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MNL Eau de Toilette for the youth

MNL is a refreshing fragrance collection that is currently out in the market. Very affordably priced at P 250.00 (roughly USD $5.50 or Euros 4.85) per 80ml bottle, there are seven fragrances for women and seven fragrances for men to choose from. Each fragrance is elegantly encased in color coded glass bottles stamped with the fragrance’s name and runs the entire range from floral to fruity, woody and spice. Since eau de toilette fragrances last from 4 to six hours (longer than cologne yet lighter than perfume), it is easy to switch from one fragrance in the morning to another for the afternoon, and yet another for the evening. Or stick to one fragrance as your signature scent.

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The entire MNL collection is proudly manufactured in the Philippines.

The brand is the brainchild of Filipina singer-songwriter Mica Javier. She is the niece of APO Hiking Society’s Danny Javier, and the daughter of Mayor Sandy Javier of Javier, Leyte, the owner of chicken chain Andok’s Litson Corp. Born in Manila, Philippines, Mica started as a commercial and print model when she was in high school booking print ad campaigns like Colgate with Maxene Magalona, and Nestea Iced Tea TV commercials while she was signed up with her first modeling agency Calcarrie’s.

She moved to New York City for college and attended the Gallatin School of Individualized Study at New York University. While at university, she interned in marketing and PR for fashion houses like DVF, Adidas Originals, and Harper’s Bazaar Magazine. She also worked for Carol’s Daughter, a beauty company owned by Lisa Price, Jay Z, Mary J Blige, and Will Smith, where she was mentored by marketing genius Steve Stoute. During her summer vacations, she would come home to the Philippines to model, booking numerous magazine features and fashion editorials for Women’s Health, Cosmopolitan, and Preview, as well as TV commercials including Whisper with Kim Chiu, Red Mobile with Derek Ramsay, and Pizza Hut. In New York, she signed with BMG Models for fashion and MMG Models for commercials/TV, where she booked NOLCHA fashion week runway shows with up-and-coming designers, fashion editorials and look-books, and fittings. She also appeared in Gossip Girl’s season 2, episode 6, alongside Chuck Bass (Ed Westwick), and How To Make It In America’s season finale. In 2010 she booked a Verizon Wireless print campaign, with billboards all over New York City.

In 2012, Mica moved back to Manila, where she got to open for J.Lo’s Dance Again World Tour and first ever concert in Manila, Philippines. Her first single released in Manila was a duet with Philippines King of R&B, Jay R, a song entitled “Tonight”. Written by Mica, Jay R, and Davix Foreman of Grinehouse, and produced by Dumb Drumbs super producer, Wizz Dumb, “Tonight” went No.1 on Urban Music radio station Wave 89.1 FM, and topped the Pinoy Myx Countdown and the Myx Hit Charts simultaneously. Her second single released in Manila, a song called “Heart Song” also topped high end radio station charts on Monster RX 93.1, while the music video reached Top 10 on Myx Philippines’ Pinoy Myx Countdown.

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In September 2014, MNL fragrance collection was featured on popular ABS-CBN show Kris TV which instantaneously launched the brand to the Philippine market. Since then, MNL has established itself in a few mall locations, namely its very own stand-alone kiosk in Fisher Mall, Quezon Ave., and two consignment kiosks in Cinderella Festival Mall and Cinderella Sta. Lucia. MNL is also available for resellers and distributors, as well as online, at iheartMNL.theshop.ph.

FOR-WOMEN

MJ Fragrance World, Inc. (MJFW) is the mother company that houses the brand MNL. MJFW is a trading and retailing company that specializes in the distribution and dissemination of top quality and affordable fragrance products across the Philippines. It is a company that complies with international IFRA standards, is FDA approved, and upholds the importance of meeting customer satisfaction by providing high quality and safe perfume, eau de toilette, and in the future, other bath and body (cosmetics) products.

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Mica Javier is the face representing the women’s fragrances in the MNL ad campaign.

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Off-peak Season bonanza

The rainy months of July to October may just be the best months to travel for the budget conscious since it is the time of the year (in the Philippines at least) when resorts and hotels field out their off-season rates and promos to increase their occupancy rates. Airline companies join in the fray by coming out with promo fares, travel period extending as far as next year’s rainy season!

That being said, I have already booked roundtrip airline tickets for next year to  Leyte, Davao and Palawan for a very cost-efficient price of only P 734.40 all-in per trip. That’s three trips to different travel destinations. Talk about saving for the rainy days :)

It does not rain everyday anyway and when it does, it’s not a continuous downpour unless it’s a typhoon. So pack your backpacks, trusty shirts and comfortable shorts and discover the Philippines! It is more fun in the Philippines!!!

 

OLIVER QUINGCO II

Managing Director

Banner photo: White Sandbar, Camiguin Island (island province) formerly part of Misamis Oriental

Bottom photo: Sepoc Beach Center, Maricaban Island, Batangas

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Eastern Samar, surfing capital of the Visayas

In the Philippines, even the poorest province has rich tourism assets which may be harnessed as an alternative source of income and livelihood for the residents.

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The fastest route from Manila to Borongan City in Eastern Samar is via a one hour and twenty minute plane ride to Tacloban City in Leyte, and then a four hour van ride through a two-lane national highway which offers a picturesque view of the countryside – crossing through the San Juanico Bridge into coastal towns, rice fields, rolling hills and mountains, public cemeteries, countless bridges and rivers, and public schools. It is literally a long and winding road.

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The municipality of Borongan became a city quite recently, in April 12, 2011 by virtue of Republic Act 9394. It is the capital of Eastern Samar.

Borongan City is the hometown of TV personality Boy Abunda. In fact, his sister, Maria Fe Abunda, is the incumbent mayor of the city.

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Eastern Samar has a significant backdrop of the country’s rich colonial history through the island of Homonhon, where Ferdinand Magellan first set foot on Philippine soil in 1521. The tiny island of Suluan in Guiuan was likewise where the U.S. Army Rangers had their first encounter of the Philippine territory in 1944, three days before General Douglas MacArthur made his historic landing in Leyte.

In his account, Pigafetta, the chronicler aboard Magellan’s ship, describes the island of Humumu, now Homonhon, as so: We found two fountains of very clear water, we called it the Waters of Good Signs, having found the first sign of gold in the said island. There also can be found much white coral and tall trees that bear fruits smaller than an almond and look like pines. There were also many palm trees, some of the best kind, some of the bad. Thereabouts are many neighboring islands. Hence, we called them the St. Lazarus Archipelago because we stayed there on the day and feast of St. Lazarus.

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City Park

The Hamorawon Park is located at the center of the city beside the City Hall. It contains the stylized rendition of a concrete giant clamshell, the upper half of which is held up by two mermaids while at its base are two crocodiles. This giant clamshell served as the former town’s cultural stage where social presentations were held while the fenced grounds fronting it served as the venue for social gatherings. From underneath this giant clamshell bubbles and flows the Hamorawon natural spring, the only place in the entire province of Eastern Samar which has a naturally-occurring freshwater spring, flowing from the very center of the city towards the Lo-om River a short distance downstream. Local folks attribute the spring as being miraculous; the site itself having allegedly been the place where appearances of a lady in white (supposed to be the patroness saint of the city) have reportedly been seen.

Surfing @ Calicoan Island, Eastern Samar_www.jjexplorer.com

Photo credit: www.jjexplorer.com

Beaches and surfing spots, islands and islets

Eastern Samar has many fine beaches which boast of white sand, vibrant coral formations, sparkling clear blue waters, and rich marine life which are also ideal for diving and snorkeling. As the coastal areas of Eastern Samar face the Pacific Ocean, the changing tides and strong currents make surfing viable. Surfers’ haven is the surf at Baybay Boulevard, in Brgy. Bato, and in Brgy. Locso-on in Borongan City. Other municipalities also have their own local spots.

