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The Circle Hostel – Budget Surf Trip in Zambales

Posted by on Mar 11, 2013 in Featured, Philippines, Pilipinas, Surfing, Travel

The Circle Hostel – Budget Surf Trip in Zambales


My name is Hannah Villasis, and I am addicted to surfing.  Check all of my surfing blog posts here.

picture by Philippe Villareal and Cheryl of LittleRunningTeacher.com

There was a time when I would surf every week for 3 months.  All my savings went to surf trips.  It was a whole lot of fun… I WAS BROKE haha!  I do sound like a legit addict.  I got busy though and I had to forego surfing to earn real bucks travel and stuff.

The sea has been calling me lately.  I do think that I’m a mermaid or a gypsy in my past life.  I just love to travel and I love the ocean especially.

You know what, I just realized that I don’t have to spend so much on surfing anymore.  I can just drive 3 hours to Zambales, stay at a cheap hostel that fits my budget and worry about nothing else – just fun, surf, swim oh and a whole lot of art and friends!


Oh thank heavens for The Circle Hostel.

It’s not your ordinary accommodation.  Here, you don’t get a fancy room with A/C, TV, fridge and all the fancy things a regular hotel room offers.  Nope none of that.  But let me tell you something, it was an experience that surely brought out the best in me.

 It’s not your usual hotel accommodation, but it definitely has its charm!  It is ranked high on TripAdvisor as well!

Typical budget for overnight (including gas or bus fare, accom, food, etc) – P1,000!

This was my bunk bed. It was surprisingly comfortable!

I often sleep alone at my solo apartment – it was quite lovely to share this huge cabana with friends and new acquaintances!

If you’re iffy about your belongings, they have a locker for you :)

An alternative to the luxury you get from a regular hotel accommodation is nature, art, fresh air and new friends.  On our stay at the Circle Hostel, I didn’t even get to use my gadgets!  Poor iPad – I never touched it at all.  It’s a shame how we have so much to enjoy in this world – and they’re free.

– The smile of a stranger

– The laughter of friends

– The air that we breath

– The sea that gives us a good ride

– Creativity through art and painting

– Good food

– and awareness of our body through Yoga and meditation


It’s also amazing how you can create a game out of throwing a plastic disk – Ultimate Frisbee time!  My glutes were activated so badly, they were swollen the next day – good work out! I should do this more often!

I brought my hoop to take a few videos of me hooping by the beach – just for vanity’s sake really.


I can share with you my experience about this place all I want but bottom line is, you need to experience it for yourself :)  Spread and share the love!

First-time surfer Cheryl got some good rides! woohoo!

The Circle Hostel Contact Details

Email: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]

Website: www.thecirclehostel.com

Twitter: @thecirclehostel

Cel: zambales 09178611929, la union 09178326253

Facebook: facebook.com/thecirclehostel

The Circle Hostel Directions and Location: https://www.facebook.com/thecirclehostel/notes


The Circle Hostel, Zambales Accommodations

Bunk bed: P350 / night includes bananas and toast for breakfast

Hammock: P250 / night includes bananas and toast for breakfast


The Circle Hostel, La Union Accommodations

Bunk bed: P400

Hammock: P300


Mommy Phoebe’s Place, Sitio Liwliwa, San Felipe, Zambales

Contact no.: 09173200700 and 09185458007

Surfboard rentals: P200 per hour

Surf instructor: P200 per hour


His name is Garfield and he lives to the song of Bruno Mars

translated to lolcat language:

“Ohai! Todayzzzz I dun feel like doin anyyything”

“Me juz wanna layzzz in my bedzzzz!!!”

The girls are ready to surf!


Vanity shots by the artful rock cubes!

Okay fine! It looks better without my face in the photo!

POSERS!  There weren’t any big waves on our first day, except for some little bumps by the river mouth good enough for the beginners.

Thank you Nivea and Watsons for this awesome SPF spray! It’s water proof and when you’re super in a rush to get on that surf just spray away!

Easy application – especially when you need to retouch some sun protection!

Once again, thank you to Watsons PH for this Water and Sweat (coz I’m a sweaty one) resistand SPF 50 sun block!

This is best applied 20 minutes before basking in the sun.

Oh and thank you Celeteque for the awesome after-sun gel!

Everyone in the team loved using this after getting a little burn from the sun

Eli loves it so much he wants to drink it for sustenance! Crazy guy Eli >.<

Chow time!!! Our meals – homecooked with love by Mommy Phoebe’s

Here’s the facade of her humble canteen

This was where we had our meals because we were a big group!

Team WhenInManila!

Thank you foor the good food!  We felt so at home :)

My favorite!  I couldn’t get enough of this!

I forgot to ask where they got the garlic longanisa – it was yummy!

Sunset by Liwa beach, Zambales

Thank you Sanuk for these cute designed play cards!

We had a fantastic night playing card games and random games

Thank you Raf of The Circle Hostel for hosting our games and drinks!

Here’s another cute kitty from Mommy Phoebe’s place.

Everyone was doing their own thing in the beach – surfing, skim boarding, swimming, chillin’, frisbee, sunset photography etc…

It was quite a relaxing sight!

