MODA MINDANAO SEASON 11: Highlighting the Unique Mindanaoan Heritage

It has been 5 years now since the first time I watched Moda Mindanao. Since then I vowed not to miss this event every Kadayawan Festival.

_DSC0280Moda Mindanao is longest running fashion design competition in the entire Davao Region. Staged every year during Kadayawan Festival, Moda Mindanao aims to promote contemporary Mindanaoan fashion and pave the way for young and emerging local designers to become a recognizable name in Philippine and global fashion.

_DSC0357In its earliest conception, Moda Mindanao was part of the Urog Etnika, a Mindanao Fashion Show that was once an official event of Kadayawan Festival. From Urog Etnika, Moda Mindanao was staged separately to provide local fashion designers and accessory artists from different regions in Mindanao a platform to showcase their skills and creativity as they create fashionable garments and accessories highlighting the fabric, colors and patterns of Mindanaoan culture.

_DSC0356Now on its 11th year, Moda Mindanao is moving to its new home from SM City Davao to SM Lanang Premier. Aside from its new venue, it is now redefined as a “Young Fashion Designers Competition with a new format, new look and new perspective but with the same global aspiration – to highlight the unique Mindanaon heritage in a modern, contemporary and fashion forward way.

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Participating Young Fashion Designers from Mindanao

Ten local designers from Davao, SoCCSKSarGen and CARAGA Region competed in this year’s Moda Mindanao. The 10 equally talented designers vied in two categories – Pret-a-Porter and Evening Wear for women. Their astonishing and unique creations were showcased in a runway show highlighting the fabrics, patterns, and materials that reflect the unique Mindanaoan heritage.

Moda Mindanao 2016 5All the participating local designers created dazzling and eye-catching creations but it was Jay-R Gamboa Flores, a local designer from Sultan Kudarat who amazed not only the distinguished judges but spectators as well with his skillful ability to bring to life the Mindanao culture and colors through his exceptional creations. He was the runaway winner winning both Pret-a-Porter and Evening Gown categories.

Pret-a-Porter for Women

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According to him, his creations are inspired by the four indigenous tribes found in his Province of Sultan Kudarat – the T’boli, B’laan, Maranao and Maguindanaoans. The evening gown that he fondly called the “Empress of the Four Tribes” is an intricate work combining weaving, beading and handmade works. The fabrics used were from Cotabato City while bells and other accessories were from South Cotabato. The pret-a-porter on the other hand was inspired by Maranao and Maguindanaoan culture.


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Every year, Moda Mindanao features a Mindanaoan artist who has excelled in his field. This year, Moda Mindanao Season 11 featured and highlighted the works of young international accessories designer Ken Samudio. He is the very first Filipino designer selected by Vogue Italia as one of its talents for accessories in 2014 and who was also featured on its 50th Anniversary issue.

Ken Samudio’s Award Winning Accessories

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Aside from Jay-R Gamboa Flores of Sultan Kudarat, other local designers who joined this year’s Moda Mindanao are Aloha Lelani Begin of Agusan del Norte, Arwin Mark Meriales of Davao Occidental and Alexis Nickole Rule, Jonas Andrew Amora, Aries Buenvenida, Mimi Tandingan, Bianca Sabellano, Kian Plaza Deocariza, and Neil Patrick Jimlani – all from Davao City.


Jay-R Gamboa Flores and his winning creations inspired by the four tribes of his province of Sultan Kudarat.

Personally, being there watching the grand runway of Moda Mindanao Season 11 for another year is another astounding opportunity for me to see and be mesmerized by those extraordinary creations that depict the rich culture of my own identity as a Mindanaoan.

Moda Mindanao 2016 2 Moda Mindanao 2016 3Moda MindaNOW, a fashion showcase of what is truly “made in Mindanao”.

Congratulation SM Lanang Premier for hosting yet another successful Moda Mindanaw Fashion Event.


