April 30, 2016

ArtBGC Mural Festival

Bonifacio Art Foundation, Inc. (BAFI) brings back ArtBGC Mural Festival from May 12 to 21 as they make their mark on W 5th, NET One, Bonifacio High Street, Bonifacio Stopover and BGC Corporate Center.  

Now on its sophomore run, ArtBGC promises vibrant new murals and programs to make art and culture more accessible to BGCitizens.  

The festival is done in collaboration with L.A.-based art consultancy, LeBasse Projects, and Honeycomb Communities. Multi-disciplinary artists such as: PastelFD, Andrew Schoultz, HOTxTEA, Bunnie Reiss, Aleks Kocev and Blaine Suque are bringing in their unique brand of creativity, hoping to build on the iconic atmosphere of BGC. 

Representing the Philippines in this festival are Kris Abrigo, Trip63 and ArtBGC Open Call winner, KFK. All artists, international delegates and select guests of BAFI will be treated to a welcome dinner hosted by the local government unit of Taguig. 

While the painting is ongoing, BAFI has created a variety of programs to bring art closer to the community. The Alveo Art Tours are designed to walk you through the different mural sites – old and new.  These daily tours start at the Alveo showroom along 28th Street. The Mind Museum will host Cafe Scientifique – a world-wide movement to bring science closer to the public through conversation. Public art will be discussed and dissected on May 14. Both events are free and open to the public.   

Community takes on a bigger role this year. Coming from last year’s hype, BAFI was able to develop a small army of volunteers that will either be apprenticing under the muralists or running around BGC as part of the Street Team. Volunteers will be rehydrating and recharging at Burgos Eats thanks to Max’s Group. BAFI is also partnering with Fort Bonifacio Development Foundation, Inc. (FBDFI) to bring art to BGC’s neighboring communities. The artists will be painting with the children of Taguig on the afternoon of May 16, leaving behind unforgettable memories and a colorful mural.  

For more details and updates, visit artbgc.com or follow BGC on Facebook (fb.com/BonifacioGlobalCity), Twitter (@ExploreBGC), and the official event Instagram account (@artbgc).     

Or please contact Mikey de Quiros of Full Circle Comms, Inc. at 09178141929 or 6371116/1118.   

About Bonifacio Art Foundation, Inc. (BAFI): 

BAFI is the artistic and cultural arm of Bonifacio Global City. It plays an integral part in BGC’s development as it manages  the public art program and is responsible for erecting several artpieces around BGC. BAFI promotes artwork that is universally accessible -- it can be viewed as and experienced without complicated explanations, at the same time stimulating, engaging and educational. The BAFI Public Art Program aims to make art truly interwoven into the very fabric of everyday life in BGC.  

About LeBasse Projects: LeBasse Projects is an American gallery that partners with its artists and clients in developing experiential exhibitions and ideas. It was founded in 2008 to respond to its artists needs and the changing landscape of contemporary art and culture. With a commitment to develop the most innovative large scale public installations and exhibitions, LBP continues to be a home for groundbreaking artists who work across a range of mediums.   

April 29, 2016


I'm not her fan but I like Jonalyn Viray for she definitely has talent. Her voice is powerful and she surely can sing different genre of songs. I finally saw her in person at Cara Benefit Dinner. The host introduced her as the former  Jonalyn Viray, she now goes by the name 'Jona' because of her move to ABS-CBN as  Star Music recording artist.

April 28, 2016

Bohemian Summerscape at The Grove by Rockwell

Be a part of Bohemian Summerscape at The Grove by Rockwell  on May 21, 2016, 4PM. Dance to the beat of a live band and  DJ performances, watch the breathtaking performance of fire dancers, taste the thrill of food and specialty cocktails, let your kids enjoy lifesize inflatables, and experience other exciting activities for you and your family! 

This is a FREE event but pre-register at www.thegrovebyrockwell.com. for a chance to win an overnight stay at Aruga at The Grove.

April 27, 2016

Tips for Setting up a Home Office

Being a freelance myself, I know how hard it is to set up a proper home office. I often times find myself  distracted, uninspired, and eventually unproductive because I find it difficult what to prioritize.

