Thursday, December 31, 2009

Philippine holidays and long-weekend schedule for 2010

Here is the schedule of Philippine holidays and long-weekends for 2010 based on RA 9492 and Proclamation 1841:

  • January 1 (Fri) - New Year's Day (five-day long weekend from December 30 to January 3)
  • February 22 (Mon) - EDSA Revolution Anniversary (holiday for schools only, three-day long weekend from February 20 to 22)
  • April 1 (Thu) - Holy Thursday
  • April 2 (Fri) - Good Friday (four-day long weekend from April 1 to 4)
  • April 9 (Fri) - Araw ng Kagitingan (three-day long weekend from April 9 to 11)
  • May 3 (Mon) - Labor Day (three-day long weekend from May 1 to 3)
  • May 10 (Mon) - National Elections (three-day long weekend from May 8 to 10, make sure you vote and vote wisely)
  • June 14 (Mon) - Independence Day (three-day long weekend from June 12 to 14)
  • August 23 (Mon) - Ninoy Aquino Day (three-day long weekend from August 21 to 23)
  • August 30 (Mon) - National Heroes Day (three-day long weekend from August 28 to 30)
  • September - Eid'l Fitr (to be announced, calculated September 10, possible three-day long weekend from September 10 to 12)
  • November 1 (Mon) - All Saints Day (three-day long weekend from October 30 to November 1)
  • November - Eid 'l Adha (to be announced, calculated November 16)
  • November 29 (Mon) - Bonifacio Day (three-day long weekend from November 27 to 29)
  • December 24 (Fri) - Non-Working Holiday
  • December 25 (Sat) - Christmas
  • December 27 (Mon) - Rizal Day (four-day long weekend from December 24 to 27)
  • December 31 (Fri) - Non-Working Holiday
  • January 1 - (Sat) New Year's Day (three-day long weekend from December 31 to January 2)
Time to plan your travel calendars! Check out the destination search box at the top of the sidebar for particular travel destinations and more travel ideas.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Aurora: Surfing, kayaking, rappelling, mountain biking and more Aurora adventure activities

Rappelling down Digisit FallsAurora is poised to become a major adventure destination in the coming months. More than just the surfing in Baler, which is already very popular, the province of Aurora has even more activities to offer.

During our first day, we went rappelling at Ermita Hill courtesy of the Aurora Tourism Office. What's good about the rappelling activity is that you can contact them for whole-day or half-day rappelling set-ups anywhere in Baler and its environs. In fact, the Ermita Hill rope down turned out to be a preview of an even more exciting descent.

Before going back to Manila, we rappelled down Digisit Falls which is also in Baler. That was quite an adventure. In fact, it was more of a challenge climbing up than rappelling down. Again, I regret not bringing my trekking sandals since my shoes ended up dripping wet! But it was fun!

Kayaking in BalerAnother activity you might want to try in Aurora is kayaking. The river system is clean and the views picturesque which makes the ride all the more pleasant. The Aurora Adventure Center not only has kayaks for rent. You can opt for an adrenaline rush by jetskiing.

Take note that their core offering is scuba diving. Maybe it's the first time you've heard of diving in Aurora. But the Philippines' Pacific side, particularly Aurora, is fast becoming a popular dive destination, especially during the southwest monsoon.

Trekking to Ditumabo FallsAnd since it's located in the heart of the magnificent yet fragile Sierra Madre Mountains, the hiking and trekking possibilities are endless. We got to visit Ditumabo Falls which is an easy trek from the National Highway. But for those who want to take it to the next level, the lush forests of the Sierra Madre provide a refreshing backdrop to more challenging mountain trails.

In fact, the forest cover of Aurora is still at 78 percent (and I hope it remains that way) with a high concentration of plants and wildlife, and a lot of endemic species. So aside from hiking, nature lovers could go birdwatching or deer or wild boar tracking.

Surfing lessons in BalerOf course, when in Baler, make sure to take surfing lessons. Said to be the birthplace of surfing in the Philippines, Baler is a great place to learn surfing. You can easily arrange surfing lessons with your hotel or with the help of the tourism office.

But for the pros, Baler can offer more than just beginner waves. Which is why it's a popular destination even for foreign surfers.

