Michael Brian Tina

Experiencing life while taking down notes

Category: Travel (page 1 of 2)

7 Days in Tokyo, Japan

It was in December of 2018 that I was able to go to one of my dream places in Asia, the Land of the Rising Sun, Japan. It also marked the first time I was able to travel with my girlfriend and her family and we spent one whole week in the capital of Tokyo.

DAY 1 – Tokyo Skytree

It was also my first time to actually depart from the new Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA). I’ve got to say, it’s a really beautiful work of art from both the outside and inside.

Mactan Cebu International Airport
Continue reading

Mantayupan Falls & Basdaku Beach

Hey, everyone!

So last weekend, a couple of friends & I decided to go on a road trip! We initially planned for a weekend adventure and I had a really grand plan that would have us going to all the different waterfalls in the south, but we decided to shorten it and make it a one day trip. We went to Mantayupan Falls in Barili and followed it up with a short trip to the beach in Moalboal before heading home.

Mantayupan Falls is one of the main tourist attractions of Barili and is around a two hour trip from Cebu City. You can either bring your own vehicle or ride a bus to Barili.

If you’re bringing a private car, you can opt to take the SRP road to Talisay all the way up to Carcar City. You can stop by to try their famous lechon and chicharon. Once you get to the rotunda in Carcar, you’ll want to go right as that leads to Barili.  It’s about a 30 to 45 minute drive from Carcar and the roads are smooth and paved. Once you arrive at the town of Barili, take note of a 7-11 convenience store on the right side and a public school on the left side. Just go a few meters straight. There will be a  sign on the left side that says Mantayupan Falls that will lead you to make a left turn. Continue to go straight, and you should pass by a market place. There’s another sign on the right side that will lead you to make right turn. A few more kilometers straight and you will arrive at the entrance soon enough.

If you’re riding public transport, you can take a Bus (Ceres Liner is recommended) from the South Bus Terminal in Cebu City. Take the Bato via Barili route. I believe their buses depart every hour. They should stop over at Shamrock and from there you can take a tricycle or habal-habal that will bring you to Mantayupan Falls.

IMG_1023

My friend brought his Fortuner, so we all just opted to chip in for the gas expense. This is the parking lot. Parking fee is about PHP 10.00 to PHP 20.00 depending on the type of vehicle. I don’t remember us paying the parking fee though. There’s space for about 10 cars and a number of motorcycles.

IMG_1022

IMG_1020

The entrance fee itself is PHP 20.00 per person. There’s a restaurant, sari-sari store, comfort room and changing room all near the entrance. What first greeted us when we got there were the sounds of karaoke music, which I didn’t like, but it was a good thing that this was a ways off from the actual falls. Still, you can tell that this place has been developed, which is both good and bad.

IMG_1018

After you walk straight from the entrance, you will see some steps leading down and up. Mantayupan Falls has two levels, and what’s amazing is that the local government has developed Mantayupan into a hydro-electric source to power up the town while still maintaining the natural look and feel. Of course, there will be some man made steps and bridges, but it’s more on for convenience and access to the falls.

IMG_1016

If you go to the steps leading up, it will take you to the constructed bridge and access point to the first level of the falls. It’s a short bridge, but you are treated with a view to the second level of the falls as well as some nice rock formations.

IMG_1015

This is the second level of the falls. There’s not much water flowing here, probably because it’s summer time. If you went down from the steps in the picture earlier, this is where you would end up. I didn’t find anyone swimming in the second level.

IMG_1011

Continuing all the way up the bridge, after a few meters, you should start to hear the rush and roar of the falls.

IMG_1009

This is the first level of Mantayupan Falls. It’s about 100 meters and is the tallest waterfall in Cebu! The sight is gorgeous and you can really feel the power of this magnificent waterfall. We got there around 11:30 AM, and what spoiled the view was because there were so many people around. You can’t have it all, right?

IMG_1007

There are lots of tables and chairs situated near the falls, and you can rent a table and four chairs for PHP 150.00. There’s also a bigger table coupled with eight chairs for PHP 250.00. Apparently a friend told me that there’s also a fee for corkage and if you want to grill your food but I don’t know the exact rates they paid. You can also rent a makeshift raft and a life jacket if you want closer access to the falls.

IMG_1003

We ate our lunch, chilled, played some cards and took some pictures. The water was cold and inviting, but we decided to just go for a swim somewhere else. I just ended up staring at this magnificent water form for a while and was just truly amazed. If you’re going on a road trip to the south, this is definitely worth going to since it’s easily accessible and convenient. The only downside is that there might be lots of people who might be thinking the same thing. Still worth it though.

