5 Tips For Your First Malasimbo Experience

5 Tips For Your First Malasimbo Experience

 

Puerto Galera has been one of those small islands that you would instantly think of when the city life becomes a little more exhausting and toxic than the usual. It’s known for the nightlife, the beaches and the plentiful tourists that makes the island a definite worthwhile destination. Little did you know, the island is also known for another attraction: a festival of music, arts, dance and lights – The Malasimbo Festival. I had always been intrigued by the musings of people on social media about how magical and refreshing the whole weekend experience was, so last year I decided to pack my bags and get my burned-out butt in there. Here are 5 tips I can share with you from that first experience.

 

1. Don’t forget the essentials.

I’ve been stoked for my first Malasimbo experience even a year before, that I started preparing my wardrobe and other essentials early on, but still on the day itself I forgot the most important thing: MATS. The festival will be on the mountains, in an open ground there will be no chairs provided than what the nature gives you: the grass on the ground. Make a list of your weather-appropriate, OOTD-ready, on-the-go essentials early, so you could prepare EVERYTHING before your trip.

 

 

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2. Try out the food.

 

The festival is not only about the music and the arts, but also about sumptuous little bowls of mouthgasm that you SHOULD try. A little bit on the pricey side, but it’s a shame if you won’t try it at least once. My personal favorite: Dabo-Dobo (chicken adobo with mushrooms and toasted garlic chips), and Kesong Puti sandwich (a pan de sal with carabao cheese, olive oil and herbs filling)

 

 

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3. Do a little research about the line-up.

 

Malasimbo showcases a lot of local and foreign acts that’s not mainstream to the ears nor to the eyes, and watching them perform live is an experience on its own. It’s so refreshing and transcending, I’m not even kidding. So do yourself a favor, and try to listen to a few of their hits before attending so you know who to watch for.

 

 

Arts, Travel and Music Magazine

 

4. Arrive early at the grounds.

 

Ma ​ lasimbo is also the perfect spot for your artsy-fartsy needs as both local and foreign contemporary artists bless you with their talent all day long, but that’s not your only reason to go early. Be able to witness the lives of the tribes and join in on other festivities such as workshops, exhibits and eco-cultural preservation activities.

 

 

Official Malasimbo Music & Arts Festival Page

 

5. Subscribe to the newsletter.​

 

If frequent checking out of their website or Facebook page is not your thing, then maybe subscribing to a newsletter is. Their newsletter not only gets you updated with who, when and what’s going to be on the next festival, but they also give out deals and discounts on affiliated transportations and hotels, camping site and other exciting offers.

 

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Fruits and Places

Fruits and Places

Sun, sea, beach, and fresh fruits!

 

Aside from visiting the breathtaking spots in the Philippines, you should also try the different fruits grown in the country. While you can always buy most of them in supermarkets, there’s joy in tasting these fruits from where they were grown and harvested. Taste the Best Local Produce in the Philippines! Here are five of the fruits found in the Philippines and where you can find them in the country.

 

 

1. Lanzones of Camiguin

 

If it’s not getting ants, it’s not sweet enough!

 

 

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Lanzones is a seasonal fruit with yellow to light brown peel, oval-shaped, and grows in clusters. Its translucent flesh tastes similar to grapefruit but sweeter, and with less juice. This fruit is rich in fiber, riboflavin, and antioxidants.

 

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The lanzones grows among the southern islands of the Philippines, but Camiguin wins the crown on the province that produces the sweetest fruits. Every year during the high season of lanzones around October, they celebrate the bountiful harvest in the Lanzones Festival. Aside from October, lanzones also grow abundantly on the month of March to April. Prices in the local market can go as low as Php 20 per kilo.

 

2. Durian of Davao 

 

 Painful smell, delightful taste!

