Thanks Entrepreneur Magazine for featuring us in their newest column – aptly called ‘First Steps’- for the August edition. Small factual errors aside, the business angle was a refreshing change from the usual tour feature. We had a ball doing the interview!

Grab a copy and read our story as well as interesting stuff about Divisoria market.

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Thanks to  Singapore-based writer James Ong for making a little growl about our walking tours in the Lion City.

Sweet!

Look us up at HERE.

A lot of people have said I have a very interesting job and I guess it is when you don’t meet the

Of course in the course of five years, I have had the opportunity meeting personalities – both big and small- who have walked with us or we simply just bumped into along the way. I count amongst them ordinary folks, artists, cooks, tv personalities, pre-school kids (always an adventure!), members of the academe, writers, ambassadors, wives-of- taipans, street kids (same faces), beggars (they’re suki) as well as non-showbiz celebs (always low-key) and the occasional people I love to hate.

Here are some of the more memorable personalities we have walked into lately:

I bumped into Secretary of  Tourism Ace Durano while doing the BIG Binondo Food WOK last year.

Somewhere along the way the good  secretary decided to turn a lumpia wrapper into a roti prata and flipped it in the air.  What the …?!?

That said, he was a nice fellow and we talked a bit.  I think his really keen on doing his job.

thanks to Julie de Leon for the photo!

Next is the the former mayor of ManiLA (as he loves to spell it) who, in the run-up to the local mayoral elections decided to do visit Binondo and make his presence felt in the plaza across the church he restored (coincidentally, where we also start our Chinatown WOK). Gotta hand it to him, restoring the plaza revived the business around area but I still cannot forgive him for the Jai-Alai  building along Taft Avenue in Manila 10 years ago. Oh, and may I add,  changing of  historic street names too.  He listened in the first part of our tour while we were being filmed.

Have mixed feelings about the the guy.

And finally, here’s a memorable chance encounter with her excellency on a recent Power, Palace and a SHOT of Beer tour. While it is not the first time we bumped into her in this particular walk, our first few brushes left no tangible memories as shared through here, here and  here.

Well this group (and they were kabalens too) was extremely lucky because not only did they get to meet h her excellency, but she actually stopped to have her photo taken with us.  Easier said than done with some overzealous presidential security guards swarming around even at the palace grounds .  In any case , I think they the photo-op alone made the day for our guests (not to mention the lovely museum tour and merienda)

I  joined in the photo foray and that’s me just immediately on the top of her head.

I’m so glad she’s short.

So there, a day in the life of a walking tour guide.







I found myself being among the select few to be invited to the  Filipino and Proud series hosted by the Asia Society. On the menu was  Cristeta Comerford, the Filipino-American who just happens to be executive chef of the White House (yes, Obama and his family too).  It was an interesting one-hour talk where the chef shared nuggets of her life starting living as girl in Manila ( Sampaloc ) to eventually  being the lead kusinera of the most powerful kitchen in  America.

Cristesta Comerford

I learned one important lesson that day: When the telephone rings and you are eating, answer immediately as you never know who’s calling!

Could be Malacanang or the White House. You never know.

Also met the who’s who in the Philippine culinary industry: Glenda Baretto of Via Mare, Jesse Sinsioco of Le Souffle ( I had to tell her how much I enjoy her restaurant and kamias juice) , Gaita Fores of Cibo (I though she was really tall) ,  Mikey Fenix of Food Magazine and my fellow-kabalen Claude Tayag.

Claude

After that it was off the Fort with my fellow brods Ivan Henares and Anton Diaz together with Claude Tayag to try out a new French resto. Yet another culinary lesson from the master, this time, how to distinguish a good croissant from a bad one.

According to Claude, authentic ones are flaky on the top just like hopia.

So there.

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Hey, hey hey, thank you to John Landers of the  Toronto Star for the feature on Manila and yours truly.

Maraming Salamat!

A BIG thank you to Lonely Planet guidebook for your little blurb and having us grace (again) the pages of  the LP Philippines 2009 edition.

We first made it to the 2006 issue and look forward to seeing Old Manila Walks again in 2012.

LP Philippines

Also to Metro Magazine for  the lovely double -page write up on Old Manila Walks.

You really captured the essence of every step we make.

And of Maricar Reyes too.

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Finally,  maraming salamat to Maxim Magazine for your meaty two- page spread feature.

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Everybody inside looked really sexy.

Except us.

But thanks anyways.

Just a little THANK YOU note to Travel and Leisure Magazine (September edition)  for your little shout out to my name on your Intramuros article.  Quite a poignant piece on the Walled City, too bad the writer got our email wrong.

Oh well…

And better late than never, a big THANK YOU too to Brunei Airline’s MUHIBAH Magazine for your lovely feature on Manila…

as well as Old Manila Walks blurb with my million-dollar killer smile to boot!

Shucks, did my photo really deserved to be that big? ;op

MARAMING MARAMING SALAMAT!

I’m a big fan of travel literature and a good chunk of my bedside reading material belong to this category. But in as much as I like reading them, I rarely buy local travel magazines because I don’t feel like they have anything new to offer apart from the tried and tested travel narrative in the usual getting from point A to B writing fashion.  And while some of the writing is good, I sometimes feel that the views of the writers or the places featured tend to be predictably too common.  Okay , so Paris is beautiful but do you think we need another article to glorify her treasures?  Sure, the writer probably loves the place but so do a million other people, is there a way of presenting a usual place without falling to typical cliches?

Enter the latest travel magazine to hit the newsstands, the aptly named Roam.

Roam is totally not what I would have expected from a local travel publication.  For one,  it is paper-packed (150 pages) and, at first glance, has a bit of an artsy-meets-MTV feel to it. I would go to as far as saying that its has comic-book quality to it (down to the size!).

I certainly found the lay-out design to be very edgy with hints of the tome Pinoy Pop Culture published a few years back.  For its premiere issue, Roam dedicated all its pages to this city of my personal affection: Manila.  By this, I mean it in her plural-mutated-sprawling-overbearingly huge form (not just the city of Manila) but the whole metropolis, all 600 sq. kms of it.  And I’m sure, given the size of my city, you’ll easily find something to fill up every page.

Certainly, the contents were well thought of,  a mish-mash of the usual Manila travel subjects- Intramuros, Chinatown, Quiapo et al. There’s also food reviews and the occasional emotional ramblings about a place.  But what I found fresh were the unconventional stories. The Luneta Photographer’s club (they existed?) feature presents a human-face to these faceless wanderers in our city’s biggest park.  Quezon City, Parañaque and Kalookan (!),  places in the Metro you (and certainly I) didn’t think of as worthy travel stories also found their way in and definitely gave the theme another kick. Ditto with features Marikina (boonies for me), balut-making and Korean immigrants.  All the articles made for an interesting read.

Well almost.

Some stories fell to the usual ‘predictably too common’ angle trap. The Intramuros article was ho-hum.

All said, a great read.  Kudos to Roam for coming up with a phenomenal travel magazine.

And THANK YOU too for your little blurb about Old Manila Walks and yours truly in the Vintage Manila article.

While we’re at it, same appreciative words to the Manila Times for featuring our BIG Binondo Food WOK here.

Ditto with Real Living Magazine for their blog write up here.

And finally, while surfing for ‘my’ online presence (yes i do that), I chanced upon an interesting article about Binondo and this blurb about Old Manila Walks by the Straits Times in Singapore. Thank you, thank you!