Monthly Archives

April 2008


Hooters Manila and Aidan’s Chicken Wings Fantasy

Hooters Manila-44
After 5 months of waiting, Hooters Philippines opens in Manila Bay, Esplanade, Mall of Asia! Finally, Filipinos can now taste Hooter’s famous chicken wings in Manila. I’m sure you are excited like me. The best time to go is now while the Hooter girls from the US are training the Manila Hooters. Most of them will leave on May 2, some will leave on May 7 while the Hooters from Guam will stay on for a few more weeks. They opened just in time for the World Pyro Olympics — Awesome!

Here is a photo essay of Aidan’s first Hooter experience and some tips:

Hooters Manila-16
A photo-op with Hooter Girls or eating the chicken wings? Aidan surprisingly loves the chicken wings.

Hooters Manila-18
Aidan must be thinking ” Excuse me, can I please finish my chicken wings?”

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T-shirt (P367) says, ” Hooters Girls can’t take their hands OFF me!”

Hooters Manila-40
Hooters Girls Philippines (white sandos only). Our top 3 favorites are Leslie, Rhya, and Erica. Maybe you can request them when you reserve…

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Shopping Secrets

Big Garments Sale in Bulacan this Summer…

The Big Garment Sale
I was not planning to post this anymore but a lot of recent OAP readers requested me to post the next Big Garment Sale. They are not giving out invites anymore since they already issued membership cards as the gate pass for this sale. We love this sale but we try to avoid it because of the crowd and we always end up charging 5 digits to our credit card.


Top US UK Brands

May 1-3, 2008. 8am to 6pm

Blk. 4 Lot 3 Acefree St. Sterling Ind’l Park, Iba, Meycauayan City

Telefax: 02-2996061/Mobile +639189918677

Note: Please bring your membership card as your gate pass.

For first timers to this sale, it is either you go with a person who has a membership card or call them if you can apply for a membership card on site. You can mention that you are friends of Anton of Our Awesome Planet.


10 Best Ways to Experience and Enjoy Corregidor!

Corregidor with Carlos Celdran-2
I’ve been to Corregidor more than 3x already and this is the first time that I enjoyed every moment of it with Rache and Aidan (for the first time). Thanks to Carlos Celdran for creating a very cool itinerary and for attracting the best company! I would like to share with you the 10 best ways to experience and enjoy Corregidor.

1. Sunset Cocktail. Carlos is brilliant! He asked all the participants to bring potluck items for our sunset cocktail party. We had our cocktail party at the Battery Grubbs. The Corregidor Inn provided the waiter service while the participants brought the cheese, crackers and cold cuts. Carlos brought some Chile wines perfect for the Corregidor Sunset.

Corregidor with Carlos Celdran-56
Corregidor with Carlos Celdran-61

2. Dinner Bonfire by the Beach. Dinner Bonfire at the South Beach is another brilliant idea. Someone in our group brought the pasta while some brought the dessert. We brought the Mary Grace Chocolate cake to the party. The background music was sounds of the 1940s.

Corregidor with Carlos Celdran-62
Corregidor with Carlos Celdran-63

3. Ghost Hunting at the Hospital. When I first came here, it was super scary because of the imposing Balete tree guarding the hospital. In Filipino beliefs, the Balete tree is the home of the spirits. A few months ago, they cut down the Balete and the Ghost hunting @ night was more bearable. It is better to bring point and shoot camera with a third eye to capture the floating “orbs” The hospital was used as the barracks of the Jabidah secret group. The names of our muslim brothers who died in the Jabidah Massacre were written on the hospital walls.

Dusk Shooting - 1
Corregidor with Carlos Celdran-69

4. Exploring the Lateral Tunnels of Malinta, Finally, I was able to explore all the lateral tunnels in Malinta. I highly recommend it and it was not scary as you would imagine. When we did the lights out inside the tunnels, there were no negative vibes not unlike in the ghost hunting in the hospital.
Corregidor with Carlos Celdran-72
Malinta Tunnel Light & Show - 21

5. Experiencing the Lost Corregidor. Corregidor is the greek-like ruins of the American Empire during the 1940s… It was a paradise if you were assigned in Corregidor. Before going to the Rock, please read the Corregidor accounts of Selma Harrison Calmes, M.D.. ( Link provided below). In the Corregidor museum, check out the table wares used in one of the last Thanksgiving dinner in Corregidor.

