An Italian City Called Udine

The city of Udine is located in the Province of Udine which is in the Northeastern part of Italy near the border of Austria. It is situated in the Upper Tagliamento River Valley and is surrounded by luscious mountains and greeneries.

Being at the exit point of Italy to countries like Austria and Slovenia, transportation is an important industry this part of Italy. The train station in Udine is as important as any other venue for transportation. Aside from that, iron and mechanical industries thrive in the city.

The Loggia del Lionello is a must visit spot in the city. Of course, there are the usual museums, churches, duomos and other particular Italian sights that can also be seen in other cities. But Udine is not one city to be left behind. As in any other European city, it may be quiet on the outside but people can be seen inside establishments. Restaurants and bars offer the usual Italian and European fare.

Typical of any other place in the country, Udine is another city which shows off Italian architecture preserved for the appreciation of everyone. Of course, there are also modern buildings because Udine is a thriving city. It’s vast land area still has room for further development.

The rich vegetation in the city is one good reason to visit Udine. It may not be as popular as the other Italian cities but it has many things to offer to tourists. The city can be reached via Venice, the nearest city where there is an international airport.

Thank you to Laarni Silva and the officers and members of the Samahang Filipino sa Udine for bringing the Philippine Tapestry group to this beautiful city.


Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar

I had the chance of visit Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar last February 9, 2018 for the Las Bodas Filipinas en Las Casas Filipiniana bridal fashion show of the Designers Circle Philippines. I should say that what I saw exceeded my expectations. It is a resort and museum packaged into one interesting place. It is located in Bagac, Bataan.

Upon entry to the resort, one can observe that it is serious in instilling history, culture, art and hospitality to all its visitors. It is more than a home away from home.

One will be in awe as you go further inside. It is such a wonder how Mr. Jerry Acuzar, an architect, was able to come up with this idea of restoring ancestral houses from different parts of the Philippines, deconstructed them, brought the pieces to Bataan and brought them back to their respective forms. The structures are life-size jigsaw puzzles. Rich in history, these structures bring back to life whatever stories that they can tell about the past.

Roaming around Las Casas and looking at the details that each structure is made of, artistry is indeed evident. The puzzling and the build up of its totality is a work in progress. Despite the beautiful scenery and the already vast space inside, the staff of the resort said that it is not even 25% done.

You will feel the classy atmosphere and will really appreciate the architecture of yesteryears. It is one vast museum that is rich in history, posterity and pride.

Individuals and families can rent out the different houses with full amenities. Prices may vary as to what particular house will be rented. With what you can see inside, any amount that is priced by the resort is more than reasonable. Where can you find a resort, museum, Instagram-ready facilities and a lot more rolled into one? Only is Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar.

I appreciate very much that the Designers Circle Philippines commissioned me to do their fashion show. My appreciation for the Philippines’ past has been heightened. Thank you to all of you and to the management of Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar who were gracious enough to accommodate everyone who were part of the said show.

Given another chance, I will not wait another minute to visit Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar. It was an enriching experience to set foot on this resort. It was the kind of work that made me long to do more for them.

Thank you to Harry Canada for lending me his photos.

Arrividerci, Roma!

Rome is the capital of Italy. It is a city that is very rich in history and culture. For me, it is a living museum.

The Coloseum and the Arc of Constantine are places where lots of tourists can be seen. People fall in line just to see these two iconic structures in Rome. One will really feel astounded as to the way Italians preserve their historical places.

There seems to be non-stop restoration work done one several sites that have given up to the tests of time. The Italian government is doing serious work in the preservation of the historical structures. Meticulous work is being done by professionals 24/7.

In the old city, there is the Palantine Hill which is considered as the entrance to Rome. While traversing the route going to the old city, you will feel as if you are part of history. The ruins speak of the rich culture that the Romans had.

At first, I was appalled by the dirt that littered the city. As I roamed around, I fully understood why it the streets were full of trash. Hordes and hordes of tourists visit Rome on a daily basis. Well, it’s a result of progress.

Every nook and cranny in Rome tells of stories. Stories which cannot be read or heard. The city is a story itself…rich in history and culture. Despite modernity, Rome has maintained its stature of being a living museum.

Structures may abound the city but it has maintained and preserved nature at its best. Romans know how to take care of the environment.

Rome is a city that is easy to love. Distance should not hinder anybody from afar to visit the city. As they say…arrividerci, Roma! Until we meet again.

Tagaytay City as an Alternate Summer Capital

All these years, Tagaytay City has been a second-fiddle to Baguio City in terms of making the city a priority for people who want to experience cold weather. Since it is just near Metro Manila and is easier to go to, it has been relegated to second place.

The rich flora and fauna in Tagaytay City makes it a breath of fresh air away from life in the metropolis. The scenery is as beautiful as the ones passed by going up to the city of pines. Vegetation is abundant. Flowers are abounty. Fruits and vegetables are always fresh.

Of late, restaurants and others such establishments have mushroomed in the city. With the many local and foreign tourists going to Tagaytay City, it is not a wonder anymore that restaurants and cafes have to be opened.

Malls have started to open which add to the places to be visited. More shopping centers are expected to be built in the next few years.

Condominiums, townhouses and resorts have also been developed. Owners are mostly from other places who make Tagaytay City their get-away. Hotels are also in business since tourist arrivals in the city has increased tremendously especially during the past five years.

The Sky Ranch is a nice replacement to the old space for horseback riding. It has become an amusement center much to the delight of its visitors.

