10 free things to do in Hong Kong

Hong kong may not be a cheap destination, but there are plenty of things you could do for free and still get the best of the city. Check out my list and make sure you're able to do all of it when you visit Hong Kong.

How to get to Mt. Pinatubo - DIY

The crater lake offers a stunning view with the color of the water and mountains changing from minute to minute. Here's a guide on how to get to Mt. Pinatubo your own way.

Calaguas, A Picture Perfect Destination

Fine white sand and torquoise clear water. They said the beach can be compared to Boracay or maybe even better but the only way to tell is to visit it.

3 Days of Biking Around the Angkor Complex

One of the most incredible experiences I have had during my South East Asian backpacking trip was to bike around the Angkor Complex for three days.

Penang, Malaysia - A Unique and Fascinating Place to Wander

The first time I saw Penang, Malaysia in one of Anthony Bourdain's show I knew I needed to include it on the places I wanna visit in Malaysia.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Kwebang Lampas - Pagbilao, Quezon

If you're looking for a perfect weekend destination near the city and only have limited time then Kwebang Lampas in Quezon is a must visit. It's budget friendly, accessible and it has a quiet and relaxing ambiance which I'm sure you'll enjoy.

Here are some things you need to know about the island:

How To Get There:

1. Kwebang lampas, located at Barangay Isla Polo in Pagbilao, Quezon is about 4 to 5 hours away from Manila.

2. From Cubao or Taft where public transportation is available 24 hours, ride a bus to reach Lucena Grand Terminal.  

3. From Lucena Grand Terminal, ride a jeep going to Pagbilao. Upon reaching Pagbilao, take another jeep to reach Isla Pulo.

4. From Isla Pulo, ride a tricycle and ask the driver to drop you at Capascapas near the Power Station. This is the jump off point to your destination. 

5. At the jump off point, you will see small boats or bancas for hire. This will be your transportation to cross the lake and finally reach Kwebang Lampas. But if the adventurer in you kicks in, you may opt to trek to reach Kwebang Lampas. You can walk beside the Power Station and ask the locals for the direction. It will take you around 10-15 minutes until you reach the destination.


210 pesos - DLTB bus fare ( LRT-Buendia to Lucena City)
11 pesos - jeep fare going to Pagbilao proper.
45 pesos - jeep fare going to Brgy. Isla Pulo.
50 pesos/head – Tricycle fare going to jump off point
25 pesos/head- bangka (back and forth)
180 pesos - registration for overnight
300 pesos- total food expenses (because I brought a lot of food haha)
50 pesos – Tricycle fare going to jump off point
50 pesos - jeep fare going to SM Lucena – JAC Liner
210 pesos  - fare going back to EDSA - Ayala


-Cool water and powdery (not so fine compared to Calaguas) white sand.
-Shoreline is not long enough from my point of view.
-Great for short beach trip and mini adventure.

Important note and travel tips:

-Bring your own tent and cooking stuff.
-Bring lots of mosquito repellent.
-There is no hotel accommodations on the island so your handy tent is your five star hotel here.
-The place is really open and there are reports of theft already so always keep an eye at your belongings.
-Everything in this island is a bit pricey (due to transportation expenses of course) from drinking water (50 pesos per gallon) up to foods and even cottages (from 350 to 750php). I suggest buying your own food or baon at Pagbilao public market.
-There is no electricity on the island so make sure you have fully charged your gadgets.
-From Pagbilao to Isla  Pulo, you can ask the Jeepney driver if he can drop you or your group directly to jump off point. Although this might cost an extra fee, it will make you save around 17 pesos instead of taking a tricycle from Isla Pulo.

**I just borrowed the photos from my friends who have been here since I wasn't able to take photos because I'm a smart traveler and I did not charge my phone and camera and I hate myself.

There are more islands to visit in the area like Borawan and Dampalitan. Plan your trip well and try to visit them too. Talk to the locals or boatmen and see if they can offer a good deal for island hopping.



