Stay | Batanes Pension Ivatan: From Hometel to Boutique Hotel

Pension Ivatan at night
Pension Ivatan at night

In a span of a decade, I can say I am seeing how Batanes transform. Recently, accommodations are on the rise to cater to the increasing number of tourist in the country’s smallest province up north. While new ones are being built or old homes converted into homestay, a long-time establishment asserts its place in Basco. Pension Ivatan, a small hometel with a restaurant known to serve Ivatan cuisines is already considered an institution. I have seen the trend of dining options come and go in Batanes but this is one of those that has stayed ever since I remember.

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Batanes | Diura Fishing Village: Languid Morning and Tracing the Archaic

Sunrise at the Diura Fishing Village
Sunrise at the Diura Fishing Village

Oh I am so looking forward to this. After days of hiking around Batanes, and recently a couple of daily hikes in Itbayat I was yearning for a place quiet to rest and recharge. I am excited to spend a night in Diura, an idyll fishing village in a quiet cove, east of Mahatao. I had been to Diura Fishing Village several times but haven’t tried spending a night. I wanted to take sunrise photos at the bay so being there would be advantageous. Our boat for Basco from Itbayat should have left already 2 hours ago. But I had to wait for 2 cows and 2 pigs on the boat. The sudden malfunction on the crane to hoist the cows added to the agonizing wait. I guess its just a little more time to endure for that much awaited repose.

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Stay | I’m Hotel: 5 Star Luxury in Makati and the First Onsen Spa in the Country

The bedroom at the 1BR Executive Suite at I'm Hotel
The bedroom at the 1BR Executive Suite at I’m Hotel

It’s all about you at I’m Hotel. It’s time to celebrate your individuality and indulge yourself with some much deserved luxury. I’m Hotel is a 5-star hotel in the heart of the bustling Poblacion, Makati. It’s hard to miss this 24-story hotel, towering at the corner of Kalayaan and Makati Avenue. It’s near the central business district and just walks away from where the nightlife and shopping areas are.

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Bontoc | Follow the River Hike from Caneo to Tocucan Trail

Caneo to Tocucan Trail
Caneo to Tocucan Trail

I must admit. The urge to cover as much places as I can when traveling has lost its zing. New places still fascinate me but beyond the established tourist spots. Lately I have been visiting Bontoc, Mountain Province a lot. I’m still enticed to explore deeper into the area. My recent visit finds me hiking the Caneo to Tocucan Trail. Villages off the radar to most people since they are located in valleys tucked deep in the mountains. It was an idea thrown to us by our friend Suzzette which we gladly obliged as I was also looking for good suppliers for some native weaving.

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Bontoc | Caneo Weaving Wonders

Auntie Benita showing us her finished Caneo weaving
Auntie Benita showing us her finished Caneo weaving

“Tig tig tak! Tig tig tak!” I hear the sound of the loom beaters colliding. Creating a rhythmic beat as a weave of pattern slowly forms. I watch Auntie Benita busy with her loom at the balcony of her house overlooking the roof of her neighbors along with the high mountains hugging their village of Caneo (sometimes Can-eo). Her ever watchful grand daughter Shakira stays by her side. Observing how she skillfully coordinates her motions, from pedaling the treadles to shuffling the shuttle between the threads. Much like Shakira, Benita learned how to weave watching her mother as she grows up. Traditional Caneo weaving, which they call Tilar, is very much alive in this remote village.

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Rediscovering Ilocos Sur’s Thrills with Narvacan Outdoor Adventure Hub

Paragliding activity with Narvacan Outdoor Adventure Hub
Paragliding activity with Narvacan Outdoor Adventure Hub

Ilocos Sur is perhaps best known for Vigan’s Spanish-period architecture. But two hours away from the capital, in the windswept shores of Narvacan, an adventure camp is fast becoming a word-of-mouth gem. Narvacan Outdoor Adventure Hub, or NOAH, was founded in 2005, known only to a small circle of thrill-seeking explorers. They would drive seven hours to Narvacan to windsurf and paraglide at Bantay Abot hill, then later on, to scale the vertical walls of Via Ferrata. In February this year, NOAH’s management decided it’s time to extend its small family.

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Lakbay Norte VI: 3 Awesome Pasalubong from Cagayan

The pottery industry in Iguig (Photo by Martin San Diego)
The pottery industry in Iguig (Photo by Martin San Diego)

To travel is not only to see. It is to feel, to hear, and to taste. There is a compulsion to take a piece of every place back home. Hence, the thriving industry of souvenir items. Taking into consideration environmental preservation and sustainable tourism, there are certainly more preferable items than others. Fortunately, when you’re heading to the northern province of Cagayan, there are more than one pasalubong that does not only help sustain the community but also perfectly encapsulates the province’s identity. Here are three:

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