Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Couldn’t get over this most terrific exchange program I was in so far. So many connections established, camaraderie gained, and learning digested. Thank you, United States of America! 🙂





I can barely remember the times when I have had my vacation- I mean not related in any way of work and studies. I guess this trip has compensated the things that I was lacking just right after graduation- friends, adventure, and me-time. Though I was surrounded by sets of lovers, just then I thought that I can enjoy everything that comes my way without someone. Thanks to Jelah/Joshua and Bridgette/Francis for making me fathom that being alone doesn’t mean I’m lonely.

I fell in love with Cebu several times. Of course, we prepared for this trip several months ago. Me, Jelah, and Joshua agreed to implement the rule “no-restaurant-eating” during the entire trip, to lessen the expenses and use the money instead exploring all the things possible in Cebu. We seldom use the cab and ride the jeepey (which costs Php 8.00-12.00 every trip), ferry boat (Php 12.00), and motor cyclye (Php 20.00) instead, to reach our itinerary every day. The mode of transportation in Cebu since the jeepneys have number coding (e.g. 12I, 1k, 12J) so if you’re in a hurry, taxi should get along your way.

When we arrived, we were starving, a lot, and decided to eat Ginat-an along the streets. We had meat soup, rice and soft drinks, just enough to satisfy us. With our stomach full, we only paid Php 280.00 and there were five of us. The entire trip was this thrifty but worthy, and we never expected the trip to be two times as thrifty as we expected.

Here’s an overview of where we went:

The Mactan Shrine

This was me in Mactan Shrine :)

This was me in Mactan Shrine 🙂

Cebu IT Park

Cebu IT Park now vibrantly brings together top-class talent and technology in a community that was master-planned as a convergence of Asian architectural warmth and efficient Western functionality.

Cebu  IT Park also strives to preserve its beautiful environment through well-maintained landscape and greenery to complement the high-rise infrastructure of its global locators. Tall buildings, brightest lights ever!

Fort San Pedro

Squad goes to Fort San Pedro

Squad goes to Fort San Pedro.

Fuerza San Pedro, the fort is described as built of stone mortar with a terraplein where guns are mounted. The fort contains the necessary buildings. The largest of these buildings was the “Cuerpo de Guardia” where the personnel that manned the fort lived. Adjacent to it was the “Vivende del Teniente” which was the living quarters of the lieutenant of the Fort.

Basilica Menor del Santo Niño

Sorry for the wrong dress code :)

Sorry for the wrong dress code 🙂

“Basilica Minore del Santo Nino Cebu” is the oldest Roman Catholic Church of 16th century in Cebu city. Located in the center of the city and is a perfect example of combination of three different architecture styles . The church was built at the exact location where the image of Santo Nino that means the Black Holy Child Jesus was found. Unfortunately, we were not able to go inside the church since we wore improper dress codes for a religious institution.

Magellan’s Cross

Me with my anak, Jelah :)

Me with my anak, Jelah 🙂

This cross is housed in a chapel next to the Basilica Menor del Santo Niño on Magallanes Street (Magallanes being the Spanish name of Magellan), just in front of the city center of Cebu City. A sign below the cross describes the original cross is encased inside the wooden cross that is found in the center of the chapel. This is to protect the original cross from people who chipped away parts of the cross for souvenir purposes or in the belief that the cross possesses miraculous powers.

Rainforest Park Cebu

Rainforest Jungle Adventure

Rainforest Jungle Adventure.

The first of its kind in Cebu of a well-thought unique concepts that encloses an inspired mix of entertainment, adventure, leisure, educational, dining and unwinding for the entire family.

SM City Cebu

SM City Cebu with these girls.

SM City Cebu with these girls.

We went to SM to have snacks and God, it was a hell of a shopping mall!

Butterfly Sanctuary

Me, my eye bags and the preserved owl butterflies.

Me, my eye bags and the preserved owl butterflies.

Prof. Jumalon amassed a vast collection of butterflies through his travels worldwide and by trading local Philippine species with foreign ones. Jumalon’s fascination with Lepidopterans did not just end in having them preserved and framed. He wanted the butterflies close by especially the rare ones. So to invite these insects he planted his residence with butterfly food plants. He also caught live specimens and released them in his garden. His butterfly collection is known to be the oldest and perhaps the biggest in the Philippines. So amazed by the little creatures I’ve witnessed. Wonderful were the masterpieces made out from dead butterflies.

Taoist Temple

The Taoist Temple.

