Here is something VERY interesting to do on a Saturday morning.

I’d gladly wake up early for this.

I hope you would too.


The Heritage Conservation society invites everyone to the 3rd Architectural Conservation Lecture entitled

by: Arch. Erik Akpedonu and Dr. Fernando N. Zialcita


Although many have been lost during World War II and up to now continue to be lost to mindless development at an alarming rate, Manila still has a comparatively rich and varied trove of buildings from the 1600s to today. If  properly conserved and utilized to their full potential, these structures could significantly contribute to the city’s attractiveness and be a source of national pride. Since June 2008, a team organized by the Institute of Philippine Culture of the Ateneo de Manila University has explored the streets of Manila’s various districts in order to document the city’s remaining architectural assets, highlight  the significance of each, and evaluate its present condition, originality and possible threats to its existence . The lecture reports on what has been done so far and discusses some of the distinctive features of each of the districts that were studied.  Second, it tallies heritage buildings that have been lost in recent decades and points out specific current threats to remaining vintage structures in each district.

WHEN: Saturday, 18 July 2009, 8 a.m. (registration)- 12:00 Noon

WHERE: Bukod Tannging Bulwagan, Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Manila, Intramuros, Manila.

FEES: P500.00 /head

P300.00/head for HCS Members

P100.00/head for full time students

*inclusive of lecture entrance and lunch

For more information, contact our the HCS Secretariat  at 5212239 or

Look for Dorie

One  fine day this month, I found myself being flown to Cebu City with chef J.  Gamboa upon the invitation of the Cebu Chamber and Commerce Industry to be their guest panelist/speaker for the Cebu Business Month Tourism Congress.

As I had arrived a day earlier, I immediately set about to explore this southern city which I had last visited more than 15 years ago. First on on the agenda, a walk around  the historic core. My hosts (thank you for your hospitality!) must have sensed this before and they instinctively bought out a brochure and gave it to me.

Ah, right on the spot and just what I would have wanted.

Pasiyo ni Kabilan.

This is Pasiyo Sa Kabilin, Cebu City’s own version of a DIY walking tour.  A project of the Cebu City Tourism Commission, this handy little leaflet maps and strings together the city’s chief historic sites, really a small collection but just as interesting nonetheless.

Similar to Manila, Cebu city’s historic districts is a bit tattered around the edges with ocassional broken pavement and tricycle smoke belchers to give your walk some local color. However surprises abound and old Cebu is showing signs of regentrification. There is newly opened Cathedral Museum, the newly restored Cathedral (small but elegant) the very pleasant Plaza Subu just right beside the Santo Nino Basilica.

For sure, there’s lots to be improved upon but at least this is the first step.

Grab a copy and take a stroll. There’s a story every step of the way.

It’s summer and much as I like walking the streets of Manila, I do need to get out ones in a while and have  change of scenery.

Well,  I’ve just found a reason.  Old Manila Walks, in partnership with Ultimate Philippine Tours brings to you our flavors of the month with these special tour treats.

Ultimate Beach Culinary Tour of Anawangin – Bolinao – Hundred Islands


Tour Description:
Frolick under the Philippine sun as we visit three of the best beaches along the western coast of North Luzon. We drive down to Zambales and take a boat to its best kept secrets: Anawangin Cove and Capones Island. At night, we will watch a classical concert at Casa San Miguel. Then we troop to Bolinao and visit its famous lighthouse and enjoy the sunset at Patar Beach. For our last day,  We’ll boat around the Hundred Islands and enjoy the white sands of Quezon Island.
The best part of the trip is savoring the culinary surprises and treasures of Zambales and Pangasinan. We will enjoy leisurely Picnic Beach Lunch in Anawangin Beach, Sunset Dinner at Bolinao and Barbecue Lunch at Papaya Island.
Date/Time: April 25, Saturday 4am to April 27, Monday 7pm
The tour fee is PHP15,000 per person all inclusive of:
- transportation,
- overnight accommodation at the best resort in Pundakit –  Punta de Uian (San Antonio)
- overnight accommodation at the best resort in Bolinao –  Puerto del Sol (Bolinao)
- boat rides to the Hundred Islands, Anawangin Cove and Capones Island
- full board and all meals.
-and more!
Limited 20 slots.
For inquiries  and reservations, email

The ABCs of  Ilocos:  Antiques, Bagnet and Churches!


