-house all their food and drinks are perfect in a hotel; a large group of friends and family who prefer to whip up their own meals and barbeque cook outs are more suitable in so-called transient houses; and, backpackers and budget travelers who would be out of their quarters touring the city most of the time and would not mind sharing common facilities with other guests will love to stay in a pension house.
Calalily Pension House: This pension house has very affordable rates starting at P960.00 with cable TV, hot and cold shower and 24 hour security. It is just walking distance to the Cathedral, Burnham Park, Downtown Baguio and the City Market.
Calalily Pension House
Baguio Transient Houses: These are separate housing units ideal for a group of 4 or more people. The house with a private toilet and bath, TV and Ref can be leased for P1,500.00 per day.
Tel Nos.: (074) 304-2842; 423-0847
Cel. No.: (0917) 822-8160 (Rachel)
Microtel Inn & Suites: Staying in this Baguio Inn entitles you to the same international standard of cleanliness, safety, comfort and value provided by Microtel Inns all over the world. With rates starting at USD43.00, or P1,720.00 converted at current forex rates, guests will enjoy queen-sized beds, cable TV, air conditioning, IDD/ NDD telephone, Internet connectivity, built-in desk and furniture, full-sized bathrooms with hot and cold shower and radio clock.
Upper Session Road
Prince Plaza Hotel Baguio: Many conferences and meetings are held in the conference room of this hotel with the help of its friendly staff. All rooms have attached balconies that provide a panoramic view of the city. For a starting rate of USD60.00, or P2,400.00 converted at prevailing forex rates, guests will enjoy standard private bathroom with hot and cold shower, in-room movies, mini bar, radio, iron and iron board, writing desk and hair dryer.
17 Legarda Road
How to Get to Baguio
Manila to Baguio and Back: You can get to Baguio from Manila using either of the two modes depending on your budget and time:
1.Overland: If you are a budget traveler with more time in your hands and less money to spend, you can take the bus and enjoy the great scenery while making that overland trip. There are air conditioned buses that leave Manila for Baguio every hour seven days a week. The Philippine Rabbit, Dagupan Bus Lines and Victory Liner are just some of the popular transportation companies whose buses ply the Manila-Baguio route. A one-way ticket costs about P350.00 – 450.00 and travel time is six to seven hours.
2.By Air: If you are a busy businessman with less time and more money to spent, then by all means, take that plane trip to Baguio and save time. An Asian Spirit flight bound for Baguio leaves Manila daily at 9:45 AM. Approximate cost of the 50-minute flight is P2,100.00 – 2,300.00, one-way. You don’t have to worry about transport when you land at the Loakan Airport some 5 kilometers from Baguio City proper because there are a lot of taxi cabs waiting to pick up passengers right at the airport terminal. The taxi fare cost about P100.00 to P150.00.
Cebu to Baguio and Back: To reach Baguio from Cebu, you can either fly from Cebu to the Manila Domestic Airport in Pasay or sail from Cebu to Manila. The estimated cost of a round trip plane ticket is P6,000.00 – P7,000.00 while a round trip boat fare would cost about P3,000.00 – P4,000.00. Upon arrival, choose any of the two options above to get to Baguio from Manila.
Dumaguete to Baguio and Back: To reach Baguio from Dumaguete, you can fly from Dumaguete to the Manila Domestic Airport in Pasay City. Estimated cost of a round trip plane ticket is P4,000.00 – P5,000.00. Upon arrival, choose any of the two options mentioned above to get to Baguio from Manila.
February 18th, 2014 · 2 Comments
Taken from the Latin word ex(out of) and patria(country, fatherland), an expatriate or expat in short is a person who resides or visits temporarily or permanently in another country. An expat in the Philippines may refer to a Westener, say an American or British in the country or a non-Westener, say a Japanese or a Chinese living in the Philippines who are distinguishable by their way of living.
In wherever country they may be expats always encounter many difficulties. Among these are difficulties in adopting a new culture and language. In the Philippines, learning the language is one of the many things an expat finds difficult. Learning Tagalog language specifically is a challenge to almost all expats.
With regards to learning the language, there are three types of expats learning the language. The first one being those who are aggressive towards learning. They are those people who do not care about income at first. They make learning their priority and will do whatever to learn the language very quickly. They learn the language in their own pace rather than being under supervision which they find boring. They in general has 100% success rate regardless of their level of intelligence. This may be due to the fact that they talk with mostly or only on their target language.
The second one are those who are are smart and uncertain who think about their economics or money budget for the language they want to learn. Their focus is constrained and sometimes they have to stop and go on their language attempts. In four years being in the country you might find this people quite good in the language already. The percentage of success for this group is 50%.
The third type are those who lack self confidence. They might be the smartest of all but since they lack self confidence they have difficulty in learning the language. They have think that they don’t have the gift of language and thus their lack of self confidence make their learning slow. This group has a 100% failure rate because they don’t have the right attitude.
For expats in the Philippines their challenge is to learn Tagalog. Tagalog being the language spoken by most Filipinos and the root of the Filipino Language the national language of the Philippines.
Just like all other languages, learning Tagalog in the Philippines may be hard. But with dedication and right attitude towards learning the language little by little an expat will find himself able to speak the language. Having enough money budget for the language helps a lot. Having money, dedication and right attitude towards a language helps ensure learning to the maximum.
Diving in Malapascua
Looking for some thresher shark diving experience? Visit the Malapascua Island in the Philippines. Malapascua Island is the only place in the whole world where you can have magnificent daily sightings of thresher sharks in action. Malapascua Island is an island of Cebu in the Visayan Sea in the Philippines. Due to the decreasing number of thresher shark species in the world, a marine park was made for these magnificent sea creatures to protect and rehabilitate them.
This marine park is called Monad Shoal. Monad Shoal is a sunken island near Malapascua Island that has a land area of 18-24 meters on top and the sides dropped off to about 230 meters. The Monad Shoal becomes the cleaning station of thresher sharks early in the morning every day. The cleaning services to the thresher sharks are courtesy of small fishes called cleaning wrasse. These wrasses would clean up the thresher sharks’ body, gills, and mouth from bacteria and dead skin. Because of this symbiotic relationship between thresher sharks and wrasses, eating wrasses would never come to the mind of any thresher shark.
The thresher sharks at Malapascua Island live and hunt almost the whole day in the deep waters of the island. The best time to dive for thresher sharks in Malapascua Island is between the time of sunrise and nine in the morning. There are dive resorts in Malapascua Island that offer dive tours for anyone interested in thresher sharks.
The thresher sharks in Malapascua Island are not threats to human life. When divers or any other elements startle the thresher sharks, they just swim over to the side of the Monad Shoal. If there were no sudden movements from divers, the thresher sharks would come up so close to the point that you could almost touch them.
The cleaning wrasses of Monad Shoal at Malapascua Island do not attract thresher sharks alone but other pelagics as well. Devil rays and manta rays are seen often in the area. Other shark species aside from thresher sharks are occasionally seen such as whitetips and hammerheads especially in the months of January to March when hammerheads are abundant in the waters of Malapascua Island.
Other sea creatures also make their home at the Monad Shoal at Malapascua Island like barracuda, batfish, tuna, flutemouths, mantis shrimps, lionfish, pipefish, moorish idols, scorpionfish, squid, bannerfish, octopus, unicornfish, and moray eels.
Diving in Malapascua Island is a great place to find an undersea adventure. You are bound to see the magnificent thresher sharks up close.