Wednesday, October 15, 2014

SEC Express System – Online Processing and Delivery of SEC Documents

SEC documents can now be requested online. There's no need to go to the SEC to get plain or authenticated copies anymore. Documents like articles of incorporation/partnership, by-laws, general information sheet, increase/decrease of capital stock, audited financial statements, registration data sheet, resolution (minutes), secretary’s certificate, board resolution, and other documents can now be requested easily.

Simply log on to to request for SEC documents. You may also call 7378888 Monday to Saturday, from 8am to 5pm.

You can pay for your document requests using VISA or MasterCard. Your documents will be delivered anywhere in the Philippines within 3 working days. It’s that easy.

Press Release: This means that this material is fully and directly from the company issuing the press release. This also means that this website is not the author of the statement being read. Gest to Utopia is simply providing the information for readers who may be interested.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

DFA Passport Appointment System – World-class Passport Processing

Getting a passport is better and easier now than ever. Before you even get to the DFA, you will be informed of your assigned date and time, eliminating the need for long queues and ensuring convenient and efficient processing. Plus, you have the choice of numerous DFA passport processing locations to choose from like DFA ASEANA, DFA Manila, DFA Megamall, DFA Ortigas, DFA Cubao, and DFA Alabang. is your easy access in getting an appointment for your DFA passport application. Quick, simple, and empowering, the service allows you to choose the date, time, and location at your convenience all in one click. And if you want to talk to someone, simply call the hotline (02) 737-1000 to get assistance from our Customer Care Officers. You can also enjoy the benefit of getting your passport delivered to your doorstep, no need to go back to the DFA for claiming.

The Department of Foreign Affairs in partnership with Pilipinas Teleserv has now made requesting for new and renewal of passport more accessible, efficient and world class for every Filipino.

Press Release: This means that this material is fully and directly from the company issuing the press release. This also means that this website is not the author of the statement being read. Gest to Utopia is simply providing the information for readers who may be interested.

Monday, October 13, 2014, The Travel and Hassle-Free Way of Getting an NSO Birth Certificate

If you need an NSO birth certificate for travel, passport, enrollment, claims, ID application, or VISA processing, going to the nearest NSO Serbilis Outlet is a sure way of getting your hands on that very important document.

However, getting to the nearest NSO Serbilis Outlet is becoming quite a challenge nowadays, with MRT-related concerns all over the news and the ever present traffic jam of the city an omnipresent fact of life. Of course when you successfully arrive at your destination, queuing in line and waiting for the processing is part and parcel of the experience. Add all the effort and expenses, and probably the need to apply for work leave, and you dedicate a day’s worth of your life just to get a copy of your NSO document.

But what if all you need to do is to sit down, open your computer and open the browser side by side with your Facebook browser? What if you can apply for your NSO birth certificate by clicking and typing the needed info in one easy online form? What if all you need is one click or phone call to (02) 737-1111 and your NSO birth certificate will be delivered to you in 2-3 days right at your doorstep, anywhere in the Philippines? Now that ain’t so hard. It would probably take about 15 minutes of your time, without having to apply for work leave mind you because you can do it anytime 24/7. – Fast, Hassle-Free, Easy. Try it today.

Press Release: This means that this material is fully and directly from the company issuing the press release. This also means that this website is not the author of the statement being read. Gest to Utopia is simply providing the information for readers who may be interested.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

The Citizen Services Call Center for Filipinos by Filipinos

Need an NSO birth certificate? A DFA passport? SEC documents? GSIS helpline or chat? 

Since 2000, Pilipinas Teleserv has been providing dynamic services to Filipinos with cutting-edge customer management solutions and innovative business process outsourcing services. Primary of these solutions is Citizen Services, an integrated customer service solution that has changed the way people transact with government agencies.

Citizen Services is comprised of essential people-oriented solutions in partnership with the National Statistics Office, the Department of Foreign Affairs, the POEA, Civil Service Commission, BIR, DTI, PhilHealth, NCC, DOH, the Government Service Insurance System, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the DPWH over the last decade.

The central services available to Filipinos are:
Pilipinas Teleserv provides Filipino citizens with a stress-free alternative to acquiring their civil registry documents from the National Statistics Office (NSO) through Requests for birth certificates, marriage certificates, death certificates, and certificates of no marriage (CENOMAR) are made via the hotline or the website and delivered right to one’s doorstep.

DFA Passport Appointment System
Pilipinas Teleserv has transformed the way Filipino citizens transact with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) through the DFA Passport Appointment System. The process of applying for a new passport and renewing an expiring passport has become much more swift and convenient as applicants can now properly plan their visits to the DFA offices.

GSIS Contact Center
From September 2012 until March 2014, Pilipinas Teleserv managed the Philippine Government’s ambitious Contact Center ng Bayan project, a national helpdesk that utilizes citizen vigilance to keep government offices and agents accountable for their actions. Concerned citizens can lodge complaints and request for information via the hotline, SMS, and email. 

SEC Express System 
A non-appearance application system integrating an online and contact center-based application process of documents being requested from SEC. One can access or call (02)737-8888 to facilitate processing.

Continuously committed to innovation, Pilipinas Teleserv pushes forward towards a decade and half of providing and finding more convenient and flexible means of making government services accessible to Filipino citizens.

