Sunday, June 25, 2017

Shell’s Annual Bike Fair

If you’re a biker and close to the next annual Shell Bike Fair series, you might want to get a chance on free motorbikes being raffled.

With its cool climate known as bikers’ favorite, Baguio was the starting point of the fair series. The bikers are treated with performances by Sky Dive, Uptown Rascals, Sky Light, Imago, Go Girls, and the “pambansang banda” Parokya ni Edgar. It was also attended by Shell’s celebrity endorser Diana Meneses.


With the growing number of motorcycle riders in the Philippines, Metro Manila has 860,517 motorbike owners while up north, there are 576,573, the fair was well attended. The succeeding series are expected to fare the same.

I made a short stop at the Fair at the CAP Building in Camp John Hay hoping to win in the raffle for another motorbike, but with more than a thousand bikers assembled, it’s exactly more than a thousand to one chance. But I was lucky to bring home some souvenirs, thanks to the media privileges.

The next fair schedules are Bicol, Cebu, Davao and Metro Manila, which will run from July to September. For more updates, visit their website

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Benguet Cultural Village showcasing living traditions

Benguet is home to three major ethnic groups, the Kankanaey, Ibaloy and Kalanguya. The three groups have diverse cultural practices. To showcase these cultures, the province has created a cultural village to feature the 11 municipalities.

To those who are familiar with Adivay Festival, this is the trade fair area where the different municipalities showcase their town’s products. This area will now be a permanent cultural village where not only products are sold but ethnic heirlooms will be showcased.

The village was launched on February 18, 2017 and was included in the Panagbenga Flower Festival calendar of events as one of the major activities and destinations.

The village will be showcasing the different municipalities every weekend for 13 weeks that will culminate on May 19-21 this year.

Department of Tourism Marie Venus Q. Tan was the guest of honor during the launching of the Village. It was the director who steered the province to make the village permanent as part of the Department’s Rev-Bloom campaign.

She said the village is a showcase of living traditions. She urged the different municipalities to align budget for their assigned village huts and make the village a truly culture center. Several of the huts have already been furnished with cultural heirlooms.

The showcase of the 13 municipalities will start during the Panagbenga weekend with La Trinidad scheduled to run the village on February 24-26. On the 27th, there will be cultural shows and art exhibits.

The lead municipalities in the succeeding weeks are as follows: March 3-5, Tublay; March 10-12, Sablan; March 17-19, Kapangan; March 24-26, Itogon; March 31 – April 2, Bokod; April 7-9, Buguias; April 14-16, Kabayan; April 21-23, Mankayan; April 28-30, Tuba; May 5-7, Bakun; May 12-14, Kibungan; and May 19-21, Atok.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Baguio After dark

Looking for a new gimmick and experience Baguio after-dart on weekends this cold February? 

Keep yourself warm and dance the night away or just sit and enjoy the music at The Camp.

The Camp is the place-to-go-to after sunset and Elevate Productions has brought you several events this Panagbenga Month.

On February 17th, Friday, shake it away with DJ Garuda at the Ampersand.

Come up early on February 24, Friday, for a dance party with DJ Acer Ramos and DJ Marc Naval with McPao still at the Ampersand.

After watching the Street Parade, enjoy another dance party with DJ Dimass & DJ Marx Moterola with McPao. 

Or you can go upstairs and listen to Joyce Mallar and Co at the Hardin.

Another Friday, another night of dancing with DJ Migs Santillan on March 3 at the Ampersand.

On Saturday, lit the dance floor with Dj Knoxville and DJ Supmerman, still at the Ampersand.
Or you can choose the laugh exercise in a Comedy Cartel at the Hardin.

And of course, don’t forget the Elevate on March 4 at the Baguio Convention Center Grounds, the biggest dance party in Baguio with an expected record-breaking crowd. Be counted and be part of Baguio’s historic Dance Party. 

If you enjoyed the Bright Nights EDM Party last December 3, the Elevate Party this March 4 will blow you away. Tickets are available at The Camp.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Baguio Artists create street art gallery