Freelancing is quickly becoming a new normal in the Philippine job market. What used to be common in the fields of publishing and graphic design is now becoming popular in other industries as well, such as computer programming, app development, animation, and even executive assistantship. Indeed, popular online freelancing marketplace Elance–oDesk said in a statement that in 2013 alone, 1 million Filipino freelancers earned a total of Php3.3 billion from online work through their platforms.

It comes as no surprise that Filipinos are quickly getting hooked up with freelancing. And who can blame them? Given Metro Manila’s horrendous traffic, people are opting to work from home instead. In addition, as the metropolis’ cost of living continues to rise, it becomes more economical for those based outside the capital to freelance instead.

Global real estate website Lamudi Philippines lists down a few tips to create an inspiring and conducive home office.

1. Pick a room

First step is to pick the best space in your home to function as an office. If you think you’ll be freelancing for the long term, then it’s best to use a separate room. However, if your home has limited space, then at least ensure that the spot you’ll pick is adequately spaced and prone to as little interruption as possible. Remember, work is still the reason for your setting this office up, and you cannot work well if you are uncomfortable and constantly being distracted.

2. Get a proper desk

Those who have experience with working from home will attest that the key to being productive is to have a space that is functional first, comfortable second. So it’s important to cover the basics and ensure your space is maximized (you’re setting up an office, not a bedroom, after all). Start with getting a proper desk that provides plenty of surface area. Make sure the height of your desk allows the top of the screen of your desktop or laptop computer to be at eye level or slightly lower. This helps prevent you from straining your neck as you work.

Then there’s the chair. You’ll be spending a good amount of your time sitting on it, so it’s important to have one, preferably ergonomically designed (a regular dining chair simply won’t cut it). Remember: it sounds simple, but your chair must be one your body likes sitting in. If not, you’ll barely spend time working at your actual desk.

3. Decide on the orientation of your desk

Some like working facing the wall to avoid distraction. Others like facing the window for inspiration. It’s up to you where to face your work desk. Others like having their desks closer to windows because the view invites them to turn away from their computer monitors every once in a while. They also get the benefit of a lowered energy bill as the room’s lights don’t need to be turned on all the time. However, it’s important to make sure the desk is at an angle where not much sunlight is glaring off the screen.

4. Equipment, supplies, and storage

Once you’ve had your desk, chair, and their placement sorted out, it’s time to sort out the equipment and materials you’ll need. Aside from a computer and Internet connection, some people, especially those whose jobs are clerical in nature (e.g., virtual assistant), may need a printer, fax machine, and even a landline phone. Designers and architects, on the other hand, need to go beyond a basic desk and may need a drawing board or drafting table. Editors meanwhile may need extra desk space to manually check proofs.

To maintain a clutter-free desk, it is important to have the right kind and amount of storage for your supplies and equipment. For example, the printer or fax machine preferably should have a separate table or stowed somewhere to avoid them being an eyesore, and the same goes for office supplies.

5. Don’t leave cords unaddressed

Admit it: if you don’t tackle the cords when you first set up your home office, you’ll never will. Cords are an eyesore. And while you’re advised not to let toddlers run around your home office, this can’t be prevented all the time, and cords that snake around are dangerous for them. If the spot you picked to place your desk in doesn’t have an electric outlet, get a professional to mount an extension on the wall. The same goes with the cable spaghetti behind your desk—organize them using cord bundlers you can get from house supplies stores.

6. Decorate if you must

While employees working from normal offices are discouraged—prohibited even—to decorate their workplaces, being in your own home office you’re within your right to personalize yours as you please. However, do remember that it is still a work space, and not a lounge to relax in. Sometimes it’s easy to fall into the trap of wanting to imitate that home office that you read about online or saw in a magazine, but it may not be the best use of the space you have.

For instance, having an espresso machine might be fun, but you might have better use for the space it’ll occupy. The same goes with that zen fountain you’ve been wanting to have. Better keep these in the “home” area of your house.

April 26, 2016

A Look at the Properties the Presidential Candidates’ Money Could Buy

It's just three days away from Halalan 2016, the most anticipated event every six years. I'd like to share Lamudi's article to take a look at the properties the presidential candidates’ money could uy.