‘Til the next surf trip!


Backpacker surfing, backpacker accommodations, Zambales, Liwliwa, Liwa, San Felipe, The Circle Hostel, Circle Hostel, Budget accommodations, hostel in zambales,

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Living Smart, Living Comfortable, It’s Your Home

Posted by on Dec 4, 2012 in Life, Personal, Philippines, Pilipinas

Living Smart, Living Comfortable, It’s Your Home

Lately, I’ve been so frustrated at Manila traffic. I just went home to Bacolod a couple of months back to witness a very busy festival (Masskara), and yet driving there amidst the number of tourists and the lively festivities didn’t let me get caught in heavy traffic.

Coming back to Manila, I experienced the worst traffic situation ever. It’s already the holiday season and I’m expecting it to get worse.

I’ve been ranting on Twitter and Facebook saying I couldn’t take this traffic anymore. I go to work and it just hurts my eyes and I get constant headaches. It is very uncomfortable. We need a better solution. I came up with ideas about passing a bill to the Senate (if ever I get elected as a congresswoman which is unlikely) called “Work from home Fridays.” But then again, the traffic would just be diverted to Thursday. or “Tax break” from companies who implement “work-from-home” policies.

I think it is unhealthy both for our body and in our time, to spend 2-4 hours of our life in a day with traffic.

It’s just not the way to live.

But then again, I know our government and MMDA has been thinking of a lot of solutions already and though they might have though of my ideas, I know there’s a butterfly effect on a lot of things.  Tax breaks would affect other companies, even the mamang drivers would be deprived of their livelihood, and so on and so forth.


Moving out of Manila

My second solution is to move out of Manila. I thought of going back to Bacolod. BUT HEY!!! I CAN’T! I need access to a huge airport hub to take me to many places I want to and I want to go to cool events here in Manila too!

Next best bet is to go a bit farther not close enough that I could still drive an hour away to Manila.


Sizzlin’ Manila

Literally. It’s so hot here! I keep on wanting to go to Tagaytay just to get a cool breeze. I love natural cold breeze btw and not the one that comes out of an air conditioning unit – it makes my nose suffer from rhinitis.

Thank you Skyway and awesome highways!

I don’t mind paying extra just to avoid traffic.


Living in Batangas Perhaps?

Why not? It’s near the beach, that I love :) Near The Farm, Mount Malarayat, Puerto Galera and many diving sites. I heard there’s also a surf spot in the area.

Lipa City comes in mind where it is among the most progressive cities in Batangas.

  • Lipa is only an hour away from Makati
  • Accessible via SLEX and Star Tollway
  • 24-hour bus transport system available from EDSA Cubao and Buendia


Bel-Air Residences

Oh yeah, I’m an adult, and soon I’m going to buy my own house. I am considering this area as one of the places I’ll stay. Apart from the amenities I listed down above, Bel-Air residences has more to offer:
– Walking distance to SM, Lipa
– At the center of Business and Social Activity
– Beside Fiesta Mall and across a school
– Weather is generally COOL (BIG PLUS!!!) because this area is elevated at 1025 ft above sea level (known to be the third highest place in the Philippines)


On top of that,
– I can save on travel cost.

  • I can find work or open a business in the area
  • Amenities available like basketball courts (the big boys need this), a jogging path for me, a playground for kids (in the future), barbecue area, multiple parks, a pool where I can do my card, a lanai, gazebo and Club House.

  • Near schools such as Stoneyhurst International School, Nazareth School, Mc Kinley International School, Kolehiyo ng Lungsod ng Liba and De Lasalle, Lipa.
  • It is also close to established hospitals like Lipa Medix medical Center and metro Lipa Medical Center
  • Walking distance from major malls: SM Lipa, Fiesta Mall, Robinsons mall, Big
    and more


Choices of House Units

Your choices of house units range from townhouses to two-storey units with floor areas as big as 55 to 165 sq. meters, all designed under the concept of “Modern Zen” architecture. Clubhouse and Entrance Gates are designed and conceptualized by renowned architect, Arch. Ed Ledesma.




2-Storey Houses

House and lot with a garden area for my bunnies to hop into :)


Celebrity Homes

Lipa is also a fast becoming choice of celebrities as in the case of Aga Muhlach and Charlene Gonzales, Boy Abunda and Vilma Santos.

Bel-Air Residences in Lipa is developed by Convergence Realty and Development Corporation.


Bel-Air Residences Brings You To Bohol and Boracay!

 Bel-Air Residences Lipa, Batangas and Nuffnang invite you to join “At Home in the Philippines” contest and win a chance to a vacation in Bohol or Boracay! The contest is open to all member bloggers of the Nuffnang Network with at least one (1) valid ad unit. Contest period is from November 16 to December 16, 2012.

Check out this link for more details:

Contact Bel-Air Residences at 0922-8733060; [email protected]; (043)7574210; www.belairresidenceslipa.com

*This is a sponsored post for Bel-Air Residences

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Philippine Holidays 2013 and Long Weekends

Posted by on Sep 5, 2012 in Philippines, Pilipinas, Travel

Philippine Holidays 2013 and Long Weekends


It’s about time to plan your vacation early once again!  Book you flights and accommodations!

