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.

In New York City, the Dream is Real

New York City is one place that left a good imprint in me. When I went there, I said to myself that I will never get tired of going back and forth. It is one city that makes me feel at ease and comfortable. Roaming in the streets of New York City is like going through a orderly mess. Messy because people are all over. Orderly because the city layout is very well planned.

Times Square is a must-visit area in New York City. Waves and waves of tourists have their pictures taken in its iconic establishments. Shops, restaurants, hotels and theaters are abounty. This place makes truth to the cliche that New York is a city that doesn’t sleep. 24/7, hordes go to Times Square to experience what it is to be like in New York City.

Despite the seeming modernity of the city, some buildings still have the architecture of years gone by. They are sights to behold in this concrete jungle.

Central Park is one place that is a breath of fresh air both literally and figuratively. This is one big block of trees and water that the city has preserved. It is also a place where residents go to during free times. Despite the busy atmosphere of New York City, Central Park provides a semblance of nature in a metropolitan setting.

Going around the city is easy. Aside from the regular trips in the subway, yellow cabs are all around. Then, there are the double-decker buses that bring tourists around. But, of course, walking is still the best way to explore New York City. There are a lot of places to discover.

Traversing the streets of the city, you can find a myriad of many things that might be of your interest. It is a melting pot of matters, trivial or important, that make the city’s personality unique.

New York City is a dream place for artists especially in the fields of theater and fashion. Broadway shows the latest musical plays while New York Fashion Week is said to be the most-awaited fashion event worldwide.

Since I was young, it has been my fervent wish to visit New York City. It came true in 2010. My dream has come to fruition. But, still, I yearn to be back in the city that is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and where the jungle is really concrete.

Sitio Remedios in Currimao, Ilocos Norte

Currimao in Ilocos Norte is a quaint and quiet town just a few municipalities from Ilocos Sur and to Laoag City. Little do people know that there is a resort called Sitio Remedios which is a sight to behold with its Ilocano-inspired houses and a beach that has a beautiful sunset. It is owned by the country’s top neurologist, a dedicated art connoisseur and philanthropist Dr. Joven Cuanang. I was there during the 2017 holy week where my group and I did a fashion show on Black Saturday to give tribute to the weavers of the Ilocano fabric called inabel specially woven by national treasure Magdalena Gamayo of Pinili. The works of two Ilocano designers were featured – the children’s wear of Nina Corpuz of Batac City and the creations of Edgar Madamba of San Nicolas.

The old world is ever present in the resort. Cobblestones line up the pathways going to the main area and the houses (or villas). Dr. Cuanang wants to preserve Sitio Remedios this way so that it will be different from nearby resorts and in the province as well.

One can experience nature at its best because the houses are surrounded by trees and plants. The architecture is reminiscent of the old Ilocos era sans wifi and television.

The beach and its fine sand is something worth traveling to the north. The sunset is picture-perfect. The ambience is romantic.

Breakfast is made up of Ilocano fare which are palatable to all types of visitors. If guests are plenty, dinner by the sea is something that Sitio Remedios offers.

Wedding receptions, family reunions, company outings and other special events are held in Sitio Remedios. It has venues where these can be held.

Interiors made from indigenous materials to have a rustic ambience that is typically Filipino and Ilocano are sights to behold. The red tiles that were used during the olden times are everywhere.

A fountain, a bellfry and a chapel are some of the many features the Sitio Remedios offers. It is a town within a town. It is a commune rather than just an ordinary resort.

When one wants to find peace and quiet away from the maddening crowd in the metropolis, Sitio Remedios is a perfect place to go to. Personally, it is one place where I found the quietness that I needed much.

Sitio Remedios can be reached via bus that ply the Laoag route. You may tell the conductor to stop at the Currimao crossing and take a tricycle to the resort which is just nearby. By air, you may take the flights going to Laoag and rent a van that will take you to Sitio Remedios.

Watch Out for Doha!

Doha, Qatar is known as an employment center for many Filipinos in the Middle East. I should say that it is one fast-rising cities that part of the globe. I, together with fashion designer Renee Salud, production staff, models and dancers, were part of the B2B event in Doha sponsored by the Department of Tourism last April 30, 2017.

The city has two sides…the old city and the modern one. The old city consists of buildings that have almost the same color – beige. It is in this side that traditional way of business is being conducted. The new city has numerous modern buildings of different shapes and colors. With those alone, one can tell that Doha is going to become an important city.

As in any other developing city, Doha has its share of shopping areas. The good old souk is where you can buy items which are undoubtedly Arabian. Gold is cheap. Haggling can also be practiced. But in the new city, malls already abound. I was brought by my friend, Naj Raymundo, to the Villaggio Mall where the high end brands are housed. The floor of a certain portion of the mall have gold chunks encrusted on it.

Buildings and roads are being constructed in time for the 2022 World Cup which the city will host. There are edifices that were constructed for the Asian Games held there. The building that was the cauldron during the games now has a revolving restaurant and is home to many offices. The construction of the train system is now in full swing.

Doha, despite the seeming movement towards the future, has maintained its own Arabic charm. The preservation of its architecture and arts makes it a suitable destination for art lovers.

Watch out for Doha! It is beckoning to be the next important destination in the Middle East.