 

 

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Durian is considered as the king of tropical fruits. The fruit is known for its large and spiked scale, and its scandalous sulfuric smell which resembles the smell of rotten onions. Despite the stench, the durian is still loved by many for its sweet and creamy flesh. Most durian fruits in the Philippines are grown in the Mindanao, concentrating in Davao region. The fruit is even turned into different delicacies that sells well as pasalubong treats for tourists. Some of these delicacies include durian candy, durian chips, durian jam, and even durian ice cream! High season for durian in Davao is during the months of August to October when prices drop as low as Php 20 per kilo or Php 80 per sack.

 

3. Mangoes of Guimaras

 

The sweetest ones in the world!

 

 

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Mango is the regarded as the national fruit of the Philippines, and it’s practically a sin not to eat mangoes when traveling to the country. These are the golden yellow soft-peel fruits that have a sweet, tangy, and succulent taste.

 

 

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Guimaras, known as the Mango Capital of the Philippines, has over 50,000 mango trees in the province. Mangoes grown in Guimaras are internationally called Manila Super-Mango and is considered as one of the best mango varieties in the world. Guimaras also celebrates Manggahan Festival, an event promoting the mango industry in the province. They also use mango as a prime ingredient for the local delicacies such as dried mangoes, mango jam, mango cakes, and a lot more.

 

4. Strawberries of Benguet

 

The summer blush of the mountains!

 

 

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Strawberries, being known to cultivate only on low temperature areas, seemed unlikely to cultivate in the Philippines. This is why the country is truly blessed to have the Cordilleras, the mountainous region in the Northern Luzon where the climate is cool enough to grow sweet strawberries.

 

 

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In La Trinidad, capital of Benguet province, one of the popular attractions is the strawberry farm where guests can hand pick fresh strawberries for themselves. It’s truly a unique experience in the country. The best time to visit La Trinidad for strawberry farm is during the first quarter of the year when the strawberries are big, red, and extra sweet. The holds the annual Strawberry Farm in Benguet during the latter weeks of March.

 

5. Pineapples of Camarines Norte

 

The sweet queen of the tropics!

 

 

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Pineapples must be the iconic fruit when picturing a tropical vacation. The exceptionally juicy flesh and vibrant taste of pineapples are the perfect complement to the sweet view of beach waves.

 

 

Chris Corthouts, pinterest.com

 

While the big plantations of pineapples are found in Mindanao, there’s a small province in Luzon that produces a sweeter variety of pineapples — the Pina Formosa. The Pina Formosa grows abundantly in the province of Camarines Norte. It is relatively smaller than the common pineapples sold in the market, but is generally sweeter too. The province also celebrates the Pinyasan Festival, formerly known as the Pineapple festival, where hundreds of pineapples are given away and cooked into different delicacies.

 

Aside from these fruits, the Philippines also has an abundant supply of bananas, mangosteen, atis, avocados, and a lot more. What’s your favorite fruit? Tell us about it!

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7 Valentine’s Destinations for the Single Wanderer

7 Valentine’s Destinations for the Single Wanderer

February is the month of love! Unfortunately, not every person has something to look forward to with their S/O (or lack of). Well hey, we can live without one and travel is the ideal remedy for it! For all the proud singles, heartbroken, NBSB’s, NGSB’s, or whatever Facebook relationship status you identify yourself as, here are the 7 best Valentine’s destinations for the single wanderer:

1. Mt. Sawi

Mt. Sawi
Photo credits: Biyaheng Nueva Ecija

I’m guessing the name of the mountain explains itself: Sawi in the context of romance means to be broken-hearted. Mt. Sawi, also known as Mt. Bigti (morbid much), is located in Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija. The legend of Mt. Sawi tells of a woman who fell in love with a man from a different village. Since I don’t wanna spoil it for you, their romance doesn’t really end well.

What I can tell you is that it it’s the kind of grief-stricken romance a lot of us might be going through right now. Once you hike up to its summit, you can ask the guides in the area about the complete story, and you’ll witness the beauty of Nueva Ecija from atop the mountain. Feel free to take in that view and leave all your negative thoughts behind!

