Monthly Archives

January 2008


Ultimate Kapampangan Tour 2: Hot Air Balloon Fiesta

We are overwhelmed with the response from the tour and we got 35 reservations to date for the day tour. We are waiting for the payment to confirm their reservation. Also, we are opening up the overnight option so that you can witness the night glow of the balloons. At most, we would only accept 30 people maximum (for both day tour and overnight) because we want to continue to have quality interactions among the people joining the tour.

Hot Air Balloon Fiesta-5

Well, not quite Manila but STILL close….

Really, another way to pump up your boring weekend and get your spirits soaring as we conquer the high and mighty in Pampanga! Gawk at the giant hot-air balloons at 12th Annual Philippine Hot Air Balloon Fiesta while poking around Pampanga’s culinary secrets. Lounge away in a rustic, relaxing farm retreat while feasting over a sumptuous Kapampangan spread by one the country’s most artistic restaurateurs. A feast for the body, mind and soul!

Tour Experience:

12th Philippine Balloon Fiesta* VFW Outpost * Abe’s Farm* Nurture’s Spa*

*This tour leaves Makati at 3 a.m. (yes 3:00 AM!) and includes front-ticket seats to the 12th Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta, an authentic American Soldier’s breakfast at the VFW Outpost, an optional five-hour hike up Mt. Arayat and a soothing massage at Nurture’s Spa.

Date: February 10, 2008, Sunday

Time: 3:00 am – 4:00 pm (yes, 3:00 AM!) Times are approximate.

Tour Cost: P4,800.00/head (includes -transfers, meals, tour, massage and others)

Hot Air Balloon Fiesta-4


Go the extra mile…start a step ahead, spend an overnight stay and catch the spectacular ‘Night Glow” (think GIANT light bulbs floating in the sky) . Dine at one of the most acclaimed Italian restaurants this side of the Pacific. And to top it off, a one-of-kind walking tour as we bare it all and take down one of the country’s most famous Red-Light districts!

Tour Experience

*Balloon Fiesta ‘Night Glow’* C Italian Dining* Clark Red and Light District* 12th Philippine Balloon Fiesta* VFW Outpost * Abe’s Farm* Nurture’s Spa Pampanga

Date: February 9-10, 2008, Sunday

Time: February 09 at 3:00pm – February 10 at 4:00 pm

Tour Cost: P8,888.00/head (includes -transfers, hotels, meals, tour, massage, the works!)

This ADVENTURE tour is co-organized by:

Our Awesome Planet

Manila Boy

Ivan About Town

Old Manila Walks.

Food Tours

Hot Air Balloon Fiesta FAQs

Hot Air Balloon Fiesta

1. Do we really need to leave by 3am in the morning?
Yes you do. At the latest you should leave Manila by 3.30am. The Hot Air Balloons are inflated at around 5.30am and all of them fly out before 7am. If you arrive late, you will already experience the traffic going inside Clark and the parking queue would have build up by that time. I see people arriving in Clark at around 7am and they don’t see the balloons anymore. I don’t want that to happen to you.

2. Can we ride the Hot Air Balloon?
There are only 5 ways you can ride in the hot air balloon.
— You can pay $150/ head for the ride
— You win in the daily photo contest and win a ride in the balloons courtesy of SM
— You are part of Media and you request to ride the balloon. You have higher chances to do this on Thursday but definitely not on the weekend.
— You hosted the balloonist in Manila and they give you a free ride as a token of their appreciation.
— You own a balloon or you have a relative that flies the balloon.

For the last two years I have been attending the festival, it continues to be a dream for me to ride a hot air balloon. I might just pay the $150 one of these days…

3. Can we get close to the Balloon?
The entrance fee to the festival is P100 and this will give you access to the general viewing area where you can see the balloon from a distance. Usually, they issue 100 special shooter’s pass per day so that you can have a close encounter with the balloons. This year, the photo contest is sponsored by Epson and One Workshop. They sold the passes for P350 which includes, EPSON signature cap and a FREE entrance to attend the glamour fashion shoot and daily photo / digital retouching workshops. As of now, the passes are sold out and we manage to get the passes for our Ultimate Kapampangan Tour on Sunday Feb. 10.

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Our Classic Confections

Rache Avatar-32 GB5: Classic Confections

Classic Confection-38 Classic Confection-39

Nono’s Chocolate Oblivion (P145/ P895). Two light layers of chocolate filled with whipped chocolate cream and walnut praline bits.
Almond Crunch! Toffee candy ,made with whole roasted almonds and semi-sweet chocolate. Definitely, a crunch and a must try!

Our favorite dessert place in Greenbelt 5 is Classic Confections! We heard of them from the Pink Kitchen event and we are glad that they opened their first retail store in Greenbelt 5. I will let my wife Rache who is the blogger-of-the-week in Sanrio Town this week to share with you our experience:

GB5: Classic Confections by Mrs Awesome Planet

I’m proud that she is starting to be recognized as a blogger in her own right.

