Batad, Ifugao

Ifugao – Batad, Banaue

Last year, my college roommate Grace and I went to Batad, the UNESCO heritage site in Ifugao. From the trip to our stay in the village and back, there were many things that went wrong with our trip. Looking back, I think we would never have survived it if it not for our sunny disposition and sense of humor.

The Road to Banaue

We booked the 9 PM bus so we could reach Banaue by breakfast. As usual, the Ohayami terminal in Sampaloc was packed with local and foreign tourists bound for Ifugao and Mountain Province.

Banaue, Ifugao

After about 12 hours, we arrived safely in Banaue. I had a good night’s sleep on the bus even though some of the foreigners spent half the night noisily watching a Bollywood film. When we got off the bus, we stayed at the terminal to wait for our driver, who was supposed to pick us up at 7 AM. (Grace contacted a tour coordinator ahead of time, so we didn’t need to make arrangements for the one-hour jeepney ride.)


Four other tourists joined us in waiting, with whom we had to share the jeep. As the morning wore on, they grew more and more impatient and cranky. When our driver arrived more than an hour late, he was all apologies: he couldn’t return our calls because he was navigating the deadly road from Batad to Banaue. The other group was implacable; they were so annoyed they even refused to go “toploading.”

Toploading in Cordillera

Well, they missed this view.

Road to Batad

And this, too.

It was El Niño season when we visited, so we had to trek in the sweltering heat. We couldn’t have done it without Ate Jasmine, our guide, who cheered us on and entertained us with stories about her family life and the local folklore.

Trekking to Batad

Under construction: The road from Batad Junction to the town proper

Batad Marker

Igorot woman with hikers

Ate Jasmine, our guide

When we reached the town proper, we found that the inn we were supposed to stay at was fully booked (even though we had reservations). There wasn’t enough water for the visitors because of the drought. To top it off, there was no WiFi or mobile coverage! (Just kidding, It wasn’t an issue, really. It’s fairly common not to have data coverage in the mountains.)

My friend and I didn’t make a fuss over these things — we know that sometimes, shit just happens. Besides, the view of the amphitheatre-like rice terraces was enough for us. We’ll definitely come back!

Batad, Ifugao

Batad, Ifugao

Tappiyah Falls, Batad

Tappiyah Falls


Batad, Ifugao

Will you look at that view

Where to Stay in Batad

Ramon’s Native Homestay and Restaurant (0935-130-2911) and Batad Transient House (0935-130-2911) are the most popular choices in the area. Get in touch with them to learn more about their rates and available tour packages.

Pinto Art Museum

Rizal – Antipolo’s Pinto Art Museum

If you’re a millennial like me, you’ve probably heard about that art museum in Antipolo City from your friends or social media contacts. Home to the non-profit organization Silangan Foundation for Arts, Culture, and Ecology, Pinto Art Museum is a private gallery and museum that has attracted the attention of curious tourists and art enthusiasts.

Stephanie Lopez' Defiling a Dream

Stephanie Lopez’ Defiling a Dream. Yes, my friend didn’t touch the artwork🙂

Pinto Art Museum

Pinto Art Museum garden

A Museum in the Hills

What sets Pinto Art Museum apart from most other art galleries and museums around Manila is its sprawling landscape and beautiful interiors. Nestled on the side of the Sierra Madre mountains, the museum offers a breathtaking view of the lowlands.

Pinto Art Museum

Pinto Art Museum

Feast for the Senses

Aside from being a haven for landscape architects, the museum is known, of course, for housing hundreds of pieces from upcoming and established artists alike. With its many galleries and exhibits, the museum was nothing but a feast for the eyes.

In an interview with Philippine Star, art patron, neurologist, and museum owner Joven Cuanang said that he sees himself as an educator: showcasing the works of contemporary Filipino artists is his contribution to the promotion of our culture and arts.

Pinto Art Museum

My friend Jep interacting with the artwork

Pinto Art Museum

Panalo (swim, bike, run) by Ferdie Montemayor

Pinto Art Museum


And here are leaves

How to get there

In Cubao, take a jeepney or an FX bound for Antipolo and ask the driver to drop you off at Ynares Center. It’s a few blocks away from the church, and it’s not hard to find. From there, take a tricycle to the museum (P50 per trip). The drivers are familiar with the place.

If you’re going by car, take Ortigas Extension. Go past Cainta Junction, and drive until you reach Tikling Junction. The route heading uphill will get you to Ynares Center. Turn right and drive straight ahead to reach the gates of Grand Heights.

More Details

Pinto Art Museum is located at 1 Sierra Madre Street, Grand Heights, 1870 Antipolo City. Ticket prices (as of July 2016) are as follows:

  • P200 – Regular visitors
  • P180 – Senior citizens and PWDs with valid IDs
  • P100 – Students with valid IDs and children

The museum is open from Tuesday to Saturday, 9 AM to 6 PM. Reach them by calling (02) 697-1015 or shoot them an email.

For reservations for seats at the Pinto Museum: Pinto Café by Peppermill, call (02) 986-1804.

[News] WebGeek DevCup Hackathon 2016 Registration Starts July 18th

Now in its fifth year, WebGeek will host its annual hackathon, DevCup, from August 20 to 21, 2016 at the Meralco Multi-Purpose Hall in Ortigas.