Lost Corregidor
The Lost Corregidor. The Home Front Life Before WWII
Part 1 | Part 2

Corregidor with Carlos Celdran-37

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The Josh Baby Lingo Project

rache Go! Baby Lingo!
Baby Lingo-5

Jaymie, the Bull Runner, is holding another Baby Lingo class on May 24, Saturday. We had fun when we last attended it (see Go! Baby Lingo! ). We wanted to teach syoti Josh about the baby signs when he turns 6 months this coming May. We might attend the May class as a refresher course.

Baby Lingo-6

The Saturday session was fun. Jaymie created a fun curriculum teaching the baby signs through games, demonstrations, and active participation of the parents. At the end of the session, we were able to do all the baby signs in the quick guide exclusively provided for the participants.

Baby Lingo-4
The venue has a playground outside for kids. Aidan was just playing outside while we attended the seminar.
Have you tried this? I’m planning to take a collection of photos of Baby Josh doing the baby signs.

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Passionate about PYRO

World Pyro Olympics 2008 – Summer Fireworks

UPDATE: Check Out World Pyro Olympics 2009!

Phils @ World Pyro Olympics - 5
China @ World Pyro Olympics - 11
Text and Photos by Anton Diaz. Copyright 2008.

Finally, the World Pyro Olympics is all set for all Saturdays of May! Thanks to Henry Sy’s SM Mall of Asia and Pepsi for sponsoring this year’s World Pyro! You should watch this because you have not seen any fireworks like this in your lifetime. Each year gets even better than the year before. If you can only watch one Saturday, I would suggest that you don’t miss May 3 — China and Germany’s show; May 24 — Australia’s Show; or the Philippines Finale on May 31. For the first time, La Mancha will attempt to do a pyro-musical show that you shouldn’t miss.

This year, the main stage of the World Pyro will be in the center of San Miguel by the Bay in Esplanade. I would recommend that you reserve your seats now (as in today). I would recommend all the 2nd Floor Entertainment Mall restaurants specially the center ones. It is best that you reserve the table outside overlooking the Bay Area. Also, I would recommend Padi’s Point and Pier One areas if you want to hang out and party with friends. It took me almost an hour to collect the contact information from all the restaurants for OAP readers (see below). Expect to spend P500 – P1,500/ head for the entire night. I just talked to all of them last night and you can still conveniently reserve your spot.

If you don’t plan to watch, avoid the Mall of Asia area at all cost — all Saturday evenings. It will be super traffic — please share this with your family and friends.


May 3 WORLD PYRO OLYMPICS! | Mall of Asia, Pasay City | 3rd World Pyro Olympics
7.30pm China’s The Glorious Group — Its sensational pyrotechnic out-door sky painting concerts have no rival. In last year’s WPO, I can hear the ooohhs and aaahhs throughout their presentation.

9.00pm Germany’s Nico Lunig Event — One of the leading and most requested pyrotechnics company in the globe.

May 10 WORLD PYRO OLYMPICS! | Mall of Asia, Pasay City | 3rd World Pyro Olympics
7.30pm Canada’s Pyro Studios

9.00pm France’s Fetes et Feux

May 17 WORLD PYRO OLYMPICS! | Mall of Asia, Pasay City | 3rd World Pyro Olympics
7.30pm Italy’s Parente Fireworks

9.00pm Venezuela’s Venefuegos Fireworks C.a.

May 24 WORLD PYRO OLYMPICS! | Mall of Asia, Pasay City | 3rd World Pyro Olympics
7.30pm South Korea’s Hanwha Corporation

9.00pm Australia’s Explosive Productions Pty Ltd– 1st World Pyro Olympics Champion. They produced the designs used to win the 2005 and 2006 Gold Medals at the World Pyro Olympics.

