Monday, August 25, 2008

Your ticket to the rest of the world

by Monique Andrea Bagadiong

TRAVEL world wide...It is first (or second. no! First) on my ‘to-do list’ before I die. Paris, Florence, New York and Hawaii are some of the places I want to visit. I want to go to places, see different faces and experience different cultures and lifestyles. But before I take a photo of the amazing Eiffel Tower and take a swim in the waters of Hawaii, first step is to apply for a passport to be able to travel abroad.

Here’s what you have to do:

Go to the Department of Foreign Affairs. (Personal Appearance is required.)

Duly accomplished application form.

Birth Certificate (BC) in Security Paper (SECPA) issued by the National Statistics Office (NSO) or Certified True Copy (CTC) of BC issued by the Local Civil Registrar duly authenticated by NSO.

Three (3) colored photos of the applicant taken against a royal blue background. Applicant should be in decent attire with collar. Photo must be of good quality, and must have been taken within the last six (6) months. Photo size: 4.5 cm x 3.5 cm. Facial image size: Not less than 3 cm. DFA has the right to reject photos that do not comply with specifications and international standards.

Proof of identity / Supporting documents indicating full name, date and place of birth and citizenship

Other Supporting Documents

You can check out for the additional requirements for married women, minors, Muslim applicants, etc.

That’s the traditional way of passport application. Good news is there’s an easier way. You can apply via phone and need not to waste an entire day in DFA. You just have to place a call then you’re requirements will be picked up. But you have to pay for the pick up fee ( But what’s P1,300 if you can save a day, right?). It shortens your personal appearance from one whole day to 15 minutes. Thanks for an alternate way; you no longer have to be all stressed out.

So what are you still doing there in front of your computer? Hurry and start collecting the requirements now. c: Pick up the phone and make that call. Travelling is a lot of fun and you don’t want to miss out on that just because you don’t have a passport. c: So, hurry!

See you in Paris…c:

Turks and Caicos 101

by Imma Kate Sta. Ines

No, this country doesn't have anything to do with turkeys.. The commonly accepted explanation credits the Turks name to the Turk's-head cactus found around the islands, which flowers in a red pillbox of a fruiting body that resembles a fez.


Geographically, they are two clusters of low-lying, reef-ringed, sand cays in the deep South Atlantic some 600 miles from Miami. Situated south of the Bahamas and north of the Dominican Republic, the Turks and Caicos have long been a British colony, which has been self-governing since 1976. Among other practicalities, this means most residents speak English while some also speak Turks and Caicos Islands Creole which is similar to Bahamian Creole. Not to forget the official currency which is the US Dollar. The majority of inhabitants are black and Protestant Christian.

Aquatic marvels

Scuba divers favored their clear waters, colorful reefs, abundant wrecks and deep walls that plunge to the bottom of the ocean. Various fishes also inhabit the seas which attracts fishermen around the globe. But since the islands lacked an adequate jetport and no cruise liners called on them, their 230 miles of fine, white sandy beaches came perfectly undeveloped.


The vast majority of the colony now live on the island of Providenciales, nicknamed "Provo." The island has an area of 98 km² and a population of 30,542, making it the largest island in population and the third largest in area. The Providenciales International Airport can be found here. Providenciales is also home to the only conch farm in the world. Provo, along with North and Middle Caicos, comprise the primary population centers of the three dozen or so keys in the Caicos, the rest being only lightly peopled or totally uninhabited.


The Turks and Caicos offer a tropical climate which is good news for sun bathers. There's no rainy season and the last hurricane was in 1960's.


Driving is on the left. There are also cars and scooters for rent everywhere. (could there also be pedicabs for rent?) And taxis are available at Providenciales and Grand Turk.

Hollywood Sightings

Several Hollywood stars have built homes in the Turks and Caicos, including Dick Clark and Bruce Willis. Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner were married on Parrot Cay. Actress Eva Longoria and her husband Tony Parker went to the islands for their honeymoon in July 2007 and High School Musical actors Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens went for a vacation there.


In an apparent effort to boost tourism during the Caribbean low season of late summer, the Turks and Caicos Tourist Board has organized and hosted an annual series of concerts called the Turks & Caicos Music and Cultural Festival since summer of 2003. Held in a temporary bandshell at The Turtle Cove Marina in The Bight on Providenciales, this festival lasts about a week and has featured several notable international recording artists such as Lionel Richie, LL Cool J, Anita Baker, Billy Ocean, Alicia Keys, John Legend, Kenny Rogers, Michael Bolton, Ludacris, Chaka Khan, and Boyz II Men. More than 10,000 people attend annually.

Salt Cay

Salt Cay is the second largest of the Turks Islands, one of the two island groups forming of the British territory Turks and Caicos Islands in the Caribbean. It is a tiny, flat, triangular island measuring about 3.2 km (two miles) on a side and given over mostly to salinas. It was once home to several hundred people, all supported by the salt industry. Ruins from the salt operations remain on Salt Cay. The island is now popular with tourists looking for uncrowded beaches and activities like whale-watching. Scuba diving and other water sports also attract visitors.

Satellite Image of Salt Cay (lower left)
and neighboring islets

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Turks and Caicos -- A Cultural Hub

By Marybeth Dianne Dapadap

Travelling can really be an enjoyable yet exhausting experience, and one great way of regaining one’s strength is to E-A-T! Before you plan to hop on to the next flight to the islands of Turks and Caicos, let me give you a glimpse of the food that can really satisfy your palette, and a little knowledge about their culture wouldn’t hurt, right?

A Culinary Treat

Amidst its attachment for being a favorite tourist destination, the dining experience travelers feel are casual and laid-back. The food shops varies, from the small, family-managed shops, restaurants and some fine dining as well. As they usually say, to have a more intimate experience you have to eat in the small, local shops (that would be street foods in our country).

Just make sure that you have enough money to spend, for food is quite expensive in this part of the globe. The costs of the meals range from $5-$20USD! (Goodness, the lowest meal cost is even higher than a value meal in Jollibee!) If you can afford to pay loads to dine at a posh restaurant, reservations are needed. You may even need to dress up a little for that.

Definitely, there is an abundance of seafood in this island. Most of their food is imported , but they export seafood as well. One of their famous island dishes includes the conch, which has a lot of varieties: conch creole, curried conch, conch fritters, conch chowder, cracked conch, and even dried conch. Famous beverages include the rum punch made with Lucayan rum, coconut rum, orange and pineapple juices, and grenadine. Just be prepared for this drink really gives a punch on your systems.

Whichever part of the islands you may go, the food is simply amazing, just make sure you are prepared to pay for the bills (and sometimes they include the tip on your bill!) Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Share some artistic ingenuity

The local artists in Turks and Caicos are being celebrated by their own people. Their art has influences from the island’s natural beauty, and also from its neighboring islands, Haiti and Dominican Republic. The creation of local crafts is also widespread, which includes basket-weaving, net-making and making straw-hats.

Storytelling is another tradition that has passed on to them by their African ancestors. At this present day, there has been a resurgence of interest for this tradition.

The people here really love their culture. The islanders are really serious on preserving their arts and crafts to the next generation.

Groove and move

Music and dance are important throughout the people of the Carribean. The island’s music and dance have developed into very specialized and charismatic artistic forms.

The "Ripsaw" or "Rake'n Scrape” music really showcases its traditional ingenuity. Examples of the instruments used are saw, goatskin drum, hand accordion or "Constentina," hand-made maracas, and acoustic guitar.

Another style of music is"Combina" music. This new type of music infuses local Ripsaw music with international sounds like Jamaican reggae, calypso and soca styles.

Music comes hand in hand with dance. One of the most popular form of dance is known as "winin." Also referred to as"Wine-up" or"the Wine," this type of dance will really get your hips grooving, in tune with the music of rip-saw, soca, and calypso music.

Elder members of the community often prefer waltz-styled dances, such as the"Shati" and"The Heal and Toe Polka." The"Conch-Style" and"Shay-Shay" are two other popular styles.

Ready, set, go!

Turks and Caicos is slowly making it name known to all parts of the world. Truly, this island is really a wonderful gem in that part of the Caribbean. Prepare your passport and go save up for this trip, for it will truly be an amazing and breathtaking experience.

Hope you enjoyed our first “padyak around the world”!

Going to PUP?

By Kem Quiban

PUP offers the lowest tuition rates but it doesn’t exempt you from paying your transportation with lower rates.

It hurts a lot going to school especially for transportation because of the soaring prices.

Yes, discounts help. But it’s still huge.

Take for example Alyssa, a PUP student from Quezon City, you need at least 60 pesos to cover your transportation expenses back and forth. Imagine that her mom gives her only 80 pesos to cover all her expenses for a day.

“Akalain mo yun Kuya, nagbabaon na nga lang ako ng scrambled egg para di na ako gumastos, tapos ATM na lang for water. Ang hirap.” she said. “Hindi pa natatapos dun yung kalbaryo ko, ambagan pa ng project, computer rentals etc., ang payat ko na!” she exclaimed.

Yes, you learn a lot. But you pay a lot on going to PUP. So eat a lot before you go.


by Mylene Ruby Llander

Have you ever visited this website: Have you tried voting our nominees for the new Seven Wonders of the World? Well, if your answer is NO, I’m here to proudly introduce the 4 nominees of the Philippines: The Tubbataha Reef which can be found in Sulu Sea, The Mayon Volcano that can be seen in Bicol, The Chocolate Hills which can be seen in Bohol and last but not the least, The Subterranean River National Park which is located in Palawan. These are the 4 nominees of the Philippines for the next Seven Wonders of the World.

Tubbataha is nominated for the New Seven Wonders of Nature, and I wanted to nudge its nominations a little.

The Tubbataha Reef is an island of coral that encircles a lagoon partially or completely located in the Sulu Sea of the Philippines. The word tubbataha is a combination of two Samal words which means "a long reef exposed at low tide". This remote set of islands is designated by the UNESCO as one of the World Heritage Sites. The reefs are reached by motor boat from Puerto Princesa City in Palawan and are one of the popular diving sites within the area. Last year, the Tubbataha Reef figured in the news when the activist group Greenpeace, while documenting the effects of global warming on the world’s reefs aboard their ship Rainbow Warrior, damaged a wide swath of the reef. The organization paid a 384,000-peso fine while blaming the government for providing inaccurate navigational maps.

There are over a thousand species of marine life which can be found in the reef and many of them are already endangered. Among its amazing marine animals are pawikan or tortoise, manta and eagle rays, clownfish, white and black tip reef sharks, barracudas and schools of jacks and snappers.

With its marvelous and diverse ecosystem, it has become a popular and favorite spot for divers and the number of people who want to explore its beauty has been increasing every year. In fact, dedicated ships that operate during the “Tubbataha Season” are booked years in advance.

Being on the 7 wonders list is great! More and more the Philippines are being recognized for the beauty that it has kept hidden. Personally, I think tourism is the way to go for us. But because Tubbataha is so isolated, and the live-aboards are few, that area will remain protected as long as the divers respect the rules.

Our next destination is The Mayon Volcano.

Another breathtaking scenic beauty the Philippines could offer its tourists is the Mayon Volcano. It is an active volcano and popularly called as the world’s most perfect cone located in Legaspi, Albay, Philippines. Mayon Volcano never failed to attract visitors as it measures 8,189 feet with a base of 10 kilometers with its perfect cone whether seen from a distance or up close. When the volcano erupted, it left wonderful sceneries around it such as natural springs, caves, hills and lakes that have access to the panoramic view of the famous volcano.

Known as the “Heaven on Earth”, Mayon Skyline nestles at the eastern slopes of the volcano with the altitude of 2,700 feet. Every visitor enjoys the hanging cloud and the pleasant climate as they view the Pacific Ocean and different places around Mayon Volcano National Park where the Mayon Volcano is located. There is also the Cagsawa Ruins, which is a lavish church during the Spanish era and was buried when the volcano erupted on February 1, 1814. The remains of the church serve as a mute testimony of the volcano’s destructive strength and volatile fury. The Cagsawa Ruins Park always gives tourists an unhampered view of Mayon Volcano.

Mayon is classified by volcanologists as a stratovolcano (composite volcano). Its symmetric cone was formed through alternate pyroclastic and lava flows. Mayon is the most active volcano in the country; having erupted over 50 times in the past 400 years.It is located between the Eurasian and the Philippine Plate, at a convergent plate boundary: where a continental plate meets an oceanic plate, the lighter continental plate overrides the oceanic plate, forcing it down; magma is formed where the rock melts. Like other volcanoes located around the rim of the Pacific Ocean, Mayon is a part of the “Pacific Ring of Fire”.

The 3rd nominee is the Chocolate Hills

One of the reasons why millions of tourists continue to flock to Bohol every single day is these unusual geological formation composed of around 1,268 perfectly cone-shaped hills of about the same size. Sometimes considered the "Eighth Wonder of the World", the Chocolate Hills has been declared the country's 3rd National Geological Monument and proposed for inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

This is the most famous tourist attraction in Bohol. Among the 1,268 perfectly cone-shaped hills which abound in Central Bohol, two have been developed into a resort. On top of the hills is a complex that offers accommodation, conference rooms, restaurants, and a view deck. The Chocolate Hills is a rolling terrain of haycock hills mounds of general shape which are conical and almost symmetrical. Estimated to be at least 1,268 individual mounds to about 1,776, these cone-shaped or dome-shaped hills are actually grass-covered limestone hills. The large and numerous perfect domes vary in sizes from 30 meters to 50 meters high with the largest being 120 meters in height. Aesthetically extensive, they are scattered throughout the towns of Carmen, Batuan and Sagbayan in Bohol. Bohol's "main attraction", these unique mound-shaped hills are scattered by the thousands on the island's central plain, concentrated near the town of Carmen.

At dawn or at sunset, the Chocolate Hills are an alluring sight; the whole area picturesque amidst the rice fields and the clusters of houses made of the diamond patterned sawali or bamboo slats. During the dry season, the precipitation is inadequate such that the grass-covered hills dry u
p and turn chocolate brown. This transforms the area into seemingly endless rows of chocolate "kisses"., hence the name in reference to a branded confection.

Geologists have actually long debated about the formation of the hills, resulting in various ways the origin of the Chocolate Hills are stated or explained. The one written on
the bronze plaque at the viewing deck in Carmen, Bohol states that they are eroded formations of a type of marine limestone that sits on top of hardened clay. The plaque reads: "The unique land form known as the Chocolate Hills of Bohol was formed ages ago by the uplift of coral deposits and the action of rain water and erosion."

And last but not the least, The Subterranean River in Palawan.

Palawan is dubbed as the last ecological frontier of the Philippines and considered as one of Pacific’s last unexplored islands. If you want to get away from the hurly burly of city life, Palawan is the prefect hideaway for you. There will be no neon lights, no blaring sounds as all the entertainments will be derived from nature. You can take a guided hiking trip to the rain forest where you can stay the night and be serenaded by the white noises of the crickets; be awakened by the chirping birds in time to see the rosy tinge of the sky that heralds a new day. Diving, snorkeling, island hoping or watching the death defying antics of local people as they harvest the world famous edible bird’s nest from the rock indentations of dizzying cliffs are only some of the nature derived entertainments offered by Palawan to the world weary tourists.

Also gaining much popularity is the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park. This underground river that was declared by UNESCO as a World Heritage site in 1999 is reputed to be the longest and largest underground river in the world. The subterranean river is located in the Saint Paul Mountain range, about 60 kilometers north of Puerto Princesa, the largest city in the Philippines. To go to the river, you need to take a 3-hour land trip from downtown Puerto Princesa to Sitio Sabang, then from there, take a boat ride to the river’s entrance. Giant ancient trees are standing sentinel like at the mouth of the cave. At the entrance of the huge and cavernous mysterious cave, you will be subjected to the incessant sound of pouring water. And once inside you will be awed by stalagmites and stalactite formations. Giant mushrooms, animals, fruits and religious icon formations would make you wonder at the marvels of nature. The distinguishing feature of this underground river is that it meanders through a cave and empties into the South China Sea. The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River is considered to be the most beautiful in the world as evidenced by the fact that it is nominated in the New 7 Wonders of the World. Definitely a must see place!

We need to preserve ALL our heritage sites…. and responsible tourism among Filipinos is the way to go. I think the mentality of the Filipinos is changing such that we are seeing more of our country and are getting to appreciate it and taking pride in it. However, still more people need to be educated about not leaving their trash behind, or not taking souvenirs from the environment. We need to respect and implement our regulations.

LRT goes Late Night

By Kem Quiban

The Light Railway Transit (LRT) Yellow and Purple lines are now extending their operation hours from 5 am to 11 pm on weekdays.

This is to anticipate the high ridership rates the LRT has listed since the great oil crisis.

But Train Operations on weekends will be the usual 9 pm closure to both lines.

Regular fare rates are still the same.

So you can still add two hours to your research work and anything in between.

Monday, July 21, 2008

A Little Bit of Word Can Go a Long Way

definition of travel

From Old French word travailler meaning "to trouble, to suffer, or be worn out"

The nature of travel, often prolonged and unpredictable, is perhaps at odds with the concision of the essay form. Traveling lends itself to fragmentary modes - letters , notebooks, journals - which somehow swell to fill long books. Observations on manners, morals, and monuments; autobiographical and anecdotal digressions; the flow of narrative incident, reminiscence, and analysis - all seem to require leisurely and expansive treatment.

TRAVEL...escape...get away

Philippines...wonderfully rich in history and culture, breath taking landscapes & bodies of water, amazing waemness of filipinos plus the fantastic transportations only us can think of: jeepneys, tricycles and pedicabs!

Looking for the paradise...

Look no further. Philippines is a naturally beautiful country . We are trully blessed. but "enhancement" is not a bad thing. It is always good to improve what is given to us. Discover, Improve, showcase then appreciate it.

Show your appreciation...
A little help is always nice. Learn the "basics" of every language in the world... and yu'll never get lost.You can never go wrong with little words in your pocket.