February 20, 2009

RP Tourism Laurels for 2008

Several tourist destinations in the Philippines gave Filipinos a new source of pride as they received recognition from international organizations and institutions last 2008e. Here are the top stories of tourism achievements in 2008.

RP Cities featured in Korean Travel Magazine
South Korea’s top travel magazine Ab-road began its 2008 line-up with the Philippines as its cover story and the San Agustin Church as cover photo. The article, “Insider’s Guide to Philippines”, featured three Metro cities (Manila, Pasay, and Makati) plus other interesting sites all over the country, which included the Chocolate Hills of Bohol and El Nido in Palawan. The article also gave a list of must-try Filipino dishes, interesting shopping centers such as Power Plant Mall, maps and port schedules.

Ab-road Magazine, managed by RoadABC Media is a license of Ab-road, a Japan-based magazine company that forged partnership with the Philippine Department of Tourism (DOT) to encourage Japanese couples to get married in the country. (read related article here)

Boracay, Palawan included in Best Holiday Destinations
Two popular destinations here in the Philippines, Boracay and Palawan, were included in the Top 10 Holiday Destinations by Smart Travel Asia. The poll, released September 2008, ranked Boracay and Palawan as the seventh and eight best holiday destination in Asia. Bali, Indonesia garnered the top spot with 14 percent of the total votes.

According to Smart Travel Asia, the poll results reflect the online voters' "substantial hands-on travel experience, word-of-mouth at dinnertime chats, as well as an idea of the brand drawn from advertising and editorial exposure in the media, which is mostly online." Smart Travel Asia is the region’s only dedicated online travel magazine with over one million readers worldwide.

Two Mindanao Landmarks recognized as possible UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Mount Apo Natural Park and Mount Hamiguitan Wildlife Sanctuary were selected to be included in United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Sites last October 9, 2008. Mt. Apo, a volcanic mountain rising to 3,143.6 meters above sea level, hosts five (5) distinct forest formations. It is considered to be one of the richest botanical mountains in the region hosting hundreds of rare, endemic and threatened species of flora. These include the Vanda sanderiana (Waling-Waling) which is recognized as the “Queen of Philippine Orchids” and recommended by plant enthusiasts as the Philippine National Flower.

Mount Hamiguitan, on the other hand, is the only protected forest noted for its unique bonsai field or ‘pygmy’ forest of 100-year old trees in an ultramafic soil. One of the endangered bird species located here is the Philippine eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi). It has been identified by Conservation International as one of the Philippines’ ‘hotspots’ for conservation and protection.

Cebu Hailed as one of Top Islands in Asia.
Conde Nast Traveler, an international New York-published magazine, hailed Cebu as the seventh Top Island last November 2008 for the Condé Nast Traveler Readers' Choice Awards. (read related article here). The Visayan island bested Langkawi of Malaysia, Borneo and Lombok of Indonesia.

According to Condé Nast Traveler Editor in Chief Klara Glowczewska, the Readers’ Choice Award “celebrate[s] the destinations, lodgings, and modes of transportation that manage to exceed our expectations”.

RP Dive Sites declared as World’s Best
Sport Diver, the official magazine of the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) Diving Society, named Apo Island Marine Sanctuary in Dumaguete City and Malapascua in Cebu as two of the must-see dive sites throughout the world. The two sites were part of the magazine issue, “The Ultimate Dive Destinations Presents: 100 Dives To Do Before You Die”. The United Kingdom-based magazine describes the special edition magazine as “a collection of truly awe-inspiring wrecks, reefs, and marine life encounters.”

According to DOT Secretary Joseph Ace Durano, Malapascua was chosen for its consistent sightings of thresher shark while Apo Island was chosen for its picturesque corals and marine life presence.

Philippine Destinations Nominated for New 7 Wonders of Nature
Mayon Volcano in Albay, Taal Volcano in Batangas, Chocolate Hills in Bohol, Tubbataha Reef in Palawan, Mount Pinatubo in Pampanga, and Hundred Islands National Park in Pangasinan were nominated to become one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature.

For several months, several organizations, including the DOT, campaigned for these natural wonders to become part of the New 7 Wonders of Nature. The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River was constantly in top position while the rest of the nominees were not far behind. The first phase of voting, done via internet, was concluded last December 31, 2008.

After months of constant campaign, Puerto Princesa Subterranean River is the country’s official entry for the New7Wonders of Nature. The NewOpenWorld Corporation, (NOWC), the company managing the New7Wonders campaign, released the list of nominees that qualified for the second phase of voting last January 7, 2009.

According to the New 7 Wonders website, out of the original 441 entries, 261 qualified for the second phase of voting. Then, the New7Wonders of Nature Panel of Experts, under the leadership of Prof. Federico Mayor, former Director-General of UNESCO, will review the top 77 nominees and choose the 21 finalists, to be announced on July 21, 2009. Voting will continue throughout 2010 and into 2011. During this time, the New7Wonders World Tour will visit each of the Finalists to allow them to present themselves to the voters across the globe. The New 7 Wonders of Nature will be announced in 2011.

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Kasal.com thanks the following sources for this article:

Wikipilipinas. Tourism triumphs of 2008
Re-posted at Manila Bulletin (Travel Section)

AB-ROAD Magazine January 2008 Issue summary (text in Korean)

Good News Pilipinas. Top Korean travel mag features RP cities (Posted March 17, 2008)

Dizon, David, abs-cbnNEWS.com. Boracay, Palawan among Asia's top vacation spots: poll (Posted September 17, 2008)

Smart TraveL Asia Best Travel Brands 2008.

UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Tentative List for World Heritage Sites in Philippines (Posted October 9, 2008)

Costas, Boboi. Cebu Daily News. Condé Nast Magazine's Survey. (Posted November 2, 2008) Retrieved November 16, 2008 from
Re posted at INQUIRER.net at

Jaymalin, Mayen, Philstar.com. 2 more RP sites among 100 top dive spots (Posted November 18, 2008)

Domingo, Ronnel, Philippine Daily Inquirer. 2 RP sites make it to ‘must dive’ list (Posted November 18, 2008)

Lontayao , Rommel C. The Manila Times. Two RP diving sites among world’s best (Posted November 18, 2008)

ABS-CBN News. RP sites on world's top 100 diving destinations (Posted November 19, 2008)

Good News Pilipinas. Malapascua & Apo Island among world’s top dive spots (Posted November 21, 2008)

ABS-CBN News with reports from Abner Mercado, and Umagang Kay Ganda. RP's strong contender in New7Wonders tops list of nominees. (Posted December 31, 2008)

Business Mirror. Subterranean River represents RP to the world (Posted January 7, 2009)
Re-posted at ABS-CBN News at

Department of Tourism. Puerto Princesa Underground River Makes History - Official Philippine Nominee to the New 7 Wonders of Nature. (Posted January 8, 2009)

New7Wonders. Puerto Princesa Subterranean River Live Ranking

February 18, 2009

Kwentong Puso Blog Writing Contest Winners

Kasal.com Blog Writing ContestCongratulations to the winners of Kasal.com’s Kwentong Puso Blog Writing Contest!

Grand Prize winner: Kwentong Puso - Cha and Me
Bride’s name: Charisse Creencia
Groom's name: Mhelford Hipolito
Date of wedding: March 28, 2009
Post URL: http://buddymigs.blog.friendster.com/?p=7

“…Our usual hangout is Mcdonalds Quezon Avenue where I normally drop her off for her ride home. And when I saw that Mcdo commercial, I imagined that it was us... Though not the same circumstances - they didn’t end up together, we did.”
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Consolation Prize: A One of Kind Valentine's Date
Bride’s name: Leah Mamuyac
Groom's name: Richard Mamuyac
Date of wedding: Dec. 2, 2005
Post URL: http://astig316.blogspot.com/2009/02/one-of-kind-valentines-date.html

“…Tonight, pizza for two and the whole me only for you! Happy Valentines… I love you!” That’s what my note said. After reading it, Leah texted me to say that she already received the flowers and our date is set… Today, we are happily married and will have our first son this coming March. For our Valentine’s date this year, as a tradition, a pan of pizza for two and the whole me only for her! “
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Consolation Prize: Valentines for Us
Bride’s name: Iris Pulga
Groom's Name: Casiano Marcelle Pulga
Date of wedding: MARCH 8, 2010
Post URL: http://entrepremom.blogspot.com/2009/02/one-would-know-that-its-almost.html

“…one single dinner on Valentine’s Day is so costly - so I really won't appreciate it. Chocolates, flowers, plushies don't appeal to me as well. Gifts? I love it but we're too poor for that. He doesn't have to treat me out to dinner, buy me expensive flowers or give me extravagant gifts to remind me of how much he loves me - because he shows that to me each day.”
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Winners will be contacted via email. Consolation prize winners will each receive Php. 1,000.00 worth of beauty products. Grand prize winner will receive an overnight stay for two in Tagaytay Country Hotel.

February 13, 2009

DOT Encourages Pinoys to Start Planning for Holiday Getaways

Couples who want to have a second honeymoon or simply spend some time together will have more time to prepare it this year. After the early release of the list of holidays for 2009, the Department of Tourism (DOT) has encouraged Filipinos to begin planning their out-of-town vacations.

"We urge our countrymen to explore the 7,107 islands they haven’t seen or would like to revisit. We have the beaches, mountains, countryside, heritage sites, caves, rivers; food trips, urban verve – almost everything a traveler would want to experience, the Philippines has it. We advise people to book ahead to get the best and affordable tour packages and promotional fares,” DOT Secretary Ace Durano said in a DOT news release.

Sec. Durano adds that domestic tourism will not only strengthen family ties but will help alleviate the economic crisis being experienced by the country as well, since an increased in spending will help local businesses and in turn, will create jobs. Mr. Durano has advised hotels, spas, tour operators, and other allied industries to prepare during the long weekend and holidays to be able to accommodate the expected guests. Also, the Secretary encourages these establishments to offer group tour packages since most vacationers travel with their families and friends.

Meanwhile, Mr. Eduardo Jarque, Jr., DOT Undersecretary for Tourism Planning and Promotions, stated that while Boracay, Palawan, Davao, Cebu, Bohol, Vigan, Baguio, and Manila are the top destinations in the country, DOT is advocating discovery of other unexplored provinces. Other suggested sites include Siquijor, Camiguin, Quezon, Zamboanga del Sur and del Norte, Camarines Sur, Batangas, Mindoro, Dumaguete, Leyte and Negros for beach lovers and water sports enthusiasts; loilo, Bacolod, and Laguna for history-inclined tourists; and Sagada, Cavite, Bataan, Bulacan, Mountain Province, Romblon, Batanes, and Marinduque for nature lovers and adventure seekers.

Malacañang has released last December 24, 2008, through Proclamation No. 1699 the list of approved holidays for this year.
  • April 4-6, Saturday – Monday (Araw ng Kagitingan or Day of Valor)
  • April 9-12, Thursday – Sunday (Holy Week)
  • May 1-3, Friday – Sunday (Labor Day)
  • June 12-14, Friday – Sunday (Independence Day)
  • August 21-23, Friday – Sunday (Ninoy Aquino Day)
  • August 29-31, Saturday – Monday (National Heroes' Day)
  • October 31-November 2, Saturday – Monday (All Saints’ Day)
  • November 28-30, Saturday – Monday (Bonifacio Day)
  • December 24-27, Thursday – Sunday (Christmas Eve)
  • December 30, 2009-Jan 3, 2010, Wednesday to Sunday (New Year’s Eve/Rizal Day)
Happy Holidays!

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Kasal.com thanks the following sources for this article:

Department of Tourism. 'Plan early for long holidays,' DOT. (Posted January 20, 2009) Retrieved January 26, 2009 from

Manila Bulletin, Plan early for long holidays. (Posted January 21, 2009) Retrieved January 26, 2009 from
Re-posted at Manila Bulletin Travel Mag
Re-posted at Positive News Media

Malaya, Plan early for this year’s long holidays. (Posted January 28, 2009) Retrieved January 28, 2009 from

February 3, 2009

Kwentong Puso Blog Writing Contest

Kwentong Puso Blog Writing Contest logoThis month of love, share your Valentine’s Day thoughts, insights, stories, or plans using your blog and win fabulous prizes in Kasal.com’s ‘Kwentong Puso Blog Writing Contest’

  • Contest is open to couples who are married or will get married this 2009.
  • Contestant must be of Filipino nationality or will be married to a Filipino/Filipina.
  • Entry may be written in English, Filipino, or Tag-lish
  • Entries may be posted in personal blog sites (i.e. Friendster, Multiply, Facebook, Blogger, Wordpress) or wedding websites (Wedding Announcer, MomentVille)
  • Contestant is allowed to submit multiple entries.

  • Contestants must have a MyKasal account. To create one, click here.
  • To make an official entry, email kasal.com@gmail.com with the subject “Kwentong Puso Blog Writing Contest Entry”. Include the following:
    • bride and groom's names
    • date of wedding
    • church and reception venues
    • e-mail address
    • Post URL
  • Include the Kasal.com Wedding Trivia in your blog's main page by copying the codes below.
  • <div id="kasalholder" border="0" width="140px" height="240px"> <script type="text/javascript"> <!-- kasal_ad_client = "kasal.com@gmail.com"; kasal_ad_width = "120"; kasal_ad_height = "120"; //--> </script> <script src="http://kasal.ph/kasalv3/javascript/showads.js" type="text/javascript"></script></div>
    Friendster blogs may not be able to accept javascript codes. In this regard, use the code below instead to display the Kasal.com button size banner on your blog page: <div align="center"><a href="http://www.kasal.com" target="_blank"><img src="http://www.kasal.com/images/banners/bannerkasalbutton.jpg" alt="Kasal.com - The Essential Filipino Wedding Guide" border="0"></a></div>
    Kasal.com - The Essential Filipino Wedding Guide
  • Blog entries should have the following tags:
    • Kasal.com
    • Kwentong Puso
    • Valentine’s Day promo
    • Blog writing contest
Official date of entry will be the date when email was sent.

Deadline of entries is on February 14, 2009, 12:00 MN (GMT+08:00) Manila

Announcement of winners is on February 18, 2009.
Entries will be featured in Kasal.com. Two consolation prize winners will each receive Php. 1,000.00 worth of beauty products. Grand prize winner will receive an overnight stay for two in Tagaytay Country Hotel.

So get those fingers moving and start blogging about your Valentine’s Day thoughts, insights, stories, or plans and join Kasal.com’s Kwentong Puso Blog Writing Constest!