IMG_1035

After we were done in Mantayupan Falls, we drove out even further south and ended up in Moalboal! There’s a PHP 5.00 government fee and a PHP 10.00 entrance fee for the Public Beach in Basdaku. You can also stay at one of the many private resorts and get a more exclusive experience, but the public beach was still pretty awesome for the price. Basdaku is one long shoreline, so whether you stay at a private resort or camp in a tent by the seashore, you’ll still end up in the same beach.

IMG_1039

The sand is white and powdery in feel. The water is clean and clear during the high tide. This is a really nice place to go snorkeling and diving if you’re into that, but even just swimming and enjoying the waves by the shore is a delightful experience in itself! We rented out a table somewhere for PHP 300.00 for day usage. Next time, I’ll just bring a tent so we can chill in the shade and possibly even make it a cheap alternative for an overnight stay.

IMG_1042

IMG_1051

There’s just something about the sand and the sea that makes you feel calm and forget all your problems. Although I generally prefer waterfalls, it doesn’t take away that the beach experience in Moalboal was definitely stunning. Really, a road trip with your friends will treat you to some awesome beaches, waterfalls and mountains. We have it really good here in Cebu. It doesn’t have to be expensive as long as you all just rough it out and plan ahead.

IMG_1055

And as the sun set, we enjoyed the last swim of the day, packed up and headed back to the bustling city. A great start to the summer season and a prelude to one of the many more adventures to come.

Until next time,

Cheers!

Malaysia 2015

Hey, everyone!

I had this great opportunity to go to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia last March 19-24, 2015 with some of my friends from the eSports Inquirer team. You see, my friend is the editor-in-chief for the eSports content section for Inquirer.net. I send out content to the website part-time, which consists mostly of product reviews and features of gaming peripherals. So when there was an announcement that there was going to be a big Dota 2 event to be held in Malaysia, I jumped on to it with no questions asked! The Major All Stars Dota 2 tournament is the biggest SEA tournament with a prize pool of over $100,000. Yes, eSports continues to grow and grow. I was just excited to hop on and join the team as part of the media crew and also get to tour around Kuala Lumpur as a bonus! So let me share with you some pictures and excerpts from my trip.

Day 1

I woke up super early. Couldn’t get much sleep since I was so excited for the trip. Finished packing my things and read on TripAdvisor about all the places we should visit. Pao came over and we had lunch at the house, then my dad brought us to the airport. We checked in and passed through immigration just fine. The waiting began! I bought myself a Coke. Was excited to add another stamp on my passport. I was also wearing my Dota 2 cap that was generously given by Pinoy Game Store & Dota 2 Philippines. After all, this was the point of the trip! Major All Stars, the biggest Dota 2 tournament in SEA.

P1060490

After about a 4 hour flight on Air Asia, we met up with the rest of our friends and had dinner at Quizinn by Raza. Had Daging, which is beef, and mixed it with rice topped with curry sauce and cucumber. Mixed it with this random smoothie. First meal and it was already a 7 on the spicy meter! Crazy how much Malaysia loves its spice. KLIA 2 was an awesome airport! Definitely world class.

IMG_20150319_194744_HDR

P1060527

We were going to take a taxi and split it four ways, but we decided to take the bus as it was the cheaper alternative. Our friend’s mom set us up nicely and treated us to stay at this fancy hotel called Corus. You know it’s fancy if it has palm trees!

P1060538

Juan told us of this place across the street called Nasi Kandar Pelita, where it had all the awesome Indian food! It was already around like 12 MN before we finished settling in our stuff and went out to explore.

P1060557

This guy was making Roti & Thosai. It’s like flour that is formed into pieces. It’s pretty cheap too. It was like RM 1.20 per piece of Roti, which is around PHP 15.00. Really filling especially with the dips!

P1060562

So here is the Roti and matched with three types of curry sauce! Stuff was delicious! And we topped it down with Iced Horlicks. It was hot at the bottom but cold with ice on the top. Really hit the spot!

IMG_20150320_011724

They had chicken and beef and some other meats available. They were generously dipped in their spicy sauce. What’s funny is that there’s no pork in Malaysia, due to majority of their people being Muslim. It’s amazing to note that even your food is influenced by your culture.

P1060567

It was already around 2 AM when we went to visit the Petronas Twin Towers. It was amazing since Corus Hotel KL was literally just 5 minutes away from the Petronas and KLCC. Unfortunately, the lights were dimmed already, so we decided to take pictures some other day. Still, it was awesome to stroll around KLCC and look at all the bright lights and buildings. A bit more strolling before we decided to call it a night.

P1060573

Day 2

We were up bright and early at around 6 AM! The Major All Stars Dota 2 Tournament was going to have its registration from 9-10, so we wanted to be there at the earliest possible time. But before that, I just had to stop by the nearby OldTown cafe and get some of their famous coffee!

P1060574

There was a distinct taste to the coffee that I wasn’t quite sure about. Maybe it was the herbs or spices placed into the drink. It was good, but definitely something different.