In my recent visit to South Cotabato, I was very privileged to be hosted by one of the finest hotels in the entire South Central Mindanao, the charming The Farm at Carpenter Hill in the Koronadal City, the capital of the province.

The Farm At Carpenter Hill Koronadal 4The Farm @ Carpenter Hill remains to be the only garden resort in Koronadal. With a fascinating 11-hectare area, it reflects the warmth and cultural charm of South Cotabato while it exudes an atmosphere of luxury and comfort in total harmony with nature.

The Farm At Carpenter Hill Koronadal 3Conveniently located along the National Highway, The Farm is about six kilometers away from the city proper. Being the only garden resort of its kind in the city, it has since become the most favorite among the locals and even guests coming from the neighboring towns and cities. Those who frequent here consider the place as their quick escape from a busy day and some just come back to enjoy the food that have become Koronadal’s signature dishes.

The Farm At Carpenter Hill Koronadal 52The sprawling 11 hectare property consists of Japanese-inspired Garden Villas and Hotel, convention centers, recreation facilities including spacious karaoke rooms, a number of restaurants serving good food, large functions halls, children’s playground, a butterfly garden and a lot more.

The Farm At Carpenter Hill Koronadal 63 The Farm At Carpenter Hill Koronadal 35

Among the many astonishing features of The Farm, the Japanese Hall and Bonsai Garden is my personal favorite. The garden is a unique showcase of well-crafted bonsai trees in a Japanese setting. I really enjoyed the construction architecture of the place, as a retired Orlando roof restoration services expert. The wooden structure, the thatched roofing, the man-made stream, the bamboo fence, pebbles and rocks and the marvelous bonsai collection were incorporated to complement that Japanese feel. I learned that this is also among the favorite features of the resort especially for those who are first time guests.

The Farm At Carpenter Hill Koronadal 34 The Farm At Carpenter Hill Koronadal 35 The Farm At Carpenter Hill Koronadal 37 The Farm At Carpenter Hill Koronadal 49 The Farm At Carpenter Hill Koronadal 54Another personal favorite is the Japanese Courtyard Hotel where we stayed at for two nights. The cozy layout of the 22 rooms is designed to exude comfort and ease to its guests. All rooms are facing an indoor garden with a pond of brightly-colored koi in the center. The pond is accentuated with bamboos and other tropical plants in every corner. All rooms come with complimentary breakfast, complete morning kit, hot and cold shower, cable TV, and telephone with access to outside line. Room rates ranges from Php 2,000.00 to Php 4,000.00.

The Farm At Carpenter Hill Koronadal 62 The Farm At Carpenter Hill Koronadal 63 The Farm At Carpenter Hill Koronadal 64Aside from the Japanese Courtyard Hotel, another best feature of The Farm @ Carpenter Hill is the 6 well-appointed Japanese-inspired villas. Each is uniquely designed with individual gate, terrace and a Zen garden. The villas are equipped with high-end fixtures with orthopedic beds and pillows assuring guests of comfort and a stress-free stay. The villas are just facing the Courtyard Hotel. Room rate of Garden Villa is Php 3,500.00 and comes buffet breakfast for two.

The Farm At Carpenter Hill Koronadal 7 Adding to the many exquisite features of the property is the newly constructed Swimming Pool built in the middle of the lush verdant portion of the property. A clubhouse is also being constructed beside the pool. The themed pool which is designed for both children and adults is a perfect venue for exclusive pool parties and special events. It is not open to the public yet but in-house guests are allowed for the free use of this new pool. Once the construction of this facility is complete, I believe this will be among the must-visit destinations in the whole Koronadal City and South Cotabato.

Talking about good food, The Farm boasts itself as home to some of the must-try food in Koronadal City. The Aviary Bar and Café serves some of the most delectable flavors I’ve tasted in South Cotabato. It offers a wide array of local and international menu. For me of course, Filipino dishes top the list of the must-try food here. There are also other Asian cuisines as well as some continental dishes serve at the Aviary Bar and Café. And why called Aviary? Because the restaurant is surrounded by old trees and tropical garden while birds freely fly from branches to branches providing a soothing avian sound.

