Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Divisoria Night Cafe and Market in CDO, not in Manila

When one hears Divisoria in the Philippines, what comes to mind to most people is that bargain hunter's paradise in Manila where one can stretch his last peso to the limit.

However, the Divisoria we visited recently is the one in Cagayan de Oro and it is their Night Cafe and Market which is open for business only on Friday and Saturday nights. The place around Plaza Divisoria is full of food stalls selling mostly inihaw (barbecued) pork, chicken, and seafoods. while on the other side of the street, dry goods such as clothes, dvds, etc. are sold.

Big Flat Bread - CDO's Answer to Yellow Cab?

On our last night in Cagayan de Oro, we went to the Limketkai Mall to have dinner.  Our daughter wanted to have Yellow Cab Pizza but we told her that we can always have it in Manila. Across the North Concourse of the mall is a line of restaurants and we saw this pizza joint which we was new to us.

The name of the place was Big Flat Bread and they offer their pizzas in 3 sizes: big (12 inches), bigger (18 inches), and biggest (30 inches).

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Camiguin: Come Again

Our trip to Cagayan de Oro/Camiguin this last week of August 2011 started when we bought our plane tickets from Air Philippines last November 2010 at P886 per person for a round trip ticket. On the second day of our trip, we took a taxi going to the Agora Terminal where Bachelor Tour buses bound for Butuan City, which passes Balingoan port, wait for passengers. The travel time is about 2 hours and it costs P140 per person.

Upon arrival at the Balingoan bus terminal, one has the option to take a tricycle (P8) or just walk towards the pier. There is a terminal fee of P2.25 and the ro-ro fare is P170.

the ro-ro that will take us to camiguin

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Malacanang Museum Tour

It's been a long time since I've visited the Malacanang Palace. When the tour was still free and you get to visit the rooms of the Marcoses, including the Ceremonial Hall, Heroes Hall, etc.

Now, the Palace is no longer open to the public. Instead, a Presidential Museum and Library was established in the nearby Kalayaan Hall, which is just beside the Palace, where memorabilia from the former Presidents are displayed. It is no longer free (P50) and you have to set up an appointment 7 working days prior to the visit.

For those who are interested in visiting the museum, I have attached the request form. Just print and fill it up and email it to the

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Papa John's Pizza

We finally had a chance to eat at Papa John's at the University Mall near DLSU. Having a difficult time finding parking space near St. Scholastica's College, I decided to park at the Mall (parking fee is P40 for the first 2 hours, and P10 per succeeding hour).

Saturdays are spent in Angel's school for her violin lessons. After her individual and group lessons, we went to look somewhere to have lunch. Most of the fastfood restaurants are full, so we chose to try out Papa John's instead. I first saw the pizza joint on History Channel which featured their delivery system.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Visit to the Land of the Kiwis

We were able to visit New Zealand (NZ) in February 2006 during school break at the University of Queensland. We had saved enough funds from  my wife's full time job at the Queensland University of Technology and my summer job at an electronic assembly company to have this vacation. We got a promo fare from the Virgin Blue/Polynesian Blue for our Brisbane-Auckland-Brisbane flight.

To get our NZ visa, all we had to do was send by mail a self-addressed stamped envelope, our passports, bank statement, flight itinerary and the application form to the NZ Consular Office in Sydney and waited for a week to get our approved visa.

We booked a cab the night before our departure to pick us up at our apartment in St. Lucia. The trip to the Brisbane International Airport was quite lively, with the cab driver doing most of the talking. He narrated that he originally was from England and that he arrived in Brisbane almost penniless and how he began as a baker until he met his wife and got different jobs. Now retired, he drives the cab part-time for the extra income.

After checking-in at the airport, we waited at the lounge's floor for lack of available seats.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Our two week trip around Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne

I was fortunate enough to be given a scholarship to finish my masteral degree at the University of Queensland in 2005. My family joined me in Australia about 2 months after I got there. My wife wanted to visit her sister in Melbourne but lack of funds made us defer the trip.

We started planning on how to go there the cheapest way we can. It was then that I came about the website of CountryLink which offered a travel pass where one can travel almost anywhere between Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne by train/bus for two weeks for about A$200. The pass comes with four bonus CityRail passes. First there's a DayTripper ticket so you can travel all day on Sydney trains, buses and ferries. Next is a return bus/train ticket to the famous Bondi Beach. And then there is a return train tickets to Katoomba, heart of the scenic Blue Mountains. You can choose between making a day trip or staying in the mountains for longer. The good thing with the pass is my daughter travels for free since she was less than 6 years old then.