Manila Ocean Park |Where Our Happy Feet Took Us

Earth Day — Our happy feet took us to Manila Ocean Park, a marine-themed park in the country located behind the Quirino Grandstand at Rizal Park in Manila. An Oceanarium that’s home to 10,000 marine life species indigenous to the Philippines and Southeast Asia. Its 25 meter long, 220° curved walkway tunnel provides a stunning underwater view of these amazing sea creatures.


However, I don’t believe that it’s the first marine park in the Philippines, whereas Ocean Adventure at Ilanin Bay in Subic is Southeast Asia’s only open-water marine park was first established in 2002.

Anyway, It’s my second time here in Manila Ocean Park. This time though, we got to try something new they had to offer.


After four years since the first time I visited the Park from it’s opening in March 2008, a lot has changed. The place got bigger with more enriching attractions. The park now has a marine-themed mall, hotel, restaurant, outdoor pools and hottest nightlife spots will soon join the park’s line-up of impressive attractions. This is the reason why there are more and more people go here every single day.

The Coolest Summer Destination within the City


What even more exciting was meeting the Penguins! The Trails to Antarctica, Penguin Exhibit and Snow Village are the latest attractions. The Penguin Exhibit is not to be missed, especially by kids (or kids-at-heart like us! XD). The Humboldt penguins are found in — no, not Antarctica, but in west coast of South America, from Peru to Chile. If you’re a fan of Happy Feet movie, you’ll surely gonna love it here!


We escaped from the 35°C summer heat of Manila into this freezing Christmas-ish Snow Village. We played in the snow like kids do. I got too excited and I’ve tried to make snow balls with my bare hands, I forgot that I’m not wearing gloves, so my hands got numb! ( hehehe XD)

Earth Day has been a lot more meaning to us after meeting these thousands of marine creatures. Seeing them, reminds us all to take care mother earth. We must raise awareness and be part of dealing with organic living, conservation and environmental advocacy. For parents, if you’re planning to bring your kids here, educate your children about Earth Day. Present this place as a fun information about protecting the environment.


A Piece Of Africa

In Madagascar Movie, Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra, Melman the Giraffe, and Gloria the Hippo escaped from New York City  to Madagascar and to Africa (Also, now into Europe) we also had an escapade of our own into a small island in Northern Palawan, called Calauit. One of the Calamian Group of Islands and a wildlife sanctuary created by the Philippine government.

In August 1976, President Ferdinand Marcos declared Calauit as a game preserve and wildlife sanctuary in response to an appeal by the International Union of Conservation of Nature for Kenya to help African animals be saved from civil strife.

The imported animals include 20 giraffes, dozens of zebra and antelopes. President Marcos ordered the locals to move other places and then he ordered to clear the bamboo forests to make the place similar to the savannahs of Kenya.


Today, the African animals still roaming around the island and the number of animals is roughly the same as the original number. What adds to the mystery is that it was all done without fanfare and with little public knowledge until the People’s Power revolution toppled the Marcos oligarchy in 1986.

The island is being promoted to tourists, where the animals and their habitation provide a glimpse of Africa in a remarkable tropical setting.

Calauit Island… Coron is really worth a visit!“ KrisAquino said via Webstagram. Her Calauit adventure was featured on show, KrisTV last March 9,2012.

All of the existing African wildlife are Philippine-born.

The best time to be in Calauit would be 7am-9am and around 4pm, because the animals are hiding if it’s too hot.



You can reach the Calauit Island by air. There are daily flights offered by Cebu Pacific, AirphilExpress andZestAir from Manila to Busuanga (Francisco B. Reyes Airport). Travel time is 45 minutes.

So, we flew from Manila to Busuanga and from Busuanga Airport, we took a van to Coron town for an hour (P150.00/person 2012 rate).

When we got to Coron Town, we arranged our Calauit Trip for the following day. We stayed in Luis Bay Travellers Lodge, a newly built home-and-stress-free ambience located on Coron Boulevard. We took all the rest we can get as a preparation for the BIG DAY!

There are two ways on how to get to Calauit Safari Park. First, is a 3-hour travel by land and a 15-minute boat ride to the island. Second, is a 3 to 4-hour boat ride from Coron town straight to the park.

24th of February 2012, we woke-up early, Call Time was 4:00AM, We left Coron by boat at around 4:40AM. We were 11 in the group, including the 3 boatmen. We arrived in the island …

Hari ng Lakbay visits Indonesia

Join us as we discover and explore the wonders of Asia’s southernmost nation and the world’s largest archipelago, Indonesia! We aim to familiarize you with all there is to see and do in Jakarta.

Episode 1: Selamat Datang! (Arriving Jakarta)

The Beautiful Indonesia Miniature Park


First Level – Unity in Diversity
At this floor, we saw traditional Indonesian musical instruments such as gamelan, different types of Wayang and local costumes of each 27 provinces of Indonesia. The exhibit shows how rich the diversity of Indonesian People and its culture, tradition and customs.

Second Level – People and Environment
Various traditional houses and religious buildings are featured at this exhibit.