Tour Description:
In Ilocos, nature and history is intertwined but at Ultimate Philippines, we think this is combo best savored with bagnet and beer so we’re exploring this provincial belle  - our style. Let’s journey onto the Northern plains and take a time-warp through the colonial city of Vigan. We’ll walk through cobbles,  munching our way through  the town’s traditional street fare, from yummy empanadas to tasty longganisas.. More historical bites as we take a peek at the life of ex-strongman Ferdinand Marcos in the town of Batac and admire two masterpieces of Ilocos’ unique  ‘earthquake baroque’ architecture- Paoay and Santa Maria Church. Capping off, we’ll surf through the waves of Maira-ira beach in Pagudpud ending our journey in time to join the revelries of the annual fiesta in Vigan.
Tour Route:
Sabangan Cove* La Union* Paoay Church* Santa Maria* Marcos Museum* Cape Bojeador Lighthouse* Bangui Windmills* Pagudpud* Blue Lagoon* Vigan Fiesta
Date/Time: (Leaving April 30 9pm) May 1, Friday to May 3, Sunday
The tour fee is PHP15,000 per person all inclusive of:
- bus transportation, (one can opt to fly for additional fees)
- overnight accommodation at the best resort in Pagudpud –  Kapuluan Vista Resort
- overnight accommodation at the heart of the heritage town of Vigan –  Vigan Hotel
- full board and all meals.
- and more…
Limited  20 slots.
For inquiries  and reservations, email:

what I think is the best in the lot!

Southern Secrets in a Spoon Full Part 2 : Quezon Province, Viaje de Sol and San Isidro de Labrador Festival


Photos from Our Awesome Planet


Tour Description:
Quezon Province and the San Isidro Labrador Festival    It’s fiesta time in this month of May and what better way to drink, eat and be merry as we head south to explore charming Quezon  province. It’s the best time of the year as the as join in the revelry and celebrate feast of San Isidro de Labradorl! First off, to the town of Lukban and Pahiyas festival where we’ll feast our eyes over a smorgasbord of food, music,artistry and local color! Then on to the neighboring  town of Sariaya to join the street celebrations of the Agawan Festival. Along the way, we’ll follow the ‘way of the sun’ – Viaje del Sol- and discover the the quaint dining establishments, meet the personalities and immerse ourselves in true Tagalog hospitality!
Tour Experience:
Kusina Salud* Ugu Bigyan’s Atelier* Kubli Springs* Lucban Pahiyas Festival* Sariaya Agawan Festival* Sulyap Gallery Cafe
Date/Time: May 14, Thursday 5.30am to May 15, Friday 10.30pm
The tour fee is PHP8,000 per person all inclusive of:
- transportation,
- overnight accommodation at the best bed & breakfast place in San Pablo, Laguna –  Casa San Pablo
- full board and all meals- just bring yourself!
Limited 30 slots.
For bookings inquiries and  reservation, email


Kiong   Hee     Huat     Tsai  !


Oh yes, its that time of the year again when

we BINGE ourselves silly as we welcome the

the Lunar New Year with a BIG, BIG BITE!

It's the BEST time of the year to WOK around

Chinatown as we say goodbye

to a RATTY year and welcome the YEAR

of the OX!


The BIG Binond Food WOK!

Nibbling Our Way Through Chinatown

(Special 2009 Chinese New Year Edition)

Dates: January 24, 2009 Saturday
1st WOK @ 8:00 AM
2nd WOK @ 2:00 PM

January 25, 2009 Sunday
1st WOK @ 8:00 AM
2nd WOK @ 2:00 PM

Chinese New Year this year falls on January 26, 2009.
Rate: P999.00/head inclusive of tasting menu. LIMITED SLOTS.

Text +63917-329-16-22


details at

Reservations required

May 15, 2005

Ok, so yet another entry from outside the city (and there's more to come too!) this time on to the mountainous, lush and fertile backyard that is Quezon provice and just in time for the biggest date in the town's calendar: PAHIYAS Festival!!

If ever, there was to be a listing of the top-five festivals to experience in the Philippines, this will undoubtably be one of them (together with the Quiapo Feast in Manila and the Sinulog in Cebu) . In one phrase, I would describe it the 'most stimulating combination of Catholic pageantry and organic creativity.' For unlike the other great feasts of the county, the appeal of Pahiyas lies not on the rowdy, drum-driven street parties like those in Cebu or Iloilo or the ruggedness and fanatacism of Manila's Quiapo Feast but rather in the explosion of colors and ingenuity that goes into decorating of the town's participating houses.

Color mad!

'Kiping' as it's called, is the leaf-shaped piece that Lukbanons use to turn what otherwise would have been an ordinary house facade to a picture-perfect scene. Made of 'malagkit-rice', these can fried, grilled and eaten too (but if you ask me, I'd rather take photos of them, thank you.)


The Pahiyas is all about thanksgiving (sans the turkey), in particular to Lukban's patron saint San Isidro Labrador. Thanks for a bountiful harvest (do they really have that every year??) or maybe more than that, thanks that we as a people can still find time and celebrate such a time-honored and irresistably gorgeous festival despite the endless political wranglings, coup attempts and educational plan-run-offs.