IMG_20150320_074552_HDR

We made our way to Malawati Stadium in Shah Alam. It was actually about 45 minutes away from KLCC, so it was pretty far. We got out and we were excited to see lots of people already lining up!

P1060577

We had a sneak peek of what was inside before they let everyone in. The set-up was amazing! My only complaint would probably be the chairs, but as for the booths, players area and screens, they did a real good job! It looked positively legit. It got me real stoked! 3 Days of high caliber Dota with some of the top teams in the world will warrant that reaction.

P1060582

Our first match of the day was between Invasion and Na’Vi. Na’Vi is a European squad that is famous for winning the first iteration of The International, which had a prize pool of 1 million US dollars. Invasion was one of the two local squads representing Malaysia. It was a fun game 1, and Na’Vi took it in convincing fashion. Unfortunately, after that match, there were some technical issues and we never got to see another live game after that for Day 1. Rough start for Major All Stars.

P1060598

I tried to make the most out of it though. Even though there weren’t any live games, I went around the tents and booths. This is the Secret Shop, which sells a lot of Valve’s official Dota 2 merchandise. Things were selling like hotcakes! I regret not buying anything from here, but in all honesty, I didn’t really find anything that made me go “I have to have this.”

P1060605

GrabTaxi in Malaysia is known locally as My Teksi. Who knew this would be such a life saver for much of our trip. If you’re staying within KL, you can go via LRT and KTM, but there are some inaccessible areas that really call for a taxi here and there.

P1060601

Got my picture taken with some of the cosplayers! Bloodseeker, Templar Assassin, Windranger and Lina. Good stuff!

P1060623

I brought a black cartolina and a gold metallic pen to have some of the players sign. I also managed to get some pictures with some of them. I was extremely lucky I got a picture with this guy right here. Got his autograph too. His name is Dendi and he is arguably the most famous Dota 2 pro player there is! This picture was featured in a local Dota 2 page, and it got over 25,000 likes! I definitely felt the 15 seconds of fame. Ha! Either way, I was fortunate to get his picture. He’s been an inspiration for a lot of us. He really loves his fans, and he’s really friendly. A great example of a class act professional.

P1060627

There were food tents outside the venue, and it was amazing to see the street food! Lots of variation from your usual kwek-kwek and tempura!

P1060631

Lots of juice and refreshments as well. The colors really pop on their food and beverages, don’t you think?

P1060634

Even though there was a lot of down time, the host had a couple of games and some prizes. I found myself on stage! It was a push-up contest. Unfortunately, I didn’t win. But it was still fun to participate!

P1060637

Day 1 was fun for me and our team since we got to go around, eat, meet players, interact with the people and the different booths. But due to the technical issues, they couldn’t play any more games and they had to postpone it for the next day. Really sad, but you know, sometimes that’s just how it is. You just have to bounce back! Here’s a picture of the eSportsINQ team! What’s also funny was that after they announced that they would postpone the matches, it started raining real hard, and some of the stuff in the tents fell down. We couldn’t get a taxi, and we were swarmed by mosquitos. It was horrible! Bad vibes, so we went to the nearby mall to have dinner before calling it a night.

P1060646

KFC! We had to pull out the fast food card. Again, you can see the differences in culture and how it affects the local cuisine, even if it is regulated fast food. Can you tell me what’s missing from this meal? Clue, it’s a must have when you pair it with chicken and it rhymes with navy.

IMG_20150320_195136_HDR

After that meal, we were able to get a taxi to the nearest KTM station, and we rode the KTM to KL Sentral. From there, we took another taxi. Finally settled in Jalan Gurney after getting lost for a bit. We were all so tired and just decided to call it a night.

P1060653

Day 3

Again, we were up and early for Day 2 of Major All Stars. Had some breakfast at the nearby restaurant! Spicy banana chips along with Chicken rice. As usual, there was that spicy sauce mixed with some fresh cucumber. We topped it off with Teh Ice or Iced Tea.

IMG_20150321_085708_HDR

Gave OldTown another try and this time I got the Iced Hazelnut. Boy, was this delicious. I think I could have this drink everyday. This one was really, really good.

IMG_20150321_111325_HDR

We were a bit late in getting to the venue, but once we got there, it was all business! We didn’t have too much time to go around since we were covering all the games as it was adjusted on a tighter schedule. I manned the laptop and provided updates on the games on our social media accounts. The others were taking pictures, getting interviews and listing down feature stories. Day 2 went much better because we actually managed to watch a lot of fun Dota games.

P1060661

Got my picture taken with the Vanguard and Pudge mask! Awesome stuff from the booths.

P1060743

Just a random picture from the Logitech booth. They were advertising their Logitech G302 MOBA Gaming mouse, which I eventually bought because it came with a free mousepad. The offer was too good to pass up! Check out the Crystal Maiden cosplayer playing a game of 1v1!

