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Tacloban City Bouncing Back!

Super storm Yolanda practically wrought unprecedented destruction over Tacloban City, and while rehabilitation has slowly begun, it might be worthwhile to reminisce the beauty of the city, its landmarks infrastructure especially.

There was no building which was not adversely or severely affected, either partially or totally destroyed! Business establishments which lined up the city streets were rendered in disarray, even as thousands of houses were flattened by the so-called "storm-surge waves." (Photo above, Tacloban City Hall)

Tacloban City was being promoted as the "Gateway to Historic Eastern Visayas." Let's quote from its brochure: "Tacloban City is a mixture of the old and new. Apart from the heritage buildings, modern structures can be found around the city. Tacloban is the melting pot, the regional hub and the only highly urbanized city in Eastern Visayas... It is the jump off point to the different destinations in the region." (Photo above,Tacloban Convention Center)

Other historical attractions of Tacloban City are the  Leyte Provincial Capitol which was the seat of the Philippine Commmonwealth in 1944 and the Balyu-an Amphitheater located along the shores of Cancabato Bay, and the venue of cultural, musical, social and religious services. Other significant and historical structures are Redola Residence, the official residence of President Sergio Osmena Sr during the liberation period. Must-see places is the People's Center and Library, Sto. Nino Shrine and Heritage Museum, the Price Mansion built in 1910 which was the official headquarters of Gen. Douglas MacArthur for three months during the period of liberation of the Philippines from the Japanese Imperial Army. (Photo, right, Balyu-an Amphitheatre) (Posted January 3, 2014)


BARELY a few years in operation, Hannah's Beach Resort and Convention Center has already established itself as a world-class haven paradise, referred to as the crown jewel of Ilocos Norte's abundant treasure of magnificent tourist destinations on the northernmost tip of Luzon.(Photos by Direk Narding Belen)

The Department of Tourism (DOT) has accredited Hannah's as an eco-tourism spot in recognition of its having exceeded the standards for the operation of tourism facilities and services. (Hannah's with Blue Lagoon as foreground)

The Philippine Air Line has included the resort as part of its prestigious "PALakbayan" program to boost the national tourism industry.

Local and international tourists have also given their accolades to Hannah's for its excellence in world-class facilities and services. (The Blue Lagoon as seen from Hannah's)

Another proof of excellence of Hannah's was its all-time high occupancy during the Holy Week 2013, by local and foreign tourists, thus making a distinct mark in the local and global tourism market. Consequently, Hannah's contributed significantly to making Pagudpud No. 2 among the top 10 most visited tourist spots in the Philippines, making the town closely compared to Hawaii, according to

Consequently, Pagudpud has achieved local and international recognition as the best environment-friendly, year-round and sustainable resort and destination by local and international tourists, transforming itself into an economically progressive community for its people and visitors. (Banga, left, the giant clay pot swimming pool, biggest in the world)

Col. Ricardo L. Nolasco Jr PAF (Ret.), proprietor, attributes the resort's remarkable success to its harmony with nature. The landscape is preserved, the trees and natural vegetations as well as the beautiful scenes and serene atmosphere of the location were untouched and unadulterated. (Photo, left, Patricia Camille G. Reyes,of Angono, Rizal, winner of the Mr. & Miss Hannah's Beach Resort Eco-Tourism Ambassadors 2013. Her counterpart is Stephan Cativo of Dingras, Ilocos Norte)

The amenities of the resort were carefully mounted on a cliff adjacent to the beach providing visitors a spectacular view of the crystal clear blue water of the Blue Lagoon stretching out to the sea, amidst a backdrop of verdant mountains teeming with with varied forms of vegetation and wildlife and clear sky.