Tips: It’s a trail fit for first-time hikers and beginners, so you don’t have to be a pro to trek up. We suggest that you conquer this hike with a guide in tow so you can enjoy the history of the place even more! 

2. Moalboal, Cebu

Moalboal Undersea Life
Photo credits: Marielle Catral from thelifeinapinkbackpack

Moalboal is a water lovers’ paradise! This island is best known for its beaches and numerous water activities to keep you occupied. Additionally, it is at least 3 hours away from Cebu City on bus. Moalboal’s underwater sights is teeming with life and will be the main highlight of your trip for sure!

As the saying goes, “There are plenty other fish in the sea”, then go and have an underwater date with the fishies! You can try freediving – which is like scuba diving but without the gear – and swim beside various schools of fish like sardines. It could be a more authentic way of bonding with the friendly fishes, so technically, you’re not alone!

Tips: Don’t even try attempting freediving without proper guidance from a pro. There are loads in the island so you don’t have to worry!

3. Sagada

Hanging Coffins
Photo credits: @nizzatravels on Instagram

Okay, maybe you expected Sagada to be on this list, but that doesn’t make it even more travel-worthy! There’s this movie called That Thing Called Tadhana, where Angelica Panganiban just screams her heart out. If you watched that scene, you’ll know what I’m talking about, if not then try it!

At the high terrains of Sagada you can copy that scene or at the summit of Mt. Kiltepan you can watch the sunrise, perfect for reminiscing and pouring out your emotions to the heavens. By the time you get down from the mountain, you’ll be looking and feeling like a new and improved you!

You can also go spelunking in Sumaguing-Lumiang Cave Connection if you’re not into hiking. Be ready for the thrill-seeker in you ‘cause you’re gonna get down and dirty in the dark!

Tips: There are plenty more activities to do in Sagada! We suggest also taking a side trip to Baguio on your way home.

4. Hulugan Falls

Hulugan Falls
Photo credits: A Wanderful Sole

Nahulog ang loob ko sa Hulugan Falls! [I fell in love with Hulugan Falls!]

Hulugan Falls is a newly discovered gem of the Philippines, located in Luisiana, Laguna. There’s a trek on the way to the waterfall but when you reach the area, you won’t even feel the ache in your body (and heart)! The majestic falls and ethereal mist surrounding it will leave a fluttering feeling in your tummy – kind of like love at first sight!

Go for a swim on its waters or better yet, take that leap of faith (literally) and jump down the falls itself! The sights and fun you’re gonna have there will be more than enough to make you throw your love worries in the backburner!

5. Great Santa Cruz Island, Zamboanga

Great Santa Cruz Island Shore
Photo credits: Roj Braga of Adventuroj.com

Guess what, the Philippines has pink sand beaches and one of them is at Great Santa Cruz Island! The pink sand beach is in Upper Calarian, Zamboanga City. The sakura-like color of the sand can inspire some pretty nice photos for your Instagram feed, or if you’re there to simply see the wonder of the place you can just chill around the shore while waiting for the sunset! Sure, maybe you don’t have someone to share it with but don’t think it’s less special, because you shared an intimate moment with place itself! 😉

Tips: Leave your hurt to the waves but please don’t leave your trash! Let’s help preserve the cleanliness of the beach.

6. Cave Pools of Anda, Bohol

Cabagnow Cave Pool
Photo credits: batanglaagan at WordPress

For the travelers that are scared of the sun or just don’t wanna get sunburned but still need a feel of the water, you should go to the famous Cave Pools of Anda, Bohol. Yes, there’s not just one but there are several: Combento, Kaligoon, Cabagnow, and East Coast Cave Pool to name a few!

Jump through the cave hole and into clear, pristine waters. Some of the cave pools go as deep as 25 feet, but all of them the most beautiful, sparkling waters. Clear your mind and heart from all your love troubles right here!

Tips: Don’t forget to rent a ladder for some of the cave pools since their too high for you to get out of. Also, most of them don’t have any rocky handles to hold on to when you get tired, so remember to always swim safe!

