Friday, October 31, 2008

Boracay: SEAIR means convenience to Boracay all the way!

I found myself on my way to Boracay again. The island does not have its own airport so you have to ride a ferry boat to get there. But flying on SEAIR is the most convenient option since they transfer you from the airport straight to Cagban Port in Boracay and back!

But the convenience starts from the time you get off your vehicle at the Manila Domestic Airport. Now that most of the flights have moved to T3, there are less passengers crowding the place. Gone are the lines to show your ticket and ID to the guard, as well as the line at the x-ray machines. And there were no lines at the check-in counter as well. So I immediately got my boarding pass. It took me 15 minutes to get from the entrance, check-in and sit down in the passengers' waiting area!

Since the Dornier planes are smaller than others, time to board passengers is also much shorter. So we were in the air in no time! Like in most domestic flights, I was expecting nothing much on board. In other local airlines, you have to buy your food and it's so pricey! While the rest, they give you a small snack and a glass of softdrinks, juice or water. So when the flight stewardess was going around, I was surprised when she asked, "How many packs of peanuts do you want?" instead of giving me just one small pack. I can't remember how many I got. For the Halloween trips, they also gave us a bottle of Gatorade.

The flight was super smooth and we were in Caticlan in no time! At 35 minutes, these flights are the fastest in town! Less time lining up, less time flying, more time to relax and enjoy Boracay! And since it's the preferred airline of many celebrities, you just don't know who might be with you on the flight.

As soon as I got out of the Caticlan Airport, the SEAIR ground staff were waiting to assist me. Buses and vans wait outside to bring you to the Caticlan Jetty Port. SEAIR pays for your boat ride and you only have to pay for the Terminal and Environmental Fees. The staff are so accommodating in fact, they accompanied me all the way to the boat! On Boracay, my SEAIR boarding pass also served as a discount and perks card. So if you do take SEAIR, make sure you check what promos are available.

Going back to the Caticlan Airport was a breeze as well. At the Cagban Port, all I had to do was look for the SEAIR table and I was taken care of until I got to the airport. Indeed, SEAIR has positioned itself as the premiere airline to Caticlan/Boracay, where you get great service and really fast flights!

Get a 15 percent discount of SEAIR fares!
Ivan About Town is giving a 15 percent discount to everyone on SEAIR fares. Just book online at and enter hhhh88ii as the promotional code.

"It's one of the smoothest flights I've ever had to Boracay" - Chris Tiu on his SEAIR flight last Halloween. Thanks to Choi Eliciario for the photos of the Ateneo Blue Eagles!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Pampanga: Claude Tayag's Bale Dutung, Everybody's Cafe and more from Pampanga

We had a really great Pampanga food tour today. Breakfast was at Everybody's Cafe where we were served a genuine Kapampangan breakfast composed of tsokolate batirul, pandesal, tamales from Cabalatian and rebuelto. Panghimagas included sweetened saba with ice, and plantanilla (sweet egg crepes with latik filling) from the kitchens of Imang Salud. The group laughed in amusement when we said that breakfast was light.

We passed by the Bacolor and Betis churches before proceeding to Bale Dutung in Angeles City, Claude Tayag's famous residence. On the bus, we served the group five gallons of buko sherbet which you can buy in Brgy. San Jose in San Fernando in a wooden vat!

At Bale Dutung, aside from the usual appetizers which included crackers with buro, taba ng talangka and pesto dips, pako salad, lumpiang ubod and chicken inasal, we were served five ways of eating lechon!

The first way was eating the skin with liver sauce. And they did it fiesta style, allowing the guests to skin the lechon on their own. The second way was Claude's own pritchon. The lechon meat and skin was fried to a crisp and served with soft tortillas and a choice of tomato, onion, basil, kinchay, kimchi and oriental sauce for the filling. It was really good!

Before moving on to number three, we were served begukan (made of pig's ears) and eggplant boats. For number three, it was sinigang na lechon. We were told the lechon bones were thrown into the broth to give it more flavor. They then brought out grilled lechon ribs marinated in inasal sauce. That was really good! The last dish was inasadong lechon pata!

To end our five hour lunch at Claude's, we were served halo-halo with the different Kapampangan ingredients which includes pastillas, leche flan, mais, saging and beans. The day did not end without our pasalubong for the group which included Imang Salud's ensaimadas and the inverted brazo de mercedes bites from Aurely's. Everyone told us to stop feeding them!

Our next tour is on December 20 which is the day of the Giant Lantern Festival. So book now at if you want to join. It's PHP4,800 per head and this tour will extend up to the evening to watch the Giant Lantern Festival.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

One blogger can win two SEAIR Adventure Passes and more!

If you're a blogger (and that includes Multiply, Friendster, etc.) you can give a 15 percent discount on SEAIR tickets to your readers and get a chance to win two SEAIR Adventure Passes by joining the SEAIR Bloggers Referral Program.

1. This referral program is open to all bloggers. Each blogger must sign-up for the competition by e-mailing the following details to

2. After sending the e-mail, please wait for a confirmation which will include a referral/promotion code. Processing of referral code may take up to one week. The organizers reserve the right to refuse any application.

3. Bloggers will be able to offer a 15 percent discount to their readers via their referral code that will be unique to each blogger. One blogger, one code regardless of how many blogs a blogger has. Bloggers can also promote their code via e-mail, text or any other communication medium. Please see Terms & Conditions of SEAIR Fly Voucher for details on the referral code.

4. The program period is from 12:00 a.m., October 20, 2008 to 12:00 a.m., December 15, 2008.

5. Bloggers must blog about the SEAIR discount and tell their readers to use their referral code when doing an online booking in the SEAIR. Do not forget a link to the SEAIR website: where they can book a flight using the referral code.

6. Each blogger will receive one (1) point for every round-trip ticket which is booked and issued online using the blogger's promo code.

7. The selling period is the same as the program period while the flight dates covered by the discount will be from October 20, 2008 to February 14, 2009.

8. After 12:00 a.m. of December 15, 2008, the points will be tallied. The bloggers with the top five scores will be awarded SEAIR gift certificates provided they have at least fifteen (15) points.

9. The prizes are as follows:
1st Place - Two (2) Adventure Passes
2nd Place - Two (2) round-trip gift certificate to Batanes, Busuanga or Boracay
3rd to 5th Place - One (1) round-trip gift certificate to Boracay

10. Winners must be able to provide a valid government issued photo ID to claim their prize. Names in the registration must match the one in the identification.

1. SEAIR Fly Voucher may only be redeemed through online booking
2. Voucher value is redeemed by entering its Code at the appropriate box in the website,
3. Offer expires after the given period of the voucher validity
4. Travel period should be within the period identified in the voucher
5. Voucher value will be deducted from the basic airfare
6. An error prompt will be shown if voucher value exceeds the airfare amount made during the booking
7. Minimum number of passenger per booking may be required unless specified in the voucher
8. Voucher may not be used in conjunction with other offers such as special fares and any other promo
9. Discount is not valid for Leisure Escape Packages or any packages offered by partner resorts or travel agents.
10. Standard terms and conditions of the fare and ticket rules will be followed
11. If there will be any cancellation or changes in the booking made, refund of the discount or any reinstatement of the promotion is not allowed
12. Voucher may not be exchanged for cash value
13. SEAIR has the right to cancel the promo code voucher at any time without prior notice

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Manila: Mario's in Tomas Morato

Last month, I had a great dinner at Mario's in Baguio. Originally located on Session Road (it burned down about a decade ago), it's one of the city's restaurant icons, and is known for its great steaks, wines and Casear's salad. The new branch is now located along Upper Session Road near Nevada Square.

That's why when I got invited to a blogger's dinner at Mario's Tomas Morato, I didn't think twice. Fil Benitez, the son of the owners Mario and Nenuca Benitez wanted to introduce us to his new concept "Cordillera hip dining" at the very cozy Tomas Morato branch, hoping to bring the original Baguio charm of Mario's to the lowlands of Metro Manila.

Appetizers were ready for consumption as soon as I arrived including a large tray of Oysters Rockefeller, setas al ajillo and gambas con chorizo. We made sure to start the meal with Mario's popular Caesar's salad which is prepared right in front of you.

For the main course, I got myself filet mignon this time around. In Baguio, I tried their chateaubriand steak (heart of tenderloin) which is good for two and served with fettuccine alburo. The rest of the bloggers tried out the other steaks and Paella Valenciana. I made sure to order mango jubilee for dessert! They have a buffet menu on Sundays and that's something I want to try out since the food at Mario's is surprisingly affordable.

In the photo is owner Fil Benitez with Toni of Wifely Steps, myself, Spanky of Manila Boy and Stephie of The Happy Girl.
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