Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Italy: Exploring Rome and the Vatican City (November 12, 2011)

Rome is steeped in history. It no doubt deserves the title Eternal City. In fact, you will see layers of history as you walk its streets and visit the various sites and landmarks which make Rome what it is. We visited the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, Trevi Fountain as well as the Vatican City, among other attractions that make Italy's capital city a must-visit when in Europe. Here are photos of Rome, Itay and Vatican City in the Ivan About Town Facebook page.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Italy: Leaning Tower of Pisa & Piazza del Duomo (November 11, 2011)

From Florence, we drove to Pisa which was about an hour away. We made it just in time for sunset at the Leaning Tower of Pisa, located in the Piazza del Duomo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We climbed up close to 300 steps to the top of the tower. Here are photos of Pisa, Italy in the Ivan About Town Facebook page.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Philippine holidays and long-weekend schedule for 2012 (Proclamation No. 295)

Malacanang issued Proclamation No. 295 declaring the regular holidays, special non-working days, and a special school holiday for 2012. Here is the list of holidays and long-weekends of the Republic of the Philippines for 2012:

  • January 1 (Sun) - New Year's Day (three-day long weekend from December 30 to January 1)
  • January 23 (Mon) - Chinese New Year (three-day long weekend from January 21 to 23)
  • February 25 (Sat) - EDSA Revolution Anniversary (holiday for schools only)
  • April 5 (Thu) - Holy Thursday
  • April 6 (Fri) - Good Friday
  • April 9 (Mon) - Araw ng Kagitingan (five-day long weekend from April 5 to 9)
  • May 1 (Tue) - Labor Day
  • June 12 (Tue) - Independence Day
  • August 19 (Sun) - Eid'l Fitr (confirmed four-day long weekend from August 18 to 21 with Proclamation No. 455, s. 2012 declaring August 20 as a non-working holiday)
  • August 21 (Tue) - Ninoy Aquino Day
  • August 27 (Mon) - National Heroes Day (three-day long weekend from August 25 to 27)
  • October 26 (Fri) - Eid'l Adha (three-day long weekend from October 26 to 28, regular holiday by virtue of Proclamation No. 488, s. 2012)
  • November 1 (Thu) - All Saints Day
  • November 2 (Fri) - Special Non-Working Day (four-day long weekend from November 1 to 4)
  • November 30 (Fri) - Bonifacio Day (three-day long weekend from November 30 to December 2)
  • December 24 (Mon) - Special Non-Working Day (by virtue of Proclamation 361, s. 2012)
  • December 25 (Tue) - Christmas Day (four-day long weekend from December 22 to 25)
  • December 30 (Sun) - Rizal Day
  • December 31 (Mon) - Last Day of the Year (four-day long weekend from December 29 to January 1)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Roomorama offers alternative accommodation to travelers

I wanted to try out other types of accommodations during our trip around Europe. Friends told me about Roomorama and the opportunity they offer to live like a local while traveling. Recommendations and reviews were quite good. So it was thus timely that I was invited by Roomorama to try out their different listed properties.

Roomorama is a website that connects travelers with apartment and bed and breakfast (B&B) owners offering their rooms for daily, weekly or short term rentals at very affordable prices. These usually are apartment units in the inner city area or close to public transportation. Room listing also mentions all the amenities available in the various units.

In Rome, we found ourselves in a very cozy bed and breakfast along via Appia called B&B Rome Davila 25. The owner was very welcoming and showed us all the amenities of the apartment including the specific bathroom assigned to our room plus the kitchen and breakfast available the next day.

We also tried out the service in Prague. We got a room at a low rise apartment building that was very close to the tram line. Both apartments had kitchens and free WiFi which we badly needed. We actually liked both rooms and hoped we could stay longer at these apartments.

If you want to try something new when traveling and are tired of hotel rooms and hostels, you might want to check out Roomorama for their alternative travel accommodations. Make sure you book your rooms as early as possible to give ample time to communicate with owners.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Giant Lantern Festival 2011: Mangan Tamu! The Ultimate Pampanga Food and Heritage Tour (Christmas Edition)

It's Christmas once again and it's time for another Giant Lantern Festival. Join Ultimate Philippines Tours as we journey to the central heartland and immerse ourselves in things Kapampangan on December 17, 2011!

From buro to Baroque, it will be a fun-filled day as we poke around and get intimate with the very best of Pampanga's cultural offerings. Gawk at the jewel-box of a church in Betis while wading through the lahar-buried town of Bacolor.

We'll stuff ourselves silly with a pre-Christmas Kapampangan noche buena fare by one of the country's best known Kapampangan chefs! And to it cap it off, get a front row view of the most dazzling display of Kapmpangan artistry the Ligligan Parul (Giant Lantern Festival) of San Fernando! It's a tour with nothing but Kapampangan cool!

9:00 a.m. ETD Metro Manila
10:30 a.m. Bacolor Church - We stop by this historic town which was almost wiped out by volcanic mud flows. We visit the half-buried San Guilliermo Church
11:30 a.m. Betis Church - Admire the beautiful interior of the province's most treasured Barouqe structure, the 17th century Santiago Apostol Church, a National Cultural Treasure.
1:00 p.m. Bale Dutung in Angeles City - Indulge in a Kapampangan feast as we learn cooking secrets with chef, artist and writer, Claude Tayag.
4:00 p.m. Depart for Giant Lantern Festival
5:00 p.m. Pasalubong Shopping
6:00 p.m. Robinsons Starmills Pampanga - You are free to check out and shop for bargains at Pampanga's biggest outlet mall while waiting for the festival to start.
7:00 p.m. Giant Lantern Festival - Be dazzled by the giant Christmas lanterns of San Fernando as they dance in an interplay of music and lighting artistry!
9:00 p.m. ETD San Fernando
10:30 p.m. ETA Metro Manila

The tour fee is Php4,500 per person inclusive of all meals and transportation. For bookings and inquiries, e-mail us at or call (0917) 3291622. For more details, check out the Ultimate Pampanga Christmas Edition event page on Facebook.
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