This is what a Filipino Airline’s Safety Video should look like!

The ubiquitous airline safety video seen on many airlines are usually boring and blah. I am not ashamed to admit it, I sleep through most of them. As a seasoned traveller, I pretty much memorized what to need to do while on my seat and in case of an emergency. Keep my safety belt fastened, fasten it loosely while seated, when the oxygen masks drop from the ceiling put your own first before helping others, follow emergency path lights to the nearest exit, the nearest door could be to your rear, etc.

Many of the videos are produced once then reused for years, I assume for budgetary purposes. Locally, this is the case for Philippine Airlines which uses the same videos for a decade before changing it. Oh well, buti pa sila, Cebu Pacific doesn’t even have a safety video, simply because… most of their planes don’t have monitors or in seat screens… again, for budgetary purposes.

Except for Air New Zealand. Every so often they update their safety videos which are always entertaining.  A few years ago, I flew Air New Zealand for the first time and caught this hilarious video starting Richard Simmons

Today I came across this amazing video entitled “Safety in Paradise”. When I saw it, I smiled, I laughed, then I sighed… “this would have been perfect for Philippine Airlines.”

Here it is, enjoy…


Air New Zealand has quote a number of awesome videos on its YouTube channel at

My personal favorite was the one inspired by The Hobbit:


This is Philippine Airlines’ current Saftey Video. It’s nice and all, especially when it was launched in 2011. Its cute and funny and all. But don’t you think its time it was updated, especially since they are trying to retire their 747s.

Genting Highlands, Malaysia–June 23, 2012

Taking a break from the nature-filled adventures I am used to, I decided to explore the Genting Highlands… not totally sure of what to expect.

Genting Highlands is actually a development by Resorts World but the whole resort is on a mountain top with various other hotel operators.  Gunung Ulu Kali is like Filipino’s Baguio except its just 1 hour away from Kuala Lumpur.

Winston and I set out to get to Genting Highlands via bus from the Pudu Sentral Bus Station. We got to the station around 10:00am, and we actually saw the 10am bus to Genting leave the station, we thought we could make it to the 10:30 bus.


Unfortunately for us, just like in the airlines, the other trips were now fully booked (mental note for the future) and that the next available trip for those w/o tickets already was around 12:30. We looked at each other and considered the next best option… a TAXI. Which would just cost us 60 RM.

And so we were off! After around 40 min we reached the bottom of the mountain. “That was fast” I thought to myself. Only to realize that getting up the mountain was another 20 min.


While the taxi was climbing up the mountain, we began to see an unexpected sight… FOG! And here we are in shorts! We were definitely not prepared for this.

It was then that I thought that it was nice that there some place like this, so near the city, yet a place to enjoy a cool breeze of mountain air.

We got off the taxi and headed for the ticket booth. We opted to get the all park pass for both the Outdoor and the Indoor Theme Parks.


All banded up. Next problem… where to go?

KualaLumpurAPX201206 029

As we walked around the park… the thick fog was rolling in.

KualaLumpurAPX201206 031

KualaLumpurAPX201206 035

KualaLumpurAPX201206 033

After wandering about, we decided to try out the roller coaster

KualaLumpurAPX201206 037


KualaLumpurAPX201206 044

KualaLumpurAPX201206 045

The entire ride takes roughly one minute. While milder than an American roller coaster ride, it does have its moments of thrills… particularly the loops… it is after all called “corkscrew”

From the roller coaster we wandered a bit and had lunch.

KualaLumpurAPX201206 096

We then passed this ride the “Flying Coaster” which is like a regular roller coaster except that you are in a “Superman” type position. We would have wanted to take the ride but, the line was long and the ride only takes 4 persons at a time.

KualaLumpurAPX201206 047

We wandered into the Indoor Park… and right be entrance we tried te 4D experience which was a take on “The Little Prince.”

KualaLumpurAPX201206 051

From here, we signed up for the “Genting Sky Venture”… the indoor skydiving experience. That experience deserves its own blog post (plus, I need to rip the DVD first and post it on YouTube when I get back to Manila)

KualaLumpurAPX201206 093

While waiting for our 3PM timeslot for the skydiving, we passed the time in the Ripley’s Believe it or not Museum.

