Thursday, April 29, 2010

hotels.com offers half-price rooms!

hotels.com is having a 48-hour sale, offering rooms for half the price! so if you're planning to go to europe from now until june 9, you may want to check hotels.com and grab a great hotel deal. :)

for more details, read hotels.com launches 48-hour sale with half-price rooms, which i stumbled upon at etravel.org.

you can also go to hotels.com's 48-hour sale.

sunday at the manila seedling bank

since susie started planting flowers on our balcony, i felt compelled to have my own little plants as well (playing plants vs. zombies also helped pushed me in that direction). but since i am not inclined to be enamored of flowers, i thought i'd get myself a couple of herb seedlings from the manila seedling bank.

i didn't expect the place to be so huge--i thought it was just a little garden with little plants around, but when i arrived, i found that it had so many tents/stalls/greenhouses. the variety of plants you can take home and care for was just overwhelming.

luckily, i did not give in to temptation and just got what i came for--a little sweet basil plant, which cost me P50, and a parsley plant for the same price, i believe. my sister asked me to get her sweet basil, too, along with rosemary and tarragon. i got all those for a total of P150.

the shopkeepers are also quite friendly. my parsley came from a nice, friendly lady who assured me that the parsley would be quite fine in a balcony. kuya basil, meanwhile, sold me my sweet basil (and my sister's plants). they're all very easy to talk to, and are willing to give advice on how to take care of your new babies.

aside from plants, the manila seedling bank also has stalls that sell kitchenware, toys, tables, and animals. we found a couple of pheasants and big-ass cochin chickens in one of the stalls.

i think i would have enjoyed the experience even if i hadn't bought anything. strolling through the stalls and tents was lovely enough--it was such a nice way to spend a sunday afternoon.

details:
manila seedling bank foundation, inc.
address: quezon avenue extension cor. EDSA, quezon city
MRT station: quezon ave., and just cross quezon avenue to get to the EDSA entrance.
by car: go along EDSA, cross quezon avenue and turn right at the manila seedling bank gate. alternatively, you can also turn right at quezon avenue (if you're coming from the south), turn left at agham road, then u-turn and enter at the agham road gate.
phone number: (02) 924-7001 to 02
email address: qualitytrees@msbfi.com

view more photos of manila seedling bank.

Friday, April 23, 2010

travelife magazine: talking travel with gibo teodoro

i've always wanted to know what gibo teodoro had to say about the tourism industry, and what he plans to do with it.

travelife magazine found out for me in this article: travelife magazine's suitcase tales: talking travel with gilbert teodoro.

every interview i've read with this man makes me see just how sensible and reasonable he is, and how well thought-out his plans are. no mud-slinging in his campaign, and he makes no promises about alleviating poverty in one fell swoop--he wants us to work on it and for it ourselves, as we should.

i believe in gibo teodoro, and i'm supporting his presidential bid in the coming elections.

swimming with the butandings

since i didn't have an underwater digital camera, i made do with a friend's underwater reusable film camera for our butanding interaction in bicol.

it's been a while since i had a roll of film developed, and i was surprised to find that it takes longer than usual now. i took my roll to digiprint and asked for their film to CD service, which costs P155, and takes 5 days.

i was expecting my butanding photos to arrive tomorrow, but i was so happy when i was handed a package this morning from digiprint!

the photo on the right is one of the butanding photos i like best from my batch--it's a beastly butanding (in reality, it's a gentle giant), complete with a nicked fin. three remoras can be seen clinging to the fin, sucking the dirt from the butanding's skin.

gliding along on top of a lumbering whale shark will forever be etched in my mind.

"tingin sa baba!" kuya gits, our guide, shouted. so i did, and what i saw next left me in awe: a lumbering, spotted butanding swimming calmly right below me. it was so amazing that i completely forgot that a few seconds ago, i was having a hard time breathing through my snorkel.

for a few golden minutes, i was breathing as i should through the snorkel, my eyes glued to the butanding before me. thanks to kuya gits for letting me just cling onto the lifebuoy, else i would have been left floating there, staring in awe at the majestic creature.

every now and then, my eyes would travel the butanding's entire length. that was me trying to comprehend what i was doing, attempting to accept the fact that i was just a few feet away from a friggin' whale shark.

it was such a surreal experience, and i'll be doing it again next year. but this time around, i'll make sure to be more at ease with a mask and a snorkel. i want to chase the butandings myself.

see more photos of my butanding interaction.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

action-packed weekend in bicol

i just came from a weekend in bicol, where i ziplined at lignon hill and went swimming with whale sharks in donsol. until now, i find it hard to digest that i was able to do all that in one weekend.

