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Monday, September 12, 2016

Manila Revisited: A Pasig River Cruise

Who would have thought that Pasig River as a tourist attraction is possible? Most of us would be apprehensive -- thinking of the stinky smell, images of garbage, and so on. But this notion of the river has changed, with the transformation and rehabilitation of Pasig River.

Thankfully too, Zoomanity Group under business tycoon Robert Yupangco thought of promoting education and environmental conservation of Pasig River by launching Zooper Cruise last August 25.

Zooper Cruise is a specially arranged tour along Pasig River, with an option for a walking tour of Manila. I have never tried cruising along Pasig River, so I was ecstatic that I was able to join the trip last September 10 courtesy of Tag Media.

Meeting place was at Alveo, Circuit Makati at around 2:30 PM. After some snacks, we were transported by a van to the Valenzuela Ferry Terminal in Sta. Ana, Manila.




We boarded a 120-seater, twin-hull airconditioned ferry boat owned by Engineer Ed Bondad, who was very passionate about sharing his knowledge on Manila’s rich, historical past.

the Captain of the ship at the center


It was pretty smooth sailing and some notable landmarks we’ve passed along the way were Manila Post Office, Hospicio de San Jose, Pandacan Oil Depot, Fort Santiago, Parola, and Arroceros, among others.

The neo-classical architecture of the Manila Post Office Building stands elegantly along the banks of Pasig River.

the old Pandacan Oil Depot at night


For me the highlight of the cruise was passing along Malacanang Palace, where I was able to see the actual view as it is shown in the 20 Peso bill. But for security purposes, we were not allowed to take photos, or even stand up. A presidential security guard will board the ferry to ensure these guidelines were implemented.

Malacanang Palace from Pasig River viewpoint as depicted in this old twenty peso bill.
Join the cruise to witness the real thing!


We also passed by eight bridges -- Pandacan or Zamora, Delpan, Nagtahan or Mabini, Lambingan, Jones, Ayala, MacArthur and Quezon. Hey better, listen to the guide as there will be a game after, with prizes!

Considered as "Manila's Queen of all Bridges", 
Jones Bridge is a neo-classical bridge designed by the great Juan Arellano


At the delta of Pasig River leading to Manila Bay, we have to turn as the ferry is not fit for navigating the waters of the bay. It was exhilarating to witness how fresh and salt water run over each other.

Where Pasig River meets Manila Bay

After an hour of cruising, we arrived at Escolta station to explore the old downtown district of Binondo, the world’s first and biggest China town.



We then traversed the old business district of Escolta towards Santa Cruz Church. Santa Cruz Church is a historic 17th century Spanish baroque-style Catholic church in Plaza Santa Cruz.

built by the Jesuits in early 17th century

Beside the Church is Regina Building, the immaculate-white structure originally known as Roxas Building. Its neo-classical design was created by Andres Luna de San Pedro, son of Juan Luna. Just across it is the First United Building (formerly, Perez-Samanillo), also designed by Andres Luna. It was the tallest building in Manila in circa 1928.

after Santa Cruz Building is First United Building, and facing it is the white Regina Building


Walking along Escolta, I noticed a French beaux-arts architecture style building at the corner of Tomas Pinpin, which I found out to be Natividad Building.

Natividad Building - one of the moat beautiful buildings in Manila that has survived the war


We then proceeded to have our dinner at UNO Seafood Wharf Place, said to be the first restaurant to be built in Binondo.




After our sumptuous and authentic Chinese lauriat dinner, we went pasalubong shopping at an outlet of Polland located at the corner of Escolta and Yuchengco streets, just across the Escolta Ferry Terminal. They serve traditional flaky-crust hopia, which is said to be the best hopia in Manila.




We got back to our ferry, which took us back to the Valenzuela ferry terminal. We were then shuttled back to Alveo, Circuit Makati. It was almost 9:00 PM.

