#flashbackfriday: Mini Getaway to the South

That rain hasn't stopped since this early morning. I've got nothing to do. I left my World History book in my cubicle so I can't finish my lesson plan. I am not motivated to write my 8-page paper in my Effective Communication class due to this bed bad weather. And I was thinking, why not blog instead for some little GVs for myself?

Last July, two of my college orgmates (GM and Jas) and I went on a mini trip to the South. Our original plan was to go to Corregidor but since the weather was bipolar during that time we went to Nuvali then Tagaytay (since Tagaytay is just a jeepney away from Nuvali). I'm a huge fan of big and planned trips but I also have this thing for mini and spontaneous trips like this one. :) 






When in Zamboanga

Over a year ago, Zamboanga City topped the headlines because of the siege that happened in the city. Since then, Zamboanga has been associated with military, chaos and warlike which gave some people the impression that it's not safe to travel there. My weekend getaway in Zamboanga can disprove the negative impressions associated with the name of the city. The city was peaceful, serene and people are very friendly.

My cousin and I did not have any clear and specific itinerary on what to do in Zamboanga. We just booked a flight (thanks to CebuPac's piso fare), packed our backpacks and hopped on the plane. Spontaneity could probably best describe this whole trip.

Some of the questions that are probably popping in your mind are "Where to stay?" and "What to do?".


We stayed at Lantaka Hotel by the Sea and booked it via Agoda. The best thing I liked about our hotel is its good location. Some must see places in Zamboanga are very accessible from the hotel. You can walk or ride a tricycle.

This is the hotel where we stayed at. Unfortunately I wasn't able to take photos of our room but the rooms in Lantaka Hotel are clean.


We searched on Google the things we can do in Zamboanga hours before our flight. That really shows a sign of no plans huh? Hahaha. Anyway, we chose places to visit and things to do that are achievable during our 2-day stay in Zambo. So... here are the things we did and achieved within our 2-day stay.

A. Walking distance from our hotel

Breakfast at Tsokolate - food and dessert here is good plus very affordable :)

cream puff worth 9 pesos each while a slice of cake costs 40-70 pesos depending on the cake

Fort Pilar - a historical site which was built in 17th century by the Spaniards as a military defense fortress

Paseo del Mar - it's like Manila's Roxas Boulevard but a cleaner and fresher air version. Within the vicinity is Plaza del Mar where you can find various food stalls.

In the middle of the plaza, we saw this exhibit about breast cancer awareness.

For food trip, we tried street food the Zamboanga style.

You shouldn't miss this pink dessert called Knickerbocker when in Zamboanga. Knickerbocker is made of fresh fruits, gelatin, milk and strawberry ice cream.

Aside from what I mentioned above, you may also visit Zamboanga's municipal hall which gives you an Intramuros-like feels.

B. Via Tricycle - the most ideal and usual way to commute around the city is through tricycle. Fare can be relatively cheaper as long as you know how to negotiate.

Alavar Seafood Restaurant - this is probably the cheapest, most delicious and most worth it seafood restaurant I've ever tried in my entire life! NEVER LEAVE ZAMBOANGA without trying to eat here!

Green Mangoes and Bagoong con Gata (yes the Bagoong has gata and it's weirdly delicious)

Alavar Juice (made of kamias) and Zamboanga White (pineapple and lychee with milk shake)

Paella Negra for only 145!! good for 3-4 persons

Crab with Alavar Sauce. The Alavar Sauce is to die for!!!

Baked Clams with butter and garlic (another favorite)

All these for only 660 pesos! If you're in Manila these could probably cost more or less a thousand
Seafood fest with my cousin

Barter at Canelar - if you're looking for some pasalubong, you can go here to shop. Products here are from Malaysia and Indonesia and are sold for cheaper price.

Jimmy's Satti Haus - one of the famous satti houses in Zamboanga. But wait, what is satti? Satti is a barbecued meat similar to Malaysia's satay. It is served with tamu (sticky rice wrapped in coconut leaves)

3 pcs of Satti with rice worth 25 pesos
Yakan Village - an ethnolinguistic community of weavers; they sell unique handwoven products at reasonable cost.

One of the places you shouldn't miss to visit is Sta. Cruz Island known for its pinkish white sand. Unfortunately, we were not able to go to this island because boat trips were cancelled due to bad weather. Well at least I still have a reason to go back to Zamboanga.

We may not be able to visit Sta. Cruz, we were able to meet friends in Zamboanga. I think it's still a blessing in disguise to miss that Sta. Cruz Island visit. If it wasn't for that, we wouldn't meet these accommodating people from Zamboanga. Thank you guys for making us feel welcome! It was nice meeting you. Good luck to your dance competition in Australia this September. Also, it was nice meeting Kuya Pat, one of the members of Philippine All Stars. I can't wait to have a dance workshop with you.


Eco-spiritual Pilgrimage at Davao

Last year, Ateneo de Manila High School went to Naga City in Bicol to have a cultural and spiritual immersion at the Penafrancia Festival. This year, AHS went to Davao for an eco-spiritual pilgrimage and bench-marking with Ateneo de Davao's best environmental and sustainable practices.

It's amazing how Davao is able to reconcile the dichotomy of the environment and progress and development. I hope that even though other people aim for progress and development, they don't compromise our Mother Nature.

Before I share some photos from our Davao trip, I'd like to share first an excerpt from a reflection made by one of the students in my team - Saejj Remorque of 12-B 2015:

"We take for granted one of God’s greatest blessings that He has ever bestowed on us, Mother Nature. Ironically, we have been assigned by God Himself to be stewards of His creation, yet we continuously defile Mother Nature as we progress technologically, and try to satisfy our endless needs. We fail to see that Mother Nature does not only give us natural resources for our food, shelter and clothing, but she also helps us reconcile with God."

That is really something we should ponder on.

From that mind-opening reflection piece, below are the highlights of our Davao trip.


DAY 2: 



PAMULAAN CENTER - We had an interaction with the different ethnolinguistic groups in Davao.

Here's the reaction you'll probably get when it's your first time to try Durian. HAHAHA.




- we saw and experienced their environmental and sustainable practices through an amazing race (our group won whooooo!!!)
-after dinner, students from ADMU and ADDU interacted with each other

ADDU has a facility that collects rain water and they use it to water the plants. Imagine the amount of water they save when watering the plants. :)

ADMU-HS boys performing for the ADDU-HS crowd :)

So lucky to have these boys in my team! Van #2 represent! :)

And that wraps up our meaningful Davao experience! Our stay there was definitely enriching. :)

On a final note, I realized that yes raveling alone, traveling with family and traveling with my friends can be very fun but traveling for work with students brings a different kind of fun.