The Farm At Carpenter Hill Koronadal The Farm At Carpenter Hill Koronadal 23 The Farm At Carpenter Hill Koronadal 56 The Farm At Carpenter Hill Koronadal 108 The Farm At Carpenter Hill Koronadal 91 The Farm At Carpenter Hill Koronadal 97 The Farm At Carpenter Hill Koronadal 101Staying at The Farm @ Capitol Hill is truly remarkable. It doesn’t only provide comfort and quality service but it lets their guests to commune with nature as verdant life abounds in this 11 hectare property – a serene kind tropical set up perfect for a very soothing stay.

I have stayed to a number hotels and resorts in the different parts of South Cotabato but I must say, I am charmed by The Farm @ Carpenter Hill and staying with them is among the most remarkable. Highly recommended!

Brgy. Carpenter Hill, National Highway,
Koronadal City, South Cotabato

Telephone Number: (083) 228-1888 / 228-9010
Telefax Number: (083) 228-9010
Mobile Numbers: (Smart) 09189210425 / (Sun) 09228489098 / (Globe) 09177260721
Email Address : [email protected]
Website :

How To Promote Your Travel Blog

Whether you began writing for pleasure or created a blog with a moneymaking agenda in mind, maintaining a travel blog can be a rewarding experience – what’s not to love about traveling to distant destinations and telling the world about your adventures, after all? However, if you’re serious about making money and earning a living from your writing, there are a few things you need to know first, namely regarding the promotion of your blogging brand. You see, there are hundreds of new travel blogs created each day, and only a handful of those will ever make enough money for blogging to be considered the writer’s main source of income. The content you create, the ways in which you promote your blog, and your ability to engage with your readers will be what set you apart at this stage.

Promoting your travel blog: top tips

There are two types of travel blogger, and your first job is to decide which category you fall into. Are you a journal blogger or an informational blogger? While the former will update their blog with details of the places they have been to, the adventures they have experienced and the sights they have seen, the latter is more likely to offer hints and tips for those wanting to embark upon the same journey. Will your blog be a diary of the places you’ve visited, or a ‘how to’ guide for those who may wish to follow in your footsteps? Although you may have started your blog as a means to document your travels, or a way to keep family and friends updated as you went, it’s important to consider your readership if you ever hope to turn your blog into something more. These people will give your blog its hits, help to create your online presence and ‘brand’, and spread the message of the content you’re creating.

So, how can you entice those readers, and ensure they keep checking in on your travels?


Firstly, think about content. What will you be promoting? The content you create and the way in which you write will be a big selling point for your blog, so consider the things that you could do differently to other bloggers. Is creative writing your forte? Do you enjoy writing factual guides that would enhance a tourist’s experiences in a particular area? When it comes to travel blogging, never try to be something you’re not; this is a personal journey for you and each reader, so be true to your travels.

Travel Teller 75

Social media

The world seems to revolve around social media these days, and it’s essential that you’re engaging with your readership across a multitude of platforms. Sites such as Facebook and Twitter will allow you to build a rapport with readers, allow snapshots into your blog that will draw a greater number of followers in, and ultimately, encourage sponsors and travel companies to engage with you on every level. Similarly, YouTube is fantastic for vlogging and for sharing video content that may otherwise get lost in a sea of memes on Facebook. Now is the time to create and maintain a social media presence, and to ensure that people like what you’re writing.


