Travel

HOW TO COMMUTE TO UP TOWN CENTER VIA E-JEEPNEY

I discovered the E-Jeepney facilities only this year when I got invited to an event at UP Town Center.  I don’t know how long have they been operating though.  But, what is important now is that you and I have another option whenever we like to visit the UP Town Center mall.

The terminal is located just in front of SM Main Building along EDSA .  Yes, yung dulong dulo na terminal malapit na sa tawiran going to Trinoma.  Please ask around if you happen not to find the E-Jeepneys at first.  For sure somebody would point you at the right terminal of the E-Jeepney.

When I was looking for it, somebody told me that there was no E-Jeepneys anymore because they like me to just ride the regular old type jeep that has a UP Ikot signage.  I told the old guy that I know that there exists an e-jeepney somewhere I just don’t know where is the exact location.

From the terminal the E-Jeepney traverse along Katipunan Avenue and make a u-turn under the flyover in Katipunan Avenue.

Fare is only Php20.00

 

 

TABACO CITY’S TABAK FESTIVAL 2017

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Tabaco City is located an hour away from Legazpi City and is the home of well-crafted “Tabak” or Bolo” .   Funny as it is, I have to admit, that yes, I was so wrong with my initial impression about Tabaco City.  It turned out Tabaco is well-known for its swords, scissors and bolos.  The mastery of this craft is considered family heirloom and is transferred from generation to generation.  With the recent developments though such as free education up to vocational courses levels, the number of masters in the craft dwindled. So, there’s a possibility that one day, not a single member of the family of those masters would want to continue the tradition of making bolo. After all, it is easier for them and their body (katawan lupa) to just study and look for employment elsewhere rather than to sweat it out at the factory of bolo where one had to do hard labor for hours just to make one single bolo. Video to be inserted here.

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My best friend ate Rocelle got assigned in Metrobank in Tabaco for many years when she was still alive.  I always thought Tabaco has acres and acres of tobacco plantation. Lol. Well, for some reasons, I never visited her in Tabaco, maybe because she always visited us in Manila.  And it seems, that there is no need for me to visit her in Tabaco during that time.  Maybe because our friendship was time-tested.  That no distance, travels and years of not seeing one another could break our ties. The ties that binds. She is a friend closer than a sister.  Our friendship went beyond the typical barkadahan in laughter and fun alone.  We had so much more. From crying in pain to crying in sorrow ( she always make it a point to be there for me and I for her, especially during those times when she broke up with her former boyfriend and when I lost my parents).

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I believe, everything happens for a reason.  I lost all the pictures and videos I took together with my micro sd card during the recent Tabak Festivities in Tabaco City. Followed by my laptop refusing to power on.  Oh, did I mentioned that my Sony RX-100 camera had conked out the moment I reached Tabaco?

But God is an almighty God.  August seems to be really good to me.  I felt so blessed since day 1 of August.  Maybe because it is my birthday month.  Yesterday, all I did the whole day was to recover pictures and videos from the roots of my phone and my clouds. That’s the beauty of this so called clouds! It automatically upload all the pictures I took during the event to my private cloud.

The pictures I took using my phone, may not be of topnotch quality but they’re all mine. Please bear with me, as I try to clean the pictures.  I would like to thank the people who invited me to Tabaco City most especially Mayor Cielo Krisel Lagman- Luistro, Sir Eric Valeriano of Tourism Office,  Sir Rome Candaza of Malilipot Albay.   Thank you also to the Vice Mayor for sending us a Japanese cuisine for dinner.  Salamat ( thank you also) to the drivers, tourism employees, the local government of Tabaco City and most especially to the people of Tabaco City who lent their time to tour us around and answer our questions.  You give us a memory of a wonderful Tabaco City. Dios Mabalos sa saindo gabos.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ROXAS CITY, CAPIZ: Coco Veranda

COCO VERANDA SEAFOOD PAELLA

When in Roxas City, Capiz you should not miss the opportunity to feast on seafoods.  And one of the best restaurant in that city for me is Coco Veranda.

