Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Updates from the Agusan Marsh Indigenous Cultural Tourism Program in Agusan del Sur

Since 2010, we have been working on the Agusan Marsh Indigenous Cultural Tourism Program in Sitio Panlabuhan, Loreto, Agusan del Sur. We are helping them establish homestay facilities, purchase materials used to provide board and lodging, organize tourism and hospitality training programs and transfer cultural knowledge to the younger generation.

Cultural tourism is a potent tool for poverty alleviation. There is a potential for indigenous communities in the Philippines to benefit immensely from cultural tourism if given the information, proper training, infrastructure and guidance. This project will empower the Agusan Manobo indigenous group of Sitio Panlabuhan to create sustainable tourism programs for their community.

Here are photos from our trip over the weekend.

A photo posted by Ivan Henares (@ivanhenares) on

A photo posted by Ivan Henares (@ivanhenares) on

Here is a video of what we are doing at the Agusan Marsh.

Sunday, May 03, 2015

You can fly to El Nido for free with Globe Cloud's Summer Selfie promo!

Believe it or not, you can win a trip to El Nido Resorts by sharing a selfie! Yes, just by sharing a selfie! Globe is giving away an all-expense paid trip to Miniloc Island for three people (including chartered flight from Manila to El Nido, transfers, accommodation and meals) to one lucky Globe user who will download the Globe Cloud App between April 25 – May 20, 2015 and share a #SummerSelfie using the app.

Globe Cloud is a cloud storage and sharing service. You can store your contacts and text messages by syncing them from your phone to your Globe Cloud account. You can also store and access your photos, documents and other digital content such as your playlists, videos in the Globe Cloud app using your phone, tablet or computer.

What’s more, the Globe Cloud also provides a simple and useful way of content sharing by allowing private shareable links.

And it’s free! The Globe Cloud App is free for Android, iPhone or computer devices.

To join the contest, upload your #SummerSelfie using Globe Cloud to your Facebook or Twitter account with the hashtags #GlobeCloud and #SummerSelfie. Aside from the El Nido Resorts trip, the winning #SummerSelfie also gets the chance to be featured in the advertising materials of Globe Cloud.

Globe Cloud is exclusive to Globe and TM subscribers only.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Ivan About Town is ten years old!

I still remember the scene vividly. Ten years ago in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, I sat down in front of a rented computer at Trekkers Lodge (a hostel which no longer exists), and typed my first blog entry. It was a spur of the moment thought to actually start a blog.

The blog title, something I simply came up with off the top of my head, in the few minutes I had on the rented computer, was inspired by the thought of being a man about town for travel. And so Ivan About Town became the silly title of my blog.

It was 2005. And I was among the first Filipinos to take advantage of the entry of low cost carriers in the Philippines. Seat sales and piso fares were unheard of before these airlines entered the Philippine market. I booked a "free seat" plane ticket to Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia and what happened next is history. 

Ten years later, I have so many things to be thankful for. 

Indeed, this blog has brought me places, literally and figuratively.

In 2007, Ivan About Town was named Best Travel Blog at the 1st Philippine Blog Awards.

I set foot on all provinces of the Philippines in 2010. In 2012, a new province was created and I visited that as well. My lucky stars have brought me to 72 countries and territories so far. I'm crossing my fingers for more trips!

The blog has also been an effective communication tool for our heritage conservation and cultural tourism advocacy. No doubt, it is a big part of the advocacy and one of the reasons I was named one of The Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) in 2012.

This month is also the 30th anniversary of my first international trip and travel journal, which I wrote when I was six. I have so many wonderful memories traveling as a kid.

Sometimes, I can't believe I was able to last this long given that the blog is something I work on during my spare time. The past few months have been extra busy, with quite a number of new responsibilities on top of the old ones, which meant a scarcity of posts as you all may have noticed. But we're still here and celebrating this milestone!

I have so many things to be thankful for. And to all of you who have been part of my journey, thank you!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Have you been to the Legazpi Sunday Market lately?

Makati on a weekend is a food lovers paradise. It's especially true on Sundays when the Legazpi Sunday Market, the biggest weekend food market in Metro Manila, serves a regular crowd of foodies, expats and curious locals who enjoy the variety of flavors available.

I explored the Legazpi Sunday Market with my Yoga Tablet 2 which was very convenient to bring. It made it easier to blog and update social media on-the-go. Very easy to use with its the 8-inch full HD 1920 x 1200 IPS display with 8MP rear camera and 1.6 MP front camera.

Imang Salud Ensaimadas are the best ensaimadas in town, topped with queso de bola. For the Kapampangans, check out the balu-balo and pindang damulag!

Finally, after looking far and wide for real Jewish bagels, I found them at the market!

Churros con chocolate anyone?

How about phad thai? Khun Caesar's is really good!

More noodles? Maybe char kuey teow perhaps? This stall serves various noodle dishes from Southeast Asia.

How about Vietnamese food? More noodles!

Takoyaki balls perhaps? I always buy from here.

Or maybe yakitori?

Talk about pork overload at this bagnet stall!

I have friends who swear by this panini stall.

The food in the market is so diverse. I like the couscous and chicken dish from Morocco.

One of the newest stalls is Rodrigo's, the best roast beef in town!

I love the oyster cake. Here's Binondo in Makati.

And it's not just the usual tablet. Aside from holding it, you can also tilt it or make it stand with a flip. And it you have a place to latch it to, you can also hang it when viewing content, freeing up your hands to do other tasks.

With a DSLR, the Lenovo Tablet 2 also works as an external HD monitor for shooting & filming people and places. You can also edit on the spot using photo editing apps. Most important is that it's there for the long ride with its epic battery life (2-cell battery, 6400 mAh lasts up to 18 hours) with Dolby Digital audio, and high performance with its Intel® Atom™ processor.

You should get one for your next adventure and discover something new!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Transitions® Signature™ lenses is great for travel!

Summer is here and it’s so hot! I want to go to the beach or somewhere cold to escape the heat. Don’t we all? I could imagine the summer sun can cause so much damage to my eyes. Which is why I’m relieved that I have Transitions® Signature™ lenses to accompany me as I travel to my favorite beach destinations, and protect my eyes from hot, sunny and glaring discomfort.

The Transitions® Signature™ lenses blocks 100 percent of UVA & UVB rays. Aside from sunblock for your skin, you need to protect your eyes too! And since the lenses fit any prescription and frame, I got one that looks good as both glasses and shades.

But what’s different from your regular sunglasses or ordinary clear lenses is the unique benefit of photochromic lenses – specifically Transitions® Signature™ lenses: they are the most responsive adaptive lenses to date! The shade of the lens tint is not fixed and changes depending on the environment. They adapt to different lighting environments and turn dark, light and every shade in between. When you move from a bright and sunny outdoor environment to an indoor one the lenses fade back to clear fast. And because of this adaptability, I get optimal protection and vision in my everyday pair of glasses.

It would seem I will be visiting beaches in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao during the summer months. So I’ll definitely be taking advantage of the protection and convenience of the Transitions® Signature™ lenses.

I’m looking forward to my trips this summer when the Transitions® Signature™ lenses will come in very handy. This is one great investment. You can get Transitions® Signature™ adaptive lenses from all major optical stores.

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