This Heritage Town in Laguna is a Living Museum Worth Visiting

by Julia Escaño

If the constant stream of tourists in places like Vigan and Taal say anything, it’s that there’s still space in the Filipino’s heart for culture and history. After all, there’s no better way to get a feel for the olden days than to visit a town that’s pretty much a time machine. One such place is the Pila Heritage Town in Laguna.

Pila’s historic town center is located in Barangay Sta. Clara Norte. In 2000, The National Historical Comission (NHC) declared it as a National Historical Landmark, but didn’t gain traction as a mainstream tourist spot until a few years ago. If you’re looking for a cultural weekend experience and a quick break from the city, check out Pila Heritage Town for a good dose of history.

It’s only 1 of 4 such towns in the country

Over the centuries, one war or another obliterated most of our rich heritage. After 300 years of Spanish colonization and the subsequent American reign, we were left with only 4 towns recognized as national historic landmarks. These are the city of Vigan, the town of Taal in Batangas, Silay in Negros, and Pila, Laguna.

It’s like going back in time

A visit to Pila Heritage Town is an excellent way to get a real feel of the Philippines in that era. Its rareness and the stellar condition is a unique peek at the way the country once was. It’s also an opportunity for some great photos, with blocks and blocks Continue reading This Heritage Town in Laguna is a Living Museum Worth Visiting

13 Valentine’s Promos in Manila for an Unforgettable Celebration

It’s that time of the year once again. Roses seem redder, chocolate seems sweeter, and the sky looks bluer. Whether you’re under the spell of Cupid or not, Valentine’s is always a great excuse to head out and have some fun. And with these Valentines promos in Manila, it’s pretty hard not to.

Take your sweetheart, your BFF, your barkada, or even your whole family and enjoy these awesome treats that are sure to make your Valentine’s more memorable.

The Henry Hotel Manila

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Pull out all the stops with The Henry’s extra special romantic package. If you stay between February 10 to 19, not only do you get an intimate dinner at the hotel’s old-world courtyard, you also get breakfast for 2, couples massage, a bouquet of flowers, and a complimentary bottle of wine. This comes with an overnight accommodation for 2 in their stylish suites, where old-world charm and modern comforts are sure to give your stay an extra special ambiance. Reservations start Continue reading 13 Valentine’s Promos in Manila for an Unforgettable Celebration

8 Artsy Activities to Enjoy in Manila

Sure, Manila gets a bad rap for its horrendous traffic and pollution. And while many people (locals and foreigners alike) love to hate this frequently misunderstood city, the country’s capital is teeming with fun things to do and cool places to see—particularly for the artsy and creative. If you’re happiness revolves around arts, crafts, and music, do check out these 8 creative activities in Manila.

1. Visit museums

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Visiting museums is not just all about appreciating or interpreting art. It is also one of the quickest ways to better understand a city. So needless to say, whether you’re into arts or not, a trip to the museum should be on your things to do in Manila list. Admire artworks, sculptures and artifacts at these museums*:

The National Museum
Artists of all levels and skills should pay the National Museum a visit, as it holds some of the most significant artworks and archeological pieces about the Filipino culture. Many of these national treasures date as far back as the 18th century, such as the 3,000-year-old Manunggul Burial Jar. Of course, our very own version of Mona Lisa, Juan Luna’s Spoliarium, will surely give you heart-wrenching feels and chills. Artworks by Hidalgo, Botong Francisco, Luz, and Manansala, are also a must-see. Continue reading 8 Artsy Activities to Enjoy in Manila

Volunteer Diving Expeditions in the Philippines with Marine Conservationists

by Julia Escaño

A few months ago, in October 2016, nature conservation groups World Wildlife Fund and Fondation Segré added over a million hectares of offshore and coastal waters to the Philippines’ Marine Protected Areas. These are found within 2 barangays in Palawan: Cagayancillo and Aborlan. They flank the Tubbataha Reefs in the Coral Triangle and are meant to bolster fish stocks.

The residents of Cagayancillo welcomed this news, after clamoring to be declared a Marine Protected Area for years. They claim that the conservation efforts being done in the Coral Triangle result in a better livelihood. Though it’s still a long way before all of the Philippines’ 1557 MPA’s become as successful as Cagayancillo, it’s still a step in the right direction.

If you are passionate about our oceans, and the riches beneath them, you can be a part of these efforts, too. By volunteering in marine conservation projects in the Philippines, you can take part in protecting the seas with these group of conservationists:

Marine Conservation Philippines

If you’re an avid scuba diver and you want to give back to the habitat you so enjoy, check out Marine Conservation Philippines. This non-profit organization works to preserve, protect, and enrich the country’s underwater resources. Marine Conservation Philippines’ has a range of projects with different durations. Some projects such as the creation of artificial reefs are one-offs. Meanwhile, others are continuous, such as research and documentation.

