Thursday, January 24, 2008

official philippine holidays for 2008

here's something we travelers are always happy to read about. thanks to republic act 9492, we can now enjoy more long weekends than usual, because holidays that fall on weekdays will be observed on the nearest monday.

taken from this page, here's a partial list of holidays for 2008, so we can start planning our trips and take advantage of promo fares:

february 25, monday, edsa revolution day (though some are saying this might not be declared)
march 20 to 23, thursday to sunday, holy week
april 7, monday, araw ng kagitingan (in lieu of april 9)
may 5, monday, labor day (in lieu of may 1)
june 16, monday, independence day (in lieu of june 12)
august 25, monday, ninoy aquino day (in lieu of august 21)
december 1, monday, bonifacio day (in lieu of november 30. sana wala nang coup attempts this time)
december 24, wednesday, christmas eve (and official last-minute shopping holiday daw)
december 25, thursday, christmas day
december 29, monday, rizal day (in lieu of december 30)
december 31, wednesday, new year's eve (and last day of the year holiday daw)

the official date of eid'l fitr, or the end of ramadan, was still not posted, but my googlefu says ramadan begins september 2 (usually not an official holiday here) and ends on october 2 (a holiday), which is a thursday. let's wait and see what happens.

although i'm happy with the number of long weekends, i feel a little strange about observing holidays on dates that i'm not used to, such as june 16 instead of june 12 for independence day. i'm just going to have to get used to it, i guess. :D

Saturday, January 19, 2008

a day in idyllic mariveles

mariveles is not particularly known for being a tourist's paradise. yet i got so caught up in susie's excitement for the place when i saw it last year, when susie took me along on his yearly drive, and i couldn't wait to see the place again.

the trip to mariveles makes for a great first trip of the year. it's a relaxing drive through a lot of picturesque greenery--something i always long for when i'm in our mad city of our affections. looking at a lot of green greatly revives and refreshes me, and this trip to mariveles couldn't have come at a better time.

the drive took about 3 hours, with traffic being really light in the morning. it's a little disheartening to find that a lot of modern developments are sprouting in the area where the vast fields of yellow and green are, but it's really hard to stop modernization. in fact, in the city center, there are plenty of industrial structures and plants, and the mariveles employment rate is actually pretty high. i'm just thankful that the view is still there, and that we can breeze through the place and have a fantastic landscape to gape at. the trees are especially lovely, with some of them having so much personality that i just had to take a picture.

near the mariveles municipal hall is the 0-km marker of the historical death march of 1942. mariveles was one of the starting points of the march, and on your way to this city, you'll find kilometer markers standing on the side of the road. today, the 0-km marker is in a tiny park of its own, and behind are two masts--one for the philippine flag and one for the US flag. a plaque that tells of the event stands between the two poles.

we brought a tiny picnic coleman of jabugo tortilla, jamon serrano, some cheese, and water. we initially wanted to have a picnic lunch in one of the fields of mariveles, but the wind blew so hard, it was actually difficult to close the car doors. we found a lovely mango tree with plenty of shade, but it was in an enclosed private property. since we didn't want to be shot at, we just parked in an area where only a friendly breeze blew, and had our lunch there. i sat inside the trunk of the car, with the hood protecting me from the sun. mariveles sunshine is scorching!

it wasn't long before we had to make our way back to manila. as i said, there really isn't much to see or do in mariveles. there are some beaches, and mt. samat is just close by. cyclists and trekkers can go adventuring up mt. natib, but other than that, there's little else to do but marvel at the view. maybe next year, we may already have something to do over there. i just hope the fields are still there.

to see photos of my mariveles day romp, click here.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

going to lovely mariveles

once again, i've been invited to join susie on his yearly drive to mariveles. even though it's just a day trip, i'm pretty excited because it's my first trip of the year. :) it's my first trip since singapore, and i've been longing to get out of the city for weeks!

tomorrow, we leave at the crack dawn. even if we run into traffic, our mood will definitely be on laidback mode once we enter idyllic mariveles. we're hoping to have a picnic in one of the grassy fields overlooking corregidor. that town is so charming, i'm sure it's going to do a lot of good to a couple of jaded manilenos. :D

the photo on the left was taken a year ago, on my first trip to mariveles. this is one of those fields that gives you a great view of corregidor. lovely, innit?