Thursday, December 17, 2015

6 Christmas destinations that you and your family can enjoy for free!

Christmas is just around the corner! With just few days to go before the much awaited date, lots of families are now starting to plan where to go and where to spend their long vacations together. While some are planning to go out of town or country (which is quite expensive), many families are considering a much simpler and cheaper getaway. If you and your family belong to the latter, below are few of the many places that feature Christmas attractions you can visit for FREE!

1. Ayala Triangle Lights & Sounds Show 

Image from www.interaksyon.com
Spectacular show of dancing lights and sounds – this is what Ayala Triangle Lights and Sounds Show can offer. The Festival of Lights is now on its fifth year of giving endless entertainment with its flashing lights and joyful music. This year’s theme is called Beats and Hues which will feature 3 different light show sets in 3 different kinds of music – big band and jazz, African drumbeats and electronic dance music.

When: November 9 to January 3, 2016. Every 30 minutes from 6 pm to 10 pm.
Where: Ayala Avenue & Paseo De Roxas Street, Makati City

2. Greenhills Christmas on Display (COD)

Image from www.manillenials.com
 Christmas on Display at Greenhills shopping center became a yearly tradition. It Is now considered as one of the most awaited attractions of the Filipinos. This year’s theme is called "A Hometown Christmas" which will feature the story of a balikbayan family coming home to spend Christmas in the Philippines after long years of staying abroad. Aside from the moving mannequins, the shopping center also officially opened the 2015 Christmas Night Market and Bangketa Fair.

When: Now open daily and will run until January 3, 2016. The CoD show starts at 6:30 pm daily unil 11:30 pm with one show running every 30 minutes.
Where: Ortigas Avenue, North Western Street, San Juan, Metro Manila

3. Policarpio Street

Image from www.gmanetwork.com
As soon as Halloween is over, you can bet that Policarpio Street in Barangay New Zuniga, Mandaluyong City will quickly transform into a Christmas Village. People in the nearby barangays and cities will start to flock in at Policarpio Street to personally witness and visit some of the most adorable and well decorated houses and establishments. Two of the most popular ones are the House of Light and House of Santa Clause. 

When:  Displays will run until January 2016. Attractions starts to open at 6:30 pm and closes to public at 10:00 pm
Where: Policarpio Street , Barangay New Zuniga, Mandaluyong City

4. Meralco Liwanag Park 

Image from www.lifestylehub.net
You can bet that at this Christmas destination, lights will be the main attraction. The MERALCO Liwanag Park is the home of many cute village houses adorn with bright flashing lights. Of course there are Christmas trees, lanterns and almost everything that can be connected to Christmas.
When: Until January 2016.
Where: Ortigas, Pasig City

5. SM Aura Premier's Astreopora Light and Sound Art 

Image from www.rappler.com
A unique Christmas display and exhibit – this is what I can say about SM Aura Premier's Astreopora Light and Sound Art Installation by Leeroy New. Art installations mostly feature marine creatures reaching up towards the sky.

When:  Runs until January 10, 2016
Where: SM Aura's Sky Park Lawn, McKinley Parkway, Taguig, Metro Manila

6. Marikina River Festival

Image from newemj.blogspot.com
Experience Christmas Bazaar like no other! This is what the Marikina River Festival promises to its visitors. The entire stretch of the Marikina River is lined up with stalls selling Marikina made shoes, clothes, toys, bags, home accessories and a lot more at affordable prices.  Aside from the goodies you can buy, there are also nightly shows that can truly entertain people up. Family, big or small, will truly enjoy this kind of festival.

