Nowadays, it’s imperative to have online and mobile services. No matter what your business is. What will set you apart from your competitors is how convenient and helpful your online and mobile services actually are.
I have several bank accounts and I have tried various online and mobile banking services. I love the BPI 24/7 services the best.
BPI Express Online Site
BPI Account owners may do their online banking, leisurely and hassle-free, at www.bpiexpressonline.com. One of the things I really like about this banking site, is how it allows me to choose my own username and password. Other banking sites have pre assigned usernames or require you to enter your ATM PIN or other information before you can even log in. Inconvenient, right? Meanwhile, BPI gives me the convenience of using my choice username and password, without having to look at my bank passbook or bank card every time I log in. Continue reading →
Have you ever wandered off to an unknown place and thought… “how would I know where to go? Where should I eat? WHAT should I eat?”
FoodSpotting Boracay Map
Various social media apps and sites would be helpful for tourists or traveling businessmen. Some of these are Fouraquare and Trip Advisor. A lot of social media savvy people get a helpful travel tips from these apps. My favorite among these apps is FoodSpotting. Why? Because my favorite thing to do is eat.
During our recent family vacation to Boracay, some of us already had a few restaurants in mind. And Google was also very helpful in suggesting restaurants. The problem really was in knowing what dishes to order from those restaurants. This is where FoodSpotting is helpful.
Check out the FoodSpotting map of Boracay above. And this one below that screen captured from the FoodSpotting Android App, using my Samsung Galaxy SIII Mini:
FoodSpotting Android App Boracay Map
FoodSpotting doesn’t just recommend restaurants, it recommends dishes.
FoodSpotting not only recommends restaurants, it also recommends dishes. It gives users the opportunity to recommend specific dishes in restaurants by uploading a photo the dish, naming it, naming where it can be ordered or bought, and describing what it is. The uploader can even leave a note on whether or not he loved the dish or not. Other users can comment on the photo and mark it as something they also love or something they want.
So if you’re in an area you’ve never been to, you can just open the FoodSpotting app and search for the latest and most recommended food in the area.
Thanks to FoodSpotting, my family and I were able to experience some of the best dishes in Boracay. Some of these food finds are:
FoodSpotting English Bakery and Tea Room’s Special Breakfast Set
FoodSpotting Hama Japanese Cuisine’s Gyudon Stamina
FoodSpotting Jonah’s Shakes’ Mango Melon Shake
FoodSpotting Aria Cucina Italiano’s Gelato
More on these on my food blog, soon. For the meantime, check out my very own FoodSpotting tips:
If you’re a food spotter, especially if you’re a food blogger, FoodSpotting is also a great way to instantly upload your food photos and notes.
It can also be a way to promote your blog or site.
FoodSpotting also makes it easy for you to share your food discoveries on Instagram and Foursquare. You can upload the photo via Instagram and even put it on the map with a Foursquare connection.
FoodSpotting is also very helpful in knowing the latest food finds in your very own neighborhood.
FoodSpotting is available for both iOS and Android users. Just open your app store and search for FoodSpotting.
As a food spotter who loves discovering new food finds and sharing them with my friends, it pays to have a reliable data plan that allows me to surf and share anywhere I may be. As a Globe subscriber, I get to enjoy my smartphone with Globe PowerSurf 499 which gives me 1GB of consumable mobile data valid for 30 days.
The Sinulog Festival is an annual Cebuano festival held on the third Sunday of January. It is a Catholic festival celebrating Cebu’s patron saint, the Santo Nino. It is touted as the biggest mardi gras festival in the Philippines.
The Santo Nino at the end of the Procession
On the Saturday before the grand parade, the Cebuanos hold the “Procession.” Locals and tourists alike join a lengthy walk around the city holding with them their Santo Nino. For some, this is a panata (devotion) which they do every year. It’s very hard to go around the city on this day as most streets are either closed or redirected. Taxis are nowhere to be found and jeepneys are only on selected routes.
On the Sinulog day itself, there’s a Sinulog Festival Grand Parade of colorful floats, schoolchildren, and street dancers go around the city. Spectators fill the streets to the brim. It is one of the grandest and most popular festivals in the Philippines.