P1060710

We ended up at around 11, and made our way back to KLCC at around 1. I was super tired from this day. Some of my friends still found the energy to go out and party. YOLO life right there. Me and Pao decided to just stay in and relax. I must be getting old.

Day 4

Another version of Chicken rice! This is what we had for brunch to kick things off for the final day of Major All Stars. I was still excited!

IMG_20150322_101153_HDR

We were watching all the lower bracket games, and it had some fun filled moments and jaw dropping plays, but nothing drew the crowd quite like this autograph signing session from the Na’Vi squad. People were lining up and the queue reached all the way outside. Amazing to see this kind of reaction from the crowd.

P1060734

One of the team members from eSportsINQ was a major Dendi fangirl. She bought the Na’Vi jacket and jersey on the first day of its release! She got to give him her gift of Dried Mangoes. She was rewarded with a selfie and a hug from Daniil! Amazing stuff. Eventually, Dendi followed her on Twitter too. Dreams do come true, eh?

P1060742

The Grand Finals was a BO3 between Chinese squad Invictus Gaming and European squad Team Empire! Empire lost to Invictus Gaming earlier in the winner bracket finals, and they climbed their way back to face them again in the grand finals. They must have been under fatigue from playing lots of games as iG beat them 2-0 in convincing fashion. Invictus Gaming are your Major All Stars Dota 2 Grand Champions! It was a sight to see ChuaN, one of the iG players who hails from Malaysia, hoist up the trophy as everyone is taking pictures and celebrating with them.

P1060762

Here is iG with the champagne shower at the afterparty! The afterparty was at the Best Western Hotel in i-City, and it was pretty fancy! We had a nice view from above, and we were able to mingle with the players, casters and other fans and spectators. It was nice to just chill, eat some food, have some beer and enjoy. We managed to get a few more pictures and autographs before calling it a night.

P1060774

Job well done to the eSportsINQ team! Lots of learning experience for the next LAN event. Also, hats off to Fallout Gaming for bouncing back from a horrible day 1 to finish out day 2 and day 3 of MAS in stunning fashion. Major All Stars Season 1 was far from perfect, but it showed promise and makes me excited even more for season 2. Congratulations to all the organizers, players, casters, sponsors and contributors. Bigger things to come!

P1060780

Day 5

Well, the Major All Stars Tournament was an over-all success! I was glad to be a part of that experience for sure. But it was our last full day in Malaysia, and I wanted to be on full blast tourist mode. So we got our things from the apartment, checked back in to Corus Hotel and set out to explore. First things first, we had to try the national breakfast staple in Malaysia, Nasi Lemak. Rice, softboiled egg, cucumber, peanuts, a spicy sauce and dilis. Pretty unique in taste, and it was good. Something different.

IMG_20150323_100824_HDR

We rode the LRT and took the KTM to our first stop, the Batu Caves. I was glad that it was pretty accessible from KL Sentral. Transportation here in Malaysia is very convenient with all the interconnecting trains.

P1060797

What a beautiful sight. The Batu Caves are known for their tedious uphill climb of about 250+ steps to get to the actual entrance. In hindsight, it wasn’t that bad actually as the incline wasn’t that steep where it would be too tiring. The giant golden Buddha paired with the colorful decorations made for a great viewing experience even from the bottom.

IMG_20150323_115213_HDR

We tried to count the exact number of steps but stopped after a while to catch up to our heavy breathing. It’s amazing as this was a Monday morning and there were so many people.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR5190.

Once you successfully reach the top, this is the cave. It was huge! But there’s another exit and a few more steps that leads into another section.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR5194.

I’m more of a waterfalls kind of guy, but I admit that this was still a pretty gorgeous sight to behold.

P1060824

This is the kind of stuff you only see in the movies. Simply jaw dropping. I was glad that we made that climb.

P1060839

Once you reach the top, you can rest there a bit and take some pictures with the monkeys. But be careful though, they are known to be very mischievous and can steal your food or little items. Personally, when we went there, nothing happened to us, but that was probably because we didn’t have any food or snacks on hand. Check out this picture of this monkey feasting on a coconut while breastfeeding her infant. Cool stuff.

P1060833

Juan, Dreb and I took a selfie with one of the monkeys. Just part of the gang! I love the expression on the monkey’s face. His face screams “what did I do to deserve this?” and it’s just too damn funny!

pic with monkey

After making our way down, we had some snacks in an Indian restaurant. I had Thosai, which still has the same ingredients as Roti, but it’s made differently and has a kind of crispy and smooth texture, so it tastes different too. Paired it with their coconut and curry sauces and topped it off with Mango Lassi, which is a mixture of a smoothie and yoghurt. Delicious stuff!