KualaLumpurAPX201206 064

I’ve been to two other Ripley’s museums. One in San Francisco and the other in Orlando, Florida. Each one has its own set of oddities.

KualaLumpurAPX201206 070

KualaLumpurAPX201206 072

Ripley’s is always fun.

KualaLumpurAPX201206 086

KualaLumpurAPX201206 088

From here we went to the Sky Venture for the Sky Diving (again, that is a separate post).

KualaLumpurAPX201206 061

Al in all Genting Highlands was an interesting place. It is definitely more for kids, but still has something for adults. And interestingly enough as we walked around. A lot the kiddie rides had adults in them… without kids. So I guess this is also a place for those wanting to just be a kid again!

The place isn’t Disneyland, but it is still a nice place for the family.

KualaLumpurAPX201206 095

From here, we went to the Batu Caves

Low Yat Plaza, Geek’s Paradise in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

I know, I know. I find myself in another country, full of wonder and amazing cultural places of interest, and where do I end up as my first “tourist attraction?” The IT Mall.


Low Yat Plaza is to Malaysia as Funan Digital IT Mall is to Singapore (as opposed to Sim Lim Square). I would say Low Yat is a high-end IT haven full of branded IT items ranging from Computer to Cellphones.

As with the IT Trends these days, most of the stuff in Low Yat these days are either Tablets or Mobile Phones of various brands, models, and sizes.  Next to that… cameras… then PCs (PCs are now taking a back seat to tablets even in IT malls)

Ok… as I am like a little kid in a toy store, I forgot to actually take more pictures while inside the multi-level tech haven.

Easter Island – April 1-4, 2012

One of the “must-see” items on my bucket list has been to see Easter Island located 2,180 miles (3,510 kilometers) west of the coast of Chile in South America and is the south easternmost point of the Polynesian Triangle.  Ever since I was a child, I was always fascinated by pictures of the “big heads” and the theories over who built them and why (of course, these included the “they were built by aliens” theory).

When I was telling some friends of my planned trip to Easter Island, I was met with mixed reactions. Those that knew of the island’s mystic past commented “wows,” while those who had no inclining of what the island was about greeted me with “what’s there?” A majority of folks gave me the live “what’s there to do there.” Many of those who knew about the island assumed it would just be a a day trip because they assumed that there were no hotels on the island and that staying a day was sufficient. Be that as it may, I got strange responses to my plan from friends. For me, just being on Easter Island was sufficient reason for the adventure.

See the Wikipedia entry for Easter Island.

Easter Island is claimed to be the most remote inhabited island in the world.

View Easter Island (Rapa Nui) in a larger map


The island is known by three names “Easter Island” in English, “Isla de Pascua” in Spanish, and in the ancient Polynesian dialect… “Rapa Nui”. One phrase used to describe the island due to its distance from the nearest land mass was “land’s end”. Despite its name, the island has nothing to do with the Christian season of Easter or the death of Jesus Christ. It was simply named by the Dutch explorer Jacom Roggenveen who landed on the island on Easter Sunday in 1722.

I felt that it would be quaint to visit the island during Easter week. Just makes it more a little special I thought.

Before I even dreamed of going to Easter Island, a high school classmate of mine and fellow adventurer Gabby Malvar (one only other person I personally knew who visited the island), once told me that was difficult and complicated to get to the island, thus I blocked visiting the island from my list in the near future.  After visiting Machu Picchu last year, I decided that I needed a challenge to top the ancient Peruvian city in the sky. While poking around on the internet, I chanced upon the name of the airport on the island and its airport code which was IPC. I plugged into Expedia and checked out flights. That is when I realized that a trip to Easter Island was not as complicated as a I thought (Read my post on “Getting to Easter Island” for further details).

I really enjoyed myself on Easter Island. In the 4 days I was on the island, I pretty much covered the whole of the island (that which was accessible by land) which included a horseback ride to the highest point of the island, and scuba diving to several meters below sea level.

Instead of writing long posts on what I saw (as I did elsewhere on this blog), I decided to split up the destinations into individual blog posts. This particular posting would serve as my “Table of Contents” to each of these posts on my awesome adventure to Easter Island… enjoy!


Getting to Easter Island



Hanga Roa



Ahu Vinapu, Rano Kau, and Orongo

EasterIsland20120401 188b



EasterIsland20120401s 027


Rano Raraku

EasterIsland20120401 456


Ahu Tongariki

EasterIsland20120401s 102


Ahu Te Pito Kura

EasterIsland20120401s 104


Anakena Beach



Puna Pao

EasterIsland20120401s 110


Ahu Akivi

EasterIsland20120401s 115


Ana Te Pahu and Ana Te Pora

EasterIsland20120401s 144


The Highs and Lows of Easter Island

EasterIsland20120401s 162



And there you have it. Four awesome days on one of the most fascinating places on earth. Despite the 12 posts listed above. I have hundreds more photos and dozens more stories to tell about Easter Island. I guess that will have to wait for a later time. The food I have eaten, the people I have met, the things I have seen… I think even sunsets needs its own post. But for now, this will have to do.


My visit on Easter Island finally puts a tick box against that one point on my bucket list. Not sure what follows next after Machu Picchu and Easter Island. Oh well…


…what remains is the big problem. Where do I go next year?

Ahu Akivi, Easter Island – April 3, 2012

While not as grandiose as Ahu Tongariki with its 15 colossal moai… or as beufully set as those on Anakena Beach… my favorite set of moai would have to be at Ahu Akivi with its seven moai. The location is also popularly known as Siete Moai.

Ahu Akivi gives its name to one of the seven regions of the Rapa Nui National Park.

Probably one of the more interesting aspects of Akivi is tthat it is one of the few ahus which is located inland as opposed to all of the others which are by the coastline. But even more amazing is that Akivi is set to be the only Moai which face toward the ocean rather than away from it (as the others do)


Of course the maoi are not exactly facing the ocean intentionally. They just happen to be overlooking their village… and beyond that happens to be… the ocean.

EasterIsland20120401 704

Hmm… I always seem to get these against the light shots of moai.

EasterIsland20120401 710

In fact, the moai face sunset during Spring and Autumn Equinox; and have their backs to the sunrise during Spring and Autumn Equinox.

EasterIsland20120401 714

EasterIsland20120401 716

When these moai were restored in 1960, they used cement to repair some areas… clearly vsible.

EasterIsland20120401 717

I find this site… quite peaceful.

EasterIsland20120401 725

EasterIsland20120401s 115

EasterIsland20120401s 118

EasterIsland20120401s 124

Here is a short video I took while at the site


The next day

I actually came back here the next day after my 3.5 hour horseback ride up Mount Teravaka. This where we tied up the horses and I waited for Matti to pick me up and take me back to the hotel.

When I got back… more pictures. The sky was just awesome!



Anakena Beach, Easter Island – April 2, 2012

From Ahu Te Pito Kura, we make our way to the final destination for my second day on the spectacularly awesome Easter Island. A beach called Anakena.


Anakena is a white coral sand beach within Rapa Nui National Park.  There are two Ahus on Anakena. One with six moai… another with one.

According to island oral traditions, Anakena was the landing place of Hotu Matu’a, a Polynesian chief who led a two canoe settlement party here and founded the first settlement on Rapa Nui.

EasterIsland20120401 617

What makes Anakena unique is that it is one of two sandy beaches on Easter Island. If you noticed from all of my other pictures thus far showing the ocean, the coastline is rocky.

The palm trees around Anakena were transplanted fairly recently from Tahiti.

EasterIsland20120401 618b

EasterIsland20120401 623b

The six moai… four with their pukao while one kinda lost its head.


The interesting thing about these guys is that, these are among the most preserved (or less eroded) of the moai on the island. Because of their location, when they were toppled, they fell into the soft sand… and the sand covered them up. They were so preserved that this location was where they found remnants of the white coral used as eyes on the moai.

The moai on Anakena were the first ones to be restored in 1955.

EasterIsland20120401s 108

A fallen moai nearby. Looks intact. I wonder why this was not restored as well.

EasterIsland20120401 631b

On a nearby hill… a lone moai looks on.

