Island Hopping in Mactan, Philippines



It is said that “Go on island hopping in the many beautiful islands of the Philippines and return home with unforgettable memories and one of a kind experience!” So, together with my office friends, we went on an Island hopping. This is my 2nd time doing such activity and I still want more.

Philippines – a Southeast Asian country in the Western Pacific, consisting of about 7,641 islands, is a beautiful paradise where breathtaking beaches, mountains, rivers and waterfalls reside. This is the country where I am born. Filipino – that is what they call us as the citizens of the Philippines. Almost the entire islands in my country have beautiful nature spots one could ever imagine. I was born in Negros Island where astonishing waterfalls and mountains inhabit. I am now living in Cebu Island where you can find attractive beaches, mountains and rivers alike. Cebu’s neighboring island is called Mactan and it consists of teenie weenie islands called islets which are perfect for island hopping adventure.

If you live in Cebu Island just like me, there is no need for you to travel to other places just to experience island hopping. Mactan Island is just a few-minute-ride from the city. If you are outside Cebu and Mactan Islands, then why not book an adventure to this place? Promise it will really be worth it and a bunch of fun. Well, at least for my experience. So better be prepared. ;)

Pump boat. That morning was cloudy.

Why Island Hopping?

As you may not know yet, it has been only two months since I moved and started working in one of the companies here in IT Park, Cebu City, Philippines. My decision to move serves as a promotion to myself and my roles. From dealing with all IT-related issues and technicalities to IT-Security audits and assessments, this is a new challenge and I am totally excited for the new learning, knowledge and opportunity that this advances me.

With that being said, I am a new joiner to the IT Security team – a newbie. My colleagues were really thoughtful. They planned on throwing a team-bonding activity together with the other newbies as well. Majority of us chose island hopping so we pushed it!

Island Hopping is a travel from one island to another, especially in an area of small islands. Guess what, we chose Mactan Island and its incredible islets.

Finally, the day!

I was as if like a floating zombie on the day of our escapade. I just had 2 hours of sleep because we had a Christmas party the night before it together with my college classmates and co-scholars. We perfectly enjoyed the time of being together again after few months of being away from each other. We even didn’t notice the fast switch of time. We ended the fun at dawn already!

Okay, going back on track. After my 2 hour-nap, I went to Talamban City Time Square near Jess’ place (my colleague). This would serve as our meetup point and everybody would be there then headed to Mactan Island. Together with 2 other friends, we hitched into Jess’s car. Spice Girls and Britney Spears were our kind of jam that time. Little taste of heaven, wink!

Spice Girls and Britney Spears playing on the stereo. We are a fan! 
We took a 40-45 minute road trip going to Boyla, where the pump boat was waiting for us. Everybody was excited. Our faces below is the evidence. We hopped onto the banca (small manual-operated boat) going to the pump boat. We did this because pumpboats are not allowed in too shallow waters. We had lots of bagaggaes especially food packages. I haven’t took a picture though.

My hat steals the show. Richard carrying the roasted pig because tarungon jud ug gunit ang lechon besh.
Finally, we're in the pumpboat.

The kalog team! Ladies are the princesses. The rest are bodyguards. Nah, just kidding. :D

Now, the islands...

1st stop: Hilutungan
An enjoyable 30 minutes boat ride brought us to Hiluntungan Island, a snorkeling paradise as this site was declared as marine sanctuary for decades. This island has a triangular shape, but only once side is easily accessible due to the shallow waters around. Divers visiting Cebu will definitely dive here. Well, at least for me, I went snorkeling.

2nd stop: Nalusuan
10 minutes away from Hilutungan, stays the island of Nalusuan. It is another marine sanctuary with excellent marine life for snorkelers. The island can’t be mistaken with any other due to its long wooden pier crossing its shallow waters. During low tide, a beach appears on the opposite side, facing Cebu. I went snorkeling again and diving, too. Lol.