Over the Blue Lagoon is Hannah's zipline, 1.2 kms and reportedly the longest over water which provides daring guests the rides of their lives causing adrenaline rush and a 360-degree feast for the senses: top view of the exotic fauna and flora of the azure and pristine waters below, and the serene blue horizon and verdant mountain slopes at the backdrop, while enjoying the fresh and rejuvenating sea breeze! (Photo, above, Col. Ricardo L. Nolasco Jr, left (PAF Retired) joins winners and runners-up in the beauty pagean. 5th from left is his daughter Hannah who rendered some songs during the grand coronation night)

Constructed recently is a pool mounted on a gigantic clay pot or "banga," probably the only one of its kind in the world and may qualify for a Guinness World Record.It is located at the heart of the resort where one could take a dip or swim or just laze around while enjoying the panoramic view of the Blue Lagoon and the mountain range  that provides natural protection for the cove.

Not far below is the newly-opened annex aptly named Surfville, where surfing is conducive.(Photo, right, the infinity swimming pool with the Blue Lagoon) 

To-date, Hannah's has 16 nature-inspired air-conditioned cottages, a restaurant, a multi-purpose hall, a swimming pool and a jacuzzi, a fish pond for leisurely fishing, and a ranch for horse-back riding.

For the safety and convenience of guests and visitors, a 24/7 security and ample parking space are provided. Surfville is very ideal for private functions and parties, barkadas and backpackers.

Hannah's is truly proud of these new attractions as they embody its ardent commitment to environmental protection and preservation which are always in the core of its corporate values. 

Proprietor Col. Ricardo L. Nolasco Jr PAF (Retired), said: "Watch out for more great and fun things to come that will definitely  bolster Hannah's vision to become the premiere tourist destination in the Philippines. Pagudpud is the perfect place where I intend to enjoy the rest of my life. It is my legacy to preserve and protect it so that I may be able to share with the national and global tourism ready  industry my own piece of paradise that is Hannah's Beach Resort and Convention Center!"

Indeed, Hannah's is primed and ready to become the next big thing in the local and global tourism market! (Posted May 27, 2013) 




Batanes - Ultimate Cultural Destination!

A trip to Batanes offers among the best cultural experiences in the Philippines! Thanks to the Batanes Cultural Travel Agency and the SkyJet owned and operated by Dr. Joel Mendoza, president & CEO and his wife Rosan Castillejos-Mendoza.

Batanes is the northern-most and smallest province of the Philippines, closer to Taiwan - 190 kms north - than the tip of Luzon - 280 kms. south.

Dr. Mendoza, appearing at the breakfast news forum Friday, January 11, 2013 at the Rembrandt hotel, said that "we are promoting Batanes as a cultural destination. We want visitors, foreigners or locals, to experience the culture and traditions of the people of Batanes!"

He added that the traditional stone houses are being utilized as lodging homes for tourits, and as such, residents benefit directly from visitors! (Photo, right, Rosan Castillejos-Mendoza, her husband Dr. Joel Mendoza, and Eric San Juan, breakast forum host)

Dr. Mendoza stressed that they will help preserve the culture of the people, even with the influx of tourists in the near future.

Hence, their company's Mission: To promote and preserve the cultural (Photo, right, House of Dakay built in the 1850s)  landscapes and seascapes of Batanes; To preserve Ivatan traditions and practices handed down from generation to generation such as farming, fishing and othe communal activities; To preserve and revive Ivatan Stone Houses and other important architecture, and To promote Batabes as the Ultimate Cultural Destination in the Philippines, and

Vision: To empower the local Ivatans, that Ivatan culture can provide a sustainable income and support local government for employment (Photo, right, a beautiful shoreline)

For more on Batanes, contact the SkyJet and BCTA offices through 0917811228, email: sales@batanes (Except for the photo of Dr. Joel Mendoza, his wife and Eric San Juan, all photos used in this article are from the travel brochure produced by BCTA) (Nardz Belen, posted January 11, 2013)



P4.4 Billion for Puerto Princesa Airport Expansion

The Puerto Princesa City Council has approved a resolution filed by Vice Mayor Lucilo Bayron calling for the immediate expansion of the Puerto Princesa Airport Terminal as an increased number of departing and arriving passengers are now overcrowding the airport terminal inaugurated about two years ago.

Arrivals have increased due to the intensified promotions for the recognition and inclusion of Puerto Princesa Underground River in the New 7 Wonders of Nature.

The resolution, which has been submitted to Department of Transportation and Communications Secretary Mar Roxas,  calls for the full support of the national government.

Eight to 10 flights from major airlines arrive in Puerto Princesa City daily! (Posted July 31, 2011)     



Experience walking atop a 1,713-meter mountain where you will enjoy breath-taking sceneries around! The opportunity is waiting for you - in Mount Kalawitan - in Mountain province!

Mount Kalawitan is considered as the fourth highest mountain in the Philippines! It borders the towns of Bontoc and Sabangan, and Tinoc in Ifugao.

Legend says that the Ifugao god Lumawig made Mount Kalawitan his entry point before visiting other communities in the Cordilleras. Mountain Province Gov. Leonard Mayaen has invited sports enthusiasts, tourists, and nature lovers to explore Mount Kalawitan to experience inner peace as benefit from communicating undisturbed with nature! (LQB -Posted July 21, 2011) 


THE one-district island province of Sarangani, now represented by world boxing icon Manny Pacquiao in the House of Representatives, will soon become the next convention center and much-sought tourists destination.

Sarangani Gov. Miguel Dominguez said that with the cooperation of the business and private sectors. as well as the local media, the development of the province has long been geared toward tourism, and the necessary infrasructure as required by the Department of Tourism are mostly now in place.

Gov. Dominguez added that marketing efforts for the growth of tourism are now being enhanced, and he particularly appealed to the media to counter negative news reports emanating from Mindanao, because Sarangani is adjacent to the second biggest island in the Philippines. (Posted May 7, 2011) 


The northernmost island province of the Philipines, Batanes is nearer to Taiwan - 190 kms north - than to the Philippines - Aparri - 280 kms south! Or about 860 kms north of Manila.

Two-hundred-thirty square kms., Batanes is composed of the islands of Sabtang, the biggest, and Batan and Itbayat. A one-district political territory, about 15,000 or more Ivatans live in the three-island Batanes. (Right photo, tourism houses)

Favored by rich natural resources, Batanes is a must-see place - a sanctuary for weary feet, and for a more in-depth communication with nature. (A Batanes lake, right)

According to a Batanes brochure prepared by the Department of Industry, Region 2, the first people settled in the islands as early as the Neolithic Period (ca. 5,000-2,000 B.C.).

Batanes has a 5,000 square kms fishing ground, even as the islands are an eco-cultural tourism destination.Batanes' eco-cultural tourism development "hinges on a community-based approach that adheres to the principle of ecological sustainability, cultural preservation, local economic development and meaningful people's participation." (Left photo, pastureland) (Posted June 5, 2011)



Let's go to Laguna, a province famous for its lanzones, hot springs, "shooting the rapids in Pagsanjan, and many other places, like Calamba, the town of Dr. Jose P. Rizal, the country's national hero.

Laguna Gov. Jorge Ejercito Estregan, said: "As one will expect, Laguna is a world-famous place with the lush vegetative terrain and curiosity-enticing natural formations, plus historical sites worth your visit."

Laguna will enchant you with its wonders. There are legendary lush mountains and trails to discover. Rich in heritage and cultue unfold while you visit historic sites, old churches, picturesque towns and houses, Spanish-era dwellings, museum and art galleries.

An abundance of lakes, water falls, natural hot or coldspring waters and other fluvial charms will refresh your mind, spirit and body and provide a relaxing or if you prefer an exhilarating holiday. And above all, relish the skill and hospitality and take in the warmth of the people.

Without venturing too far from Manila, discover for yourself why Laguna is truly a traveler's paradise. Discover why people keep coming back!

Laguna is blessed with nature's bounty for you to glimpse and explore! (From Laguna Philippines. For more, visit: -Posted April 18, 2011)