Friday, January 30, 2009

travel in style at the philippine travel tour expo!

looking for a travel bargain for the coming months? then the 16th philippine travel tour expo is something you shouldn't miss!

while i, once again, will have to abstain from this one, i can't deny you the opportunity to visit your local dream destinations by not sharing this info:

16th PTAA travel and tour expo 2009
when: feb 6 to 8, 2009
where: halls 2, 3, and 4 of the smx conference center in SM mall of asia

and this year, the travel expo will not just be providing a venue for you to get travel deals, it'll also be featuring two new additional segments: the lifestyle part, where you can get good deals on travel accessories, health and wellness products, and other lifestyle pursuits, and the food stalls.

for more info, log on to their website, which features the opening hours for each day of the expo. i'll probably even pass by the travel and tour expo myself, but i hope to god that i won't be tempted into buying tickets or a whole trip!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

london photos

today, the big picture delivered a set of photos of london from above in my google reader inbox:

while london is packed with structures, i somehow see some order in the way the buildings rise and fall across the landscape, as though governed by an artistic concept on city building.
i've never failed to marvel at how some cities can make progress look so orderly and artistic.

green in the middle of the city. love.

click here for more london pictures.
photos taken by jason hawkes.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

fidgety over visa applications

so the big europe trip is just a few months away, and i'm now faced with the schengen visa application process.

i went to the embassy last week to get a list of requirements, and i have to come up with more than 10 things! it's very overwhelming, and the fact that submitting all of the things on the list doesn't guarantee an approval makes me even more anxious. i know i shouldn't be scared, i didn't do anything wrong, but i spent a year saving up for this, and not getting the visa renders the entire plan useless. all my eggs are riding on this basket, so to speak, and it's really going to hurt when it goes down the drain.

but rather than be negative for the duration of this post, let me try to be helpful. for those of you who're wondering what the requirements are for the schengen visa application are, here's the list:

  1. duly accomplished application form (1 original and 3 photocopies)
  2. 1 photo pasted on the application form
  3. a valid passport (valid for a minimum of 6 months
  4. 1 photocopy of the data page of the valid passport
  5. previous passports
  6. documents to show economic means: bank certificate, bank books, ITR, international credit cards
  7. official invitation letter if invited by a friend
  8. if employed: certificate of employment and authorization for leave of absence (original copies); if self-employed: business permit, registration, company ITR (original and 1 photocopy)
  9. booking certificate from the airline office, with detailed itinerary and confirmed hotel reservations
  10. travel health insurance with minimum coverage of 30,000 euros, recognized in all schengen states, and validity period must be for the duration of the visa
  11. P4,010, cash payment for the visa (exact amount only)
  12. 2 big legal-sized brown envelope with applicant's surname, name, and telephone numbers on the upper left corner of th envelope
  13. 2 copies of duly filled application form for the courier service
of these visa requirements, so far i only have the valid passport, previous passports, and certificate of employment. i'll be requesting for the authorization for leave of absence next week. i already have the application form with me, but i haven't filled it up yet. the ticket will be reserved on friday, and i'm thinking of getting my travel insurance from world nomads.

i'll give you more updates on the schengen visa application process as i go. wish me luck!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

my next destination

i gotta go! to:

another birthday trip to one of my favorite cities in the world! :)

Friday, January 9, 2009

official philippine holidays in 2009

if we're to base tourism activities on the number of long holidays in a year, then 2009 is definitely a year filled with travel.

the following days have already been declared official holidays, so plan your travels now. book tickets this early so you can get better deals for these long weekends:

april 6, monday - moving araw ng kagitingan from april 9
april 9 to 11 - holy week break
may 1, monday - labor day
june 12, friday - independence day
august 21, friday - ninoy aquino day
august 31, monday - national heroes' day
november 2, monday - all souls' day
november 30, monday - bonifacio day
december 24, thursday - christmas eve
december 25, friday - christmas day
december 30, wednesday - rizal day
december 31, thursday - new year's eve

landmarks revised by michael hughes

to further your (and my) thirst for travel, let me share some unique takes on renowned world landmarks, taken by michael hughes.