DevCup aims to bring together amazing developers, designers, and technology professionals to create innovative apps and showcase the talent of the Philippine developer. In this competition, participants are provided with a theme in which they must develop their app. They are given two days to complete their app to be presented to the judges.

DevCup 2016 banner

In 2015, 70 teams battled it out for the DevCup championship title. Out of the 70 registered teams, 60 apps were presented at the end of the event for the judges to select. The winning team of Jose Marco Padillo, Giovanni Angelo Balaguer, and Micah Andrew Bule of Cynder presented their app First Response which provides crowdsourced notifications for information dissemination during a disaster or a calamity. In second place are Jezer Crespo, Marc Levinson B. Suarez, Reynaldo Del Rosario Jr  of Xudoer with Xonar. CodeBuddy finished third with Connectify, which was developed by Patrick Ofilada and Rommel David.

Early bird registration lasts from July 18 to 20. You can sign up as an individual, or form a team with up to three members. Last year, tickets were sold out in just two days. Better to register early, as the event only have limited slots.

WebGeek DevCup 2016 Poster This year’s DevCup is expected to be as exciting as the previous years’ hackathons with the participation and support of Philippine developers as well as its esteemed sponsors. With your support, we can make it a collaborative and fun experience for everyone.

For those who are interested in sponsoring the event, shoot them an email at

For registration details and updates, follow them on Facebook and Twitter, and visit their website.

Gen. Luna's birthplace

Celebrating Independence Day

I am a person who deeply values tradition and rituals. Every year, I celebrate Independence Day by taking a walk in Intramuros or Ermita. This year, I took a break from that tradition to spend time with my family and celebrate Father’s Day a week early.

Bantayog ng mga Bayani

Eduardo Castrillo’s monument at Bantayog

Bantayog ng mga Bayani

Together with my family, I started the day with a quick trip to Bantayog ng mga Bayani in Quezon City. We joined the silent protest against the president-elect’s decision to bury Marcos in Libingan ng mga Bayani.

About 500 people came to share stories about their experiences during Martial Law. Some brought sandwiches and lugaw for other attendees. A handful of people brought their children, which was very heartening.

Bantayog ng mga Bayani

Toym Imao’s sculpture

Marcos, Not a Hero

A personal note: I’ve always been very vocal about my views on the late dictator and how he terrorized and stole from his own people. In 2012, I even created a Facebook page to counter the lies about the Marcos regime that I read on the Internet. So to watch BBM’s brazen attempt to revise history is a bit depressing for me.

(If you love the Philippines, and if you agree that plundering megalomaniacs do not deserve to be called a hero, make your voice be heard and sign this petition.)

Lunch at Binondo

Binondo Church

Binondo Church

We had lunch at my favorite restaurant in Binondo, Lan Zhou La Mien, where we had a hearty meal for four for less than a thousand pesos. A bowl of noodles costs less than P200, and it’s already good for sharing. We also ordered a 15-piece platter of kuchay dumplings, which was basically a steal at P180.

Lan Zhou La Mien

Dimsum and noodles from Lan Zhou La Mien

Afterwards, we went on a short walk to San Nicolas, which is a few blocks away from Binondo Church. We paid a visit to Gen. Antonio Luna’s birthplace in Urbiztondo, right across Rajah Soliman High School.

Heneral Luna's birthplace

Gen. Luna’s birthplace in San Nicolas

Last on our list was the National Museum in Ermita. They don’t charge entrance fees on Sundays, so you can bring your whole family without worrying about your budget. Learn more about the National Museum on their website.

How did your family celebrate this year’s Independence Day?

[News] I Want Seats: Real-Time Online Bus Reservation


Why wait in line when you can book online?

iWantSeats is an online bus booking platform in the Philippines. Currently offering deluxe trips to Baguio and Baler to and from Manila via JoyBus, more routes will be added to serve you!

Joy Bus

Joy Bus

Booking your bus ticket has never been as easy as booking your hotels and airline tickets! With just a few clicks, you can reserve and confirm your seat and just go to the terminal on the day of your trip.

Explore new places, or travel to and from your city without having to wait hours at the terminal as a chance passenger. Leave the booking to iWantSeats and enjoy more of your trip.

Book to Baguio or Baler now at Watch out for new trips coming soon!

(First published in this blog. Minor edits were made.) 

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Bontoc, Mountain Province: Maligcong Rice Terraces and Mount Kupapey

This blog was all that convinced me a few years ago to finally visit Buscalan, Kalinga, where Apo Whang-Od lives. Watch how the blogger captures the beauty of Maligcong Rice Terraces in Mountain Province. Truly breathtaking.

Biyaherong Barat

26772642321_d6f7b7c1f0_bBontoc has seen decades of development in order to catch up with the changing times. Given its status as an economic and trade center in the heart of the Cordillera Region, to succumb to modernization is a just necessity. While Bontoc bustles day in day out, some of its villages sit quiet on the outskirts. Maligcong, for example, doesn’t have much in terms of business establishments, however, this lack of modern-day luxuries sustained its charm, the lush environment, culture, and heritage over the years, maybe centuries.

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