The Sinulog Crowd of Santo Nino Devotees
I hesitantly joined the Sinulog Festival 2012 and I was surprised to have totally enjoyed it. I’m not a fan of the heat, being outdoors, crowds, and dust, you see. Being that the Sinulog Festival is the biggest mardi gras in the Philippines, most of the merry-making are dones outdoors. With, literally, MILLIONS of people joining in on the fun and celebration it made me a bit uneasy. Initially. It’s hard not to have fun when everybody’s smiling and in a party mood.
Enjoying the 2012 Sinulog with friends on board a float
Here are my Top 5 Tips to Survive and ENJOY the Sinulog Festival:
Have an itinerary and have a map handy. Yes, yes, yes… being spontaneous can be fun. But it ain’t as fun when there’s are crowds of people EVERYWHERE and its’ hard to contact other people because network signals are weak. Prepare an itinerary complete with specific meet up points and time schedules. Here’s the Sinulog 2013 Schedule of Activities to help you out.
Last year, the parade was a few blocks from the hotel I was staying in and I ended up somewhere in Carbon market while trying to get back to the hotel. Even the most reliable 3G connection may bug down and will render you helpless if you’re lost. So it’s best to have a map handy. And yes, please study it beforehand. And learn the procession and parade routes, as well so you’ll know which streets are open and which aren’t. Here’s the 2013 Sinulog Map.
That way, even when you find it hard to contact your buddies or you get lost in the crowd, you’ll know where to go next.
Dress for comfort but prepare for rain. It can get hot, humid, and really, really sweaty out there so dress like it’s summer. And have an extra shirt or towel handy. Wear comfortable slippers, sandals, or sneakers. You will probably do a LOT of walking. But do prepare in case it will rain as it always does during the Sinulog parade. Bring a lightweight rain coat or umbrella. Or be prepared to get wet.
Charge and secure your gadgets. While the networks signal might be weak, it’s still best to have your phone with you. And yes, make sure to have your camera ready to immortalize those epic Sinulog moments. Make sure to keep these in a secure, waterproof bag. I think it’s best to leave those big gadgets in your room. Just bring your mobile phone and a compact camera.
Learn a few Bisaya phrases. Unless you’re traveling with a Bisaya speaker, you will most definitely get lost or confused. My friends had a hard time just trying to buy water. Lelz! It might be too late to learn the dialect all together but knowing a few phrases will come in handy.
Some phrases that might come in handy:
> Asa ni? – Where is this?
> Pila ni? – How much is this?
Ask a Cebuano friend to teach you more. Or buy a Bisaya phrase book. If in doubt, speak English not Tagalog.
Keep your cool and go with the flow. With that many people and that big a crowd all in one city, some things are definitely bound to go wrong. You might get stuck in traffic. You might get lost. You might get stepped on, crushed, or shoved. You might not be able to eat, drink, sleep, pee, or rest for HOURS. The best way to face that problem is just to accept it and let it be. Just get on with it, go with the flow, and enjoy the crowd and the merriment.
Tourists enjoying the 2012 Sinulog with painted faces
The Sinulog 2013 main events are happening on January 19 and 20, 2013. The Fluvial and Solemn Processions of the Santo Nino are on January 19, while the Sinulog Festival Grand Parade is on January 20.
See you in Cebu!
PS In case you’re missing out on Sinulog 2013, calendar the Sinulog 2014 dates: January 18 – 19, 2014.
One of the most popular places in the Philippines is Bohol. It’s iconic Chocolate Hills is part of almost every Philippine Tourism campaign. And why not? It is a breath-taking view. I recently had the opportunity to visit Bohol and it was a journey worth taking.
From Davao to Bohol
Davao to Cebu via Airphil Express
There are no direct flights to Bohol yet. But getting there is quite convenient. First, take a flight to Cebu. The flight takes around 45 minutes. Once you reach Cebu, make your way to the Pier.
There are several piers, and you can go to either Pier 1 or Pier 4 for the fast crafts or fast ferries. Depending on your budget and schedule, you may take any of those listed here. All fast crafts take around 2 hours to reach Bohol. The ride is quite long but you will barely feel the waves or the length of travel. Take a quick nap or chat with your travel companions. Better yet… enjoy the view.