i'm still waiting for the photos of the butanding interaction from the underwater camera to be processed, but in the meantime, i'll leave you with this video of me ziplining at lignon hill in bicol:


video

i kinda look like a ghost floating over the trees, no? :p

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

airline fees to watch out for

i don't know if you guys heard of this yet, but florida-based spirit airlines is now charging USD 20-45 for carry-on luggage.

yep, that's carry-on, and not checked baggage, which means for passengers of spirit, gone are the days when you can exercise your mad packing skillz to fit everything in a tiny bag just so you don't have to pay for luggage when you travel.

the airline says they are charging this fee to improve safety and inefficiency, and in a way, i do see their point. bob thompson here echoes my sentiments, albeit in a more intense manner than i could ever muster:




while i wouldn't say it in the same way he did, i see his point. i've seen just how disruptive those "morons" are, and they are present in every flight i've ever gone on, and probably every flight you've been on as well. they get away with bringing a lot of stuff on board, while you, the diligent passenger, did your best to make all your things fit in your tiny bag. spirit airlines' reaction may be a tad too extreme, but i'm sure it will improve boarding efficiency, and will definitely lessen the load onboard.

however, i think they could have gone through a few other measures before settling for charging passengers a carry-on fee. i liked easyJet's way of measuring whether your carry-on can be brought on board or not: they have a little stand at the end of check-in counters with a container that has the correct dimensions for carry-ons. all you need to do is place your bag there, and if it fits, you can take it. doesn't matter how heavy it is, all they need to know is that it will fit in the overhead compartment.

another budget airline is setting the stage for yet another outrageous charging scheme. that oh-so-famous european budget airline ryanair is contemplating charging passengers for use of the lavatory for flights lasting an hour or less.

i can't resist quoting the following lines from the article:

The carrier said it is working with Boeing to develop a coin-operated door release so that when nature calls, passengers would need to deposit the change before being able to use the facilities.

The idea is to encourage people to use restrooms in airport terminals before boarding, Ryanair said. If the airline were to proceed, the changes would be at least 12 to 18 months away.

As part of the plan, the airline is also considering removing two of the three lavatories on some of its planes so it could squeeze in up to six extra seats. The move would help reduce fares by at least 5 percent, Ryanair said.

i, for one, find the lavatory fee a little too extreme. i actually shouldn't be that bothered, because i don't go to the restroom a lot, much less on board planes, but let's not take budget traveling to the extreme and charge "natural urges" a standard fee as well.

i'm updating you on these because these airline fees might reach our shores as well. at the moment, budget airlines have only taken out inflight meals and have retained standard services such as seating assignments. i wonder if any of our budget airlines will implement any of these schemes, and how pinoy travelers will react to these airline fees.

Monday, April 12, 2010

the great la union reunion

i spent my araw ng kagitingan long weekend on the beach of urbiztondo, san juan, la union, reacquainting myself with a place that's always been close to my heart. a lot has sure changed, but all for the better.

the part of la union where we usually go to now has a henna tattoo tent, and a couple of new restaurants. at the moment, there's a resort that's being built beside surfer's inn, where we stayed, and i was told that it's set to be the grandest resort in the area. it'll open in july this year.

the place now has a more... organized feel to it, with board stands lining the beach. at least you won't have to carry your board from the resort to the water anymore, and you can now choose among the different rental kiosks.

on the upside, though, i'm glad that the la union i know and love is still there. :) the people are still as nice, everything still comes easy, and nothing is pretentious. despite the developments, la union still has its rough edges, which i hope it doesn't lose.

i spent this break just enjoying the fact that i was back there, and i got to enjoy the water sans a board. i hope to be back in la union again this year, and this time, i'll rent a board and see if i can still take on the waves.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

pila, laguna now has walking tours!

a couple years ago, susie and i drove to pila, laguna to see just what the vigan of the south had to offer. we ended up being enamored by a small, tranquil town that boasts beautiful old world architecture.

today, my friend pi sent me a link to ancestral house in pila is showcase of a vanished era, where i found out that pila now has its own historical society, thanks to cora relova. in may 2000, the national historical institute declared that the town (specifically the plaza and the ancestral homes) is a national historical landmark.

what excited me about the article, though, was the last line:
For guided walking tours, e-mail lacoring@gmail.com

this means we can explore and rediscover the town of pila and find out more about this lovely, lovely town. :) (photo is of the st. anthony de padua church in pila)

see more photos of our trip to pila, laguna.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

mitch's "anik anik love" is a finalist for show us your city!

my friend mitch mauricio entered creative cities' "show us your city" competition with her blog anik-anik love, which features the creative spaces of pinoy artists.

today, we found out that mitch has been short-listed! she's in the running for a trip to london for the london festival of architecture from june 19 to july 4.

you can read about mitch's entry here, or check out her blog here. :)