Hidden Paradise in Aborlan, Palawan: Surya Beach Palawan

Surya Beach Palawan

Palawan is definitely one among the beautiful vacation and holiday destinations in the Philippines. Palawan offers an array of beautiful places to visit. If you are planning to travel to Palawan, the popular tourist destinations are  El Nido, Coron and Puerto Princesa.

Surya Beach Palawan

For someone who longs to explore new places, we decided to try Surya Beach Palawan in one of the least popular destinations in Palawan – the municipality of Aborlan. Prior to our visit, I checked online for videos specifically about Aborlan and Surya Beach Palawan. I watched one video and was amazed by the unique beauty of the place! Truly, it’s a less explored and hidden paradise in Palawan!

Aborlan, Palawan


Surya Beach Palawan offers airport transfers and travel time from Puerto Princesa City to the resort is 2 hours. In our case, since we are in Puerto Princesa already as we’ve stayed at The Funny Lion Puerto Princesa for 3 nights, we asked Surya Beach Palawan to pick us up at The Funny Lion. 

Quiet and Serene Resort

We arrived at Surya Beach Palawan and we were the only guests at the resort. We immediately liked the place as it was quiet and serene. We felt like we had the entire resort and the beach to ourselves.

Sunset at Surya

Beachfront Villa

Since having a great view from our accommodation is one of our trip requirements, we booked the Beachfront Villa, as it offers the best view of the beach. The villa, which is actually an A-frame, can accommodate up to 7 persons, making it perfect for families or groups of friends. It includes a queen-size bed, 2 single beds, and another queen-size bed in the loft.

Beachfront Villa at Surya

Surprisingly, the villa comes with a Smart TV so you can watch your favorite Netflix series or watch your favorite YouTube channels. And note that their internet service provider is Starlink so the internet is ultra-fast. Additionally, the villa is equipped with a refrigerator, a coffee and tea area with an electric kettle, drinking glasses, mugs, and complimentary drinking water. However, please note that coffee is not provided, so be sure to bring your own.

Another pleasant surprise is the spacious and beautifully designed toilet & bath. Toiletries, towels, and guest kits are provided, which include a toothbrush, small toothpaste, and a small soap.

Our favorite spot is the veranda, equipped with a lounging area and a dining set, where you can relax and enjoy the breathtaking view of the beach.

Beachfront Villa Rates start at 5,400 Php a night. For bookings, please check-out their Cloudbeds listing.

Good Food

You can bring your own food to Surya and even cook there with corkage. However, since Surya has a chef and serves delicious dishes, I highly recommend ordering food from them. 


In addition to enjoying the views and swimming, they offer relaxing beachside massages, but remember to book a day in advance. They also have kayaks but we were unable to try due to wavy conditions during our stay. At night, ask one of their staff to set-up a beach bonfire which is free of charge. Lastly, during low tide, stroll along the shore and appreciate the beach’s untouched beauty.

Overall, we had a restful and enjoyable stay at Surya Beach Palawan. The staff are very helpful, the beachfront villa is nice, the place is relaxing and serene. I can not gate keep this place as everyone needs to know that there’s a hidden paradise in Aborlan, Palawan!

You may also watch my vlog and review of Surya Beach Palawan below:

Where to eat in Bantayan Island Cebu? MJ Square, HR Native Restaurant, Tristan’s Pizza

HR Restaurant
Anika Island Resort Bantayan Island’s Anika Island Resort

Bantayan Island in Cebu is undoubtedly one of the must visit island in the Philippines. Like Boracay in Aklan and El Nido in Palawan, Bantayan Island is a popular tourist destination among locals and foreign tourists alike.

Where to Eat in Bantayan Island Cebu?

Bantayan Island is tourist ready. Just like Boracay, there is a number of restaurants, bars and café in the island.