I highly recommended taking the luxurious 1st class seats of Oceanjet because lookie…
Oceanjet’s First Class Seats
Bohol is a quaint island province composed of Tagbilaran City and several towns. The capital is Tagbilaran City. That’s where you’d want to go. Tagbilaran gives you access to all the interesting places that you’d want to visit. It also has the nice hotels and accommodations if you’re in town to do business. And if you want to have a little fun, the city also has some bars and places for entertainment.
But people don’t really go to Bohol for the nightlife. It’s the tourist spots that draws in the crowd. Bohol is known for several things and you might want to rent out a van to easily go around the province to see them all. Here are some of the most popular spots you’d want to visit:
Tarsier Foundation in Corella,
Old Churches especially the Baclayon and Loboc Churches, and
You can also go island hopping, swimming, and even go diving around the main island and the many smaller islands that surround it.
Perhaps one of the most popular spots in Bohol is Panglao Island. It is almost an hour away from Tagbilaran where most of the upscale resorts are located. The area is serene, away from the hustle and bustle of the province’s center. The sand is white and the water is crystal clear. Various resorts offer various diving, swimming, island hopping, and other water adventures that will surely make any tourist happy.
I had the opportunity to visit Bohol Beach Club and it has a vast beachfront. You can choose your own little spot to rest and relax. They have various cottages and cabanas you can relax in or have a little party in with your friends.
I’m sure Bohol has so much more to offer than what I experienced and I do hope to go back again for more of nature and adventure.
AirPhil Express flies to Cebu from Davao and vice-versa daily. AirPhil Express also flies to Cebu from Manila, Iloilo, and General Santos.
Anybody who knows me well enough knows I am not a “beach person.” When the opportunity to learn how to surf presented itself, I was a bit hesitant but I accepted the challenge because… I don’t actually remember why. I’m glad I accepted it because look…
Dahican, Mati, Davao Oriental
When we arrived in Dahican, it was already dark and our first concern was eating. Then, sleeping. We checked in to Kanakbai Resort. They 2 villas, each with 2 rooms which can comfortably fit 2 – 6 persons. Each villa has a kitchen and a common living room.
In the morning, we had a hearty breakfast and set out to learn how to surf. We dropped by one spot but the waves weren’t strong enough for surfing.
Dahican has a very nice shoreline. It’s blue, pristine, and serene. They have spots for swimming and spots for surfing. It’s the learning haven for surfers. I love how the beach goes on and on and the resorts aren’t too close to the shoreline.
After starting to fall in love with the beach of Dahican came the fear of surfing. DUN! DUN! DUN! DUUUUUUN! Scared…
After enjoying the scenery, we headed to Dahican Surf School. We were fortunate enough to have a Level 4 Surfing Instructor with us, Mr Darryl Buckley. He taught us the basics of surfing gear, safety, and standing up on the board. After the lessons, we each tried to conquer the waves.
Attempting to Surf
The keyword here is “tried” since I was admittedly too scared to stand up. But I did “ride” the wave while lying on the board. Lelz! Other media members I was with were more courageous than I and enjoyed surfing. Kudos to them!
Members of the Media getting a Surfing Lesson
While I didn’t get to surf, I did fall in love with Dahican. I haven’t yet fallen in love with the beach yet, but I love Dahican. I has a very beautiful beach, not yet overcrowded by resorts and businesses. And the people are nice and accommodating. Plus, there’s an abundance of seafood in the area.
Surf lessons at the Dahican Surf School is only around P100 including the use of a board. Cheap, right?
If you want to enjoy a quiet moment at the beach or to take an affordable surfing lesson at the learner’s haven, do visit Dahican. It’s a 3 hour ride by van or bus from Davao City. If you are a tourist and don’t want to reserve a hotel in Dahican, just book a cheap hotel in Davao, enjoy the city and the surfing class for the day and go back to Davao when you are done.
Many thanks to Sir Moony Castillo, Ms Charl Sapina, and Ms Kina Castillo of Freesurf Inc, Sir Gabby Sibala of Kanakbai Resort & Dahican Surf School!
For your surfing gear, visit Billabong and Aloha Boardsports at the Abreeza Ayala Mall, JP Laurel Street, Davao City. For more info, like the Aloha Boardsports Page at this link.