IMG_4910 (2)


Regular Holidays

January 1     New Year’s Day
March 28     Maundy Thursday
March 29     Good Friday
April 9      Araw ng Kagitingan (Day of Valor)
May 1         Labor Day
June 12        Independence Day
August 26     National Heroes’ Day
November 30     Bonifacio Day
December 25    Christmas
December 30     Rizal Day

Special Non-Working Days

March 30    Black Saturday
August 21    Ninoy Aquino Day
November 1    All Saint’s Day
November 2    Government Declared
December 24    Government Declared
December 31     Last Day of 2013


Additional Dates (estimate / unofficial, to wait final declaration)

February 10 Chinese New Year

February 25 People Power Day

August 9 Eidul Fitr

August 21 Ninoy Aquino Day

October 15 Eidul Adha


Philippine Long Weekends for 2013

February 23-25 (3 days)

March 28-31 (4 days)

August 24 – 26 (3 days)

November 1-3 (3 days)

December 28, 2013 – January 1, 2014 (5 days)


calendar from portalseven

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Lady Gaga Monster Ball Live in Manila 2012 – A Rather Emotional Gaga

Posted by on May 22, 2012 in Art & Photography, Celebrities, Entertainment and Lifestyle, Events, Fashion, Featured, Music, Pilipinas

Lady Gaga Monster Ball Live in Manila 2012 – A Rather Emotional Gaga

“I’m not a creature of your government, Manila.” – Lady Gaga

The very controversial Monster Ball concert still pushed through despite protests.  I am one of those who went to watch the spectacular production that Lady Gaga and the crew has prepared.  IT DID NOT DISSAPOINT! 

The SM Mall of Asia Arena used for the first time to house the Lady Gaga Monster Ball concert.

I wasn’t prepared for the concert coz I decided to go watch just the day itself. Good thing I have some extra clothes by my car. The best of how I can look for a concert lol. And the bandage wrapped around my arm to hide that nasty bruise I just got. I hope it rather looks edgy and mysterious. Like DJ Mike was so eager to find out what’s wrapped inside the band.

Lady Gaga was quite emotional for the duration of the concert.  After singing the first few parts of the controversial “Judas”, the crowd cheered and danced and she said “Oh, you like this song huh…”  The song “Judas” is one of the songs people are protesting to saying it’s blasphemous etc. But Gaga explained that this song is just a metaphor of loving someone despite them betraying you.  And hasn’t this really happened to some of us in real life? 

There were threats from protesters saying they would sue Gaga if there were any acts of indecency and any form of actions that are unnaccpetable to the Christian community.

I was bracing myself the entire night for something weirder than life GAGA acts but hey – I’m not worried about GAGA, I’m more worried about other pressing matters our country is facing and the criminals on loose and not to mention, the very corrupt government.

I think all these protests just gained Gaga more noise, more spotlight to showcase her “REAL SELF” and she says (here we go, Lady Gaga Quotes from Monster Ball tour Manila 2012)

“Tonight is not about making a statement. Tonight is us all coming together because we believe we were all born this way.”

“Manila are you having fun? If you’re not. I don’t give a f*ck”

“Tonight is all about togetherness. In our differences, we are all the same.”

“For those of you who aren’t free. Take this opportunity to free yourself.”

“My lifestyle is like one whole performance of liberation, for those of you who aren’t free. Take this opportunity to free yourself.”

“Its the fcking goddamn truth that people in the world need to be free and be proud of who they are.”

You guys taught me to never give up on myself.”

“The difference between rebels and non-conformists is that Non-conformists don’t take action & they pissed off when things don’t go their way-Lady Gaga 

and Lady Gaga’s full speech at the Monster Ball tour Manila 2012

“I’m not an alien, I’m not a woman, I’m not a man, and I’m not a creature of your government, Manila.  I’m all your dreams and I’m all your potential.  Let me be all your insecurities and your fears. I’m your future, I’m everything that makes you sad and angry.  I’m you, little monsters.  Tonight’s not a statement, tonight’s us coming together because we believe we were all born this way.  Some people say I stand for things that are bad.  The truth is, I want the best for every single one of you.  My life is like one whole performance of LIBERATION.”

“All of those kids all around the world who take their lives when they’re so young because they feel bullied, or they’re afraid because they’re gay and don’t want to tell anybody.  Don’t you think that some of us should f*cking stand up for them and speak the godd*mn truth? It’s true! It’s not about the music, it’s not aobut my clothes, it’s not about having hit records.  It’s the f*cking godd*mn truth that people in the world need to be free and be proud of who they are.”


At the end of the night, Lady Gaga said “It’s all about the truth.”

“Its the fcking goddamn truth that people in the world need to be free and be proud of who they are.”

Lady Gaga Monster Ball Photos

I’m so glad this “MEAT” dress is a fake one. 

photos by me and wheninmanila.com

Thanks to Smart for letting me be THIS CLOSE to Lady Gaga!

Follow them on Twitter @SMARTcares #SmartLadyGaga

Haven’t bought tickets yet to the Lady Gaga Monster Ball Live in Manila 2012?

Ticket Prices:
PATRON Standing – P15,840
LOWER BOX Reserved Seats – P11,620
UPPER BOX (Reserved Seating) – P5,280
GENERAL ADMISSION (Free Seating) – P2,120

For ticket info, call 470-2222 or contact Ovation Productions at 532-8883.
Purchase online at http://www.smtickets.com

Click here to buy tickets online

MAY 21:


MAY 22:


More Lady Gaga Concert Manila pictures from my Blackberry:

Get the flash player here: http://www.adobe.com/flashplayer

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Lady Gaga The Born This Way Ball! It’s #SmartLadyGaga Day

Posted by on May 21, 2012 in Celebrities, Entertainment and Lifestyle, Events, Music, Pilipinas, Uncategorized

Lady Gaga The Born This Way Ball! It’s #SmartLadyGaga Day

Are you watching Lady Gaga concert tonight May 21 and tomorrow May 22? It’s going to be one big party! See you!

Smart Lady Gaga


Ticket Prices:
PATRON Standing – P15,840
LOWER BOX Reserved Seats – P11,620
UPPER BOX (Reserved Seating) – P5,280
GENERAL ADMISSION (Free Seating) – P2,120

For ticket info, call 470-2222 or contact Ovation Productions at 532-8883.
Purchase online at http://www.smtickets.com

Click here to buy tickets online

MAY 21:

MAY 22:

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Meeting the President of the Philippines

Posted by on Mar 4, 2012 in Featured, Movies & TV, Philippines, Pilipinas

Meeting the President of the Philippines

It was my first time inside the Malacanang Palace :)

Thanks to our friends from Nat Geo, Agatep and the President of course for inviting us into the Palace!

photo by Erwin Nolido


Jeman, myself and Rod with Caster, the Food Taster.

photo by Erwin Nolido


Caster’s job is very interesting.  He is trained here and abroad of different toxins and poisons that can be found on food.  His weapon: the flashlight!

Know more about Caster and the different PSG persons highlighted on the documentary here.

The National Geographic special Inside Malacanang will be shown on Nat Geo on March 18, at 9pm.

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Inside Malacañang a National Geographic Channel Special

Posted by on Mar 1, 2012 in Celebrities, Entertainment and Lifestyle, Events, Featured, Movies & TV, Philippines, Pilipinas

Inside Malacañang a National Geographic Channel Special

One of the perks of being a blogger, is you get to have dinner (sort-of) with the President of the Philippines!  Nat Geo and our friends from Agatep invited us over at the Malacanang Palace for the first screening of Inside Malacañang.  It’s a National Geographic special that takes you to an exclusive guided tour inside the official residence of our country’s president.

The Malacañang Palace was open for the public in the time of Corazon Aquino, the country’s first lady President.  Due to heavy security concerns, we can’t stroll along the compounds freely anymore but this documentary will take you inside the Palace.  It’s very interesting because the public knows so little about what’s going on there.

This special won’t only be played on local Nat Geo, but it will air soon in Southeast Asia and the rest of the World.  Congratulations to National Geographic Channel and Marnie Manicad productions for a successful documentary!

Here are a few pictures and snippets of what you are about to see on the documentary.  These are only pictures, but the story behind is very interesting.  Catch the documentary at Nat Geo on March 18, 9pm.


ABR_0607 - Malacanang Palace

Inside the Malacanang Palace


JRR_6351 - Malacanang Palace

Malacanan Compound


JRR_2442 - Presidential Helicopter

The Presidential Helicopter


JRR_4702 - Quirino Grand Stand

Independence Day at Quirino Grandstand


ABR_2163 - PSG



[press release]

It was once dubbed as a “foremost home” by Spanish governor generals. The Americans made it a social hub for the country’s elite while the Japanese transformed it into a garrison.

Yet after all these changes, Malacañan Palace still stands proudly by the Pasig River today. One would wonder what is now inside the cordoned-off areas of the palace.

On March 18, at 9pm catch the premiere of the original documentary Inside Malacañang as National Geographic Channel (NGC) takes you to an exclusive guided tour inside the official residence of the country’s chief executive.

This exclusive feature, which took one and a half years to produce, delves into chambers of the palace that were previously off-limits to the media and the public.

Inside Malacañang also examines and breaks long-held myths and beliefs about the President’s entourage. Get to know the everyday routines of the Presidential Security

Group commander, the close-in security aide of President Benigno S. Aquino III, the presidential photographer, and even the presidential food tester.

“NGC has been aiming to feature more relevant programs to the Filipino audience. With Inside Malacañang we hope more Filipinos would appreciate the office of the President and the people who help run it everyday,” said Jude Turcuato, Fox International Channels vice president and territory head for Philippines.

“Through this documentary that was proudly made by a Filipino production team, Marnie Manicad Productions International, in the hallmark standards of the NGC, we also wanted to show the world-class talent of Filipinos in producing long-form documentaries.”

The Inside Malacañang production team is composed of director, producer and head writer Marnie Manicad, writer Cris Lim and narrator Joonee Gamboa.


Key People

ABR_0591 - Manolo Quezon III

Undersecretary Manolo Quezon III, a friend and a fellow blogger


ABR_1896 - Lito Africano

Lito Africano, the Personal Assistant


ABR_1979 - Jay Morales

Jay Morales, the Photographer


JRR_5887 - Jaime Caster Castro

Jaime Castro, the Food Taster

*we had a photo taken with him, I’d still have to wait for it to be posted Smile with tongue out


JRR_9669 - Colonel Ramon Dizon

Colonel Ramon Dizon, PSG Chief


ABR_4359 - General Bodet Honrado

General Bodet Honrado


and of course,


ABR_2646 - President Noy Noy Aquino

President Noy Noy Aquino

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Panagbenga Flower Festival Baguio City

Posted by on Feb 26, 2012 in Philippines, Pilipinas, Travel

Panagbenga Flower Festival Baguio City

I’m in Baguio for work and what a fun work it is, I get to cover festivals and fun happnenings!  It has been a while since I’ve been to Baguio and it was my first time to witness the Panagbenga festival.

My last trip to Baguio was for Vaseline Road Trip.  Check out my blog then, we did so much in one day!

Anyway, here’s our float for TV5! 

TV5 Float with hosts of Good Morning Club and Game N' Go

I loooooove our float! It has 10 flower variations and 2,000 bundles of flowers! Simple but more! Anyway, we started to prepare as early as 5am, unlike the Masskara Festival that starts in the after and culminates in the Plaza in the evening.  The flower parade started at 8am. 


More updates on TV5’s Official Facebook page and Twitter!

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Tretorn Nylite and Panagbenga Baguio Flower Festival

Posted by on Feb 25, 2012 in Philippines, Pilipinas, Style Flair

Tretorn Nylite and Panagbenga Baguio Flower Festival


Ohai from Baguio City! I packed for a 20 degree weather. But it plunged down to 14 degrees! I am so not prepared for the cold.

This is a working trip and I’ll be covering Panagbena, Baguio’s flower festival, for my network :) I’m so excited, but it means there will

be a lot of walking around the hilly parts of Baguio so I brought my Tretorn Nylites. Comfortable closed shoes.


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Philippine Holidays 2012 – Plan Your Vacation Ahead

Posted by on Dec 13, 2011 in Announcements, Featured, Philippines, Pilipinas, Travel

Philippine Holidays 2012 – Plan Your Vacation Ahead

Hello travel-hungry folks!  Work is work, but when there are holidays, it’s time to travel!  Plan your leaves and vacations early and base it on the Philippine Holidays 2012 Calendar below :

Check out my friends and partner’s holiday deals from time to time:

AirPhil Express promo seat sale 2012
Also thanking FlairCandy.com partners and sponsors for a great 2011.  New Year 2012, bring it on!

Philippine Holidays 2012 Calendar

Philippine Holiday Calendar 2012
Philippine Holidays 2012 Calendar

*calendar courtesy of portalseven.com

The following regular holidays and special days for the year 2012 shall be observed in the country:

A. Regular Holidays
New Year’s Day – January 1 (Sunday)
Holy Week 2012
Maundy Thursday – April 5
Good Friday – April 6
Araw ng Kagitingan – April 9 (Monday)
Labor Day – May 1 (Tuesday)
Independence Day – June 12 (Tuesday)
National Heroes Day – August 27 (Last Monday of August)
Bonifacio Day – November 30 (Friday)
Christmas Day – December 25 (Tuesday)
Rizal Day – December 30 (Sunday)

B. Special (Non-Working) Days
Chinese New Year – January 23 (Monday)
Ninoy Aquino Day – August 21 (Tuesday)
All Saints Day – November 1 (Thursday)
Additional special (non-working) day – November 2 (Friday)
Last Day of the Year – December 31 (Monday)

C. Special Holiday (for all schools)
EDSA Revolution Anniversary – February 25 (Saturday)

Notes :

WHEREAS, on January 23, 2012, the Chinese nationals all over the world will celebrate Spring Festival, popularly known as the Chinese New Year, which is one of the most revered and festive events celebrated not only in China but also in the Philippines by both Chinese Filipinos and ordinary Filipinos as well; and the joint celebration is a manifestation of our solidarity with our Chinese Filipino brethren who have been part of our lives in many respects as a country and as a people; 23 January 2012 may be declared as a special (non-working) day without detriment to public interest

WHEREAS, Friday, 2 November 2012, falling between Thursday, 1 November 2012 (All Saints Day) and Saturday, has been traditionally declared a special (non-working) day throughout the country

WHEREAS, to give full opportunity to our people to properly observe All Saints Day with all its religious fervor which invariably requires them to travel to and from different regions in the country, Friday, 2 November 2012, may be declared as a special (non-working) day without detriment to public interest

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Five ways to pay tribute to Jose Rizal using your BlackBerry

Posted by on Jun 15, 2011 in Pilipinas, Tech Chic

Five ways to pay tribute to Jose Rizal using your BlackBerry

As the country commemorates Dr. Jose Rizal’s 150th birthday on June 19, BlackBerry smartphone users can take advantage of free and paid apps available from BlackBerry App World to celebrate his life and contribution to our freedom and national identity. 

