Sunday, January 13, 2008

Boracay: Cocomangas Boracay delivers pizza!

I was quite worried that I could not get a midnight snack from where I was. It was raining and walking to White Beach to get some grub was out of the question. The restaurants in Diniwid Beach were closed by this time as well. But there was no reason to fret since Cocomangas delivers pizzas up to 2 a.m. anywhere in Boracay!

There were so many kinds to choose from. I asked the lady taking my order to give me a sampling of their best-sellers. But when I found out that their pizzas were the same price for all kinds (XL - PHP482, 16 slices; L - PHP360, 8 slices; and S - PHP228, 4 slices), I got an XL-sized Halo-Halo which was everything on it! And no, I didn't eat the whole pizza. I shared it with Abe, Anton and Lauren.

Cocomangas Pizza
Tel No. +63 36 2884455

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Boracay: Microtel Boracay in Diniwid Beach

Up to now, I can't stop raving about the chiropractic-approved beds of Microtel! I was able to get the much-needed quality sleep worthy of a grand vacation.

As soon as the second batch arrived, we went straight to the ferry that would take us to Boracay. Remember, that there are fees you have to pay including an environmental fee and the terminal fee which has jumped from PHP20 to PHP50. Cabgan is the only gateway to Boracay after the municipal government prohibited the docking of boats at the various beaches to preserve their beauty. It may be an inconvenience for tourists but it's better that way so that the beaches remain pristine.

We took a minicab from the port to Diniwid Beach where Microtel Inn & Suites is located. The only downside of this is we had to deal with all the exhaust from the tricycles. As soon as we arrived, we were given a cold towel, a shell necklace and a welcome drink. Since I was not able to sleep the night before which is usually the case when I have early morning flights, the first thing I did when I got to the room was to check out the famous Microtel bed.

The group had lunch at the hotel restaurant and since everyone was tired, it was free time for the afternoon. While the rest of the bloggers walked to White Beach, I found myself in lala land. And I blame it on the bed! At least I was able to get some sleep.

Anyway, I was up just in time for the sunset. We played some games at the beach before dinner. And after dinner, I was back in lala land again. I had asked the bloggers to wake me up if they were going out but since it started to rain, everyone decided to stay. And the next thing I knew, it was 12 midnight.

Microtel Inn & Suites Boracay
Diniwid Beach, Malay, Aklan
Tel No. +63 36 2884311
Fax +63 36 2884312
Mobile +63 917 7165004

Friday, January 11, 2008

Boracay: Butterfly garden at Seair Caticlan

Since our group was divided into two flights, and I got pushed forward to the earlier one, we had to wait an hour and thirty minutes for the second batch to arrive. It was a good thing there was a new attraction at the back of the Seair office in Caticlan. So if you're killing time at the Caticlan Airport, check out the butterfly garden.

Boracay: Seair's Dornier 328 plane to Caticlan

I've always wondered how it felt to ride those small commercial aircrafts in the Philippines. I had already taken the ATR42/72 from Guam to Saipan before and was surprised by the smooth ride. That's why the prospect of taking Seair's Dornier 328 plane to Caticlan excited me. And it's the fastest flight to Boracay at 35 minutes.

It was an ambitious gathering of Philippine travel and photo bloggers organized by blogging guru Abe Olandres. We were divided into two flights. A group was scheduled to leave at 7 a.m. while I was with the 8:30 a.m. flight. I chose to arrive at the airport early to avoid rush hour traffic and got there 6:30 a.m. in time to watch the first group board. The next thing I knew, my name was called on the PA system for me to board as well!

Since we were flying at an altitude lower than the regular commercial aircraft, the views were different. We were closer thus to the ground and at the level of many mountain peaks. The views were surreal! The sun was resplendently rising behind Mount Banahaw. And below us was a perfect view of the Tagaytay Ridge and Taal Volcano. We also flew past the grand mountains of Mindoro before reaching Caticlan. The Seair flight is itself a must-try with all these great views!

Adventure Pass
Now this is something I'm getting for the summer break. For P18,500++, you can ride all you can for 45 days on Seair. The first two flights are bookable but the rest are based on seat availability which means you'll be a chance passenger. But with so many great destinations from Batanes to Tawi-Tawi, you'll never go wrong with this pass!

South East Asian Airlines (Seair)
Tel No. +63 2 8490100

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Manila: UP turns 100!

Yesterday, the University of the Philippines opened festivities marking its centennial. The day started with a huge motorcade from UP Manila in Padre Faura where the university was first established in 1908. Delegations from Los Banos, Pampanga and Baguio also arrived in full force and converged at the entrance of the Diliman campus.

At 4 p.m., a grand parade of all the delegations from the various constituent universities of UP marched towards the Oblation where a gargantuan crowd of students, faculty, alumni and well-wishers had gathered. The massiveness of the throng of people which converged in Diliman to celebrate UP's 100 years was nothing but surreal!

The Upsilon Sigma Phi joined the parade too as part of the UP Diliman contingent, the only frat that marched to the Oblation. Being the oldest Greek-letter fraternity in the country and in Asia, we made sure to be part of the celebrations!

I didn't get to see much of the program in Quezon Hall anymore since we decided to stay in front of AS. When the parade arrived at Quezon Hall after going around the Academic Oval, ten tambuli players blew their horns from atop the Administration building, amid the ceremonial firing of 100 rockets to announce the start of the program.

But we got to see the 100-torch relay as it passed by. The first flame being lit by a 100-year old alumnus! While UP President Emerlinda Roman lit the 100th flame or the UP Flame, a large cauldron in front of the Oblation. The “UP @ 100” display at the Quezon Hall was also lit simultaneously with the cauldron.

I missed the concert featuring internationally acclaimed UP talents such as the Philippine Madrigal Singers, Ryan Cayabyab, the UP Symphonic Orchestra, Nanette Inventor, and UP Symphonic Band, as well as the grand fireworks display. But above is a video of the fireworks.

I come from a family with a long UP tradition. Both my parents and my younger sister are UP graduates. So were two of my grandparents. On both sides, most of my uncles and aunts went to UP as well. But the first of my forefathers to walk the hallowed halls of the University of the Philippines was my great-grandfather, Dr. Pedro G. Henares, UP Medicine Class of 1915. The photo on the left is from the 1915 Philippinensian. That makes me a fourth-generation UP graduate! And if I complete my third U.P. degree this year, that makes me a centennial graduate as well!

Thanks to Carlos for allowing me to use that really great photo of Quezon Hall and the Oblation above!
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