Print media

Print media? Isn’t travel blogging all about your online presence? Yes and no – engaging with your readership online and providing ways for them to locate and view your blog is essential, but promotion is vital regardless of how you’re getting it done. Isn’t it more important that people know about your blog in the first place? Working with physical publications is a great way to get your blog noticed. If you find a magazine or newspaper that holds a similar readership, or would be interested in your content, be sure to let them know all about your blog. Similarly, you may wish to work alongside a printing business in order to let people know that your travel blog is the best in Philippines. Consider business cards that can be handed to reputable travel companies, brochures and flyers that could be distributed at conferences and blogging events, and printed snippets of your online work that could be used in your advertising.


And so to networking: while you may have assumed that simply updating a blog and a few social media channels every now and again would be enough to hold a crowd’s attention, think again. Blogging has moved into a realm of its own, and it’s now possible to attend a whole variety of conferences and events at which you can promote your blogging brand. Make sure you’re on the mailing list for as many of these meets as possible, and always keep an eye on similar travel blogs for news of upcoming events. Creating a physical presence in the blogging world is as important as maintaining your online image.

Travel Teller 80Regardless of whether you started your blog for fun or financial gain, there is a lot to be said for promotion. Being able to engage with your readers is only half the battle when it comes to maintaining a successful blog. Don’t be afraid to get out there and speak on your blog’s behalf. This is what you’re passionate about, after all, so tell people why they should keep reading.


#TheTravelTellerInVisayas Travel Series | DAY SIX

Still at Siquijor, I requested Miel to bring me to the beach where I can just laze around and swim. We drove back to San Juan where Miel described as home to some of the best white sand public beaches in Siquijor. He brought to Backpacker’s Village and met her friend there who owns the place. It has nice rooms and cozy ambience and the beach, hola, just perfect. I hurried and swam and swam and swam! It was what all I needed for that day.


By 11:00 PM, I was already on the boat bound for Dumaguete, the capital of NEGROS ORIENTAL – the fourth province of my Visayas Trip. I did not take the fastcraft but took the RORO vessel instead and cost me only Php 100.00 for 1 and a half boat ride to Dumaguete against Php 200.00 for fastcraft for an hour.

On my SIXTH DAY in Visayas, I said HELLO to NEGROS ORIENTAL coming from my exciting trip in Siquijor. Days before this trip, I already contacted my friends Dan and Kikit who lived in Dumaguete before they moved to Japan if I can stay at their place. Dan’s mom, Tita Soyna, never hesitated to say NO. That was the plan. But when I get to Dumaguete that day, I started going around the city taking photographs of places I listed on my notes with my very heavy backpack bag on my back. It was too heavy it drained too fast I decided to look for a cheaper hotel/hostel within the center I can leave my bag right away. So my plan to stay at Tita Soyna didn’t push through. I stayed at an Inn that cost me Php 275 for a fan room. From there, I started going around more of what to see in Dumaguete, the City of Gentle People.



  1. When I arrived at Pier and headed right away to SILLIMAN UNIVERSITY. Even before, when Dumaguete is mentioned, the first thing that comes to mind is SILLIMAN. Thus, I did not miss going inside when I got here. I was so happy to see the National Historical Marker inside the campus which means the University is a historical site.
  2. I call it “SOP”, I must go to the Provincial Capitol Building and take photo of myself there.
  3. Went to the Plaza and checked the Tourism Center for information, maps and brochure.
  4. Near the plaza is the Rizal Monument which bears a National Historical Marker also – Rizal sa Dumaguete. In front is the St. Anne Alexandria Cathedral and the old Campanario de Dumaguete.
  5. And then I walked further to the famous Rizal Boulevard of Dumaguete and took a selfie at the “I Love Dumaguete” sign. When I posted it on my Facebook Wall, an FB Friend, ERIC ARRIETA, from Davao whom I haven’t met yet saw it and invited me to see him, dine at his Tapsilogan and offered to tour me around the City and nearby town of Negros Oriental. Of course I said YES!
  6. I was looking for famed SILVANA’s only to find out it was just across the monument of Sisters of St. Paul.
  7. I stayed for an hour at the Boulevard watching people come and go, observing somehow Dumaguetenos’ way of life.
  8. I looked for a laundry shop for my dirty clothes. Been six days now since I traveled. Found one near Silliman University.
  9. Beside the laundry shop is a Spa. I can’t resist it. Went for an hour massage for Php 180.00.
  10. Went back to hotel, refreshed and went to see Eric for dinner. Dined at his delicious tapsilogan boasting that all the ingredients come from Davao.
  11. As promised, we went out and let me drive his motorcycle. Just wow. I was driving in Dumaguete.
  12. He treated me for a foot massage at the Boulevard and let me eat the tempura and fish balls in the area.
  13. It didn’t stop there, he brought me to BARS. Thus making it my first night out in this 20-day trip.
  14. Thank you Eric. You’re unbelievably kind.