Coco Veranda is an open air casual dining restaurant that serves different Filipino as well as some international cuisine. They’re quite popular both with the locals and tourists in Capiz.   I think that’s primarily because of their yummy seafood offerings.

The restaurant offer freshly caught seafoods for a very reasonable price.  Whether you’re alone or with a big group they’ll treat you like royalty! Their staff is very attentive and friendly. They serve with a big smile on their faces.

Their Seafood Paella is a complete meal by itself. I super love it! Imagine the goodness of paella flavored with the glorious catch from the sea, such as a generous serving of crabs, shrimps, oyster, squid and even eggs on a bed of spanish rice! Yummy!

Rating: 5 Stars                                5 STARS

COCO VERANDA CRABS

This Ginataan crabs is very fresh because it is so tasty! Yes, I could taste the difference between a frozen seafood vs. a freshly-caught one.  This particular dish reminds me of the crab I had in Kota Kinabalu.  The crab was bathe in a sea of “gata” or coconut milk.  It is best to order plain rice to appreciate this.  Its coconut milk goodness sips through your senses.

Rating: 5 Stars                                5 STARS

COCO VERANDA BAKED TALABA

The highlight of my meal is their baked oyster topped with cheese, pimiento, pepper and garlic! I could taste the good quality of butter that Coco Veranda used.  It is so delicious that I finished this one whole plate in a matter of minutes. Lol! I super love it!  I could go back any day and finish off one or two whole plate, lol!

Rating: 5 stars                                  5 STARS

COCO VERANDA SEAFOOD FEAST

Their steam fish is so soft! I love it. It is not rubbery. I almost finish off the whole fish. Very delicious.

Rating: 5 Stars                                  5 STARS

How to commute to Baybay,  Capiz

From the city center of Roxas you could ride a tricycle going to Baybay,  fare is Php14 per person.

Overall impression: Good .  A must visit restaurant in Capiz!  Not to be miss when in Capiz!

Ambiance: I love how you could hear the crashing of the waves and breath the soothing ocean breeze while you dine in and if you’re there before sunset, you’ll be able to witness one of nature’s gift to mankind– the majestic sunset while enjoying your seafoods with gusto!

All of the dishes were freshly-caught, served hot and was nicely arranged and was served with a smile. What else would you look for?

Coco Veranda Grill and Bar Restaurant
Lawis, Baybay, Roxas City
Capiz Province, Philippines

Phone Number
(036) 621 6185, 0918 930 9087
Opens daily, 10 AM-11 PM

TRAVEL ESSENTIALS: Good Health

Many years ago, I wrote about “triangle of travel“.   Yes, Siree!  My triangle of travel includes, good health, time and money.  Three essential elements that ensure that we get to enjoy a happy travel.

Each one of us has different preferences when it comes to travel.  Like for example my cousin Charissa,  she loves long-haul flights,  while my friend Jessica loves road trips and I love food trips! Ha ha ha! Well, isn’t it obvious? Lol.

But, alas, sometimes sickness prevents us from having a memorable and enjoyable trip no matter how long we plan ahead, and yes, even if you have enough funds to cover the cost of transportation and hotels.  Thus, it is essential that we have a healthy well being at all times so we can have a worry-free vacation.

Let’s focus on having a healthy state of body and mind. And here’s a line of health and wellness for your travel needs!

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United Home Ceetab (Ascorbic Acid) – helps promote immunity against sickness. SRP per piece Php1.75

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United Home Dizitab (Meclizine HCl) – relief from dizziness/motion sickness (for long-haul flights and road trips) Cost per piece Php9.50

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United Home Supracid (Sodium Bicarbonate) – relief from hyperacidity (for food trips) only 0.75

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United Home Lormide (Loperamide) – relief from diarrhea/LBM (for food trips) Php8.00

These medicines are only an example on what you can do to ensure good health.

United Home offers quality-proven products from Unilab at an affordable cost!