When:  December 4- January 15, 2016
Where: Marikina Riverpark, Marikina city

Simple joy that Christmas brings, can't be compared with anything else, you don't have to spend that much to have a memorable Christmas. A time spent with your family makes an unforgettable moment this season. Merry Xmas guys!! :)

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar, Bataan

If you are a fan of history-rich architecture, places and buildings, and would like a quick escape from the hustle and bustle of Metro Manila then you MUST visit Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar. An open-air museum and resort located in Barangay Pag-asa, Bagac, Bataan Philippines developed by Jose “Gerry” Acuzar out of his fascination with old houses and colonial buildings.
Heritage houses from all over the country placed in one spot.
Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar features old buildings that can take you back to the 18th century. Each and every building features awesome Filipino history and craftsmanship. Some of the buildings were actually transferred carefully from it's original location to this 400-hectare park, then restored to it's former glory. These buildings now serve as hotel accommodations and museums for visitors.

Each house has a unique story to tell.
I already figured out the fastest way and route to go there. Below is a step-by-step guideline I made in case you decided to visit anytime soon.

How to get there:

1). If you are coming from Cubao, you can ride a bus to reach Balanga Bataan from either of these two companies - Bataan Transit or Genesis Bus. Visit their official websites first to check the trip schedules and corresponding fare.

-Bataan Transit - http://www.bataantransit.com/fare/
-Genesis Bus - http://www.genesistransport.com.ph/

2). Once you reached Balanga, Bataan, you can ride a jeep or bus (from Balanga, Bataan Transport Terminal) to reach Bagac, Bataan. Fare fee is 45 pesos per person and the travel time should be around 45 minutes. The trip schedule starts at 7am while the last trip is scheduled around

NOTE: Make sure to tell the jeep driver or bus conductor that you intend to visit Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar. They will then drop you to a certain spot where tricycles can be found.

3). Upon reaching Bagac, you can ride a tricycle to going to the entrance of the heritage park. Fare is 10 per person and travel time is around 5 minutes.

Entrance Fee:

Option 1: Entrance fee with snacks
P 850.00 nett per person (Adult)
P 425.00 nett per person (Child)

Option 2: Entrance fee only
P 685.00 nett per person
(Adult and children 5 years old and up; toddlers free of charge)


Welcome drinks
30 min to 1 hour guided tour of the heritage houses.
Use of beach area
Vicinity map
Wet towel

Hotel de Oriente Convention Centre originnally built in Binondo, Manila in 1889.

Tips and Suggestions:

1. Can't stand the heat of the sun? You may borrow a big umbrella at the front desk.
2. The food and drinks inside is a bit pricey so you can bring a few snacks and drinks if you're on a tight budget.
3. The best time to visit Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar is around the afternoon so you can enjoy the beach and capture good photos during the magic hour 4-6pm.
4. Head to Plaza Belmonte (in front of Paseo De Escolta) at night for a free open air cultural show. (During weekends only)
5. Ask for a free tour on their own factory of bricks, wood carving.

The food here might be a bit pricey but it wont hurt if you treat yourself once in a while right?
A perfect spot for a cup of coffee. 
I'm an old soul so I must say that I really love this place! It takes me back in time and gives me a glimpse of how the Filipino life were decades ago. It’s also so romantic, quaint and rustic making it a perfect place for couples and even for honeymooners. The architectural styles, forms and designs are all breathtaking, making it a good spot for photographers and architecture lovers. Don't forget your #OOTD too!

I recommend you to check their website first for room rates information and reservations if you want to stay at Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar overnight - http://lascasasfilipinas.com/lc/

I can confidently say that the time you will spend and the amount you have to pay to visit Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar are totally all worth it! The ambiance, the views and even the knowledge you will gain just by spending a few nights or even for just a day should you guarantee an unforgettable experience.

Thursday, October 29, 2015


I'm so excited for this one!! Mark your calendars for November 7, 2015 and get ready for the ultimate Halloween event of the year! FOX International Channels and Victoria Court are partnering up with Breakout Philippines, the country’s premiere escape room game, to bring you an immersive horror experience like no other! 

