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The Serenity of Bulubadiangan Island

They say a trip to Panay Island is never complete when you do not go to Boracay. I have been to this famous beach destination several times but never really became a big fan. Sure it has a long stretch of beautiful powdery white sand beach and spectacular sunsets but for me - it is too crowded, too noisy and quite expensive. Perhaps if I wanted to party, be drunk and get wild on the beach, it would be my destination. But if I wanted to relax, unwind and relieve stress, a quiet and far-off spot like Balubadiangan Island is a perfect place to do all these.

Balubadiangan Island
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San Lorenzo Windmills

Guimaras is well known for its sweet mango plantations, bike trails and white sand beaches. At least for now! Last June 2014, construction for fifty-four (54) windmills have been rolled out in the province. By November 2014, twenty-seven (27) units have been erected in the town of San Lorenzo, which is in the western part of the island province.

San Lorenzo Windmills
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8 Things To Do In Magalawa Island

While most travellers book their vacation ahead in anticipation of the long Holy Week holiday, my job has refrained me from planning for this long vacation. My trips during this time has always been impromptu just like my adventure in Central Luzon. Magalawa is an island barangay off the coast of Northern Zambales that boasts of creamy white sand beaches on both sides extending and meeting at the sandbar.

Magalawa Island
Magalawa IslandMagalawa Island
Magalawa Island
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Shockwave Therapy by Peak Form

Have you heard about Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT)? I came across this innovative method in search for a treatment to Plantar Fasciitis (severe heel pain), a foot injury that has bugged me for several months already.

Sometime in August 2014, I felt a sting on my right foot when I woke up. I can barely walk without feeling an excruciating pain in each step. Prior to that, I noticed that I easily get muscle cramps (even if I stretch properly) when going for a run. I ignored the pain and though that rest will be enough but after a week of agony, a visit to the hospital became imminent.

Renowned acupuncturist expert Dr Philip Niño Tan-Gatue discovered that I had Plantar Fasciitis and administered acupuncture treatment on my foot. Two days after, the soreness was gone and I could walk straight again. I never found the time to come back for another session and also thought that the single treatment was already enough since I did not feel any pain anymore (stubborn me).

Peak Form
Peak Form
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Luminisce Hollistic Skin Innovations

We cannot deny that appearance matters. We spend time, a lot of time sometimes, grooming ourselves because we want to appear good. We want to always present our best self. To me, what it really means is being comfortable in your own skin. But looking presentable is not enough. Beauty should be inside and out. Luminisce Hollistic Skin Innovations stands by this principle as well.

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Something Big Is Coming To Pampanga

Almost everybody I know have gone to an amusement parks once in their life to experience the thrill and excitement of the rides, to spend quality time with family, or to hangout with friends. I grew up in the province where "peryahan" or fairground were part of the culture. When we moved to Manila, my parents would bring me and my siblings to the then famous Fiesta Carnival in Cubao, Quezon City during weekends.

Several amusement parks have emerged since then and one of them is the Sky Ranch in Tagaytay City, owned by the SM Group, which opened its doors last March 2013. Before the end of this year, SM Family Entertainment Center Incorporated will be opening another park in the heart of Central Luzon.

Overview of Sky Ranch Pampanga
Overview of Sky Ranch Pampanga
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Whitewater Rafting at Majayjay, Laguna

Have you wanted to try whitewater rafting but could never find the time or save enough money to fly to Mindanao? Good news for adventure seekers in Luzon, you do not have to book a flight to Cagayan de Oro or Davao for this water adventure. This activity is now available at Laguna and it only takes a day or weekend to experience the thrill and excitement of this emerging water adventure.

The whitewater rafting in Laguna is a 10-kilometer stretch of wild river starting from the municipality of Majayjay to the town of Magdalena. It consists of twenty one (21) rapids and has a river difficulty of Grade 3, which is safe for those without rafting experience and do not know how to swim. The water course may require significant maneuvering and paddling skills but there is no considerable danger and the waves are not that high.

Travel time from Manila takes around 2.5 to 3 hours to the jump-off passing by the historic Saint Gregory the Great Parish Church.

I was able to experience the whitewater rafting last October when Camp Allen invited me and other bloggers to try the water adventure at Majayjay. It was my first time to try this water activity and I was very excited since I never got to do this in Davao even if I have lived there for almost two years. I do have tried water tubing, which is less extreme but equally exciting. I wanted to try the rapids in CDO too but the chance never came.

Majayjay Whitewater Rafting
Jump-off
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Review: AT-800 Tough Rock PowerBank by Airborne Technologies

Power banks are almost a necessity nowadays, especially for people on the go who needs their gadgets powered up when needed. There are several types of power banks that cater to different lifestyles. If you're a lady, you'd probably want a power bank that is both reliable and fashionable at the same time. Men on the other hand would probably choose one that looks more masculine. And then there are people with special needs like myself, a person that enjoys the outdoors. Fortunately, there is a company that understands all these things.

Airbone Technologies (AT) is an international technological brand and is a registered trademark of Jason Borne Technologies Inc. (JBT) that is based here in the Philippines since January 2014. They specialize in manufacturing high quality power banks with full knowledge of various customers' needs.