IMG_20150323_131935_HDR

After having snacks and waiting on the rain to stop, we rode the KTM and LRT back to another station. Our next destination was Central Market. We had to walk quite a bit but it was enjoyable as the skywalks in Malaysia treated us to some nice views of the city landscape.

P1060851

Looking like I own the place! Central Market in Pasar Seni is one of the most famous spots in Malaysia for shopping, particularly known for having a little bit of everything from chocolate, clothes, luxury items and souvenirs. Personally, the three of us being guys, we didn’t really stay too long. We bought some chocolate and went on. But for moms, daughters, sisters and ladies in general, you could probably spend a lot of time and money here!

P1060858

There’s lots of trinkets, clothes and souvenirs inside. There’s also a food court on the second floor, so if you’re hungry you can eat here as well.

P1060860

Just right next to Central Market is Kasturi Walk, which is more of an outdoor shopping area.

P1060881

We had to stop by and try this place! Reminded me of our barbeque here in the Philippines, but they certainly had their own twist to it. Ayam is Chicken and Daging is Beef. Kambing is Goat. I forgot what Perut is. Ketupat is their hanging rice or puso. But instead of wrapping it in leaves, it is wrapped in plastic. But it’s amazing to note that it still keeps that diamond shape. I just thought it was pretty interesting!

P1060879

We also ended up in Petaling Street or Chinatown! Lots of Chinese inspired decor, but inside it’s more like Divisoria. Lots of food though.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR5482.

Lots of fakes and copies of shoes, cellphones, bags, clothes and what have you. Did not buy anything here, just strolled around and enjoyed the sights and scenery.

P1060894

We walked from Chinatown and made our way down to the area of Merdeka Square! It’s kind of like a park and open field with lots of Muslim inspired buildings nearby. Really great architecture, and it’s amazing to see how it blends in with the modern buildings so well.

P1060912

Here is Dataran Merdeka or Merdeka Square. It’d be really nice to just sit down, enjoy the view and go people watching. Unfortunately, we were on a hectic schedule given that this was our only day on turista mode. Still, we made the most out of it!

DCIM100GOPROGOPR5544.

Right next to Merdeka Square is the Sultan Abdul Samad Building. Equally as impressive!

DCIM100GOPROGOPR5538.

We went back to the hotel to rest up for a bit and freshen up as we had a dinner appointment with one of our friend’s godfathers. We headed to Suria Mall in KLCC. This huge mall is just right next to the Petronas Twin Towers. Just amazing with how it lights up! Really the defining building in Kuala Lumpur.

P1060944

The mall was huge and we got to go strolling for a bit. There was also a Petronas F1 event in the main hall.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR5584.

Juan’s godfather treated us to dinner at Nando’s. The chicken and side dishes were really good! Free food is always a plus, don’t you think?

P1060950

I missed my chance on Day 1 to get a photo of the ever popular Petronas Twin Towers. But on our last night, I finally got the opportunity to get a photo op with this magnificent architectural piece. Really, the way that it lights up draws all the attention to it. It really is the centerpiece of Kuala Lumpur and is a must visit.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR5646.

Outside one of the side entrances in Suria, there is a water and lights show every evening. It was about 15 minutes, and it was orchestrated real well. Everything was timed with the music, and that backdrop of the Kuala Lumpur city line was just amazing! I daresay that this is better than the Symphony of Lights show in Hong Kong! Maybe I’m biased with the water formations, who knows. This is also one of the must visits in KLCC. This should be rated higher up on TripAdvisor for sure!

P1060981

We walked across several connecting skywalks for what seemed like an hour before we got to Bukit Bintang. Bukit Bintang is kind of like the nightlife area in Kuala Lumpur and it has a lot of restaurants, cafes, bars, shopping malls and districts. This is the Pavilion Mall with their famous red flower fountain.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR5687.

After walking around Bukit Bintang, we finally made our way to Jalan Alor. If you’re hungry and you want to go on a food trip, Jalan Alor is definitely the place you have to go to. It’s a night food market that has stalls for days! You can just pick food from certain spots, have your fill and move forward. Really a dream place for the foodies out there as it has all kinds of food that you would want to try in Malaysia.

P1060988

We were still pretty full from that dinner in Nando’s, so we just picked a random restaurant and had some beers and chickent satay sticks.  I had a bottle of Guinness, and it was pretty good, but also pretty dark and bitter! Just taking in the scenery here in Jalan Alor was worth the one hour walk. I just wished I was a bit more hungry so I could have tried more stuff. Maybe next time!

IMG_20150323_234035_HDR

I was too full to try anything else after the beer, but we had this Turkish Ice Cream before we left. It’s 10 times as delicious as our dirty ice cream, and is a must try! It’s also funny because the guy serves you ice cream using a stick as the serving spoon, and he has several tricks and antics before he hands it to you. A bit of a performance, but definitely added to the experience!