7. Tacsiyapo Wall at Isdaan, Tarlac

Tacsiyapo Wall
Photo credits: Rachel Oakley from lostateminor.com

Sometimes the only way you can release tension is to throw something. No kidding! Come down to The Tacsiyapo Wall at Isdaan, Gerona, Tarlac and release your anger! It is really a Filipino restaurant whose specialty is seafood, but one of the trademarks there is its Tacsiyapo Wall. Although there are a lot of these walls during fairs and carnivals, Isdaan’s is the permanently placed one.

Depending on how much emotional baggage you’re carrying, you can buy a mug for as low as P15 to a TV (yeah, a working TV) for P1300 and chuck it to the wall. You can dedicate it to your taksil boyfriend or your intrigera ex, or maybe you just wanna throw something for fun! It’s the perfect place to just release your emotional stress and energies without breaking any of your own house furniture!

Those were 7 Valentine’s Destinations for the Single Wanderer like you! Of course, even people with dates can always visit these wonderful places. Leave a comment below if you’ve already been to any of them 🙂

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5 Reasons Why You’d WANT to Celebrate Chinese New Year in Binondo

5 Reasons Why You’d WANT to Celebrate Chinese New Year in Binondo

Are you lazing at home, tired and bored of celebrating Chinese New Year munching on the overpriced tikoy you bought in Makati?
Of course you are, that’s why you’re reading this! And I know that you’re dying to turn up your Chinese New Year festivities!

Have you heard of friends getting their pockets refilled on Chinese New Year? Surely you did as Chinese New Year is a favorite celebration of the young (more allowance from the Ampao) and the old alike.

Every year, you see those colorful photos of Chinese New Year in Binondo at your news feed. You scroll through photos of the majestic and jaw-dropping surroundings of Ongpin Street, the mouth-watering palette of Chinese food, and the experience of the people being one with the yearly occasion. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking and deep inside, you want to find reasons to ditch your bed and join the celebration… You just don’t know WHERE and HOW to start!

Well, you’re in luck! This year, let me share to you 5 reasons why you should come down and celebrate it at Binondo. (The celebration is not all about money, money lah!) Read on ‘cause we’ve put in some challenges you can always do whenever you’re in Binondo.

1. Spoil Your Bellies

You’ve got that right. Your tastebuds and sense of taste deserves the best flavors of Chinatown. Here, experience a huge diversity of delicious Chinese-Filipino specialties from the lumpia and the dimsum down to the competitive noodle shops and pork chops! It’s a mashup of our grandparent’s nostalgic favorites and the millennial’s savory bites, all in one place!

Challenge: Come with an empty stomach, like, don’t eat until you arrive, really. You’ll never have enough of the Binondo food (crazy, I know right!).

**Since you’re already here, why don’t you check out our Binondo Food Crawl? We’re gonna make your tummies full with the best Binondo food we’ve ever tasted!**

HURRY! Slots are LIMITED, so you’d better grab yours right N.O.W.

2. Lose Your Bellies  

Just kidding, you won’t lah. Shhh, some people just read the headlines. You just gained weight from all those foods, didn’t you?

Nah, Chinese New Year is a food cheat day for everyone! Don’t overthink about the calories and the workout hours you’ll have to put in to burn ‘em, besides, you will be squashed in the crowd once in awhile and you won’t get tired with the long walk back-and-forth to this festivity.

3. Enjoy the Oldest Heritage

Welcome to the oldest Chinatown in the world. You’ve got that right again. It’s the 500 years of history that make this magic of experience a possibility. Having gone through various rulers and trading with the rest of the world – the town has so much to offer that can allow a Filipino enter the days of our ancestors to discover how life was in the old Manila.

Challenge: Find out where the oldest restaurant, oldest moviehouse and oldest elevators are located!