AT-800 Tough Rock Powerbank
AT-800 Tough Rock Powerbank
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Top 10 Things To Do in Aklan

Aklan is very famous for having one of the best white beaches in the planet. This province is not just all about Boracay, it also has other interesting tourism spots that tourists can explore. Listed below are the top 10 things to do in Aklan.


1. Experience the Ati-atihan Festivall

Ati-Atihan Festival
Ati-Atihan Festival

The Ati-atihan Festival is a feast honoring the Santo Niño. It is a weeklong celebration culminating on the third Sunday of January. It is one big mardi gras where the audience get to interact with the contingents coming not only from within Aklan but also from neighboring provinces.

Ati-atihan means "to be like Aetas" who are small people with dark skin, kinky hair and large flat noses. Participants paint their faces with ashes or charcoal powder and wear colorful costumes as they dance to the beat of the drums along the streets of the town.


A short video of me during the 2014 Ati-atihan Festival.


2. Have your own face paint

Face Paint
Face Paint


Fully embrace the Ati-atihan Festival and have your face paint. Well, you do not have to put black soot all over your face like I did, simple designs are available just like the one above. Prices vary according to the design.


3. Hear mass at the Kalibo Parish Church



Kalibo Cathedral

The Kalibo Parish Church or Cathedral Parish of St John the Baptist is the oldest place of worship in Aklan. The construction of the church started in 1804 and was finished in 1826. However, just like any other old structure, it also suffered some calamities. The first one happened when a fire hit the town in 1885 and destroyed the convent. The convent was reconstructed the following year.

The last ordeal took in 1990 when an earthquake measuring 7.1 on the Richter scale struck the island of Panay causing cracks on the church's brick walls. Restoration and improvement was done while retaining some features of the old church. The Kalibo Cathedral houses the image of the Santo Niño, to which the Ati-atihan festival is honored.


4. Visit the Museo it Akean

Museo it Akean
Museo it Akean

Located just across the Kalibo Cathedral is the Museo it Akean. This museum showcases the attractions and colorful traditions of Aklan. It also has the memorabilia of Archbishop Gabriel Reyes aside from the piña textiles and old jars dug up in Aklan.


5. Try the Aklanon Cuisine

Trying the local cuisine has always been a part of traveling and I recommend the following restaurants to eat in Kalibo.

Saylo
Saylo

Saylo is the only restaurant in Kalibo that features Aklanon dishes. A must try is their Chicken Binakol, which is similar to Tinolang Manok but uses coconut meat and juice as flavoring. What makes it different from the usual preparation is the way it was cooked. Instead of using a big pot, Saylo cooks the dish inside a bamboo stalk.

For a list of their menu, click here.


Latte Coffee Cafe

Latte Coffee Cafe has two locations in Kalibo. The first one is located along the road leading to the airport and has a big space. It is one of the busiest place to eat especially during the Ati-atihan Festival. They open as early as 7:00AM in time for breakfast. They serve sandwiches, waffles, rice dishes and as the name suggests, different variations of coffee based drinks. They also have a smaller branch near the Pastrana Park, a perfect place to have breakfast before joining the parade. Service is quite exceptional.

For a list of their menu, click here.

Ramboys Lechon Kawali
Ramboys Liempo

Ramboys Lechonan and Restaurant serves the best tasting Liempo I have tried so far. The meat is tender and the skin was very crunchy. Yummy! The serving is also quite generous for its price. One order is more than enough for three people. One problem I have encountered with the restaurant is they have a small space and service is a bit slow.

Niño's Ihaw-ihaw
Niño's Ihaw-ihaw

Located just across the border of Kalibo and Numancia, Niño's Ihaw-ihaw serves mostly local and grilled dishes. And if you want to get some beer after a meal, this is the best place to have dinner.

For those who live on breads and pastries, Bread and Butter is the most recommended. I even bought some food here before I went to Antique.

A complete list of restaurants in Kalibo can be found here.


6. Have a tour around the Bakhawan Eco-Park

Bakhawan Eco-Park
Bakhawan Eco-Park

The Bakhawan Eco-Park began as a project in 1990 to prevent flood and storm surges in the area by converting the muddy shoreline of Barangay New Buswang into a mangrove reforestation. Get around the 220 hectares of mangrove while walking on 1-km bamboo boardwalk that leads to the shores of Kalibo.

Tamilok
Tamilok

Another tourism lure of the Bakhawan Eco-park is the "Tamilok" or woodworm tasting. I was not able to try this since the guy doing the demo and looking for the woodworm was not around during my visit. But if you happen to be here and brave enough to take the challenge, try to taste some of this delicacy. Some friend I know said they tasted better than oysters. Best eaten when dipped in vinegar. Will try this when I get back in Kalibo.


7. Explore Tangalan

Tangalan is a municipality 20 minutes from Kalibo or 45 minutes away from Caticlan. This sleepy town may not boast of beaches as beautiful as Boracay but it has other attractions that are worth exploring.


St John Nepomucene Church

This 125-year old church was constructed for twenty-eight (28) years as men, women and children carried limestone and coral blocks everyday from a far barangay to the town proper. It was built through "polo y servicio" (forced labor) and is the oldest church in Aklan still intact.