The Taoist Temple.

The temple is the a center of worship for Taoism, the religion which follows the teachings of the ancient Chinese philosopher, Lao Tze. You can see Taoist devotees following their traditional rites and rituals on Wednesdays and Sundays, as they climb the 99 steps of the temple to light joss sticks and have their fortunes read by the monks. Took a lot of pictures because the aura was so Chinese. I felt Chinese back this time.

Ayala Center Mall

The nice thing about Ayala Mall in Cebu is if you need a break from shopping you can go sit at one of the many shops on the Terraces and just relax and have a drink or dine on one of the many different cuisines that are offered on all levels. Ayala Mall Cebu is located near the IT Park and in the heart of the Cebu City Business Park. Ayala Mall Cebu is the area’s most beautiful and comfortable mall to go shopping and dining with live entertainment events on the ground floor almost daily. We ate lechon for snacks, and oh, the mall was pretty much big!

Crown Regency Hotels Crown Regency Hotels and Resorts Sky Experience Adventure

Our jump shot after 6 exciting activities.

Our jump shot after 6 exciting activities.

We were asked to wear an orange jumpsuit and white sneakers before stepping out in the platform. There were also guides that walked us through the edge of the building aside from the harness as support of course. I briefed myself not to look down because it may just take away the little courage I have left. Fortunately, nothing bad happened to me after that but still my fear of heights is still present until now.

We tried the bucketlist challenge which includes Skywalk, Edge Coaster, 6D Theater, Tower zip, Wall Climbing, and Vertex. Oh my gosh, amidst the heights, we made in in 5 hours! You guys must visit if interested. The activities are a little bit expensive. However, the experience will be worth the price, I tell you.

Karancho Beach Resort

The lovers.

The lovers.

Karancho is a nice and spacious resort located in Maribago, Lapu-Lapu City on Mactan Island, Cebu Province, Philippines.

It is a resort that is friendly to family picnics and group gatherings. And, it is a great place for parties, event venue, and obviously a beach resort with facilities for various activities. We had so much great times here since girls did the grocery and the boys made all the cooking- which is something I’m proud of. We went boating and of course, swimming!

Of all the food we tasted, the Tuslob Buwa (Deep Bubbles) was my favorite. It was made out from pig’s brains (yep, you read it right), liver, onions, and oil. Amazing it is since we were the ones who cooked for it and it tasted like so heaven. It;s the first time I tasted it and i will never get tired of dipping the puso (steamed rice cooked in coconut leaves). Really one of the best!

This is how a tuslob buwa menu looks like

This is how a Tuslob Buwa menu looks like.

Me and my friends waiting for the Tuslob Buwa :)

Me and my friends waiting for the Tuslob Buwa 🙂

Traveling is not for the rich. Traveling is for the people who wanted to see the world and to explore new things- going out of their comfort zones and see what the universe has to offer. Honestly, I didn’t bring too much money but I’m glad I still have enough when I get home. Travel is giving yourself a chance to relax and the chance for the world to know you more.



(Note: Some of the historical descriptions were grabbed from the internet)

Conquering Jakarta in the first quarter of 2014 has never been a dream for me. I never thought that this trip will make my January awesome. Again, I am blessed to have this kind of experience, a once in a lifetime opportunity.

I stayed in Jakarta for almost 5 days, and I never failed to see its beauty. Though Jakarta is like our typical Manila, where traffic is really terrible, the people there are also like Filipinos- hospitable, kind, and trustworthy. Thanks to my Indonesian friend, Septo Adi Kristanto Simanjuntak, who was my tour guide and he let me stay in his brother’s house for a certain amount of time. So hospitable, right?

My true purpose in Jakarta was not for mere fun only but for a Peace Conference. I arrived 1 day earlier than the conference, so I used that time to explore Jakarta. It was raining all the time, floods are everywhere, but my friend and I did not mind all the endeavors- we went around Jakarta riding a motorcycle but of course, with helmets on.

I just had with me a hundred dollars on my pocket to buy for souvenirs and everything I want. Basically, US Dollars is not the official currency of Indonesia but then it became the basis for all the currencies in the world. Before I left Manila, I asked a money changer kiosk at the airport if how much Rupiah will I have if I have a hundred US Dollar. The teller told me, I will have 750,000 Rupiah. But that was smaller than what I have expected. As I have read in the internet, 1 US Dollar= 12000 Rupiah. So I decided to convert my money just when I arrive in Indonesia. And poof! I became a two day millionaire with 1,200,000 Rupiah!

Before I land, I really asked my friend to bring me to cheap stores so I can buy many things. He didn’t fail me. We went to cheap stores where you can find everything that will amaze you- traditional food, souvenirs, and many more. I bought 9 “I love Jakarta” shirt and it just caused me 150,000 Rupiah, and that is like 540 pesos. Cheap, right?

After we bought the shirt, I heard my tummy complaining. Oh, it was time to eat. I was so hungry that I ate 2 pc chicken at KFC. Oh, I wished to eat traditional foods that time but I was afraid that they will not satisfy my hunger. But yeah, eating in KFC Indonesia was an epic fail. After we ordered, I was dying to look for spoon, fork, and gravy. There was none. I had to eat bare hands with ketchup and sweet chili sauce. It has been a tradition in Indonesia not to use spoon and forks in fast food chains like McDonalds and KFC. And by the way, what you see in the menu is not the actual appearance of your order. You will get bigger chicken, bigger size of drinks, and more rice- which is wonderful.

I bought mum a bag, which amounted to 50,000 Rupiah It’s not what you think that can easily be broken down because of its cheap price. No. It’s handy and durable, believe me. For myself, I bought a pair of shoes, for 35,000 Rupiah, it is a unique shoes cause I haven’t seen this kind of design in the Philippines yet. It is so comfortable and can be worn at all times.

At the end of the day, I felt my back aching cause we toured around Jakarta by just using a motorcycle and yeah, that’s one of a kind experience- stuck in the traffic where your travel is supposed to be just a 30-minute ride but you ended up falling in line with some other motor drivers for almost an hour and a half. Take note, we always park when we go to a shop, but we have to pay a thousand or two rupiah to the caretaker. There was a time that a men obliged us to give him 5,000 Rupiah. But that was fine, I was a 2-day millionaire anyway. LOL

In the evening, we went to Monas tower. I never wanted to be in the tower because I am tired already but my friend have been dying to please me to go to that place. Again he didn’t fail me. It was one of a kind. When I saw it, I was so amazed that I had goose bumps. I concluded that it was once in a lifetime opportunity so I must not fail to take a photo op. My friend asked one of the by standers, who happened to be staying in Monas with his boyfriend. Yes, they were both boys.

We stayed there for almost 10 minutes. After then, we went to Jakarta’s biggest mall. I just forgot the name but it was composed of 8 floors. It was jaw-dropping—very cold, very expensive goods, people in there are elites. But one thing that surprised me, on the 8th floor, they have a sex lounge. Yes, you read it right, a sex lounge where prostitution is legal. My friend told me that you just have to bring your passport, if you are a foreigner, and a just compensation, then you are good to go with hot, sexy, and beautiful girls. I just don’t know whether males are available.

My trip to Indonesia is really unexpected. I have encountered plenty of trials and circumstances just to make my trip possible. Of course, it wouldn’t have been meaningful without the support of the people who really cared for me. My seminar, “International Conference on Youth for Peace” gave me the idea that there are numerous people in this world are also looking forward for peace. Not only youths, but also the middle-aged people. With that, I conclude that peace has always an effort to make everyone united.

In terms tourism, I will encourage you to go to Indonesia. Not because of the traffic, but because of the nice and hospitable people that will accept you no matter what your raise is. I guess, anyone in this world has that unique identity because I have mingled with at least 55 nationalities during the conference. And I am not guilty of not making friends for that 3-day wholesome event.

Indonesia is one of a kind. That’s all I can say, that’s all.













Remnants of Japan Experience

Posted: October 16, 2013 in Articles, Travel
Tags: , , , ,

Upon arrival– We arrived in Tokyo Narita International Airport in the night of May 25th. When we were about to make a line in the immigration, I observed that the employees that were facilitating were very hospitable and caring. Even if they still don’t know us, we really received a very warm welcome.

Day 1- We arrived one day ahead than the other participating country so we really had so much time to roam around the hotel in the morning. Upon the arrival of other delegation, you can really see how they were grateful to be a part of the JENESYS 2.0.They were participative in making friends especially Vietnam, Laos, and Thai people. In the afternoon, I was really amazed because the briefing really started on time.

Day 2- During our travel from Narita to Tokyo, I was really astonished seeing that every corner of the street has street lights. The driver of every car is really following the traffic rules. Even when there’s no one crossing, the cars really stop when the lights turn red. There were no blowing of horns and over speeding. The briefing started at 10:00 but they mandated everybody to be seated at 9:45. Just an evidence that Japanese people really value every second.

Day 3- Day 3 came and we, the participants, were obliged to go in our perspective prefecture already. I came to meet plenty of friends living in other ASEAN Nations. That was the beginning of gaining the friendship. Finally, we rode in the bullet train (the greatest vehicle/means of transportation I could ever wish for by the way). I seated near the window on the right so I could take a glimpse of Mt. Fuji. When we arrived in Nara, the people there never failed to make you feel welcomed. It was also the first time that we encountered the Craft museum and Temples. Japanese people are doing all the means in maintaining what they have that they think makes them rich in culture.

Day 4- We went to plenty of temples and shrines in Nara and I was amazed how they preserver their infrastructures. They make the as a tourist spots and a place for field trips. In one temple we went, I took plenty of pictures with the Nara(deer) because they are free to roam around and mingle with other people. I believe Japanese people don’t make any harm to those animals because they believe that creatures around them contribute to their luck.

Day 5- In this day, I realized how eco-friendly Japan is. They make the most of everything they do without harming the environment. They do things to help ease the daily activities without giving risks to their surroundings. I’ve come to realize this idea when we were able to visit the Daiwa House that says, “Endless Innovation”.

Day 6- Day 6 was the time to meet Japanese students in Doshisha University. The students there don’t judge you with your physical appearance or so. They don’t mind how you speak English because their main purpose is to make friends. I was so fascinated when I met one Politics student that was able to study in the Philippines for a semester. She was uttering all the Tagalog words she could still remember. She really has a sharp memory. In the late afternoon, we had a workshop and all of my group mates was so participative that all has something to day.

Day 7- During our travel back to Tokyo for our final presentation, I can see cleanliness everywhere. When we had our lunch, I saw that the people in every kiosk where so busy. There were no salesladies, just the owner of the store. The people were very business- minded that they have no time to relax. During the presentation, all of the groups presented well applying all that they have learned in the program. Technology, friendships, and critical thinking.

Day 8- The time of saying goodbye. A week of being together is a really hard time to break the friendship gained. All of us cried, I mean all of us since we are united to each other now. But nevertheless, we are proud of bringing the Nation’s name in to success. And upon our way home, the big challenge is in our shoulder to apply what we have learned to make ASEAN countries as one in December 31, 2013.


  • Japanese people really value time which is a failure to the Filipinos.
  • Japan is economically and technologically progressing in a way that they could not harm others while in the Phil., Filipinos will do all the means just to earn money.
  • Though Japan is a very rich country now they never fail to treasure their temples and shrines. They always keep their tradition and values with nevertheless of the modernization happening.
  • Japanese people are very hardworking. They are business- minded that I’ve seen no saleslady on the stores. Instead, the owners themselves will serve you while in the Philippines you can see saleslady almost every corner in the store.
  • For Japanese people, serving is loving. I just noticed in the Philippines, plenty do not serve without expecting something in return.


  •  I strongly recommend that homestay during the program should be implied. I think home visit for 3 hours is not enough where the participants and the host family is jut in the stage of knowing each other. They won’t get any interactions and sharing about their culture, traditions, and values. This is what I think is lacking but the entire program and trip was a big YES.


            Being one of the delegates for the JENESYS 2.0 Batch 2 is not a journey to explore but a challenge to be accepted.

            Essay and credentials are our primary tools that took us to the Land of the Rising Sun. In my own experience, the trip was an educational tour. The Japanese Govt., gave me an idea how progressive Japan is. Somehow, I have reflected what the problems in the Philippines are and how they can be solved using the knowledge that I am acquiring every day when I was in Japan.

            After the program, I believe that the Japanese Govt., will not follow us in our country and observe how we will use the information that we had. I think that they just want the commitment. The commitment to initiate/make a change in your own country.


            Of course, I wouldn’t be able to participate in this program without the support of my parents. My sisters who aided me financially and my peer who emotionally motivated me. My primary thanks goes to my college professor, Me. Ricky G. Abalena III for he was the one who encouraged me to apply for this program. Without his challenging words, I wouldn’t be applying at all. To the National Youth Commission especially to Ms. Sarah G. Grutas who was my adviser during the process of my passport. Without her opinion and suggestions, I should be joining the third batch now. Above all, to God Almighty who is and will continue to guide me every step of the way. Without His permission, my travel from ILO-MNL-NRT and vice versa will not be successful. To God be the Glory! JImageImageImage