EasterIsland20120401 639b

The beach is quite nice. The on looking moai add a mystic touch.

EasterIsland20120401 643b

A view of the six moai from the back. You can see another example of the Machu Pichu-like stone masonry.EasterIsland20120401 647b

So you might be wondering if I spent some time here and swam. While I did bring my board shorts and a towel. I wasn’t quite in the mood.

EasterIsland20120401 657b

But of course, I did spend the time admiring the beauty of the area. It was definitely a nice way to end my second day tours.

EasterIsland20120401 673b

Meanwhile… here is another of the local dogs coming up to say “hi.” I love these dogs.

EasterIsland20120401 676b

Back to the hotel. More tomorrow.

Rano Raraku, Easter Island – April 2, 2012

From Akahanga, we make our way to, what I consider, the most awesome part of touring Easter Island… a visit to the Moai quarry… the volcano of Rano Raraku, where all the Moai on the island were carved from. Of the 887 Moai on the island, 397 of these are still at the quarry… still waiting to be transported to their Ahus all over the island.


Just a short drive along the main road from Akahanga, we pass a few minot Ahus en route, and then we see a sign to Ranu Raraku

EasterIsland20120401 303

En route, you can see the volcano in the distance.

EasterIsland20120401 306

As we reach the side of the volcano, we can begin to see the unfinished Moai on the side of the volcano slopes as if walking down the mountain.

EasterIsland20120401s 039

EasterIsland20120401 316

We get to the parking area. Luckily… we are once again ahead of the other tourists and visitors to the park.  At this point, I take out my ticket from yesterday for the Rapa Nui National Park I bought the previous day at Rano Kau.

EasterIsland20120401 331

From here… we walk. Along the way up to the mountain side, we are greeted by several Moai that didn’t quite make it. Some fell and broke at the neck. You can imagine how the ancient natives probably felt when they saw the statue they carved for pretty much a year fall and break…. @*&^#)&!!!

EasterIsland20120401 335

You will notice the pathways around the Moai. Visitors are not supposed to wander away from the paths. And of course, one is not supposed to touch the Moai to avoid further erosion due to human contact.

EasterIsland20120401 341b

EasterIsland20120401 344b

These guys here are the most famous Moai seen on most tour books and websites…

EasterIsland20120401 368b

So naturally, I needed to have my picture taken here! Too bad it’s a little “against the light.” My guide, Matti didn’t want me to go beyond the pathway and step between the Moai.

As you can see there are Moai everywhere. In case you are wondering “why are they standing up?” They are carved from the side of the mountain, then they slide down the mountain into waiting holes to prop them up. It is at the point that the carvers do the finishing work on the statues, particularly on their backs and the heads. The faces are refined at this stage, and the rest of the bodies are smoothed out.

EasterIsland20120401 442

EasterIsland20120401 450

Here are some of the Moai being carved out from the mountain rock.

EasterIsland20120401 393

Here are two Moai being carved side by side.

EasterIsland20120401 413

This guy… while still unfinished. If completed would be around 21 meters or 69 feet tall and would weigh 270 tons.

EasterIsland20120401s 055

At one end of the path, we encounter the most unusual Moai on the island. While most Moai are heads and torsos… we encounter Tukuturi… a kneeling Moai we was complete with feet… and a butt

EasterIsland20120401 429

Its not entirely clear if this Moai was supposed to an ancestor, or one of the carvers who dies at this spot. It was earlier believed that it was an earlier Moai… but it is too big to be one of that era. The mystery remains.

EasterIsland20120401s 062

From the kneeling moai, you can see the 15 moai of Ahu Tongariki in the distance. That would be our next destination from Rano Raraku.

EasterIsland20120401 418

It was time now to make the trek inside the volcano crater.

EasterIsland20120401 456

As we walked into the crater… you could see the opposite side of the same crater wall where the other moai were carved.

EasterIsland20120401 486

So from here… more unfinished moai. I learned that the moai were only carved from this wall. There must have been something special by this section of the volcano. The other sides of the volcano were not suitable for carving.

EasterIsland20120401 490

Meanwhile… while insider the crater I was able to observe several wild horses drinking from the crater lake. The island was full of wild horses. Remnants of a time when horses were that main form of transportation around the island… prior to the importation of cars and trucks.

EasterIsland20120401 503

After a while it was time to make our way back to the pickup for our next destination.

EasterIsland20120401s 069

As we exited Rano Raraku, Matti showed me the strange stone enclosure below. These things are also all over the island. What are they? Ancient chicken coops. Due to the scarcity of resources on the island, these stone enclosures were a way to prevent chickens from being stolen.

EasterIsland20120401 511

Next stop… the awesome 15 moai of Ahu Tonariki

Quezon Memorial Circle (mini-post) – February 5, 2012

This isn’t going to be a full-blown blog post. Just a few pics and comments. Maybe I’ll do something more comprehensive soon.

It was such a nice sunny morning, I went to the Quezon Memorial Circle today with my dog Bruno for a morning walk.

The Quezon Memorial Circle is abbreviated QCMC on street signs around the circle. When I first saw them, what came to mind was “Quezon City Memorial Center”.

It’s been a while since I’ve been to the Circle during the early morning. In fact it’s been a while in general. I used to bike around and in the circle a bit but walking around gives you a different perspetive. You see the hustle and bustle of folks going about their Sunday morning exercise routines and you get to notice the interactions that take place.


The most important thing to remember is that with all the people that do go to the Circle on Sundays. Parking could be a challenge. I was lucky on the second lot I tried. But in general the lots get pretty filled (for P15, not bad).

The Circle is Quezon City’s version of Luneta. It is that place which fills up on Sundays with folks and families for all sorts of activities. Running, badminton, biking, aerobics, picnics, and in my case… dog walking.

What I found most interesting and amusing is that all around a paved area around the fountain you will see hundreds of people doing aerobics in response to the lively music being played on the loud speakers. I guess it’s the Filipino version of that scene where you see Chinese folks doing Tai Chi (albeit this is much less quiet).


Ultimately the park itself is alive with all sorts of activity.


As for me, I was too engrossed with my dog walking to really enjoy the place.

From a photographic standpoint, I only had my Camera Phone with me. Perhaps a more comprehensive post of the park with all its activities and amenities is in order. It is actually quite a fascinating place.


Wikipedia post on The Circle for historical reference:

View Quezon Memorial Circle, Quezon City in a larger map

On being a FlashPacker

A few nights ago, travel god Ivan Henares discussed on the Pinoy Travel Bloggers FB chat that I was a “Flashpacker.” I had not heard of the term before though I have been known to pack a bag pretty fast, and I do pack a flash every now and then. (obviously I had missed the mark on that one) He then explained it to me.

Wikipedia has this definition:

Flashpacking is a neologism used to refer to an affluent backpacker. Whereas backpacking is traditionally associated with budget travel and destinations that are relatively cheap, flashpacking has an association of more disposable income while traveling and has been defined simply as backpacking with a bigger budget.

A quick Bing search through the web brought me to this website which describes a Flashpacker: “When Backpackers Grow Up or Get Rich.”

Needless to say, my discussion with Ivan left me a little disturbed. Ganoon ba talaga ako?

Di naman Jansport backpack ko, pero di naman siya LV. My hiking shoes are not Prada. And my SUV is not a Hummer.

El Nido 2

I never considered myself a high-end traveller. I certainly have my limits over how much to spend on a trip and I am always one to at least consider bargains and evaluate the value of any option.

Among the Pinoy Travel Bloggers, is famed traveler and author Journeying James who is known for his exploits of travelling around the country for P500 (depending on the exchange rate, less than $10) or less per day.

Thinking about it, I certainly can not live on P500/day.

Don’t get me wrong. I admire James and his ability to go to so many places under a tight budget. But it just isn’t me.

I guess at the end of the day, it really is all about how one wants to experience travelling. While I admire those who can do with less. I have my own philosophies when I travel.



There is an expression which goes “it’s not about the destination, it’s the journey.” I can certainly agree with that, which is why I want to enjoy the journey. And part of enjoying is being comfortable and having some conveniences.