Friday, January 11, 2008

on connected flights

this article on msnbc tells us it won't be long before we can log on to the internet or send sms during flights. while being connected is a good thing, i can't help but feel that it's kind of encroaching on one of the only times that i can shut off my phone and feel detached from the world.

as harriet baskas put it in the article:
However, those who have come to view an airplane trip as a rare chance to “close the door” and be electronically unavailable for a few hours may be understandably worried. If you can send and receive text messages and e-mails during a flight, then bosses, clients, friends and family members might expect you to use your flying time to stay in touch with them instead of sleeping, reading, dreaming, doing crossword puzzles, chatting up an interesting seatmate or figuring out how to pad your expense reports.
and that's what worries me, really. that i now have the option of staying connected all the time when i travel. while of course, having the internet and cellular networks available in-flight are definite advantages, it fills me with dread when i think of how noisy the flights are going to be now that people can call, watch videos, and surf for porn while in the air.

i've always been one to "chat up an interesting seatmate," making use of my disconnected time on the flight to meet someone new. but now that i have competition on people's attention, i may have to say goodbye to that. and i revel in the absence of cellphone signals, forcing me to while away the time by writing or reading on the plane.

the good news is, this technology probably won't reach us that fast, and we can still enjoy "disconnected" flights on local airlines. our days of happy, detached traveling are numbered, but i'm going to take full advantage of them.

how about you? how do you feel about connected flights?

Friday, January 4, 2008

air philippines offers P8 fares!

it's the battle of el cheapo fares as air philippines fights back with P8 fares to welcome the auspicious year of 2008!

you can buy your tickets from the air philippines website from january 8 to 18, for travel anytime between february 1 to march 12, 2008. you can also call their hotline at 855-9000.

i called air philippines's reservations line to check how much fares would cost. a roundtrip ticket from manila to caticlan (yes, they have caticlan flights! yay!) costs P2,545.00. almost the same as cebu pac's P1 fares. so if you weren't able to get tickets from cebu pac, now you have an option, and the promo runs till a few days past payday!

air philippines destinations are:

cagayan de oro
boracay (caticlan)
general santos
puerto princesa

so pick a place and fly off on the cheap, thanks to air philippines!

*update (010908): a friend attempted to book air phils tickets online and through the phone, but was told that this promo is not valid for online or phone transactions. when i read the newsletter, it said that it was available for "book and buy transactions," which i took to mean as online purchases. did any of you experience the same thing? if you were able to book tickets through this promo, do let us know how it went. i find it absurd that online purchases aren't allowed, because that's how airlines get to save--by saving on paper used for printing tickets and lessening overhead expenses by processing reservations outside of their ticketing offices.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

piso fares at the start of 2008!


cebu pacific greets the new year by offering piso fares to all its domestic destinations! avail of low airfares to the following places:

boracay (kalibo; caticlan flights start in february)
cagayan de oro
general santos
puerto princesa
tagbilaran (for bohol)

prices are exclusive of tax and surcharges. promo runs from january 3 to 6, 2008, for travel between january 22 to 31, 2008.

susie and i were able to score tickets to puerto princesa for his birthday in march. we logged on to the cebu pacific website at 1230am, but the piso flights going to puerto princesa on our preferred date were already sold out! and i thought we were being too eager for logging on at that hour. it means a lot of people are traveling, though, which is a very good thing!

i also noticed that the cebu pacific website is performing so much better than in past piso fare promos, which means they have taken the necessary measures to improve the handling of traffic to their site. gone are the days when one would stay up until 4am just to book tickets.

so now that the site's even better, and the prices are much lower, why not get yourself a roundtrip ticket to somewhere and enjoy the start of the year? come on!

if you want to be updated on cebu pacific promos, click here to subscribe to their online newsletter.

i gotta go! welcomes 2008!

i hope everyone had a great new year's celebration! i've always been excited about the turn of the year, and 2008 is no exception. aside from my personal new year's resolutions, i vow to improve the frequency of posts and the quality of features here on i gotta go! i'm still trying to streamline the style i want, and the content i'd like to share with you guys, so if you have any suggestions on how i gotta go! can be so much better, i'll be more than happy to hear (or read) it.

even though i told myself i'd minimize the mini trips this year (because mini costs can rack up so much expenses!), i think i'm already breaking my own resolution, and it's already the 3rd day of the year!

here's what you can expect from i gotta go! in terms of travel:
1. batanes information and photos, because i'll be going there a few days after my birthday (which is in february);
2. puerto princesa adventures, because susie and i just got tickets at the ongoing piso fares promo of cebu pacific;
3. a lot of manila features, because these manila romps will tide me over while i abstain from costly traveling.

of course, i'll be writing about the adventures that i'll come across along the way. i'm hoping that i gotta go! picks up this year, and i'm hoping to be able to give you guys more information that you need.

so, let's all start the year right!