Looking at the 2016 presidential candidates’ personal net worth is a good way to understand how they manage their wealth, and how they might manage the Philippine economy should they get elected

MANILA, MAY 6, 2016: There are only days left before the 2016 presidential elections, yet many voters continue to look for additional information regarding the candidates. While not the be-all-and-end-all in selecting the next national leader, their net worth is a good indicator of how they manage their personal wealth, and how that possibly translates into their ability to lead the growth of the Philippine economy should they get elected.

To that end, we list the individual net worth of Vice President Jejomar Binay, former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, and Senators Grace Poe-Llamanzares and Miriam Defensor Santiago based on their latest Statements of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN), and attempt to quantify these by exploring the real estate possibilities that could be afforded by their personal wealth.

Manuel “Mar” Araneta Roxas II 

Total Assets: Php283,963,237,000
Total Liabilities: Php81,882,784,000
Estimated Net Worth: Php202,080,453,000

Officially the richest of the 2016 presidential candidates, most of former Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Mar Roxas’ fortune was built from his time as an investment banker in New York, and from being a scion of the Araneta-Roxas family, which has various business interests and landholdings.

Residing in Metro Manila

It would make sense to invest in a home in Metro Manila for someone like Mar Roxas. With finances like his, a home in Pasig is not out of the question, like this six-bedroom, six-bathroom Valle Verde home currently on the market for Php165,000,000.

Investing in the Province of Capiz

Having served as Congressman of the First District of Capiz, an easy assumption to make is that Mar Roxas would be interested in investing in his home province. A net worth such as Roxas’ could accommodate the acquisition of a 3,000-sqm mountain resort in Dumarao, Capiz, 23 times, which is currently valued at Php8,500,000. This property features: family and barkada rooms, dormitories, swimming pools, a grotto, and natural waterfalls.

Buying a Commercial Lot

Roxas previously went by the moniker Mr. Palengke in past political campaigns, and it would be an apt coincidence if he ever decided to invest in a commercial lot to use as a public market. His net worth would easily allow him to acquire such a space in A.S. Fortuna Street in Mandaue City, Cebu (three of them, in fact), which is currently listed for Php53,955,000. The 981-sqm lot is at a prime location, ideal for retail activity.

Mary Grace Sonora Poe-Llamanzares

Total Assets: Php126,955,615
Total Liabilities: Php37,490,796
Estimated Net Worth: Php89,464,819

The youngest candidate, Grace Poe’s SALN actually dropped from her previous ranking, as assets inherited from her late father, movie star Fernando Poe Jr., were removed due to a rule stating such properties should not be declared. Still, she remains the second wealthiest with a fortune comprised of investments and other assets.

Investing in Iloilo

Grace Poe was once an abandoned baby discovered in Iloilo City. Should she ever want to reside in the city, she could do so from a Php16,000,000 three-door apartment near the Jaro Metropolitan Cathedral where she was found by a parish priest. With a total floor area of 402-sqm, the property has three units with five or six bedrooms each, making it an ideal rental investment as well.

Residing in Alabang

It is uncertain what Poe’s next step would be should she not win the presidential elections. If she decides to retire from politics and resume the type of living she had while in the United States, a good investment would be on an American-style home in Portofino in Las Piñas. With four bedrooms, an attic, a two-car garage, and a private inner courtyard, its Php36,246,000 price is well within Poe’s budget.

Investing in Land for Educational or Philanthropic Use

Also known as an educator and philanthropist, Poe could build her legacy as such if she ever decided to forego politics. With her net worth, she can buy a farm lot in Cebu. Currently valued at Php35,000,000, it has an existing rest house and 26,622 sqm of land, which can be dedicated to building an educational facility or remain as a farm where the less fortunate can seek employment.

Miriam Defensor Santiago

Total Assets: Php123,033,539
Total Liabilities: Php50,000,000
Estimated Net Worth: Php73,033,539

Widely recognized for having served in all three branches of the Philippine government (judiciary, executive, and legislative), Miriam Defensor Santiago is arguably the most qualified to hold office in Malacañang. Her fortune has been mostly built on legal and political grounds that has spanned over four decades.