Off-road driving is also becoming very popular. Traverse Aurora's rugged terrain and it's many off road trails which include Dibut, Dibutunan, Dicadi, Dikildit and Diteki. There's also mountain biking, caving and spelunking, rock climbing and orienteering. You can also go whale shark watching (it's closer to Metro Manila than Donsol, Sorsogon) or interacting with the sea cows. Also in the pipeline are white water tubing and a zip line. Indeed, Aurora is the next province to keep an eye on! One destination... endless adventure!

Aurora Tourism Office

Aurora Adventure Center

Part 1: Road trip to Baler and Ditumabo Falls in San Luis, Aurora

Related entries
Unspoiled nature in Aurora
More summer fun in Baler

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Aurora: Road trip to Baler and Ditumabo Falls in San Luis, Aurora

Aurora is a rough and wild adventure for now. While there are still several kilometers of rough unpaved road to get to this Pacific paradise, hopefully in the next two years, the roads will be fully-paved. But if you have a 4x4 or are fine with bus rides, then it's about time you pack your bags for Aurora!

Said to be the birthplace of surfing in the Philippines, Aurora is more than just surfing as we found out during our recent trip. But as soon as we arrived in Baler, we checked in at the Bahia de Baler 2 and dozed off for the rest of the morning. After some afternoon meetings, we went rappelling at Ermita Hill (I'll tell everyone more about the rappelling in Aurora in my next post) which was quite an activity.

The next day, we visited Ditumabo Falls in the town of San Luis. The jump-off point is right by the Ditumabo Bridge. The trekking time to the falls depends on how far your 4x4 can drive. If you're taking a jeep, you trek starts at the National Highway. Some vehicles can go as far as the first stream. We were able to go beyond the first stream and parked before reaching the second. From there, it's a 30 to 45-minute walk to the falls.

Make sure you were the proper hiking shoes. Trekking sandals would be best since there are several more river crossings before you actually get the the falls. There are also several smaller falls along the way. But the mother falls, which is another name they use for Ditumabo Falls, is nothing less than magnificent!

The water was really cold and very refreshing for a swim. I'm sure you could chill a can of beer or softdrinks there. Make sure to bring back your garbage with you and keep the waterfall area clean. You could also do our environment a great service by picking up any plastic wrapper you see along the way.

We had to rush back to Baler for a lunch meeting. But we first visited the centuries-old Balete Tree in Maria Aurora, one of the oldest trees in the entire country. You can climb up the tree both inside and out. Inside, the roots have created a hollow cavern all the way to the top. In fact, you can also rappel from there.

Related entries
Unspoiled nature in Aurora
More summer fun in Baler

Where to stay in Baler, Aurora
Bahia de Baler
Buton Street, Sitio Labasin
Brgy. Sabang, Baler
+63 916 7701980
+63 928 6875424

How to get to Baler, Aurora
Genesis Transport Bus is the only direct bus service to Baler from Metro Manila. Their terminal is along EDSA in Pasay City. You may call +632 5510842 or +632853-3115 for inquiries. Remember that their buses leave only in the morning. If you plan an afternoon trip you'll have to take a bus to Cabanatuan and hop on a van to Baler and vice versa. Last trip is between 4 to 6 p.m. so make sure you're at the terminal before 4 p.m.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Pampanga: Giant Lantern Festival 2009

Masayang Pasko ampong Masaplalang Bayung Banua kekayu ngan! Like every year, I attended the annual Giant Lantern Festival of the City of San Fernando, Pampanga. And every year, the lanterns never fail to amaze me. Congratulations to Dolores, Telabastagan and San Jose for winning this year's competition!

I've written a lot on the Giant Lantern Festival here so if you want to learn more about the festival, see the previous entries. You can still catch the giant lanterns in the next few days. They'll be on display in Robinson's Starmills Pampanga beginning tomorrow.

Related entries
Giant Lantern Festival 2005

Giant Lantern Festival 2006

Giant Lantern Festival 2007

Here are Christmas greetings from all over the country:
Aklanon - Malipayon nga Paskwa ag Mahigugmaon nga Bag-ong Dag-on!
Asi - Maadong Santos Paskwa ag Masadyang Bag-ong Tuig!
Ata - Maroyan na Pasko woy Kaopia-an ng Bag-ong Tuig kaniyo't langon mga sulod
Bikol - Maogmang Capascuhan asin Mamura-way na Ba-gong Taon sa indo gabos!
Blaan - Pye duh di kaut Kristo klu munt ug Felemi Fali!
Binubolinao - Marigan Nabidad
Boholano - Malipajong Pasko
Cebuano - Maayong Pasko ug Bulahang Bag-ong Tuig!
Chavacano - Felices Pascuas y Prospero Año Nuevo con todos!
Dibabawon - Marayaw na Pasko aw Bag-ong Tuig kaniyo tibo na mga soon!
Gaddang - Mangamgam Bawa a dawun sikua diaw amin
Hiligaynon - Malipayon nga Paskua kag Malipayon Nga Bag-ong tuig!
Hungduan - Maphon au nitungawan. Apo Dios Kituwen baron di toon
Ibanag - Mapalupaguiya nga Pascua
Ibaloi - Eshadsak ja Paskua! Eshadsak ja Badon Tawen!
Ifugao - Malinggop an Baro an Tawon
Ilocano - Naimbag a Pascua ken Naragsac nga Baro nga Tawen!
Kankanaey - Gawis ay Paskua ya Nalagsak ay Balo ay Tu-en!
Kapampangan - Masayang Pascu ampong Masaplalang Bayung Banua kekayu ngan!
Mandobo - Mepiya Pagasaulog sa pagka-otawni Jesus aw maontong kaling Omay!
Mangyan Buhid - Fiya Pagpasko
Mangyan Hanunuo - Mayad paq Pasko
Mansaka - Madyaw na Pasko aw malipayong Bag-ong Tuig kamayo, mga lumon!
Masbatenyo - Malipayon nga Paskwa
Onhan - Mayad nga Paskwa kag Masadya nga Bag-ong Tuig!
Pangasinan - Maabig ya Pasko! Maliket ya Balon Taon!
Romblomanon - Malipayon nga Paskwa kag Masadya na Bag-ong Tuig!
Sambal - Maligayang Pasko at Masayang Ba-yon Taon!
Subanen - Piak Pasko pu Piag Bago Tawn!
Surigaonon - Malipayon na Pasko sanan Bag-on Tuig!
Tagakaolo - Madyaw Pagsalog sa Pagka-otaw ni Jesus
Tagalog - Maligayang Pasko at Manigong Bagong Taon!
Tala-andig - Maayad ha Pasko daw Bag-ong Tuig!
Waray-waray - Maupay nga Pasko ngan Mainuswagon nga Bag-o nga Tuig!

...wishing for a united Filipino nation this Christmas!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Pangasinan: Puto Calasiao, talaba and more from Pangasinan

This year, I've seen Pangasinan quite often. During the latest trip to distribute Northbound Magazine, we drove again fron Tarlac all the way to Bolinao. Along the way, you could stop by the churches of Mangatarem, Aguilar, Salasa, Lingayen, Alaminos and finally Bolinao.

We stayed at Puerto del Sol for the night. It's definitely the best hotel in Bolinao. We weren't able to pass by Patar Beach or Tondol Beach anymore the next day since we wanted to find some nice beaches in Dasol. On the way to Dasol, we visited the Agno Church.

The bad news was the roads to Dasol's white sand beaches were quite rough and no way was I going to drive my car through the rough road. So we turned back and made our way to Dagupan. Between Lingayen and Dagupan is the town of Binmaley. The Binmaley Church has a really massive belfry.

As we entered Dagupan, one thing I noticed was the abundance of talaba, kampis, kalansipay and lukan sold in stalls along the National Highway. I was told they come all the way from Alaminos.

Before driving back to Manila, we made one last stop in the town of Calasiao. The Calasiao Church is of course a National Cultural Treasure. But the town is better known for producing sweet white puto which we all know as Puto Calasiao. Aside from the kutsinta also being sold there, the puto now comes in various flavors which include mango, banana, strawberry, pandan and ube.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Ilocos Norte: Empanada, miki and more street food from Batac, Ilocos Norte

A trip to Ilocos Norte would not be complete without a food trip in Batac, the home of the Ilocos Norte version of the empanada.

The Batac empanada has a lot of variations. There's the ordinary empanada (just the papaya, bean sprouts and egg), ordinary eggless (just the vegetables), special empanada (with longganisa and egg), special eggless (with longganisa but no egg), special w/o mongo (everything except bean sprouts), jumbo empanada (with hot dog), double special (double longganisa and one egg), double egg (one longganisa and two eggs), and the heaviest of them all, the double double (double the longganisa and egg). They even serve just the crust which they call pinais. For more on the Batac empanada, read Ilocos empanada! Dissecting the Batac and Vigan empanada.

But there's more to Batac than just the empanada. In the empanda stores, they also serve longganisa, kudil (fried pork skin), isaw (fried chicken intestines), pusit (fried dried squid), balut and kwek-kwek among others. It's basically fried stuff! Talk about cholesterol and uric acid high!

But across the street is another treat. Batac is also known for its miki (noodle soup) which they serve for Php20 for the plain miki or Php25 if you want a hard-boiled egg in it. The noodles are freshly made and you can see it still has its flour coat when its dropped in boiling water.

In another store, they served grilled pig parts. There was pig snout, ears, tongue, intestines, pork sausage (longganisa) among others.

Related entry
Street food in the Philippines

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Ilocos Norte: Carasi road trip to Sabo Dam

Carasi is one three Itneg mountain towns of Ilocos Norte, the other two being Adams and Dumalneg. It's an hour away from Laoag by private vehicle passing through the towns of Sarrat and Piddig. You'll need a 4x4 to get there. At the moment, there's nothing much to do in Carasi except a visit to Sabo Dam and several waterfalls which would require trek quite a distance.

One thing we noticed was the water was crystal clear. I hope it remains that way. It was explained to us that the reason behind this is that nobody lives further upstream.

But plans are bright since in the next few months, they'll be opening and promoting bike trails, and organizing white water rafting activities and treks to the different waterfalls. In fact, we're inviting people to try the trails soon.

On the way back we stopped by Piddig Church and Sarrat Church which are very much intact. Sarrat is a bit closer to Laoag so it's usually visited as part of a church tour. Piddig is further away so not many people know about it. But it's one old church worth visiting for anyone interested in old architecture.

Manila: Malabon's Immaculate Concepcion fluvial procession

Like our Southeast Asian neighbors, the Philippines is known for its water festivals. Some are wet and wild, others are solemn religious fluvial processions, others are both. I was invited to witness the fluvial procession in Concepcion, Malabon last December 9.

Why December 9? The Concepcion, Malabon fiesta actually lasts three days from December 8 to 10. December 8 is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception nationwide. Aside from the fact that they did not want to compete with the significance of the nationwide commemoration, December 9 is the Pista ng mga Mangingisda (Fishermen's Festival). That's why the fluvial procession is held on that day. December 10 is the Pista ng Parokya ng Concepcion (Feast of the Concepcion Parish) when a grand procession of the image of the Immaculate Concepcion is held.

I'm used to the day time fluvial processions. The one in Concepcion in contrast, left at sunset. The pagoda that bears the image of the Immaculate Concepcion is constructed on top of two cascoes (traditional trading boats dating back to the Spanish colonial period that are fast disappearing) and elegantly lit with blue and white lights.

From the Rufina Patis factory in Concepcion, it goes as far as the mouth of the river close to Manila Bay, then back all the way to the San Bartolome Church, before finally making its way back to Concepcion. Despite the water pollution, the slow and solemn movement of the procession and the elegant lights make the trip an enchanting one.

Through the years, some traditions disappeared. They used to stopover in Navotas (said to be the original home of the image) to sing praises which made the procession last until the wee hours of the morning. But when Martial Law was imposed, together with curfews, this practice was stopped.

The pagoda also used to go as far as Manila Bay as well where boats participating in the procession would honor and salute the image by circling the pagoda. But after the Bocaue tragedy, the Philippine Coast Guard became very strict. And that practice was stopped as well.

After the procession, we feasted on a sumptuous dinner prepared by the Lucas Family that owns Rufina. Pardon the quality of the photos. It was a spur of the moment trip and I only had my camera phone with me.

Related entry
Malabon, Metro Manila's hidden gem

Friday, December 11, 2009

Japan: Nagoya Castle and more from Nagoya

The next day, we left for Kyoto for Nagoya via the Shinkansen. We were flying back to Manila from the Nagoya Airport. The reserved section Shinkansen tickets from Kyoto to Nagoya cost Y5440.

We took the noon train and got to enjoy the scenery along the way. The train took 37 minutes to travel the 108-kilometer distance between the two cities. The first thing we looked for was lockers to keep our big luggage and then we were off to visit Nagoya Castle.

We found out there was a Y500 day pass on the Nagoya Sightseeing Route Bus. And that gave us discounts to the attractions such as the Nagoya Castle. What a way to end our Japan tour walking around a grand Japanese castle that towered over the landscape. The entrance fee to Nagoya Castle is Y500. But with the bus day pass, you just pay Y400.

The Nagoya Castle is a wonderful sample of a Japanese castle. This was actually reconstructed in 1959 after it was destroyed by U.S. bombs in 1945. How I wish we restored our own Intramuros churches after the Americans carpet bombed Manila during the Second World War.

On the grounds of the castle was a colorful display of chrysanthemums. The next thing we knew, it was time to get to the airport which was another train ride away. Airports are no longer located within main cities (which is why they are proposing to transfer NAIA operations to DMIA). But again, the transportation system was so efficient, it was a breeze to get to the Nagoya Airport.

On my next Japan trip, I’ll definitely purchase the 7-day Shinkansen pass so I could simply hop-on and hop-off the train from Hokkaido to Kyushu!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Japan: Buddhist monuments of Horyu-ji (Ikaruga, Nara)

Our plan was to go a little further down the road to the town of Ikaruga to visit another UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Horyu-ji Temple (法隆寺 or Temple of the Flourishing Law). The full name of the temple is name is Horyu Gakumonji (法隆学問寺 or Learning Temple of the Flourishing Law).

From the JR Nara Station, it’s only three stops away (Koriyama, Yamato-Koizumi, and Horyuji) and very convenient to visit. Tickets cost Y420. I really love the efficiency of the Japanese public transportation system!

When we got there, we were met by a Y1000 entrance fee. But with all the temples, shrines and palaces we entered and paid for already the past few days, the group was content with taking photos outside. We wanted to make sure we had enough for our last day in Japan. So after Horyu-ji, we went back to Nara, and back to Kyoto where we stayed for our last night.

Japan: Feeding deer in Nara, Japan

The next day, we headed to Nara, Japan, another UNESCO World Heritage Site (Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara), and another former capital of Japan. Train tickets are free seating so it didn’t matter what time we boarded but we made sure to get a train as early as we could so we could see more attractions. The ride took us a little over 30 minutes.

In Nara, we made sure to pass by the tourism desk to ask all the information we needed. We also got a bus day pass at Y500 which was convenient as in the other cities. Our first stop was Kofuku-ji Temple where we saw a very peculiar attraction of the city, wild deer which roam around Nara freely.

In fact, tourists can feed the deer by purchasing wafers from vendors. It’s fun feeding the deer and they can get aggressive too, nudging you with their head so to grab your attention so that you’d feed them more wafers.

When in Nara, make sure you visit the Todai-ji Temple. Its Great Buddha Hall or Daibutsuden is the largest wooden structure in the world and houses the largest statue of the Buddha Vairocana in the world. Entrance fee is Y500.

I was awestruck walking into this massive temple complex. Inside the Daibutsuden are more massive statues. I really took time absorbing the grandeur and size of the building and its contents. And these were all made hundreds of years ago.

We visited one last attraction in Nara, the Kasuga Taisha Shrine which is known for the many stone lanterns that lead up to the main shrine. My companions had temple and shrine fatigue so we did not enter anymore. So we missed the bronze lanterns inside the main Shinto shrine as well as the Kasugayama Primeval Forest, also part of the UNESCO World Heritage inscription.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Japan: Kyoto, Japan and its historic monuments

Autumn in Kyoto, Japan attracts throngs of tourists every year to its temples and other historic monuments. And we're lucky that our conference coincided with the vivid colors of Japan's autumnal foliage. We arrived in the evening so we did not get to see those autumn colors and Mount Fuji while on the Shinkansen.