Bantayan beach resorts such as Anika Island Resort, Hoyohoy Villas Resort and Beach Placid have their own restaurant. However, food their menu may be limited or more expensive. If you are a food adventurer, there are other food places and restaurants in the island. Below are my top 3 recommended places to satisfy your gastronomic adventures in Bantayan Island:

1. MJ Square

MJ Square is the most popular food place in Bantayan Island. Located in Santa Fe Poblacion, MJ Square is near to various beach resorts in the island. It is a few minute tricycle ride away from Anika Island Resort, Beach Placid Resort and Hoyohoy Villas. MJ Square is just a few minute walk from beach resorts such as Amihan Beach Cabanas, Ritzy’s White Beach Resort, Marlins Beach Resort and Yoonek Beach Resort and Kota Beach Resort.

MJ Square Bantayan Island Map
A food complex with various restaurants and cafes, MJ Square is definitely a go to place for food lovers and adventurers. This Bantayan Island food place offers a wide array of food choices.

Here is a short video of MJ Square in Santa Fe, Bantayan Island.

Complete list of restaurants in MJ Square:

  • Chef Panyang – This restaurant has the biggest area and has widest food options. Chef Panyang serves mostly Filipino dishes. If you are on a budget, Chef Panyang offers 59 Php (approx. $1.14) meal. It’s probably the cheapest meal you can have in the island. If you love seafood, they also have seafood all you can at only 299 Php (approx. $5.75).
Chef Panyang Chef Panyang
  • Cupcake Island Cakery – If you love sweets, visit MJ Square’s Cupcake Island Cakery. This mini bakeshop offers various cakes that will truly satisfy your cravings.
Cupcake Island Cakery Cupcake Island Cakery
  • Bantayan Burrito Company – This MJ Square restaurant serves Mexican cuisine and is Vegan friendly.
  • Shake Me – This small and colorful place in MJ Square is perfect if you are craving for ice cream or shakes in the island.
Shake Me Shake Me
  • Channa’s Café & Wine – This mini cafe is a perfect place to hang-out with your Bantayan travel buddies. Channa’s Cafe serves hot & cold coffee and coffee based drinks. They also serve flavored beer. Their drinks are priced from 50 Php (approx $1.00) to 90 Php (approx. $1.80).
Chana's cafe and wine Chana’s cafe and wine
  • Tapa Master – This Bantayan Island restaurant’s speciality is gourmet and exotic Tapas ranging from 89 Php (approx. $1.72) to 269 Php (approx. $5.17). They also offer sisig and various types of sausages.
Tapa Master Tapa Master
  • Hallas Taverna
  • Stix Smoke House
  • Paradiso Snack Bar
  • Sarapoi
  • Liquido – If you love to drink, Liquido serves various alcoholic drinks.
  • Hello Spank
  • All Time Fry

During our 4 days and 4 night stay in Bantayan Island, we had most of our meals at MJ Square. I highly recommend Tapa Master as they serve great breakfast!

Tapa Master's Hungarian Sausage Tapa Master’s Hungarian Sausage

Overall, you will love MJ Square’s wide array of food choices.  This is the go to place if you are on a budget. The idea of food complex is good as you get to befriend other tourists in the area. The only downside are the flies in the complex.

2. HR Music Bar & Native Restaurant

HR Restaurant HR Restaurant

Located in A. Batobalonos St., HR Native Restaurant is just a few meters away from MJ Square. This restaurant has a wide array of offerings on their menu. They serve seafood, pork, beef, vegetables, pizzas, sandwiches, cold drinks and cocktails.

HR Native Restaurant Map

HR Native Restaurant was the very first restaurant we visited in Bantayan island as it was recommended by our tricycle driver. We later did not regret to dine at HR as their baked scallops in Mozarella cheese (225 Php – approx. $4.50) was very delicious! I should say that it’s the best tasting baked scallops I’ve tried so far.

Baked Scallops Baked Scallops

HR Native Restaurant Menu

Overall, HR Native Restaurant is a good food place in the island. The native ambiance makes the dining experience special. Their baked scallops is a must try!

3. Tristan’s Pizza Hauz and Restaurant

Tristan’s Pizza Hauz & Restaurant is another must visit restaurant in Bantayan Island. Located in F. Roska street and is near to various beach resorts in Santa Fe. Jen and I were very lucky to have met the owner of Tristan’s Pizza Hauz. We learned from her that the place used to be a resort and restaurant. After the typhoon Yolanda, she had to give up the resort and only retained its restaurant.