Ever since 2014, Breakout has been providing a unique experience to thousands of players by trapping them in different themed rooms for 45 minutes. They are given an interactive game where players have to team up to find clues and solve logic puzzles based on various storylines. Participants are encouraged to PLAN as a team, SOLVE puzzles collaboratively in order to ESCAPE before time expires.

This Halloween season, the game is about to change as it is no longer enough to BREAKOUT… you must now also SURVIVE! You and your friends will be trapped in a room and will have 45 minutes to try and survive the horror set before you.

There will be scare actors that will enter and exit the room as they please. Some will be nice and try to help you by giving you clues, while some… are not. Be prepared as they invade your personal space, tell you bone chilling stories, separate you from your friends and sometimes, even leave you alone in the dark. Be ready to be pushed out of your comfort zone.

This is still a BREAKOUT event so there is still puzzle solving involved. You will still choose among the 5 Super-thematic Rooms of Victoria Court Malate, which will determine the style of the overall puzzle you will have to solve:

   1.    The Asgard Room
   2.    The Casino Royale Room
   3.    The Bat Cave Room
   4.    The Candy Land Room
   5.    The Marakkesh (Sex in the City) Room

If the scares get too extreme for you, there is a safe word… screaming “I want my mommy” will signal our actors to back off and bring you back to your friends. Though be warned, doing so will forfeit the clue you may receive by surviving the scare. Missing out on 1 clue won’t make it impossible to solve the puzzle, but it will make it very difficult. So wear your brown pants and as much as you can, brave up!

To add up to the scare, there will be a free fear flicks marathon happening at the Victoria Court grounds from 6PM until 12PM.

The breakout rooms have limited slots, so be sure to register now through www.breakout.com.ph.

You can also visit Victoria Court’s facebook page (facebook.com/VictoriaCourtPH) or  follow their Twitter & Instagram (@victoriacourtVC)) for more updates about this event.

Prepare yourselves for a scare that you won’t forget. See you there!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

The Rebirth Of Araneta Center, Cubao

It's been a while since the last time I went to Araneta Center, Cubao. I admit, I wasn't a big fan of the area because I knew how dirty it is and that there isn't a lot of things going on there that interests me.

When I was invited to join the Quezon City Blogventure for the 75th year celebration of Quezon City, I was given a chance to visit Araneta Center, Cubao again. I was surprised because it wasn't the same Araneta Center that I knew. There's a lot of constructions going on and honestly, the place looks very fresh and eye pleasing - It's like I'm in a new place!

Rumour has it that the Araneta Group is spending a whopping P30 billion to transform the 35-hectare Araneta Center in Cubao, Quezon City into a major central business district, something like BGC in Taguig and Eastwood City in Libis.
Araneta Group's redevelopment plan. (Image from www.aranetagroup.com)
Some of the places we loved in Araneta Center are still there but went through some major renovations like the Smart Araneta Coliseum and Ali Mall. I want to share some cool spots I've discovered which you can visit in when you're in Cubao, Quezon City:


Aside from Smart Araneta Coliseum which all of us know (unless you were born yesterday) The New Frontier Theatre behind Gateway Mall has gone through major renovations. The theatre renamed to Kia Theatre is set to be a leading performing arts venue in the country. The theater seats 2,385 and is equipped with state-of-the-art audio, visual and lighting technologies.

For upcoming events and concerts please visit their Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/KiaTheater


I got excited when I found out that there's heaps of new restaurants now open with different specialties and ambiances.  If you're a big fan of all you can eat restos (or simply just a glutton like me) your top pick is Four Seasons Hotpot City, a new concept from the Vikings Group - the same group that brought you Vikings Luxury Buffet and NIU by Vikings.

Find out their never ending menu and promos here: http://www.fourseasonshotpot.com.ph/


Tired of shopping and walking around the city or just want to find a quiet and relaxing place? (maybe want a "romantic" moment with your Bae). Head to the 5th floor of the Gateway Mall and chill at the Topiary Garden a mini park that offers a cool view of the Araneta Center.


