LAGUNA: Visit Calamba and Los Banos with Kids

May 20, 2013

LAGUNA: Visit Calamba and Los Banos with Kids

This is my itinerary for a day trip to Calamba to see the Rizal shrine followed by a trip to Los Banos to visit the University of the Philippines Los Banos campus.

This itinerary is best done on a Sunday because there's less traffic on a Sunday. The timing is important because it ensures you avoid traffic at Calamba exit and the SM Calamba intersersection.

This itinerary presumes you're using a private vehicle for this trip.

What you need to do prior to this trip:

1. Call the Rizal Shrine to book a guided tour with film showing.

Why call: The guided tour and film showing is not offered to walk-in visitors. The shrine do not employ regular tour guides. They request tour guides from the city hall who are actually students who are on-the-job training. So you need to request in advance for this service. 
To see the film, they also need a technician on hand to operate the equipment. They also turn on the air-con in the audio-visual room in advance if they know what time you're arriving. 
Contact Nos.: (+63)(049) 834 1599

2. Call Max Restaurant, Monte Vista Resort to reserve tables for lunch with your group.

Why make advance reservation: Since this restaurant is situated beside a resort, I presume it's always full on a Sunday. So to make sure you have a table when you arrive, make a table reservation. If you're going to be late in arriving, call to inform them that you're on the way so they continue to hold the reservation. 
Why this location: This restaurant is along the National Highway between Calamba and Los Banos. If you're going to Los Banos, this restaurant is near the boundary of Calamba and Los Banos, and therefore along the route of your destination from the Rizal Shrine, which is Los Banos.
Why this restaurant: This restaurant gave fast and very good service to our group of 19 people. After a tiring and warm stay at the Rizal shrine, we arrived with a private room already reserved for our group. Within 10 minutes of giving our order, the food was served to us. The quality of food was consistent with our expectations. Other amenities of this restaurant worth mentioning: cool air-conditioning  and very fast free WiFi. 

3. Call Lety's buko pie to reserve buko pies for your group.  

Why reserve buko pie: If you're going to Los Banos in the afternoon, the buko pie tends to run out. So to be safe, reserve buko pie in advance to ensure you have buko pies set aside for your group.
Contact Person at Lety's Lopez Avenue: Josephine Siapo (+63)(929-7255070)


7:30 AM:
Leave Quezon City area

My tip: By leaving early, you avoid traffic at the Calamba exit and the SM Calamba crossing, which is the intersection of JP Rizal Street and the National Highway

9:00 AM:
Arrival at Rizal Shrine

My tip: Make sure to go to the Rizal shrine in the morning to avoid heavy traffic in this area on Sunday afternoons. This is the tip I got from the museum personnel of the Rizal shrine.
Opening hours of the Rizal shrine: Tues - Sun: 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Contact numbers: (+63)(049) 834 1599
Address: J.P Rizal corner Mercado Street 
How to go to the Rizal shrine: The entrance of the Rizal shrine is along JP Rizal street. The property is located at the corner of J.P. Rizal and Mercado Street. It's across the St. John the Baptist Church.
You need to go there through Burgos street and make a left turn at Mercado Street then a left turn at J.P. Rizal street because Burgos and J.P. Rizal streets are one-way.

Alternative Route if there's traffic at the Calamba exit and SM Calamba crossing: Make sure to turn right at the San Vicente Ferrer Road along Real Road after the Calamba exit.

10:00 AM - 11:00 AM:
Mass at St. John  the Baptist Church

Why see the Church: This is a century-old church where Jose Rizal was baptized.
For mass schedules:

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM:
Guided tour and film showing at Rizal shrine

12:30 PM - 2:00 PM: 
Lunch at Max Restaurant, Monte Vista Resort


2:30 PM - 4:00 PM:
Visit Lety's Buko Pie along Lopez Avenue, across 711

4:00 PM - 5:30 PM:
Travel from Los Banos to Manila

Where to pass to avoid traffic at the junction of Lopex Avenue and the National Highway: Take the Jamboree Road and go out the National Highway where the Los Banos municipal hall is located.

How much you should budget for this trip:

Gas: around 20-30 liters of gas, or P800 to P1200

Toll: from C5 to Calamba exit: P218 per way, or P436 roundtrip

Meals: P150-250 per person depending on what you will get at Max Restaurant

Pasalubong and souvenirs (optional): The price of Letty's buko pie is P160. We bought books, shirts and ref magnets that amounted to almost 1000 pesos.