DCIM100GOPROGOPR5741.

We took a taxi back to the hotel. I got to see the Petronas Twin Towers one last time. My jaw still drops as to how beautiful this piece of architecture is. Great way to end the evening!

P1060955

Day 6

Packed up my stuff, checked out of the hotel and we made our way to KLIA 2 via the airport express. I was a bit sad that I wasn’t able to buy packets of powdered coffee from OldTown, but hey, maybe it’s meant for next time! We arrived at KLIA 2 and checked in for our flight back to Cebu.

P1070002

Had an in-flight meal of Chicken Rice, peanuts and Fanta. The Chicken Rice wasn’t as good as what we had served locally in one of the restaurants, but hey, who’s complaining. The flight back was pretty smooth and it went by quick.

IMG_20150324_125004_HDR

We arrived early in the afternoon, my dad got us and we made our way home. Unpacked all my things and just rested for a bit. Work the next day, tons of e-mails and lots of eventual stressors, but it was all worth it for this trip. Lots of things checked off the bucketlist, and the wanderlust was temporarily fulfilled. Kuala Lumpur and Malaysia was a great experience, and I am ever so grateful to have wandered into it. I wouldn’t mind going back for a second time.

Hope you enjoyed this post. Definitely was a bit costly, but it was all worth it. Investing your time and money into experiences and travels rather than things. More adventures to come!

Until next time,

Cheers!

Temple of Leah

So I visited this place in Cebu that’s been really popular these past few weeks. Thought it’d be interesting to feature it on my blog so I could help inform more people where it is and what it’s all about. Some might refer to it as the Cebu version of Bacolod’s The Ruins and some might not even understand what the purpose of the place is. So to help educate and spread the word, we’re going to be taking a look at one of Cebu’s most recent attractions, The Temple of Leah.

First of all, how to get there. You need to make your way to Busay. it’s up in the mountains. Just ask the locals. You’ll most likely start off from JY Square and make your way up passing by Cosmopolitan, Marco Polo and Chateau De Busay. After Chateau, it should be pretty nearby. Once you make the left turn for Mountainview Resort, you go straight along the road. The next fork in the road should be a right heading to Lantaw Busay, but instead of making the right turn going up to the restaurant, just go left and go to the end of the road. You should spot a big infrastructure with lots of cars and motorcycles parked at the side of the road. Then you know you’ve arrived!

I brought my family along with me and we were all pretty curious as to what was inside. We luckily were able to park our car without too much of a struggle. There is ample parking space at the side of the road, and there are lots of ‘habal-habal’ motorcycles that are willing to take you there from JY Square, you just have to pay them. The Temple of Leah has been a work in progress since 2012, and still lies unfinished, but the pictures I’m about to show you will still probably make your jaw drop.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

This is the side entrance. I know, right? Although there isn’t any color scheme yet, the details in the design of the pillars and columns are just amazing. Is it just me, or does the unfinished look and the grey tones of concrete make it look absolutely rustic? We haven’t even made our way inside the main area yet! The place is open for public viewing, but again it’s still a work in progress, so I do believe that there is some sort of cut-off time when the workers have to continue with construction. Best to go there during the afternoon, before the sun goes down.

P1060313

After ascending about three floors from the side entrance, we made our way to the main temple entrance. Here you can see the temple in all its unfinished glory! It has a Rome inspired type of design, and looks kind of like The Pantheon. As you make your way up the steps, you can see two lions, one on each side, which I believe are brass or bronze coated. Makes for a nice touch. Lots of people armed with their selfie sticks, DLSRs and smartphones, raring to take a picture with these golden beasts! Here’s a picture of me and my family. This is where the tripod comes in handy.

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset

This is what greets us as we make our way into the entrance. I wasn’t kidding when I said this was the most recent popular hotspot for Cebuanos. People came in droves!

P1060299

The first thing that will capture your attention is this huge 9 foot bronze statue of whom the place is named after.

Leah Villa Albino-Adarna is the late wife of Teodorico S. Adarna, who is probably known most for two things, being the tycoon and businessman that owns the Queensland chain of motels, as well as being the grandfather of Ellen Adarna. He made this temple as a sort of display of his love for his wife who passed away a few years ago. He created this place to adopt an architectural and structural design that would be timeless and to be a landmark where future generations of the Adarna clan could trace their roots and heritage. The Temple is going to have 24 chambers, all showcasing Leah’s personal collection of books, art and design pieces. Many members of the Adarna clan helped in the formulation of this ongoing masterpiece.