There is an art gallery near the park - a home to a great exhibit of mural sized paintings about the Heritage of the Filipino People. Created by some very talented artists from UP Fine Arts. The best part is you an visit it for FREE.

Tip: I heard that they have portrait nude painting sessions every Thursdays :)


One of the Araneta Center representatives dished out that they will be connecting all of the malls so that you won't have to go out of the streets to hop into your next shopping destination (That means endless shopping without seeing the dawn of the day) Aside from newly renovated Malls like SM, Gateway, Farmer's Plaza and Ali Mall, do not forget about the legendary Farmer's Market. I promise it is not your ordinary "Palengke". Farmer's Market is the best place to buy imported and hard to find fruits, vegetables and seafood. The prices are reasonable and the market is REALLY clean and well maintained.


There is a spot in the market where you can ask the restaurants (Dampa sa Farmer's Market) to cook whatever dish you desire, using the fresh ingredients you bought.


Novotel has finally opened it's first hotel in the Philippines. Novotel has the quickest access to Smart Araneta Colliseum, MRT, LRT 3 and all those business establishments in Araneta Center. It features an outdoor pool, all-day dining restaurant, a grand ballroom and 7 meeting rooms.

If you need a place to stay at when you're just in the city to watch a concert or a Basketball match then this is the best place for you. I heard that they will be transforming their outdoor pool into a posh "Pool-club" similar to the Palace Pool Club in BGC.

For reservations and booking inquiries visit their website at: http://www.novotel.com/gb/hotel-7090-novotel-manila-araneta-center/index.shtml


I wasn't expecting the big changes in Araneta Center and I am excited because there are a lot more to come. The Araneta Group did a good job in bringing life and vibrancy back to Cubao, Quezon City. A big leap in promoting tourism in Quezon City. I can say that they totally live to their statement: There's always something exciting happening at the Araneta Center! Like totally.

Drop a comment below if you found something cool there worth the visit. 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

The 5th Philippine International Pyromusical Competition

There is magic in the air above Manila Bay when the world's best pyrotechnicians light up the night sky with their fireworks displays. The 5th Philippine International Pyromusical Competition showed some of the best fireworks I've seen and I can't wait to see more this coming weeks!

 Amazing fireworks illuminate in the black sky canvass.

Bring your family and friends at SM Mall of Asia and watch the spectacular fireworks. I would advise trying to get there a little early to make sure you get a good spot because it fills up very fast.

Here's A snippet from Team Philippines' exhibition at the opening night of 5th Pyro Musical Competition in SM MOA.


February 15, 2014
Philippines (Platinum Fireworks, Inc) - Opening exhibition
Australia (Howard and Sons Fireworks)

February 22, 2014

Spain (Brunchu Pyro Experience)
United Kingdom (Jubilee Fireworks)

March 1, 2014

France (Brezac Artifices)
Japan (Tamaya Kitahara)

March 8, 2014

China (Liuyang New Year Fireworks)
Germany (Vulcan Europe)

March 15, 2014

Finland (Oy Pyroman Finland Ltd)
Canada (Royal Pyrotechnie)

March 22, 2014

USA (Atlas Pyro Vision)
Philippines (Platinum Fireworks Inc)

Ticket Prices

Silver 100 pesos
Gold 300 pesos
VIP 500 pesos
Patron w/ Dinner 1,500 pesos

You may check out their Faceook page to know more about the event.

The Pyro Musical Competition is something you just have to experience. You can see pictures and view videos, but nothing compares to actually being there in person. The fireworks were spectacular, just totally magical. 

Monday, January 20, 2014

Hapao Rice Terraces - Hungduan, Ifugao

How familiar are you with the rice terraces found in our country? I think most of you know the great Banaue Rice Terraces but there are more rice terraces you might wanna check out. The Hapao Rice Terraces in Hungduan, Ifugao is my favorite, the terraces are wider and beautifully sculptured. The visual impact can be overwhelming. Walking around the stoned walled rice-fields going to the the small hot spring is also an awesome experience you don't wanna miss.