May 24 WORLD PYRO OLYMPICS! | Mall of Asia, Pasay City | 3rd World Pyro Olympics

7.30pm Fellowship of Fire – Collaboration of all Countries with Philippines

9.00pm Philippines! La Mancha Pyromusical Grand Finale — This is what I was waiting for… Pyrotechnics choreographed with music!

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El Rio Y Mar – 10 Reasons Why I Prefer El Rio over Club Paradise

Having Fun at El Rio Y Mar-9

If El Nido has a Miniloc and Lagen Resort, Busuanga has the sister resorts of Club Paradise and El Rio Y Mar. El Rio is 30% cheaper than its sister company Club Paradise. In the same way that I like Miniloc Island in El Nido, I love El Rio Y Mar for its laid back friendly ambiance, safe beach, and near kayak-friendly lagoon area.

El Rio Resort is located in an island where the Busuanga river meets the South China Sea — hence its name in Spanish, El Rio Y Mar.

El Rio Y Mar-3
The sister resorts are very complementary. Club Paradise’s weaknesses are El Rio Y Mar’s Strengths.

10 Reasons Why I Prefer El Rio over Club Paradise

El Rio Y Mar-7
1. An inviting Infinity Pool which is the centerpiece of the entire resort.

El Rio Y Mar-2
2. Elegant Cedar Wood Log Cabins with Hot and Cold Fresh Water Showers 🙂 Better rooms and 30% cheaper than Club Paradise!

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3. AwEsome Sunset where the lagoon acts as a mirror reflecting the stunning colors of the sunset.

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4. Super Friendly People who pamper you with all the comforts and luxury by day…

Having Fun at El Rio Y Mar-14-2
…. and making your stay truly enjoyable, and memorable even at night.

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Club Paradise, Coron, Palawan

Club Paradise-6

Have you heard of the term “Boracay of the North”? It is almost a cliché because a lot of resorts or beaches claim that they are the Boracay in the Northern part of the Philippines. So when I heard that Club Paradise is claiming that they have Boracay sand beaches in the island, I disregarded it as another marketing gimmick.

I was wrong!

Club Paradise-2
Club Paradise is a high-end resort on Dimakya Island, Municipality of Coron. The island is part of the Calamian Group of Islands situated at the Northern tip of Palawan. Its biggest asset is its 700m Boracay-like sand beaches and the trapped-in-an-island kind of ambiance. In 2 hours you can already be in Club Paradise — only 60 minutes via Sea Air / Asian Spirit and another 60 minutes land drive plus a boat ride to the island.

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It is centrally located near the dive spot areas which includes:
1. the housereef (reef surrounding the island) with its abundant fish life
2. the nearby feeding ground for green turtles and dugong (sea cow) — (yes not only in Donsol and it is more of a cute sea pig for me)
3. the Japanese freighter Kyokuzan Maru, (30 minutes away)
4. and, Apo Reef Natural Park, a world-class diving destination in the western side of Busuanga (about 3 hours)

Also, you can go on a 1 day Coron Tour and Caluit Safari tour. Both would be 2 hours away from Club Paradise. I would also recommend the island hopping tour of:
— Isla Walang Lang-Aw (Island without Trees) — a small sand bar with rocky cliffs on its left side;
— Isla Walang Tao (Island without People) — boasts of many tall, splendid corals; and,
— Diatoy Island — with its bountiful trees and wild flowers.

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Awesome Filipinos

Wig Tysmans – 10 Secrets in Capturing the Money Shot

I learned a lot of practical travel photography stuff from Wigg Tysmans. Although his expertise is portraiture and commercial photography, he is a master of what he calls as “The Money Shot”. I’m sharing with you the secrets that I learned so that you can improve your own photography and take your own “money shot”.

Caluit Island-18

1. The best way to take panoramic shot using your DSLR is to take panning vertical shots. It is easy to stitch vertical shots of the panoramic scene instead of horizontal shots to avoid the vignetting due to the lens.

Coron Tour-51

2. The pictures that you take is a reflection of who you are. Very philosophical but true. Don’t attempt to copy the works of others because you will only be dismayed with the result. Take photos of things that you love and are passionate about.

Wig Tysmanns Travel Photography Workshop-14

3. The best shot is always taken from an elevation. This is a confirmation of what I also learned from Master George Tapan. Always be ready with a stairs. You can call or inquire from the resort / place to check if they have one.

Wig Tysmanns Travel Photography Workshop-8

4. The Magical Hour. The best shots during sunset is taken during the magical hour — 30-45 minutes after the sun sets in the horizon. Always wait for this magical hour and be ready because the lighting conditions change very fast.

Coron Tour-3

5. Take the shot, have fun and go back for the right lighting condition. This is the right practical approach to travel photography. You need to enjoy and take the shot even when it is not the perfect lighting condition. You don’t know when you will be back in that place again. If you have the chance to go back during the right lighting conditions, then make every effort to do so.

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Caluit, Palawan – My Childish Dream Come True

Caluit Island-7
Ever since I heard of the Caluit Game Preserve Sanctuary in Palawan, I always dream of visiting this Philippines’ version of a Safari. I would like to believe that the Caluit Game Preserve was created as a zoo playground for Bong Bong Marcos. But nobody really knows the story behind the creation of this sanctuary in Palawan (Would you know?). I actually admire Marcos for such an ambitious vision of creating our own safari in the 70’s.

With childlike excitement, I patiently endured the 2-hour boat trip from El Rio Y Mar resort in Busuanga, Palawan to Caluit Island. I can’t believe that my dream of seeing the Giraffes and Zebras with my own eyes is about to come true.
The problem with Caluit is you have to go with a group so that you can enjoy the safari-like trip with other people and to make the trip cost effective.

Caluit Island-16
The beauty of Caluit Island is that all the animals are free to roam around in their natural habitat. So, they need to ensure that there are no predators like lions and tigers in the island. It was super hot and dry in Caluit when we got to the island. The first moment we saw the animals, all of us started taking pictures. I forgot for a moment the teachings of Master George that the enemy of the photographer is the excitement of pressing the shutter button too soon.
This trip was a dream come true.

My only disappointment was the entire island was not developed ever since the first couple of animals were transported in 1975 from Naomi, Kenya. The zebras and giraffes were already from the third generation. Most of them are “filipino” animals already because they were born here.

The best time to go to Caluit is early in the morning before 9am where most of the animals come out.


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Coron, Palawan – 8 Awesome Experiences in Coron, Palawan

Coron Tour-25
1. Kayangan Lake – one of the top 100 awesome places to go to in the Philippines!
The photo above is the most photographed scene that represents Coron in the travel magazines. This scene is halfway up the mountain trail leading to the cleanest lake in the Philippines. Swimming in the cleanest fresh water lake (with a bit of salt water) in the Philippines is an experience that every Filipino should have. The entire area is perfect for taking portrait shots with limestone cliffs in the background and clean lake in the middleground.

Coron Tour-23
2. Twin Lagoons – A dare awaits the brave tourist
These twin lagoons are separated by limestone cliffs with a small underwater tunnel where a brave tourist could swim underneath. It is dangerous which adds to the appeal and challenge to tourist who dare to go to both lagoons. You need to take a deep breath and do a deep swim to avoid the jagged edges of the limestone cliffs. I tried to swim underneath but I came out with a deep wound on my left big toe. Lesson learned the *ouch* way.

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3. Siete Picados – 7 Islands Snorkeling area.
Most of the corals around Coron are dead except for the Siete Picados area. This spot is perfect for Snorkeling without being disappointed with the scene the underwater scene that you will see.

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4. Maquinit Hot Springs and its therapeutic properties.
Don’t miss on the therapeutic properties of this natural hot spring in Coron. Don ‘t be discouraged with its super hot temperature. You will be rewarded after with a revitalizing feeling after dipping in this hot springs for a few minutes.

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