4. Street Shopping Like a Local

Nowadays, people shop (or window shop) inside the malls a lot just because of the lack of options and choices. Did you know that the main street of Ongpin is filled with street shops from foods to lucky charms? Yup, you will shop in a street filled with shops next to each other at a price far cheaper than malls and at an experience far better.

Challenge: Haggle in Hokkien. Tell the aunties and uncles, “Ya Kuy”, means too expensive. You never know, a good discount might be your next meal!

5. Snap with No Limits

We live in a generation of experience – we see and we want to experience it, but in our own way. This Chinese New Year, this photogenic and snap-genic (coining this one for the celebration alone) is worth paying a visit for. More than just snaps, all your social media will be filled with people going crazy for your experiences in Binondo!

Challenge: Don’t miss out the Dragon Dance, take a selfie with the hard-to-chase dragon! Gyarados in Pokemon Go? No, this one is for real!

Feel like a Chinoy now? We hope you enjoy your Chinese New Year! And as always, leave us a comment if you’ve got more stuff to share with us, and if you’re curious for more!

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5 Things to Expect in Pahiyas Festival

5 Things to Expect in Pahiyas Festival

The Pahiyas Festival has always been popular in the municipality of Lucban Quezon. This colorful festival is celebrated to give thanks and celebrate for the good harvest and fortune of the locals of Lucban. They celebrate Pahiyas by decorating their homes with plants and crops such as rice, pepper, ampalaya, bamboo, coconuts, and a lot more!

A lesser known festival in Quezon is the Arana’t Baluarte Festival in Gumaca, Quezon. It may be less popular than Pahiyas, but this festival is surely as beautiful! Arana’t Gumaca is celebrated for thanksgiving, very similar to Pahiyas. If the locals of Lucban is into decorating the exterior of their homes, the locals of Gumaca ventured into decorating arcs with their harvests.

This year, we were lucky to witness these two festivals in a 2-day trip in Quezon! Here are some of the highlights of the Pahiyas Festival in Lucban and Arana’t Baluarte Festival in Gumaca that will surely make you want to see them next year!

 

Strong sense of community among locals during preparation

Go for a walking tour along the eskinitas of Lucban town a day before the festival to witness how the locals decorate their homes and prepare for the festivities. Watching the locals put in great amounts of effort to turning their homes into lovely and colorful attractions will surely make you appreciate this festival even more. According to some locals, it takes them weeks or even months to prepare their home design for Pahiyas. The amount of dedication they have for their local tradition is simply heartwarming!

pahiyas-locals

 

The colorful parade to spark the festival celebration

On the day of the Arana’t Baluarte Festival, the town of Gumaca hosts a parade to spark the festival celebration. Teachers, students, and other local organizations in Gumaca join this parade in vibrant costumes and upbeat music and dance to spark the festivities and welcome the tourists.

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The vibrant exterior decorations of homes

Go big or go home! The locals of Lucban don’t take the Pahiyas game too easy. With all the efforts they put into their exterior home decoration, they surely get the best results as they always see awestruck tourists passing by their homes with the biggest smiles on their faces. The locals this is one of the most satisfying feeling after all the festival preparation work.

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Wide variety of creative vegetable chandeliers

You will be astounded once you see how the locals of Gumaca showcased their creativity by decorating arcs with chandeliers made of vegetables and fruits. Their designs and endlessly fascinating. There are chandeliers made of garlic, eggplants, string beans, tomatoes, and so much more! You can only imagine how fun it would be if this is how they arrange vegetables in the public market.

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How the locals show love and appreciation towards their tradition

Still, the primary highlight of these 2 festivals is how the locals of Quezon uphold their local festival and tradition to this date. Such festivities can only live to this date with the passion of the locals. It is very important how they teach their children and their succeeding generations the true value of loving and appreciating their very own traditions.

pahiyas

 

Let’s support the locals of Quezon and their festivals. Visit their province and see for yourself how these vibrant celebrations lived through the years. Cheers to more Pahiyas and Arana’t Baluarte Festivals in the upcoming years!

Mabuhay!

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