Getting Around Brunei Darussalam

Majority of Brunei's attractions lie within walking distance of each other in the heart of the capital city, Bandar Seri Begawan. You have many transportation options to get around Brunei.

Hong Kong Avenue of Stars

Image from Wikipedia. No machine-readable author provided. Johnson Lau assumed (based on copyright claims). - No machine-readable source provided. Own work assumed (based on copyright claims)
For those who are traveling to Hong Kong, like me, the Avenue of Stars will be closed from October 8, 2015 until 2018.

Where to Stay in Ilocos Norte?

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I've only visited Ilocos Norte once so I was able to a couple of hotels, but that doesn't mean I can't give information on other hotels.

These are the hotels where we stayed when we visited.

Northview Hotel

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To truly enjoy your visit here, you must, at least, stay a night here.  We have a car so we decided to stay a night at the Northview Hotel.  It's near the downtown proper and other tourist sports.  Read more>>


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Fort Ilocandia Golf &Country Club
 


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A 5-star hotel in Laoag City, that only their members can play at the golf club.  This is along the way going to the Malacanang of the North.  We just stopped by here to use their restrooms and, of course, I had a little peek. Though, I can only see the verandah and the bushes.

Please click here for the list of hotels, inns, resorts & homestays in Ilocos Norte.

List of Hotels/Lodgings/Inns/B&Bs in Ilocos Norte

Last Updated: August 31, 2016
Please find below the list of accommodations in Ilocos Norte. This is just a list and does not guarantee the current room rates, addresses, contact numbers and quality of service of the hotels. It is advisable that you do a full and thorough research about a specific hotel before booking.

What to Eat in Vigan?

We always end our tour by eating, and this was no exception. Since we are soon checking out the hotel, we decided on having lunch in their restaurant. 

Vigan is known for their bagnet, empanada, longganisa, ukoy, poqui-poqui and chichacorn so make sure you try these before you leave.

Vigan Empanada
Empanada is another food that Filipinos love to eat.  Not only because it's delicious but also it's affordable for a complete meal. Read more>>

Vigan Ukoy
Ukoy, sometimes called Okoy is a flavorful Filipino appetizer with a golden color and better served after cooking.  It's made of unpeeled baby shrimps, but sometimes, others used peeled shrimps. Read more>>

Bagnet and Pinakbet with Bagnet
 
Bagnet is a deep fried pork belly then sun dried for a long time after. It's considered the top favorite among the Filipinos.  Almost everybody knows this delicacy and no-one can't deny this, except me, though. Read more>>

Vigan Longganisa
Aside from being garlicky in taste, Vigan longganisa is also known for it's sourly & salty taste.  Thanks to the native garlic grown in the province and the Iloko vinegar. Achuete, paprika, ground pepper & kinchay are also added to the meat to complete the perfect longganisa. The color of Vigan longganisa is yellowish.

There a lot of food to try in this province, but I only have one tummy so I can't try them all! :) But I will next time.

Bagnet and Pinakbet with Bagnet

 
Bagnet is a deep fried pork belly and from what the local said to me when I asked, it's sun dried for a long time to make it more crispier.

It's considered the top favorite among the Filipinos.  Almost everybody knows this delicacy and no-one can't deny this, except me, though. It's delicious but too salty for me.  It's made like that to preserve it after deep frying and sun drying. 

I love it though when included in any vegetable recipe, it served as the salt and of course the meat. One of that is the Pinakbet (Mixed Vegetables Saute with shrimp paste). Another local favorite in Vigan. I love it and I would love to try it again.

This is from the restaurant at Grandpa's Inn.

Vigan Ukoy

Ukoy, sometimes called Okoy is a flavorful Filipino appetizer with a golden color and crisp.  It's made of unpeeled shrimps, but sometimes, others used peeled shrimps. It's best to serve after cooking to enjoy the crispiness. 

Vigan Ukoy, unlike the regular Ukoy is made of galapong (rice sticky dough), shrimps, onions, spring onions and other spices to tasted. It's deep fried to have that crispiness.