Press Release: This means that this material is fully and directly from the company issuing the press release. This also means that this website is not the author of the statement being read. Gest to Utopia is simply providing the information for readers who may be interested.

Friday, July 11, 2014


It's time to leave the famous Small Lagoon and boat onto their next destination: SIMIZU ISLAND. 

...and because island tours were cancelled prior to that day, Bacuit Bay was full of tourists travelling in groups. "Ugh!” said Rome when he saw long queue of boats heading to the island. Approaching, the water was really crystal clear, clean and calm that you can see the bottom of the sea with scattered dead corals despite it being more than 10 feet deep.

Trixie and Rome settled next to the big drift wood. The old wood is quietly nesting on the same spot on Simizu Island the last time Rome went there. “It’s probably the only unspoiled thing on the island”, Rome said to himself. 

It's almost time for lunch and lunch is usually held on the island. Boat crew and tour guides prepared lunch under the shades of trees while their guests were swimming and snorkeling.

First timers admired the island surrounded by limestone outcrops, few small coves and a limestone islet sits right across the shore.” Paradise!” a tourist shouted while filming their experience.  It’s not a paradise for Rome anymore. Not quite a long time ago, it has a beautiful coral garden and was a stunning place for snorkeling and paddling but its untouched beauty was depressingly gone, Rome assessed. 

They declined the nature’s invitation to swim and decided to just chill and explore the island. Not soon enough, they were called in to have their lunch taken. Check out what they had for lunch here.

Next Stop:  Big Lagoon

Monday, July 7, 2014


... they were in El Nido sometime in February but was held-up one day late of their timetable when all island tours were cancelled because of tropical storm Kajiki (Typhoon Basyang) hitting the municipality in the middle of the summer season. With nothing to do on their first day, they decided to trek to Nagkalit-kalit Falls and visited an alternative inland beach resort -the beautiful Las Cabanas Beach Resort located just about 3 km south of El Nido town.

Not the memorable summer experience they’ve planned to be, but they had real fun. Dinner was all good at Artcafe. It was raining hard outside the café and there was no sign of weather getting better on the next day. They decided to just enjoy the night... downed a bottle of Australian red wine, enjoyed the food, and sang along with the local live band playing "It’s My Life". Deep-inside, keeping their fingers crossed that the next day's weather would be fair to do the ultimate El Nido adventure.

Sweet, the following day was picture perfect! But Cadlao (which means “laugh” in Coyunon dialect) Island, capped with clouds seemed shy to smile at them.

"What a beautiful day!" says his friend, Trixie as Rome bask on a rattan sun lounger looking out over the brilliant turquoise waters of the Bacuit Bay with a glass of iced-cold coke by his side, waiting for their tour guide to arrive. "Ahhh, it was indeed a paradise", he said, smiling.

Today is an island-hopping-kind-of-day or shall I say …lagoon hopping.  The duo availed TOUR A the most famous and the most availed tour package in El Nido A.K.A. "The Lagoon Tour" as it comprised of expedition to 2 lagoons of Miniloc Island - Small Lagoon and Big Lagoon. Secret Lagoon, Shimizu Island, and 7 Commandos Beach are also part of the whole day tour. Costing them Php 1200 each, it includes boat transportation, lunch, life jacket and snorkeling equipments, and services of a tour guide.

First Stop: Small Lagoon

They swam through the entrance hole and found themselves floating in a lagoon surrounded by orchid-lined limestone walls that just up straight from the water. 

Over the years, small lagoon has become a grave of dead coral reefs. Hiding from its crystal clear and tranquil turquoise-green waters are white and sharp dead corals. Sad to say, despite of government and non-government’s efforts to protect it, the lagoon is slowly being destroyed.

“This is not what it looks like 10 years ago”, Rome explained to Trixie. “Small lagoon’s entrance was once a coral reef paradise. It has plenty of live, big, and colorful corals the last time I went here”.

WARNING: Better hurry up if you want to see the best of El Nido. If ignorance, greed, and destruction of the people around it won't be seriously addressed, El Nido's days are numbered.

Next stop: EL NIDO ISLAND HOPPING  | TOUR A - Simizu Island  

Thursday, April 24, 2014

GLIMPSE | Big Lagoon, El Nido, Palawan

“Memory cannot produce a picture that Imagination has not retouched; and her pictures, even the ones least touched by Imagination, are no mere photographs, but the world of an artist.” 

― Henry de Vere Stacpoole, The Blue Lagoon

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Las Cabanas Beach Resort, El Nido, Palawan

Destination: Las Cabanas Beach Resort, 
El Nido, Palawan

When in El Nido, and you are done island hoping A, B and C, Las Cabanas Beach Resort, located about 3 km south of El Nido town is a wonderful location to go to if you have some more time. Going here is one of the alternative inland tours in El Nido whenever weather and maritime services issue gale warnings. This is where Rome and his group headed after trekking to Nagkaalit-kalit Falls.

The beach resort doesn't have access directly from the main road. They were told that they need to hike for 5-10 minutes to the beach. Their group hesitated when they saw the muddy road leading to the beach but eventually decided to go through.  Magnificent silhouette of El Nido's signature limestone cliffs greeted them upon arrival. Trembling in cold, they stayed in the nearby beach bar to rest and ordered coffee. The view gave warm to Rome's heart. Las Cabanas occupy a great spot in El Nido showcasing glorious stretch of coastline and uninterrupted view of Bacuit Bay. "When not raining, this spot is the best for beach wedding", Rome thought.