Tips for guides (optional)

Tips for waiter (optional)

Donation to Rizal shrine (optional)

Map of the Itinerary

 A    Rizal shrine (birthplace and residence of Jose Rizal) 
 B    Max Restaurant, Monte Vista Resort 
 C    Lety's Buko Pie 
 D    UP Los Banos

Where to Find the International Airports in the Philippines: Summary of Airlines and International Destinations

May 9, 2013

Where to Find the International Airports in the Philippines:
Summary of Airlines and International Destinations

What's so interesting about finding out where the international airports are located in the Philippines? Knowing the international airports in the Philippines will allow foreign visitors to go straight from their home country to the nearest island or tourist spot of their choice without passing by Manila. The same holds true the other way. It will allow residents to go to the airport nearest their hometown, without passing by Manila.

It used to be that the only access to the Philippines was through Manila. But it's good news that there are other points of entry other than Manila. The safest is to choose Manila but there are other options now other than passing by Manila

The term "international airport" in this post is loosely defined as an airport that has flights to international destinations.

Below is a list of international airports in the Philippines,  the international airlines flying into the airport and international origin or destination of airlines flying into the airports.


Manila International Airport

You can fly directly from almost all international destinations to Manila. This is the main airport of the Philippines. It's safest to fly into this airport because this airport has access to all other international and domestic airports in the Philippines. 

Laoag International Airport
You can fly from Honolulu to Laoag (via Manila) via Philippine Airlines.

Clark International Airport
You can fly directly from the following international destinations to Clark:
  1. Hongkong: via Cebu Pacific and Southeast Asian Airlines
  2. Bangkok: via Cebu Pacific and Southeast Asian Airlines
  3. Singapore: via Cebu Pacific and Southeast Asian Airlines
  4. Macau: via Cebu Pacific
  5. Kota Kinabalu: via Southeast Asian Airlines


Kalibo International Airport
You can fly directly from the following international destinations to Kalibo:
  1. Hongkong: via Cebu Pacific 
  2. Busan: via Zest Air, Philippine Airlines
  3. Seoul: via Zest Air
  4. Shanghai: via Zest Air
  5. Taipei: via Zest Air, Mandarin Airlines

Cebu International Airport
You can fly directly from the following international destinations to Cebu
  1. Hongkong: via Cebu Pacific, PAL Express, Philippine Airlines operated by Cathay Pacific Airways 
  2. Kuala Lumpur: via Cebu Pacific 
  3. Singapore: via Cebu Pacific Tiger Airways
  4. Taipei: via Cebu Pacific 
  5. Seoul: via Philippine Airlines, Zest Air, Asiana, Jeju Air, Jin Air, Korean Air
  6. Tokyo: via Philippine Airlines
  7. Busan: via Air Busan, Korean Air

Iloilo International Airport
You can fly directly from the following international destinations to Iloilo:
  1. Hongkong: via Cebu Pacific
  2. Singapore: via Cebu Pacific


Davao International Airport
You can fly directly from Manado, Indonesia to Davao via Wings Air

Zamboanga International Airport
You can fly directly from Sandakan (Sabah) to Zamboanga via PAL Express.

BORACAY: My Guide to Parasailing with Kids

May 4, 2013

BORACAY: My Guide to Parasailing with Kids

Parasailing looks dangerous so a lot of parents are hesitant about letting their kids do this activity. Some adults are not inclined to do it because it looks scary as the parasail goes very high up over the water at dizzying heights. This guide aims to show step-by-step how parasailing is conducted at Boracay white beach. 

What is Parasailing?
Parasailing is a water activity that involves a speedboat towing a parasail (it looks like a parachute) like a kite up into the air while one or two people are harnessed to the parasail in a seating position. This is not to be confused with paragliding.

1. Register and pay at the parasailing booth. You sign a waiver of liability at the booth.

These are the water sports booth located at Station 1 across Astoria Boracay.

This is the booth of Napoleon Seasports, where we booked our parasailing activity.

Registering and paying at the booth

2. You wait until the speedboat arrives to bring you to the parasail platform.

Waiting at a tent across Astoria Boracay

3. You ride the speedboat for around 5 minutes to go to the parasail platform.

From the White beach, we ride the small speedboat that will to take us
to the parasail platform.

Enjoying the fast and bumpy 5-minute ride to the parasail platform

This is the platform where the small speedboat takes you.

4. From the platform, you ride another speedboat, which is the speedboat that will tow your parasail.

From the platform, we ride the bigger speedboat that will tow the parasail.

5. While the speedboat goes to the middle of the sea, you put on a life vest that you will wear while parasailling.

6. When the speedboat arrives in the middle of the sea, they unfurl the parasail. Then, you climb to the edge of the speedboat to put on the harness attached to the parasail.

7. Then UP, UP and AWAY!!!

You sit down as you prepare to be taken slowly up in the air.

You are taken slowly and gradually up in the air.

The ride took around 10 minutes.

My kids say the view is fantastic up there.

Where to book:

Look for Christine at (+63919)395-9054


800 pesos per person

What my kids said about their experience up in the air:

1. It's so peaceful and quiet up there. You cannot even hear the motor of the speedboat running.

2. They saw the corals clearly from up there.

3. They saw a sting ray swimming underneath the waters.

4. They should have brought a camera with them up there.

1. The best time to do any water sports activity is in the morning, around 10:00 AM. We did the banana boat ride in the morning and the weather is cooler compared to when we did parasailing. 

2. If possible, bring 2 cameras. If you don't have a companion who can take your photo from the boat, leave one camera with the boatman so they can take a picture of you from the boat. Bring a camera with you up there while parasailing. According to my kids, the view from up there is a great photo opprtunity.

3. In our case, we asked if we can accompany the kids even if we're not parasailing. They allowed us to join them in the speedboat that will go parasailing.

4. You can choose to do parasailing alone or with another person. The rate is the same. But if you're with your sibling, relative, friend, or spouse, it's a better experience to share the ride and the view with someone close to you.


BORACAY: List of Restaurants with Delivery

BORACAY: List of Restaurants with Delivery

Station 1 is the nicest part of Boracay White Beach. However, the advantage of Station 1 being away from the crowds is also its disadvantage. By being away from the crowds of Station 2 and D'mall, it's also a long walk to great dining areas. Dining options on our first night was initially a problem. No one wants to leave the resort anymore and the comfort of an airconditioned room  and walk almost 2 km or ride the tricycle to dine at D'mall. Then we discovered there are several restaurants offering delivery service to resorts.

Since Boracay Island is small, delivery time ranged from 25-45 min. So if you find yourself feeling lazy enough to go out of your resort and want to try food other than the resort food, you can call the following restaurants with food delivery service


Shakey's Boracay
Phone Number: (+63 36) 288-1777
Hours: Mon-Thurs: 10:00 AM - 12:00 MN, Fri-Sun: 10:00 AM - 1:00 AM

Menu: Click here to view menu
Average cost per head: 220 pesos

(photo from Cyma facebook page)
Phone Number: (+63 36) 288-4283
Hours: Mon-Sun: 10:00 AM - 11:00 PM

Menu: Click here to view menu
Delivery Charge: 20 pesos
Average cost per head: 280 pesos per head

Bite Club
Phone Number: (+63 36) 288-5947
Hours: Sun-Mon: 11:00 AM - 11:00 PM,
Tues-Thurs: 11:00 AM - 12:00 MN,
Fri-Sat: 11:00 AM - 12:30 AM


Delivery Charge: 40 pesos
Average cost per head: 200 pesos per head


Mc Donalds Boracay
Phone Number: (+63 36) 288-6236
Open Hours: Mon-Sun: 7:00 AM - 2:00 AM
Menu: Click here to view menu
Note: Delivery is available in Station 2 and 3. 


Phone Number: (+63 36) 288-5550
Open Hours: Mon-Sun: 10:00 AM - 12:00 MN


Phone Number: (+63 36) 288-2369, (+63 36) 663-0079
Open Hours: Mon-Sun: 10:00 AM - 2:00 AM


Phone Number: (+63 36) 288-6223, 
Open Hours: Mon-Sun: 11:00 AM - 1:00 AM

Fish Bar

Phone Number: (+63 36) 288-4026
Open Hours: Mon-Sun: 10:00 AM - 11:00 PM

Gerry's  Grill

Phone Number: (+63 36) 288-1459, 1459
Open Hours: Mon-Sun: 11:00 AM - 11:00 PM


Phone Number: (+63 36) 288-5978
Menu: Click here to view menu

Real Coffee

Phone Number: (+63 36) 288-5340
Open Hours: Mon-Sun: 7:00 AM - 7:00 PM