My September 23, 2013 article: http://travelonshoestring.com/2013/09/23/triangle-of-trave/

FALAFEL YO: A Taste of Israel

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Falafel Yo! classic sandwich is one of the most satisfying non-meat based meal I ever had to date. It is very tasty and yummy! Yes, I refused to call it a snacks basically because of its size. I didn’t expect that their serving size was really enormous. Yes, it is huge enough that two to three people could share in one Falafel Yo! classic sandwich.

I am not a fan of veggies. So, when I first saw the event invitation mentioning garbanzos or chickpeas, parsley, coriander, garlic and Mediterranean spices, I had second thoughts. But, as fate would have it, I attended Falafel Yo!’s grand opening event yesterday. Boy, was I surprise that the Falafel sandwich I ordered dances inside my mouth. It has a fusion of flavors that makes it one notch higher than your regular sandwich! The imported seasonings from Israel must be the secret!

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I discovered too from Guy Mann, Falafel Yo!’s General Manager that it is Israel’s national snacks. And they did not scrimp on the ingredients because they wanted Filipinos to taste the authentic Falafel that they used to have back in Israel. He even mentioned that it is Israel’s version of “Mang Inasal”

I really love their mango flavored dip! It also have olive oil mind you, healthy peeps! I know, those who know me personally would be probably in awe on how in the world did I learned to love vegetables. Ha ha ha!

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Hand model Gus Villa of Gus Station

Well, simple, the vegetable was neatly packed inside the warm, chewy pita bread with the six crisp, beautifully browned falafel balls on a bed of salad served with Tahini sauce and yogurt. Customers have options whether to have a “side salads”, or add-ons like fried eggplant, homemade hummus, pickled onions ( or sumac), roasted green chilies, cabbage, lettuce, Mediterranean lean tomato and cucumber mix from Falafel Yo’s salad bar. Kids and adults alike would love Falafel Yo! Sandwich. Believe me, your brain would send the approval signal on your first bite.

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I have not yet tried their experimental sandwich aptly labeled Falafel Beast because it has beef on it. I am excited to try it next time I visit the Falafel Kiosk.

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By the way, the Falafel sandwich I had were greatly complimented by their super delicious mint flavored lemongrass drink.

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Anyway, you’re in for a very big treat today, July 1, 2017, Saturday. Falafel Yo! will be giving their classic sandwich ABSOLUTELY FREE to their first 100 customers starting at 10 o’clock in the morning. Falafel Yo is conveniently located at the 4th floor of Greenbelt 3, Ayala Malls, Makati City ( Just above the 3rd floor cinema)

Photography by Cha Sy

 

ILOCOS SUR: Banaoang Bridge

Jump Shot of Cha Sy at Banaoang Bridge

I had an amazing time at Banaoang Bridge in Ilocos Sur.  If you love taking photos then you can have a pit stop there and enjoy its majestic backdrop!

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Photography by Cha Sy

This 456-meter bridge is located in Barangay Banaoang, Santa, Ilocos Sur.  The bridge’s name is really Quirino Bridge but it is more popularly known as Banaoang Bridge.   iIt majestically connects and separates two transcending mountains.

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This steel trusses bridge was no longer being used since it was damaged by a typhoon in 2001. When it was damaged by a typhoon it was replaced with a newer bridge.  The new Quirino bridge was constructed to replace the old Banaoang bridge that got damaged but the government had it preserved and now became a must see, must visit tourist attraction since it is very near Vigan City.   It is 20-minute motorcycle ride from the town proper.  Please take note that heavy vehicles are strictly not allowed to pass there.  It is not only a tourist attraction but also a backup bridge.

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If you’re a photographer, then you would really love the picturesque panorama view from the Banaoang/Quirino bridge.  The Abra mountain backdrop is a sight to behold. You could also avail of the ZipLine that would carry you across the river for around Php300, Price may change without prior notice.