The statue is supposed to be a lifelike representation of Leah at the moment she was crowned matron queen of her alma mater, the University of Southern Philippines. The plaque at the bottom base of the statue reads, “May the beholder discern her innate beauty, poise and genteelness.” It’s certainly represented well here. It’s also matched with a beautiful stained glass art behind it. Two thumbs up to the design team behind the whole concept of the temple. Itt’s absolutely gorgeous, and once everything is finished, I’m sure it’s going to look even better.

Processed with VSCOcam with m3 preset

Another one of the highlights is the wooden staircase with these brass angels as the support columns. Really luxurious and grandiose.

P1060311

Here’s a picture of my mom feeling like a queen at the top of the staircase. Ha! A cookie for you if you can spot where I am in the picture.

P1060303

If you were able to spot me, I was the guy in blue looking upwards at this particular section. It’s a glass pyramid which certainly draws comparisons to The Louvre Pyramid in France. You can’t really see the pyramid that well from this angle, but the next picture should. You can actually make your way upstairs but you have to put in a bit of effort in going above or down the railings, since there are some places that are seemingly blocked off and not intended for public viewing, but you know me, I’ll find a way!

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset

Here is how it looks from the top. Definitely looks like a mini-version of the Louvre Pyramid. Not many people were able to climb up here, and most of them were content in taking pictures on the ground floor. But they sure missed out on the beautiful view from the top!

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

You can see all of Cebu from here, as well as the huge space in front of the main entrance. Beautiful to behold.

P1060337

This is how the rooftop looks if you’re looking up from the ground floor. This girl certainly feels like royalty, but is acting like an idiot. Please be safe and do not follow in her footsteps. There are no railings, and what she is doing is certainly dangerous. Although there is a bit of clearance from the edge, it is still not a wise thing to do.

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset

Making my way back downstairs, I was able to snap an image of this library section, which supposedly holds all of Leah’s favorite books. More of those brass angels acting as support columns for the bookshelves. Marble floor with that star design.

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset

Outside, there were some more statues along the viewing grounds. You can see these two seraphim angels in a guardian stance. Again, it’s really a beautiful work of art, even if it is still unfinished.

P1060341

I tried to comprehend what this statue’s pose was supposed to signify, but I failed. On the bright side, look at that view behind it. It’s simply breathtaking!

P1060343

Of course, I had to do a jump shot with my nephew. There were so many people that Saturday afternoon!

P1060334

Here’s a picture of my parents and my nephew. Even though this place is really beautiful and majestic, again, I can’t stress it enough, it is still a work in progress. I wanted to highlight the cement and the operating equipment behind them. Please keep safe when venturing around the place, as there still might be cracks, rusty bars, nails and screws lying around. You definitely wouldn’t want to get injured here and be far away from the nearest hospital.

P1060367

Look at that statue posing like a boss! Naked, no less.

P1060327

And as the sun was setting, we said goodbye to the temple, made the drive downstairs, and had some Pizza in Pizza Republic! Which is a giant hint for my next blog post. Ha!

I hope the pictures did the place justice. If you were a bit observant, you could tell that the pictures were coming from different sources. I took some pictures from my sister’s Lumix camera, and some pictures from my cellphone after editing it a bit with VSCOcam.

The Temple of Leah is certainly is shaping up to be one of Cebu’s upcoming landmarks and it really is majestic and beautiful to behold. Once it’s finished, it’ll attract even more people! Right now, it’s free for viewing because it’s still not yet finished, but I really see them charging a fee for viewing once it’s done. Go visit it while it’s still free! If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll try my best to answer it.

As always, if you liked this post, please leave a comment, share, like, and repost. Show some love and follow me on my social media accounts, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @mikes41720.

Until next time,

Cheers!

Update (08/27/2015) — As of August 7, 2015, the management of Temple of Leah have started charging an entrance fee of PHP 50.00 per person! So it isn’t free anymore. They said it was to defray the maintenance costs. So please take note! Some improvements here and there too, but the place is still far from finished.

Adventure at Papa Kit’s Marina & Fishing Lagoon!

Hello, everyone! Another backlogged post coming your way. This time, I’m writing about the adventure we had at Papa Kits! It’s a popular place here in Cebu, and has been in operation since around 2010, but I only got to visit the place recently.

We had our office team bonding around the last weekend of September, and I can’t believe I’m posting this now. It’s about 3 months late, but better late than never, right?

Anyway, Papa Kits Marina & Fishing Lagoon is a good place for the family and friends who want to have fun outdoor adventures without really leaving the city. It’s open from 6AM – 6PM from Monday to Sunday. Lots of outdoor activities to do, and the place is pretty huge. There’s something for everyone, whether it be fishing, horseback riding, wakeboarding, riding the ATV or bike, wall-climbing, trying the zip line or just enjoying nature. You’ll see more from the pictures when you scroll down!

???????????????????????????????

