Sunday, February 22, 2015

2015 Jan: Philippines: Negros Occ: Silay

Home of some of the restored traditional houses near Bacolod City (after Talisay).

How to get there
  • From Lacson St., take jeepney (Bata-Libertad, Magdalaga-Libertad) from opposite side of Robinsons.  
  • Drop-off at Ceres Bus Terminal.
  • Take bright yellow ordinary Ceres bus (Victoria signboard), pay 15php going to Silay. 

In Rizal Street (National Highway), after an old church (San Diego Pro-Cathedral), drop off at Pink House.  This is our option on how to start the  Silay City Heritage walking tour.

Don Bernardino Jalandoni Museum (known as the Pink House)
Location: Rizal Street, Silay City, Negros Occidental, Philippines
Entrace Fee: Adult: 60php (2015), Student: 30php
Open: Tuesday – Saturday (9am – 5pm), Sunday (9am – 4pm)
Tip: Stay away during break if you want a welcoming athmosphere.  We had a short and quick trip on this private museum since it is near the guide's lunch break.

Few exhibit from Dona Montserrat Lopez Memorial High School, Special Program for the Arts.  Captured my attention is the Seascape (Oil on Canvas, Jan Ivan Magin)

Walk to southern direction to reach San Diego Pro-Cathedral.

Turn right to Zamora Street (along Public Plaza). 
At Cinco De Noviembre St , turn right, if you chose to see: Manuel Severino Hofileña 
  Ancestral House:

The home was built by Hofileña for his wife Gilda Ledesma Hojilla, a former Miss Silay,[2] and their nine children.
At present, Ramon Hofileña, one of the children and heirs, resides in this ancestral house and personally tours guests who visit his abode.

Still along Cinco De Noviembre St, you'll be able to reach Balay Negrense.

Balay Negrense
Location: Cinco de Noviembre Street, Silay City, Negros Occidental, Philippines
Entrance Fee
Tip: Recommended Museum

Things I learned:
-Sacada (workers in the sugar farm) stays outside the house and use the lower part of the bench to keep their chicken.
-Old houses, specially those made in wooden floors are elevated from the ground. Thus there is "silong" for air ventilation. And to refain the wood from getting close to the gound as it will cause moisture and will not last long.
-Since there are no banks in the old times, they say that Don Gaston would sundry ("bilad") his money at the rooftop
-He is married and had 2 sons and 1 daughter.  Their family tree is updated every 3 years and to recognize the decendant, they would come in reunions following the assigned color to their family (blue, red, white)
-Grand staircase have seats and cane handlers as a resting place for adults.  It is then divided into two directions, right for men and left for women.  Also, since women wear long "saya", they would walk sideways to not to trip themselves.
-Personally made bed for the family has meaning - the grapes design is the owners favorite.  The squash that is facing up is a female owner, facing down is a male owner and the whole squash design is for a couple owner.
-Children are not allowed to go outside their rooms when there are adult visitors in the house.
The bedrooms in the upper floor, have connecting doors inside so they can move around and can still go to the kitchen during eating time.
-Dining room has separate tables for adults and children.  
-As what is stated in Noli Me Tangere, there are 2 types of tsokolate, "-eh" (thicker hot chocolate which means you a welcomed visitor) and "-ah" (watered-down version which means you should leave the house)
-The house of course showcase the old items like chinaware, those used in laundry wash, manual pots with charcoal used to press clothes, basins, old telephone, sewing machine, instruments, etc.
-Some of the antiques were donated to the museum and not personally used by the Gaston Family.

Further read on: 

-Go back to the National Highway via Sen. Jose Zulueta St.

-Turn on right direction, closer to Il Ideal since this is Loading Zone for buses.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

2015 Jan: Philippines: Negros Occ: The Taste of Bacolod


El Ideal

Food: Pancit Guisado, Double Decker chicken and tuna sandwich with melted cheese
Value: Affordable (230php)
Atmosphere: old restaurant, with wooden chairs and marble-made table.
Location: 118 Rizal St, Silay City Heritage Zone, Negros Occidental (near park and bus stop)
Personal Preference: 8 out 10

31 Korea
Food: tuna mayo kimbap, kokiyo chicken
Value: affordable (249php, 2015)
Atmosphere: Not the galbi-cooking that I'm expecting, but the only one I've seen with the toy I've been looking for.
The video screen is showing tvN channel with the replay of MNET Awards 2014 in Hong Kong.

Location : Citywalk, Robinsons

2015 Jan: Philippines: Negros Occ: Bacolod: Go Hotels

Accommodation: Go Hotels Bacolod
Address: Lacson Street, Mandalagan  Bacolod City, Negros Occidental
Stay: Jan 29-31, 2015 (2 nights)

Price: Known to offer early bird booking, you can await for the regular rooms to be on sale from this hotel.  We got an overnight stay for 882php from travel fair in SMX (2014). Another overnight stay from online booking for 995php only.