Jawili Falls
Jawili Falls

Jawili Falls is a seven-basin waterfalls made of limestone. Crystal clear water cascade from basin to basin that were formed through time. Though a park has been built, a pristine forest still surrounds the waterfalls. A concrete pathway has also been constructed to make it easier to climb on the side of the cascades. Get adventurous and trace the origin of the water streaming to the falls.

A five-minute walk from the falls will take you to Jawili beach. A popular destination for locals to bond with their families. Another must-see attraction in Tangalan is the Afga rock formations. This is where the limestone and corals used for St John Nepomucene came from.


8. Cliff Jump at Ariel's Point, Buruanga

Ariel's Point
Ariel's Point

Cliff jumping or diving has become popular over the last few years. Feel the thrill of jumping into the turquoise water of the Sulu Sea from a cliff when you visit Ariel's Point. For those who are not amazing swimmers (like me), you can go kayaking or snorkeling around the area. Vans from Kalibo and jeepneys from Caticlan going to Ariel's Point, Buruanga are available daily.

A day trip package on a first-come-first-serve basis is also available from Boracay, which include boat ride, lunch, snacks, unlimited drinks (beer included), snorkeling gear and kayak for Php 1,500 as of this writing. Boat leaves Boracay Station at 11AM and goes back by 5PM.


9. Relax in Hinugtan Beach, Buruanga

Hinugtan Beach
Hinugtan Beach (credits to Vera Venus)

Ever thought of an alternative to the overcrowded Boracay Island? Why not Visit Buruanga's Hinugtan Beach? Find serenity at this hideaway, perfect for couples and family who wants a quiet and relaxing vacation.


10. Stay in Boracay

Boracay
Boracay

Boracay is the one of main reasons why Boracay is flocked by international tourist. There are countless ways to enjoy a vacation here. Party all night. Get drunk and wild. Sleep on the beach. Go island hopping. Enjoy seafood and sumptuous dishes. Or simply enjoy the powdery white sand beach.

There is also a saying here that goes, "What happens in Boracay, stays in Boracay!"

Sunset at Boracay
Sunset at Boracay

What do I love most about Boracay is the stunning sunset. It never ceases to amaze me.

Describe your Aklan experience at the comment section below.
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Professional Blogging Summit by DPOP

Everyone who is close to me will tell you that I am an adventurous person. I love the outdoors. And a year ago, while I was still living in Cebu City, I started to blog about my adventures. It wasn't difficult at all since I was passionate about what I was sharing. But I realized that there is more to blogging than writing and I want to be able to learn the ins and outs, the dos and don'ts, so I can be a better blogger and consequently, improve the quality of my blog.

Professional Blogging Summit

There was an opportunity to learn from the speakers of the first Professional Blogging Summit and I am thankful that I was given a slot as an attendee. It was held last Saturday, 18th of October 2014 at A.Venue Mall in Makati City. The event was organized by Janette Toral of Digital Filipino and Jeoff Solas of Liberating Jepoy. It was made possible by A.Venue Mall, Island Rose, Profriends, and Salad Box.

Janette Toral at Professional Blogging Summit
Ms Janette Toral

A lot of important things have been imparted by the speakers that afternoon and instead of enumerating them all here, I'd like to focus the one thing that I concluded on which everything else will follow -- LOVE YOUR BLOG.

Azrael Coladilla at Professional Blogging Summit
Azrael Coladilla

Hearing each of the speakers talk about their successful blogging stories actually made me realize that bottomline, they simply love what they do. And because they love it, it comes natural for them to nurture their blogs that opened more opportunities for them. Regardless of challenges, they find appropriate ways to rise above that because they sincerely care about their reputation and the credibility of their blogs. Again, because they simply love their blogs.

Jeoff Solas at Professional Blogging Summit
Jeoff Solas

Jeoff Solas was also one of the speakers and he talked about PR-blogger relations. He stressed the importance of being socially friendly and knowing about social ethics because people will almost always connect the blog with the blogger. Then again, it all boils down to loving your blog. If you love your blog and understand that it represents you, then you will always strive to be in good character. You will always try to maintain good relationships with fellow bloggers, PR people, and clients.

One by one, I listened to the success stories of the speakers/bloggers that afternoon. Each one has a different story to share. They may have took different paths on how they chose to evolve their blogs. But one thing is certain, they all LOVE blogging and that made the difference. I only have a year worth of story to tell as a blogger, but one day, I'd like to be able to tell my success story just like them. I'd also like my blog to grow and be able to explore its potentials.

Loving your blog also entails having a good moral standing. The speakers reminded us the significance of knowing the right thing to do given certain circumstances. How will you deal with bashers? How will you handle a controversy? And sometimes, as bloggers, we might make mistakes along the way. So it is good to know how you will pick yourself up. I like speaker Ross Flores Del Rosario's conviction of the right of a person for another chance. And I hope that the blogging community can be more forgiving instead of being judgmental when a fellow blogger have done something wrongfully.

I am hopeful that my blogs will go places because I learned a little more on how to love it.

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