Several Baguio artists created Pasa-Kalye street art exhibit and gallery that they wish to establish as a new art haven in the City. 
These artists led by veteran artist Roland Bay-an want to promote this area not only to showcase their work but to bring art closer to the masses and to establish it as a new travel destination in the City.
This activity jump-started when Bookends Bookshop owner reserved a part of her shop for an art gallery. Artists whose artworks were displayed in the gallery started sketching activities for the purpose of helping people in need. This sketch-for-a-cause soon gave birth to more ideas and activities.
Bookends proprietress Maricar Docyogen said, “Pasa-Kalye was conceptualized by artists, an entrepreneur and several media personalities with the Tagalog connotation or meaning in mind.”
“It is the “pasakalye” or introduction of a new concept to make an idle street busy with art, or an introduction to new artists who have potential in the industry. Divide the word into two giving a different meaning: the prefix ‘pasa’ that can also mean ‘into’  thus ‘pasa-kalye’ would mean ‘into the street,' she said.
Into the streets with arts and, like the pasakalye in music, this is a harmonious beginning among artists, journalists, and a business entrepreneur. Roland Bay-an said it is a good beginning. He believes this activity will continue to grow.
All current activities are being done for a cause. Art auctions, art exhibits, sketching, and workshops have designated beneficiaries. Several sick patients have already received assistance.
One Pasa-Kalye event benefited a limbless artist. In spite of the absence of forearms and legs, he can create artworks using both his elbows to hold the paintbrush. However, due to budget constraints as art materials are not the priority in the family, he only has limited artworks. Through the Pasa-Kalye event sponsored by Davies Paints, he now has supplies of paints, canvas, and paintbrushes. The Pasa-Kalye will include his artworks in exhibits.
Although many of the beginning artists are yet to find recognition for their work, they are willing to share their time and talents to help people in need. “This activity is most beneficial for the artists,” said Docyogen. “If we can help the artists, they can have the capability to help others.”
“We are creating this event to help the artist and help people in need at the same time," she said.The Pasa-Kalye is a regular weekend activity. “We invite tourists coming to Baguio to consider a sketch by Baguio artists as one of the best souvenirs to bring home,” said Docyogen.
Baguio city is a known haven for artists and many international artists have made this known Summer Capital as their home. Many of these artists have established Art institutions. Tam-awan Village, BenCab Museum, and Vocas are among the most successful.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

STOBOSA Hillside Homes Artwork Unveiled

It takes a village to create flowers.

Residential buildings in Sitio Stone Hill, Botiwtiw and Sadjap of Barangay Balili are transformed into a huge canvas to create a Favela-inspired mural masterpiece.

The place now calledSTOBOSA Hillside Homes Artwork was the largest community artwork in the country and the first in the Philippines. STOBOSA stands for the three sitios.
The project to paint 200 houses in an area of 18,000 square meters is a component of the Department of Tourism – Cordillera Administrative Region’s Rev-Bloom Urban Redevelopment Tourism project initiated by Director Marie Venus Tan.

It was made possible through a partnership with La Trinidad-LGU, Davies Paints, the Tam-awan Village Artists, and the Km.3, Balili Community. The mural was unveiled today, June 23, graced by Department of Tourism Secretary Ramon R. Jimenez, Jr.

The design concept was created by Tam-awan artists Jordan Mangusan, GedAlangui, Clinton Anniversario and Jenny Lorenzo. The concept was inspired by the Favela murals initiated by artists Jeroen Koolhaas and Dre Urhahnin Rio de Janiero, Brazil where they transformed urban residences into a huge canvas of abstract paintings.
Davies Paints donated a total of 2800 gallons of primer and colored paints while La Trinidad LGU provided the scaffolding, brushes, rollers, paint thinners and other materials.

Johnlee Garcia, president of Davies paint, said that the company is grateful to be chosen as the partner in implementing the project.

“Davies has always been passionate about finding ways to help improve communities in whatever way we can and this project is a great opportunity to create a big impact in the area,” he said. “We’re proud to be a major part of this project and we plan to continue these efforts in the future.”
Ms. Gloria Agasen who presides for the women’s group the place was in charge with the actual implementation of the painting project whileCara Cosalan, wife of the incumbent Congressman of Benguet, provided the meals for volunteers.
Work for the project was started on January 18 with volunteers coming from different organizations and institutions. During the 80-day implementation, there are about 520 persons who worked coming from the residents, Boy Scout of the Phils. - Benguet Chapter, Benguet State University, King’s College, Baguio-Benguet photographers, Hikers,and Artists Club, Botiwtiw Women's Brigade and Organization and PNP-CAR Police Trainees.

DOT-CAR Director Tan said the project has encountered challenges like the skepticism of people.With the help of Tamawan Village artists in designing the murals, the projects was initiated. She said she gave full reign to the artist to do what they want with it.
Ms. Gloria Agasen also encountered challenges during the project’s implementation. She said the biggest challenge was a resident who changed his mind in the middle of the project even after acquiring several gallons of paint primers. His big house is the only one with a contradicting painting.

After 80 days, the actual number of houses painted is 180 with 1,000 gallons of primer paints used and 500 gallons of colored paints. There are still 1,300 unused paints for the continuation of the project.
Director Tan said work will continue after the unveiling. “More than the mural, more than the beautification, you will see the community has bonded together to spruce up their areas,” she said.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Mt. Pulag - Grassland of the gods

Mt. Pulag is the third highest mountain in the Philippines with an elevation of 2,926.047 meters above sea level. It is the highest mountain in Luzon and the landscape of the surrounding provinces can be seen from the summit during the day. Lights in distant communities are visible at night. 

Its unique beauty with many characteristics that change as you reach higher elevation - from pine forest to mossy jungle, and finally the vast grasslands - has the locals calling it the "playground of the gods".

There are several routes to get there, from easy to hard trails. The easy route is via Ambangeg with class 1-2 trail and difficulty or 3/9, takes only 3 to 4 hours walk from the ranger station in Babadac to the camp site (4.9 kilometers). Then another hour hike along the grasslands to the summit (2.9 kilometers). The best time to be at the summit is at dawn when the valleys and smaller mountains around Pulag are covered with a sea of clouds, giving you the impression that you're on top of the world. This is the reason why Pulag is being promoted as "adventure above the clouds" by many travel outfits.

Ambangeg is the trail to take if you want to spend more time at the summit with lesser hours of hiking. The most difficult route is Akiki, with class 3 trail and difficulty of 7/9. Tawangan trail comes in second hardest, with class 3 trail and difficulty of 6/9.

Mount Pulag is not the highest but definitely one of the most beautiful travel destinations in the Philippines. A “must visit” on the list of many adventurers, and they were rarely disappointed.

What month is the best time to go there? Every month has its own traits to present to adventurers. As long as there is no typhoon, Pulag is always a great destination. However, during the rainy season, one must be more prepared with rain gears at it usually rains in the afternoon. Good sunrises sometimes are more elusive but some of the best can be seen during these seasons.

This writer has been going up with adventurers to Pulag 13 times (as of this writing) but never tire out in documenting the constantly changing charms of this grassland of the gods. Nothing is constant and what you will witness on your visit will never happen again. 

Book your next adventure with us at:

Short Detours & Portrait Asia Production

Sunday, February 28, 2016

4,000 IPs join 7th Ibaloi Day

A total of 4000 Ibaloy representatives from the 13 municipalities of Benguet and Onjon ni Ibadoy Hong Kong attended the festivities.

The theme of the 7th Ibaloy Day “Diteng tan Ulnos” or Peace and Order, was aimed to unite all the Ibaloy clans. The solibaos, kalsas or gongs and the tiktik were brought out and played to hark all Ibalois to gather, pray and dance in solidarity. February 23 was a historic day not only for the Ibaloys but for Indigenous Peoples around the World.

Before the Americans and Spaniards came, the city was already discovered and settled in by the Ibalois. Baguio was originally ranchlands owned by the a great number of Ibaloi clans including the Cariños, Carantes, Molintas, Suellos, Tagleys, Pirasos, Pucays and their extended family systems.

Many of these native Ibaloi clans were stripped of their ancestral lands through American colonial legislation, such as the Philippine Bill of 1902, the Land Registration Act of 1903, Baguio Town Site Reservation in 1907, and the Baguio City Charter itself in 1909.

Fortunately, Mateo Cariño decided to bring his claim to court, concentrating on the pasturelands, then called Ypit and Lubas, which were earlier converted by the US colonial government into the facility now known as Camp John Hay.

In his explanation how the Ibaloy Day came to be, Councilor Poppo Cosalan said that Cariño lost the case in the Philippine court. He appealed to the US Supreme court.

“On February 23, 1909, the US Supreme Court affirmed that Mateo Cariño was indeed the owner of Ypit and Lubas, by virtue of the legal concept of "Native Title," said Cosalan. 

Mateo Cariño, however, did not live to claim his victory, having died on June 6, 1908, a year before the final decision of the US Supreme Court. However, he left behind the legacy of the decision on Native Title which has now become part of the laws of the land and even used as legal document in international laws.

Cosalan said “it was during the Baguio Centennial Conference held last March 2009 at the University of the Philippines in Baguio that a resolution was passed that a commemoration of sorts must be done for the Ibalois on the 100th year of the city.” 

“With this prodding, the Baguio City Council decided to declare February 23 as the Ibaloi Day’, said Cosalan.
Members of the Ibaloi clans welcomed the declaration and for the 7th time since the resolution was approved in 2009, the Ibalois heed the call “Calajo” which actually means “Come over” and gathered for one festive day for a solidarity celebration. 

They brought out their tapey (rice wine), dukto (sweet potato) and caught and butchered black pigs and danced the tayaw.

NOTE: To witness the next indigenous cultural activity in the City or in the Cordillera, contact this writer.

Monday, February 15, 2016

The Sta. Fe Ridge - A walk in the clouds

Benguet is fast becoming the hiking capital of the Philippines and another trekking destination is officially added to its attractions.

Just a 35-minute drive and a 2-hour hike from the City of Baguio await this awe-inspiring grassland ready for great adventures. Now being promoted as Mt. Ulap, the Sta. Fe Ridge in Ampucao, Itogon has been a favorite hiking destination to those who know the place. The municipality of Itogon and Barangay Ampucao officially launched Mt. Ulap adventure last Saturday, October 31.