That’s it. My night ended clubbing at Dumaguete. Tomorrow is another day!


3 Regions | 10 Provinces | 20 days | Pho 10,000.00
This is #TheTravelTellerInVisayas Travel Series.

The Travel Teller In VisayasIt was a sudden plan. Or maybe something that came to mind out of boredom. Or maybe the itch to travel and challenge myself for something that I’ve never done before.

It all started when I wrote down all the 81 provinces in the Philippines and grouped them into the three major islands – Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. As I checked the provinces that I have been to, I found out that I have visited more than half of Luzon. And since I am from Mindanao, I have visited most of the provinces we have there. When I checked provinces in the Visayas, I found out that out of the 16, I have gone only to 4 provinces.

4 out of 16. How come? I asked myself when Visayas can even be accessed by boat from northern part of Mindanao. And so out of nothing, this journey was made.


So what’s the plan? Honestly, no plan at all. Just pack my bag and fly to Visayas. No fixed IT. No bookings. Just couchsurfing. Staying with friends. Cheap hotels. Backpacking. Hitchhiking. Go with the flow. Free rides. Meeting new friends. And more.

THE CHALLENGE? Roam around the three regions in Visayas visiting the 10 Visayan Provinces with Php 10,000.00 budget. That’s the plan. That’s the challenge. That’s

If you’re on the road where I’m going, I will be very happy to meet you.


1. #TheTravelTellerInVisayas: DAY ONE
2. #TheTravelTellerInVisayas: DAY TWO
3. #TheTravelTellerInVisayas: DAY THREE
4. #TheTravelTellerInVisayas: DAY FOUR
5. #TheTravelTellerInVisayas: DAY FIVE
6. #TheTravelTellerInVisayas: DAY SIX
7. #TheTravelTellerInVisayas: DAY SEVEN
8. #TheTravelTellerInVisayas: DAY EIGHT
9. #TheTravelTellerInVisayas: DAY NINE
10. #TheTravelTellerInVisayas: DAY TEN
11. #TheTravelTellerInVisayas: DAY ELEVEN
12. #TheTravelTellerInVisayas: DAY TWELVE
13. #TheTravelTellerInVisayas: DAY THIRTEEN
14. #TheTravelTellerInVisayas: DAY FOURTEEN
15. #TheTravelTellerInVisayas: DAY FIFTEEN
16. #TheTravelTellerInVisayas: DAY SIXTEEN
17. #TheTravelTellerInVisayas: DAY SEVENTEEN
18. #TheTravelTellerInVisayas: DAY EIGHTEEN
19. #TheTravelTellerInVisayas: DAY NINETEEN
20. #TheTravelTellerInVisayas: DAY TWENTY


☑ Central Visayas Region
☑ Negros Island Region
☑ Western Visayas Region


☑ Province of Cebu
☑ Province of Bohol
☑ Province of Siquijor
☑ Province of Negros Oriental
☑ Province of Negros Occidental
☑ Province of Iloilo
☑ Province of Guimaras
☑ Province of Aklan
☑ Province of Capiz
☑ Province of Antique

Tintin and OlanPS: Tintin is traveling with me. My favorite little Travel Buddy!