Posts Tagged ‘ travel ’

PNR: Back On Track

Though more than a century already, my generation never knew the existence of the Philippine National Railways. We know only the dilapidated and deteriorating rail tracks and trains that pass by and make cars abide to rusting stop, look, and listen billboards. Plus the usual visuals of squatter houses and topless by-standers a few inches from the passing train coaches, killing time with a bottle of gin. Its a shame the Philippine National Railways or PNR went through all of this.

Good thing at last, the Philippine government gave way to the idea of its renovation as a Philippine-Korea joint project. Though not fully operational yet, information has been passed around already (heard of it last year) that it can accommodate mass transportation even with limited railways and trains.

With our frustration on the gas prices, terrible Manila traffic and high demand on the MRT and LRT. Its a good move from the government to provide Filipinos another alternative of transportation. And today, I gave that alternative a try.

PNR: Back on Track, Philippine National Railways

PNR: Back on Track, Philippine National Railways

Thumbs up for:

  • Cheap fare! I traveled from Sta. Mesa station to Buendia, Makati station for only Php 10.
  • Newly purchased trains, compared to the MRT and LRT, are bigger, wider and has great air-conditioning.
  • Best option not to be late from work/school. My travel time only consumed 9 minutes.
  • Scheduled departure and arrival time
  • Not cluttered by advertisements (yet)
  • Guards stationed on each train coach.
  • Great stretch! The train can go from Caloocan up to Binan, Laguna

Not for:

  • Scary surroundings. Only squatters from the near distance from the rail were removed.
  • Like buses, fare is collected by a conductor and you’ll be given ticket for inspection
  • Unreliable security: Only one guard per station, that guard won’t even inspect passengers’ bags.
  • Airconditioned trains are not yet being utilized for Binan, Laguna station
  • Safety. No one doesn’t even care about walking on the rail tracks.

PNR: Back on Track, Philippine National Railways

That is how the PNR is faring at the moment, but I really do hope that its renovation goes to full swing. It is such a great help for many especially that the projects of its extension is on its way as well.

For more information, visit the PNR website.

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Why Wait For Summer? We’re Off to the Beach!

“Where do you guys stay?”, that’s the question that I’ve been avoiding for 3 days we’ve been to Boracay as we’ve been asked by people we know and kind strangers as well. We stayed at Shangri-la Boracay. Yeah I know, “sosyal!” and I’m crazy to spend unbelievable amount of money for it, but to tell you the truth, its F-R-E-E. The lucky bastard out of me did it again by winning at Mango Magazine’s launch grand prize raffle when I already have a booking for Hey Jude Hotel for December.

Oh well, I said to myself in a so apathetic manner, I know what to do with this Shangri-la 3 days and 2 nights stay GC. 😛

Even though I am not much a fan and strongly disagree of the construction of these modern type of hotels in a nature embraced Boracay. Its best, I think, that I thank God for the unexpected blessing and take the opportunity to explore and experience the luxury of staying at the newly erected and overly grandeur Shangri-La Boracay.

The food (the best they can offer), the staff, the place is amazingly pleasant. Shangri-la got everything we need and, due to time constraint, we didn’t even get to explore everything the hotel got in store for the guest residents like the one we just saw before leaving on the 3rd day: the beautifully decorated Entertainment room. Plus there are other places, like the gym, their other restaurants, the other beach (they have two), etc.

If you are going to Boracay only because you miss the ever pristine beach of it? Then I recommend that you get a beachfront hotel on White Beach instead, not in Shangri-La. Though they have their own beach (and pool) for the guest residents, nothing still beats the overall beauty–the sand, the party places, the beautiful people, the beach, the food, the nature, etc.–of White Beach, Boracay.

But everyone can never neglect the best thing about Shangri-la Boracay–the FOOD. It is something to die for and is something that you’ll surely miss when you get back to Manila. Here’s the situation and is probably the best description that I can give about the food: do you know the experience of eating something that is so insanely delicious that you just take a bite of one of their food and while absorbing the taste of the delicacy, you blissfully close your eyes as you are suddenly in a state of culinary trance and you just don’t want to give up the food to your esophagus just to savor more of the taste? Boom! Thats just it I miss it already! My waist line before leaving Manila was 31, and now as I am writing this blog, I just adjusted my belt (an inch?) to a less tighter notch. Whew!

A lot of thanks to Linds for lending us the Canon Powershot D10 for the underwater shots.

A Sneak Peek of Cebu

The Magellan’s Cross

 

June 12-14, 2009

Long weekends are just not enough for escapades. We went down south the second time this year, to the city of Cebu or some people call it in Spanish as Sugbo. 3 days and 2 nights is all we got to squeeze everything in the itinerary from the travel package we got online. We planned for a tour in the said oldest city in the Philippines, to visit the famous eating places and island hopping at the coast of Lapu-lapu city.

We stayed in one of the pioneer in the hotel industry in Cebu, Cebu Beach Club, a sister company of the Tambuli Beach Club. It is noticeable in the room that they are indeed one of the few who started hotel business in the City, evident that is the age of the furniture and the place shows. Looks like the staff who helped the business to success before already left at this time due to old age. Unfortunately, it also appears that they took with them the hospitality that is now lacking within the current employees, particularly the front desk, welcoming us with no smile or enthusiasm at the moment we arrived at the hotel. Even the breakfast served in the morning is having deficiency of vibrance; we dare not look forward starting our tomorrow with the same pale morning rations.