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Photography by Kieth Walter Ayuso

TAGAYTAY: MusiCamp Philippines 2017

“Music is a moral law. It gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, a charm to sadness, and life to everything. It is the essence of order, and leads to all that is good, just and beautiful, of which it is the invisible, but nevertheless dazzling, passionate, and eternal form.”

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MusiCamp Philippines offers an immersive musical experience. It is a nice activity to cap my summer adventure. It is my first time to attend a music camp. And I am so grateful and honored to be chosen as the representative of Light Network Bloggers Group at the MusiCamp for 4 days and 3 nights in 4 houses in Tagaytay City last May 31 to June 3, 2017. This summer music workshop are both for kids and adults alike.

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For once, I felt the vibe on how to be a MusiCamper.   If you’re wondering why it is spelled with only one C, it is because it is a Christ centered music camp.

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The MusiCamp Philippines faculty were comprised of world-class singers and performers. Most of the teachers were from either UST or UP College of music. Other teachers were from professional ensembles who work to cultivate music artistry, discipline and an appreciation of music. In fact, MusiCamp Philippines is now on its 10th year, founded by Pastor Jewpeter Vidad in 2007.   He is also the owner of JV music school at V.Luna in Quezon City.  Go visit his music school if you want to learn how to play any instruments or if you want to enhance your singing voice by taking up music lessons.

Musicamp Guitar Lesson with Teacher Zaren

MusiCampers who has a basic instrument knowledge brought with them their guitars and violins. Some of the participants were really gifted, they could compose songs in an instant. Most of them play by ear and only learned note reading at the MusiCamp.

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MusiCamp Philippines has a big impact on some MusiCamper’s transformation that can last a lifetime. Just like what happened to one musicamper from last year who used to play the piano and returned this year playing the violin. Reason? She got so inspired with the Music Campers who played the violin last year! And she’s only 13-years old. Wooot! That is awesome! I myself would like to learn how to play the violin.

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The MusiCampers were divided into three teams the yellow team, the red and the blue team.

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Each team were assigned with a leader and assistant staff.

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The MusiCamp has practice time, teacher concert, choir classes, English comprehension, song writing classes, bible reading, master classes, guitar classes, drums classes, violin classes, organ classes and voice classes all of these and more within 4 days and 3 nights.

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At the MusiCamp, I observed that everybody were inspired to show off their God given musical ability and were very industrious partaking in rehearsals even until the wee hours of the morning. The performances of both the teachers and MusiCampers plus the organized recreational activities headed by American missionaries JR and Zack completed the camp experience.

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I can say that the MusiCamp went beyond my expectations. I am glad to have met all of these passionate people.

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The teachers encourage musical creativity in everyone. I super love the experience! Each teacher made each musicamper felt important.

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In a fun and practical way, campers were introduced the aspects of songwriting, like harmony, hooks, riffs and rhythmic accompaniment, basic chord progressions, intros, chorus-verse format, rhyming and even joke and storytelling, which is a very useful skills for even the more experienced song-writers.

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I learned that song composition is as easy as counting 1 to 3. All you have to do is to choose a genre of the song that you want to sing. And share a story that you want to tell. The MusiCampers were thought about composition and form, explore and recognize a variety of verses/choruses, beat, accompaniment and other essential basic knowledge on song writing. After a series of musical games, exercises, songwriting workshop and the study of different elements of music, the MusiCampers a.k.a. aspiring songwriters and singers were asked to put their ideas to music. The MusiCampers were subdivided into a smaller group and each one were asked to participate to build and write lyrics, compose and arrange their own songs. By the end of the 4 days and 3 days the Music campers had not only tried writing and collaborated with fellow MusiCampers on the creation of original songs and arrangements.

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The MusiCampers got to present and perform their original compositions in front of the crowd and guests during the banquet on the final night at the MusiCamp.

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The Chief of Police of Tagaytay City even attended the teachers concert on Day 1.

MusiCamp comprises a variety of music and worship activities. MusiCampers not only learned how to perform in front of the crowd, they also learned to be more Jesus centered. There’s a guest pastor each night who shared their wisdom and words of God from the bible. Each day, the campers sing spiritual truths and learn cool dance moves too during their morning exercises activities.