After paying the entrance fee, which was PHP 100.00 (a portion of it is consumable for food or drinks at their restaurants), we were greeted by this lake, which has several cottages and the big house is the restaurant. There is ample parking space up front. If you have children under 6 years old, their entrance is free! There are also packages for you to enjoy which feature a combination of activities. You can rent a cottage, a fishing rod and bait (which is about PHP 150.00) and go fishing or enjoy several kinds of food from their restaurant by the lake. It’s pretty peaceful and fishing really takes patience and a bit of good luck!

???????????????????????????????

IMG_8287

???????????????????????????????

IMG_8355

You can rent the small cottages for you to fish and stay in for around PHP 100.00. The fish you catch, you end up buying. I believe it was somewhere around PHP 150-200 per kilo, and you can choose to have them fry or cook it for you as well! Note that the consumable portion of your entrance fee, you can use it to pay for the fish. It’s a fun activity for everyone to try at least once.

???????????????????????????????

We brought lechon and our own food, and rented out the cottage. There are corkage fees, so please be aware of that. We didn’t order food from the restaurants, so I can’t comment on how the food tasted. Nothing like Lechon for a gathering!

???????????????????????????????

We also ended up having an Amazing Race with several of the obstacles utilizing the activities in the park, and some mental challenges as well. This isn’t exactly the ideal place to have your amazing race because of the lay-out of the area, but we adjusted as best as we could.

???????????????????????????????

???????????????????????????????

There’s another area purely for watersports! We didn’t try the wakeboarding, but when our transportation cart passed by, some people were wakeboarding, and it seemed like a lot of fun.

???????????????????????????????

There are several carts for transportation that just circle around, getting you from Point A to Point B, which is very convenient since the different activity centers are kind of far away from each other. But a good walk might do you good as well if you’re up for it!

???????????????????????????????

You can try out the horseback riding. There will be a guide who will steer the horse along with a rope, and the pace is kind of slow and pre-determined, but it’s still worth a try! It’s good for around 15 minutes or so.

???????????????????????????????

Or if horses aren’t your thing, you can also rent out a bike for an hour or two. There are also ATV’s available for rent as well!

???????????????????????????????

???????????????????????????????

There’s an aviary for you to look at some exotic animals, for a fee of course. It was around PHP 30.00 if I remember correctly.

???????????????????????????????

You can also try and have a go at wall-climbing! I heard that if you’re able to climb all the way to the top (you get 2-3 tries) then you have a free pass for the zipline! But it is pretty hard, as they said that only around 1-2 people get to climb up to the top per month. Good luck with that!

???????????????????????????????

Here we go. I took a picture of the tarpaulin with the rates of these activities.

???????????????????????????????

There are two variants of the hanging bridge, the regular one and the Jungle Bridge!

IMG_8543

It’s PHP 50.00 for the regular hanging bridge, but I recommend you try the Jungle Bridge adventure! It’s a bit more expensive at PHP 150.00 but I found it really worth it as it’s much longer, and offers different kinds of obstacles. I must warn you that if you go on the Jungle Bridge adventure, it’s geared more towards those who are fit. It is a challenge to complete.

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

???????????????????????????????

IMG_8639

IMG_8563

IMG_8566

The jungle bridge adventure is at least twice as long, and it has a portion where you swing from a rope like Tarzan!

It was a challenge, testing both the balance and coordination as well as teamwork, but it was really rewarding once we finished!

???????????????????????????????

As to what I noticed, there were 3 restaurants in Papa Kits. One is near the fishing lagoon, the other is around the watersports area, and this one is where the zipline is! So you can take your pick as to where you want to stay and just chill if you’re not up to all the activity.

IMG_8507

???????????????????????????????

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????IMG_8511

The main attraction is the zipline, which has you zipping over a lake. It has a real nice view, and depending on the wind, it can go either real fast or real slow. Because of the wind conditions on that day, we were stuck 3/4 along the way and had to be helped!

There’s the regular kind of zipline and the Superman type. Some of us tried it after the official team bonding. It was real fun, and it’s worth trying to give you that exhilarating feel and that head rush! Didn’t try the Superman type since I don’t think it’s worth the extra PHP 200.00 but to each his own!

IMG_8430

All in all, it was a really great day, full of nature and adventure! I highly recommend it here. It’s not too far off from the city and there really is something to enjoy for everyone!

Some of the prices mentioned in the post might be inaccurate or outdated. Please call them to be sure you have a quote for the correct pricing.

You can reach Papa Kits Marina & Fishing Lagoon via the following contact numbers: (032)520-2116/0922-807-5594/0922-883-8012.

Sorry if the post isn’t that detailed, this was about 3 months ago, and I can’t recall it as well as I would have liked. My last blog post was also in October, so I am coming off from a writing rust. I hope it just comes back naturally. For now, please just enjoy the pictures and I hope you have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Until next time,

Cheers!

« Older posts

© 2019 Michael Brian Tina

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