Sunday, January 25, 2015

Manila American Cemetery and Memorial

The Manila American Cemetery and Memorial is a cemetery for American and Filipino soldiers killed during World War II in the Pacific theater There are over 17,000 soldiers buried here, as well as a memorial to soldiers missing in action.

sunrise over the cemetery

driveway into the cemetery

map of World War II battles inside the memorial

names of MIAs


inside the chapel

Taal Lake (Tagaytay)

Taal Lake is a volcanic lake formed from a still active volcano.

The Taal Lake Yacht Club offers boat rides to the volcano and tours for a cheap price, much cheaper than other tour groups, especially if you reserve ahead of time. The only caveat is that you have to get there yourself, which is not difficult.

To get there from Manila, go to the Southwest Terminal and take a San Agustin Bus towards Tagaytay. On board, tell the conductor that you're going to Oliveriz Square in Tagaytay. Once in Tagaytay, take a tricycle to the Yacht Club. The tricycle should cost 300 pesos, though some haggling may be required. Also, tell the driver that you already have reservations for the Yacht Club (even if you don't), otherwise they may take you somewhere else to sell you their own tour package.

To return to Manila, the yacht club can help you flag down a tricycle. From there, go across the road from where the bus dropped you off and wait for a bus heading back to Manila. Round trip for the bus was 110 pesos.

view of Volcano Island from Lake Taal

you will get wet while riding the banca

looking at other islands from Volcano Island

bancas on the island

Yellow Lake, which is another lake inside Volcano Island

the ground is warm to the touch
there are also steam vents scattered around

the little horse that you can ride to top (more of a pony)

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Batad Rice Terraces (part 2)

(see part 1)

there currently aren't any roads to Batad, though one is currently under construction

this is the current path from the road down towards Batad

panoramic view of Batad

close up of the rice plants

Walking through the rice terraces

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Batad Rice Terraces

About 15 km east of Banaue, Batad offers rice terraces which are stone-walled instead of mud-walled. The terraces are also arranged like an amphitheater around the main village, creating a much more impressive views than other rice terraces in the area.

Tappiyah Falls (also spelled Tappia)
The falls are a steep 1 hour hike from where you first enter Batad

Batad at night

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Banaue Rice Terraces

The rice terraces in and around Banaue are a UNESCO World Site for the rice terraces that were hand constructed about 2000 years ago.

Banaue Viewpoint

Currently the only direct way there from Manila is a 9 hour overnight bus ride through Ohayami Trans, which can be booked online at Pinoy Travels for about 450 pesos each way.
Other lines run to Banaue via other cities such as Baguio, which are also worth visiting if you have the time.

rice terraces in nearby Hapao village

the view from Banaue town center

view of the back of Banaue town center

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Cebu City

Basílica Minore del Santo Niño de Cebú, the oldest roman catholic church in the country.

Basilica Del Sto Niño Cebu main chapel - filled for Friday afternoon mass

Basilica Del Sto Niño Cebu, still under restoration after the October 2013 earthquake

Basilica Del Sto Niño Cebu

Magellan's Cross
planted in the early 1500s by Ferdinand Magellan

Fort San Pedro, built in the 1700s to keep out invaders.

Fort San Pedro front

Fort San Pedro courtyard

Ayala Center, a large shopping mall. Worth checking out for restaurants or for your shopping needs.

Ayala Center

Ayala Center

Friday, January 9, 2015

Tops Lookout, Cebu City, Philippines

Tops Lookout offers a 180 panoramic view of Cebu City. However, the viewing area itself is just a small area, half acre plot and may not feel like it's worth the cost of getting up there.

Entry is 100 pesos per person. While the entry fee itself is not bad, the biggest cost is getting up to Tops. A taxi will cost P600-1000. Alternatively, you can try your hand at taking a jeepney, but you will still have to climb the last and very steep 500m on your own. My suggestion is to take a taxi or jeepney to JY Square Mall and take a habal habal (motorcycle taxi) up from there. The habal-habal will cost about P150-300.

on the way up to Tops, outside of Cebu City
the views on the way up are better than the view form Tops

Tops, this is pretty much the entire area.

view of Cebu City from Tops