Accessible from airport via commuting van service (150php/pax, 2015).  Indicate to the driver, so he can get inside the main gate.

Located near Robinsons Mall and in the middle of Lacson St. (main street in Bacolod).  

There is a back door (open: 6am-10pm), that is connected to Robinsons Mall for safer walk.

Room: Clean as expected (looks the same as Go Hotels in Pioneer, Mandaluyong).  Well lighted, with international cable channels.

Culinary ExperienceNo breakfast included.  But there is a small shop that opens 6am-8pm which provides very basic and simple needs.

Some of the restaurants in Central Citywalk opens by 9:30, the mall opens at 10am and closes at 8pm.  The earliest restaurant we found open is Pendy's (5-10 minutes) away by jeep from this hotel.


  • Internet service in room is too slow on early half of the evening. Try to go to the ground level lobby for better connection. You may also go out of the room and find routers hanging from the ceiling.  But when it's around 2am, the connection is so fast.
  • Clogged or too slow to water drainage  when taking a bath
  • One grounded socket near the telephone
  • First time user of cable and tv remotes will normally show "no signal". Just dial 0 on the phone and they will surely assist you to make it work.
For its price and location, I would recommend this as your home base in Bacolod.

Other options or accommodation near Lacson St.

2015: Visit the Philippines Year [Soon]

2015: Visit the Philippines Year

2014: My Travels [Soon]

2014: My Travels

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 Dec: Philippines: Manila: Christmas Lights

Christmas spirit in the hearts of every Filipino starts on the first day of September.  You should not be surprise when you hear greetings of "Merry Christmas" by then.  Some radio stations would start to play Christmas carols too.  Soon you'll feel the rush and the very terrible Christmas traffic is all streets of the metro.

Check out some lights and decors displayed in the city.

High Street

University of Santo Tomas 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

2014 Oct: Japan: Tokyo: Autumn Itinerary

Travel Dates

Be Careful (

  • 2014/11/29 23:00 4.5 magnitude, 24 km depth - Shingu, Wakayama, Japan
  • 2014/12/03 14:19 4.6 magnitude, 41 km depth - Tajimi, Gifu, Japan

Hotel Horidome Villa (Tokyo, Japan)
Address: 1-10-10 Horidome-Cho Nihonbashi,Chuo-Ku, Tokyo Station / Nihonbashi, Tokyo, Japan 
Hotel Review


Arrival at Narita Airport
Catholic Church - 
Roppongi – Ippudo (Dinner)
Roppongi Hills

Optional (Good Autumn Destination): Showa Kinen Park in Tachikawa

Fuji: Lake Kawaguchiko  
Optional: Akihabara

Optional: Oedo Onsen in Odaiba
Liberty and Gundam in Odaiba
Disney Sea

St Marc Café  
University of Tokyo  
Optional: Imperial Palace East Garden (closed on Mondays) 
Ginkgo Avenue (Icho Namiki) near Aoyama-Icchome Station
Harajuku (walking adventure until) Shibuya  
Ebisu Garden  
Tokyo Station

Departure at Narita Airport


2014 Dec: Japan: Tokyo: Christmas Illumination

Where to find Robert Indiana's LOVE in Tokyo? It is in Shinjuku I Land Tower.
JR Shinjuku Sta. (West Exit) - 10 min. walk OR Marunouchi Line Nishi-shinjuku Sta. - 2 min. walk

2014 Nov: Japan: Chiba (Tokyo): Disneysea

Tokyo DisneySea (東京ディズニーシー) is a 176-acre (71.22 ha) theme park at the Tokyo Disney Resort located in Urayasu, Chiba, Japan, just outside Tokyo. [Reference]

Getting there: Take JR Musashino Line, drop-off at Maihama station.  Walk towards Resort Gateway station.  This is single direction/roundtrip monorail that go towards Disneyland station, Bayside station, then Disneysea station.

This year's theme is Disney Sea:  "Christmas Wishes".

Right after I pass through the ticket gates, I already saw Minnie's Photo-Op queue. I continue my journey and saw the start of the Holiday Greeting show, since it's too crowded, I went back and waited in the queue.

2014 Nov: Japan: Tokyo: Odaiba

Odaiba (お台場) is a large artificial island in Tokyo Bay, Japan, across the Rainbow Bridge from central Tokyo. [Reference]

What to do in Odaiba?

I wanted to go there initially because of Ooedo-Onsen-Monogatari, but due to the personal concerns on Fukushima and onsen; with heavy rain where most of the tourists would also go there, I have decided to skip it.  Instead below were visited on the island:

Rainbow Bridge

Odaiba Statue of Liberty
Transportation: Daiba Station (Yurikamome line), Exit 1.

Monday, December 8, 2014

2014 Nov: Japan: Tokyo: Autumn Report

Due to weather condition between my visit in Nov 29 - Dec 03, I was able to see very limited places for the koyo hunting.

