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Discover Philippines: The Five Best Outdoor Activities to Try in the Philippines

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“Some people choose activities which give them pleasure, while others seek pleasure in every activity they perform.”-Sukant Ratnakar

 

A tropical country of all sorts, the Philippines is known and well-regarded to be a holiday destination for thalassophiles who wish to indulge their craving for the ocean and saltwater.

However, while this Southeast Asian country is mostly known (and loved) for its summer capitals, scenic beaches, and picturesque mountainsides, it is also a known destination for thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies alike. With the country’s diverse landscape complemented by the dense and lush countryside, it is poised to become Southeast Asia’s next premier thrilling adventure destination. As a result, an influx of foreign travelers and tourists alike can be seen swarming in the country during the summer season. The Philippines plays host to a myriad of outdoor activities with each one promising a different kind of rush. Some would bring you over the edge, or allow you to conquer your fears. Regardless of what it is, each activity would give you a euphoric rush of adrenaline and excitement. With its wide range of activities, you are sure to find one that would cater to your fancy. From the physical activities suitable for kids and adults in the Sandbox Pampanga to jumping off cliffs to beds of water in Cebu, there is quite a lot for you to discover and experience.

Whether you are a meandering tourist looking for your next big adventure or a local who is seeking out new thrills or basically just someone who wishes to get out of their beds and their house, here are some of the outdoor activities in the Philippines you ought to try:

 

Mountaineering

If you are unafraid of heights and cliffs, then mountaineering is definitely an activity you have to try. The Philippines has an abundance of mountain ranges which you can explore and discover. Satisfy your climbing cravings or choose to conquer your fear of heights and deadly cliffs by embarking on a mountain climbing journey. As the Philippines has a lot of beautiful mountains to climb, you need not travel far just to realize that dream. More often than not, you would not even need to book an airline ticket just to indulge your fancy. One good tip before going on this adventure though is to make sure to take a lot of photos when you get there. The spectacular views are breathtaking and one-of-a-kind. Plus, they will definitely make for an interesting addition in your Instagram feed.

Mud Karting

You might want to skip this outdoor activity if you do not wish to get any dirt on your clothes. However, if you are not opposed to getting a little dirty then mud karting is an outdoor activity you might want to try. Indulge the adrenaline junkie in you and ride a dune buggy through an obstacle course full of mud. Just be sure to bring extra clothes though, as no one ever gets out of this activity with their clothes spotlessly clean. Expect to get really really dirty. If you wish to give this activity a try, head on over to the Holy Child School in Santo Nino which is located just outside of Puerto Galera and on the way to White Beach.

Sand Boarding

Sand dunes are not exclusive to the Middle East as the Philippines even has a local rendition of its own. In fact, the sand dunes of Ilocos Norte would rival the ones that can be found in the Middle East. Head on over to Laoag La Paz Sand Dunes in Ilocos Norte and engage in this outdoor activity that can be ridden alone or with a companion. Just remember, while you are enjoying this activity it is imperative to keep your mouth shut (No shouting allowed!), lest any sand gets in. So, go ahead and plan that road trip. Pack your bags and bring your hippest shades and go surf on the sand.

Sky Cycling

Available in Davao, Laguna and even in Negros Occidental, Bacolod, Sky Cycling is an activity that requires you to balance your body on a wire cable while being suspended mid-air. To some, the activity might be a daunting prospect, but once you get the hang of it, you would find that it can actually be pretty enjoyable. Furthermore, the resorts offering this activity have gone through extraordinary measures to ensure that the cables are not only safe but stable. So, if you want a different take to ordinary cycling, you might as well try this activity out.

Zipline

Over the years, ziplining has taken over the country’s adventure scene by storm. In fact, it is highly likely that you and your friends have experienced it at some point in your lives (unless you have an irrational fear or aversion for heights of course). In any case, ziplining can be done not only in the Philippines but in almost every part of the world. However, what sets the Philippines apart is the wide range of choices and places where you can do this activity. Furthermore, the Philippines is known to have the longest zipline in Asia which can be found in Oriental Mindoro. It has been said that the zipline is so long that you would be zipping from one line to another.

 

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Discover Philippines: Excellent Reasons Why Pampanga Will Be the Next Big Thing in Tourism

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“Tourism carries a tremendous potential that must be acknowledged as essential for the future of world heritage. But without proper management, we can easily get out of control.”-Bonnie Burnham

Pampanga, also known as the Philippines’ culinary capital and gastronomic mecca is poised to become the country’s next big thing in tourism.

Scrumptious and delectable aside, Pampanga has a lot to offer to both locals and tourists alike. It boasts of heritage and attractions you should see and also has exciting new developments which you should not miss out on. Furthermore, the province itself is teeming with hidden gems that most tourists do not know of yet so you can be assured that when you visit you can have the place all to yourself. While Pampanga is renowned for its incredibly diverse and vibrant local cuisine as well as its handicraft industry, there is more to this province than its Filipino staple food sisig. Tourists have been arriving by the droves just to see the new developments planned out in the city as well as to reinvigorate themselves with the old treasures and gems located within. As it is only a couple of hours away or so from Quezon City, why not schedule a visit and see what makes this humble province tick and stand out?

A province rich in heritage sites

Founded by the Spaniards in 1571, Bacolor was considered the colonial capital when Manila was under siege and invaded by Great Britain in 1762. A hundred years or so later, the first Philippine President, Aguinaldo situated the seat of the First Republic in Angeles back in 1899. Apart from these, Jose Rizal was also known to visit San Fernando in a train in 1892—the same train station where the Death March ended in 1942. Lastly, much of the landscapes have changed since the eruption of Pinatubo in 1991—the biggest one yet since Novarupta in 1912.

With all these considered, you can truly see that Pampanga has a wealth of history abound. Indeed, the province is teeming with centuries-old ancestral houses and structures—some of which have architectural structures that could marvel those that can be found in Europe. After all, where else can you find a functional church submerged in lahar to Betis, the Filipino rendition of the Sistine Chapel?

A variety of outdoor adventures

While Pampanga is already a progressive province on its own, being here is like being transported to another world—one without pollution and traffic while being offered the convenience and comforts of the city still. Apart from that, you can truly enjoy the countryside ambiance, fresh air, and lush, verdant greenery without needing to travel far. One of Pampanga’s main attractions is the Sandbox located in Alviera where they offer a myriad of city and countryside adventures alike to patrons. Some of its most popular attractions include the country’s first roller coaster zip line and the Philippine’s Giant Swing.

If you have the nerve for it, you can test your skills on the Aerial Walk Challenge or free fall from the 5-story Adventure Tower and more. In any case, your days would certainly not be dull should you ever plan to visit the Sandbox as an abundance of activities would await you while there.

A wealth of cultural experiences

One of the exciting things about Pampanga is that there is almost always a festival happening somewhere. One such festival of particular notice is called Aguman Sanduk in Minalin which translates to Ladle Brotherhood. It occurs every January where straight men celebrate and honor the women in their lives with a cross-dressing pageant. By the time February sets in, locals and tourists alike would prepare themselves for colorful skies during the Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Festival. During the summer and by the time Easter rolls around, San Fernando draws crowds by the thousands comprising of religious devotees, curious onlookers as well as fans of the macabre yearly religious tradition.

Apart from these, there is a myriad more to experience in Pampanga where you would get a sliver of its cultural experience. From food to religious practices, almost everything is celebrated in this province.

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Five Family Friendly Activities You Can Do in Pampanga

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“Traveling in the company of those we love is home in motion.” -Leigh Hunt

The weekend is usually reserved for families to bond, relax and spend some time together. Typically, most Filipino families would flock to the malls, major commercial and entertainment establishments with their families on these days. However, it can get rather dull and predictable if you and your family are doing this week after week. After all, Manila might have a myriad of malls, but if your typical weekend is consistently spent watching movies and eating at restaurants, it can get pretty boring fast. If this is the case, then a change or scenery should be in order. So, if you are seeking a fresh new way to spend your weekends with your family, plan a day trip to Pampanga where the food is not only divine, but the activities are diverse and numerous. Pampanga is only an hour or two away from Manila, so it would not be too difficult to plan. Furthermore, with a long list of restaurants, heritage places and historical landmarks, the province has a multitude of options for adventure. Here are some of the best activities you can try with your family on a weekend in Pampanga:

1.) Have a grand adventure in Sandbox

If you and your family have a penchant for outdoor activities, you are going to love the Sandbox in Alviera. Located in Porac, this adventure park has a lot of thrilling and exciting activities you and your famiy can try. For those who wish to test their balancing skills, you can try the Aerial Walk Challenge, or you can ride the Philippine’s Giant Swing, or simulate flying with the roller coaster Zipline. Be sure to be there early as there is a capacity limit for the rides. No need to worry about an age limit as most of the rides are suitable for kids aged 7 years and above.

2.) Explore Dinosaurs Island

If you have little tots with an interest of Mesozoic Era, then they are going to enjoy Pampanga’s Dinosaurs Island. Fans of the hit movie Jurassic Park will similarly find fun in this theme park as well. Life-sized animatronic dinosaurs are abound the tyheme park while you walk along the forest trail. Furthermore, a trip to the park can be an educational experience as well as a guided tour is offered where you can observe giant fossils and even watch a dancing dino show.

3.) Reach new heights in the Pampanga Eye

If you want to see the province from a unique vantage point then climb aboard Pampanga’s Eye , the country’s known tallest ferris wheel. Found in the Sky Ranch of pampanga, you and three of your family members can fit into one of its air-conditioned gondolas where you can observe the perimeter of the province from a bird’s eye view. However, if heights are not your thing, you can try the amusement park’s other rides such as the Loop Roller Coaster and the Double Decker Carousel.

4.) Relax at Puning Hot Springs

Being able to relax from a long week at work is anyone’s idea of what a good weekend should be like. If you and your family think along the same lines, then you might want to visit Puning Hot Springs. However, you would need a 4X4 vehicle that can brave the rugged landscape around Mt. Pinatubo just to get there. The little effort required to reach this place is not all for naught however as there are various activities you can enjoy. You can take a dip in the natural pools of the volcano, have a unique and pampering spa experience by being covered in sand from the neck down as well as enjoy the natural sights.

5.) Go food tripping in Angeles City

Pampanga is known as the central hub for gastronomic treats, epicurean dishes and delightful meals. It would be no question that some people would consider Kapangpangan people as the connoisseurs of tasty food as the province itself is known for some of the most delicious Filipino food. Never leave Pampanga without at least sampling some of what their homegrown restaurants has to offer. From tasting their siganture dish, sisig at Aling Lucing’s Sisig to having a refreshing dessert at Kabigting’s Halo-halo, your foot options are virtually limitless.

 

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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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Summer 2017: Top Getaway Destinations Near Manila

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“Looking at the beauty in the world, the first step of purifying the mind” -Amit Ray (Meditation: Insights and Inspirations)

As March enters 2017, so does the promise of a scorching summer to come. Gone are the cold and breezy days replaced by humid morning temperatures with equally hot nights. On the months ahead, we will be bidding our sweaters and long-sleeved tops goodbye and saying hello to cropped tops, bikinis, the distinct smell of the beach and our favorite pair of aviators. Indeed, as for March ushers in a new season, everyone will be welcoming in the happiest and sunniest season of the year, summer. This is the season most individuals would love to get away from the perpetual hustle and bustle of the city and experience the calm and quiet of the countryside or the vibrant life at the beach. Unfortunately, if you are operating on a tight schedule, it can be hard to negotiate a vacation in between your work commitments.

Not to fret, however, as there are a lot of destinations near Manila that would not even require an overnight trip. So, if you are planning for a summer excursion, there is no need to look far, here are the weekend getaways near Manila you can visit for a short and brief holiday:

1.) Minalungao National Park (Nueva Ecija)

Take a break from the usual crystal blue waters and enjoy something a little bit different such as the emerald green waters of Penaranda River in Minalungao National Park. As the summertime draws in, it is the perfect time to visit this place. Owing to the less rainfall of the season, the river is calmer and clearer making it safer for rafting, cliff jumping and even swimming. If trekking is more of your thing, the 16-meter limestone walls flanking the river are as equally inviting as the river is. If a quick trip is on your weekend itinerary, Minalungao is easily accessible with only a 3-hour ride from Manila, and it is friendly to your pockets as well.

2.) Taal Heritage Town

If you are looking for the feel and ambiance of Vigan without having to book a plane ticket or driving for seven hours, then all you would need to do is head to Batangas. The beautiful ancestral homes and gorgeous architecture of Tall Heritage Town in Batangas are reminiscent of Vigan and would take you back to a place you can only see in history books and black and white albums. It is easy to get charmed by the place’s hundred-year-old knickknacks and vintage pieces that you would not only get a well-deserved break but a trip back in time as well.

3.) Corregidor

History buff and enthusiasts would enjoy Corregidor as it is the perfect place for a slice of culture and history. This province in Cavite has diverse activities to offer, but its main attraction is definitely the rich and colorful history from World War II. But apart from that, Corregidor has pristine nature trails, its own beach, and wildlife. Lastly, it is not that far from Manila (only an hour away by boat). If you are looking for a bit of history with a little culture in solitude thrown into the mix, this place is perfect for you.

4.) Baler

Though it is not exactly what you would call near (driving to Baler would take you a few extra hours), it would all be a matter of perspective once you arrive and set foot and Baler where a myriad of activities awaits you. To surfers and trekking enthusiasts, this place is paradise, and for someone looking for the perfect synergy of nature, culture, history and adventure, this place is the ultimate escapade. If you are looking for an unlimited array of activities to do in such a short time, Baler should be your top pick.

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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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