We ordered their best seller mixed seafood pizza for 450 Php (approx. $8.82). It was a surprise that the pizza is generously topped with mozzarella cheese and seafood (especially shrimps). We super loved the pizza! I should say that it’s one of the best seafood pizza I had!Mixed seafood pizza at Tristan's

Apart from pizzas, this underrated food place in Bantayan Island also serves breakfast meals, salads, pastas, rice meals, snacks and beers.

Overall, Tristan’s Pizza Hauz is a must visit for pizza lovers! The place may not be as popular as MJ Square and other restaurants in Bantayan Island, but is definitely one of the islan’s best food place!

Philippine Holidays 2018 – Regular, Special Non Working & Additional Special Non Working Holidays

2018 Philippine Holidays

2018 is indeed a Happy New Year due to numerous public holidays and long weekends. There are 10 regular holidays and 5 of which fall on either Monday or Friday. For special non-working and additional non-working holidays, there are 9 and 4 of which fall on Monday and Friday.

2018 Philippine Holidays

Complete list of Philippine Holidays 2018

Regular Holidays

  • January
    • January 1, 2018 (Monday) – New Year’s Day
  • February
    • No regular holiday
  •  March
    • March 29, 2018 (Thursday) – Maundy Thursday
    • March 30, 2018 (Friday) – Good Friday
  • April
    • April 9, 2018 (Monday) – Araw ng Kagitingan
  • May
    • May 1, 2018 (Tuesday) – Labor Day
  • June
    • June 12, 2018 (Tuesday) – Independence Day
  • July
    • No regular holiday
  • August
    • August 27, 2018 (Monday) – National Heroes Day
  • September
    • No regular holiday
  • October
    • No regular holiday
  • November
    • November 30, 2018 (Friday) – Bonifacio Day
  • December
    • December 25, 2018 (Tuesday) – Christmas Day
    • December 30, 2018 (Sunday) – Rizal Day

Special Non-Working Days

  • January
    • No special non-working day
  • February
    • February 16, 2018 (Friday) – Chinese New Year
    • February 25, 2018 (Sunday) – EDSA Revolution Anniversary
  • March
    • March 31, 2018 (Saturday) – Black Saturday
  • April
    • No special non-working day
  • May
    • No special non-working day
  • June
    • No special non-working day
  • July
    • No special non-working day
  • August
    • August 21, 2018 (Tuesday) – Ninoy Aquino Day
  • September
    • No special non-working day
  • October
    • No special non-working day
  • November
    • November 1, 2018 (Thursday) – All Saints’ Day
  • December
    • December 31, 2018 (Monday) – Last day of the year

Additional Special Non-Working Days

  • November 2, 2018 (Friday) – All Souls’ Day
  • December 24, 2018 (Monday) – Christmas Eve

With all these holidays and long weekends, you better plan your travels this early. Buy your plane tickets, book your hotels and cross out items in your 2018 travel bucket list!

Note that above list of 2018 Philippine Holidays is in line with Republic Act (RA) Number 9492 dated July 24, 2007 amended Section 26, Chapter 7, Book I of Executive Order (EO) Number 292, also known as the Administrative Code of 1987. For reference please visit 2018 Philippine Holidays Official Gazette.



Cheap Restaurant in Dumaguete City – Jo’s Chicken Inato

Jo chicken inato dumaguete philippines

If you are looking for a cheap and probably the best restaurant in Dumaguete City, Jo’s Chicken Inato is the place to be. Popular among locals and tourists, this restaurant started serving their famous native chicken inato in early 80’s. Inato means “aton aton lang” or “exclusive for us”.

Jo's Chicken Inato Dumaguete City
Jo’s Chicken Inato Dumaguete City
Located along Hibbard Avenue corner Siliman Avenue, Jo’s Chicken Inato can easily be reached via tricycle at any point within Dumaguete city.

