Thursday, November 17, 2016

Japan adventure from Osaka to Kyoto! Ohayo!

There is a temple for everyone in Kyoto, Japan. There is a golden pavilion, and a silver one too. Many temples have beautiful Zen gardens. There are picturesque mountain temples, that become even more stunning with the colors of fall. And there is an iconic temple with thousands of vermillion gates. In fact, there are more than 1600 temples in Kyoto.

A visit to Osaka will not be complete if you don't venture to Kyoto, once the capital of Japan, and a World Heritage Site. My Japan adventure continued as I hopped from Karaksa Hotel Osaka to Karaksa Hotel Kyoto. It was a good thing they had train directions handy, which I was easily able to follow to get to Kyoto.

As soon as I arrived in Kyoto, I went straight for the food. What I like about both hotels is that they have customized food maps that help you explore the different restaurants around the neighborhood.

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Here’s why your next trip to Japan should be to Osaka

Osaka has become a popular destination for Filipinos, especially for second time visitors to Japan who have already been to Tokyo. Universal Studios is a major draw, especially for families. Plus the city is also the gateway to the historic capitals of Kyoto and Nara.

For my recent trip, I was hosted by Karaksa Hotels, a new hotel chain, and a partner of, where you can book accommodation for Osaka and Kyoto. The hotel’s sister company, Karaksa Tours, arranges tours for the Southeast Asian market. In fact, it was the Karaksa Tours van that picked me up from the Kansai International Airport (Cebu Pacific flies direct from Manila to Osaka). It was very comfortable and equipped with WiFi, so you could update everyone that you’ve just arrived.

Friday, September 09, 2016

Experience Boracay with Tides Hotel

Tides Hotel is one of the best located hotels in Boracay, if you want to be close to all the action. In my previous trips, I always notice the entrance to Tides in D'Mall. There's no need to take public transport to get to Boracay's commercial center. As soon as you exit the hotel, you're there. So when I got invited by Tides Hotel to stay with them, I didn't think twice.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Philippine holidays and long-weekend schedule for 2017 (Proclamation No. 50, s. 2016)

Hunyo 12 by Claude Tayag (1989 Fiestas Serigraph Series)

Malacanang issued Proclamation No. 50, s. 2016 declaring the regular holidays, special non-working days, and a special school holiday for 2017. Instead of just giving you the same list of holidays of the Republic of the Philippines for 2017, this list will help you plan your trips with confirmed and expected long-weekends. And there are eleven potential long weekends in 2017!

  • January 1 (Sun) - New Year's Day (three-day long weekend from December 30 to January 1)
  • January 28 (Sat) - Chinese New Year
  • February 25 (Sat) - EDSA Revolution Anniversary
  • April 9 (Sun) - Araw ng Kagitingan
  • April 13 (Thu) - Holy Thursday
  • April 14 (Fri) - Good Friday 
  • April 15 (Sat) - Black Saturday (four-day long weekend from April 13 to 16)
  • May 1 (Mon) - Labor Day (three-day long weekend from April 29 to May 1)
  • June 12 (Mon) - Independence Day (three-day long weekend from June 10 to 12)
  • June 25 (Sun) - Eid'l Fitr (pending proclamation when date is confirmed, possible three-day long weekend if holiday is on Monday)
  • August 21 (Mon) - Ninoy Aquino Day (three-day long weekend from August 19 to 21)
  • August 28 (Mon) - National Heroes Day (three-day long weekend from August 26 to 28)
  • September 1 (Fri) - Eid'l Adha (pending proclamation when date is confirmed, possible three-day long weekend)
  • October 31 (Tue) - Special Non-Working Day
  • November 1 (Wed) - All Saints Day (two-day break from October 31 to November 1, five-day break from October 28 to November 1 if you take a leave on October 30)
  • November 30 (Thu) - Bonifacio Day
  • December 25 (Mon) - Christmas Day (three-day long weekend from December 23 to 25)
  • December 30 (Sat) - Rizal Day
  • December 31 (Sun) - Last Day of the Year (three-day long weekend from December 30 to January 1, 2018)

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Chef Claude Tayag wins People's Choice Award at Embassy Chef Challenge 2016

The 8th Annual Embassy Chef Challenge was held at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, DC on May 25, 2016. This is the first time that the Philippine Embassy participated in the Embassy Chef Challenge in Washington, DC. Representing us was Chef Claude Tayag who created his own version of bringhe using Philippine products that are exported to the United States.

Instead of the usual malagkit (glutinous rice), he used purple malagkit (heirloom mountain rice) from the Cordilleras. He replaced the chicken with bangus (milk fish) marinated inasal-style (with kalamansi, vinegar, garlic, lemon grass and achuete). He also replaced the raisins with dried mangoes. The secret ingredient was taba ng talangka (crablet fat). To add crunch, he used glazed pili nuts. He won the People's Choice Award which is comprised of 50 percent online, and 50 percent onsite votes. Congratulations Chef Claude!

Guests nibbled their way through an abundant array of foods and drinks prepared by seventeen global culinary representatives from South America, Asia, Africa, Europe, plus a solid showing from the Caribbean nations.

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