Tokyo University - Hongo Campus
Take Metro Nanboku Line and drop-off at Todaimae Station.  The university seems to be open to the public since I felt welcome when I come in.

I took the internal overpass to get into the Main Campus.  Follow the direction parallel to Hongo St.  By the time you reached the Red Gate, close to Metro Marunouchi Line, Hongo-Sanchome Station, you already have seen the following autumn scenes. [taken by nikon d40]

Sunday, December 7, 2014

2014 Nov: Japan: Tokyo: Lake Kawaguchiko

Where to buy your bus tickets from Shinjuku to Fuji?

Getting a bit lost on my way from JR West Gate to Bus Terminal, paying the reserved ticket in the counter and rushing to Platform 2 - I’m the last one to board the 7:40 bus heading to Lake Kawaguchiko.  We arrived after 9am in the terminal, but sadly the Red Retro Sightseeing bus is not operating due to Fujisan Marathon - so they mean that I have to walk along the places.

My initial plan to take the bus until Music Forest and walk back to the station. But with the activity, I did the opposite and started walking.  

Upon arrival I saw the peak covered with snow, this is the only photo that was taken.
One and only photo taken on Fujisan peak upon arrival (still inside the bus) to Lake Kawaguchiko.
After taking a break, the next time I saw it everything is covered with clouds!  I just learned from the station that service to Fifth station is cancelled due to snow.

2014 Nov: Japan: Tokyo: Roppongi

Roppongi is a district of Minato, Tokyo, Japan, famous as home to the rich Roppongi Hills area. Many foreign embassies are located in Roppongi.

The name "Roppongi", which appears to have been coined around 1660, literally means "six trees". Six very old and large zelkova trees used to mark the area; the first three were cleared, and the last were destroyed during World War II. [Reference]

What Roppongi offered me on this trip?

Franciscan Chapel Center (Roman Catholic) - The English-Speaking Roman
Catholic Parish of the Archdiocese of Tokyo
Address 4-2-37 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo 106-0032 JAPAN
All English Mass: Sat 8 AM, **6 PM**; Sundays 8 AM, 10 AM, 12 Noon 6 PM


Maman (sculpture) 
It is a bronze, stainless steel, and marble sculpture by the artist Louise Bourgeois. The sculpture, which depicts a spider, is among the world's largest, measuring over 30 ft high and over 33 ft wide (927 x 891 x 1024 cm).[1] It includes a sac containing 26 marble eggs and its abdomen and thorax are made up of ribbed bronze. The title is the familiar French word for Mother.

It alludes to the strength of Bourgeois' mother, with metaphors of spinning, weaving, nurture and protection.

The Spider is an ode to my mother. She was my best friend. Like a spider, my mother was a weaver. My family was in the business of tapestry restoration, and my mother was in charge of the workshop. Like spiders, my mother was very clever. So, spiders are helpful and protective, just like my mother.
— Louise Bourgeois

2014 Nov: Japan: Tokyo: Oishii Experience!

Sharing with you oishii experience in Kanto, Japan!  
Oishii (おいしい), meaning: nice; tasty; delicious

Location: Restaurant along Ningyocho St.
Preference: 8 out of 10
Food: Zuke Maguro Tsukimi Don - seasoned tuna bowl with raw egg malted bean sauce
Value: 650yen
Atmosphere: Local/Traditional

Location: Hakata Ippudo, Roppongi
Preference: 9 out of 10
Food: Shiromau Classic - Ippudo's original tonkotsu broth served with ultra-thin noodles, pork belly, bean sprouts, black fungus and spring onions. Classic Hakata-style ramen.
Value: 780yen
Atmosphere: Local/Traditional

2014 Nov: Japan: Tokyo: Hotel Horidome Villa

Hotel Horidome Villa (Tokyo, Japan)
Address: 1-10-10 Horidome-Cho Nihonbashi,Chuo-Ku, Tokyo Station / Nihonbashi, Tokyo, Japan 
Stayed: Nov 29-Dec 03, 2014 (4 nights) 

PriceAffordable for a decent and a bit old hotel in the middle of expensive city of Tokyo.  Small Double Bed - Non Smoking with Free Wi-Fi (PHP 9,494.23 (USD 217.69), 2014).  I found this the cheapest in, but willing to try for my next trip in Nagoya.

Also, the price fit my Agoda points, so I got a night free of charge.  Thanks to Agoda.

Location - Accessible. Located in Chuo City (near Tokyo) and is in between 2 stations that are connected to different Lines which makes it very accessible.
  • Ningyōchō Station (Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line; Toei Asakusa Line)
  • Kodemmachō Station (Hibiya Line)
From the Airport:
The cheapest option to take is Narita Access Line.
At Asakusa or Higashi-Nihombashi station, transfer to Hibiya Line to reach Ningyocho (Exit 6 is with elevator service) cross towards Exit 5 and continue walking along Ningyocho St.