Jo’s Chicken Inato’s Filipiniana facade sets this restaurant apart from any other restaurants in Dumaguete City. It has this high-end ambiance especially during the evening. Lights complement to the varnished wooden chairs and tables. Being an open air restaurant, guests get to enjoy the unpolluted air of Dumaguete city.

Jo's Chicken Inato Interior
Jo’s Chicken Inato Interior

Live chicken on the leftmost part of the photo
Live chicken on the leftmost part of the photo
Interestingly enough, there is a huge live chicken inside Jo’s Chicken Inato restaurant. 

Jo’s Chicken Inato Dumaguete City Menu

The restaurant bestsellers are Inato Paa, Inato Petso, adobong kangkong, fish kinilaw, macao canton and buko halo-halo. They also serve various meats, seafood, grilled and sizzling dishes. They also serve alcoholic drinks.  For the complete menu, please visit the links below:

I did not hesitate to try their signature dish – Inato Petso (99 Php). This meal consists of chicken breast, rice and atsara. I must say that the chicken inato is something that resembles Bacold’s chicken inasal. Both dishes are tasty and delicious! (related: Where to eat chicken inasal in Bacolod City)

Chicken Inato
Chicken Inato

Jo chicken inato dumaguete philippines

Apart from the delicious chicken inato, we ordered 2 piece of pork barbeque (40 Php), Camaron rebosado (120 Php), buttered shrimps (150 Php). We paid less than 500 Php in total for a festive meal consisting seafoods, pork and chicken!

Being cheaply priced, I did not really expect something special on their menu. Surprisingly, their food exceeded my expectations! I have nothing negative to say about this restaurant. The location, ambiance and service are good. Food on their menu are delicious and affordable. Well, that explains why Jo’s Chicken Inato is a very popular food destination in Dumaguete City!

Extraordinarily Beautiful Miagao Church in Iloilo

Miagao church in ililo philippines

Simbahan ng Sto. Tomas de Villanueva or popularly known as the Migao Church is one among the four Philippine churches in Baroque Romanesque architecture. Built in 1797, Miagao church was declared as a Philippine national treasure in 1963 and a UNESCO world heritage in 1993.

Located in the municipality of Miagao in Iloilo, the church has become one of Iloilo’s tourist destination. With its jaw dropping and intricately designed facade, Miagao church is truly a work of art!

Miagao church in ililo philippines

The church embodies the mixture of Spanish-Filipino culture. Back in history, Miagao church was built using forced labor. Interestingly enough, the church was built using adobe, lime stones, corals and eggs.

Beautiful church in philippines

Unfortunately, I arrived in Miagao at around 2 PM where the sunlight is almost facing the rear part of the church. The best time to visit Miagao church is during early morning as the color of its facade changes depending on the sunlight.

filipino travel blogger philippines

Photo with the beautiful Miagao church. Thanks to the self-timer feature of cameras nowadays.lol

baroque architecture philippines

After taking several pictures of Miagao Church’s facade, I tried opening its front and main door to check out its interior. Unfortunately, it was closed. To my dismay, I strolled around the area hoping that i could enter the church. I was very lucky that there was an open door on one side of the church. As I entered, I was greeted by a very welcoming and accommodating man who happens to be the resident guide of Miagao church. He shared a number of facts about the church and the town of Miagao. He was very friendly and accommodating that he even took a photo of me inside the church.

Philippine church interior iloilo

The church’s interior matches its outside beauty. Miagao church’s retablo is  gold plated which compliments the beautiful color of its thick walls.

Miagao church iloilo blogger

Photo with the resident guide

Filipino travel blogger


I should say that the church is well maintained. This is one of the few heritage sites where the original structure is retained and preserved.

How to Get to Miagao church Iloilo

From Iloilo City proper, ride a cab to the town of Molo. From there, take a jeepney to Mohon terminal. From the terminal, ride a jeepney bound to Miagao. Total travel time from Iloilo City to Miagao church is approximately 1 hour.

So far, Miagao church is the most beautiful church I have seen not only in Iloilo but in the entire country.  This extraordinarily beautiful church is a must visit if you are traveling or backpacking to Iloilo.