instead of just bringing home trinkets and souvenirs for friends, hughes uses them to give touring/landmark photos a spin. take a look:

the eiffel tower

croissant in paris

windmills in netherlands

this set is now an ongoing book project called souvenirs, and if you want to see more of michael hughes' souvenir photos, you can check out the souvenirs flickr page.

photos taken from weburbanist
all photo by michael hughes

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

pfukhay ad majawjaw: rice planting in mayoyao

ever since i heard about the rice planting tour in ifugao a few years back, i've always attempted to experience it. i'm really feeling frustrated that once again, i will have to turn down a chance to try it out.

but maybe you're free. aside from having the chance to experience rice planting with the mayoyao community, you'll also get to see how they celebrate through dance and music. there's also a chance to go shopping at the banaue town center and to check out the mayoyao museum. it really promises an enriching experience; there's nothing like getting to know your own culture better.

this rice planting tour is made possible by the pochon group, a youth organization dedicated to helping the mayoyao community.

the pfukhay ad majawjaw tour will be on january 23 to 25, 2009 in mayoyao, ifugao. for those who are interested to join the rice planting tour, just contact josh maliliw through email ( or mobile (0906 4826300). reservations will only be accepted until january 19, 2009.

thanks to ivan henares for the heads up. :) he also has photos of the mayoyao rice planting tour from last year.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

elle luggage is love

one of the best gifts i got for the holiday season came from my cousin, who's always backed me in my travel pursuits. when she found out i had plans of going to europe and was in need of new luggage, she decided to get me my desired elle trolley luggage:

it's a 25" trolley in olive green, sporting three spacious pockets in front, perfect for my shoes and other knick knacks. it costs Php 8,499.75 in sm.

it also has one flat pocket in the back, where i can put shopping bags and travel documents. i also love this model because it doesn't have those swiveling wheels that i hate. i don't know why, but i just find two-wheeled luggage sturdier.

and as is usual in most luggage sold today, my new elle luggage sports this TSA lock, to make sure that my maleta is not slashed open should i ever go to the US (not happening any time soon, though). this was actually the dealbreaker with the delsey that i was supposed to get. it only featured a flimsy lock.

i really love how elle placed this to support the bag if it gets too heavy. can't really say that i won't shop a lot where i'm going! :D

now let's check out how it looks inside:

this particular elle trolley looks very roomy. i'm pretty saddened that it doesn't have as much pockets inside like my previous elle trolley (to be pictured later), but the space is really more than enough for me (i hope!). the cover (on the left) is meant for storing garments that wrinkle easily. and! it even comes with a hanger! what's more, i also got this bag, which costs Php 1,999, for free:

and like i mentioned, i was supposed to get myself a delsey trolley, but i couldn't bring myself to get a travel mate that's not an elle. while i know delsey is a pretty good brand, and quite durable, the performance of my elle trolley-backpack has exceeded expectations. take a look:

this is my first elle luggage, which i got in hong kong for HKD 700. i loved it for its color, since it's easy to spot on the conveyor belt. and it has two pockets--one that can hold two pairs of shoes, and the front most pocket is where my itinerary and other documents usually go. in this photo, it's still sporting the baggage claim tag from cebu pacific (bangkok to manila flight), and a little woven fish charm given to me by a market merchant in siem reap.

of course, it didn't hurt that it also doubles as a backpack. :) this zipped area also functions as additional storage.

and inside, it features two side pockets (where i usually put socks and underwear). that single pole in the middle makes packing a bitch, but i've worked around it.

this elle luggage has been with me for about three years of traveling now, and it has never disappointed me. it's kept all my things intact, and its soft fabric expands to make room for the trinkets and other knick knacks that catch my fancy during my trips. it's also pretty lightweight, and even when it's bursting at the seams, it's still a cinch to carry around.

of course, this smaller elle luggage will still be around to accompany me on my short-term travels, while the bigger, olive green elle will be my travel mate for more major trips. i'm hoping the new elle luggage performs just as well as its tinier sister. :)

Friday, January 2, 2009

hello, 2009!

though you got off on a wobbly start, your first day turned out well.

what do you have in store for me? will i get to see more of the world during your days?

i've worked hard for you last year, so i could get what i want when you come around. you better keep your promise. :)

happy 2009 to everyone! to more travels and to great adventures!

photo by adie griffiths, taken from bbc's nature galleries.