Hapao Rice Terraces - A UNESCO Heritage Site 

From the town of Banaue, Ifugao I hired a motorcycle/tour guide for only 1,500 pesos, the ride took around an hour. The road going to Hapao rice terraces was a bit bumpy, dusty and muddy but it offered an amazing view of the mountains and terraces.

Hungduan is located on the north western part of the Ifugao province, the climate is a bit cool especially in the morning and evening. The sun is very strong at noon so do not forget to put on some sunscreen and bring water to keep you hydrated.

The perfect time to visit is around March-April where the terraces are greener. The people of Hungduan still keep their traditions alive, in Hapao only the women are allowed to plant the rice, the men are the ones to harvest them. I saw a few women toil under the heat of the sun and I couldn't help but to admire how hardworking these people are. 

Go for an easy hike through the stone walls of the terraces, at the end of the trail there is a small hot spring and a lovely cold river where you can have a dip. There is also a small store where you can buy a few snacks and refreshments.

Feel free to contact my friend/guide if you want to visit the Hapao Rice Terraces: Marvin Nallayyag 0916-962-0940. There is a side trip at the Banaue Ethnic Village which I will tell you more about later. Top up an extra 200 pesos to visit the Banaue View Point along the way.

The Hapao rice terraces is masterpiece of the ingenuity of the Ifugao people for generations. There's still plenty of rice terraces worth the visit in CAR Region alone. Go rice terraces hopping it's a new, perfect adventure this summer! 


Jan Ashlee

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Video Blog - Batad and Sagada Trip #flashbackfriday

I did not know anyone from this group of travelers personally when I joined their trip to Batad, Banaue and Sagada but now they became not just my travel buddies but also my friends.

Here is a video of my recent trip in Batad and Sagada. Credits to CJ and Cielo for this video and to Ms. Ann D' Explorer - your a wonderful travel host! :)

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Kerala Blog Express - Please Vote for me!!

So happy to be one of the finalists for the Kerala Blog Express Challenge! The travel blogger who will win this contest will embark on a journey to the beautiful state of Kerala, India.

So, my precious readers, those who have journeyed with me from the beginning and those who have just arrived here, I would be most grateful if you would consider voting for me. You can visit this link to cast your vote:


And please consider telling your friends and family about this contest. Voting ends on Jan. 15, 2014. Thank you so very much! 

Monday, December 30, 2013

Happy New Year!

Sometimes the chains that prevent us from being free are more mental than physical. As the new year comes, I dare you to dare yourself to do something out of the ordinary! Travel more and discover NEW things. Happy New Year! Breakaway!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

10 free things to do in Hong Kong

Hong kong may not be a cheap destination, but there are plenty of things you could do for free and still get the best of the city. Check out my list and make sure you're able to do all of it when you visit Hong Kong. The best things in life are free! Breakaway!

1. Watch the Symphony of Lights

-Watch as the 50 plus Hong kong buildings  illuminate during a 15 min extravagance of lights, music and lasers. The best view is at the Avenue of Stars in Tsim Sha Tsui District. Be there before 7 or 9 pm and get the best spot. Don't forget to bring a few snacks or drinks, like your watching in a movie house or something :)

Image from Google

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Tips for travelling abroad for the first time

Traveling abroad for the first time can be both exciting and stressful. I always get a lot of questions regarding what to do when traveling abroad for the first time so I created this post to answer all of those questions and to help you with your trip. Hope this helps!

1. Do a research

Research and plan it well, that's one of the most enjoyable things to do before traveling. There are heaps of sites that may help you plan your trip, you just have to research well.

Here are my favourite sites and I hope they can help you too! Check out my blog post here: