Sharing all things about pet-friendly travels and full-time work from home setup

Manila PubCrawl Madness

To those who never heard of Manila PubCrawl, it is a bar-hopping tour that explores the best night – life in the city. You get to ride to an air-conditioned party jeep that will go around the metro to five different pubs or popularly known here as bars to party, drink and meet new people. The idea of partying to us Filipinos is to go to a new or a favorite one and spend the whole night there. However this one is patterned from Europe’s different style on how they do social gatherings at night. The third word -crawl, well you guessed it right! You might crawl if you get drunk after.

Manila PubCrawl only happens on Saturday for the meantime so I grabbed the opportunity to join when they announced they will have it on Friday for a charity cause of the most recent typhoon victims. There were games inside the bus And I am telling you the one you used to chit-chat in the first pub will not be the one you will most likely be chitchatting in the next pub because it seems everyone was going around getting to know each other. There are two party jeeps so you can sit anywhere with anyone.

Travel Massive Manila December Review

Me with the Hideo Wakamatsu coral luggage
"Way better than the first one!" Though the crowd this time is much smaller compared to the pioneer meetup last November, a signficant improvement in terms of networking and brand interaction are the reasons that made me appreciate more this event. Travel Massive is afterall a worldwide meetup that aims to bring together the whole travel industry: bloggers, publications, products and services, tour operators, travelers etc. for collaboration and fun. Now that I have officially started arranging tours  I have to keep joining to events like this to connect with more people who share the same interest and broaden my horizon for any possibilities.

Please allow me to share you a handful of details: 

Travel  Talk
Upper Viceo of Dispatch, a travel magazine shared a video of her Mongolia trip. What made me more curious about her story is that Mongolia is not a usual traveler would tell right at the moment when asked where is his/her destination to visit next. This place sounds so exotic to me especially when she mentioned about seeing a two-humped camel and the Trans-Siberian railway - the longest in the world crossing 16 time zones if I am not mistaken.

My Lips Are Sealed For Now

It’s been seventeen days since I had my previous blog post! What happened to this line I used to say “my passion for blogging is burning like hell!” Has the fire in it died down too soon? Answer is NO. I am dealing a personal issue that is crumpling me for some time now even stopped my itchy hand to write and affecting my mind to think of
creative stuffs. This is a challenge that is putting me to the very edge and I am at my weakest. I keep on telling myself that this will end SOON. That I should not regret any of my FAILURES, if I did the BEST I can. But hey readers, please don’t worry because what I am undergoing now happens to every one of us. At this moment, it is my turn.

Arte Bikolana's Unique & Handcrafted Fashion Jewelry

We Filipinos have this mindset instilled in chronological order since birth: go to school until college or way up if you have the means and get your dream corporate job in a Monday to Friday, 8 - 5 schedule. To those who can beat the distance and homesickness they fly abroad.  This is also exactly my way of thinking for living a financially stable life until recently I have been meeting a lot of location independent business owners who work at their most convenient time. Since then I got hooked up to the ideas of entrepreneurship, collaboration and coworking.  I believe they are the answers to our country's shortage of job employment but I would like to object because I rather call it as shortage of ideas in finding means to get money.

One great example of this is the Arte Bikolana's customized jewelry and gift ideas. I was checking the photos, I have to admit I paused for a few seconds staring every single thing they have and wondered how much level of creativity was imparted to these work of arts! Arte Bikolana have cocktail rings, charm bracelets, necklaces, kids rings and earrings even rosaries! Take note these are handmade so the designs are unique and personalized made of high quality material. These are perfect mostly for women who are chic, stylish and sassy.

Constructing and Maintaining a Beach Resort in Bohol by a Swiss Architect

Yuchengco Museum in cooperation with the Swiss Embassy Manila is presenting a series of lectures from November to January. Wondering what has Switzerland has something to do in the Philippines history? Three reasons: one Jose Rizal spent 3 weeks in this country and wrote here some of his literary pieces during his stay in Europe, second the Rizal monument in Luneta Park was done by the Swiss, Richard Kipling who won the second prize for the design competition of this monument and Switzerland opened its first Consulate in all of Asia in 1862 in Manila. These lectures are actually about the excellent reputation and high profile of Swiss architecture and engineering today that the local scene can get idea from.

Seeing a Ray of Hope

Really getting emotional for the past few weeks as I see my blog traffic has fallen down to the extreme! I was checking my Google Analytics and  seeing a few signs of improvement  for one or two traffic from Google on keywords I don't expect much to get from. The blog posts and keywords that give life to this blog are nowhere to be found in the first pages of search engines now. I just went back to zero. My Google PageRank Checker has returned a zero rank for now. My TopBlogsph link - a directory for blogs in the Philipines that measures traffic with 1 as the highest is showing me rank 364 . Before I was at 129 nearly approaching my target rank of at least 100 by the end of this year. But way, way to go! Need to keep going now matter what!

Getting Tested to the Fullest
I know this is the time I am being tested to the fullest of whether I end up quitting this blog and pursue other things because I am not getting any younger anymore. I want to go back to this language school, learn some vocational skills whatever blah blah... because I am not getting any younger anymore. In exactly three months from now I will be having my 29th birthday though I feel like my 28th birthday just happened yesterday.

Have to let go this time!

I am writing this in the 37th floor where I have a breathtaking view of Manila's skyline from four different angles (Makati, Ortigas, Pasig and Mandaluyong) trying to catch some fresh air.  I just came from Ilocos the other night and a few thing in my list was never done.  Worse is I am in my point on deciding which ones to keep and which ones to give up.  The traffic of my blog until now is at its worst as I check my Google analytics and Feedjit widget. This blog means so much to me as the time I have spent here are really huge!

I was thinking of using this blog as my portal to the path of entrepreneurship. This is the only way I know so far to be free from this seven year imprisonment within the four corners of a workstation that requires me to report to work on a scheduled time and even on holidays! I have been joining events to enrich my knowledge and trying to get to know successful people whom I can get an idea from. I can talk all day how I am inspired by these people really who are into coworking, collaboration, entrepreneurship etc. If anyone of you reading this and has been following my drama here on my blog I'd love to talk to you. Please send me a message and tell me anything. Don't care if it's bad or not I am here to get feedback or violent reaction maybe. Or if you are within Manila we can have some chamomile tea or light beer maybe.

ICOMOS International Conference on International Tourism in Vigan, Ilocos 2012

The ICOMOS International Conference on International Tourism is the reason why I am back to Ilocos. If you ask me personally I will whisper you my answer "the durong (malunggay flavored) pandesal, poqui-poqui pizza and vigan longganisa"!  Held in Ilocos Sur Provincial Capitol, I praise the management because of the excellent free wifi for me because I literally live online.

Here are the tidbits of info worth remembering for this day:

Sandra Millar, ICOMOS President International Cultural Tourism Committee reaches out to the audience to "involve more young people for not only heritage is for old people but for the future generation ". She also gave a hint of what is the next world heritage of the future could be a place in Canada where people are engaged into break dancing knows?

Augusto Villalon, President of ICOMOS Philippines explains the Intramuros Master Plan on the problem about informal settlers (squatters) community that is an eyesore.  It is all about making the problem a solution. First is a resettlement area that is 2 hours away from Intramuros and a free ride back to those who need to work back in the area. Second is to build them houses that bears the design of "unique Filipino architectural style" of old houses we see in Intramuros itself, Vigan, Iloilo, Bacolod and the rest of the country.

Philipine Tourism however cannot be explained in any way possible without acknowledging the cultural tourism aspect. Felipe de Leon, Chairman of National Culture and Arts challenges everyone on issues about erasing Asian memories instead of instilling local identity of the place like why is Legazpi City named after its colonizer and not the local chieftain who earlier founded a "government" in the place? On the second day another one also asked why is it that Plaza Salcedo in Vigan was also named by another "colonizer". It is like asking why our country is named after the king of one of our colonizers. DFA Assistant Secretary Fariñas calmly answered the question these issues of the past that we need accept as part of our Philipine history. What we need to do is move on and focus on the present.

Why call these old houses of "unique Filipino architectural style" NOT the usual "Spanish houses" we are used to? 
There is a dissertation study by a Spanish native himself, a former director of Instituto Cervantes Manila - a Spanish language School from Spain and which yours truly was a former student. I will research about this soon and make a blog post separately.

Why Vigan was the only Spanish colonial town spared during WW 11?

Because of a love story.  It is about a local woman, Belen Castillo and a Japanese general, Maj. Sakae Narioka who got married and had kids. During the World War II when the Japanese comrades are already losing against the Americans, they were ordered to leave and bomb every city or town they are stationed. But because Narioka loved his family, he asked his fellow soldiers not to destroy the place. His family remained safe but he was killed in the battle.

Holding on to the challenge!

Few days ago a student from Cologne, Germany who is doing her thesis about Chabacano language varieties Preserving the Chabacano Language in Zamboanga sent me a message. While it is very usual for me to receive emails from any parts of the world for so many reasons this one is I appreciated the most. The sudden domain change of my blog practically halted the traffic it gets from Google temporarily and I left “hanging” my avid blog readers without any notification. The most important are the blog links that have been attached by known authorities online that bring considerable topic to this blog are gone as well. One is Wikipedia where the official biography of Jose Rizal cited my post “Uncovering Controversial Facts about Jose Rizal”, Rappler on Social Good Summit 2012 in Manila” and a million more reason.

Yes I am holding on!

As a matter of fact I am with a heavy heart will try to contact these websites and blogs who linked me in their pages. Do some petty explanation and to beg to update their listing. Yeah I know it is hard because this is requesting for an additional favor and will eat MUCH of my time. I have started volunteering as a freeware review editor to this tech site recently and I know I need to balance my time for everything in between.

Changed my domain to mariaronabeltran dot com!

This will be the most “emotional” post I have had so far. I feel like a part of me died. I am like a kid who is crying nonstop because her favorite toy was taken away from her. My blog domain that I’ve been using for years now belongs to somebody else. My traffic is back to zero. My blog posts that are ranking one and two in google are not visible anymore. These posts are priceless to me because these are reasons that give life to my blog. I mean what is the use of a blog without readers? One of the posts also fueled me to start offering a local tour package after receiving a growing number of email inquiries. I have already attended a one day seminar on how to set- up this kind of business even in the early stages of having this registered legally. My visit to Vigan this Nov 6 – 9 will also be meeting with my partner tour guide to get to make all things clear professional-wise aside from attending an international conference on cultural tourism. I have so much, so much more plans for this blog and now I feel like all things freeze for a while!

Iloilo Tourist Spots: Where to go, what to do and what to eat

If you only have a whole day to explore Iloilo like me when I went there, then this post is for you. Start by tasting Iloilo’s cuisine through a breakfast of an authentic La Paz Batchoy (noodle soup, garnished with pork innards, crushed pork cracklings, vegetables, shrimp, chicken breast or beef loin, shrimp broth, chicken stock and round noodles or miki) either at Ted’s or Deco’s. These restaurants have been around early as in the 19th century and can be found all over the city. The management may not even care about their stiff competition that in front of SM Iloilo, they are next to each other! So clueless which is better I stepped inside Deco’s and yes one big bowl of this soup plus a small complimentary bowl of the same soup in case you want more is enough to strengthen you for any physical activity until you reach lunch.

For Bacolod tour, Iloilo and Guimaras tour inquiries, please email 
1. Let us know how many people are joining
2. Your complete flight details: TIME and DATE of arrival and departure 

la paz batchoy in iloilo

la paz batchoy in iloilo
After taking a heavy breakfast I am sure you’re now ready to get lost in Iloilo! First, head to the Provincial Capitol’s Tourism Office for information because Iloilo has lots to see so take some time to reflect which ones are worth your time and interest. What is your Iloilo visit if you won’t see the Saint Thomas Villanueva parish or the Miag-ao Church? It is said to be the only church in the Philippines that is showcasing a painting of a biological façade of 4 local plants in its upper front part. The Miag-ao Church is also one of the five Baroque Churches of the Philippines that is a Philippine World Heritage Site accredited by UNESCO. Like most of our heritage churches it is also a restored version and is situated in the town’s proper, not from where it’s originally located.

Miag-ao Church iloilo

Miag-ao Church iloiloYour next stop will be two old houses along the way back to the town’s centro : Bahay na Bato and Mamay’s Sinamay. Just tell the driver of the jeep or bus you are in he surely knows these places because they are located next to each other. Bahay na Bato in English literally translated as Stone House is another ancestral house that opens its door to anyone. If you go there in a group of more than 5 if I am not mistaken, they can cook tsokolate (hot chocolate from cacao) and home-made bread for P150 each and with pancit molo for P200 each.

Mamay’s Sinamay iloilo

old house in iloiloJust a few cartwheels away is the Mamay’s Sinamay that sells local hand-woven stuffs like shawls, shirts, skirts, & handkerchiefs etc that are only done by senior citizens in the area. According to the Tourism Officer I spoke with, the management preferred hiring the elders to do this work because they tend to do it more superb than the young ones. If you wish so you can tell the one in charge in there and take you to their place where the elders do their stuff. One laminated letter caught my attention that is hanging in the walls of this old house is a letter from Princess Diana acknowledging that she received and she liked one of the stuff that was given to her from Mamay’s Sinamay! What is so beautiful about this old house is it still a home to the owners of the house so not all of the parts can be visited there are off-limits to the public.

Love n Kisses Pizza iloilo
There is also a local pizza store that caught my stomach when I was in Iloilo that in my two days I was buying their pizza from morning snack then I go back before I go to sleep after I am done with my dinner! There is nothing super duper unique with their pizza just that it is filled with grated cheese. The name is Love n Kisses Pizza. The clerk that I think I made friends in two days said that they don’t have website yet and just have 4 stores in Iloilo yet.

Check these spots I want you to see and find out 

Nuestra Señora dela Candelaria National Shrine
It is said the only church in the Philippines where the bell tower is located the farthest in the other side of the street! The reasons is its strategic location for watching any incoming enemies say the Morros that time from on top of the tower.

Nuestra Señora dela Candelaria National Shrine

Iloilo Museum
Just two blocks away from the Provincial Capitol's Tourism Office. If you want to have a few minute glance of Iloilo's history you may drop by here.

Iloilo Museum

Javellana Old House or Casa Mariqui
This is a home to two paintings which costs P17M and P13M respectively. One of it was painted by the National Artist Fernando Amorsolo.

Molo or the "Athens of Iloilo"
You’re correct! This place has a few resemblance of the Athens in Greece that is why it is nicknamed this way. There is a church here that the statues are ALL female saints only. Feminist church eh? And yes I read your mind as well. There is also a church that features ALL male saints but this is not located here, it is near the Ledesma Old house and Lopez Jaena museum.

Nelly’s Garden
A very old classic and romantic mansion that can be rented privately but need to notify the management three days prior so if you got an extra money to impress your loved one or your love ones this is a perfect place.

Biscocho Haus
This house is a one-stop shop. They offer affordable and great tasting breads for pasalubong and in the other side they also offer authentic Iloilo meals and snacks. At the back, gatherings and events can be held. In the second floor, rooms for as low as P600 are available. Take note: you will be staying in a Filipino ancestral-style home now that experience is one of a kind.

Biscocho Haus iloilo

One cannot talk about Iloilo without adding its own streaks of festivals. It is only in Iloilo that festivals are celebrated back to back all year round. They have Kasag Festival, Carabao Carroza Festival, Tinuom Festival, Kahilwayan Festival, Pintados de Pasi Festival and the most popular is the Dinagyang Festival.

Iloilo is also very rich in eco-tourism adventure because it is graced with abundance of natural resources. You may check Sambrano Cave in Barutac Nuevo, Imoy Falls in Leon and Marbuena Resort in Ajuy. When it comes to beaches well Iloilo won’t be behind. See the Bulubadiangan Island, Pan de Azucar and Tambaliza Island in Concepcion, Betita beach in Carles and Gigantes Island.

How to go to Iloilo
From Manila to Iloilo via airplane is approximately an hour. The New Iloilo Airport is in Cabatuan about 18 km from the city proper and accessible to jeepneys, busses and taxis. Iloilo City is where the port of entry for sea transport is located and five minutes away from the city’s main commercial district. Iloilo City is 20 hours from Manila sailing 12 times a weeks and 14 hours twice a week from Zamboanga or Cagayan. Cebu is only 12 hours with daily trips. Fastcrafts from Bacolod City takes only an hour at most.

Travel Massive Manila 1st Meetup Review

The Travel Massive Manila meetup was filled with familiar faces that I have met from joining previous events (blogging, entrepreneurship, travel, internet marketing etc) and I know I will keep on bumping shoulders with them in coming events . What made me more excited that night is listening to Ian Cummings, co-founder of Travel Massive. I listened carefully even went nearer in front as he tells us how he started this event and how it became a worldwide gathering of the whole travel industry for sharing of experiences and ideas. He is the founder of GetFlight, an Australian-based airfare search site that uses the Google Maps API to help users discover cheap airfare to global destinations. One thing that I admired about it is the entire site is built, operated, and maintained by Ian alone!  My  visit to Colab Manila – a coworking space that is into entrepreneurship and collaboration early this year has left me a big question mark when I got home that day up to now and this is… “What do I want? Have my own business or work under someone else for the rest of my life?”

Travel Massive in Manila, 1st Meetup Oct 16th 6PM - 9PM

"Established in 2009 by travel enthusiasts Ian Cummings and Alicia Smith, Travel Massive has become a leading global movement , which aims to bring stakeholders in the travel industry-airlines, hotels, online websites, start-ups, writers and travel aficionados , in one venue to discuss possible synergy and partnershipopportunities." Lois of

A millisecond after reading this, my heartbeat beat faster. Boy, this is the kinds of events I want to be part of. I have always been on the lookup for events "getting into fun projects to bring people together for collaboration,networking... " as she continues giving hints of what is going to happen at Travel Massive Manila.

ICOMOS ICTC International Conference on Cultural Tourism - Nov 7-8, 2012

ICOMOS (International Council on Monuments and Sites) is an international non-governmental organization of professionals, dedicated to the conservation of the world's historic monuments and sites. According to its website, ICOMOS works for the conservation and protection of cultural heritage places. It is the only global non-government organisation of this kind, which is dedicated to promoting the application of theory, methodology, and scientific techniques to the conservation of the architectural and archaeological heritage. Its members are mostly architects, historians, archaeologists, art historians, geographers, anthropologists, engineers and town planners etc to improve the preservation of heritage, the standards and the techniques for each type of cultural heritage property : buildings, historic cities, cultural landscapes and archaeological sites.

What Have I Been Up To Lately?

 Since my return from Iloilo, Bacolod and Guimaras Island I have been quite occupied for so many reasons that sometimes I ask "ganito na lang ba iikot ang buhay ko... bahay, trabaho, online at pag weekends ay punta ng mall, magliwaliw kung saan at mag online uli? or in English "Will my life be as redundant as... on weekdays house, office, online and on weekends go to mall, wander anywhere and online again?" I have tons of photos but I have not completed my blog posts from my recent travel because I am losing out of concentration whenever I am online. I tend to socialize and socialize and stalk etc.

So what have I been up to lately? The Digital IM really inspired me to be more passionately active online in my advocacy and to build relationships and get connected to key people online I look forward to in terms of what I want to accomplish.

Guide and Itinerary to Guimaras Island Tour Package

Guimaras Island is really blessed with virgin beaches and world-class mangoes. I have heard before that these mangoes are even shipped to the White House in the US because of its very sweet taste.  It is located in Southeast of Panay and Northwest of Negros Island in Western Visayas.  Iloilo is the gateway to   via pump boats.

What else could be the best to do in Guimaras Island is to do island hopping and beach adventure? You may chose Costa Aguada Island Resort, Isla Naburot, Nagarao Island,  Baras Beach Resort etc.  The one featured above is the Alubihod Beach with almost white powdery sand where you will see lots of coves, islets and the sea turtle sanctuary.  There is no problem whether you are budget conscious or has an extra budget because the resorts at these beaches have variations you can choose. When you go to Guimaras Island, don't forget to drop by to Iloilo or add Bacolod to your itinerary because these places are a superb trio travel experience!

We offer an Iloilo and Guimaras Tour Package, for inquiries, please email or thru mobile 09198937136

Bacolod, Iloilo, Guimaras Island Itinerary and Tour Package

If you are looking for Bacolod Tour,  Iloilo Tour and/or Guimaras Tour Package you may email or call/text  0998-989-3921

To view the itinerary for Iloilo, Bacolod and Guimaras Island you may click here

Bacolod, Iloilo and Guimaras Island are three places in the Western Visayas that any traveler should visit when exploring Philippines. 

Bacolod and its nearby cities Silay and Talisay in Negros Occidental are truly a threshold of our country's heritage and culture because of so many ancestral homes showcasing Filipino, Spanish and American architecture.  

Iloilo is likewise that a day is not enough to visit all of the ancestral homes! Guimaras Island is blessed with so many blue-green colored beaches and world-class mangoes.        

Lessons from an Unplanned Trip

Travelling solo especially if it’s a woman can sound really cool. It means independence, liberation and courage. However going to Bacolod, Iloilo and Guimaras Island is the most unplanned of all my recent trips that I had a few regrets of being unprepared. I have no contacts, itinerary and I stayed in places suggested by the locals on the spot! The ephemeral friendships I get from people I meet along the way and the myriad of experiences are things that make my travel worthy.

On my Manila to Bacolod flight I was chatting with this police intelligence officer who is going there for a crime investigation as an undercover agent. I arrived late in the afternoon, checked in and woke up early morning to catch the first ferry trip to Iloilo. It was my first time to travel by sea and gosh it’s the worst thing I ever did! I have a very low tolerance in anything inside a slowly shaking or swaying thing like hammock etc. that I felt really, really dizzy and wanted to throw up.

Digital Influencers Marketing Summit 2012 Review

Just like what I expected the Digital Influencers Marketing Summit 2012 was jam-packed by people doing online stuff: seo practitioners, social media specialists, internet marketers, networkers and entrepreneurs etc. While everyone was giving their introduction, I don’t know how to tell my profile because my seven year old job is not in any way related to what my online persona is that dragged me in this event. So I passed on the microphone to the next one because I was there to listen, observe and be inspired of whatever the social media or digital influence that I can learn from.

After almost three years of blogging “silently” and realizing that my blog is all about “forgotten stories and dead people”, I decided to deactivate its Facebook Fan Page long ago. I got two reasons: not many

Wiki Loves Monuments 2012: The Wikipedia Photo Contest around Cultural Heritage

Wikipedia is launching "Wiki Loves Monuments", an international photo contest around cultural heritage monuments. This is for everyone, does not matter if you are an amateur, professional photographer or you just happen to snap a captivating photo through your mobile phone on your way or while on a trip.

The Philippines is one of the countries participating so don't waste this opportunity to dig out your photos hidden on your Facebook albums or on your phones.

Social Good Summit 2012 in Manila

 Social Good Summit is a global event initiated by Mashable held during UN week (Sept. 22 - 24) where big ideas meet new media to create innovative solutions. In New York, it is a three-day conference which the ideas are Digital + Global + Action. In China and Kenya, its leaders and citizens will gather on Sept. 24. In Manila, the Social Good Summit is 1 day only organized by Rappler and TweetupManila under the ideas of Innovation + Social Media + Social Good. The event aims to bring together the country’s brightest minds and creative thinkers to come up with innovative new ways in which digital technologies like social media can be used to solve the world’s challenges and make this world a better place – and then translate these ideas to action.

MassKara Festival 2012

Photo credit to The MassKara Festival official website
MassKara Festival actually has a "sad" history. Bacolod in 1980's went through a double crisis. First, the primary agricultural crop ofthe province, sugar cane was at its lowest in profit when sugar products from the USA arrived the country. Second, April of that same year an inter-island vessel carrying a lot of Negrenses collided with a tanker from Tacloban City that took several hundreds of lives. But the people of Bacolod was strong and determined that according to Wikipedia-

"In the midst of these tragic events, the city's artists, local government and civic groups decided to hold a festival of smiles, because the city at that time was also known as the City of Smiles. They reasoned that a festival was also a good opportunity to pull the residents out of the pervasive gloomy atmosphere. The initial festival was therefore, a declaration by the people of the city that no matter how tough and bad the times were, Bacolod City is going to pull through, survive, and in the end, triumph."

Authentic Filipino Dishes for Budget Conscious Foodies

If there's one thing that I look forward whenever I travel aside from the scenes as the top reason is the local food of a particular place. When I went to Cebu for 28 hours only, the memories of that "lusty" Cebu pork lechon still linger somewhere in my tongue up to now. In Cagayan de Oro, I was shocked by the fondness of the locals in anything about grilled seafood but the best is the grilled chicken made by a local brand. I am looking forward to eat a "sinful" plate of pork bagnet again in Ilocos when I visit this place this November. And come next week I will be in Bacolod and Iloilo. Whew, I am drooling already of what new dishes I will have there!

Filipino taste is really a mix of different cultures. When one goes to an island and hops to another, the flavor of the same dish is different that is why our Filipino food culture is one of the richest among the countries around the world. This fusion of tastes was made possible through Filipinos’ innate versatility to adapt to different flavors. Whether sweet, sour, salty, bitter or spicy no one can ever describe Filipinos love for food.

"Proud" to be Filipino

Suddenly remembered Charlie, from USA whom I met in Cagayan de Oro last August. He has been living in the Philippines for 4 years all because of love. "Cheesy, that is so sweet!" I replied and smiled like the ends of mouth are reaching to my ears already. Then rephrased what he said "I am only staying here just to be with this Filipina I married. Nothing more, nothing less." My smile faded, gave him a poker face. I was getting it all wrong. Next thing I knew he was giving a litany of he described as a very well thought and justifiable observations of our country that any local in legal is aware of these but not everyone does something about it either because he does not care at all or he thinks these are what compose of a definition of our normal life. [Word meaning screenshot from Webster online dictionary]

"Traffic and pollution, government corruption and you Filipinos are too proud of your race!" A well lived life is not about what race you are from but it is all about the rights as a human being wherever you are.

I Am Featured as a Phenomenal Filipina in!

Did you know that in early days of Internet the keywords "Filipina" and "Pinay" when googled in search engines mostly return dating sites, sex scandals & pornography-related contents? Sucks, yeah! Meaning there is nothing much positive that represents these keywords in the online world before. How did I knew it? Well, late of 2009 when I was searching for a name of this blog I just started without knowing what will I blog about after. A group of Filipinas who are very active online campaigned to their very best and encouraged every Filipinas to write more positive content about these keywords may it be an article, photo, video audio etc. Being a full-blooded filipina myself or pinay in short, I know I had to do my part so this is the explanation why I ended up naming my blog www dot iampinay dot com or in other words i am a filipina. I hope I kept the screenshot of the Page one Google result as a proof way, way back but I can't find it anymore. 

What Keeps Me Going?

Woke up this morning and suddenly wondered of what keeps me going. Am I living the life worth my hard work and the way I want it to be? Then I thought of these reasons. Is it my seven year old work that pay my bills? Is it my family back home that I rarely visit? Or is it my girl friends whom I have  spent countless hours in coffee shops talking about shopping, life and boys?

I was looking at my completely nude body in front of the mirror just after I took a shower. My loose hair is still dripping with water, my lips felt like mildly squeezed wet sponges and the shiver of  cold air is embracing my wholeness. The fruity smell of the shampoo and the pleasing scent of the milk soap all over me is like restoring my soul for a moment. I am not in a hurry to get dressed since it is my off today. I started touching the physical matter in me from my breasts, to my stomach and down there. I felt my body's imperfections. I wished I would have been like her blah, blah but this is what was given to me by the One above.

Fernando Amorsolo: Portrait of the Artist as Historian

Fernando Amorsolo is the most prolific Filipino artist of his time known for painting the Philippines’ rural life during 19th century.says Ambeth Ocampo giving his second talk of the two-part series “History Comes Alive” at Ayala Museum. “And history is not always written by historians. It can be done by musicians or painters like him.” He added. One example is the painting of the Battle of Mactan he showed us in his projector. “The beginning of the Philippine history is in 1521.” He said. “So how about the events happened in the Philippines before 1521, isn’t it a part of history?” He replied. “Lapu-lapu and his men defeated Magellan in 1521. This marked the Filipino’s resistance against colonialism. This was properly documented.” If you will talk about what happened before 1521 which is mostly undocumented in words or images, that might not be history at all. You may call it as the study of anthropology, geology or even archaeology instead!”

Philippine World Heritage Sites: How Do We Conserve These?

“Heritage is a legacy from our past, what we live today and what we pass to the future generations.” says Boj, speaking in front of a community of travelers under Couchsurfing Manila. He is a fellow Filipino doing an internship with UNESCO National Commission of the Philippines and taking up his Masters degree in Urban Planning – National Park Planning & World Heritage Site Management in Peking University, China. The purpose of his talk is to raise awareness of our cultural and natural heritage. UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) is a specialized branch of UN (United Nations) with 3 major programs: conservation of world heritage sites, safeguarding of intangible culture and promotion of cultural industries and expression.

Japan in Philippine History

Japayuki and comfort women… these are the usual words associated when we talk about any connections we have with Japan in Philippine history. Ambeth Ocampo, a public historian and currently a visiting professor in Sophia University, Tokyo says that history is all about connections. In his talk Before the Japayuki: Japan in Philippine History, it is in every little bits of information that Japan and the Philippines in common we connect each other’s history.

is a term referred to Filipina women in 80’s and 90’s who went to Japan as cultural entertainers however later on it had a negative connotation that when one is referred as this it meant a prostitute. Comfort women, are those who were forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese military during World War II and the majority are from the Philippines and a few Asian countries.

Ambeth also says that to find connections it requires appreciation of useless information. We call a bottled cap of any kind “tansan” in Tagalog. In Japan, there is a brand called “Tansan” which is a bottle of carborated water. The mosquito killer emitting a pungent smoke we call it “katol”. Japan call it katori-senkou. We believe we are the ones who invented the halo-halo but as early as 16th century they already have this kakegori – shaved ice topped with sweet kinds of syrup. The scissors and paper game, we have a local version of it we call “Jack en Poy “. Japan call their version “Janken Pon”.

Many local historians and history lovers reacted when our current P1,000 bill’s back part showed the map of the Philippines not including the Spratly’s islands and Sabah, Borneo which we have dispute territory claim against China and Malaysia. Indonesia however in one of their money bills they show their map with some islands which other countries own but they say “traditionally this land is ours”. So how can we teach the young ones of today to fight for what is ours historically when we are too polite and playing safe for things we need to stand for no matter what? Why is it that the story of comfort women are not found in textbooks and not even mentioned in Wikipedia when they are also part of Japan in Philippine history?

My Top 10 Emerging Influential Blogs of 2012

In the eight online hours I spend five days a week at the office and a few more on weekends at home, there is no single day that I haven't stumbled upon a blog of any kind whenever I google stuff for reliable information and up-to-date reviews. As a matter of fact I have several blogs I literally stalk and check everyday sometimes more frequent than my own blog! 

While I admit up to now I still struggle about the technicalities of blogging and the challenges of keeping "afloat" I admire the bloggers behind these who are starting to make big waves out there. These blogs can be compared to a few good books though stashed in the highest space on top of the drawer, the readers never get tired of reaching those because of the worth. These blogs are ot all from the pioneers who knew the tricks already but a good number are from the new ones who exactly knew how to take advantage of the immeasurable privileges of blogging and social media today. Below is my top ten emerging infuential blogs of 2012:

Raining in Manila

"I envy you a lot Rona! You have all the time to enjoy life." says a friend after telling to her how my recent trips are giving the best times of my life,  meeting like-minded people in events and now looking forward  to go to Negros this Sept   23 - 27 . I have been to IlocosCebu, BicolCagayan de Oro and will be going to  again for an international conference about cultural tourism. "I envy you more." I replied. "You have your own family you come home to while me I am living an independent life so I have no pressure for me to stay at home." It has been raining in Manila and many are affected by the flood for the past few weeks. It is at this moment I find myself "dramatic"and my hand gets itchy to start writing again.

As I watch the thick dark clouds enveloping the sky from the 24th floor where I stay, the winds keep on blowing in spread out directions causing the rain to spill some drops to my face. I did not bother though wiping out these as my attention is focused more listening to the whizzing sound of the wind. I realized that a moment like this, you will be longing to stay in bed longer. Just lying there, sank half over the soft, tempting and cottony mattress.

What else could be much better to wish for at this very moment is having someone lying next beside you. Giving each other the hottest kiss, warmest embrace as if no one wants to let go and sharing another unforgettable summer bliss. Spending that moment as if you two are the only people left in this world. The slightest whisper to each other's ears, the air from breathing in and out from each other's nose and mouth and most especially is the beating of each others heart. These are the only dominating sounds you will hear as if these are as loud as your boss is shouting at you for your just another honest mistake in the office.

Reasons Why I Keep on Blogging

This July I commemorated my third year of blogging silently with no giveaways, promos or some nasty celebrations that most of my fellow bloggers do in this same day. I spent it reflecting for how long I have been blogging now. Somehow I am still in the process of realizing that the art of blogging is a combination of a little lie, a bit of bragging and a sprinkle of exaggeration. My passion though for blogging is still burning like hell after all these times. Never did I had any means in my life that I was able to document everything that I do for years and blogging really helped me a lot to know what has been eating my time, what are my interests, what drives me crazy, what ignites my creativity, what else I am missing and who are the ones who helped me shape for what I am now.

That in every words I blog I should possess a character who knows-it-all, fearless, ever-courageous and a model of righteousness. But in fact I am just the same as everyone online who commits mistake like wrong spelling and wrong grammar. That behind these encouraging words I share I am just another human being who hides behind my posts and trying to be the words I write. And who would have thought that through this blog I fell in love, fell out, got inspired, continued dreaming like a 16 year old, meet amazing people, enslaved by the online world, helped me know my advocacies and taught me to stood up for something.

The Museum of Three Cultures in Capitol University

The Museum of Three Cultures for me is the best place to get a snapshot of history about Cagayan de Oro and the Northern Mindanao. I have seen the place, talked to the locals and why not get the glimpse of its heritage? It is quite sad when one goes to a place, returns home would  probably have a hundred stories of what is the best food to eat, the best pasalubong to bring and where’s the best spot to hangout in that place. But ask what that place was named that way. Most of the time, the answer is a nod.

My curiosity of knowing Cagayan de Oro sans the image of white water rafting was somewhat fulfilled through this visit. The Northern Mindanao’s history is told mostly through the six tribes that thrived in it. These are the Higaunon, Higaunon Manobo, Matigsalog, Western Bukidnon, Southern Bukidnon and Manobo. It is very interesting to know that some if not all of the indigenous people remained “untouched” against the Spanish colonialism. From the late Paleolithic period or Old Stone age until early American time, they do NOT wear woven clothes but use the barks from the trees. Proof is the Andesite bark beater which is a piece of wood used to smash the barks from the trees to make it thinner and lighter to wear.

Cagayan De Oro Tourist Spots

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Cagayan De Oro is like a chunk of Manila: shopping malls and fastfood chains sprouting everywhere, annoying air pollution from the mufflers of cabs, jeepneys and private ones all contributing to traffic in the roads. However there is one mode of transportation that caught my attention during my three-day stay there. The motorela or "rela" is only found in Cagayan de Oro and in Northern Mindanao but no other versions of this anywhere in the Philippines. It is somewhat a combination of Thailand's tuktuk and our very own jeepney. It can fit 10 people inside and I am just a little amazed of this because it is three - wheeled (1 wheel in front & 2 wheels in the rear) vehicle used for short distance transportation and it has a slanted appearance which the rear part of it appears to be heavier than the front. Not many Filipinos know this unless those who have been here!