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Four Things to See and Visit in Pampanga

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Home to the world-famous beer match, sisig and other innumerable savory dishes, Pampanga is known to be more than just the Philippines’ central hub of epicurean and gastronomic delights. Back in the 1800s, it was one of the eight provinces placed under martial law when it rebelled against the Spanish government. Today, it is known to be a vibrant and buoyant province with three cities and nineteen municipalities. However, apart from being incredible connoisseurs of Kapangpangan food, there is a lot more that would entice a local or a tourist to visit this lovely province. Aside from Alviera in Porac, there are a lot more attractions to see and behold in Pampanga.

Here are some of the spots you should see and visit whenever you get the chance to be in the province:

1.) Water Park

While Laguna has its share of a water park in the form of Splash Island, it has nothing against the couple of water parks situated in Pampanga. Puning Hot Springs which is located in Sapang Bato in Angeles City is known not only for its hot springs, but is also considered to be an Aeta ancestral land as well. Surrounded by lush and verdant foliage, Puning Hot Springs draws patrons by the droves with its eleven natural hot springs. For those who prefer something a little different, there is also a hot sand which visitors can soak themselves into. In Clark Freeport Zone, another water theme park has found home in the form of Fontana Water Park. It has a total of ten water park features and among them the wave pool is the most popular with waves as high as three feet coming in six kinds.

2.) Adventure Park

Pampanga has no shortage of adventure parks, and the Sandbox is just one of the many it hosts. Situated in Ayala Land’s Alviera estate in Porac, the Sandbox features the first rollercoaster zipline which gives visitors a rush of thrill and adrenaline. Furthermore, the Giant Swing which is known to be the tallest swing in the country can also be found here. In Mabalacat, one can find Zoocobia Fun Zoo. Do not be misled by the name though as it hosts more than just zoo animals and is, in fact, a theme park. Apart from the myriad of animals, one can see, it also boasts a garden maze full of animal topiaries while you make your way around the garden maze. Lastly, for individuals looking for a bit of a rush, they can try the Zooc which is the only gravity car track in the Philippines.

3.) Museums

Museums are the remnants of what was passed down in history and are considered to be cathedrals of ancient artifacts. Seeing as Pampanga is known to be an excellent place of history, it would only be understandable for it to have its fair share of museums. Nayong Pilipino is the epitome of Kapangpangan history as it features replicas of the Philippines’ most famous sights such as the Chocolate Hills and Magellan’s Cross. In Angeles City, one can find the Air Force City Park which doubles as a recreational facility that features and showcases actual fighter aircrafts used during the second world war.

4.) Natural Parks

Pampanga has no shortage of natural parks. If horseback riding is your thing, Clark Freeport Zone’s El Kabayo should definitely make it to your itinerary. The place itself is reminiscent of an old Western town inspired from an American cowboy movie. You can even see Western structures and establishments such as a makeshift saloon and a telegraph office to add to the authentic feel of a Western town. Activities one can enjoy are riding lessons, carriage tours, shopping and a myriad of photo opportunities.

 

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Must Read for Newbies in Budget Traveling

Given with a little amount of money, what can you do to all-out the fun and enjoyment with your travel? Well, actually there are a lot! Whether you are going for a day tour or three-days-two-nights trip, you can minimize your expenses without compromising the adventures you are out for. For example, if you are going to Cebu, condo out for staycation rent is good. Want more tips? Continue reading:

BEFORE WANDERING

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Draft your itinerary and other plans ahead of time

Every trip needs careful planning. From the flights, resort, and food choices and down to the activities you are going to do. Just remember to leave some time for spontaneity and rest.

Basically, planning ahead of your target travel date saves a lot of time and budget. Hello to Piso sales or seat sales of Airlines and discounts you can get if you book hotels few weeks or months prior to your stay.

And obviously, know how to save money

At the end of the day, you are still going to spend money. You just can’t say “Bahala na” and go on your trip even if you are so broke. Again, traveling requires enough money. Know how to save without compromising your needs.

Consider taking travel and tour packages

Surprisingly there are a lot of cheap travel and tour packages flocking online. If you are going to closely take a look at it, in some offers, you can still save a few bucks if you are going to plan on your own. However, considering that everything is already there usually includes transportation, accommodation, and itinerary, it’s also a good deal. However, some people don’t avail of travel and tour packages for they feel restricted on having their own activities.

Note that to ask for some free time if ever you are going to take travel and tour packages. You need and deserve it.

Read blogs and articles about others’ trip

It is also important to know some tips and reviews from other travelers. They’ve been there so most probably and they have a better grip on what’s with the place you are going to visit. It would be best if you have a friend or someone you can ask who resides in the location you opt to travel to. Ask for some advice and tips. You will be lucky if they allow you to stay in their place. So tipid!

DURING YOUR TRIP

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Set your budget for the day

Know and keep your limits. How much are you going to spend for the meals, transportation, and miscellaneous? You should also keep an allowance or extra on top of your budget.

Don’t be afraid to bargain

We all know that most, if not all, tourist hotspots tend to sell their goods and services way higher than the usual. Some are too much, but others are reasonable. If you can ask for discounts, go ahead. Don’t be too shy to ask but remain to be polite.

Go for carinderia or small food stalls for your meals

Sometimes, you can taste authentic delicacies in not-so-high-end food hubs. Aside from it saves you some money, eating at small food stalls will give you more positive and homey vibes.

Don’t forget to recall all your expenses vis-à-vis the things you’ve done after your trip or right before you leave the place. Make sure all your bags are packed, and nothing’s missing.

There you have it! For sure, you also have a lot of inputs for this topic. Nevertheless, we hope that this short blog was able to give you some clues or ideas for your next travel. True enough – we only live once, so you better make the most out of it. Do not let money matters hinder your way in setting your journey. Wish you all the best of adventures in life!

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Let’s Go to Pampanga!

With only a few weeks left before students go back to school and rain to start pouring down heavily (hello, rainy season), let’s go and explore Pampanga. Pampanga is a province in the Central Luzon and bordered by Tarlac, Nueva Ecija, Bulacan, and Zambales. Its capital is San Fernando, and Angeles City is considered to be its highly urbanized first-class city.

So before everything goes back to “normal” and storms come to our country, here are a few places you may visit in Pampanga:

Sandbox at Alviera

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Sandbox at Alviera, Porac, Pampanga maximizes the place’s sand-richness by being an outdoor adventure go-to. Experience Giant Swing, Philippines’ tallest swing, Aerial Walk Challenge, Avatar One, country’s first-ever roller coaster zip line, Outdoor Archery, and much more in Sandbox. This adventure place is a joint venture development of AyalaLand and LenioLand.

Sky Ranch Pampanga

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If you want some adrenaline rush, go and visit Sky Ranch, which is just around SM Pampanga, and try their 22 rides. Some of the must-try attractions are Bungee Jump, Drop Tower, Loop Roller Coaster,  Space Shuttle, and Super Vikings. There are also child-friendly attractions for the kids who may be too afraid to try those breath-taking rides or maybe they are not yet allowed to ride those. You can also see a giant Ferris wheel known as the Pampanga Eye, only for PHP 150 per ticket!

San Guillermo Church and Betis Church

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San Guillermo Church is a well-known tourist destination way before the catastrophic Mount Pinatubo eruption in 1991 as this Church is one of the oldest in the country. Also dubbed as “half sunken church,” this Baroque-styled Church at Bacolor Pampanga was built by Augustinian friars in 1546. Because of its beauty, this has been the primary location set of “May Bukas Pa,” an ABS-CBN primetime teleserye.

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On the other hand, Betis Church or St. James the Apostle Parish Church is another Baroque-styled Church but in Guagua, Pampanga. This astonishing “Sistine Chapel of the Philippines” is one of the National Cultural Treasures in the Philippines. Betis Church was constructed in 1607 as a dedication to St. James. It was built with concrete materials only 1770 after a few fire broke out within the Church.

Pamintuan Mansion

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The National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) and Angeles City local government led the inauguration of Pamintuan Mansion as the Museum of Philippine Social History last August 25. 2015. This 125-year-old mansion in Miranda Street, Barangay Sto. Rosario hosts different exhibits, collections, and artworks that showcase the daily lives of Filipinos. There is also a music room where you can listen to various songs as old as the one recorded in 1896. Pamintuan Mansion also became Gen.Emilio Aguinaldo’s headquarters when the seat of the government was moved from Cavite to Pampanga during the battle against the United States.

Pinatubo Museum

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This educational museum was pioneered by the Center for Kapampangan Studies of Holy Angel University to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Mt. Pinatubo eruption. You can see a mural timeline dating the history of Mt. Pinatubo years and years ago until its disastrous eruption on June 15, 2991. Pinatubo Museum is open to the public Mondays to Fridays.

Nayong Pilipino Clark

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One of the classic destinations for tours and field trips, visiting Nayong Pilipino will give you a quick cultural and historical tour of our country. This 45-acre amusement theme park homes miniature versions of different iconic Philippine wonders. So if you don’t have the luxury of time and an enormous amount of money to visit all the marvels of our country, you can still see them in Nayong Pilipino Clark. You can also see an exhibit of Malakas and Maganda, an old Philippine legend on how the human race started, mini versions of different Filipino tribes’ villages, and replicas of some of Filipino heroes’ houses.

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Four Reasons Why You Should Travel Alone

 

“We travel initially, to lose ourselves, and we travel next, to find ourselves. We travel to open up our hearts and eyes and learn more about the world…and we travel, in essence, to become young fools again–to slow time down and get taken in, and fall in love once more.” -Pico Iyer

Solivagant (adj.) wandering alone

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Travelling alone has always been something that has enthralled us. The idea of exploring a foreign place all by ourselves paints a very enchanting picture on our heads, yet very few of us would actually have the guts to push through with a solitary venture. Not all of us would attempt a solo travel for the reason that we are accustomed to having at least one person with us. The company would offset our fears of wandering about in a new place and would also provide us with the necessary companionship we so crave when we are traveling in foreign places.

However, travelling alone is an experience by itself than everyone should try at least once of their lives. The feeling of having only yourself as company and relying on no one else but you for decisions can truly be liberating and completely rewarding in a way few other experiences in life can match. So, if you are contemplating about having a solo expedition, these reasons below might convince you to push through with it.

 

1.) It makes planning easier

Travelling with a group means you have to take into account everyone’s preferences and decisions. You can all universally agree to doing the same things or some people would adjust their itineraries to suit another individuals preferences. When you travel alone, you have the freedom to choose whatever it is that you want to do. You may have bucket lists of places that you want to see and when you travel alone, you are at liberty to see them. Whether it is gourmet dining at a fancy restaurant, cliff diving in a foreign place ,scuba diving in foreign waters or any outdoor activities in the Philippines, nothing would hold you back from doing as you wish.

2.) You will meet new people more easily

Travelling alone makes it easier for you to interact with strangers and befriend them. Likewise, it is much easier for them to initiate a conversation with you too seeing as you do not have a horde of people crowding you. Travelling alone gives you the opportunity to make contact with the locals and discover more about their lives and the way they live. It also paves the way to lasting friendships for some.

3.) You become more accommodating in life

When you travel alone, you would realize that itineraries are nothing more than broad pictures or general plans of what you can do on a trip, but they should not dictate what you should and should not do. The important thing is, you get the most out of your trip. Remember, not everything will go into plan and at times you would wake up late or miss the tour group. In any case, you should not be disappointed, see this as a welcome opportunity to explore instead.

4.) It would boost your confidence

Travelling alone would enable individuals to be more in touch with themselves. It is an opportunity for self-contemplation and introspection and as a result can be a catalyst for boosting your self-confidence. When you are on a solo travel, you are mostly left to your own devices and would have no one else to rely on but yourself–for information, situation assessment and decisions. Each time you make the right decision, your sense of confidence and autonomy would soar.

 

Travelling alone might come off as a daunting experience to anyone who is accustomed to travelling in groups or at least with a companion. But, undertaking this refreshing experience of self-discovery can be a one-of-a-kind sabbatical in a way that you return home a new and better person than you were before. Do not be afraid to get out of your comfort zone and enjoy your solitude at least once in your life. After all, it might sound clichéd, but the best company in the world is no one else but yourself.

 

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Four Outdoor Activities For Weight Loss

 

 

Ti’s the season to be round, fat and jolly.

And if anyone asked me, what I am getting for Christmas they will be given a very straightforward answer: Fat. This holiday season, I am getting fat! I know that this much is true considering how much we gorge on party food during various soirees from office Christmas parties to get-togethers and Noche Buena with the family. However, roughly three months after that and we are officially in summer season giving you barely enough time to prepare for the bikini season. Sadly, most of us have still retained our holiday fat and flab. This is a disappointing reality. However, that does not necessarily have to be the case for the next year.

As early as today, draft your resolutions for 2016 and make an irrevocable pledge in achieving a healthy weight loss and do make sure you do just that. However, instead of enrolling yourself in your local gym for a couple of months or so, why not diversify your weight loss routine? Muscles and toned bodies are not all manufactured at the gym after all. Consider trying various ways into inserting a bit more flavor and spice to your weight loss regime and one way to do that is to immerse yourself in an outdoor activity that you are comfortable with. By losing weight this way, you are guaranteed not only of a workout but a fun activity you can enjoy as well.

Finding one that will suit you would not be too hard considering that outdoor activities in the Philippines are rather abundant recently.

Unsure what these activities are? Well, take a look at the list below and get some ideas from the examples.

CYCLING/BIKING

This is not only an effective weight loss activity, but it serves the dual purpose of you achieving your weight loss plan as well as conveying you from one place to another. Instead of taking spinning classes, try cycling instead and immerse yourself in the great outdoors. With cycling, time passes much faster and when in terms of effort, it tends to feel easier to do due to the easy distraction you have with the scenery. Cycling outdoors tones your glutes, quadriceps, shins, hamstrings and calves better than indoor cycling.

Approximate calories burnt: 240 calories and even more in endurance biking such as mountain biking.

BEACH VOLLEYBALL

Why lose weight alone when you can do it together with friends? Enjoy a scenic view and an enjoyable morning with friends playing this awesome full body workout. Beach volley targets and tones the arms, shoulders, abs as well as the legs and if that is not enough to entice you into trying this out then perhaps the beach will. The workout you do while playing a round of beach volleyball is quite expansive and inclusive as it constantly encourages you to move while utilizing many workout routines such as squatting, diving, jumping, etc. Additionally, the movement is done on sand which makes it more difficult and would definitely boost your calorie burn even further.

Approximate calories burned: 290 calories–equivalent to running at 5mph.

RUNNING OR JOGGING

Here’s a workout that you can easily do without having to worry too much about the gear. If you just have the appropriate running shoes, then you are all set. Much like cycling, running allows you to enjoy the surroundings while burning calories simultaneously. If you choose an uneven path, you will give your muscles a harder workout which means along with the wind resistance, you are burning more calories. Diversify and increase the difficulty of your run by choosing routes that incorporate uphill and downhill terrains to stimulate as many muscles as you can.

Approximate calorie burn: 290 calories at a pace of 5 mph.

WALKING

Not exactly groundbreaking neither new, but one you have might have been neglecting all your life. Instead of taking the car or the cab to a nearby place perhaps traipsing on concrete might be the healthier alternative for you. Walking may be the best outdoor activity in this list as it does not need any sports gear at all and is possible to do at any given time and anywhere. If you are not big on running then, consider this as another alternative.

Approximate calorie burn: 135 calories for brisk walking

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The Top Health Benefits of Biking

There are several reasons to start getting on a bike.
It is relatively cheaper to own than having to maintain your car.
It makes your daily commute eco-friendly as it burns fats in lieu of guzzling liters and liters of gasoline. It makes your navigation through traffic easier and faster–and oh, while enjoying all these, you get the added benefit of having an aerobic fitness regimen.
However, it does not stop there. . Cycling is, without a doubt, one of the best everyday activities we can incorporate into our daily lives for improving our health– apart from being the most efficient mode of locomotion of course. Although, the most apparent health benefit one can glean from cycling is a better waistline and a significant drop in pounds by burning those calories, these are not the only healthy advantages getting on a bike sustains. To know more about these are health benefits you can be reaping from this oft-neglected locomotive sport, read on.

CYCLING HELPS CONTROL WEIGHT AND OBESITY

Obviously, cycling and getting your legs moving in a rotating manner is a great way to burn fat, control or reduce weight. This is because as you pedal away, it would raise your metabolic rate thereby building your muscles as your burn body fat. Cycling complemented with a healthy dietary eating plan will aid you in losing weight. Additionally, cycling is an exercise that conforms to your pace and intensity as you control it and are free to change the intensity and the time as you wish. If you are still starting out, it is best to build it up slowly and work on it daily at varying speeds and intensities as you find comfortable and suitable.

CYCLING SHAPES YOUR LOWER MUSCLES

All those heavy pedaling are not for naught especially when you start developing more muscles in the lower part of your body. When you begin to cycle regularly, you will notice a significant change on your thighs, your rear end, and your calves. They will be more toned, and you will be stronger in these areas. For those of you suffering from joint conditions or injuries especially in the leg or hip area that might hinder you from doing any kind of sports activity, this is an advisable low impact mode of exercise.

CYCLING IS GOOD FOR YOUR HEART

Regular cycling stimulates your circulation and improves your overall cardiovascular condition and your lung condition as well thereby reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases. It decreases your resting pulse, lowers your blood fat levels and strengthens the muscles of your heart. Research has also suggested that people who regularly ride their bicycles to work are relatively exposed to less pollution than car commuters that will improve their overall lung function.

CYCLING SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCES THE RISK FOR DEVELOPING DIABETES

Diabetes Type II is commonly associated with obesity and lack of physical activity and as of late, it has been a rather rampant developing disease among people. Considering that the lack of physical activity or general exercise seems to be thought of as a major reason people develop this disease, it is only right for people to take up a form of exercise. Cycling, according to research developed in Finland, significantly reduced a person’s risk of developing diabetes. The research stated that those who actively took cycling for more than half an hour a day had lowered their risk of developing diabetes by forty percent by those who do not.

CYCLING AIDS THOSE AILING FROM BONE INJURIES AND ARTHRITIS

As cycling is considered a low-impact exercise that does not focus too much stress on the joints, it is an ideal sports activity or exercise for those suffering from osteoarthritis. Additionally, cycling helps you improve your balance and coordination as well as develop your strength.

CYCLING IS GOOD FOR YOUR OVERALL MENTAL HEALTH

People suffering from depression, anxiety and any form of mental illness can no longer appreciate the beautiful surroundings. Box them in a car and place them in traffic and you will only be aggravating an existing condition. Regular bike riding helps you reduce this type of stress and for those suffering from mental ailments, this is one failsafe way to improve your overall mental condition. This is because the effects of the activity itself, along with the enjoyment one feels in riding a bike, are factors that contribute to your overall mental well-being.

Going eco-friendly and saving up on fuel aside, incorporating cycling into your daily routine is a great investment for your health. It keeps your weight in check, strengthens your bones, tones your calves, is great for your heart and gives you a good feeling. So what are you waiting for? Start pedaling today!

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Top Reasons Why You Should Bike Instead of Drive to Work

Before we badgered out folks to teach us how to drive a stick shift car, all—if not most of us were itching to get on our very first bike and start learning how to drive a bicycle. We endlessly pleaded, bargained and negotiated to be taught how to get on a bicycle and traipse around the neighborhood in our two-wheeled vehicle. And until then, we have enormously neglected the many benefits associated with biking.
In the Philippine setting, most people would rather commute or drive to and fro from work. People seem to be under this erroneous impression that biking is saved for the staunch advocates of health and fitness activities that are in search for the best biking trails in the Philippines. With people’s perpetually busy lifestyles, rarely anyone has the time, opportunity nor the energy to bike to work. But with gas prices at an all-time high, you might just consider investing on your first bike as your primary vehicle. Apart from the obvious health benefits biking has, you would be doing our country favor you by significantly decreasing traffic and car-clogged roads in your daily commute.

Pecuniary reasons aside, there are so many reasons why you should drive a bicycle to work in lieu of a car, here are some of them:

YOU WOULD BE DOING MOTHER EARTH A FAVOR

It is a given that trading your car for a bike would be helping the environment vastly. Not only will you be saving money on gas, but this greener choice would mean your car would not have to guzzle gallon after gallon of gas thereby conserving resources. Additionally, you would be contributing to a cleaner and fresher air as biking significantly reduces air pollution.

FINANCING A NEW BICYCLE IS CHEAPER THAN MAINTAINING AN OLD CAR

Apart from the obvious that cars are significantly more expensive than even the best top of the line bicycles (never mind that you would be saving a lot of gas money as well), you would be saving more money when you invest in a new bicycle rather than maintain an old car. Old cars would need to be properly maintained yearly, and when you accumulate those expenses, you would have discovered you just spent a small fortune. For a well-made bicycle that, mind you, would outlast most cars, you would only need a few accessories for rain gear and lights which would make it practical for any season.

YOUR HEART WILL BE THANKING YOU

Cycling, by itself, already holds innumerable health benefits, but the biggest highlight of these health advantages is that you would be engaged in a very effective cardiovascular activity—one which your heart will be thanking you for. Depending on the bike trail or your riding style, you could easily burn six hundred calories through brisk cycling in an hour. Bike commuters have reported losing 15-20 pounds just in their first year of biking—even without changing their eating habits.

LOOKING FOR PARKING SPOTS WILL NO LONGER BE A HASSLE

As bikes are significantly smaller compared to cars, finding a parking spot will no longer encumber you especially if you are in a rush. It can easily be plopped anywhere and with the right security gear, you can keep it safe as well. Alternatively, there are also some foldable bicycle designs which would allow you to carry it with you should you want to keep a closer eye on it.

IT IS FASTER AS TRAFFIC JAMS WILL NO LONGER IMPEDE YOUR COMMUTE

I am not talking about the crazy antics some motorcycle and bicycle drivers practice. No, I am talking about breezing through a gridlocked traffic on rush hour and getting to your destination twice as fast than if you are stuck in traffic. With the Philippines growing more populous each and every year, it is inevitable that more people would be making their morning commute and clogging the roads. To avoid getting stuck there during the morning or evening rush, opt to take the bike instead.

So there you have it, the top reasons why you should be cycling instead of driving. Visit your local bike shop today and ditch the four wheels for a two wheel ride.