Planning to Visit the Philippines Soon?

There are hundreds of tourists attractions in the Philippines. But as a lover of the Island of Marinduque (Home of the Morions and Heart of the Philippines), I am indeed partial to its beauty, charm and its friendly and hospitable residents. Therefore, help me achieve my dream of seeing this island becomes a world tourist destination, by telling all your friends and relatives about this site. Welcome, to you all, new readers and faithful followers of this site! The photo above is Poctoy White Beach in Torrijos, Marinduque with beautiful and majestic Mt Malindig in the background. Some of the photos and videos on this site, I do not own. However, I have no intention on infringing your copyrights. Please do not forget to read the latest National and International news in the right side bar of this blog!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Davao-The Royal City of the South-Really?

In this site, I plan on posting articles from the web about tourists spots and cities in the Philippines. This article was published in the Manila Bulletin and written by HENRYLITO D. TACIO dated May 19, 2010.

I have been to several cities and tourist spots in the Philippines ( Baguio, Iloilo, Bacolod, Naga, Manila, Makati, Quezon City, Tagaytay, Aklan, Dagupan City and Boracay) but I have never been to Davao. However, my sister-in-law lives there. I have several on-line friends who also live in Davao. One of my American on-line friend publishes a magazine "Live in the Philippines". He loves Davao very much. If you read his magazine, you will know what I mean when I say he loves Davao. Some day, Macrine and I will visit Davao, perhaps through our vacation time-exchange program via International Interval and also visit my sister-in-law. Here is the article for your reading pleasure:

"If there is one city I would like to visit again and again, it’s Davao. Next to New York, Davao is the most enchanting and beautiful city you will ever see. Melbourne is a distant third while Bangkok is a far fourth.

Davao is probably the least exposed of the country’s urban areas,” observed an American tourist who came to the country to marry his girlfriend. “It’s a great holiday hideaway, what with its lush greenery and exotic wild flora and fauna that contribute to its picturesque attractions.

Because this tropical paradise possesses more of everything there is in a country – from enchanting scenery to natural resources – Davao is often considered “instant Philippines.” As the Davao City website puts it: “The air is fresh. The city is clean and green. There is real abundance of the freshest harvests from the land and sea. To top it all, the quality of potable water is among the best in the world.”

The awards the city received through the years speak for themself: Most competitive metro city, most livable city in the country, destination of the year, the cleanest and greenest city in the Philippines (highly urbanized category), and the most peaceful city in East and Southeast Asia. Recently, the Foreign Direct Investment Magazine named Davao as the 10th “Asian City of the Future.”

Davao is touted to be “The Royal City,” because of the presence of the kings and queens of nature present in Davao. Consider this formidable list: Waling-waling (the queen of Philippine orchids), durian (the king of exotic fruits), Mount Apo (the king of all Philippine mountains), and the Philippine eagle (the king of Philippine skies). The city is a king in itself in terms of land area (244,000 hectares, approximately 7.8 times the size of Cebu and three times that of the entire Metro Manila).

If you visit Davao, what can you see? From the past, there’s the Battle Memorial, a historical marker of the longest-fought battle between thetroops of the American and Filipino forces and of the Japanese Imperial Army which took place in Mintal, Tugbok.

While in Mintal, visit the site of old Japanese homes, warehouses and abaca processing and drying plants before and during World War II. At the Mintal Elementary School, you will find a memorial obelisk built in honor of Otha Kyosaburu who invoked the Public Land Act No. 926 of 1903. During the so-called “Ubon Yasumi” in August, Japanese war veterans and their kin take an annual pilgrimage to visit the Japanese Peace Memorial Shrine.

In Calinan, there is a museum that features historical accounts of the Japanese community residing in Davao before and during the war. You can see various artifacts, including tools which they used in the abaca plantations, currencies, and publications.

At the Governor Generoso Bridge, you will find a memorial marker that was built in recognition of the gallantry of Armando Generoso, who died in the very site of the bridge while defending it from the Japanese invaders during World War ll.

Along San Pedro Street, you can visit Camp Domingo Leonor, which happened to be the quarters of the Spanish and later American soldiers inthe 1920s. At the junction of Washington Street and Quimpo Boulevard, you can catch a glimpse of site of the bastion of the Muslim hero Datu Bago who lorded over the Tagloc River (the old name of Davao River). At the Talomo Beach, you will see sunken warships during the Second World War, just 200 meters from the shore.

Those interested in anything related to Catholic religion should first go to the San Pedro Cathedral, one of the oldest churches in Mindanao. The original structure of the church was built in 1847 in honor of St. Peter, the city’s patron saint. The old altar is preserved at the right wing of the cathedral.

At the Shrine Hill in Matina, there’s the Shrine of the Holy Infant Jesus of Prague, a local mecca for the city’s Roman Catholic devotees. At the Buhangin District, you can say your prayers at the Saint Mary of Perpetual Rosary. This is a shrine built in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary which features a series of steps which leads to the main chapel.

If you’re environment conscious, visit the Philippine Eagle Center, located in Malagos, about 45 minutes drive from the city center. Aside from being a temporary home for the country’s national bird, it also hosts some other exotic animals native to Davao’s forests.

Not far from the eagle center is Malagos Garden Resort, which hosts a rich collection of rare indigenous Philippine flora and wide assortment of orchids. Several species of butterflies also thrive in its enclosed sanctuary. Within its area, a bird park has been built to shelter rescued and rehabilitated birds.

Another must-see is the Eden Nature Park, a popular mountain resort. It is situated 3,000 feet above sea level, giving it a cool and moderate climate. It is 95% man-made with pine trees dotting the landscape. It covers 40 hectares worth of developed land.

People’s Park, at the heart of the city, is fast becoming a favorite of visitors to the city. Opened last December 15, 2007, the R72-million park features a mini-forest and large sculptures representing indigenous groups in Southern Mindanao.

Davao also has a number of beaches to offer. Times Beach, two kilometers from the city center, bustles with picnickers on Sundays and holidays. Historic Talomo Beach is best remembered as a landing site for Japanese and American forces during World War II.

Across the strait due east from the mainland is Samal, an unspoiled island ringed with secluded coves of white sand. Ten minutes away via pumpboat from the Waterfront Insular Hotel is a white expanse of beach dotted with resorts such as Paradise Island and Beach Resort, which welcome visitors under the shade of talisay trees. Aside from its unspoiled waters, it also has a zoo as an added attraction.

For diving aficionados, Davao Gulf teems with underwater vistas. Some of the more popular sites are found at Ligid Island, Talicud Island, Mushroom Rock, Limao/Sunken Island, Pearl Farm, and Isla Malipano.

A trip to Davao is not complete if you do not experience the city at night. Latest records at the Davao City Investment and Promotion Center show the city now has more than 50 entertainment establishments, including those in shopping malls and hotels in the city.

How do you get to Davao? Davao is the third most important Philippine city after Manila and Cebu. As such, most domestic airlines fly multiple times per day to Davao from Manila, Cebu and other major cities in Visayas and Mindanao. Silk Air also flies direct to Davao from Singapore. Davao is served by the Davao International Airport (more properly named as the Francisco Bangoy International Airport), which is about 15 minutes ride from the city center.

For a more scenic route, visitors can take the two-day trip over land along the Pan Philippine Highway from Manila to Davao via Philtranco Bus Lines. Many shipping lines also service sea routes to Davao from Manila and other neighboring island provinces.

There is no shortage of accommodations in Davao, ranging from the four-star accommodations of the Marco Polo Davao on Claveria, the Royal Mandaya Hotel on Ponciano, the Grand Regal Hotel and the Waterfront Insular Hotel on Lanang, and the Apo View Hotel in Bonifacio, to lodges and inns, all around the city.

Maayong pag-abot!"

Note: I do not speak Cebuano, but it means "welcome" or literally translated "Happy Arrival". Is this correct all you Cebuano speaking readers of this blog?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Latest Posting on Bellarocca Resort and Spa-Marinduque

From Hongkong, Quintessentially, dated May 13, 2010. The Promo Package of P14,500 till the end of this month is reasonable. I paid about the same amount in a 4 star hotel in Manila for our 4 days stay last month in Makati which included breakfast. Someone informed me that during "off season" the rates goes down to $140 per night. Is this true or this person is just hallucinating? I did checked the website and I did not see $140. What I read in the published rates for 2010 is that the cheapest hotel room is $440 per person/double occupancy and no food. This person probably read $440 as $140. Visit the website, and I almost read "440" as "140". Heres the article for your reading pleasure:

"Don’t let the white buildings and squared-off, Greco-inspired design fool you – Bellarocca Island Resort and Spa isn’t a Mediterranean island fantasy but a European-style hideaway just a short plane ride away from Manila, located on its own island (the aptly-named beautiful rock, of course!).

You’ll be whisked around the petite and very picturesque resort on your private golf cart. The whole place is very new – just over a year old – and the perfect retreat for those who just want to lie back and read a book, catch some rays or chill out. It’s not at all stuffy though…you’re free to play the house piano if you like, but our favourite pastime is gazing out over the infinity pool to the azure sea and mainland beyond.

Rooms and suites are, of course, top notch. Sleeping beauties are catered for as well – there’s a comprehensive bedding and pillow menu that’ll ensure you get a good night’s kip. Their nine hole, par 36 golf course gives you a chance to practice that swing and take in the spectacular cliffside views.

There’s even more reason to book soon – their three-day, two-night Dolce Vita package includes roundtrip land and sea transfers from Marinduque Airport to the hotel, welcome refreshments, two brunches, two afternoon teas, complimentary internet, full use of the resort’s facilities and government taxes and service charge.

From PHP 14,500 per person on a twin/double sharing basis (approximately HKD 2,500), valid until the end of May.

Recommended by QUINTESSENTIALLY, the world’s leading private members’ club with a global concierge service. Committed to the notion that quality matters, whether it be music, art, travel, food or – most importantly – service, they aim to bring Members and clients

Saturday, May 8, 2010

A Beautiful ( NOT UGLY) American in the Philippines

Map of Marinduque-Heart of the Philippines

This is a true story. This incident happened while I was checking out from our hotel in Makati City ( Somerset Olympia) last April 10. Prior to checking out, I was surprise to learn that my VISA credit card had been frozen due to more than 4 months of inactivity. Thus, I was prepared to pay cash. The cashier informed me of my bill ( P15,000 and P7.50) for the four days. She then asked if I have 2.50 pesos in change so she could give me back P10 after I gave her 15 of 1000 pesos denomination. I look around if my wife is near, but she was out of the office, enjoying her cigarettes. I glanced by my side and saw a white middle-age man also checking out. All of a sudden, he gave the clerk 2.50 pesos and gave me smile. I was a little bit embarrassed, but manage to say thank you. I asked then if he is an American. He said, yes. I told him I am also an American, but spends six months in Marinduque and six months in Northern California every year, enjoying the snow bird lifestyle. We then exchanged business cards. This American is about 35 years old and a sales manager of radiology equipments with an American company in Salt Lake City, Utah. His wife and family had been on vacation in the Philippines for a week. However, his family decided to stay a couple more days, but he is flying home by himself to US that afternoon for business reasons. When he saw my business card, he ask where and what is in Marinduque. I have to give him the standard answer, I gave to all non-Filipinos.( I have a different answer if a Filipino ask me where is Marinduque). In addition, I told him that anytime he wants to visit Marinduque, he gets a free one night stay ( worth P2500) at the beach house (Chateau Du Mer). He was excited and said that the next time he will be in the Philippines, he will go to Marinduque. The 2.50 pesos he gave me is worth only about 0.06 cents, but it is his kind and friendly action that counts. Hopefully, I will have another client at Chateau Du Mer, soon. Indeed a beautiful American!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Marinduque is one of Asia's Tourist Hotspots

Bellarocca Resort and Spa, Buenavista, Marinduque, Philippines
I found this in the web today( It is titled:
Forget Phuket, these are the next-gen Asian tourist hotspots

"For better or for worse, Marinduque, Phu Quoc, Hainan and the Ho Tram Strip are being touted by developers and local governments as Asia's next major tourist destinations.

The lowdown: Pristine beaches, diving sites, a balmy climate. Marinduque has all the postcard charms of other Filipino hotspots such as Boracay and Tagaytay, but none of their tired tourist crowds.

The volcanic island of Marinduque is just a 45-minute flight from bustling Manila, but manages to elude the capital’s frenetic pace. There’s nary a nightclub or souvenir shack in sight. It has a generous sprinkling of hot springs and white sandy beaches, notably the sulphuric hot springs of Malbog, and Poctoy’s White Beach, which doubles as a community hangout. The uninhabited Tres Reyes Islands off the Gasan coast ranks among Marinduque’s best diving sites with azure waters, profuse corals and an underwater cave.

What are 25 of Asia's most overlooked destinations?

Come Holy Week, which is a week before Easter, Marinduqueños cover up with gaudy masks to make like Roman soldiers during the crucifixion of Christ for the famous Moriones Festival.

Why it’s next: For years, Marinduque has been under the foreign tripper's radar, but not for long, if politicos and developers have their way. The laid-back island-province is now being touted as the Philippines’ next holiday haven, with the Bellarocca luxury resort set up last year, and new domestic flights on Zest Air and SEAIR connecting it to Manila.

Luzon officials are also on a crusade to raise the area’s public profile.

Ilocos Norte representative Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said earlier this month that “once the Marinduque air and sea ports are modernized, larger volume of local and foreign tourists can be lured to visit its little-known but awesome white sand beaches.” Marcos is also advocating the redevelopment of the abandoned Marcopper mining site into a 18-hole golf course and a hospital complex, to boost medical tourism.

Link within

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