Haven't tried to stay here yet but Rome's planning another trip sometime in August . This place is recommended if you are avoiding the crowds and bustle of El Nido and looking for a total relaxation, stay down town if you want to party.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

How to Rent in London for Less

 Living in London can be an alluring prospect. Between the great food, the clubs, the diverse population, and great employment opportunities, London can provide a wonderful city in which to live. With all of those options, however, comes some great expenses; overall, London is one of the most expensive cities to live in throughout the entire world.

Typically, 30 – 40% of someone’s salary goes to their living expenses. Because London is much more expensive, though, some people spend around 50% of their income. The great news is, though, that living in London on a budget is possible if you are smart about your finances. Every once in a while, you may want to thin about getting payday loans online. Follow these tips below to help you live in London for less.

Keep track of Watts Used for Appliances

Domestic appliances can cost a great deal of wattage—and, therefore, money—for your flat rental. A standard dryer uses up to 4,000 watts of energy for a home and can cost you a great deal. Instead of drying your clothes in the dryer, consider using a clothes line outside or hanging wet clothing in the bathroom or other rooms to dry. Microwaves, dishwashers, and kettles are the next highest offenders for energy use and can be used less, when possible. For example, use dishwashers and dryers only when fully loaded. Instead of using your microwave oven to thaw food, try letting it sit inside or outside to thaw more naturally. If it would save money in the long run, replace your current domestic appliances for more energy efficient models.

Use Less Energy Overall

Lighting your flat or home will account for nearly 20% of your energy bill. For this reason, you should turn all lights off in rooms that you are not using at the time. Additionally, you should replace all traditional light-bulbs with energy saving bulbs that will cost less. Energy saving bulbs consume 80% less energy and can save over £60 per year. While those savings don’t seem like much money per month, every little bit of money helps save in the long run.

Televisions and computers that are left on or standby can lead to an increase in your energy bill by 10%. Even when they are off, televisions and other appliances are often still pulling power from the outlet. If you go away on holiday, unplug your television, microwave, or other similar domestic goods to save even more on your bill.

Lower your thermostat overall. A couple of degrees less can account for a lowering on your monthly bill of 10%. If a radiator in one of the rooms is rarely used, turn it off. Likewise, make sure to patch any leaks and avoid any blocks to the system.

Get a Roommate

One of the ways to best cut down on rent is to live with one or more roommates. With one roommate, the rent can automatically split in half—depending on how you split it—and more roommates also adds to the discount. Having roommates also enables you to split the cost of groceries, utilities, cable, Internet, and other house necessities. Even if the flat doesn’t have two “official” rooms, you might consider splitting a single room or creating a makeshift room from another room.

Find the Right Neighborhood

Camberwell, Elephant & Castle, Earlsfield, New Cross, and Walthamstow are just a few neighborhoods that feature more affordable rent for great areas. The nightlife, club scene, and great restaurants might be lacking in a few of these neighborhoods, but with the lower rent you pay in them, you can easily afford to jump on the Tube and travel to your entertainment. And when you do use the Tube, don’t forget your Oyster card to get the best deals on transport.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Nagkaalit-kalit Falls | Trekking Through El Nido's Lost Water World

Destination: Nagkaalit-kalit Falls
Barangay Pasadeña, El Nido, Palawan

In a shrinking world where the beautiful Municipality of El Nido receives hundreds if not thousands of visitors a day this summer, the Nagkaalit-kalit Falls remains less-visited and a semi-secret attraction in the UNESCO's managed resource protected town filled with hidden caves, limestone cliffs, colorful coral reefs, crystal clear sand beaches, blue lagoons and incredibly friendly locals. Seeing it won't earn you a plus star of "has been" but you really can claim to be a globetrotter extraordinaire.

The last time Rome and Trixie went here, all island tours were cancelled because of Tropical Storm Kajiki (Typhoon Basyang) hitting the municipality. With nothing to do, they decided to trek to the falls. Trekking to Nagkalit-kalit Falls is one of the alternative inland tours in El Nido whenever weather and maritime services issue gale warnings. 

Swizz tourist Daniel and his Filipina girlfriend Jazmine who were also trapped at Cliff Tower Apartelle joined them in an attempt to paint the gloomy day full of colors. Rome’s cousin and owner of the apartelle , Mabel, arranged for the trip at Php 350 per pax including a visit to an inland beach.

They left the apartel after lunch, bought snacks and water from the town proper and off they went to Nagkalit-kalit Waterfalls via tricycle. It was raining non-stop on the drive from the apartel through the expanse of verdant jungle of managed resource protected area town. The road to Nagkalit-kalit Falls was bumpy and muddy 20 minutes tryke ride. One gust of wind and they were drenched in the spray. Still, it was fun accompanied by screams and laughers. Plus, they were treated to wonderful sceneries of tropical rain forest and farmlands as they passed through billowing clouds and mists almost covering the distant tropical forest. "El Nido has some jungle with untouched rainforests, vast mountain ranges and not just limestone-surrounded lagoons and long stretch of beaches", Rome said.

Warning: This little adventure is not for the faint-hearted:  the walks cover rocky and muddy (on rainy days) terrain, steep climb and crossing a total of 7 rivers and streams for thirty to forty-five minutes to reach the falls. You need to be physically and mentally prepared to climb carrying your belongings in a rucksack in trying circumstances. It can be tough, slippery and involve some scrambling, so prepare to get your hands dirty and your muscles stretched.