A Residence for Sharing Knowledge

The value of education is evident in Santiago, who has earned degrees from multiple schools. As she is often invited to speak and share her legal and political knowledge in different schools, it would be advantageous for her to own this three-story home in Filinvest 2, which features five bedrooms and six toilets and baths. Listed at Php16,000,000, the home is 10 minutes away from University of the Philippines Diliman, one of Santiago’s alma maters, where she taught law for 10 years.

Investing in Office Space

Santiago’s career has been of pure legal work and local politics. The most ideal real estate investment for her would then be an office space in the event she wants to open another office for her legal practice. One such property that fits her SALN would be a Php43,000,000 office space in the Salcedo Village, Makati. Its floor area of 465 sqm is perfect for a large number of legal professionals.

Expectedly, the incumbent senator may prefer a space with a better proximity to the Philippines’ different national offices, making Manila the ideal locale for most firms. Santiago’s net worth would be enough for a Php36,000,000 office space in Taft Avenue that features a building size of 448 sqm.

Jejomar “Jojo” Cabauatan Binay, Sr.

Total Assets: Php76,301,436
Total Liabilities: Php16,050,453
Estimated Net Worth: Php60,250,983

Despite allegations of corruption and tax evasion, Jejomar Binay is running for the country’s highest office after serving as vice president since 2010. He has the longest tenure in politics among the presidential candidates, and for the most part has amassed his wealth as a career-politician.

A Home in Makati

Having served as Makati’s mayor since the 1980s (although briefly interrupted when his wife won a single term), it is expected that Binay would invest in the city he claims he had the biggest hand in developing. The city’s properties are some of the priciest in the country, and Binay’s entire declared net worth can be spent on just one Makati home, like one in Magallanes Village. Boasting three bedrooms and a land size of 568 sqm, it is currently priced at exactly Php60,000,000.

Commercial Spaces Outside Makati CBD

Anyone with a high net worth should not make the mistake of not investing commercially in Makati. As the country’s foremost financial district, the returns are almost guaranteed for any commercial space. A net worth of Php60 million is more than enough to get a good investment in the city, like a new five-story building in Makati’s Brgy. Tejeros. With a land area of 590 sqm, it can accommodate a number of businesses, and its selling price of Php26,380,200 leaves more of the Binay net worth to invest.

Invest on Island Property

That additional investment could be on an island. As Binay receives much scrutiny and allegations, he may want to consider living on a private island to distance himself from it all. Currently listed on Lamudi is one in Bantayan, Cebu, with a land area of 5,011 sqm and has a selling price of Php25,000,000.

Rodrigo “Rody” Roa Duterte

Total Assets: Php22,971,732
Total Liabilities: Php1,000,000
Estimated Net Worth: Php21,971,732

Another career lawyer and politician, Rodrigo Duterte has served as mayor of Davao City for seven terms (or over 22 years). Known for his hard controversial stance on criminals and modest lifestyle, he is considered the “poorest” of the presidential candidates with his comparatively small net value.

A Larger Home in Davao

Duterte’s supporters have documented how the Davao mayor lives modestly, so one who has served the city for more than two decades may want to invest on a grander home. If he is to invest almost the entire Duterte net value on a home, a five bedroom, five bathroom house and lot is currently listed on Lamudi for Php15,900,000. It has a floor area of 328 sqm, and features a master bedroom with a walk-in closet, and a laundry and service area, among others.

Land for a Possible Rehabilitation Center

Although controversially supportive of the extra-judicial killings of habitual drug users and dealers, Duterte is also acknowledged for having used city government funds to build a Php12 million drug rehabilitation and treatment center, which provides 24-hour services. Should he decide to do this as a private citizen, his net worth would be substantial for the purchase of land in Davao City with the costliest listing on Lamudi being Php15,000,000, and located near Bonifacio with a land area of 913 sqm.

April 25, 2016

A Fun Baking Workshop For Kids at Brotzeit Junior Chef @ Work

Here's another fun-filled learning activity for mommies and kids,   A Fun Baking Workshop For Kids at Brotzeit Junior Chef @ Work. This is a cooking and baking sessions fun especially this vacation. 