I certainly have travelled by bus. Many travellers love travelling by bus. But in the Philippines, I would rather drive and bring my own car. Not to be bourgeois about it. But travelling by public transportation means you are dependent on someone else and their time table… and the one thing I do not want to do while travelling is to wait in bus stops or waiting for a jeep to pass.

I also want the freedom to stop where I want, go where I want, something you can not do or will have difficulty with if you opt for public transportation… again, you are dependent on their routes and their schedules.

Of course for that convenience… I acknowledge that the gas bill could be rather large. But again, I would rather pay for that convenience.

Baler20100227 130

This is not to say that I do not go by public transportation at all. I do. But again, convenience is a factor. So unlike busses and jeeps, where again you are constrained by other people’s time and routes. Taking taxis and tricycles do not have that same restriction.

Travelling by other means is also a factor of convenience… not cost. Travel by boat or plane… its about convenience… and of course comfort.


Contrary to what people assume of me. Food is where I am not particularly finicky. I can eat (almost) anything. I love street food. But its has nothing to do with price. I will eat street food because I want to. Not because I am being cheap.

In fact, I detest eating in fancy places. I would rather eat in hole-in-the-walls, than in hotels or places like Glorietta 5 or Serendra… simply because of value for money. Food being a consumable is a waste to spend too much for.

I have friends who have strange dietary requirements… some won’t eat seafood, some require the food be fried and won’t eat steamed anything, some won’t eat squirmy things. One fellow travel buddy… won’t even drink water.

Then again, I am perfectly willing to splurge on a good steak or lobster without checking with my wallet.

I guess when it comes to food, I am quite flexible. But again, for me I will eat what I want, when I want, depending on what is available. I refuse to be constrained to a budget. be it P50 a meal or P500… ok lang.

I do get extremely annoyed when I am with fellow Filipinos in a foreign land, and before we decide on what restaurant to eat at, they have to calculate and convert everything to pesos before deciding.



Another misnomer about me is that I am very picky about accommodations. People assume that I require a bed, pillows, and air-conditioning. I would not mind sleeping in a tent… for as long as the ground is not too rocky and there is decent ventilation. I also don’t mind if there is no aircon. I am happy with a fan, and depending on the season, an open window is enough for me.

I’ve even stayed in dorm-like accommodations with common sleeping areas and washrooms.

I don’t even demand a clean bathroom (which I hear is important to some people, men and women alike)

There is only one thing I require though. Strong water flow. The worst thing for me is to have a faucet with trickling water which takes forever to fill up a pail or tabo.

Bohol20090620-JASPER 064

Taking advantage of the venue

One of my biggest pet peeves when I travel with a group is when there is an opportunity to experience something, and someone will complain that the activity is too expensive, or they don’t want to pay for admission. You are on vacation for god’s sake… enjoy and relish the moment.

I once went with a friend to Universal Studios in Los Angeles and while I had been there before, I really wanted to go in again. He looked at the over $100 admission and tried to convince me to go somewhere else. I was so annoyed I paid for his ticket too. I was there already, I was not going to let his cheapness ruin my experience. Again, it is about enjoying the moment. I will not scrimp on the experience.

In the past year I went sky diving, hang gliding, bungee jumping (among other things)… each of these costing at least US $150 per activity. Yes, it may be costly… but these are literally once-in-a-lifetime adventures.

Many years ago. I was price-conscious too. I guess you can be that way for food and stuff like clothing. But with adventures like this… I have many regrets with me telling myself “Sayang… sana ginawa ko nung nandoon na ako.” And it is with that regret that today, I will take out cash or credit card and tell myself that it is worth it.

Macchu Pichu


I have taken to impulsive and spontaneous adventures with little planning which makes things more exciting… I planned a trip to Peru and Macchu Pichu in 2 weeks knowing full well that I probably could have saved a bundle had a I planned it out 6 months earlier. But the adventure was all worth it.

I will admit that I am fortunate to be financially capable to pursuing my trips and doing what I want. But as they say… “life is short”. And since I am not getting any younger, I see no point worrying about finances while you are on vacation. If you can’t afford it, don’t even bother going. But if you are there already… make the most out of it.

Don’t live that life of “should haves” and “would haves.” To quote Nike… just do it.