As for me, Im just thankful I got a parking space and had the chance to enjoy the festivities!


Aside from the Kiping, veggies ( tomatoes, upo, sitaw, kalabasa, talong…the whole 'Bahay Kubo kahit Munti…' list!!) are also displayed for visitor to oohh and ahhh at. Why, if you had brought a portable cooker with you (as well as bottled bagoong) you could very much have an instant public pinakbet soiree on Lukban's streets!! Yum!


Such is the bountiful harvest of that rustic 3-hour drive from the City. And though it comes only once in a year, Pahiyas is still worth that 3:30 AM wake-up call to (guess what?) corner that elusive parking in town (and I thought I only had to fight tooth and nail for a spot at SM!)

And more than that, Pahiyas is just one of those things that make you smile all-day and make you really proud to shout (at the top of your voice) ' WOW PHILIPPINES!'

Maraming Salamat mga Lukbanon sa inyong Pahiyas!

March 24, 2005 

the Cordillera Mountains

Ok, so this is truly out of my comfort zone (city life and its worldy offerings!) but it is still our backyard. Call it another village perhaps, one that's a twelve hour drive away. As with the Eiffel Tower or the Great Wall, its one of those places that you just got to do. Even once in your life.
And boy, am I glad I did it. Finally, I've huffed , puffed walked and climed the great terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras, woohoo! It's one those crazy spur-of-the-moment things…when you have a car and got nothing better do for a week, well here's an advice: get an atlas, ask a few questions at the Lonely Planet website and then hit the road! For starter's, here's climbing the Rice Terraces 101:

a for All-terrain vehicle– If you' ve got one, then put it into a spin and drive all the way up to the mountains! Anything less than that should be left in the city. Take a bus or rent an SUV. Believe me, the damage ain't worth it.

b(1) for Banawe– Bad! The first and only 'big' town in the Cordilleras hits you right on the face, not on because of her celebrated beauty, but more with her mediocrity (of course, its just me.)
But come on, Ive lived in Manila all my life and I know Third-World mediocrity when I see one — join one of my walks and will show you barong-barongs at their best– ok so maybe Im ranting but I did expect more from the PREMIERE Cordillera town in one of the PREMIERE tourist spots in the country! The buildings kinda remind me of the slums of Tondo; all 2,3,4,5 storeys of them; with their unpainted walls, protruding metal linings and downright shoddy constructions. And what's worse, this type of aesthetic seems to the norm in the town. Sad considering its on the fringes of the famed Terraces. What can I say? We (the lowlanders) have finally bought salavation and civilization to our highland (the Ifugao people) brothers under the guise of tacky construction methods.

b(2) for Bangaan– If you've had enough of the Banawe bull, then head to Bangaan. Now, this is where your SUV would come in handy. I would really think twice and (re)consider doing this circuit if youre not used or havent tried driving along a mountain road. Its a rough stretch for over an hour with vertigo-views of steep ravines right beside you. And should you risk having rains (as we did) , well, landslides can make your trip all the more an adventure. If youre not sure, take those heavy duty Ifugao cross between a bus and jeep. Oh, and be sure to sit on the roof! If you do proceed however, you'll find its worth the trip. Bangaan is one of the four UNESCO listed World Heritage Sites and its not (yet) as commercialised as its big bad Banawe brother. The views are great and the weather is cool. We stayed at what's probally the only lodging in town –Family Inn– run by a cogenial Kapampangan lowlander who serves a mean fried chicken and a tasty tapsilog (ditto with the fiery vinegar dip!). Beds at P100/ head. As what some Tsinoys say, " cheap as the dog's shit." The price of the food , however, is the same as a Manila fast joint's, about P70-P100 per meal.

b(3) for Batad– the most stunning part of the Rice Terraces, period. I'll let Ms. Serena Bowles' lovely pics( thanks wherever you are!) do justice to this man-made wonder.



Things I learned and picked up along the way:

I. Mountain guides are like politicians == when they say something like "its a two-hour hike" , it usually means four. Or maybe five. Depending on the number of mis-steps you take down a craggy ravine or your dexterity in balancing when you walk on the 12-inch ledge that is the Rice Terraces themselves. Before you take a hike, ask (even the most naive questions!), it could just save your life.

II. Tapuy is synomymous with Tutong== or that's burnt rice to you. I just recently found out that the native Ifugao rice wine tastes like my mom's favorite munchie!

III. the Ifugao's speak more English than they do Filipino== maybe it's because I have Dao Ming Si's eyes *wink wink* but somehow, I have a feeling the Ifugao's tend to speak more Bush than they do Balagatas. Or maybe it's just me.



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