Website | Facebook

Coral Cay Conservation

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Coral Cay Conservation or CCC is an international NGO that’s been running since 1986. They entered the Philippine marine conservation scene in 1996, and until Continue reading Volunteer Diving Expeditions in the Philippines with Marine Conservationists

Where to Travel this Year of the Rooster Based on Your Zodiac Sign

The Year of the Fire Rooster is fast approaching. From January 28 to February 18, 2018, the Fire Rooster will be ruling the astrological skies. And with it comes many predicted changes. According to Chinese astrologers online, the interaction of the 5 elements brought by the Fire Rooster will bring about many new things. After a dramatic 2016, many are apprehensive about what the coming year will bring.

But that’s no excuse to stop living every day to the fullest! Just take heed about what the year is set to bring you to make the most of your 2017. Here is our list of where to travel in 2017 based on your zodiac sign’s forecast. If you don’t subscribe to Chinese astrology, then consider this a 2017 to-do list.

Good luck!

Year of the Rat

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Born: 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1084, 1996, 2008 

Forecast

It’s going to be a stellar year career-wise for female Rats, thanks to due recognition and praise. While male rats are predicted to have a steady, uneventful year, it’s also the time to build good connections and create new work relationships. Just make sure to avoid quarrels, which might lead to loss of assets.

Travel

Give yourself a pat on the back with all your career achievements this year. As a reward, an escape from the city and the daily grind may be just what you need. Go for a quick getaway in Manila or bask in some luxury in Boracay with the special Continue reading Where to Travel this Year of the Rooster Based on Your Zodiac Sign

Exciting Activities in Manila That Let You Live Out Your Favorite Characters (Real or Fictional)

Admit it or not, you sometimes dream of becoming someone you are totally not. This can be a fictional character from your favorite movie or novel, a mythical creature or even a real-life hero. But what if I tell you that you there are exciting activities in Manila that let you experience some of those fantasies even for just a day?

Here are some unique and exciting activities in the metro that let you emulate your favorite characters:

1. Be a ninja warrior

Ninja Academy
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If jumping, climbing, vaulting and other sick stunts on American Ninja Warrior are your definition of fun, then you should consider taking up Parkour. Also known as Free Running, Parkour teaches you how to move fluidly and efficiently through various obstacle courses. If you’re down with the physical and mental challenge, visit Ninja Academy, the first and only indoor Parkour gym in Manila.

Ninja Academy
Locations:
#155 Dr. Sixto Antonio Ave., Brgy. Rosario, Pasig City
Warehouse 2 BNM7210 Group Corporation, Manila Doctors Village Road, Las Piñas City
Price: ₱350 (for adults), and ₱290 (for students)
Contact: +63 917 565 8945
Website: http://ninjaacademy.ph/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NinjaAcademyph/

2. Train like a super spy

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Pens, books, and magazines are just some of the seemingly harmless objects Jason Bourne can turn into deadly weapons. And even without weapons, he is just Continue reading Exciting Activities in Manila That Let You Live Out Your Favorite Characters (Real or Fictional)

5 Fun Weekend Destinations You Can Reach by Bus from Manila

by Julia Escaño

It’s the weekend, and there is another mega sale in one – or God forbid, all – of the city’s many malls. You can already imagine the traffic that is going to lock the city down. The thought alone is stressful enough. So what better way is there to deal with Manila’s chaos than not having to deal with it at all? Perhaps this is the perfect excuse to head out of town for the weekend to properly unwind.

There are vast options for weekend destinations near Manila that you can reach by bus. Whether you decide to go north or south, there are beautiful outdoor destinations, cultural sites, and (best of all) delicious local flavors to enjoy. If a quick trip for a breath of fresh air sounds appealing, check out these awesome spots waiting just around the corner.

Angeles & Magalang, Pampanga

Start with a memorable meal at Bale Dutung
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Photo by louis r | CC BY

Start the weekend right with a 10+-course degustation by Chef Claude Tayag at his homey Angeles space called Bale Dutung. Chef Claude is most known for hosting Anthony Bourdain on his first visit to the Philippines. Now, part of the menus offered at Bale Dutung are the dishes Chef Claude prepared for Anthony Bourdain himself. Also offered are courses highlighting lechon, Kapampangan specialties, and Christmas dishes. The well-paced degustation is a whole day affair, starting at Continue reading 5 Fun Weekend Destinations You Can Reach by Bus from Manila

How I Turned My Canadian Visa Rejection to a 4-Year Multiple Entry

by Julia Escaño

Canada’s Filipino community is arguably one of the fastest growing Filipino diaspora in the world. When we talk about Canada, it’s usually associated with family and friends who have already migrated there or are currently trying to. But despite having so many connections, acquiring a Canadian visa for Filipinos remain a tough and stringent process– especially those of us who don’t quite “fit the mold”.

In May of 2015, I tried applying for a Canadian Temporary Resident Visa. It was my first time applying for a visa in a Western country, and applying as a solo traveler. Up until then, I only had a multiple entry Japanese visa and stamps to 11 other countries in the region. I hoped this would suffice in showing the kind of lifestyle I led. In spite of these, I had no visas to any OECD countries (US, Schengen, Australian), which held more weight in their eyes.

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From the get-go, I knew my chances were slim. I was young, single, had no dependents, no property, and worst, I worked as a freelancer online. That meant I can work anywhere, as long as there’s internet. I was also traveling with my Canadian boyfriend, for the purpose of meeting his family. Essentially, there was nothing on the documents I submitted showing ties to home and strong reasons for coming back.

After two weeks, I got the letter from the Canadian Embassy saying that I did not meet their requirements. My application for a Canadian visa was denied. It said that I failed to establish to the Immigration officer’s satisfaction that I will not overstay. It ended by advising against reapplying until my “situation has changed substantively.” With the number of Filipinos abusing admission, it’s no surprise that more is required from us to prove our integrity. This made the rejection even more frustrating, knowing that I had no intentions to violate their laws.

After a lot of thought and with the help of my boyfriend, I consulted with a Canadian immigration lawyer as to what my options were. The idea of ending a Continue reading How I Turned My Canadian Visa Rejection to a 4-Year Multiple Entry

Manila Attractions and Activities Beyond Your Usual Intramuros Tour

Intramuros is almost synonymous to Manila attractions. It’s one of the first tourist spots that comes to mind when we think about places to see in the metro. And it’s not hard to understand why. Intramuros is quintessentially the old Manila—forever frozen in #ThrowbackThursday with its rustic, Spanish houses and centuries-old churches. However, beyond the walls of Intramuros await the new Manila we’ve come to love, despite its countless quirks. If you’re done with Intramuros, here are some other exciting attractions and activities in Manila:

1. Go on a Binondo food trip and or Dampa seafood tour

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When you smell Chinese spices and incense wafting through the air, you know you’ve reached the land of legit dimsum and dumplings in Manila. Known as the world’s oldest Chinatown, Binondo is a go-to stop for those spur-of-the-moment Chinese cravings—from hakaw, hopia, mami to lumpia and more. Long before Tim Ho Wan and Din Tai Fung invaded Manila, there were Wai Ying, Dong Bei and many other value for money and belly-approved hole-in-the-wall restaurants. Binondo food trip is quite easy to DIY. But if you prefer a guided and trivia-filled tour, then book with The Big Binondo Food Wok!

If fresh seafood sounds more palatable to you, a dampa or seafood market would be your best bet. This is perfect for big groups, balikbayans, and foreign friends or small groups and duos with big appetites. Can’t go wrong with buttered shrimps, baked mussels, and scallops, and salmon sinigang. Southerners can visit Seaside Macapagal in Pasay or D’ Original Dampa in Parañaque to satiate their urgent Continue reading Manila Attractions and Activities Beyond Your Usual Intramuros Tour

12 Cheery Events In Manila This Week

Here at Ellry, we’re all about making everyday feel like an adventure. We’ve got ideas on how to make the most of your time, even when you’re not leaving town! Find out what’s happening in Manila with Ellry’s weekly guide.

50 Shades50 Shades! The Musical Parody

If the book had your toes curling with excitement and the movie got you ants in your pants, the hilarious, sensual stage show 50 Shades! The Musical Parody will definitely make you roll on the floor giggling, a comeback after its productive run early this year. Let your holidays sizzle with laughter through this musical theater interpretation of the bestselling novel, which includes pleasurable dance acts and 11 original songs like “I Don’t Make Love”, “How Much Can I Take?”, and “There’s a Hole Inside of Me”. A word of warning though, it’s strictly for those 18 years and above.

December 15 – 16, 2016 | 8:00PM
December 17, 2016 | 4:00PM and 8:00PM
Music Museum, Level-C, Shoppesville Arcade, Greenhills, San Juan
Tickets: Php 1,200 (Balcony); Php1,800 (Orchestra); Php2,400 (VIP)
Facebook or Website or Ticket Site Continue reading 12 Cheery Events In Manila This Week