Monday, July 21, 2014

Voluntourism is a concept of integrating volunteerism and tourism. It is traveling to places for a good cause. It is where a traveler enjoys both the traditional elements of travel at the same time helping a community in whatever way he/she can.

Super Typhoon Haiyan was the most powerful typhoon that hit the Philippines last year. The province of Leyte in Eastern Visayas suffered a direct hit of the typhoon and consequently suffered the most damage in terms of infrastructure. Leyte also had the most number of casualties, more than 5,000 lives were taken mostly due to storm surge.

Today, communities in Eastern Visayas are slowly rebuilding their lives through the help of both local and international agencies. Another sector which greatly helps the community recover from major losses is tourism. The province is endowed with natural attractions like white sand beaches, waterfalls caves and lakes which continues to attracts both local and foreign tourists.

The concept of voluntourism was initiated by local government officials and tour operators to encourage visitors to not only visit Eastern Visayas but to travel with a cause. Volunteers from all over the Philippines and even other nationalities come to Leyte to enjoy its attractions and at the same time help the community.

Few months ago, I was on a mission with other bloggers n partnership with the Department of Tourism and Leyte Gulf Travel & Tours to partake in a voluntourism campaign called the Do Good Project. The project has three phases : understanding the effects of super typhoon Haiyan to the communities, sharing (talent, skills, gifts, knowledge, etc) and experiencing the natural beauty of the region.

For the first phase, we visited the places badly hit by typhoon Haiyan in the cities of Tacloban and Palo. We were very devastated to see how the people were displaced by the typhoon. It was already months after the typhoon but the effects were still evident.

We then visited one community for the second phase of the project. We distributed school supplies to the children of Barangay San Joaquin in Palo, Leyte. It felt great to see the children smile after they received the gifts despite the tragedy that they had to go through at a very young age. Most of the recipients have lost a relative so it must be difficult for them to go on with their lives. But, through the help of voluntourists, they'll be able to rebuild their lives and move on ultimately.

The third phase of the project was debriefing. It's where we spent time to experience the beauty of Eastern Visayas. We visited Sohoton Natural Bridge National Park in Basey, Samar and then we head our way to the historical town of Balangiga which was also hit by super typhoon Haiyan. This is the moment where you enjoy the traditional elements of travel -  arts, culture, geography, history and recreation.

Make a difference, Experience Eastern Visayas and Become a Voluntourist! The people of Eastern Visayas need us.
The town of Lake Sebu in the province of South Cotabato has been gaining a lot of attention in the tourism industry. More and more people are visiting Lake Sebu to experience the Seven Fall, ride the zip line and witness the lotus flower as it blooms in the morning. Others just want to relax and enjoy the serenity of Lake Sebu.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

La Rose Noire Patisserie started its operation in 1991 in one of Hong Kong's well-known shopping malls. Over the years, it continues to grow and its success can be attributed to the man behind La Rose Noire, Gerard Dubois. Back in 1991, he only started with a cake shop and restaurant and then it became an enterprise. From 28 items in his product line, it grew to over 500 variety of products. The company opened a factory in Clark Freeport Zone in 2012 which is expected to supply products to the growing international market.

We visited La Rose Noire on the first day of Metro Angeles Food Tour 2014. We were able to sample their top-of-the-line and export quality products. They are actually producing frozen pastries and they're kind enough to bake some for us to taste test. I'd say their products are of high quality and really tasted good.

Assorted La Rose Noire Products
La Rose Noire offers different varities of hand made baskets and tart shells and elegant cones. They both have sweet and savory items. 

Assorted Sweet and Savory Cones
A variety of VIP and Regular Croissant
I must say they have the best croissant I have tasted so far. They only used premium quality raw material and the outcome is just so delectable. 

Assorted Muffins
Assorted Danish Pastries
This is my most favorite pastry during the taste test. It's mouthwatering that you always want for more after your first bite. The bread and the filling complement each other. They's just perfect!

Assorted Premium Breads

Hand Crafted Macarons
La Rose Noire's macaron is of premium quality. It tastes good and it melts in your mouth. Again, it's one of the best tasting macarons I ever tried so far.  

La Rose Noire Factory at Clark FreePort Zone
Blogger Participants of Metro Angeles Food Tour 2014 with the management and staff of La Rose Noire Philippines (Photo credit to Rob of Palibut)

La Rose Noire - Philippines 
Address: Clark Freeport Zone, Pampanga Philippines Telephone 
Number: (+632) 840-3771 to 82 

Disclosure: La Rose Noire is one of the Partner-Establishments of #MetroAngelesFoodTour2014. 
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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Important things you need to know about Cagayan de Oro City : Where to Stay, Where to Eat, Things to Do and How to Get There.