Brasas SM North EDSA, Latin American Streetfood

Carne Asada Brasas

Located at the 4th floor of The Block, Brasas is one of the newest and one of its kind restaurant in SM North EDSA. Perhaps the first restaurant to offer authentic Latin American cuisine in Manila.  Brasas promises a taste of street food Latin American dining experience.Brasas’ limited real estate is compensated by its unique interior.  High end wooden tables are perfectly positioned giving diners enough space to freely move.  Walls are eye catching.  There is a part in the area where a number of Portuguese and Spanish words are artistically written.  The entire restaurant is also well lighted.

Brasas the block interior

As first time diners in Brasas, I was shocked when there is a sign in the table saying “Please order at the counter.”  We hurriedly went to the counter and one of the waiters handed us the menu.  At the counter, you will see how they prepare these to die for Latin American cuisines.  It amazes me that their chef is a Latina.

Brasas SM North Counter

I ordered Carne Asada Platter, a charcoal grilled sliced beef sirloin with South American slaw, a single Patacones and Yellow Latin rice.  The platter is also served with a Chimichurri sauce.  My friend ordered Pollo Asado Platter, just the same thing with Carna Asada except for the grilled chicken.  It took just about 15 minutes when our orders were served.

brasas rice meal

Carne Asada Platter is priced at 250.00 Php.

I immediately tasted the chargrilled beef the moment the platter was served.  The beef is perfectly cooked, very tender and generously on top of the delicious Latin yellow rice.  Because of its green color, Chimichurri intrigued me.  Well, needless to say, its goes perfectly with the delicous chargrilled beef.  For the side dish, Patacones, a yellow chip made of sliced green plantain serves as the appetizer.  The healthy and fresh Latin slaw is also perfect!

pollo asado brasas

Pollo Asado is priced at 210.00 Php

Latin iced tea brasas

Latin Iced Tea is priced at 80 Php.

I also loved the Latin Iced Tea. I actually had two orders of this.

Since there is a wide array of authentic Latin American food in Brasas Menu, I would definitely come back to try their other dishes. Aside from this, with the price, serving is generous. The ambiance is good, except that I did not hear any music to set the mood of the diners. Customer service is also good. The counter lady and the servers were all accommodating. I would highly recommend Brasas!

Aside from The Block SM North EDSA, Brasas Philippines branches also include SM Aura Premier and The Podium.


Visit Brasas Facebook Page.



LRT Philippines Holy Week Schedule 2013

In observance of the Holy Week and to give way to the LRT annual scheduled maintenance, there will be no LRT operations on the following dates:

March 28, 2013 (Maundy Thursday)
March 29, 2013 (Good Friday)
March 30, 2013 (Black Saturday)
March 31,
2013 (Easter Sunday)

LRT Operations will resume on April 1, 2013 (Monday).  For more info, visit Light Rail Transit Authority website.


Ark Avilon Zoo

I’m pretty much sure that you’re familiar or at least have heard of Noah’s Ark story in the bible where Noah put pairs of animals in his Ark.  Well, there’s an interesting zoo in Pasig City, Philippines – the Ark Avilon Zoo.  Although this 2-storey Ark-shaped zoo is far from the real Noah’s Ark, still, it is one of the perfect places for kids and kids at heart to see animals up close.

Ark Avilon Zoo Location Map / How to get to Ark Avilon Zoo
Situated in Frontera Dr corner Road D, the zoo can be reached by foot from a nearby shopping center Tiendesitas.  Just right beside the zoo is Fun Ranch, an attraction complex for kids.

View Larger Map

Ark Avilon Rates
Regular rate is 300.00 Pesos
Children 3.5 ft. and below is 200.00 Pesos
20% discount for senior citizens and PWDs

Entrance area of the zoo

Zoo Hours
Ark Avilon is open everyday including holidays
Weekdays at 9:00 AM to 6: 00 PM
Weekends at 10 AM to 7:00 PM

The interior of the zoo is amazing. It seemed that the layout was carefully planned for a great “zoo” experience for kids and adults alike.  Although the birds are in rope perches, it’s a relief not to see them in cages.