Here are five ideas on how you can personalize your BlackBerry to show some Philippine pride and pay tribute to our national hero.  Simply visit the links or scan the QR codes below.

Enliven your BlackBerry with a Philippine theme

This distinctly Filipino theme puts the flag’s colors into one’s BlackBerry smartphone.  The battery and signal bar are replaced with stars, while the volume and the message indicator were changed to the Philippine sun.  Instead of the usual hourglass, BlackBerry users will see the waving Philippine flag as a waiting indicator. 

To get this theme, please visit http://appworld.blackberry.com/webstore/content/reviews/18936?lang=en



Get reacquainted with Rizal’s classics

When was the last time you picked up a copy of one of Rizal’s works?  BlackBerry users can rediscover his La Solidaridad essay La Indolencia delos Filipinos (http://appworld.blackberry.com/webstore/content/20250?la) or Noli Me Tangere (The Social Cancer) (http://appworld.blackberry.com/webstore/content/39492?lang=en), available on selected devices, by downloading these from BlackBerry App World and reading them using their smartphones at their leisure time.




Learn from the past

In 1890, Rizal republished Spanish lawyer Antonio de Morga’s Sucesos de las Islas Filipinas (History of the Philippine Islands to call attention to the richness of pre-colonial Filipino culture. BlackBerry users don’t need to go far and can download an English version of de Morga’s works available on selected devices by visiting http://appworld.blackberry.com/webstore/content/20099?lang=en


Connect with your loved ones through BlackBerry Messenger (BBM)

Whether he’s in Barcelona, Spain finishing Amor Patrio (Love of Country) for home newspaper Diariong Tagalog, or in Tokyo, Japan, sending post cards to his brother Paciano, Rizal did not let the distance get in the way of his connection to his home country and family.  Filipinos today have the advantage of BlackBerry Messenger (BBM), the unique messaging application that enables BlackBerry users to write with unlimited characters and reach out to loved ones even when overseas, at no extra cost to their data plan.  Unlike SMS, BBM travel as data so regardless of the number of BBM messages sent back and forth, it won’t result in outrageous phone bills.  

For more information, visit http://appworld.blackberry.com/webstore/content/3729?lang=en

JP Rizal BBM.jpg  


Discover a new local destination

Take advantage of the three day weekend to rediscover just why Rizal felt so intensely about his Patria Adorada (beloved country).  Whether you want to find flights to Dapitan, Zamboanga del Norte, where Rizal was exiled for four years, or to any other local destination,   BlackBerry Travel makes it easy to plan, book, manage, and share travel activities.  Find great hotel and flight options, and get all travel updates in one place. For more information please visit http://www.blackberry.com/ph/travel


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This Song and Bacolod

Posted by on Apr 8, 2011 in Music, Pilipinas, Travel

This Song and Bacolod

On a random day, I usually listen to some random music on some random radio station. If I like it, I take note of the lyrics and Google the title and find it on YouTube.

On another random day, I found myself in my hometown – Bacolod.

I’m back in Manila and I thought that this song below explains TOTALLY how I felt when I went home in Bacolod.

(It’s kind of deep and subliminal – I’m twisted and random like that)


Enjoy the song! It’s nice ^_^


Shout Out Louds – Impossible

I don’t want to feel like I don’t have a future.
I don’t want to feel like it’s an end of a summer.
Let’s not fall back to sleep like we used to.
I don’t want to wake up knowing I don’t have a future.

Impossible. Your love is something I cannot remember.

I don’t want to spend another day in this city.
I woke up thirsty, it’s hard to go back you know.
Let’s not fall back to sleep like we used to, do you remember?
I don’t want to wake up knowing I don’t have a future.

I know it’s impossible.
Your love is something I cannot remember.
And there’s a first time and a second time, you’ve got to hold on.
Did you know it could happen to you?
Your love is something I cannot remember.

I don’t want to see the same pictures all over.
And I’ve been standing on the same spot now since it’s been over.
‘Cause someone promised me a new chance, yes you promised.
I don’t want to wake up knowing I don’t have a future.

I know it’s, impossible.
Your love is something I cannot remember.
There’s a first time and a second time, you’ve got to hold on.
Did you know it could happen to you?
Your love is something I cannot remember.

You are just like your mother, I’m just the same as the others.
Do you believe everything they write in all those magazines?
Stay out of love until you’re ready, stay out of it ’cause it scares you.
You’ll still find your love outside the public library.

I know it could happen to you.

I know it’s, impossible.
Your love is something I cannot remember.
And there’s a first time and a second time, you’ve got to hold on.
Did you know it could happen to you?
Your love is something I cannot remember.