Despite the seeming development, Tagaytay City has maintained its charm and appeal. It is still a favorite place for sight-seeing and special events. Religious events such as retreats and weddings are continuously being held in the city.

Here’s wishing that government will regulate “progress” so that Tagaytay City will be a good alternate summer capital.

The Allure of Puerto Princesa City

Puerto Princesa City is the capital of Palawan (also known at the country’s last frontier). Years of the people’s hard work in making a good image for the city, everything seems to have settled in their right places. It is now benefitting from the discipline and will-power by its local government officials, past or present.

Puerto Princesa boasts of a topography which God gave to its people. Its well-preserved environment is something that makes it extra different from the other cities in the Philippines. Strict ordinances were crafted to really protect its environs. To this day, they are monitored and followed to the T.

The city is tourist-friendly. With the many hotels and resorts to choose from, it is ready to take on tourists who would like to frolic in the sea, enjoy its wonders or simply relax. Puerto Princesa is a city which is a must-visit according to several tourism websites.

The people are friendly…the sceneries are picturesque…the atmosphere is serene. Truly consistent being a part of a last frontier.

Despite the influx of different business establishments, the flurry of foreign and local tourists, the noise that man-made machines create and the hustle and bustle of daily city life, there are still many places in Puerto Princesa where one can enjoy the much-needed silence and respite from daily routine.

With the recent upgrade of its airport, it should be more fun visiting Puerto Princesa. It.’s a good thing that it is here in the Philippines…an alluring city in an alluring province.

Singapore: The Concrete Jungle of Southeast Asia

Singapore, a country synonymous to progress in Southeast Asia. It was founded by Lee Kuan Yew who led the severance of the island-nation from Malaysia. It may be small in terms of land area but it has become big in terms of economy. It is considered as a major hub not only in Southeast Asian region but in the whole of Asia as well.

In just a few years, Singapore has become a model tiger economy. Thanks to the effective leadership of its prime ministers, it has become a leader in Asean and asian economies. It may not have enough land but the skyscrapers speak for Singapore.

Boat Quay and Clarke Quay are places for those who love the night life. In the river’s banks stand restaurants, bars, a stadium, the Singapore Flyer (giant ferris wheel) and other places of interests especially for those want to while the night (or day) away. The government has put the river banks to good use. Cleanliness is evident among the surrounding places.

The Universal Studios at Resorts World Sentosa is one popular place to visit. What with those shows, themes, restaurants, souvenir shops, rides and other amenities that people of different ages can enjoy. One need not go to other Universal Studios since the Singapore branch is at par with them.

The Marina Bay Sands area is one must-go place in Singapore. It has an expansive mall that houses high-end stores and restaurants. It also has a convention center where big events are held. It has a hotel that has an infinity pool on the top floor. It is a tourist area that will leave anyone in awe.

Orchard Road is one iconic Singaporean street. Along its length are malls such as Takashimaya, Central, Ion, Lucky Plaza just to name a few. It is one shopper’s delight. Goodies from the most expensive to the cheapest can be found there. Outside Lucky Plaza is where one can find the famous ice cream sandwich that is a must-taste.

Other places of interest in Singapore are the Fullerton Hotel area where the famous Merlion is located nearby. Also, worth visiting is the ArtScience Museum. The building with horns called the Esplanade is another place to go to. Singapore is a country that is a feast to the eyes despite diminutive size.

It may seem that Singapore is the concrete jungle of Southeast Asia but its government and people are ever conscious of ways to take care of the environment. Well, concrete jungle or not, it has come a long way from its birth as a nation up to the present time. Singapore beacons as a very important hub of commerce and tourism.

Davao City, the Center of Attraction

Davao City, the country’s largest city in terms of land area, is at the center of attraction of late. Not only because it is the city where President Rodrigo Duterte was once a mayor. It is gaining more popularity among local tourists and foreigners as well.

The city has its own characteristic that makes it charming and endearing. Modernity has caught up with Davao City but it has maintained a certain aura of mystery. Though, once in a while, hounded by activities of the far left and other attention-seeking groups, it is generally peaceful.

From the first time that I set foot in Davao City many years ago until the last time I was there to do the 65th Miss Universe Mindanao Tapestry fashion show of Renee Salud, I have seen a lot of changes to the city. Commercial establishments have spruced up. There is even a big Central Bank of the Philippines branch which has a convention hall that can accommodate a large number of people of big events. Then, there is also the SMX Convention Center in Lanang where our show was held.

Malls owned by SM and Ayala have mushroomed in Davao City through the years. It seems that their branches are not enough to accommodate the number of people who have made malls as their new leisure go-to places.

But, of course, there is still the good old reliable Aldevinco where you can buy Mindanao-made products. Not only that, you can also find items which come from neighboring countries such as Indonesia and Malaysia. Haggling for the best price is still practiced here. Then, there is the city center which has small as well as big named stores to shoppers’ delight.

A sign of a place’s marked development is the construction of big-branded hotels. Of course, there are smaller hotels which cater to tourists who are on a budget. The construction frenzy of hotels in Davao City makes the city more appealing to visit.

Durian can be bought in several areas as well as other delicacies that the city offers. Local restaurants are must-trys. With the abundance of fruits and seafood in the area, it is worth patronizing their products and eating places.

Davao City is at the center of attraction. It is one place which was carved of discipline and friendliness. Everywhere I went in the city, I was genuinely greeted by its people. Taxis gave exact change. Cleanliness is very evident. It is not be a surprise anymore that it is dubbed as the next important gateway to the Philippines.