The super friendly and cute Jenny the Bornean Orangutan

Old English Sheepdogs

More photos below:

Wild animals like Tiger, Panther and Puma also reside in the Ark.

Farm animals and some caged birds are in the second floor of the zoo.

Guests can also feed the animals (except for the wild ones lol)

Overall, the zoo is clean and well maintained. Animals seem to be loved and well taken care of.  Zookeepers and staff are friendly.. and not to mention my favorite animal – Jenny the Orangutan.  Being the Philippine’s first indoor zoo, Ark Avilon may lack real estate to accommodate huge animals like Giraf and Elephant, however the way the zoo let’s its guests interact with some of its animals makes the experience fun and memorable.

Mariposa Budget Hotel: Cheap and Decent Hotel in Cubao

If you are looking for a decent yet affordable hotel in Cubao, Quezon City, Mariposa Budget Hotel is the place.  Located in Stanford St. along Aurora Boulevard, this affordable lodging is walking distance from EDSA and is very accessible to malls (Gateway, Farmers Plaza and Isetann), convenience stores (7-11 and Ministop) fastfood restaurants (Jollibee and Chowking).







Location Map

View Larger Map

Room Rates (Fridays) & weekends*
1,000 Pesos –  Standard room 12 hours stay
1,150 Pesos – Deluxe room 12 hours stay

Deluxe rooms include coffee, bath robe, personal care kit and hair dryer

Room Rates (Mondays- Thursdays)
Approximately 650 Pesos –  Standard room 12 hours stay
Approximately 750 Pesos – Deluxe room 12 hours stay

For the room availability and current prices, please visit and book HERE.

Value for Money
Given the rates and the decency of their rooms which are very clean and not to mention friendly staff, from the security guard to their front desk personnel, you’ll get the value for your money.

30 Stanford St., Cubao, Quezon City
Landline: +632-911-9133
Mobile: +63-0917-8278636
Email: [email protected]

Mariposa budget hotel in Quezon City
Cheap hotel in Quezon city, Mariposa Budget
Clean hotel in Quezon City
Cheap motel in Cubao Quezon City

Driver’s License Renewal Philippines

Renewing your expired driver’s license is pretty fast.  The renewal process itself only takes less than 30 minutes but the drug and medical exam depends if there’s a number of applicants on queue.  I had my driver’s license renewed today at SM North EDSA LTO driver’s license renewal center.


  • Expired Driver’s License – Note that renewal centers do not accept licenses that are already expired for more than two years. For such cases, the license holder must have their renewal in LTO main office.
  • Medical Exam  and Negative Drug and Results – In SM North EDSA, there’s a medical and drug testing center beside the renewal center.  Based from my experience, it took me almost 2 hours to undergo the medical and drug test process due to long queues of applicants.  The testing center opens at 9:00 AM and I was on time.  I would not recommend renewing your license on Fridays and during paypay due to long queues in the Medical and Drug testing center.
  • Ballpen – It would not be a good idea not to bring your pen with you.  Prior to the medical and drug exams and the renewal process itself, you have to fill-out a total of five pages of forms.


  • Have your medical and drug test exams.  You will have to surrender your expired license and pay 450.00 pesos for the exams.
  • Once you have the results on hand, you will be asked to proceed to LTO renewal center and will have to fill-out another form. They will then ask you if there are any changes on your information (address etc.). Any request in information costs additional 100.00 pesos.
  • You will have to wait for a few minutes for picture taking
  • Another few minutes of waiting and you will be called to proceed at the payment section.  Renewal fee costs 350 pesos and processing/computer fee is 67.63 pesos.
  • Another few minutes and you will be called for the release of your new license and receipt

Medical and Drug test: 450.00 Pesos
Renewal Fee: 350.00 Pesos
Computer Fee: 67.63 Pesos
Penalty: 150.00 Pesos (Penalty only applies to expired license holders)

Total: 1,017.63 Pesos