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First Time in Palawan, Flower Island

Posted by on Mar 27, 2011 in Advocacy, Art & Photography, Career, Featured, Palawan, Philippines, Pilipinas, Travel

First Time in Palawan, Flower Island

I must say, I am so reluctant to admit that at my 25 years of being here in the Philippines, I haven’t been to one of the most beautiful places in my home country – Palawan. I have heard the many good things people say about this place but sadly, some sad events happened too that I shared with you here. Apart from that, cyanide and dynamite fishing were very rampant, killing our coral beds leaving a small percentage alive.

“The World Atlas of Coral Reefs, compiled by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), reported that 97 percent of reefs in the Philippines are under threat from destructive fishing techniques, including cyanide poisoning, over-fishing, or from deforestation and urbanization that result in harmful sediment spilling into the sea.” (source)

I was amazed by the beauty of Palawan and saddened at the same time that the Palawan seas are very vulnerable to many things. Our beaches here are absolutely amazing and I am very proud to be living in a country where there’s bounty of my favorite things – beach, sand, sea. I am just starting to discover its beauty, but then, it might be taken away from me? At the same time, I am touched at the people of Palawan who are now making a big effort to protect the Palawan seas through Save Palawan Seas Foundation.

On a lighter note, I really enjoyed my trip to Palawan. We went to the Flower Isand and we hiked a little, swam a little, sailed through rough seas with 3 meter waves (I’m exaggerating) but learned a lot.

We spent our first day traveling from Manila to Flower Island. We departed Manila via plane at 8am and reached Puerto Princessa airport an hour after.

We traveled 3.5 hrs from Puerto Princessa to Taytay.

Palawan puerto princessa jeep palawan zigzag road

We rode this overflowing jeepney on this long, winding, zig-zag road 😛

I KEED! haha 😛 I took this photo from our van and this is pretty common here in the Philippines especially in the provinces. It amazes me how the people above the jeepney’s roof could stay alive while passing through zig-zaggidy roads @_@ As for us, were in a comfortable van and I slept the entire time because I didn’t want to get car sick! Bonamin helped too!

Taytay Pier Palawan Hannah Villasis of Flaircandy and Mia

The look of relief on my face when the 3.5 hour ride was over… thinking that I can now stretch my sexy legs that are about to get a tan! 😀 😛

From there, we rode a boat. What a 1 hour ride from Taytay Pier to Flower Island became a 2 hour sail because of the rough seas. Waves where at 2-3 meters high and it was quite a ride.

Taytay Pier, Palawan Palawan rough sea boat

Gloomy weather. Manong kuya lowering down the plastic shield to protect us XD

serious waves ahead @_@

On a normal day though, the seas are usually calm and it would only take an hour or less to go to Flower Island from Taytay pier.  I kept on thinking the Tsunami in Japan somehow made the seas rougher everywhere.

At first I got really scared that the big waves would engulf us because I kept seeing huge waves ahead of us that made us tilt up and abruptly throw is down. But after feeling like I am riding a free roller-coaster ride, deep inside I was like “OMG that was so much FUN, let’s do it AGAIN!

After that 2-hour boat ride, we finally arrived at our relaxing destination – Flower Island :)

Flower Island

Flower Island Palawan

It was just lovely being here. The long journey to reach this place was all worth it.

Flower Island, Palawan

This is where we stayed. The house was mostly made of bamboo. Of course, they plant more bamboos to replace the ones they used.

These are photos around the Flower Island.

Flower Island Palawan

Flower Island Palawan

Flower Island Palawan

The Peak

The peak is a tower / lighthouse that is situated literally at the Peak of Flower Island.

Flower Island Palawan
It would take you 15-20 minutes to hike all the way up. Don’t worry, there’s a cemented path.
Flower Island, PalawanFlower Island, Palawan
Going up the very steep path, you will be greeted with nature :) Ola ^_^
Flower Island Palawan
There are bugs, spiders, snakes and even wild monkeys sometimes. They don’t kill anything here. They just let nature be.


The Peak, Flower Island Palawan

After hiking for 20 minutes, you will see this <3 The Peak.

We went up the top-most portion of the tower and the sight was just beautiful

Flower Island, PalawanThe Peak, Flower Island

The scenery at the top actually reminded me of Greece, only better! Yes. And see that island.. it might be for sale. I want my own island too!

<The Peak Flower Island Palawan


If you’re afraid of heights, don’t worry about it, just go up the tower, you won’t regret it!

Catching the Sunset in Flower Island Palawan

I brought some of my gadgets with us and we were surprised that we didn’t feel the itch to open them. We just did nothing while waiting for the sun to go down.

When was the last time you did nothing at all?

Flower Island Palawan Sunset

Capturing the sunset with a self-portrait. An evidence that I’ve been here.Thanks by the way to the host of flower island for giving us the seashell necklace as a welcoming gift. :)

Meditation, Yoga and Qigong

I’m sure you might have heard of meditation and yoga, but you might not know what Qigong is.  Qigong is where you combine simple body movements, breathing and mental imagery that you can direct the flow of your body’s energy to prevent disease, build strength and advance spiritually.