3rd stop: Caohagan
Kaowagan Island is about 45 min away from Fun and Sun. Some native huts are standing on a small beach and offer some pleasant shade where you can try out some of the island dish cooked a few meters away. There is a small fishermen village, you can decide to explore, probably guided by dozen of kids.

Wetwew. Hi chix :) Alona, me and Anj.

Expectations and Realizations

When going on an island hopping, you must bring your own snorkeling gears and fins in order to experience a total bunch of fun. Astonishing and beautiful ocean species just await for you to be seen just like colorful starfishes, nerve-wracking sea snakes, attractive corals and colorful fishes. They are magnificent! You may also rent snorkeling gears. Just be sure to thoroughly clean and wash them  with alcohol before using it.

It is a happy and peaceful place down the water. It really is! I always feel empowered when diving and swimming. I totally feel that I am in control of my life; that I hold the steering wheel of my life's journey and I can maneuver it to wherever I want to. How about a little bit of detours? Kidding.

There are still a lot of islands waiting to be ventured. I wish someday I get to visit some of them and hopefully work and schedule will permit me.

Sirena sa umaga; Prinsesa sa gabi.


Cebu Food Destinations (Part 1)


Who loves food? US!

Who among you considers FOOD as everything? Of course, I know you do! It is almost the default answer to everything. Take it from me, I can’t live a day without indulging my food, lol. May it be in any special occasion, celebration, promotion, or even during breakups and when in depression, you name it! FOOD - there is always be food ready to fill your inner needs, heart’s desires and self’s emptiness. It catches you if life’s rhythm is a little bit unsteady. Okay, enough with the cheesy tickly lines, hahaha. 

A lot of my friends have been asking me about new food destinations in Cebu. They are under the impression that since I am an online influencer or a blogger, I should know everything. That is funny. Are you kidding me? *insert blank stare here* Trust me, I don’t. I am just a normal (well sometimes, above normal) person in this city trying to find my true calling and I don’t know everything, but I can share some places I have been into and can narrate my experiences and observations. There are heaps of restaurants in this city that you probably already know so I am going to mention the following destinations that are new to me (and I think new to you, too).

Okay, here we go!

1. Cafe Egao
If you are wondering what “Egao” means, it is actually a Japanese term for “smiling face”. Expectedly, you will see staff’s smiling friendly faces in this place. Café Egao is Filipino-Japanese café located in Nasipit, Talamban, Cebu City just in front of Adolfo’s Furniture shop. This is a cozy and homey place where you can spoil yourself with dishes, desserts, pasta, salads, snacks, teas and lattes. The outside view of the café is a cool sight of green shade where big trees and bushes grow thick and free.

Yeah, that is a happy "me".
It was so funny finding my way here because I thought it was very far. Gosh gracious, it was the very opposite because it was just a 15 minute walk from my place (near USC-TC). Okay, this seemed to be one of the signs that I should start exploring cool places near my private place.

What are my personal favorites in this place? Takoyaki, Baked Penne and their signature no artificial sugar added drinks. I sometimes needed to surrender sugar in my diet so this place is just perfect.
 

2. KKD BBQ + STK
If you want authentic Filipino dishes, then head to this restaurant. Mind you, it will really be worth it! This is located in M.C. Brioness St, Cebu City, just in front of Plaza Independencia. They have all-Filipino-staff so if you are a Filipino, then how about “mang-spot tag chix” kind of conversation with them? Nah kidding! If you are a foreigner, then this is the perfect place to know how Filipino foods taste and what they look like.

I’m not really a guru when it comes to Cebu City's specific places. I might be living in the City for eight years already but I still don't know all the road mazes, shortcuts and whatnots. Jeepney conductors, Google maps and Uber/Grab are always my friends when I'm going to a specific places. They are a big help in getting me out from the labyrinth kind of feeling I always get. So when I went in KKD BBQ +STK restaurant, I was lost. I entered in Plaza Independencia. Very funny! Well, I saw couples dating, kids playing, dancers practicing, group of friends lying on benches and then there’s me - a lost puppy, huhuhu. I messaged my co-influencer friend and he picked me from there.

Pak na pak ang awra!
This place was once a garage but the owner transformed it to something more worth visiting for... thus, a restaurant. They have nightly live band that a music addict like me enjoyed very much.

What are my personal favorites in this place? All, because hello I am a Filipino. Manok Bisaya, Pork Nilaga, Scallops and Leche Flan are worth-mentioning. Okay, I’m drooling now.

Baked Scallops in Butter
Pusit / Squid
Manok Bisaya. Messy looks but tastes good.

Pork Nilaga. Hello cholesterol :)
Crispy Pata
Leche Flan with Manggo
Prices are affordable that range from 100 to 300 pesos.

3. MAO JIA Hunan Cuisine
Now that we are done with our Filipino cuisine, let us jump to Chinese cuisine, shall we? Okay, fasten your seatbelt and get ready your milk because this will be a spicy adventure. MAO JIA Hunan Cuisine is located in Crossroads Place, Cebu City besides The Distillery. As the name suggests, this place is serving authentic Hunan Cuisine. Wait, what does that mean?
Hunan cuisine, also known as Xiang cuisine, consists of the cuisines of the Xiang River region, Dongting Lake and western Hunan Province in China. It is one of the Eight Great Traditions of Chinese cuisines and is well known for its hot and spicy flavours, fresh aroma and deep colours. To say it directly, foods here are spicier than my normal preference and taste less numbing and sourer.

My friends invited me to eat in this restaurant during my sleeping hours so obviously, I was still daydreaming when I was on my way towards here. But when I got inside and started gulping their foods, I felt alive and hotter, lol. Their spicy foods did it to me. I gulped chilis peppers! I am not really a big fan of spicy foods. I mean, I wish I am but my tastebuds just couldn’t handle the explosion it will cause inside my mouth (it likes sweets; it always does awe except kimchi of course). Spicy foods makes me cry inevitably. Crazy, I know.

So, for those of you out there that likes spicy very much, this is your place. Get over the processed noodles in Samyang Spicy Noodle Challenge and switch to “real” spicy foods in this restaurant.

What are my personal favorites in this place? Cabbage, Eggplant and the peanut in the chicken dish. I set aside all chili peppers.

Cabbage
Spicy Celery
Spicy Fish
Spicy Chicken with Peanuts. I love the peanuts!
This will be all for now. I still have lots to share. Watch out for more food destinations and my experiences in my next posts. Ice cream? Burgers? I will cover that too. Let us be hungry together.
Bon appetit!

Synchrony Financial in Cebu City



Synchrony Financial is a premier consumer financial services company with headquarters in the United States. Their roots in consumer finance trace back to the year 1932. Presently, Synchrony Financial is the largest provider of private label credit cards in the United States based on purchase volume and receivables. They have approximately 70 million active consumer accounts. They offer credit products through our partners' over 365,000 locations across the United States and Canada.

Synchrony Financial strives to provide a great work-life balance for all of their employees.  They pride themselves for extending equal opportunities to all, regardless of age, educational background or sexual preference. Synchrony is a place to be yourself. In fact, the company insist on it. Their Diversity Networks help to cultivate an environment of inclusiveness that allows employees to bring their best selves to work every day and contribute to the business in an impactful way.

Synchrony Financial considers the Philippines as a good destination for service centers. The reasons behind are the following - The wealth of talents in terms of workforce that meets the company’s global standards, The ICT (Information and Communications Technology) infrastructure is mature and at par with the US and the Philippine governments’ friendly policies for business processing companies.

If you are looking for a great company to work for, one that has a genuine concern for your well-being as an individual and a valued team member, be sure to visit their website at www.synchronyfinancial.com for a listing of available career opportunities.

iLuvCebuInstameet 5.0


My version of "blogger pose" during  #iLuvCebuInstameet 5.0.
I am currently living in the heart of Cebu province – in Cebu City, a place where all things are possible for a millennial like me. You name it! Learn new courses, attend to one-of-a-kind events and activities, participate in hackathons/technology meetups, grow the network of friendship, build startup businesses and then there is Instameet.

I started living in this place since I was in college and I could still remember my introverted self few years ago.  Afraid to go out from my tiny little shell in order to venture what opportunities could offer; scared to say “hi” to people I met in the hope to gain new friends; reluctant to acquire things and learning needed to be my own kind of unique self now. It’s a little bit funny to think of these but a sigh of relief and gratitude as well thinking that somehow at some point I overcome these. Okay, enough with the drama. Let us go back to “Instameet”. What in the world does it mean and why I am I correlating this to my self-improvement particularly in the friendship aspect of my journey. 

What is Instameet and #iLuvCebuInstameet 5.0?

Instameet is literally an Instagram Meeting by instagrammers. If you have no clue what instagrammers are, these are literally users of Instagram application. In a nutshell, this is an event where people gather in a prearranged place and time to meet new friends, share stories and ideas, take photos and upload it to Instagram of course. That’s it really, growing the network of friendship both offline and online! Plus, you get to meet your favorite Instagrammers that you’ve been Insta-stalking forever.

#iLuvCebuInstameet 5.0 is an instameet specifically organized by Doyzkie of iLuvCebu.com with an aim to give an avenue for everyone especially millennials to meet up and share best social media practices. Held last 15th of October 2017 in The Glass House of Montebello Villa Hotel, it had the theme “We Meet Again” commemorating its fifth anniversary. The said event was supported by the country’s No. 1 Pizza Chain – Greenwich Pizza and Pasta.

Everything Greenwhich :)

What are the activities and what to expect?

1. Meet new faces and gain friends. Making new friends can be intimidating especially when making your way to those that have unapproachable appeal individuals. I’ve been there, kinda scary but the trick is, just be an open-minded individual. If they’ll like you, they’ll respond. If not, then go find another. Let us not complicate things, shall we? Hehe. Nonetheless, I tell you, Instameet participants are very friendly - all of them. I usually instantly become friends with them. That's how feeling close (FC) I am, lol. Instagram influencers grew their network by gaining friends. So be prepared to meet new faces. There is no harm in talking funny and humorous topics along the conversation to spice up the conversation. Just don’t be too personal and keep it unobtrusive.

Unity in diversity, lol. Feeling close na kami agad even if we just meet. :)
2. Learn new ideas and techniques. Ever wondered how instagrammers manage their accounts, how they gain followers and how they curate/beautify their shots? Well, I learned it from this event. Broad number of Cebu influencers as speakers  of the event tackle different areas regarding such topics surely helped. Plus, multiple methods and tools to help us and a whole lot more. Who wouldn't want that? How to properly use Snapseed, VSCO and instagram filters were tackled.

3. Picture here, picture there, picture everywhere. iLuvCebuInstameet 5.0 was a half day of getting reaquainted with previous meets and newer participants. When I arrived at the venue, I could see people scattered everywhere taking photos. Such a good thing because I belong, lol! Well, you actually don’t have to be an amateur in photography when taking photos. Just be creative and unique. Find the best spot you could think of. Show yourself  through your pictures. Luckily, Montebello Villa Hotel, where the event was held, has picture perfect scene in every corner. I grabbed some few  friends and took pictures of each other. Voila! Some of my shots are here:






4. Raffles and prizes. Get a chance to win awesome prices and giveaways offered by the event. We participated in Best Barkada Shot (Group Award) and 5 Most Creative ILuvCebu Instameeter.

5. Good food. The event was sponsored by the country’s No. 1 Pizza Chain – Greenwich Pizza and Pasta. Good food were served. Lucky for us it was saturday which meant "cheat day". Yas!

Lafang :)
6. It's all about promotion. Put yourself in the spotlight. It's yours!

Ako ang dyosa! :)

My #OOTD

…because it’s basically about Instagram drama, so why not pull off a unique OOTD (outfit of the day)?

On the bridge of the pond. "I wish there's a bridge I can take towards you." Genern!
I was happy to be one of the participants of iLuvCebuInstameet 5.0. Aside from I ditched my computer at home which basically is my prison, I had the chance to know and talk to awesome instagrammers of Cebu. I had relaxed my mind from the city noise. My blogger friends were also there making the experience extra special.

Blogger friends. She's the thorn among the roses, hahaha.

Love Instagram? Participate in iLuvCebuInstameet!
If you are interested to join the next events, you may follow iluvcebu.com in their official Facebook page and website.

See you in the next #iLuvCebuInstameet event!




Lazada Online Revolution: Shop the Universe 2017


Yay, this stuff toy is so cuddly!

Lazada, the number one online shopping site which operates Southeast Asia (Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam), will cause a great a BANG this coming 11th of November (11.11) up to 12th of December (12.12) in the online shopping arena! Prepare yourself to shop the universe with countless products available on Lazada’s portal. As the Pioneering eCommerce in the region, it will provide customers great offers at discounted prices – up to 90%.

The Roadshow in Cebu City

I got an email from Lazada Philippines team that they’d be having Lazada’s Online Revolution Roadshow in Quest Hotel and Conference Building on November 6, 2017 in order to unveil and spread the good news. I got no conflicting appointment with it based on my calendar so I confirmed. Participated by Cebu influencers and content creators, the event was held in the hotel’s Henson Room in the 7th floor. It was spearheaded by Sydney, Aya and Kyru over a sumptuous dinner. A lot of awesome deals have been revealed ranging from fashion, appliances to electronics and gadgets that customers should surely be rejoicing at. Magnificent news has been announced, too. Alibaba Company invested US$1 billion thus owning 83% of Lazada’s stake and strengthening the financial security of the company. A new factory site has also been constructed making transactions even more convenient and faster for the buyers.

Outside the venue. What’s more fun way to do other than to take a picture? Haha!
A lot of giveaways and freebies had been given too in the course of the program.

I won hair conditioner, bracelet and pouch. Harhar.
Shopping the Universe

Known as the biggest and the grandest sale of the year, the Lazada Online Revolution is an event where shoppers can get hefty discounts on almost everything. This festivity is where you’ll most likely find all the great deals and massive discounted items from all the trusted brands in the industry. Expect to be blown away with their extensive range of fabulous and smashing products. So what are you waiting for, give yourself a treat and visit avail their Online Revolution offers.

Some of the brands and products to watch out for:


Why Shop at Lazada this coming November 11 to December 12?

1. Discounted Prices. Grab your favorite items and enjoy a discount up to 90%. More awesome deals await!
2. New Offers. Taobao Collection is now in Lazada. If you want authentic Chinese collections, you can now shop it here. There are more digital goods at your grasp, too.
3. Safe and Secure. Choose from broad secure payment options either through credit card or cash-on-delivery. Products quality and authenticity are assured to be genuine and not defective. If in case there are problems, simply return it within 7 days for a full refund under the Buyer Protection Program.
4. Easy and Accessible. No more traffic jams, crowds and long queues! Shop anytime, anywhere via your computer and mobile phone. It is just one click away.
With their quick and reliable delivery service, just sit back, relax and your package will come to you.

Let the online revolution begin!

How to make most of your online shopping especially during Lazada’s Online Revolution?

1. Create your wishlist now. Add products from their selection to your wishlist and get them at a discount on November. Big things coming your way at discounted prices.
2. Visit Official Stores. In order to really make sure you shop for authentic products, go to http://www.lazada.com.ph/official-stores/ and browse your heart out.
3. Take note of Product Reviews. Know what customers are saying about the product you chose. Avoid products with poor reviews.

For more details, visit Lazada now!

Got our cool packages. Happy faces!