The kids like to play and imitate their moms in the kitchen, mold some dough and bake easy to prepare cookies and breads. Moms enjoy seeing the kids able to work on their own, even with their little hands, and be able to make simple treats all by themselves.

This month of May, every Saturday, Brotzeit will be having their Brotzeit Junior Chef @ Work where little ones can have a fun afternoon of making their own favorite Brotzeit food. They can learn how to make their own Fladen, Cookies, and Pretzels. It will be an exciting experience for little kids complete with aprons, cooking tools, and certificates and they will get to taste and bring home the products that they made.

See posters for complete details 
or contact Malou Gonzalez at malou@brotzeitphil.com for schedules and registration.

April 24, 2016

Sudden Sagada Trip

Just like the movie,  'That Thing Called Tadhana', the #Mendiolables had an improptu road trip to Sagada last April 11.  Unlike the movie though, we didn't take a bus, my husband drove. We left Manila at 12:30am, with 2 stops for gas and coffee, we reached Sagada after 8 hours.  

The first thing we did was to find a place where we can stay for our five days Sagada exploration. During that time, accommodations are fullybooked due to Caving Conference.  Since I have read about St. Joseph Resthouse before, we took a chance. Luckily they have an available room for the night at P2,500. This is a good place to stay if your travelling with kids because the place is clean, with lots of flowers around, the rooms are comfortable. They also have their own restaurant. If bringing a car or vehicle, you don't have to worry about the parking because they have ample space which is located within their compound. On our second night, we had to move to a one-bedroom (with 3 beds at P1,500 only) because the 3 bedroom we stayed for the night was reserved by a bigger group months ahead.

We were supposed to stay for 5 days but my father passed away on the night of April 12, so we headed back in Manila on the morning of the 13th.  It was our first time in Sagada and because of our sudden trip back home we were not able to explore the whole of Sagada. Although travel time is pretty long, it was a lovely ride seeing all those trees, rice fields, the sun, and the people along the way.  Let me share with you some of places we've visited and the things we've learned from our two-day sudden Sagada trip. I do hope that you find this post useful and that the videos I made will let you in the beauty of Sagada.

Hanging Coffins of Echo Valley

To get to the coffins, you will be needing a guide (Guide fee is P200 for up to 10 pax). There will be a 15-20 min hike to the coffins. Go there first thing in the morning to avoid the sun and the crowd.

Sumaguing Cave

Sumaguing Cave is the most popular attraction in Sagada for its stunning rock formations. This cave is an absolute must-do but be warned that although Sumaging Cave provides a lot of fun for adventurous people, it is also  potential for danger because it is really dark and slippery inside. it’s very dangerous to go on your own so be sure to register and get a guide at the tourism office for P500 for 4 people or less. We paid P600 (for 5 to 10 people). The entire caving experience is about 2 to 3 hours, depending on your fitness level, the people you are with, and on the number of tourists on the day of the visit. Be prepared to get wet. I suggest you wear hiking shoes that is light and can be wet and lycra pants and top for easy gliding.

For the more adventurous, you might want to do the advanced Lumiang-Sumaguing cave connection route, with 4 to5 hour trekking into a much deeper cave. Tour guide fee is P800 for two people. 


Bokong is a favorite picnic site which has a small falls.  It is a fairly easy hike. Our tour guide said you actually don't need a guide going at Bokong as long as you know the way.  (Guide fee is P200 for up to 10 pax).

Bomod-ok Waterfalls

Bomod-ok Waterfalls is also known locally as the “Big Falls”.  If you do not have a vehicle, you can arrange for a van at the tourism office for P650 round trip. Once at the Banga-an information center, you can hire a guide for P600 (for 5-10 pax). You’ll then begin the hour-long trek down to the falls with an estimated 3 to 5 hours, depending on your fitness level. The trek, especially back up, is tough but it's all worth it once you go for a swim in the cold waters coming from the falls.

Kiltepan Sunrise

Kiltepan Viewpoint is the highest point in the area, it’s known for its breathtaking views of the sun rising from behind the Cordillera mountains over an ocean of clouds. Remember Tadhana movie? This is the spot where Angelica's character emoted because of she was broken-hearted.  If you're bringing a car, it is best to leave your logding place at 4:30 so you can park with ease. Vans can be arranged at the tourism office for P500 round trip.

Other must see places we weren't able to visit:

Lake Danum (Sunset viewing)
Lumiang Burial Cave
Orange Picking at Rock Inn
Balangangan Cave, also known as Marcos Cave
Bumayeng Twin Falls
Pongas Twin Falls
Mt. Ampacao
Marlboro Hill 
Langsayan Danum 
Mt. Sisipitan
Mt. Polis
Mainit Hotspring

Where to eat:

When in Sagada you do not have to worry about getting hungry. There are pretty much a number of restaurants that offer  cheap and decent meals. Expect to spend around P200 per person. Meal is often served in big portions, with salad on the side. For coffee lovers, additional P50 per cup, but it''ll surely satisfy that caffeine craving.

Log Cabin

First on the #Mendiolables list is Log Cabin, located at Poblacion,Ato, Sagada, Mountain Province Sagada. When we went there it was buffet night so we enjoyed all the food they served, from stuffed chicken, ribs, baked eggplant on tomato sauce, salad, bread, chocolate cake and more!  Log Cabin is highly recommended by tourists who have tried this place so expect to meet diners from different parts of the world. We met people from France, Amweica, Canada and other countries.

Log Cabin is open for dinner ony and the food MUST be RESERVED earlier than 3:00pm on weekdays. Every Saturday, they have dinner buffet at P390 per head. They are open from  6:00PM to 9:00PM. For reservation, call 0915 671 7949

Sagada Brew

Sagada Brew serves some of the best coffee and desserts in town. I don't have sweet tooth but I like their lava cake a lot!  They offer a lot of savory meal, like kaldereta, adobo, carbonara and burger steak. They also have the best server-cashier in town, he is so nice and friendly!

Sagada Lemon Pie House

The Lemon Pie House is one of the most popular restaurant because of its lemon pie.  Although my children find their lemon pie's taste weird, it is still a place to visit. We didn't get to try their other dishers because  they offer a few savory dishes, which runs out fast. 

Yoghurt House

Yoghurt House was highly recommended by our 2 tour guides but when we went there to have dinner ,the owners insisted we seat upstairs. We were so tired from the long trek so we wanted to seat on the ground floor and since there were enough seats. I even said, "dito na lang po kami sa baba kasi pagod na sa lakad". To which the old lady said, "konting lakad na lang yan, akyat na kayo dun". For the nth time, the lady owners (an old woman and a lady in her 30s) kept on insisting we go up. We felt disappointed so we just graciouly left Yoghurt House. Better luck next time.

Salt and Pepper Diner

Salt and Pepper Diner was also highly recommended, not only by the tour guides but also by tourists. Unfortunately, for lack of time, we were not able to dine at Salt and Pepper Diner.

Pinikpikan is a Cordillera delicacy, which is highly recommended by the locals. Of course we ordered pinikpikan! Although I tried pinikpikan, I must say, it is an acquired taste, not many will appreciate its smoky goodness. But yeah, life's too short not to try, right?

ETAG is also highly recommended by Sagada people. ETAG is a smoked pork delicacy. My verdict, it's not for everybody. But then again, life's too short not to try ETAG.

Things to remember:

1.  All Sagada tourist must register at the tourism center and pay environmental fee for P35 per head. You have to keep the receipt and bring it to all spots you will visit because they will check the control number before you can proceed to the sites.

2.  If you're not fond of humid weather skip March and April. During our trip, it was really warm from 10am up to 3pm. We had to wait for 7pm to feel the cold air. Locals said the best time to go to Sagada is from November to February. If you want to experience Bonfire Festival on December 28, book a year ahead. May to July comes with rain, while August until October is a typhoon season.

3.  Be warned that Sagada is hard to get to. You will be needing a really good driver that can navigate the sharp curves and bumpy road. 4. My brother Jubert and most of my friends who went to Sagada took a bus. 

4. Bring cash becuase Sagada is a small town with just one ATM and no money changers. Establishments do not accept credit cards so be sure to bring enough cash. 

5. Bring a flashlight and toiletries. The place we stayed provided only one toilet tissue. 

6. There are plenty of places to stay in Sagada with accommodations for as low as P250/head/night (depending on the travel dates). Just make sure to book in advance during peak season. If you're coming with kids and a car or cars, I highly recommend St. Joseph Resthouse. 

7.  I'd say you stay for 5 days to explore all of its attractions. Honestly, you can stay for over a week and just enjoy walking around and meeting people from all over the world. We met families from Germany, Ireland, Poland, Paris and more.

8.  All visitors must secure/hire a Sagada local guide as per Municipal Ordinance #07-2007.

9.  Sagada has a 10:00pm curfew. Always inform your lodging house if you will not be back by 10pm to avoid untoward incident.

10. After registering at the tourism center you will be given a list of must see places. Keep it for reference. Ask the staff at the center, which ones you can visit even without a tour guide.

11. Start your treks early in the morning as possible so you can avoid heat from the sun, especially during summer. Most importantly so you can make it back to your lodging place before nightfall because it is quite difficult to walk at night due to limited lightposts.

12.  Be respectful to the locals and of the sites, especially the hanging coffins.

13.  Be environmet friendly! Did you notice there's an exclamation point? Well, because it's really sad to see trash are just being thrown carelessly by some tourists.

14. Dress appropriately. Bring thick clothing during December to February, the coldest month. March and April is hot in the afternoon, but do bring jackets that will keep you warm at night.

Hot to get to Sagada:

Those bringing cars, take the Manila-Baguio-Sagada-Banaue-Manila route or do the reverse, going up via Banaue and down via the City of Pines.

Hire a private van/vehicle
If there are enough people in your group, at least 10, I suggest you hire a tour guide with a van. This is what my friend Michelle did. They paid 2,500 per head. They were picked from Manila/ Makati.  It is the most convenient way to go because you're sure that the driver is familiar with the road and sites. 

Direct from Quezon City
As of October 2015, Coda Lines has been offering direct trips to Sagada from Quezon City. Buses leave from their terminal near St. Luke’s Hospital (277 E Rodriquez Sr. Ave, Cathedral Heights) at 9PM daily.  For details, contact Coda Lines at 0927-559-2197 or 0929-521-3229.

Bus - Manila Via Baguio
Many bus companies take you to Baguio from Manila. They have buses leaving for Baguio every hour for 24 hours from their four terminals in Manila (Manila, Pasay, Cubao, Caloocan). You can visit their website for information.

Bus - Manila to Banaue
There are daily bus trips from Manila to Banaue that leave at 10:00 p.m. The trip from Manila to Banaue is about nine (9) hours. Bus companies plying this route are Autobus and Dangwa Tranco, and both have terminals in Sampaloc, Manila.   DANGWA, 1600 Dimasalang, Sampaloc, Manila; Telephone: (632) 731 - 2879 or  AUTOBUS, 1455 Loyola St. corner F. Cayco St., Sampaloc, Manila; Telephone: (632) 493 - 4111

Mini-bus, jeepney, van - Banaue to Sagada
At the Banaue bus terminal there are jeepneys, mini-buses or vans,  waiting to take passengers to Sagada. 

April 23, 2016

A Special Benefit Dinner for Cara Welfare Philippines

A special benefit dinner was held tonight at Robinsons Magnolia Garden in Quezon City. The event was organized by CARA Welfare hilippines and Bow & Wow to raise funds to cover the medical treatment and care of rescued, homeless and abandoned animals.

The event  was hosted by Tessa Prieto-Valdes and Tim Yap. Mouthwatering human buffet by Gaita Fores’ Cibo di M and a delectable pet buffet courtesy of Bow & Wow and ALL4PETSParty. Crisp white wines for pet parents was served throughout the night by Planet Grapes.

Fun activities both humans and pets can was held, such as games, raffle prizes, massage station, pet caricature station, pawprint keepsakes, design-your-own cupcake activity.

Attendees came in their best matching outfits. Pets and pet parents won special awards and “strike-a-paws” at the photo booth. 

Guests enjoyed special performances by Jona Viray and the Pole Cats Manila.  