I was so into the exercise that I didn’t bother taking photos like a good blogger should be. I have an excuse though, I think I really needed that session because I have been sick with cough for almost 2 months. After the exercise, I felt lighter on my chest and lungs. And when we went back in Manila, the cough is almost gone. I don’t know if it’s just mind over matter, or I just got hypnotized by the host’s directing voice… I don’t care. It worked for me 😛

The one who guided us throughout the exercise was the host of the island who was taught by an 83 year-old meditation / yoga guru. We weren’t able to meet her, but we are blessed to feel the extension of her teachings to the people in the island, who shared this with us. I feel graced to be able to calm my mind, be in the moment with nature, hearing the waves and the birds chirping… it brought peace in my mind. I also shared in our environmental debate after dinner that maybe, if all people meditate, we would have a more peaceful place. No one will get angry easily, people won’t get agitated by any irritants, and people might solve their problems better when they do this. It can even heal you mentally, emotionally and physically.

This shot was taken right before we did our meditation.

The dog’s name is Spigo (not sure of the spelling). On the background you will also see Estan – holler!

Photogenic Palawan

Since Palawan is very photogenic, me and Vince did a mini photoshoot. 😀

Flaircandy hannah villasis flower farm palawan

Flaircandy, Flower Farm Palawan hannah villasis

On Flower Island.

Photogenic Palawan Flower Island

Sunset Haze
Photogenic Palawan flower island

A Whirl of Clouds


shadow sunset flower island palawan

Shadow and Sunset

Cloud, Sunset and Sea - flower island palawan

Clouds, Sunset, Sky and Sea

No matter how hard I try to capture its beauty through my digital cameras, nothing beats seeing Palawan in person. If you think my photos are good (really? *blush*) you haven’t seen anything yet. Palawan is lovely. I am proud that it is a part of our country.

But you know what’s lovelier? – the story of the Golden Pearl. It’s like a fairy tale. And hearing this story moved me a lot. That will be on my next post on Palawan.

Do subscribe if you like this and share the love <3



flaircandy beach sand flower island palawan

P.S. I wrote this with my toes 😛

P.P.S Thank you to Jewelmer and Yehey for inviting me to this beautiful island. :)

Helpful Links:

Flower Island Official Website

More photos on my Flickr.

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The First Philippine Dive Seafari

Posted by on Mar 21, 2011 in Art & Photography, Philippines, Pilipinas, Travel

The First Philippine Dive Seafari

philippine reef dive seafari

*photo credits to dkeats under creative commons license.

The 7,107 islands of the Philippines sit on what some consider the “center of global marine biodiversity”, and more dive enthusiasts are catching on.

With its abundance of wildlife, the Philippines is a biodiversity hotspot in its entirety, one of only a few countries in the world with such distinction. It is also one of six whose waters comprise the Coral Triangle, the richest collection of marine life anywhere on the planet.

Here, the world’s most diverse array of corals and reef fish – three-fourths of all coral species and over 2,000 varieties of fish, to be exact – populate the sea. There’s even more upon closer inspection, as the array of wildlife includes everything from dolphins to crustaceans, sea slugs to eels. The variety of creatures is simply staggering.

While it shares some of this wealth with its neighbors, the Philippines is wonder on its own. In fact, biologists have been finding new creatures here consistently in recent years, both those thought to exist only elsewhere in the world and entirely new species altogether.

Among the more noteworthy marine ambassadors of the Philippines are five species of pawikan (sea turtle) and Sorsogon’s enormous butanding (whale shark). But among macro photographers, the small and often strange critters wandering the sea garner the most attention and intrigue.

With much of the world’s marine biodiversity housed in the Philippines and the Coral Triangle, collaborative conservation efforts among stakeholders have fittingly stepped up. Challenges posed by pollution, dangerous fishing practices and climate change, among others, remain.

The Department of Tourism (DOT) puts the Philippines’ marine marvels on show this summer as it hosts the 1st Philippine Dive Seafari. To headline familiarization tours at four of the country’s top dive spots – Anilao, Bohol, Samal Island and Coron – are top international underwater lensmen Bob Whorton, Robert Yin, Dave Allen and Alex Wu as well as our very own Gutsy Tuazon.

“With this event, we hope not only to establish the Philippines as a world-class marine macro photography destination, but to build appreciation for the beauty and fragility of marine life as well,” said Secretary Alberto A. Lim.

Sponsored in part by STI-Tanauan & Lipa, Acacia Resort in Anilao, Batangas, Davao Pearl Farm, Bohol Divers Lodge, Balicasag Dive Resort, Peacock Garden Resort in Baclayon, Bohol, Calamianes Expeditions, Davao Dive Guides Association Sonny Dizon of the Davao City Government, the 1st Philippine Dive Seafari will run from April 25 to May 5, 2011.

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Posted by on Mar 10, 2011 in Food, Philippines, Pilipinas


So I was strolling around Robinson’s Ermita when I passed by a food stall selling Green Mango with Bagoong!

Where have you been all my life!  I always buy unripe mango and bagoong on side street vendors but it always worries me of how clean they were >.<

I’m just so glad I found one Mango-Ong food stall in the mall :) I am not sure how many branches they have yet, but to those who love mango and bagoong like me, keep your eyes open and your mouth ready for Mango-Ong :)




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