We thought of trying out the famous eating places then in Cebu, but to our surprise, the taxi getting out of the hotel is paralyzing as we have to pay 200 pesos each time we get out of the inn. Leaving us with not much choice, it is better than being exhausted by a long walk to the main road.

Eager of seeing the Cebu places and food, I was expecting so much of the famous Tongs, Su-to-kil and Cebu Lechon that I was drooling in my sleep going to Cebu. But I think I was expecting too much and the two being over-rated by many. Good food indeed but not as orgasmic as I was thinking. But I still do understand why the Cebu Lechon is so prominent not just all over the country but of the world. Yummy!

We were greeted by an effervescent tour guide in the second morning by a man named William. A lively person who is all smiles you can see his enthusiasm in what his doing. A man with much gusto reminds me of a good friend in GMA, Mr. Larry Ligunas, who sounds and talks like the good man as well. 😛

Me, being a Philippine enthusiast enjoyed the city tour, it was educating and fun seeing its famous places and lending a good ear to the history of the city. But then again, the much needed time is of scarcity.

Interior shot of Basilica de Sto. Nino

 

There are many things to do in Cebu, and we still have long unmarked points on our to-do list. What we did after the tour is to enjoy Island hopping and snorkeling cum diving in the middle of the sea, with fish bread crumbs and a life jacket. It is amazing to see the fishes and the color of the deep sea. I am very eager to share with you the photos in my mind at that moment but the lack of an underwater camera prohibits me to do much of that here. My getaway partner, Yule, being not into deep waters, obviously missed a lot. She only enjoyed our tasting of the Viagra-like Black Sea Urchin meat in the middle of the sea, being caught by our Muro Ami like tourist guides/boatmen.

To sum it all up, the Cebu getaway is so much bitin especially after being ruined by bad weather in the late afternoon. Oh well, hopefully Bantayan Island, Bohol, Plantation Bay, that Crowne Plaza top coaster something, and the other tourist spots won’t be going anywhere when we get back packed with monetary ammunitions and the much needed vacation leaves. 😛

A freshly caught black sea urchin

 

Literal na Road Trip: Ilocos

Long Overdue Post from May 2 – 4, 2008

Talk about life on the road if you are to calculate the travel time we’ve spent on the road for this vacation trip. Yes, we had a grueling yet fun trip to the very north side of the country, Ilocos. I can’t exactly remember how things were planned and the places we visited since this happened a year ago. But the trip was prepared by Sharri and Kuya Den, Sharri’s brother-in-law. Kuya Den became our tour-guide/nanny/friend/photographer and, I don’t know if it became worse to this, hope not being slave from his experiences with us. 😛 He is our one-man chariot, driving to the wee-hours just to take us to different destinations of Ilocos (from Manila to Laoag, Pagudpud, Vigan, etc. and back to Manila, whew!). If any of the energy drinks are looking-out for a worth-it endorser/model then Kuya Den won’t give them a hard time looking for one.

Forgive me if my narration of the trip won’t be that concise, but these are the things I can remember from it.


White Lady found in Palazio De Laoag

First stop, coming from a looong trip from Manila to Ilocos is to our hotel, Palazio de Laoag, obviously in Laoag Ilocos Norte. It is a classic sweet place, more of like an introduction of the vintage quality of Vigan, with a pool and concrete-Spanish structure design of a Filipino hotel. We rested our asses there to ready ourselves for a packed itinerary for the following day.

Come the start of the second day, my craving for the favorite Longganisa ng Ilocos got on track and had one for breakfast (was actually planning to have them for lunch and dinner as well). We off now to the Bacarra Church (did I get it right?), which part of it is a ruin from an earthquake in the early 80s. Then we off to a place where I can’t remember the name (Cape Bojeador?) wherein there was a lighthouse and a gallery of its history . After that, a trip to the windmills of Ilocos, a wonderful scenic view with the scorching heat of the sun towering above us and the tall energy-source outdoor electric fans. Next was the La Paz Sand Dunes. Then the most-awaited destination, the Pagudpud beach, didn’t disappoint us at all. The Ilocos version of Boracay, minus the commercial establishments, is stunning as we stepped into the fine-grain sand and dipped our toes into the refreshing Pagudpud saltwater. Ahh.. the northside paradise!

The third and last day was spent with in a visit to different destinations: the astonishing Fort Ilocandia, a famous resort-hotel to Ilocos expats and elite. We visited as well the historic Malacanang mansion of the Marcoses (my desired design of a someday-owned house) and the family gallery. There also were the Paoay Church and the classic town of Vigan (with the bagnet, goto, and other good food came in for dinner). Everything is a classic and rich in history. Just like what I wanted, loving the nostalgia they brought from the past.


Lissa enjoying the baroque-beauty of Vigan

Pardon me for I only have few of the pictures here from my camera, but most of the captured moments are caught by Kuya Den’s camera. Click on the link/s below to view the other Ilocos trip photos.

Lissa’s World – Ilocos Getaway ’08 Day One

Lissa’s World – Ilocos Getaway ’08 Day Two

Meet Ayishky – Pagudpud

Meet Ayishky – Side Trips

Meet Ayishky – Last Day in Ilocos