For a comfortable stay in Dahican, book a room at Kanakbai Resort. Add them on Facebook at this link.
Everybody knows I’m fiercely in love with Davao but if there’s one place I’d consider relocating to, it would be Iloilo. Iloilo is a small city with a whole lot to offer.
Historical and Cultural Tours
I love that Iloilo has a lot of nice architecture and historical places from our colonial past. The photowalk I did with friends was very interesting. We took a walk around downtown for several hours. We had a friend, who’s a history nut, do the tour with us and he shared some very interesting anecdotes. We ended up in Fort San Pedro to watch the sunset over Guimaras. Such a beautiful site. And a great place to have your photos taken.
With Iloilo Bloggers at the Camino Balai na Bato
Recently, I was able to visit and take a tour of the Camiño Balai nga Bato in Villa de Arevalo. It is a well-preserved house from the colonial times. The Camiños was one of the pioneers in the Iloilo weaving industry. And the entire ground floor used to be dedicated to weavers and weaving looms. Most of it still is now. The modern weavers create various sinamay and other cloths that would make for great Filipiniana wear. The Camiños still live in the house so there are a lot of modern gadgets and appliances inside the household. The tour includes a taste of heavenly hot tsokolate paired with kinihad. Kinihad is toasted bread.
The Sinamay House is nearby so we also dropped by to admire the old house and take a look at some of the beautiful sinamay cloth for sale.
If you’re a foodie like me. Iloilo will definitely make you happy.
Iloilo is known for its abundance of fresh seafood. Most of it come from Roxas and other nearby towns, but they are still fresh and affordable in Iloilo. My favorite restaurant in Iloilo is Breakthrough. They have a selection of fresh seafood and an abundance of oysters. You can have your pick of seafood and have them cooked the way you want them… grilled, steamed, in a soup, or kinilaw (ceviche). It’s by the sea so it’s quite far.
Food at Breakthrough
Good thing they now have Ponsyon by Breakthrough in Plazuela Iloilo, right in the middle of downtown, a stone’s throw away from SM Iloilo. Try the Aligue Rice, Baked Scallops, and the sinigang.
A few doors away, also in Plazuela Iloilo, is Maridel’s. Maridel’s serves up a very strong brewed coffee, perfect to drink with any of the delectable cakes and pastries they sell. My personal picks are the Lemon Meringue Pie, the Heaven or Hell Cake, and the Vodka Cake (it’s like rhum cake, only with vodka).
If you like sweets, you must also try some goodies from Mama’s Kitchen. It is also located at the Sinamay House. They sells crisps which are thin crispy cookies. My favorite is the Pinipig Chocolate Crisp. Mmm… It’s great to munch on while you’re touring the city or as pasalubong to give to your friends.
And of course, no trip to Iloilo is complete without buying pasalubong from Biscocho Haus. I find that biscocho makes the aunts and uncles happy while butterscotch and barquiron makes the cousins and friends happy. There are other companies that sell these but I think Biscocho Haus is still the best.
Molo Soup at Carlito's
Biscocho Haus in Jaro has a restaurant, Carlito’s. They serve delicious food,as well. You might want to try their Molo Soup and the Baye Baye ala Mode.
Another place to visit for good food and some drinks is Bourbon Street. They have great food. Try their pasta or their beef stew. Or maybe just have a few drinks.
If you want to party hard, I suggest you drop by Flow in Smallville. The place is great and it is said that this is where the beautiful people hang out. (Probably why my friends brought our group there. LOL!)
Both Bourbon Street and Flow are located in Smallville, the center of Iloilo’s nightlife. There are also lots of other bars, restaurants, cafes, and even hotels in the area.
There’s definitely a lot of things to do and enjoy in Iloilo. It’s a place I’ll always look forward to going back to.
During my two visits there, I stayed at One Lourdes Dormitel, a great place for budget travelers. And at Eon Centennial Plaza located at the heart of the city, and not too expensive, as well.
So what are you waiting for? Discover history, food, and an exciting party scene in Iloilo.
For more information on Camiño Balai nga Bato, visit their page.
The Eon Centennial Plaza Hotel is located along Jalandoni Street. Visit their site.