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Pearl Island Photo credit: Martin Schaublin

  • Homonhon Island, Suluan Island, Tubabao Island, Kantican (Pearl) Island  in Guiuan
  • Ando Island
  • Butay Island located at the middle of Lo-om River
  • Divinubo Island off BoronganCity
  • Monbon Island
  • Pamuloton Island in Tabunan
  • Calicoan Island

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Suribao River Photo credit: Vic Asio

Rivers for cruising and river rafting

  • Balacdas River
  • Borongan or Sabang (formerly called Guiborongani) River
  • Can-obing River
  • Lo-om River
  • Maypangdan River
  • Naghahagong underground river located past Sitio Cati-an (its “snore” or “hagong” – hence the name – can be heard by the locals when there is heavy rains as the onrushing torrent of water gushes and rumbles underground), ideal for spelunkers although it has remained unexplored up to this day and is relatively unknown to outsiders
  • Palanas River
  • Salog River in Brgy. Cancaligdas
  • Suribao River (serves as common city/municipal boundary with the adjacent town of Maydolong)

Kansuriyaw Falls M.Voloso

Kansuriyaw Falls Photo credit: M. Voloso

Waterfalls that entail a certain amount of hiking      

  • Pahungaw Falls in Brgy. San Pablo, Borongan City
  • Kansuriyaw Falls in Brgy. San Andres, Borongan City with a 70-meter drop for rappelling

Other significant sites

  • SANTA MONICA CAVES in Borongan
  • MENASNGE PARK (natural rock formations) in Maydolong
  • GUIUAN WORLD WAR II OPERATING BASE which has a 3 kilometer runway that could service jet-propelled planes; constructed by WWII US Navy in 1944. During the Liberation of the Philippines, it was the airstrip of war planes; now a good picnic area.

For additional information, please contact

Borongan City Tourism Office 
Tel. No. (055)
 560-9701/560-9945

www.goborongan.com

SycharSincere gratitude to the Nicart-Leones family for hosting an afternoon at the Sychar beach house in Borongan City. I enjoyed soaking in saltwater and taking in the sights and sounds of the beach.

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Obstacles Don’t Stand A Chance

Psalm 78:53 (KJV) And he led them on safely, so that they feared not: but the sea overwhelmed their enemies.

We have seen the footages of the tsunami in Japan in the previous year as well as typhoons Sendong and Yolanda that devastated certain regions in the Philippines. It showed us the bitter truth that nothing can stop the force of mighty rushing water. Three or four feet of floods can pick up a car that weighs thousands of pounds and move it around. We have seen news reports where whole houses and even cities were simply swept away during a huge downpour or a tidal wave. And it wasn’t only properties that were greatly ruined but so many lives were lost. It seemed life was over for those regions and places that were affected. It appeared like all hope was lost.

But look at us now, look at Japan, we have learned to pick up the pieces of our lives and we have learned to start over.

I may have obstacles that look insurmountable, dreams that look unattainable, problems that seem unsolvable but He who causes the mighty winds and controls the rushing torrents can in a day or a moment say to it, “PEACE BE STILL!” By His power He led Israel to walk on dry ground. By His power He overthrew the chariots and mighty men of pharaoh and covered them with high waters of the Red Sea. The enemies of God’s people were washed dead and His nation saw them no more. It is God who releases the floods and it is Him who calls and holds them back. Nobody could question Him because He owns this world and everything in it. The same way that nothing will be able to stop the deliverance and favor of the Lord anytime He desires it.

People who oppose me may be stronger, better financed and better equipped but when God opens up the floodgates, they’ll be no match. I may not have the connections or resources I need, but when God lets an overflow of His favor, people will come out of the woodwork to help me out. When God’s kind and gracious hand is on your life, good breaks, opportunities, the right people will search you out. That trouble may look big, but when God releases a surge of answers, it doesn’t stand a chance. So, never stop doing what God would bless regardless of who and what gets in your way, regardless of how you feel and how difficult your circumstances are. God knows how to bless every act of faith and every deed done in love and in the spirit of wholehearted obedience. Then, get yourself ready not for a trickle, not a stream, not a river, but a flood of God’s favor, a tidal wave of God’s goodness, a tsunami of His increase that might just be coming your way!

MY PRAYER FOR TODAY: Father, thank You for Your mighty power at work in my life. I believe that as I trust you and obey, Your floodgates of blessings are open for me, and a flood of Your goodness is wiping out my enemies and clearing the way for Your glory and Your victory in my life in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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(randomly shared by Ms. Mel Bliss of Mt. Riverview, Australia)

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Intimations of Immortality

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Fine Art photographer Marlon Despues is a graduate of the College of Environmental Design, University of California at Berkeley, USA, Class of ’81 where he studied architecture, science, poetry, and where he was classically trained in photography almost thirty years ago. 

In July 18 – Sept. 9, 2006, the Instituto Cervantes located at 855 T.M. Kalaw St., 1004 Ermita, Manila presented 800 + of his nude photo images  in a solo exhibit entitled LA PIEL COMO METAFORA, Fotografias de Marlon Despues.

Collecting images for this 800 plus photo exhibit began in 2005 with the gracious support from a host of volunteers, most of whom joined the project through referrals from other participants – including doctors, directors, teachers, politicians, tricycle drivers, models, artists, diplomats, many coming from Spain, the United States, Australia, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Egypt, Korea, China, India, Japan but mostly from the Republic of the Philippines.

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Sofia Guillermo observes in her blog http://umbrellasewingmachine.org/writing/lapiel.html published in August 2006:

“In his landmark exhibit at Instituto Cervantes, over 800 photographs have taken over walls and part of the ceiling to form, as it were, the building’s inner skin……Admittedly, the exhibit overwhelms at first viewing and must give the most jaded exhibit-goer pause. After all, on how many occasions are we confronted with hundreds of photographs–not to mention skin portraits–placed edge-to-edge? Yet this is the intended effect. Current commercial nudes have an all-look-same tendency and it is this that the exhibit’s massive attack approach ironically plays on. But to zero in on one portrait is to realize the subject’s individuality and each photograph tells a story–a chapter of autobiography, perhaps–as written on the skin and body. Every curve, every body part, every pose, was chosen by the model to represent his or her entirety, as in synecdoche.”

“It cannot be helped that a photography exhibit of bodies unidealized and individualized should evoke intimations of mortality. In the past year since the earliest photographs were taken, not one of the models–and not even the photographer–can say that nothing has changed about their bodies. Yet the sheer number of people who participated in this collaboration transforms what could have been just another show of skin into a celebration of our vulnerable humanity and an affirmation of the beauty in simply being alive.”

In an interview with lifestyle journalist Oliver Quingco II in the latter part of 2004 for Art Manila QuARTerly Magazine published by the Manila Times, Marlon Despues elaborates on Fine Art Photography:

“My methods are both classic and contemporary – classic because I learned by apprenticing with some of the best black and white photographers in the West, and contemporary because my approach is spur of the moment, capturing a fleeting but interesting arc of human experience. As such, my images are spontaneous and never contrived.”

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His nudes exude life – revealing, intimate and playful. He says that part of his motivation in doing nudes is to test its limits within the context of Filipino culture. He explains that unlike other photographers who pay their models to disrobe, his is a collaborative effort between him and his “guests.” He credits his good fortune to the fact that he is not afraid to ask people, even strangers, to pose for him and when they agree, he never dictates on them. Regardless of their status in life (from executives to household help), or gender orientation (heterosexual or gay), or physical condition (fit or obese, pregnant, with scars from surgery or amputations), or marital status (singles, couples, separated, in between), or age (teens to octogenarians), he always asks for their input during the pictorials. Some are at ease showing their faces while others prefer to reveal only certain body parts for the exhibits, but Despues ensures anonymity for all collaborators in deference to their privacy.

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When asked to elaborate on what role photography has in his life, Despues waxes poetic.

“When you read a poem and are moved by it, you cannot attribute that to any one particular element. It is in its entirety that the power of inspiration is at its strongest. I can’t say where photography begins and ends in my life. It’s a continuum. You see, it is no longer just an art form. It intertwines with life itself. It now takes on a different meaning. My goal in life is not to make a name for myself or become one of the highest paid photographers in the country, although I may become that somewhere along the way. My goal is to do things which are of significance (benchmarks) that would allow me to find my place and become one with the continuum of photography. Like those who have come before me, I hope to draw others into it and contribute to its development.”

Short of realizing his dream photography exhibit of 1,000 nudes, Marlon Despues died of a heart attack in February 5, 2007.

He was 46 years old.

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Dried seafood

Drying food is the world’s oldest known preservation method, and dried food has a storage life of several years. The method is cheap and effective in suitable climates; the work can be done by anyone, and the resulting product is easily transported to market.

Fresh fish rapidly deteriorates unless some way can be found to preserve it. Drying is a method of food preservation that works by removing water from the food, which inhibits the growth of microorganisms. Open air drying using sun and wind has been practiced since ancient times to preserve food. Bacteria, yeasts and molds need the water in the food to grow, and drying effectively prevents them from surviving in the food.

Usually eaten during breakfast, and very popular with the general public, they are best prepared by frying in a pan with a bit of cooking oil, or by toasting over a charcoal grill. Serve with spicy vinegar dip.

In photos are several varieties of dried fish and squid which are main products and readily available in the main markets of most of the seaside towns in the Philippines’ 7,107 islands. Taken by ace photographer Michael Ocampo (https://www.facebook.com/michael.ocampo.75873?fref=ufi) at the Cebu Market. According to Michael, “Cebu City’s Taboan Market can officially be called the Dried Fish Capital of the Philippines. Here you can find many stalls selling a variety of dried fish including squid, octopus, shrimps and eels.”

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Hibi (Dried Shrimps)

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Dried Anchovies

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Dried Squid Flakes/Strips

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Dried Squid

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Dried Fish

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Dried Fish Tocino (Fish bacon)

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Fish bones crispy when fried

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Dried Octopus

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Exquisite handy crafts from Palawan

Unique handmade home and office accessories add the right touch to an otherwise bland interior, and are perfect conversation starters. We found a bunch of world class selections in Puerto Princesa.

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Handlooms have been in use by village folks and tribal artisans in Palawan for as long as they can remember. Today, hand woven products are in demand by tourists and the export industry.

Ms. Eva T. Gravador (in photo above), Proprietor of Binuatan Creations (www.binuatan.com), is the manufacturer of handloom woven products utilizing Palawan’s indigenous fibers and grasses that include placemats, table runners, window blinds and curtains.

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Sleeping mats commonly known as “banig” have of late become collector’s items because of the intricate designs which are painstakingly made or reproduced by hand, sometimes at weeks per piece. They are used as wall decor, or on the floor in lieu of carpets, or as table centerpieces underneath glass tops.

Mrs. Ma. Nancy M. Socrates, owner of Subli Guest Cabins  (www.sublipalawan.com) in Puerto Princesa, assisted by  Ms. Reina Roselyn Escandor, has been marketing these mats for sometime now.

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“Our cooperative (Recuerdo Credit Cooperative) has been selling these mats for more than a year now as part of our community development program, but not in bulk, but a few pieces at a time as each piece is handmade. We do not have a store or showroom and we usually just join special events, like the Salute to Valor, to promote them. These mats are made by Muslim women in the southern Municipality of Espanola. Production is in their own homes, but we are hoping that they will soon have a weaving center where they can all gather.”

According to the weavers, they first gather the pandan leaves and remove the thorns and cut them into strips. Then the pandan leaves are boiled for about 10 minutes and soaked in water overnight. Soaking is sometimes done in the river. The pandan is then air-dried the following day, after which it is straightened out with brushing motions. It is then dried in the sun for 3 days. On the 4th day, coloring/dyeing is done. Then the pandan is air-dried once again, after which it is straightened out again with brushing motions. Then the weaving begins.”

”The weavers do not usually have a pattern. Their designs are spur-of-the-moment ideas. They always tell us that whatever their imagination gives them when they wake up, that’s what they make.”

Mrs. Socrates adds that the weavers determine the price – it’s per “dangkal” (arm’s length). Their prices tend to be a bit high, and the DTI actually already gave them some training on costing and measuring.

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”As far as we know, there is no special story behind any of the mats. What is special, though, is that these mats are woven by Muslim women in Southern Palawan, whose culture is reflected in the vibrant colors of their products. Their color combinations and double-layered style distinguish them from mats produced by other weavers in Palawan.”

For orders, please contact Mrs. Socrates at 09178497838/ 09088926514.

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Folk artisans have melded traditional materials with modern designs to come up with utilitarian pieces that are both practical yet aesthetically pleasing to a select clientele. The coffeetable below utilizes assorted seeds, shells, bone, pebbles and miniature collectibles to create a multilayered effect.

Asiano Arts and Crafts (www.asiano.ph) has two store locations – Puerto Princesa and Coron, Palawan. Jewelry, furniture, paintings, wood sculptures, hanging mobiles, wind chimes, and miniature woven rice baskets that take a week of precise work – cutting, dyeing and weaving young bamboo fibers done by an elderly woman are their main products, along with interior design services.

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Twigs and found objects are utilized to create this one of a kind mirror.

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Thousands of beads and shells form this exquisite wall decor, which could also double as a chandelier if layered from the inside.

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These unique wall hangings incorporate assorted materials such as beads, seeds, shells, porcelain, carved miniatures and pods held together by twine.

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Mr. Merwin Rey Ledesma of the Governor’s Office, Trade Fair Exhibitor Ms. Reina Escandor, Mr. Stephen Yee of the Palawan Tourism Council with DiscoverThePhilippines.com Managing Director Mr. Oliver Quingco II.

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This coverage was made possible as a part of USAID’s Advancing Philippine Competitiveness (COMPETE) project which seeks to increase competitiveness of economic growth areas including Palawan, in partnership with the Department of Tourism and the Province of Palawan

Special thanks to Air Asia Zest Airlines for sponsoring our roundtrip airfare from Manila to Puerto Princesa, Palawan.

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Indigenous culture of Palawan

“Archaeological findings indicate that the First Filipino, the Tabon Man, once lived in the Tabon Caves Complex, now known as the Lipuun Point in Quezon, Palawan. Archaeological exploration and excavations undertaken at the Tabon Caves Complex yielded significant artifacts and ecofacts belonging to different cultural  chronologies ranging from 50,000 years ago to the 14th century A.D.”

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According to Mr. Roy Q. Rodriguez, organizer of the Palaw’an Tribal Village found at the Palawan Butterfly Ecological Garden in Sta. Monica, Puerto Princesa, his grandfather had a blood compact with one of the tribe’s elders in the 70’s in the uplands. Their agreement was that his grandfather was to help the tribe preserve its fast vanishing culture due to the influence of education and modernization. The younger generations are often tempted to find jobs as farm hands and trade their traditions and way of living for salaries and a western lifestyle.

In their small compound in the city, his grandfather allotted an area where some members of the tribe can build a few huts as accommodations for when they were to go into the city from their upland homes to trade and barter for goods.

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Described as a hunting & gathering tribe, families would often take turns staying at the compound bringing in handicrafts such as aromatic resin that serve both as torches and insect repellent when wrapped in special leaves and sold at P 150.00 each. Blow dart sets are also available as souvenirs, the edges dipped in poison to deliver a lethal blow when used in hunting wild pigs and other forest animals. Percussion instruments made of wood and cow’s hide, as well as gongs and the kudyapi are used to demonstrate their musicality.

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A couple of staff who have immersed for a week or so at the tribe’s upland villages act as interpreters and tour guides at the compound.

Sacred dances and rituals of the tribe are never used for the presentations but only when in actual practice, and there are guests at the compound whose timely arrival allow them to witness these special occasions.

Their cultural presentations, and a fair share of the entrance fees and sales from the souvenir shop has continually allowed the tribe to earn a decent income without having to sacrifice their culture, Mr. Rodriguez adds.

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At the Sabang Port in Puerto Princesa, jump off point for the Underground River tour, there is a small hut where mostly female members of the Tagbanua Tribe take turns performing the Sayusad Dance for tourists and visitors.

The known dances associated with their rituals are the following: Abellano, also called soriano, a traditional dance performed by males; Bugas-bugasan, a dance for all participants of a pagdiwata, after they have drunk the ceremonial tabad (rice wine); Kalindapan, solo dance by the female babaylan and her attendants; Runsay, ritual dances performed by the villagers on the seashore, where bamboo rafts laden with food offering are floated for the gods; Sarungkay, a healing dance by the main babaylan as she balances a sword on her head and waves ugsang or palm leaf strip; Tugatak and Tarindak, dances performed by the villagers who attend an inim or pagdiwata; Tamigan, performed by male combatants using round winnowers or bilao to represent shields.

The dancing accompanying the Runsay, performed about midnight and lasting until daybreak, is possibly the most moving of all Tagbanua dances, since it is a part of a sacred ritual that takes place only once a year, and is performed on the beach from where the ritual raft has been launched towards the sea world.

Guests who attend the Albarka ritual watch dances such as the Busak-busak, the spider dance; Batak Ribid, a dance simulating the gathering of camote; Bungalon, a showing off dance; Bugsay-bugsay, a paddle dance using fans; Segutset, a courtship dance; and Tarek, a traditional dance. The Andardi is a festival dance of the Tagbanua in and around Aborlan, performed at social gatherings. When dancing during a festival, the performers are dressed in their costumes, and hold in each hand a dried palm leaf called palaspas. The music of the Andardi is composed of one part of twelve measures, played or sung continuously throughout the dance. Drum or gongs accompanies the music and the song.

The Tagbanua, one of the oldest ethnic group in the Philippines, are possible descendants of the Tabon Man, making them one of the original inhabitants of the Philippines.

At present (2000 census), they have an estimated population of 10,000 spread over western and eastern coastal areas of Central Palawan.

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This coverage was made possible as a part of USAID’s Advancing Philippine Competitiveness (COMPETE) project which seeks to increase competitiveness of economic growth areas including Palawan, in partnership with the Department of Tourism and the Province of Palawan

Special thanks to Air Asia Zest Airlines for sponsoring our roundtrip airfare from Manila to Puerto Princesa, Palawan.

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Hurrah for seafood!

If you happen by Puerto Princesa City in Palawan, don’t miss out on a famous landmark: a dining establishment called KaLui that exclusively serves seafood and veggie menu all year round.

I never thought that the humble bahay kubo could be such a crowd drawer!

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The carved wooden signage at the entrance and the details on the posts welcome diners into a landscaped front courtyard. Palawanderer, Outdoor Lover is prominently displayed in one corner amidst tropical foliage such as Birds of Paradise, ferns and assorted palms. In another corner are cascading water fountains highlighted with wooden carvings of tribal folk in assorted styles. Rocks and pebbles are carefully interspersed with grass to create pathways leading to the bahay kubo.

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Diners are required to take off their shoes upon stepping into the main structure. Native baskets are provided in lieu of shoe racks.

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The Filipino penchant for “horror vacui” (fear of empty spaces) is evident here, as your senses are assaulted with paintings, wooden masks, collectibles and knick knacks filling every nook and cranny, but in a good way. Fruits and vegetables are creatively arranged as accent pieces, not only on the buffet table but also in the bar, as well as the cashier’s area.

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The floors are made of polished wood, while the walls are made of wood, with bamboo shingles, but open in some areas. The roof is made of nipa leaves. Woven mats made of raffia and banig are scattered throughout, native baskets of assorted designs are lined up in certain rafters, while capiz shell chandeliers hang from the ceiling.

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Puerto Princesa is known for its fresh seafood, so the menu at KaLui Restaurant capitalizes on healthy dining. For brunch, we had Grilled Tuna Steak, Tuna Curry, Steamed Prawns, Seafood Kare-kare, and Seaweed Salad. Fruits in season were served for dessert, but plated in a naughty way. We were told by the dining staff that “Naughty Dessert” was very popular for bridal showers at their venue.

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Vegetarians will rejoice at the KVP – KaLui Veggie Platter. You get a plateful of organically grown steamed veggies such as squash, okra, string beans, a generous serving of seaweed salad with kalamansi and vinegar dressing, a spoonful of pickled papaya, and some slices of sun-ripened tomatoes. Wash it all down with fresh juices, shakes or smoothies.

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They have a souvenir shop which sells shirts, native bags and wallets, and home made jams made by village folks as community livelihood.

Located at 369 Rizal Ave., Puerto Princesa City, Palawan, KaLui Restaurant is open daily except on Sundays. Lunch is served from 11:00AM-2:00PM and dinner from 6:00-8:15PM and 8:30-10:30PM.

Reservations may be requested at (048) 433-2580/ 09477617191/09487232522.

This coverage was made possible as a part of USAID’s Advancing Philippine Competitiveness (COMPETE) project which seeks to increase competitiveness of economic growth areas including Palawan, in partnership with the Department of Tourism and the Province of Palawan

Special thanks to Air Asia Zest Airlines for sponsoring our roundtrip airfare from Manila to Puerto Princesa, Palawan.

Additional photos courtesy of Mr. Alexis B. Romero.

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Behold Palawan’s underground river!

Counted among the seven Wonders of Nature which include Vietnam’s Halong Bay, South Africa’s Table Mountain, South America’s Amazon River, Argentina’s Iguazu Falls, South Korea’s Jeju Island, and Indonesia’s Komodo Island is the Philippines’ Underground River found in Puerto Princesa, Palawan.

Inscribed in the World Heritage List in 1999, the park encompasses one of the world’s most impressive cave systems, featuring spectacular limestone karst landscapes, pristine natural beauty, and intact old-growth forests and distinctive wildlife.

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En route to Sabang where the Underground River is located, enjoy a panoramic view of Ulugan Bay where Vietnamese refugees landed to escape the war. They later on established Viet Ville in the area which exists to this day.

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The pier in Sabang is around 2 hours away from Puerto Princesa City by van, jump off point to the beach where the Underground River may be found. You have to get your permits and travel ticket here before taking a 30 minute boat ride.

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Docking station is a beach. As soon as you alight from the boat, you have to register, and then take a brief 10 minute walk through a forest inhabited by monkeys before coming to the start of the Underground River boat ride.

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As only one flashlight per boat is allowed to keep to a minimum the disturbance on cave dwellers (bats & snakes), tour guides are adept in entertaining visitors with a run through of the rock formations and trivia pertaining to the site. The entire length of the river is pegged at 8 kilometers with a dead end, although only a portion of it is part of the regular tour. You need a special permit if you want to traverse the whole 8 kilometers.

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The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park is also home to monitor lizards and the Palawan Peacock aside from the monkeys.

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This coverage was made possible as a part of USAID’s Advancing Philippine Competitiveness (COMPETE) project which seeks to increase competitiveness of economic growth areas including Palawan, in partnership with the Department of Tourism and the Province of Palawan. 

Special thanks to Air Asia Zest Airlines for sponsoring our roundtrip airfare from Manila to Puerto Princesa, Palawan.

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(left to right) Mr. Stephen Yee of the Palawan Tourism Council, Mr. Oliver Quingco II of DiscoverthePhilippines.com, Mr. Alexis Romero of The Philippine Star and Mr. Merwin Rey Ledesma from the Office of the Governor.

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