Cagayan De Oro City is populary dubbed as the City of Golden Friendship and is one of the Adventure Destinations in the Philippines. It is located along the central coast of Northern Mindanao and is bordered with the province of Bukidnon and Lanao del Norte. It is famous for its white water rafting which is being widely promoted by the City Tourism Office.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Microtel Inn & Suites Baguio is the most convenient place to stay while in the City of Pines. It is situated right next to Victory Liner terminal and is very close to Session Road, Lourdes Grotto, Burnham Park and and Baguio Cathedral. It is ideal for solo travelers and families on vacation as you can choose from their single, double and suite rooms.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Tune Hotel Aseana is the newest Tune Hotel to open in the Philippines. It is 214-room budget hotel located very close to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), Mall of Asia Arena and SMX Convention Center. It is situated at Lot 38 Block 2, Bradco Avenue, Aseana City, Paranaque City.

I must say that Tune Hotel Aseana's location is very convenient as it is very close to the airport. There is no restaurant in the hotel yet but a Jollibee store is just few steps away from the hotel. S&R Shopping Center is also just right across the hotel, so you may easily buy stuff from there. Soon, a Family Mart Convenience Store will also be opened so it will even be more convenient for guests. Since it is close to the airport, Tune Hotel Aseana is also ideal for those travelers with connecting flights the following day.

Tune Hotel Aseana Lobby

Aside from being close to the airport, Tune Hotel Aseana is also within few minutes from major destinations and attractions like SM Mall of Asia, SMX Convention Center, SM Arena, Entertainment City popularly known as Bagong nayon Pilipino, Baclaran Redemptorist Church and Las Pinas Bamboo Organ.

Overlooking view from the 5th floor

Checking In
It was already late when I checked in as I have to meet some friends first. I am very happy with how I was handled by the receptionist. She was very friendly and took care of me. After just few minutes, she gave me the key card and I went to my room which was on the third floor. The room was big enough for me. The room was equipped with a double bed which can comfortably accommodate two people. I was already tired when I arrived in the hotel so I immediately lay on the bed and I noticed the good quality of the mattress and the clean and fresh smell of the linen and comforter. It's always good to stay at Tune Hotels as they had a 5-star quality beds in a budget price.

5-star quality bed
Toilet & Bath
Hotel Amenities
The room is equipped with a T&B which has a hot/cold shower. It has an electronic safe where guests can leave their valuables, a ceiling fan and a hairdryer which are already part of the basic amenities included in the room rates. Tune Hotel Aseana's introductory room rate starts at P889 exclusive of applicable taxes and optional add-ons. The promotional rate is strictly applicable for stays from Now – 31 August 2014.

If you want a more comfortable stay, you may add up additional in-room amenities according to your needs and preference. Below are the rates for their add-ons:

Towel Rental & Toiletries Kit costs P90. The kit includes one soft absorbent white towel, a small bar of soap and a small tube of shampoo. It is placed in a red Tune Hotel eco-bag. 
Wifi access for 24 hours cost P240. You can purchase this from the front desk and they’ll provide you for a password to use and will expire exactly after 24 hours from the first time you use it. 
Air-conditioning for a 24-hour credit costs P350. Some Tune hotels in other countries have a 12-hour or a 24-hour option for air-conditioning access, however in the Philippines, only the 24-hour access is available. Each room is actually provided with a split-type air-conditioning system but the usage will be charge separately from the room cost. It is programmed depending on your room access card. Hours are being deducted on a per-use-basis. If you only use 12 hours of your credit on your first day, the next 12 hours can be used on the next day. 
Early Check-in is available from 11AM onwards for an additional cost of P300. 
Late Check-out costs P300 up to 2PM. 
Comfort Package includes 24hr A/C credit + Towel & Toiletries for an additional cost of P300. 
Cozy Package provides you with 24hr A/C + 24hr TV + 24hr Wifi + Towel & Toiletries for only P420. 

If you want to connect to the internet, there is a kiosk at the lobby where you can use free of charge for 30 minutes. Just approach the front desk and ask for your user ID and password.

When at Tune Hotels, don't forget to take a souvenir photo at their photo booth. It's very simple to use and you can immediately send it to your desired email address and share it on your social media accounts. Enjoy staying at Tune Hotel Aseana!

Tune Hotel Aseana 
Lot 38 Block 2, Bradco Avenue, Aseana City, Paranaque City, Philippines
Like them on Facebook: Tune Hotels Philippines 
Follow them on Twitter: @tunehotelsPH 
Share a photo on Instagram: @tunehotels

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Saturday, July 12, 2014

After our Bucas Grande adventure, the boatmen dropped us at Hayanggabon Port. We took our lunch at a small eatery along the highway. We were supposed to eat at the nearby restaurant at the port but the owners were so unfriendly, they even lied to us and told us that their restroom was locked and the key was taken by the guest so we cannot use it. Instead of arguing, we left the place and head to the eatery along the highway. The owner was friendly and allowed us to take a bath. While waiting for the bus, we also took our lunch. After about an hour, the bus arrived and we hopped in on our way to Tandag City.