Jade’s Jollibee Birthday Party

Jade's Jollibee Birthday Party

Last week, me and my whole family flew back to Manila for a whole week for a vacation with my our relatives back home and to celebrate the first birthday of our youngest daughter Jade.   And where else do celebrate it?  None other than the happiest place for kids in the Philippines, Jollibee.

Well, I guess it has become sort of a tradition to many Filipinos to celebrate their kids’ parties in Jollibee.   Jollibee is well loved by Filipino kids and adults alike mostly due to the food they serve that is very close to the Filipino taste, plus their mascots.   Jollibee is the most famous fastfood brand in the Philippines beating McDonald’s.

Jade was born on 8th of July but we have booked her party on a 14th in the Shangri-la Mall branch in Mandaluyong City.  We have invited relatives and some close friends to join us.   Well, the party is more for the kids and so we booked and made sure that Jollibee’s 5 mascots will be there to join us.

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The Other Side of Laiya Beach

Edlagan Kids on the Beach

Located at the southern eastern coast of the province of Batangas, lies the small and remote town of Laiya.  Remote as it can be but the town has become known due to the exclusive beach resorts that opened up along its beach, as well as a jump off point for people wanting to dive into the rich corals reefs off the coast of Batangas.  Batangas province, aside from its coffee, is known for its dive resorts most specially in the town of Anilao.

To reach Laiya from Manila, one will have to drive south through the South Luzon Expressway (SLEx) all the way to the Southern Tagalog Arterial Road (STAR) Expressway and take the exit to Lipa City.  From Lipa, one will need to pass through smaller roads that leads to Candelaria in the province of Quezon until reaching the San Juan-Laiya Road.

So far, I have been to Laiya twice.  First was with my wife’s family where we went for a swim in Laiya’s public beach which I’ll talk about on this blog and a year later on in our company team building in the Acuatico Resort on the other side of Laiya.

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10 Must See Places in the Philippines

Must See Places in Philippines

Southeast Asia has been one of the most famous destinations for many backpackers and holidaymakers coming from Europe or the Northern Americas.   Among the more famous tourist routes include Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Malaysia.  Tourists would usually go straight to Bangkok or fly to Singapore.  Some would include Indonesia to visit Bali.

With tourist arrivals are high on these countries, the Philippines is still trailing behind.  Well maybe, I guess, is due to the fact that the countries I’ve stated all border each other, except most of Indonesia.  This makes backpacking easier as tourists can simply take a bus or take hours long of train rides to reach the neighboring country.  This is compared to the Philippines wherein the main means to reach is by air travel.

With a more challenging means to reach the Philippines, many simply skip the country.  Many probably do not know much about the Philippines except maybe that it’s a group of islands and maybe because of the thousands of shoes of Imelda Marcos, plus the other political problems we had in the past.

And so, what do tourists are probably missing as they skip the Philippines in their itineraries?

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Santo Nino Festival in Manila

our Santo Niño on display along Roxas Blvd for the parade

January in the Philippines has been dedicated by the Vatican to be that special month to celebrate the feast of the most revered Catholic image of the Holy Child Jesus or most known locally as the Sto. Niño.   All over the Philippines the feast of the Sto. Niño is celebrated almost every week of January wherein the most notable among these festivals are the Sinulog Festival of Cebu, Dinagyang Festival of Iloilo, and the Ati-Atihan Festival of Kalibo.

The great following to the image started from the arrival of the first image of the Sto. Niño brought by explorer, Ferdinand Magellan.  This was first given as a gift to Queen Juana, the pagan queen of Cebu during that time, when they were baptized to the Catholic faith.  But Magellan died later on and the Sto. Niño was left to become a pagan idol by the local tribes.  It was only after 44 years when Miguel Lopez de Legaspi arrived and revived the image as a Catholic symbol.

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Visa-Free Countries for Philippine Passport Holders

my Philippine passports with international immigration entry and exit stamps

Looking around the net, I came across websites that allows people to check the visa requirements for a person wanting to enter a certain country around the world.  And checking this out and being a Philippine Passport holder, I am listing below a list of countries where Filipinos may enter visa-free! 

Plus included other countries that allow visa on arrival at the port of entry for free or for a cost. Ports that give visa-on-arrival may require documentations to be presented at the border control.  I’ve not included countries that allow visa-on-arrival but require prior application before arriving to their borders.

Aside from such websites, I have re-validated each result from the immigration and tourism websites of each country to ensure I get the most accurate information as of to-date.
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Company Outing at Acuatico Resort in Laiya

Besix flags on the shores of Acuatico Resort in Laiya Batangas

Over the weekend, our company NV Besix SA Philippines held our very first team building activity and it was held at Acuatico Resort in Laiya, San Juan at the southeast border of the Batangas province.  We were all booked for an overnight stay in this posh beach resort with an exclusive beach front that faces the Tayabas Bay and a mountain range behind it.

From Makati City, by our office building we all gathered early morning for the trip but ended leaving Makati at around 8:30am.  We drove through South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) with a quick stop in Alabang to pick up 4 other guys who were waiting for us there before continuing our trip to the end of SLEX at the Sto. Tomas exit.  We followed the highway until we entered the Southern Tagalog Arterial Road (STAR) Expressway and exited at Ibaan Exit.  From there we took a long trip up to the town of San Juan and up to Laiya where the road ended.

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The Slipper Town of Liliw

PauTravels in Liliw, Laguna during the Tsinelas Festival

Two weeks back, a day after Labor Day, I had the opportunity to visit once more the beautiful town of Liliw in the province of Laguna, south of Manila.   The town has been known for its main industry which is manufacturing of slippers.   They are known for making world-class slippers where local tourists travel to to buy slippers and they are rival with the city of Marikina in shoe-making as well.   Also, the town is also famous for its cool water springs that visitors flock to cool off from the summer heat.

Liliw is a small town located at the foothills of the enchanted Mount Banahaw, where faith healers, voodoo people, and other people climb up for spiritual cure and beliefs.   The town has been founded since 1571 and some remnant of Spanish architecture may still be found and one of them is its centuries old red-bricked Liliw Church that is located uphill and offers the view of the whole town from it.  This church is very beautiful in my opinion and gives you the feel of the Spanish Colonial period.

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Enchanted by the Enchanted Kingdom

Janine and Yana in Enchanted Kingdom

A day before Valentines, we decided to spend the time with Janine in Enchanted Kingdom.  Enchanted Kingdom is one of the prime theme parks in the Philippines that is open year round for kids and adults alike to enjoy thrilling rides and a wonderful family day.  The park is located in the city of Sta. Rosa in the province of Laguna which is about an hour south of Manila.

The night before we went to the park, we stayed overnight on my in-laws in Calamba, which south of Enchanted Kingdom.  Going there we took the South Luzon Expressway (SLEx) and exited on Sta. Rosa.  The park is about a kilometer away from the exit and can be seen on the highway when passing by.  We arrived at the park around past noon already and we took some time to take a picture of the park’s main mascot, the wizard that is at the entrance.  While Jen is buying our tickets I took photos of Janine and her cousin, Yana who came with us that day.  We took a day pass that costs Php500 while for the kids at Php320.

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