What I like about Vigan Ukoy, is that it doesn't lose it's crispiness even though it's been hours since we bought it. The only thing I don't like is it's too oily, normal for deep fried food. When you go to Vigan, try this along with the Empanada.

Where to Stay in Ilocos Sur?

I've only stayed one night in Vigan so I was able to stay at one hotel only, but this really is a must if you need an accommodation in Vigan, Ilocos Sur. Your home away from home.
 
Grandpa's Inn & Restaurant





Grandpa's Inn is an old house, or more like a mansion, that was converted into a hotel. Located just a few minutes away from Calle Crisologo in Vigan City. Readmore>>

For the list of other hotels in Vigan City, please click here.

For list of hotels in Ilocos Sur, please click here.

Cebu Province

Cebu is named one of the best island destinations in the Indian Ocean-Asia region and in Asia-Pacific by Condé Nast Traveler Magazine. One of the popular destinations in the province is the Mactan Island where the second busiest airport in the country is located. 


Name of Cebu came from the word Sibu, which means, to trade. The province is very rich in history. One of the notable events in the province was the Battle of Mactan.  A battle fought in Mactan before the Spanish colonization.
The oldest Christian figure of the Sto. Nino is enshrined and venerated at the Basilica of Santo Nino. It’s said that this figure was given by the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan to the wife of Rajah Humabon, the king of Cebu.

 Where to Eat in Cebu?

The province celebrates Sinulog Festival every 3rd Sunday of January. This feast is held in honor of the patron, Senor Santo Nino de Cebu (Lord Holy Child of Cebu) and the arrival of Ferdinand Magellan in the country.
In October 2013, Cebu along with the neighboring province, Bohol, was hit by a 7.2 magnitude earthquake. It’s said to be one of the strongest earthquakes in the country. A lot of historical churches and other tourist attractions were damaged by the earthquake.


You can tour the Metro Cebu in one day, but if you want the best part, like swimming and trying other adventurous and exciting activities, best to stay a night or two.

 
In my own opinion, Cebu City is no different than the cities in Metro Manila. If you want a more relaxing, fun and adventurous activities, visit the others tourist spots outside the city.

What to See in Cebu?

When you visit Bohol province and have extra day or two, spend it exploring the neighboring city, Cebu.

These are the places we've visited for just a day. We started at 8:00am and finished at 4:00pm. If your flight is not until late evening, you still have enough time to explore the resorts at Mactan Island.

Mactan Shrine
Also called Liberty Shrine or Lapu-Lapu Shrine is built in honor of  Datu Lapu-Lapu, Ferdinand Magellan and the Battle of Mactan. In the site the first thing you'll see when you enter is the Magellan Shrine. Read more>>

Alegre Guitars
Aside from Lechon, Cebu is also a home to the best guitar craftsmen in the Philippines. Not only it's durable, but also with great quality and very affordable. There are a lot of guitar makers in Cebu, but Alegre Guitars is the most popular one. Read more>>

Cebu Taoist Temple
Is a temple located in Beverly Hills Subdivision built by a Chinese Community in Cebu. Unlike other Temple, this one is also open for non-worshipers, making it one of the tourist destinations in Cebu. Read more>>

Doce Pares Mountain Training Park
Opened in October 2009, Doce Pares has become one of the tourist attractions in Cebu. Originally created as a training site for combat by Doce Pares, but it's now opened for visitors. Read more>>

Cebu Heritage Monument
This monument depicts the important moments in history of Cebu. It's also called Parian Monument and depicts the important moments in history of Cebu. It's a big artwork with everything in it.  Read more>> 

Magellan's Cross
 
Is a Christian cross planted as ordered by the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan when he first set foot in Cebu, Philippines. It's now housed in a chapel beside the Basilica Menor del Santo Nino church. Read more>>