We love it so much that we decided to buy Aidan’s Birthday Cake with a design of Lighting McQueen (P1,450) for his 3rd Birthday Celebration. We also bought Classic Confections’ signature sugar coated cookies (P45/each) as a souvenir for the kids on Aidan’s Birthday. Rache was disappointed with the size of the birthday cake (I did not intend to make it bigger in the photo above).

Classic Confection-32

Classic Confections

2/F of Greenbelt 5

4/F 87 West Capitol Drive, Barrio Kapitolyo, Pasig City

+632.746.2773; +632.490.7896 (Kat) ; +632.729.9243; +63917.524.5892 (Baba)


The Tirta Spa Difference

Tirta Spa-32

What is the difference between a P250 Massage on the white sands beach of Bora and a P4,000 Massage in Tirta Spa in Boracay?

This debate went on and on in my mind. But the practical side of my brain is already losing the debate to the adventurous part who is yearning for a new spa experience in Boracay. Unfortunately, the debate happened when I was already in the main reception of Tirta Spa. At that time, all of my senses are now excited with the serenity and peacefulness of the place. Meeting the lovely owner, En Calvert, just fueled my desire to experience the unique spa packages that I have not seen even in Mandala Spa. It is the irrational side of me that won finally in the end because I can’t resist how awesome this place is.

Let me share with you the Tirta Spa difference in Boracay…

Related BORACAY Blog Posts:

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Awesome Filipinos

Welcome Happy Slip to Manila! Mabuhay!

HappySlip in Manila!

Official Website: Happy

Related Posts: Aidan Meets Happy Slip!

MABUHAY to Christine “Happy Slip” Gambito to Manila! She arrived in Manila today and the entire Manila Blogging Community welcomes her! We are so excited to meet the most famous You Tube Internet Celebrity who is proudly a Filipina!

” Christine Gambito, better known to her audience as HappySlip, is an Internet celebrity and popular YouTube content provider. She maintains one of YouTube’s most subscribed channels. In March 2007, Gambito’s video Mixed Nuts was nominated for the 2006 YouTube Video Awards for Best Comedy,[2] resulting in the second place to Smosh.[3] In May of the same year, she became one of the first YouTube users accepted into YouTube’s revenue sharing program.

” Gambito’s performances typically include comedy sketches in which she impersonates members of her family. She also sings and plays the piano and guitar. As Gambito has stated repeatedly in her videos, she is notably one of the very few top users acting, filming, editing and producing her shorts completely on her own.

Gambito attributes her nickname “HappySlip” to her Filipino mother’s mispronunciation of “half slip”:

“ As a child, my Filipino mom would always remind me to wear a half-slip with skirts. However, the way she would pronounce the phrase was misleading: “Your hap e-slip! Be sure to wear your hap e-slip!” So I naturally went around calling the thing a ‘happy slip,’ until friends at school corrected me by asking if I had a ‘sad slip’ as well.” (Happy Slip: Wikipedia)

She was invited by the Department of Tourism — all expenses paid — to explore the Philippines for 2 weeks. This is her first time to be back in Manila after the family migrated to the US. She is scheduled to visit Tagbilaran, Bohol, Cebu, Boracay, Tagaytay and Palawan. I am super excited because the entire world will see the beauty of the Philippines through the eyes of Happy Slip. This is part of DOT’s Experience Philippines campaign for the OFWs.

I’m hoping to meet her with Rache and Aidan on Chinese New Year, Feb. 7 before she goes back to the US. They are planning a blogger’s farewell party for Happy Slip on Chinese New Year. Let me know if some of you are interested to meet her, just post a comment. Maybe, Happy Slip can give a short seminar on video blogging to Pinoys.

MABUHAY Happy Slip, We Are So Proud of You!!


Related Posts:Tuned in to ‘Happy Slip’: Getting to Know Christine Gambito


Up, Up and Away!!! Huffing, Puffing and Pumping in Pampanga

After our first successful Ultimate Kapampangan Tour, we decided to create another Pampanga Tour experience on Feb 10, 2008, Sunday. This is the day tour package and we are finalizing an extended package for people who wants to stay overnight in Angeles on February 9. Let us know if you want to stay overnight instead of leaving as early as 3am in Manila. We are only targeting to get a maximum of 15 participants which is about the right size for a coaster including the four of us.

Up, Up and a Away!!!
Huffing, Puffing and Pumping in Pampanga

Sunday, February 10, 2008 | 3:00 am – 4:00 pn| Tour cost P4,800 (all in plus surprises)

by Our Awesome Planet, Ivan About Town, Old Manila Walks and Manila Boy.

10th Balloon Fiesta (Feb. 12, 2006) - 22
Tour Description:
Really, another way to pump up your boring weekend and get your spirits soaring as we conquer the high and mighty in Pampanga! Gawk at the giant hot-air balloons at 12th annual Philippine Balloon Fiesta! Conquer and hike over the mystic and majestic Mount Arayat! Finally, we’ll rest our weary feet over a sumptuous Kapampangan feast by one the country’s most artistic restaurateurs, Larry J. Cruz of Cafe’ Adriatico & Abe in Serendra, while soothing the afternoon away a rustic, relaxing retreat! A feast for the body, mind and soul.

Tour Experience:
11th Philippine Balloon Fiesta* VFW Outpost * Mount Arayat* Abe’s Farm* Nurture Spa Pampanga

Abe's Farm, Magalang, Pampanga-1
Date: February 10, 2008, Sunday
Time: 3am – 4pm
Tour Cost: P4,800/ Person (All inclusive – transportation, meals, tour, massage, plus surprises)

For Reservations/ Payment details: Please email [email protected]

Our Family Posts

Reedley International School

Dr. Ho Anti-Bullying Seminar details

Reedley International School

We are at a stage in Aidan’s life where we need to decide our education strategy. We want the best education for our kids but I believe that most traditional schools have outdated curriculum. Aidan belongs to the Generation Z and I believe that only progressive schools can meet their needs. We don’t want to be close minded on this so we will be doing more research on the different schools in Metro Manila in the next few months. Suggestions are welcome.

Aidan’s generation is different. As early as 2 years old, Aidan begun tinkering with our computer at home. He likes to visit the kiddie sites such as Starfall and Disney clubhouse on his own. We have stopped watching television(including us!) because of the negative impact of TV. When I was in Boracay, we were doing video calls via computer. Aidan’s generation has NOT witnessed People Power 1&2, September 11 terrorist attacks, Glorietta bombings or the Tsunami in South East Asia. I believe that their generation would be more nationalistic, conscious about the environment and technologically connected in ways that we cannot imagine. Mandarin and English would still be the key to doing successful business in the future.

My preference would be the International Schools (like IS or Brent) but they are very expensive because you are paying for the Expat educators. Ateneo and La Salle, on the other hand, are more traditional in nature and I hear stories of 1 teacher: 40+ students ratio similar with our times. One consideration is Xavier School which already upgraded their curriculum and are very progressive. We are also interested with Reedley International School because of its core values and International School curriculum that they follow. We attended the orientation last December 2007 @ Reedley, and let me share with you what Reedley has to offer…

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Boracay 101: A Bora First Timer’s Guide To Boracay’s Best Restaurants, Must Try Food and Gimmick Places

Ati-atihan de Boracay-38

BORACAY 101: A Bora First Timer’s Guide To Boracay’s Best Restaurants, Must Try Food and Gimmick Places

Puca Beach Outing-35
I realized that there are still a lot of Filipinos who have never been to Boracay. I compiled this guide to help them based on what people are raving about and based on my personal experience. I’ve been going back to Boracay every year and I developed a sense of what is awesome based on what restaurants people are talking about. In this guide, I compiled the following lists:

  • Top 10 Best Restaurants in Boracay,
  • Top 10 Must-Try-Food-and-Drinks in Bora!,
  • 8 Restaurants that did not make the Top 10 list but worth mentioning,
  • Top 8 Gimmick Places in Boracay!

Boracay is one of those places that you should visit in the Philippines before you die. Feel free to share this information to everyone. For those who have been to Boracay, there have been a few changes in the restaurant and night life scene in Bora. This guide will keep you up-to-date and in-the-know versus your friends even before you visit Boracay. Enjoy and we do hope that you have a great time in Boracay!

Puca Beach Outing-38

Text and Photos Copyright 2008. Our Awesome Planet (Updated: January 15, 2008)
(Picture from top to bottom: Ati-Atihan de Boracay Parade in Station 1 | Pia of Seair Marketing with Norsan and Anne, Microtel Marketing Ladies | Melo of Lakbay Pilipinas and Gail of Kutitots enjoying the Puka Beach Waves)

Related BORACAY Blog Posts:

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Boracay Escape with Pinoy Travel Bloggers

Microtel Boracay Blogger's Meet-9

Greetings from a rainy weekend in Boracay!
Most of the travel bloggers were invited by Microtel Hotel Boracay for a "familiarization tour" for bloggers. This so-called fam tour are just offered to travel agents or traditional media. We are so happy that travel bloggers are starting to be recognized as a key influencers online for travelers and tourist. The only thing is once bloggers are invited they will be honest and you cannot force them to just write the good things about the place. Also, the blogging community is careful about bastardizing the reputation of the bloggers and we don't want to go into the "dark side" of media.

Microtel Boracay Blogger's Meet-16

If you are sitting in your office reading this, don't you want to just catch a plane to Boracay via Sea Air? In less than an hour, you'll be lying on the beach having a massage! Sarap… Let me share with you a photo essay of what happened on our day 1 in Bora…

Related BORACAY Blog Posts:

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