They pass through some rice fields, then winding jungle trails and the challenging slippery trail. At first, they hear a dull and distant rumble of Nagkalit-kalit Falls announcing itself before they see it. As they walked through the dense rain forest that surrounds and protects the falling water the rumble becomes an ever growing thunder....

More walks and there it is! A small and humble waterfalls that is about 10 meters high. Not as majestic and just a raindrop as the others he have seen. David tried to dive from a rock and swim through the cold water. They stayed for almost 30 minutes watching the cascading waters while eating their snacks and photo shooting. 

For Rome, their adventure to Nagkaalit-kalit Falls was refreshing enough but didn’t seem remarkable. The limestone-surrounded lagoons and long stretch of beach beauties in El Nido live up to their legend... and that's where I bring you on my next blog posts.

Note: The lack of rain during hot summer days and the effects of changing climate have been known to dry up the river that supplies water to the waterfall. Better check a local tour guide before signing in for a trek.

Friday, March 21, 2014

GLIMPSE | Nagkalit-kalit Falls, El Nido, Palawan

Rome and Trixie were stranded in El Nido and unfortunately, all island tours were cancelled when Tropical Storm Kajiki (Typhoon Basyang) hit the municipality. Trekking to Nagkalit-kalit Falls is one of the alternative inland tours in El Nido and this was what they do. Full post next!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

When People are the Tourist Attraction | Sungka - Philippine Mancala Game

Stranded: Rome and Trixie were stranded in El Nido on the first day of their holiday. All island tours were cancelled when Tropical Storm Kajiki (Typhoon Basyang) hit the municipality. 

They met Swizz tourist Daniel and his Filipina girlfriend Jazmine who were also trapped at Cliff Tower Apartelle. With nothing to do after breakfast, the couple started playing Sungka to throw away their boredom. 

They watched as the couple play. Sungka is a kind of Mancala Game in the Philippines played on a solid wooden block with two rows of seven circular holes and two large holes at both ends called "head". Daniel has just learned the traditional Filipino board game and they were amazed when a foreigner and a first timer to play the game won several times. Trixie tried it but was also lost. Lol!

I can't remember the last time I played this game. Like you, I shun away the classics such as Chess, Domino and Scrabble in favor of expensive computer consoles, mobile games and oh, flappy bird to keep me entertained. Sungka maybe a good old fashioned game but it improves mathematical thinking, teaches patience and observation skills. It makes the family sit around the table and spends quality time.I seriously doubt kids these days don’t know how to play Sungka anymore. Sure, there are word and number based games available in computers, apps and Facebook that provides more excitement which is why it's preferable. 

There has to be an acceptance that life is different now but game play should always be an integral part of family life. Family can still connect and play together, digitally. In fact, Sungka can be downloaded from Google Play already. 

Later on that afternoon, they decided to hike to Nagkaalit-kalit Falls and visit Las Cabanas Beach, alternative inland tours in El Nido when island hoping is prohibited. And that’s where I’m going to bring y’all on my next posts.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Travel Savings Add-Up on Holiday

Getting out enjoying the sights and sounds of new destinations is a rewarding holiday pastime for couples and families looking for a change.  Travel stimulates a wider world view, even if limited to trips close to home. What you spend on vacation depends on where you go and what kinds of activities you undertake while there, but no matter what type of getaway you are planning, there is always room for saving some money on holiday travel.

Of course, advanced planning supports the quest for budget travel, simply because you'll have more time to uncover deals, but even when holidays spring up out of nowhere, following proven money saving approaches can lead to substantial reductions in the cost of travel.

As you set to embark on leisure travel, use whatever resources you can latch on to for holiday savings.  That way, you'll be ready to plan your next outing with money saved on travel.

Travel Technology Helps Users Stay on Top of Deals

Fabulous vacation bargains are worthless to you if you don’t know about them, so staying informed is your first step toward travel savings.  Luckily, the travel planning landscaper is more consumer friendly than ever before, hosting a variety of resources for would-be travelers.

In days past, travel services provided the best access to timely information about fares and schedules, as well as inclusive vacation packages.  For a fee, professional planners did their best to book pleasing outings for travelers at all spending levels.  The other way to compare travel costs, which is certainly still an option today, was to contact carriers and hospitality providers directly, to gather quotations about the various travel options available to you.

Technology has pushed travel planning ahead exponentially, especially the Internet, which allows users to investigate travel options in a much more efficient way then was possible only a couple decades ago.  Picking the best travel arrangements, especially based on price, is enabled by multiple online travel search providers, furnishing up to date information about alternatives being offered by airlines and others serving the travel industry.

Airlines, for instance, operate in a highly competitive environment, which responds to market conditions quickly, changing fares and availability on a moment's notice.  Comparison websites harness the information in real time, creating ready references for travel shoppers.  Other changes have also occurred within the air travel industry, such as paid baggage service and other add-on costs, so it is important to be mindful of these potential expenses when comparing rates online.

Travel sites yield power in the industry, because they help influence where travelers spend money.  As a result, they have bargaining abilities leading to savings for users who book with them online.  Bundling needs like rental cars, hotel nights, and air travel, for example, leads to savings at Internet travel sites, because they have negotiated deals with providers.  Bundled services, in general, are worth looking at when planning budget travel, because all-inclusive trips often shake-out as better values than trips put together by travelers plugging in each essential holiday need individually.