Basílica Menor del Santo Niño
 
Is the oldest Roman Catholic Church in the Philippines and serves as the Mother and Head of all churches in the country. It houses the oldest image of the Sto. Niño de Cebu, the same image given by Ferdinand Magellan to the wife of the rajah of Cebu. Readmore>>

Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral
Also knows as The Metropolitan Cathedral of the Most Holy Name of Jesus and St. Vitales and The Metropolitan Cathedral of St. Vitales is the first church in the Philippines that is dedicated to St. Vitales.  Read more>>

I wanted to visit Fort San Pedro and Sugbo Museum but my friends were already tired. The disadvantage of travelling in a group. It's always the majority who wins. At least I have other reasons to get back to Cebu, aside from attending a mass at the Basilica.

Leyte Province: The Promised Land

Leyte is an island in the Philippines that consists of two provinces, Leyte Province (Northern Leyte) & Southern Leyte. The province is known for the longest bridge in the Philippines, the San Juanico Bridge, that connects the provinces of Leyte and Samar.  Seems impossible but former President Marcos made it possible, for his wife Imelda Romualdez Marcos, so people say.

Where to Eat in Bohol?

Food always go along with attractions, so if you get tired or get hungry while exploring Bohol province in the Philippines, eat your tiredness away!

Floating Restaurant @ Loboc River
Lunch at a floating restaurant while cruising Loboc River is one of the top things to do in Bohol. It's the best way to end your morning after visiting the many tourist attractions.  Read more>>

Lantaw Restaurant @ Bohol Bee Farm
If you love organic food and unique taste of food, this is the place to Bee! The location is prefect, overlooking the ocean! Read more>>

DBR Grill @ Dumaluan Beach Resort
Located just beside the Dumaluan Beach Resort is this grill where you can wait while they are cooking your seafood or barbeque.   Read more>&gt
 
Please click here for the list of restaurants in Bohol.

Where to Stay in Bohol?

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If you need a place to stay in Bohol, Philippines, you have the options for a cheap lodging to a very expensive resorts. We only stayed there for 1 night so I can only give you an idea for one resort. But please refer to the list for more choices. 

Dumaluan Beach Resort
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Dumaluan Beach Resort used to be just a family weekend getaway resort with nipa hut cottage.  When friends of the family started coming they began building more nipa hut. Readmore>>



Please click here for the list of hotels in Bohol and click here for the list of resorts and hotel in Panglao Island.

What to See in Ilocos Norte?

Ilocos Norte is one of the provinces in the Philippines that offer a lot of beautiful attractions and historical sites. Very far from Manila, but it’s all worth it once you start exploring.

Make sure to see these places when you visit the province. 

Paoay Church (St. Augustine Catholic Parish Church)

Formally called St. Augustine Catholic Parish Church, Paoay church is one of the oldest churches in the Philippines and inscribed as UNESCO’s World Heritage list...read more>> 

The Sinking Bell Tower of Laoag
This centuries old 45m bell tower is the first thing you'll see when you arrive at Laoag's town proper.  Reputed to be the most solid, massive and tallest tower in the Philippines...read more>>

Laoag Cathedral (Saint William Metropolitan Cathedral)
Another reason I want to come back in Ilocos Norte is this church.  Also known as St. Augustine Catholic Parish Church, one of the biggest and oldest churches in the country...read more>>

Malacanang of the North
This beautiful house of two-storey sits on a five-hectare property with a magnificent view of Paoay Lake.  It has grand living rooms; seven bedrooms, an expansive terrace and a beautiful garden overlooking the lake...read more>>

Paoay Lake 
Paoay Lake is declared as a National Park in 1978 and locally called dakkel danum, which means large body of water.  It is a legendary lake because of the interesting and enchanting history passed upon by forefathers to present generations...read more>>

Batac Church (Immaculate Concepcion Parish Church)
This is the church of the former President Ferdinand Marcos' birthplace. One of its priors wrote the "Relacion", retelling Diego Silang's rise against the Spaniards...read more>>

Marcos Museum & Mausoleum
This museum is where you will find both memorabilia storage and the current resting place of former President Ferdinand Marcos.  It is situated in the heart of Batac City, Ilocos Norte...read more>>

Paoay Sand Dunes (La Paz Sand Dunes)
This national geological monument expands from the boundary of Currimao and Paoay to La Paz in Laoag City.  The scenery going to this place is not that pretty but when you get to see the sand dunes...read more>>

Sarrat Church (Santa Monica Parish Church)
Originally known as San Miguel Church, this church is renowned as the largest church in Ilocos Norte.  What interest me most of this church is the bell tower, standing proudly just beside the church...read more>> 

Cape Bojeador Lighthouse (Burgos Lighthouse)

This lighthouse is a cultural structure located at Burgos, Ilocos NOrte. This is not the tallest lighthouse in the country like what others believe,  but it is however the most accessible lighthouse in Luzon...read more>>

Kapurpurawan Rock Formation
Is a formation created by forces of the ocean on the rocky coast of Burgos, located just a few minutes further from the lighthouse...read more>>

Bangui Wind Farm (Bangui Windmills)
Is the first wind generating farm in the Southeast Asia. This was built due to insufficient power provided by National Power Corporation in the province. What amazes me when I saw first saw these, was how...read more>> 

Patapat Viaduct
Patapat Viaduct is a coastal bridge connecting Ilocos Norte and Cagayan Valey Region. It's really amazing to see this snake-like bridge in between the ocean and the mountains. It's the 4th longest bridge in the country...read more>>

Blue Lagoon, Pagudpud
We were not able to explore more of Pudpud because we don't have much time.  We only visited the Blue Lagoon, had a dip, sleep then went home...read more>>

If you are planning on visiting Ilocos Norte, make sure you have a lot of time, so you'll enjoy to the fullest.  And you will be able to see a lot of tourist attractions.

Palawan: Treasures & Histories

Palawan is one of the well-known provinces not only in the Philippines, but also in other countries.  It became popular when the Subterranean River, popularly known as the Underground River, was discovered and became one of the 7 Wonders of Nature.
Subterranean (Underground) River
This is the only island in the Philippines that was rated by National Geographic Traveler as the best island destination in East & Southeast Asia.

It was also dubbed as the 13th best island in the world to have incredibly beautiful natural seascapes and landscapes.  It is known to have a lot of endangered species.
Binturong (Palawan Bearcat)
Among them are the Palawan Peacock-pheasant, Philippines Mouse-deer, Philippines Pangolin and Palawan Bearded Pig.  Binturong or Palawan Bearcat is also endemic in the island. 

Other than the treasures, Palawan is also rich in history.  One of the tragedies of the World War II happened here, the Palawan Massacre.
Statue of a burnt man at Plaza Cuartel
Prisoners of war captured in Bataan were brought here and killed.  They were burnt alive by the Japanese to prevent the rescue.  Others who tried to escape the flame were shot.  Those who climbed and jumped over the cliff to escape were haunted down and killed. 

Only 11 POW out of 159 survived. They swam 5 miles to the safest bay just to survive. A memorial was built at the exact place to commemorate what happened then.  And now, it has become one of the tourist spots in Palawan.


Palawan, the Land of Promise and the Philippine’s Last Frontier, was almost became part of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao, but people made a petition in the inclusion and became part of the Region IV.

Later on, Region 1V was divided into 2 and Palawan was included in Region 1V-B, also known as MIMAROPA, combination of the first 2 letters of the provinces Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon & Palawan.    The 2nd part, Region 1V-A was called CALABARZON, stands for Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal & Quezon.
Karst Mountain
Palawan is a proud home of the beautiful Coron and El Nido islands and the disputed Spratly Islands. The latter is known to be rich in natural resources. That’s the reason why all countries near the islands file a claim.

Even though the biggest source of power is located in Palawan, big part of the province still lacks electricity.

I was only able to visit Puerto Princesa and it has a lot to offer.  I can’t wait to explore more and finally see the fireflies!
 
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