Reaching Mt. Ulap will take you about 2 to 3 hours trek entering at the Tutumbek woodlands and pass through the vast grasslands of the entire Ridge.

Like the more popular Mt. Pulag, in Kabayan, the Sta. Fe Ridge features various characteristics; it has 3 peaks that exhibit diverse landscapes and distinctive rock formations that are great photography subjects. The whole mountain showcases a post-card-perfect scenery.

All of the three peaks offer 360-degree vantage points that show the surrounding landscapes of Pangasinan, Philex Mines, San Roque Dam, Mount Santo Tomas, Baguio City and as far as Mt. Pulag. The nearest is the Ambanao-Paoay twin peaks. Another 20 to 30-minute hike, you will reach Gungal featuring several rock formations that are a favorite outdoor studio of hikers. Another 30 minutes, you get to the highest peak, Mt. Ulap.

Several dead trees still standing in the fields added beauty and contrast to the green sceneries. With the freely growing grasses on the vast expanse of the ridge, it is serving as a pastureland for the locals so cows are commonly seen around the grasslands, especially in Paoay where they have a watering hole.

The name Mt. Ulap was derived from the original foundation stone found on the highest peak. The foundation stone was dated February 1, 1939 and inscribed with the word Ulap and a name Lagman. According to Barangay Secretary Maia Nalibsan, “it is believed that Lagman was an engineer assigned to survey the area.”

No other explanation why Ulap was inscribed in the foundation stone but it is a fitting name according to Nalibsan since the ridge is frequently covered with clouds. Ulap is the Filipino word for cloud. It could be therefore translated into Mt. Cloud. (There's another Mt. Cloud in Baguio, which is another perfect travel destination for book lovers.) 

It maybe is a good day-hike destination but this is not an easy trail particularly the route coming up from Sta. Fe. It is comparable to Akiki trail in Mt. Pulag that is not easy to traverse going down. Several hikers had to be rescued during the launching trek due to the extreme condition of the slippery trail. It is slippery due to loose gravels and pine needles. Many of the hikers recommend this to be the starting point and exit through Ampucao-Tutumbek trail. It maybe is a steep climb but a short one. It will take an average hiker an hour to get to Mt. Ulap. 

Recently implemented by the Barangay is a registration fee of P100.00 per person. Students aged 13 to 17 will only pay P20.00 and 12 years old and below are free of charge. Hikers are required to register at the Ampucao Barangay Hall for instructions and request for a guide. Guide’s fee is P400.00 for a maximum of ten persons. 

Barangay Ampucao has established its own search and rescue team to cater to trekkers in emergencies cases.

For booking, contact:

Short Detours and Portrait Asia Production

Monday, November 16, 2015

Panagbenga 2016

Panagbenga 2016 Calendar of events.

For accommodation in your Panagbenga adventure, contact us at:

Short Detours & Portrait Asia Production


Saturday, June 20, 2015

My Banaue Escapade

Banaue View from the first viewpoint.
Banaue is famous for its centuries-old terraces. Going to the place is in itself rewarding. That is if you are traveling during the day.

There are three ways to get there. Through the Nueva Ecija Road if you’re coming from Manila; through the Ambuklao Road, the shortest route from Baguio; and finally the Halsema Road passing through Bontoc, Mt. Province. For me, the last route is the best where you can see the exhilarating views of the region’s mountain ranges that earned its name Cordillera.

But there are other sites that are as interesting as the terraces, the people as well as the culture. These are noteworthy photography subjects that tell us about the way of life in this community.

Going around Banaue on foot is the best way to get a closer look at its culture and people. It’s the best thing to do when you are there alone.

Here are some of my shots I took walking around Banaue town and going to Barangay Viewpoint on foot.

Modern signs are common along the road going up Barangay View Point.

As I start my ascent to Barangay View Point, a passed by dog posing in front of an "alang" (rice granary). 

Little kids greets you along the way. It keeps you smiling all the way to the top.

Toddlers who can't talk greet you with curiosity.

More greetings.

More smiles.

And more greetings.

Fences are used to hang 2nd hand clothing for sale. 

Bulol at the first view deck.

Water supply is along the road

As washing is done along the road, sun drying of clothes is common in every house.

The second view point.

More kids along the way.

As smiling kids are common, momma chewing session is also common.

Chango viewpoint stalls.

It was unfortunate that a house was burned the morning I was there. It was owned by the Dumapis family.
A little assistance for them when you pass by would go a long way.

Bar and bar stools are being prepared for an exhibit in Manila. 

The 1000-peso view. This was the site of the wake-skating done by Brian Grubb of the United States and Dominik Preisner of Germany.