UST, Asia’s Oldest Catholic University

UST, Asia's Oldest Catholic University

The Pontifical and Royal University of Santo Tomas, the Catholic University of the Philippines. This the full name of the University of Santo Tomas (UST). UST is among the oldest universities in the Philippines. It is also the oldest Catholic university in Asia. Established in April 1611, it was founded and managed by the Dominican priests. And today, it is one of the top universities and most respected educational institution in the country.

Well, I’m a proud to say that I one of its alumni who graduated from its College of Commerce in early 2000.

UST is currently located in a squarish 21.5 hectare lot in locality of Sampaloc in Manila. It is bounded by España Boulevard, named after the Philippines’ former colonizer, Spain. In exchange, Madrid named its own as Avenida de Filipinas where the replica of the Rizal monument stands. But originally, the university was located within the walls of the Intramuros. It was only in the 1927 when the Dominican priests decided to move to a bigger location outside the wall. The Intramuros campus remained operational until it was destroyed by the World War II.

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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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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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Boat Ride to the Underground River

Jen and PauTravels at the Puerto Princesa Underground River

After touring around the port city of Puerto Princesa on our day one, our group continued our Palawan getaway by taking the long drive to the city’s most prized natural wonder. For the second time around, I’m having the opportunity of taking the boat ride into the Puerto Princesa Underground River, currently the Philippines’ proud entry to the New 7 Wonders of Nature. It is considered as the longest navigable underground river in the world.

And so from our pension house in Liberty Park within the city proper, Maple Travel picked us with their Hiace and picked the second group from RAQ. From there we proceeded to drive north to the port of Sabang. the drive took about two hours on mostly cemented road with sections of rough road. Also the route passed through the mountainous region of the rural part of the city where the road twisted and turned. Our driver was driving on about 50 or 60 kph on that crooked roadway and that caused Jen and another lady to throw up after getting dizzy.

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Back to Palawan

Jen posing at the Baker's Hill welcome sign

After 6 years, I once again have the opportunity of visiting the beautiful island of Palawan at the western coast of the Philippine archipelago.   Again I visit Puerto Princesa City now with my wife Jen and 11 other ex-colleagues and friends.

Also this time, we took a packaged tour of 4 days and 3 nights to see what the city can offer.  I booked our group with the travel agency of a friend in Palawan, Maple Palawan Travel and Tours.  Maple have divided our group into two for our accommodations between Liberty Park Pension and RAQ Pension.  This is due to full booking at Liberty when we took our package.

Our stay with Liberty Park was good with spacious clean rooms, though we had slow service during breakfast.  We were told by our other friends that their rooms in RAQ were smaller but at least they had more options for their free breakfast.

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Boracay, a Natural Beauty

PauTravels at rocky cliffs at the crystal caves in Boracay

Among the 7,107 islands of the Philippines, one island destination definitely stands out as the most famous and most visited by tourists local and foreign alike.  It is none other than the beautiful island of Boracay, known for its sugary soft white sand, a wide coastline and a perfect beach destination.  But little did know that this island has more to offer.

Boracay island is a small island off the northern tip of Panay island in the island group of Western Visayas in the Philippines.  This island has an about 4 kilometer-long white sand beach on its southwest side where different hotels, resorts and commercial establishments line up the coastline.  Each resort offer different water sport activities like para-sailing, jet skiing, and even scuba diving.  On the north eastern part of the island is a bit rougher as it is lined with coral reefs, caves and strong waves.  Within the island, there are golf courses and also waterfalls.

On March 20, 2006, my wife, myself and 4 other colleagues purchased a travel package to Boracay.  We took advantage of the PALakbayan promo released by Philippine Airlines during that time.  The package we got was for 3days/2nights stay at Sun Village Beachfront Resort.

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