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The MusiCampers got to explore not only music making in a positive environment, but also learned English prowess, tips on public speaking. It is filled with activities that build the musiCampers musical skills and challenges their creativity in intuitive and fun ways.

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I decided to sit-in and study voice lessons with Teacher Sharon and on day 3 with Teacher Delight. No instrument is needed. No formal musical training. All that’s needed is an enjoyment of music, the willingness to explore one’s voice which would served as your very own instrument. I especially like how everybody cooperates on all the voice exercises. During our voice lessons, you could feel and see the beauty and rawness and the readiness of each and every MusiCamper to be a part of an exciting and affirmative team!

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I brace myself to get wet during the recreational activity on day 3 and change to my used clothing. Good thing, no one dared to get me wet. Whew! Thank Goodness! It was a ton of fun. I got to watch them on the sidelines.

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Campers learned valuable lessons such as honesty, integrity and sportsmanship. I was amazed at what the MusiCampers had accomplished in just four days and 3 nights.

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Besides the tonne of musical lessons and other fun-in-the-camp activities the campers got to met new friends and also learned more about Jesus!

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Congratulations and thank you to the founder, Pastor Jewpeter Vidad, his brother Pastor Dr. Chris Vidad our over-all Camp Director, and of course Teacher Sharon, my voice teacher and also Teacher Delight, Teacher Tracy, Teacher Andrea, Teacher Monique, Teacher Khayil, Teacher Kaleb, Teacher Zaren,  Teacher Ezra,  Teacher Froilan, Teacher Louie, Sir Nestor and to the staff and crew. Wishing you more MusiCamp’s to come!

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Happiness depends on happenings; joy depends on Jesus.

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“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.”- Plato

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To God be the glory!

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This EVENT is made possible through a partnership with Light Network Channel 33
“Magaan dito, kaibigan!”
-The first PHILIPPINE channel to FULLY migrate on DIGITAL TERRESTRIAL TELEVISION last March 1, 2017.
Available via:
*Digital TV/Gadgets over MegaManila
(Search frequency 587.143 mhz)
*Analog TV on Channel 33 Puerto Princesa, Palawan
*CABLE thru Sky Cable Channel 215 (Digital) and Channel 5 (Analog), and Cignal Channel 183 and to over 181 cable operators nationwide.

 

HOP INN HOTEL IS THE BUDGET TRAVELER’S CHOICE

HOP INN HOTEL IS THE BUDGET TRAVELER’S CHOICE

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I began travelling on a shoestring in 2008.   But I only started blogging my experiences and shared it with my readers in 2009.  Before I discovered budget traveling, I was so lucky to have not only one but two very generous relatives who sponsored my trips to China and Hong Kong every holy week.  Back then, we flew via Cathay Pacific because of its premium services and lcd monitors on each of the seats.  I think our travels are expensive because they let me experience fine dining not only in Metro Manila but also in Hong Kong and in mainland China. I even had a chance to dine in an exclusive club -members only restaurant in Hong Kong because of them. Then, I started earning my own money and discovered that traveling can be expensive for someone like me.  So, I started traveling like a local. That is when I discovered that one can travel on a budget to different destinations without putting a large hole on your pocket. The rise of budget traveling has everyone hopping off from one exciting destination on their bucket lists to the next. This upward trend in tourism is largely thanks to the advent of budget airlines offering wildly affordable vacation opportunities for more people both locally and abroad.

Hotels are of course quick to adapt to the steadily growing demand for accommodations in central locales; close to all the sights, sounds, action and adventure a first-time visitor will enjoy – all on a shoestring budget.

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Hop Inn Hotels, a 25- hotel strong Thailand- based chain not only guarantees guests the best locations in each city but also delivers 5-star quality cleanliness, comfort, convenience, and security that makes budget travelers go, “is this really a budget hotel?”

Here’s a rundown of why more and more choose to “hop into” Hop Inn and why it’s considered a one stop hop for travelers on a budget.

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Clean and spacious rooms — Saving on room costs doesn’t mean compromising on cleanliness and comfort. Hop Inn ensures that guests check in to spotless rooms with crisp white sheets that invite absolute relaxation. With more than enough space to accommodate guests and their luggage plus additional bags from pasalubong shopping, Hop Inn rooms make you forget you’re staying at a budget hotel. The bright and clean bathrooms equipped with hairdryers and toiletries are equally spacious, too.

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Free Wi-Fi — Perched up top of the hierarchy of needs, not only when traveling but basically in daily life, a strong and fast Wi-Fi access means timely and ‘mandatory’ sharing of #TravelGrams, #OOTDs, and #YOLO posts. Hop Inn’s free in-room Wi-Fi service also helps guests prepare for and accomplish their work, research and plan their adventures of the day, and check up on friends and family back home.

Hot and cold shower and a comfortable bed— A warm, refreshing bath after a long day’s adventure in the city? Yes, please! All Hop Inn rooms come with hot and cold power showers so guests enjoy a calming prelude to a restful sleep in the hotel’s ultra-comfortable beds guests cannot stop raving about!

Daily housekeeping, 24-hour front desk assistance, and 24-hour security— Hop Inn guests are always greeted by tidy rooms with fresh linens at the end of each day with the hotel’s expert housekeeping team making sure all rooms are spick and span while guests explore the city. With dedicated and friendly front office and security teams available 24/7 and an advanced elevator access and round-the-clock security system, Hop Inn Hotels guarantee a safe, worry-free, and serene stay for all its guests.

Free spacious parking for guests— Guests driving to Hop Inn have access to the hotel’s spacious and secure parking, absolutely free! A sweet gift for Metro dwellers struggling with parking space and steep fees on the daily.

Facilities for PWDs— The joys of travel are free for all to experience and Hop Inn strongly advocates this by ensuring all of its hotels open their doors to persons of all shapes and sizes and are equipped to cater to persons with disabilities and those that require special assistance throughout their stay.

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Lastly, excellent value for money— Budget hotels often deliver exactly what they promise – a place with enough space for a bed to retire to after a long day and nothing more. While travelers can afford such accommodations with just loose change, more often than not they still find themselves shortchanged, especially on the comfort and security aspects. At Hop Inn Hotels, guests enjoy the very best of their money’s worth and more with rates as low as PHP1, 520 nett per room night. A very small cost for such big hospitality.

The Hop Inn Hotel chain’s steady growth across Thailand and the Philippines is testament to the brand’s dedication to deliver its Four Pillar Promise to its guests – Cleanliness, Convenience, Comfort, and Security. But like that exotic food crawl or that adrenaline- pumping theme park ride travelers scribble onto their long and detailed bucket lists, some things are best experienced in the flesh. So, hop into Hop Inn Hotels on your next trip and decide for yourself if it’s truly a #OneStopHop and #TravelGoals- worthy.

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For more information about Hop Inn Hotel, visit www.hopinnhotel.com and follow their social media pages at www.facebook.com/hopinnhotelph and @hopinnhotelph on Twitter and Instagram.

 

BAGUIO CATHEDRAL

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Baguio Cathedral photo taken using my three-year old Sony RX 100 Mark I inside a speeding van during my recent trip to the city of Pines.

Our Lady of the Atonement Cathedral is well known as Baguio Cathedral not only in Baguio City but also all over the Philippines.

its distinctive pink exterior, with a rose window and twin square belfries with pyramidal roofs.  It prided itself with a large courtyard with a viewing deck that overlooks Session Road and the downtown commercial district of Baguio.

You can reach the cathedral via private car or by foot.  Yes, don’t worry if you’re on foot. The cathedral is accessible to pedestrians from Session Road via 100-step stone staircase that ends at a Calvary, or through the adjacent campus of Saint Louis University.

Its official address is Mt. Mary Hill, Cathedral Loop, Baguio City, Benguet.  Telephone number is 442-4256.