Third Level – Arts & Crafts
The Traditional textile crafts such as traditional weaving and Batik are showcase in this room as well as metal and wooden crafts.

My Bay Kitchen by Rene Astudillo

René Astudillo, a journalist, nonprofit manager and community advocate is launching his book “My Bay Kitchen: Memories of my homeland, travels and more…” on Saturday, December 1, 2012 at 3:00pm in Bayanihan Community Center, 1010 Mission St. (& 6th) San Francisco, CA 94103.

A San Francisco Bay Area author’s collection of his favorite recipes learned from his Filipino mother’s kitchen, picked up from his world travel, and developed from his association with other food enthusiasts. With each pictured recipe comes a personal story, a pinch of trivia and a dash of humor — all meant to engage the reader in some exciting kitchen talk or dinner conversation. Come in for the stories. Stay for the recipes.It is my pleasure to have a contribution in this marvelous book. You will see my photo collage of Pahiyas Festival featured on Page 10. The book has awesome recommendations for self-cooking with mouth-watering recipes. You’ll be impress with what amazing dishes from the Philippines and all over the world you can have on your own plate.


  • SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA: Saturday, December 1, 2012, 3-5 pm, Arkipelago Bookstore (Bayanihan Community Center), 1010 Mission Street @ 6th St.
  • BAGUIO CITY, PHILIPPINES: Tuesday, January 8, 2013, 6-8pm, Brian’s Tutorship Center, 23 Malvar Street, Trancoville
  • MANILA, PHILIPPINES: Friday, January 11, 2013, 7-9pm, Lemon Tree Inn, 18 Scout Magbanua Street,  (corner Quezon Avenue, across from Capitol Medical City)
  • HONOLULU, HAWAII: Sunday, January 13, 2013, 3-5pm at the Courtyard Marriott, 400 Royal Hawaiian Avenue

Order NOW! $1 of every book sale will be donated to the Lupus Foundation of Northern California.

You can also grab a copy from ARKIPELAGO BOOKSTORE located at Bayanihan Community Center, 1010 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94103…

Survivor: philippines, Premiered at No. 1 Programed

Survivor: Philippines premiered last Wednesday, September 19, 2012 at 8pm with a special 90-minute premiere on CBS. Also aired in the Philippines via satellite from the US, 2pm on GMA News TV Channel 11.


The first episode, ”Survivor Smacked Me in the Chops”, was Wednesday’s number one program in viewers. It drew the biggest crowd with 11.37 million total viewers!

Time Net Show   Viewers (millions)
8:00 FOX The X Factor (8-10PM) 9.54
CBS Survivor: Philippines (8-9:30PM) Premiere 11.37
NBC The Voice 5.53
ABC The Middle 4.36
CW Oh Sit! 0.89

The show was filmed in the beautiful islands of Caramoan, Camarines Sur in Bicol Region, 500 km southeast of Manila.…

Negros Chronicles | The Story Behind The Ruins

Negros Chronicles

Part 1

Talisay City, Negros Occidental – Our trip to Negros brought us to The Ruins. The part I really enjoyed the most was the story behind this fascinating structure.Balay Daco, Simento nga Balay, Mansyon, Palasyo, Lacson Mansion, Balay ni Anoy, these were just a few of the names used to refer the former mansion of Don Mariano “Anoy” Ledesma Lacson when it’s still unknown to the public and the world.It was abandoned for 63 years. Before it opens to the public in 2008, this place was used to be a garbage, a latrine for squatters, a rest area for sugarcane farmers, as well as shack for their carabaos, goats and cows. But thanks to the great determination of Raymundo Javellana, now we call it ‘The Ruins‘. Mr. Javellana said that in Europe, they are preserving the ruins, so why not do the same. Then he pursue his very ambitious dream and that is to transport the shack into a tourist attraction and to give justice to the place.And Today, because it’s structural integrity, the Philippine Institute of Civil Engineers (PICE) awarded or declare it as one of the best landmark in the Philippines. They made this location a site for PICE Landmark.

The Past

The magnificent structure of the mansion of Negros’ sugar baron, Don Mariano Ledesma Lacson is of Italianate architecture with neo-Romanesque columns.
It’s was created in loving memory of his wife, Maria Braga after her death in 1911. It is the reason why it is also called as the Taj Mahal of Negros. She passed away bearing their 11th child. It served as the residence of the sugar baron and his unmarried children.
Jose Maria Braga, the father of his wife, who was a captain of his own ship, believed had much influence in the design and architecture of the mansion. If you will notice the shell-like crowns around the top of the mansion, in New England, this represents the home of a ship’s captain.It was the largest residential structure at that time. Unfortunately, it met its sad fate during World War II, the mansion was burnt by the American troops, after they found out that the Japanese forces were planning to use it as one of their headquarters. Its roof went down, but despite the inferno, it took 3 days in flame because of finest concrete and wood frame.

The Present

Today, the mansion stands as an evidence of it’s great past. The concrete frames were as smooth as marble. You’ll notice the two inverted M’s on the frames which signifying the names of Mariano and Maria.Its owner, Raymund Javellana is continually adding improvements in the place. A café/souvenir shop is set-up across The