Batad Rice Terraces Dazzle in the Philippines

If only Portuguese explorer  Ferdinand Magellan knew what he was in store for him when he arrived to the shore of a series of interconnecting islands, to be later named after King Phillip II of Spain – the Philippines. He must have known it was paradise, because he greedily claimed the archipelago consisting of 7,107 islands as Spain’s territory. Here’s what’s interesting about the Philippines, there isn’t a well treaded backpacker mill littered with hostel row, tossed plastic and beer bottles accumulating into untenable spaces or alleys devoted solely to selling trinkets made in China. There are hostels, markets and beer, but it’s nothing packaged, sold and consumed. It’s all a bit muddy and undefined. There’s room for improvisation. A sense of purity tickles the senses once you leave the metropolis of Manila and begin exploring the other provinces. The Philippines offers the jaded traveler a chance at innocence again. People from a spectrum of stratospheres readily extended friendship to me, without airs or ulterior motives. Indeed, the reputation that the locals are welcoming far exceeds the illusion.  I never felt unsafe, scared or alone. […]

By |January 9th, 2012|Batad, Culture|14 Comments

What is Up With December? HostelBookers & More!

Sometimes my old life feels like a hundred years ago. And in that old life I use to fantasize about two things. 1) Coconut cream pie. 2) Spending Christmas somewhere exotic and unpronounceable. Number one was hard to come by, but number two I’ve managed to accomplish once already. Nothing is more exotic than spending Christmas in a village called Savarsai (note the unpronounceable) with 42 orphans. It was the embodiment of difficult, all the factors of challenging that you could possibly imagine. Surmounting the insurmountable was so last year. This year, I think Christmas will be a hell of a lot easier. Because…. I’m going to the Phillipines, baby! Where I’ll see the Banaue Rice Terraces and hunker down in the middle of the terraces at Native Village Inn. I’m most stoked to try their restaurant. Where I’ll travel to Bohol and visit a village tribe. This leaves me feeling humble and privileged to be given this opportunity. Where I’ll also get to meet Anna Cleal of Flip Flop Tours, an entrepreneur launching a tourism business based on her love of the Phillippines, cause I support love and small businesses. Where I’ll enjoy a thorough look at Puerto Princessa, Palawan. Mag Tours is taking me for a city tour, including an interesting gaze at a self-directed penal colony where prisoners actually want to stay (what kind of article will that be!) a peek at Honda Bay Island, and finally climaxing at UNESCO World Heritage Site, Puerto Princessa Subterranean River National Park. This one had me skipping down the street. Metaphorically. […]

By |December 1st, 2011|Philippines|21 Comments