Tired from going around Tokyo the whole day, our group decided to go straight to the Kyoto Utano Youth Hostel where we had booked our stay for the next three nights. It's about an hour from the train station but only one bus ride on Bus No. 26. So we got to rest on the bus. But once we got there, we knew we made the right choice since for a youth hostel, this one was grand! A bed is Y3300 a night. You can also opt to have breakfast there for Y600.

The next day, we purchased one-day bus passes at the hostel counter for Y500 which is a must if you want to maximize your stay in Kyoto. Make sure you get a copy of the bus map the night before you go around so that you can plan which buses to take and where to go next.

There were so many temples to visit, many of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. But each had its own entrance fee. So people on a tight budget have to plan their trip around Kyoto wisely.

Our first stop was Ninna-ji since it was the closest to our youth hostel. It once served as the old imperial palace of Omuro, a residence for the former emperor. The temple is most noted as the center of the Omuro school of the Shingon sect of Buddhism. To visit the grounds, we had to pay Y500. We actually chanced upon a period movie being shot on the grounds. I had wanted to take photos of the actors in costume but the crew was very strict and did not allow photos to be taken.

We again hopped on the bus to get to our next stop, a must visit when in Kyoto, Kinkaku-ji. Kinkaku-ji is the popular name of Rokuon-ji Temple, home of the golden pavilion, an iconic attraction of Kyoto. It was exciting seeing the gold colored structure by the man-made lake for which I had only seen before in pictures. To get in, you have to pay Y400.

Nijo Castle was our stop before a very late lunch. Since we wanted to visit as much as we could while the sun was out (it looked like it was going to rain), we decided to delay our lunch break until we got to Gion.

Built in 1603 as the official Kyoto residence of the first Tokugawa shogun, Ieyasu, the castle was completed in 1626 by third Tokugawa shogun Iemitsu. It is one of the finest examples of Momoyama architecture in Japan, making use of early Edo building designs. Entrance ticket is Y600.

Gion is very popular with tourists so that’s where we decided to have lunch. Gion is a district of Kyoto that originally developed in the Middle Ages to accommodate needs of travelers and visitors to the Yasaka Shrine. It became one of the most exclusive and well-known Geisha districts in all of Japan. So visiting this place is a must for people who want to see old architecture and the traditional way of the geisha.

Our last stop before the sun went down was Kiyomizudera, another iconic attraction of the city. From the temple, you get a panoramic view of Kyoto. You can get perfect sunset shots from there. Ticket price is Y300. Shortly after sunset, they let all the visitors out of the grounds. And you can wait to re-enter again, this time for the evening views of Kyoto. It’s a different entrance fee for this but since we wanted to go back to the hostel and rest, we decided to make our way down the hill, passing by the many colorful souvenir and snack shops along the way.

Kyoto Utano Youth Hostel
29 Nakayama-cho Uzumasa
Ukyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto-fu 6
Kyoto 616-8191 Japan
+81 75 462-2288

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

North Philippines: Best pizza restaurants north of Metro Manila

Pizza is one of my personal favorites. Those who know me should know this fact very well. So I'm compiling a list of my favorite pizza places outside Metro Manila beginning with North Philippines.

Clark Freeport & Angeles City

C' Italian Dining (1210 Don Juico Avenue, Angeles City; +63 45 8924059) is known for the panizza. C' Italian Dining had already been serving these sumptuous pizzas rolled with arugula and alfalfa long before Yellow Cab came out with Dear Darla. And there's no way you can compare the taste! The C' panizza is the best!

The best sellers are Don Carmelo: spicy chorizo, anchovies, thyme and pecorino cheese; Kristina: bacon, ham, caramelized onion, sun dried tomatoes and mushrooms; and Saint Jacques: scallop flakes, shrimp, sun dried tomatoes and chili flakes.

Historic Camalig Restaurant (292 Sto. Rosario Street, Angeles City; +63 45 3225641 or 8881077) is the home of Armando's Pizza. My personal favorite is Doy's Kapampangan: longganisa, ebun buru (salted duck egg), onion & pickle relish. Their newest offering is Marco's 3-Way: sun-dried tomatoes & kesong puti plus a choice of either tuyo, tinapa or chicken adobo. Then there's Mexican Medley: shredded chicken breast (sauteed in hot pepper & pizza sauce), fresh tomato & spring onion. Another personal favorite is the classic Armando's Best: same toppings as All The Way, but with extra peperoni, double ground beef, double green pepper, double mushroom & extra Canadian bacon.

Didi's Pizza (MacArthur Highway, Balibago, Angeles City; + 63 45 8921184) serves a very Filipino-flavored pizza if you know what I mean. My personal favorite is the Combination: mushroom, salami, pepperoni, green pepper and onions.

Salvatore's Ristorante (300 Fields Avenue, Balibago, Angeles City; +63 45 8920484) serves good Italian pizza as well. Their best seller is Italian De Luxe: salami, pepperoni, Italian sausage, mushroom, green bell pepper, onion, black olives. While the toppings of Italian De Luxe are mixed together, another flavor called Combination has Vegetarian on one side, and Meat Lovers on the other half.

Sub-Delicious (298 Fields Avenue, Balibago, Angeles City; +63 45 8921999 or 8926667) serves pizzas as large as 28-inches. Flavors include Super Meaty: pepperoni, sausage and hamburger; and Pizza Italiano: pepperoni, ham, and salami.

Subic Bay Freeport & Olongapo City

Xtremely Expresso (1 Dewey Avenue cor. Sta. Rita Street, Subic Bay Freeport; +63 047 2523681) serves the 22-inch Big Ben: pepperoni, sausage, bacon, beef, garlic, onion, peppers, mushrooms, black olives and two kinds of cheese. Other pizzas include Spanish Sardines, Chicken Pesto, Chicken & Peanut, Corned Beef, and Spicy Salmon.

Sam's Pizza (44 Magsaysay Avenue, Olongapo City; +63 47 2223686) is an Olongapo institution. Their best-seller is Sam's Special: pepperoni, Philippine sausage, mushrooms, green pepper, onion, bacon, Italian sausage and cheese. I remember having Chicken Teriyaki before but they no longer have it.

La Union

Olives Restaurant (Thunderbird Resort, Poro Point, La Union; +63 72 8887777) serves delicious wood-fired pizzas. Their best seller is Four Cheese: goat, parmesan, feta and mozzarella cheese. My personal favorite is Quattro Stagioni: kalamata olives, artichoke hearts, parma ham, fresh mushrooms. Also try the Spicy Sausage, Roasted Peppers, Mozarrella & Oregano Pizza or the Smoked Salmon & Mushroom Pizza: smoked salmon, fresh mushrooms, tomato sprinkled with oregano and cheese.

Ilocos Norte

Herencia Cafe (MacArthur Street, Bgy. 14, Sangladan, Paoay; +63 77 6140214) serves the famous Pinakbet Pizza: sitaw (string beans), ampalaya (bitter gourd), okra, talong (egg plant), patani (lima beans), kamatis (tomaotes), sili (chili), and labanos (radish). They also serve Bagnet Pizza: bagnet, onions, and basil; and Dinuguan Pizza: dinuguan, crispy pork, and chili.

Saramsam Restaurant (N. Corpuz Building, Rizal cor. Hizon Streets, Barangay 7-A, Laoag City; +63 77 7715825) also serves Ilocano-inspired pizzas. Their specialty is Poque-Poque Pizza which is topped with poque-poque, an Ilocano eggplant dish: eggplant, tomatoes, onions ang egg. They also have the Dinardaraan Pizza: dinuguan topped with green chili peppers; Longaniza Pizza topped with the local Laoag longaniza; and the Carbonara Pizza topped with Currimao oysters.


Casa Napoli (Abad Street, Brgy. Kaychanarianan, Basco; +63 927 7583370) serves pizzas with mozzarella cheese all the way in Batanes. Nothing really fancy about the pizzas but being in Basco, it's a novelty.

I'm sure there are more such as those in Baguio City, so please list them down by commenting below. I'll try to visit them when I can and add to this list.
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