CARA is the country’s key non-profit organization involved in animal welfare activities, including saving, relocating and rehabilitating over a hundred Pitbulls rescued from a dog fighting ring run by Korean nationals in Laguna. Among its projects include spaying and neutering cats and dogs and putting them up for adoption if their owners are not found. I'm just so happy to see that one of the volunteers of CARA is my son's adviser, Ms. Lara.

Ms. Lara Castro
This Special Benefit Dinner for Cara Welfare Philippines has raised P250,000.

April 22, 2016


Joy is not my real name. Written on my birth certificate is Josephine but I grew up hearing Joy. I was only called Josephine by my mom when she was really mad when I did something wrong. 

I don't know why I was nicknamed Joy instead of Jo or Josie. My relatives said maybe because I was a chubby-happy (let me insert cute, wink! wink!) little kid so Joy fits my personality.

It's fairly hard to have Joy for a name. Imagine being Joy and yet ang sungit, suplada o malungkutin ka (lol!). Although associated with bathroom tissue and dishwashing liquid, I thank my parents for nicknaming me Joy. Joy has its own merits; along with Jesus, Love and Noel, these names are popular when its Christmas time kaya sikat ako pag Pasko! Joy has its benefits too, just like when McDo came out with #PaChickenMcDoForJoy. I was tagged by so many people in Facebook to go to any participating stores to get FREE 1-piece Chicken McDo with rice for me and a friend. 

I was planning to go to Megamall but then Pao Oga invited me to a #PaChickenMcDoForJoy Bloggers Event at McDo Greenbelt.

Along with my favorite ka-tukayo mom bloggers, Joy Felizardo and Joy Gurtiza, I felt so loved! 

Salamat McDo sa libre kong mcmcmcchicken!

April 21, 2016

DIVA Loves Food Hottest Reality Cook-offs

Yesterday at EDSA Shangri La Hotel, media and bloggers had the opportunity to try what DIVA Loves Food Hottest Reality Cook-offs do in their shows. I'm happy to be part of the winning team, TEAM 1!

DIVA, the leading women’s entertainment destination from NBCUniversal International Networks, presents two of the hottest reality cooking competition television events as part of its “DIVA Loves Food” line-up:  

CHEF IN YOUR EAR (SERIES PREMIERE), airs every Wednesdays at 8pm.

What if you could only guide a completely clueless cook to create the best restaurant quality dish through an ear piece? Isolated in their own private booth while watching their clueless cook on a monitor, two of the country’s hottest chefs go head to head with each other! It’s ego against ego and dish against dish. Who will emerge victorious? Watch Chef In Your Ear to find out!

MY KITCHEN RULES: SEASON 7 ( Premieres 9 May, Monday at 10:20pm. 
New episodes every Monday to Wednesday at 9:25PM 

Keep your aprons on as the most popular and hotly contested cooking competition show in Australia, My Kitchen Rules, serves up its seventh instalment on DIVA. With renowned UK chef Rachel Khoo joining as the newest judge, this season is bound to be even hotter than ever! Watch as 18 talented teams go face to face in “instant restaurant rounds,” where they cook up three-course meals in the hopes of demonstrating their culinary superiority. Will Indonesian sisters Tasia and Gracia be able to impress the judges with their cooking style? Who will be the last chef standing?

About NBCUniversal International Networks:
NBCUniversal International Networks is one of the world’s premier entertainment portfolios, delivering quality content and compelling brands to over 176 territories across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and Asia Pacific.  The channel brands in the portfolio include Universal Channel, Syfy, E! Entertainment Television, 13th Street, DIVA, Studio Universal, Telemundo, The Style Network and Golf Channel. These unique brands deliver a full range of entertainment experiences to local audiences across the globe; the portfolio also includes Movies 24 in the UK. Further, NBCUniversal News Group, one of the most influential and respected portfolios of on-air and digital news properties in the world, operate CNBC and NBC News internationally.  NBCUniversal International Networks is a division of NBCUniversal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience. NBCUniversal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment television networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, world-renowned theme parks, and a suite of leading Internet-based businesses. NBCUniversal is a subsidiary of Comcast Corporation.