The Zooper Cruise is definitely an offbeat, fun and enlightening way of rediscovering Old Manila’s charm. I encourage everyone to take this “history class on a boat and by foot”. Time to bring back the glory days of Manila with Pasig River as the portal!

Zoomanity is planning to have this more often, but for the meantime catch the cruise on these dates -- October 8, November 11, December 3 and 13, 2016. Tour packages range from PhP 699 (student), PhP 999 (cruise only) to PhP 1,999 (cruise, tour, dinner), inclusive of guide and snacks.

What’s more, part of the proceeds will go to Zoomanity Foundation for conservation projects and rehabilitation of Pasig River.



For package rates and more information about the Zooper Cruise, contact 09166299381 or visit www.zoomanity.com,ph





Monday, August 15, 2016

Monetize your blog with TravelBook’s affiliate program!

For most of us who started blogging as a means for us to share our thoughts and experiences, there will come a time that we want to monetize our blog. And why not? Doing what you love and earning from it at the same time is not such a bad thing, right?

So, how can we monetize our blog? For starters, we can join an affiliate program, just like what TravelBook is offering, and which I think is perfect for a travel blogger like me.

First of all, what is TravelBook?
TravelBook.ph http://www.travelbook.ph/ is a top online travel agency with over 2,000 hotels all over the Philippines.



So what is TravelBook Affiliate Program?
TravelBook Affiliate Program allows bloggers to generate revenue by referring customers to Travel Book’s website. You can earn as much as 65% commission per booking made through your blog!



How to be you po? Uhhm, I mean, how to be an affiliate?
It’s free and easy! Just sign up at http://affiliate.travelbook.ph/ . You will receive an email confirmation if your application is successful. Once approved, you can start right away.



But I’m not a “techy” person!
It’s alright! TravelBook has easy-to-use tools to help you earn more money. Embedding the links, banners and widgets are so easy with TravelBook. Plus, you’ll be able to track your campaigns in real-time through your affiliate account.



So what are you waiting for? Jumpstart your blogging career with Travel Book’s Affiliate Program.


#‎TravelBookPH#‎TravelMore#‎TravelBookBloggerAffiliate#‎TBBloggerGetaway#TravelBookPHBloggerGetaway


Saturday, August 13, 2016

Blogger Getaway: Win a trip to Caramoan!

TravelBook.ph is a top online hotel booking site in the Philippines. With over 2000 hotel partners, it ensures that travelers have the best options for accommodations no matter where their destination is.
If you are an adventurer who’s always on the go, or if you are just spontaneous and prefers deciding at the last minute, booking with TravelBook.ph is the best choice for you. It features multiple payment methods like over-the-counter, via business centers, Bitcoin, and the latest, Pay at Hotel. Travelbook.ph also has a new mobile app that offers bigger exclusive discounts and double reward points which you can use to pay for your future bookings.


But even with its innovative and reliable services, TravelBook.ph also strives to promote tourism in the Philippines. Travelbook Philippines launched an international travel contest where the winner, dubbed as the Chosen Juan, received an all-expense paid trip to 80 places in the Philippines for 80 days to explore and rediscover the hidden gems that the country has to offer. The Chosen Juan, Dave Agbayani, is just ended his journey in Boracay together with other bloggers, videographers, and some of TravelBook Philippines employees.

SO, WHAT’S NEW ON TRAVELBOOK.PH?

Blogger Affiliate Program

- For your blog post guide, please check our manual here: http://www.travelbook.ph/affiliate/Manual.pdf 

TravelBook.ph latest endeavor is the Blogger Affiliate Program that allows both up and coming and seasoned bloggers to earn extra money without having to do a lot of work. With up to 70% commission rates and assistance from our experts, this “earn for free” opportunity is something you don’t want to miss!


If you want to earn more and travel more, sign up now or like TravelBook Blogger Affiliate’s Facebook Page for updates, announcements, blogger contests, and many more!




CARAMOAN BLOGGER GETAWAY

As mentioned earlier, TravelBook.ph will give us the excitement of blogger getaways to different areas in the Philippines! And now, the team is excited to let us know their first blogger getaway in Caramoan, Camarines Sur!

We’ll go hopping to different islands in Caramoan’s West and East sides, stargazing and camping by the beach, eat fresh food and delicacies and just enjoy the beauty of nature together with your new found friends!

If you are excited about exploring this hidden gem all-expense paid, check out this easy mechanics below!

1. Sign up for TravelBook.ph's Affiliate Program here: http://affiliate.travelbook.ph/

2. Post a blog about "How to Earn with TravelBook Affiliate Program." 

3. Include these links on your blog post: http://affiliate.travelbook.ph/ and http://travelbook.ph/ 

4. To validate your entry, promote your blog post in your social media accounts with the following hashtags: #‎TravelBookPH#‎TravelMore#‎TravelBookBloggerAffiliate#‎TBBloggerGetaway. Also, dont forget to tag @travelbookph on Facebook and Twitter. 

Once you're done with all 4 steps, let us know that you've joined the contest by registering your blog entry here: http://goo.gl/forms/KsVBaBs1W24U8Tk42 

Promo period is from July 8 to August 20, 2016. Travel date is from August 26 to 29, 2016 which is a long weekend by the way!

For questions and inquiries, you may email the TravelBook.ph Affiliate Team at travelbookph.affiliate@gmail.com

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

5 Reasons Why EDM Parties are the Best!

Summer is officially over, but who says you can’t still that have that EDM party by the beach? Here are five reasons why you should attend one:

5. The Encounter
Experiencing a rave celebration in the flesh differs from any type of festivals you will encounter on this planet! You will certainly be outdoors, delighting in the fresh air and taking in an ambience that is incomparable.

4. Wearing Funky Beach Clothes
You will be able to wear outfits that you would generally not use on normal days, or even in regular parties. There are no rules when it comes to beach outfits, so create something imaginative, something that draws attention, something funky. Think Coachella!

3. Being on the Beach
One of the best experiences of participating in beach raves is that feeling of happiness of just being by the beach. Although summer is over, it will still be enjoyable as you allow the sunlight to kiss your face the second time around in a cooler way, as your favorite band and DJ rock the stage for the hundreds of rave followers that you will be joining.

2. Make Friends
Beach raves are participated in by crowds with similar tastes in music. If you go to an EDM celebration, you will certainly be amongst EDM followers. These festivals will certainly be the best venue in making friendships that will last for a lifetime, or perhaps up until the celebration ends.

1. The Rave
You're there for the raves, why else would you be going to a rave celebration? Sure, there are so much more to beach festivals like arts and crafts, however,  the rave is the primary reason that you go to rave parties, right?

Photo from Sunburn Music Festival


So, party with us at Sunburn Music Festival this coming August 27, 2016 at Lingayen, Pangasinan. For more details, check out the following:







Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Team Building is Fun at Tree Top Adventure Baguio!

People troop to Baguio City for fun outings or to simply enjoy the holiday break. But did you know that the City of Pines can also be a destination place for team-building activities?

Tree Top Adventure, located inside Camp John Hay may be known as an extreme adventure theme park, but it is also the only team-building facility in Baguio City.

As part of the Bloggers’ Baguio Getaway Package, select bloggers, myself included, participated in the Team Building Activity facilitated by Tree Drop Adventure last May 13.

Bloggers were divided into Green and Red Teams. Azalea Residences Baguio staff also joined us as the Blue Team.

Our team, the Green Team or Team Good Genes! (photo by Eric Tan)

Red Team or Team-Ang (photo by Jace Mendoza)

Blue Team or Team Azalea (photo by Eric Tan)


First order of the day was to create a cheer for your team. Creativity and cooperation must come into play. We won this round -- thanks to the creativity of Allan!

Our winning cheer! (photo by Eric Tan)


Next is the Plank Step. Members must travel up to the finish line using the planks provided. This is quite difficult as the planks were small and your feet must not touch the floor. All of you will be close (literally and figuratively) after this game, haha.

Green Team doing the Plank Step (photo by Jace Mendoza)


The most difficult task for our team was the Pipeline –we weren’t able to finish this actually. Each member must hold a pipe with one hand and connect it with the other pipes to transfer a ping-pong ball up to the finish line, without letting it fall off the ground. Patience and coordination will be tested here.

Green Team doing the Pipeline (photo by Jace Mendoza)


This was followed by the ABC Game. We formed two lines, back –to-back with our teammates. Each has to say one letter of the alphabet in the proper sequence. Catch is, the next to recite should not be the one beside or behind you. The ability to concentrate is needed here. I think we were the fastest for this game.

Green Team doing the ABC Game (photo by Jace Mendoza)


The easiest activity was the Helium Stick. Here, we have to lower a long, thin, lightweight rod to the ground. Communication and coordination with other team members is vital to achieve this task.

Green Team doing the Helium Stick (photo by Eric Tan)


Next was Loop Lift. We have to lift a giant loop ring to another station. The catch -- marbles on each handle and on the center of the loop must not fall off! Talk about coordination and control. I’m proud to say that our team was able to do this in a jiffy!

Green Team lifting the loop (photo by Jace Mendoza)


We proceeded with the Bar Lifter Balancer. We have to lift bars up to a certain height simultaneously at the fastest time – without the marbles of each bar falling off! Coordination skills and strategy will be tested here.

Green Team lifting and balancing the bars (photo by Jace Mendoza)


Next is Gem Drop. This was quite difficult also because you have to get a cube from the floor and drop it to its proper place by pulling and pushing ropes. Strategy and teamwork is a must here. I think we finished second for this round.

Green Team doing the Gem Drop (photo by Jace Mendoza)


The last activity was the Treasure Hunt. First, we have to form the map to determine the location of a “Buloy.” Two of our members searched for it. But it doesn’t end there -- we have to answer a riddle. Mind you, the riddles were difficult! We finished second for this activity.

completing the map & guessing the riddle (photos by Jace Mendoza)

looking for the "Buloy" (photos by Eric Tan)
And finally the announcement of the grand winner -- the Blue Team! Even though our team finished second, I felt that we have accomplished a lot by giving our best effort in every activity. At the same time, we had fun and really bonded well even if most of us just met each other for the first time! We have learned to adjust, cooperate and be a team-player.

The facilitators were knowledgeable and helpful. The activities are measurable and can really build camaraderie among groups. Thank you Tree Top Adventure for this wonderful team-building experience!

For more info, Tree Top Adventure’s official website: http://www.treetopadventureph.com/

Special shout-out to TravelBook Ph, the official media partner for this event. Check them out at: http://www.travelbook.ph/

Monday, May 16, 2016

Extreme Adventure Awaits at Tree Top Baguio

Baguio City is known for its cold weather, strawberries and various tourist spots. But for those who are looking for thrilling outdoor activities, the City of Pines is slowly becoming a destination place for extreme adventure-- thanks to Tree Top Adventure. And as part of the Bloggers’ Baguio Getaway Package, select bloggers, myself included, had a chance to experience this last May 12.

Tree Top Adventure is the only motorized zipline in the Philippines. Its vast Baguio City branch is conveniently located within Camp John Hay. So, aside from the rides, it offers breathtaking views of mountains and pine trees. If you’re not the thrill-seeker type and won’t be trying the rides, you can go just go on a trekking adventure.



Upon arrival, we had a short briefing first. Please take note that wearing of shorts, skirts or dresses for females are not allowed. Proper safety gears are also worn before you take a ride. Rates are as follows:



For the bold and courageous, try Tree Top’s most popular attraction– the Tree Drop in which you will rappel 60 ft above ground, Mission Impossible-style. I wasn’t able to experience this because it started raining and they have to close it for safety reasons. I was relieved because I was really afraid to try it. But seeing how the other bloggers enjoyed it, I’ll (try) do it next time.

photo by Eric Tan


Another favorite attraction is the Superman Ride where you will zipline Superman-style 150 ft high, 200 meters long over a ravine. What makes it different is you will also zipline backwards and it can be a tandem ride.

photo by Eric Tan


What I find interesting is the Silver Surfer. You (together with another rider) will be standing on a platform that glides up and down through the air. What make it quite scary are the sudden stops and swings.

photo by Eric Tan

The Skywalk is just an elevated walkway where you can get a good view of the whole theme park.

photo from www.treetopadventureph.com


Another attraction that I enjoyed is the Canopy. These are cable chairs elevated at 100 ft above ground that will take you to various stations within the park. It was relaxing to just be sitting there and taking in the view and fresh air.



Another Tree Top Adventure attraction is the Funicular Ride. It only takes about 5-10 minutes where you will just be seated on a ride that will just go up and down.

photo by Eric Tan


Tourist sites visits, horse-back riding, strawberry-picking or ukay-ukay shopping are not the only “things to do” when in Baguio City. Experiencing extreme adventure at Tree Top Adventure is definitely one good reason to visit the City of Pines.

For more info, Tree Top Adventure’s official website: http://www.treetopadventureph.com/


Special shout-out to TravelBook Ph, the official media partner for this event.  Check them out at: http://www.travelbook.ph/

Azalea Residences Baguio: A Fun Holiday Getaway

With the sweltering Manila weather, a cool Baguio escapade is something that I wouldn’t certainly miss. So on May 12, I joined 17 other bloggers for a 3D/2N Group Getaway sponsored by Azalea Hotels and Residences in the City of Pines.

Azalea Residences is the first 4-star serviced apartment hotel in Baguio City, meaning it has the conveniences of a hotel and the full services and amenities of a serviced-apartment. It is located on an enclave along Leonard Wood, near Teacher’s Camp.  It is quite hidden from the main road, so be alert in looking for the Azalea signage.



Lani, Leomy, Arianne, Richelle, Rejj and I were assigned to a 2-bedroom apartment suite. It has a master’s bedroom (with own bathroom), a guest bedroom and a convertible sofa bed in the living room with a bathroom (with towels and toiletries). 



Azalea also has deluxe hotel rooms, one bedroom apartment suites, and 3-bedroom apartment suites, perfect for family or groups.



The rooms are new, clean and spacious. These three things are what I look for in an accommodation. Plus the bed mattresses are comfy and the pillows, soft. 

Each room also has a flatscreen TV with DVD player and WI-FI access. It also has a dining area and kitchenette with electric cooktops and kitchen and dinnerware set for those who opt to cook and dine in the comfort of their rooms.



But of course, a trip Baguio wouldn’t be complete without visiting its famous tourist spots. And as part of the Getaway, Azalea came up with an itinerary for the must-visit sites, which are all within reach from the hotel. 

For Day 2, we went to the Mountain Maid Training Center which is popular for its ube jam, the breathtaking view Mines View Park, the good old Wright Park, the iconic Mansion, and the haunted Laperal House, yay!  Some of us checked out the Night Market along Harrison Road.



For Day 3, we went strawberry picking and pasalubong shopping at Strawberry Farm and appreciated art at BenCab Museum (one off my bucket list!).



And all throughout our stay, we were treated to a sumptuous feast at Tradisyon Coffee Shop, Azalea’s in-house restaurant. The selection features traditional local and international comfort food staples. My favorites are kare-kare, roasted chicken and of course, their famous hot chocolate.





I’ve been to Baguio a couple of times since I was kid and have visited most of the sites already, but this time, it is quite “refreshing”, so to speak. Thank you Azalea Residences for making our Baguio stay truly a fun holiday getaway!

For room rates and other info, visit Azalea Residences’ (Baguio) official website: http://www.azaleabaguio.com/

Special shout-out to TravelBook Ph, the official media partner for this event.  Check them out at: http://www.travelbook.ph/
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