Notifications Keep you Up to Date

Once you are serious about a particular destination or holiday time-slot, it is easy to stay abreast of good deals within the travel industry.  Travel services often include email notification options keeping your finger on the pulse of fare changes and other savings potential.

Even flexible search parameters can be plugged-in, furnishing updates about discount opportunities flying to neighboring airports, for example.  While rigid dates and destinations are commonplace for holiday travelers, those with a certain degree of flexibility in their travel schedules sometimes land the best savings.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Cliff Tower | Long Staying Apartelle in El Nido, Palawan

Are you planning on staying longer than the usual three days/ two nights in El Nido, Palawan? Then consider staying at Cliff Tower Apartelle located in the quiet area of the town few steps away from the crowded El Nido shoreline. Owned and manage by his cousin, Cliff Tower was where Rome and Trixie stayed in while on vacation in the beautiful town of El Nido last January.

Rents are sky-high in El Nido particularly during summer. Control your budget and make your money go as far as possible. The apartel is offering a month of stay for as low as Php 10,000.00 only, including taxes. The facilities at the apartel are basic. It has five rooms, each with an en suite. 2 of which are air -conditioned and the rest are fan rooms. Bring your own toiletries, if you forget, there’s a store nearby to purchase. Cable TV and Wifi access are also available at the common area.

Long-term tenants are the tower’s main clientele but they are open for daily accommodation if there’s vacant room. An Australian tenant who is residing on the second floor for two years has moved to the third floor. Rome and Trixie occupied the just vacated room. Cheap and comfy, the budget room offers spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and rocky cliffs through the glass windows.

The apartelle was under construction when Rome was there but his cousin and her husband were speeding up the construction of the building to be completed before summer starts. Previously, she's the Project Development Officer of the municipality and Civil Engineer by profession, Rome's cousin and her husband are proud to offer a unique experience, adding that it was never about luxury.

'Our market is more the traveler, long staying tourist and locals but we have all type of people coming here because it is so remarkable.'

Cliff Tower Apartelle is located at San Juaquin St, Buenasuerte, El Nido, Palawan. For bookings, questions and reservations, please contact Mabel Cornel at 09071419196.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Room Review | Melvo's Garden Bed & Breakfast, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan

What prompts a man to go from being an aspiring Information Technology expert in the Philippine Capital, Manila, to becoming the owner and host of a garden bed and breakfast in Puerto Princesa City in Palawan? A desire to finally fulfill his true purpose? An early mid-life crisis, perhaps? Or simply acting upon those reflective conversations we have from time-to-time about moving back to the countryside and working for ourselves?

Melvo's Garden Bed and Breakfast, a 15-minute ride from the city's center has been open and is checking in friends and hotel’s spillover of guests for less than a year. What's obvious from the moment I checked in is that owners Alexandria, Mae and Jedrik (who hung up his computer job in Manila to live the B&B dream), my nieces and nephew, have the kind of hospitable enthusiasm for their new lives. Funded by their parents, Melinda and Voltaire ( Melvo ),  they bought a vacant lot and constructed this 10-room bed and breakfast in Barangay Tiniguiban. What followed next was an ongoing construction of in-house restaurant, garden landscape, and hopefully, swimming pool.

Without any experience in tourism and hotel industry - 'except staying in them' - the siblings worked on, learning as they go. Hurtling towards their first year milestone, they tell me stories about their funny and learning experiences from the guests who stayed and that it's 'been tough but worth it'.


The concept behind Melvo's Garden Bed and Breakfast is that Puerto Princesa, the Philippines’ gate to last frontier, doesn’t stop and end at the front door of this B&B. Tourists and guests are encourage to discover the city and the whole province. If you are travelling to Puerto Princesa City, either by group, family, or couple and are hunting for quiet, affordable and pleasant rooms to spend the night in, it's better be Melvo’s. 

As a true blue Palaweño who worked in a hotel in the city some time ago, I have to say that unless you are paying for the five-star experience, hotels are pretty characterless over the city. You have to explore Honda Bay, Underground River, Palawan Museum, Churches, Mitra’s Ranch, Ugong Rock, Crocodile Farm, San Carlos River and many more that your three days and two nights are not enough. You just need comfortable accommodation at night to rest and sleep and then go again on the following day.

So what can visitors expect inside Melvo’s rooms? 

There were two of us, my friend Trixie travelled with me going back to my hometown. We took the air-conditioned, double bed, ensuite room equipped with cable flat screen TV hanging on the wall against the beds, electric fan for extra cooling and body-size mirror. These 10 rooms have closet and private bathroom complete with basic toiletries and can accommodate up to 4 persons for just Php1600 nett, inclusive of personalize breakfast. The B&B maybe a bit hard to find but is 5 minutes away from Robinsons mall.

In spite of their relative inexperience, it seems that my nieces know enough to not scrimp on the essentials. The beds, though a little bit hard, are comfortable and have clean sheets. Plus, fluffy towels and a lovely hot and cold shower! And they have strong wifi connection! This is far removed from your average B&B.

The great breakfast will be featured tomorrow on my food website: The Cuisineuer. For room rates and other questions, please contact Jedrik Juani's Facebook account.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Old Wounds Re-Open With Civil War Monument

In Florida it’s an old saying that “the farther north you go, the farther south you get.” Nowhere is this saying more true than in Baker County at the Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park.  Home to one of the largest Civil War re-enactments in the Southeast, Olustee is considered “sacred ground” for those whose ancestors fought on the Confederate side of the war.  The latest conflict on the battlefield is the push by the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War to place a monument within the park to commemorate the soldiers who died there.  The park currently features 3 monuments already, all for Confederate soldiers.

Charles Custer, 83, is one of the descendants pushing for the Union obelisk.  “There were twice as many Union casualties there as Confederate.  They fought. They bled. And they are really not recognized anywhere.”  Custer had relatives fight on both sides of the war, like many people in the South today.
On the opposite side of the “second battle of Olustee” are the Sons of Confederate Veterans who are pushing to have the new monument banned from the park.  Unlike other Southern states, the influx of “Yankees” into Florida has never stopped.  Attracted by the weather and tourist destinations, Florida’s Southern heritage has been slowly eroding since the war.

“My biggest concern is that this is revisionist history and that these decisions are being made by park officials and not an elected body. You have to have some obligation to the people," said Florida State Representative Dennis Baxley, Republican chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

The main problem is not so much the monument itself but the location where proponents want to place it.  As long as it is not erected within the original three-acre state park, advocates on the Southern side are fine with it.  “We are not opposed to the monument at all; we are opposed to the location, and here is why — it’s like any other historical building,” said James S. Davis, 66, the Florida Division Commander for the Sons of Confederate Veterans. “You put something brand new in there and it destroys the significance of it.”

During the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Olustee held last month, re-enactors and visitors alike enjoyed the festivities and all political issues were placed on hold during the event.  Over 2,000 demonstrators gathered together to bring living history to attendees.  Originally fought on February 20, 1864, the Confederate victory still left over 900 Southern soldiers dead with a defeated Union camp losing over twice that number.  This was seen as a huge victory in Florida as Union troops were prevented from reaching Tallahassee from Jacksonville, taking the capital and setting up Florida as a Union state.  Visitors also enjoyed authentic encampments, historical demonstrations and educational events along with the battle.  The original town of Olustee is setup, allowing visitors to walk through and experience what it was like during the Civil War.  2014 marks the 38th year the re-enactment has taken place.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Saving Money While on a Road Trip

For those adventurers who have been bitten by the proverbial travel bug and are bent on following their wandering instincts all over the globe, money may play several different roles. It may be a luxury that is useful and convenient when it exists, but is not a necessity for the quality of life that you seek to sustain. It may be a non renewable resource that brings travel to a halt when it runs out. Or, it may be a sought after currency that allows you to travel when you have it in abundance, and that consequently forces you to stop and save up when you need more funds to press on, or you may choose to source additional funds from an external source such as payday loans. No matter what role money plays in your travels, however, it is almost certain that you will always be aiming to save more than you spend. The more cash you can save while traveling, the more side jaunts, special indulgences and extra travel expenses you will be able to afford, and the longer you can extend your trip.

For those who are traveling by motor vehicle, the classic road trip is one of the most enjoyable and leisurely ways to roam, but it can be quite pricey between the necessary monies needed for petrol, insurance, any needed maintenance or repairs for the vehicle, and emergencies. Not to mention that you will likely be setting aside money for lodging, food, and possibly entertainment, sports, booze, and those unplanned costs that will cut into your budget at every corner.

Making the Most of Your Automobile
When traveling on wheels of your own, it is important to maximize the fuel efficiency in your motor vehicle by reducing weight in the automobile, driving a well mapped route, and driving a vehicle that is conservative of petrol. The more loaded down with luggage and passengers that your auto is, the worse fuel economy you are going to be able to achieve. Therefore, lighten your gear as much as possible before taking off on a long road trip. This means carrying dehydrated or prepackaged food stuffs, reducing the amount and weight of belongings that you are packing with you, and ensuring that you have a reasonable number of riders for the size and capacity of your vehicle.  Additionally, make sure that you improve your petrol efficiency by making your auto as compact as possible so that no wind resistance is built up. Instead of hooking bicycles to the top of the auto, for example, place them inside the vehicle so that the air flow over and above your vehicle is smooth and not disruptive. Don't forget to plan your route so that you are traveling on as many direct and relatively flat motor ways as possible.

Save Money on Day to Day Expenses
Although you may be tempted to hand over your cash or card several times a day for lodging, food, and more while on your road trip, try alternative methods of travel that are not quite so commerced based in order to save a significant amount on your journey budget. Rather than choosing to stay in hotels, try traveler's hostels or a network like CouchSurfing in order to score a cheap or free place to rest your head. You may be able to get no cost or reduced price meals at places like these, but otherwise make sure to carry much of your own food in order to avoid dining out at every opportunity. If you are a student, senior citizen or fit into another demographic category, you may be eligible for a special discount card that entitles you to savings in your area of travel, such as the European travel card for discounts in certain popular tourist cities. 

Monday, February 24, 2014

The Popularity of Sport in Spain

There are many different sports associated with Spain, some of which are more popular than others. Sporting interests are often affected by cultural popularity and traditional values, with some of the most popular sports ranging from football (soccer) to bullfighting. Here’s how the various sports played in Spain rank in terms of popularity.

There has been some notable progress in Spanish tennis during recent years with some of the biggest names in the sport originating from the warmth of the Mediterranean. Rafael Nadal is one of the most decorated tennis players in history and continues to carry the flag for tennis in Spain alongside fellow successful pros Fernando Verdasco, Tommy Robredo and David Ferrer. With tennis becoming such a popular sport for health and fitness benefits, more of the Spanish population are taking up the sport.

You may be surprised to learn that there are various ski resorts present in Spain thanks its mountainous regions. Atop the snowy mountains in Spain you will be greeted with glorious sunshine at all the outstanding ski resorts across the country. With such a stable climate across the year, Spain is rarely affected by changeable weather so you’ll have excellent visibility when skiing.

The Spanish have become famous for their talented Basketball team thanks to the major progression taking place over the years in the national league known as the ACB. It is one of the most recognised basketball leagues behind the NBA and many Spanish players have transferred over to the US to make the most of their talent. The Spanish are known for doing well in the Olympic Basketball tournaments and it is this major sporting event that gives Spanish basketball a platform to enhance its popularity.

The laidback attitude associated with many Spaniards is likely to relate to their passion for a day out at the golf course. Many regions of Spain, including the Costa del Sol, host a wide range of Golf courses including the famous course that hosted the Ryder Cup in 1997, Valderrama. The popularity of golf in Spain has grown thanks to the successes of major professional players such as Miguel Angel Jimenez and Sergio Garcia. Who wouldn’t want to experience a round of golf at some of the most idyllic destinations on the planet? The endless sunshine, sandy coastal regions and wonderful hospitality all contribute to an excellent golfing experience for tourists.

There is no doubt that football (soccer) is the biggest sport in the country. The Spanish people treat the beautiful game as something of a religion, worshipping various football clubs across the country from the mighty Real Madrid and Barcelona to some of the smaller clubs in La Liga. Wherever you go in Spain, from well populated town squares to local village bars, you will certainly hear someone talking about football. As one of the biggest leagues in the world, La Liga has attracted some of the biggest names to Spanish shores in the past including the two best players in the world at the moment, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

About the author: 
Crispin Hardacre is a sports fanatic living in the Costa del Sol. He has contributed this post on behalf of Panorama Properties, Marbella's leading Spanish real estate agent.

Friday, February 21, 2014

How To Prepare Yourself For Buying Your First Home At Sheffield

Buying a home for the first time is always exciting. It is particularly so if the house happens to be in a nice Sheffield neighbourhood. Steeped in the Industrial Revolution that marked a boom in the economy of the place, Sheffield continues to be one of the most economically successful regions of England.
Although there is an abundance of industries, Sheffield is essentially a green city. There are about two million trees and two-hundred-and-fifty national parks, woodlands, and gardens. It is probably this beautiful balance between the gorgeous greens and the economic excellence that have made the place a favourite among prospective homeowners.
Like any other place, buying a new house in Sheffield requires that you should be prepared for this big decision both financially and emotionally. Here are a few things that you should keep in mind before you begin the big search.
Most people have to opt for a mortgage. However, you need to remember a few things before doing that. The best thing to do is to compare the various providers in the market because the rates that they offer vary. Depending upon the mortgage you choose, you will have to raise certain amount of cash for deposit. Although this cannot be predicted, you can expect this to be around five percent of the price of the property in the least.
The best way to choose a property is to get in touch with buying agents and arrange for viewing. You should of course have a budget in place and should keep to properties that fit into that range. Chances are you will end up liking more than one property in Sheffield.
If that happens, try to evaluate the pros and cons of each property including its plan, architecture, and the neighbourhood. Maintaining a diary may appear to be a ridiculous idea, but it is a great thing to do. It is best not to trust your memory when you have so much information to process.
Taking care of survey and the legal aspects
It is always recommended that you get your property surveyed by a professional. Evaluating it will help you in making an offer. Similarly, you will also need the help of a team of good professional solicitors.
The best way to find one is to take advice from your friends and colleagues in Sheffield who have used similar services in the past. It is important to find a good solicitor because you are essentially looking at a long-term relationship.
The day of the actual move
No matter how exciting it is to move into your new house, no one would deny that it is very exhausting as well. Take the help of a good removals company. Begin packing all your things many days prior to the big day and try to label your boxes to keep things organised.
One of the most important aspects of buying a property in Sheffield is finding one. You may contact the NetMovers to take care of this.
For more information on tips when purchasing a home in the UK check out this BBC blog.

About the author
Sam Jones writes forThe  Residential Departments at Netmovers you can find him on Google Plus over here

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Flight Review: Philippine Airlines - Manila to Puerto Princesa

Pre-Airport Experience - Three weeks before departure, I requested to modify my roundtrip (PAL and PAL Express) airline tickets that was supposedly used last December to be rebooked on January 30 and February 8. Changes and payments transaction were made over the phone through respective customer care hotlines. It was a long call, presumably an hour including the usually unbearable waiting time, but all my concerns were attended accordingly in just one phone call, not a single follow-up was made. The experience was more convenient rather than going to the nearest ticketing office to make changes.

Travel Tip: How to Get a Window Seat without Paying More

I have flown a lot and on each flight, I want to be seated next to the window. I hate airplanes’ middle and isle seats and I think I’m not alone in thinking that they are the worst.  When I booked and rebooked my tickets, I skipped the airline seating chart because I won’t and didn’t pay that extra charge to choose my seat.  I don’t have an assigned seat until I checked in but I'm not worried. With an experience attending Air Philippines’ (now PAL Express) check-in counter during my OJT in college, I know what to do to get that seat next to the aircraft’s window. 

From what I’ve experienced in handling flight manifest and check-in counter during my OJT days, some number of available seats are on hold and block till the last minute, reserved for emergency cases and super VIPs they say. (Wikipedia: A flight manifest is a list of passengers (or in the case of a cargo flight, parcels) and crew of an aircraft compiled before departure based on flight check-in information. It is securely guarded to protect passengers' privacy)

Here’s the drill: You can get a window seat but it’s a gamble, depends if there’s a vacant window seat on your flight. 

Here’s what you have to do: Check-in two hours early for domestic flight. Give your nicest smile and beautiful eyes to the ground attendant and nicely request them that you want to be seated by the window. Unless all of the window seats have been selected and paid for, you have a pretty good chance of getting a seat with uninterrupted view of the sky.  

I requested a window seat with my signature puppy dog eyes that the pleasant ground attendant could not resist.  He placed me near cockpit, next row from senior citizens and PWDs, 7F of Airbus A320-214  as per my boarding pass. Man, I was very lucky!

Airport Experience - Passing through usual baggage and security checks, frisking, x-ray and metal detectors, shops and restaurants, I found gate 119 in Ninoy Aquino International Airport’s domestic flight area.  There are restaurants, clean restroom, and smoking area near the gate. Passengers bound to Puerto Princesa were lounging at the brightly lit terminal with nice cushioned seats and large window.  There’s a group of high school students carrying trophies wearing oversize glasses and baseball caps giggling, some were seating on the floor blocking the entrance gate although there’s lot of vacant seats.  I seated near the entrance next to old couple who coincidentally my seatmate in the plane, sleeping and looked tired - from probably connecting flight. On the other side was a nun silently praying the rosary, her eyes are closed. 

From where I seated, I saw Philippine Airlines Airbus A320-214 unloading baggage from the aircraft. It was a gloomy day signifying that tropical depression Basyang was slowly coming in the Philippine area of responsibility. I have plenty of spare time and surprised when I learned that WIFI access was free. My remaining 1:45 hrs of waiting was spent in the smoking area updating my social media accounts and checking the weather bulletin. The typhoon will reach the southern part of the country in a day or two according to PAGASA. I gotta have a safe flight, I told myself.

The boarding process was very organized. I commend the ground stewards for repeatedly announcing the order of embarkation.  We were divided into three groups: Rear-Middle-Front. Seats in the back of the plane are boarded followed by the middle section and then the front area. Our group was the last to go onboard as final boarding passes were checked.

When the boarding door was closed, I prepared myself for a bumpy ride, fastened my seat belt tight, checked my exit door and switched my electronic gadgets off. As we taxi from taxiway to the main runway, the usual in-flight safety demonstration was performed by the poker-faced flight attendants, lol!

“When the seat belt sign illuminates, you must fasten your seat belt. Insert the metal fittings one into the other, and tighten by pulling on the loose end of the strap. To release your seat belt, lift the upper portion of the buckle. We suggest that you keep your seat belt fastened throughout the flight, as we may experience turbulence...."

We took-off Manila on the dot which is unusual to happen.  After passing above clouds and the plane reached its highest altitude, the captain turned the fasten seatbelt sign off and announced that passengers can now release their seat belts if needed.  The aircraft was still climbing to its cruising altitude when the tropical rays of the sun touched my face. It was unexpected, considering that there’s a typhoon coming in and was really cloudy when we left Manila.  I peeked through the window, below was a huge cloud formation, probably the advance party of the upcoming tropical depression, lol!

Philippine Airlines’ aircraft flew higher away from the clouds that cause turbulence. We float above the clouds and had a seamless flight. Accommodating airline crews served brewed coffee, tea, mineral water, greaseless peanuts and skyflakes in the middle of an hour flight to my lovely provincial capital, Puerto Princesa City. Before landing, the plane circled the famous Honda Bay with it islands and islets dotting the blue waters, giving the European tourists behind me a trailer of a grand vacation.

We arrived safe and a bit early from our scheduled arrival time. The crews and the passengers were both organize and sensitive as we disembarked. It was indeed another memorable and enjoyable flight.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Opening Soon in El Nido, Palawan: Cauayan Resort

A travel whisperer told me that there's another luxury resort opening soon in the shores of El Nido in the province of Palawan early this year. 

The municipality of El Nido, located in the northernmost tip of Palawan is already famous vacation and honeymoon spot among Filipinos and foreigners alike. With its karst and majestic limestone formations, empty blue lagoons, marble cliffs, prehistoric caves and waterfalls, El Nido has been cited by CNN as one of the 100 best beaches in the world (14th place) recently.

Admiring the photos on their website, the resort has a tropical ambiance and the luxurious Villas have stunning scenic view of the sea and sky. The Cauayan suite villa, perched on top of the hill has the most majestic 360 degree view of the island. As of writing, Cauayan Resort is being completed and not yet accepting reservations. But you can check out promising pictures on their website and facebook account. Should you want to visit the Fuego managed resort, you can leave your contact information on their website and they will notify you as soon as the resort become operational.

 Photos from: