Getting to Know Lisbon, the City of Culture

It’s one of the most popular attractions in Europe, at the time. Lisbon is the capital of Portugal and it features a combination of elements that make it really attractive as travel option: it’s a historical city with a Metropolitan edge; the weather is sunny and enjoyable, the people are quaint and friendly. Something about this city feels both exotic and familiar.

Last but not least, Lisbon is a surprisingly inexpensive place to visit. Lisbon is in fashion, and you should get to know it before everyone else does. Here’s an overview of cultural landmarks and experiences that you simply can’t miss while visiting. Don’t forget to arrange your Lisbon airport transfer with Holiday Taxis.

Delicious Food

For anyone who enjoys trying new and delicious foods, Lisbon is a destination of choice. You’ll find a good offering of traditional delicacies and pastries, some of which are known far and wide. Such as the tiny custard pies called “Pastel de Nata”, or the mandatory super-sandwich swimming in beer sauce, the “Francesinha”. But it’s when you start looking past the popular local fast food and into the traditional dishes, that really memorable foods start coming your way.

Notable highlights include the archetypical “Portuguese Stew”, a combination of stewed meats and vegetables that taste as harmoniously diverse as the city itself. Grilled sardines are another mandatory dish, especially in the Summer – when locals often bring their foods out on the street for grilling and fraternizing. Make sure to also try “Caldo Verde”, a unique vegetable soup that goes hand in hand with grilled sardines for the festive Summer evenings which define Lisbon. You need to also, as a general rule, try anything with salted codfish – the Portuguese people knows of 1001 ways to prepare this ingredient, and most of them are very memorable and unique.

Traditional Music

The single most traditional music style you’ll come across in Lisbon is called “Fado”. It’s a particular style of folk singing which is readily identifiable for its melancholic nature and intensely dramatic, sentimental style. Fado usually involves a singer and two or three traditional guitar players, and it can be experienced in curious little “Fado Houses” that often double as traditional restaurants.

If you’d rather experience modern and upbeat music styles, you’ll be surprised with the diversity of concerts, musical venues and summer festivals which permeate the city – especially throughout the summer. You will also come across many shows catering to people who enjoy opera, classical music and even Jazz… there are entire neighborhoods such as Bairro Alto which are always bustling with musical activity and make up for a true cultural amusement park.

Arts and Crafts

When you think about arts and crafts in Lisbon, you immediately think about the city itself: its rugged tapestry of old-fashioned red tile roofs amid historical landmarks and modern buildings. You think of the intricate tiles and pavements that make up the historical center and the mishmash of traditional little shops that draw you into an original Mediterranean dream.

If you’re interested in getting an artistic souvenir, make sure to head out to the little shops scattered around Chiado and Bairro Alto where you’ll find a vast offering of modern products with traditional flair. If you want to dive deep into the local folk’s culture, you should check the monumental flea market that’s held on the first weekend of every month at Jardim da Estrela.

As you can see, there is much to see and do in Lisbon! This is a city that bridges the gap between tradition and innovation, and it feels unlike any other city you’ve visited – although at the same time it will impress you with a warm familiar feeling, no matter where you come from.



Gran Canaria – Highlights of an Island in the Sun

Gran Canaria is part of the Canary Islands. It is an island of volcanic origin located near Tenerife and Fuerteventura in the Atlantic Ocean between Africa and Europe.

Playa de Ingles, the largest resort in Gran Canaria lies on the South coast of the island, and was purpose built for tourism. It is well appointed with hotels, restaurants, bars, clubs and shops, and is perfect for holidays with friends and family.

Getting to your destination from Las Palmas airport is easy. Friendly, efficient and reliable taxi services are available from the airport to your destination or holiday resort. Playa de Ingles is just 45 minutes away, while Las Palmas City centre is only a 30 minute journey. Many of the other southern resorts in Gran Canaria can be reached in 50 minutes or less. Remember to book your transport with the Holiday Transfers team.

If you want to see something typically Spanish or more cultural than just the beaches and resorts, here are few suggestions to enhance your stay on this lovely, sunny island.

Roque Nublo – The summit of the island. A winding road takes you from the beach, through several towns and villages and up into the clouds to see — a rock. What is so special about this rock? It is a basalt rock monolith over 70 meters high. It formed during volcanic activity years ago. The view of the island from the summit is breathtaking and well worth the effort. Although it is not a difficult ascent, it is not suitable for those with disabilities.

Cueva Pintada Museum – Only official guided visits are allowed and must be booked in advance. Based at the North-West of the island, this museum provides a historical view of how the original inhabitants lived. This painted cave is decorated with symbols and geometric figures that represent the life and culture of the original inhabitants.

Playa De Las Canteras – A spectacular beach with golden sands, clean waters and a cove sheltered by a volcanic rock formation. As well as being close to shops and the city centre, the weather is favourable almost all year round. Las Canteras is known as the changing beach. One of the special traits of this beach is that its appearance is constantly changing, so it never looks like the same place.

Dunas De Maspalomas – To the south of the island you will find a great expanse of sand dunes right next to the sea. Ideal for strolling along in a desert paradise, without ever being too isolated from civilisation. Here also, you will find the lighthouse which first began to function in 1890, where it guided the steamboats travelling between Europe, Africa and America.

Teror – This historic town is at the centre of the island. It is reached via steep, winding roads. It is where the patron saint, La Virgin del Pino is said to have appeared. A street market is held here every Sunday.

Bandama – One of the more unusual areas of the Gran Canaria to visit. A spectacular place with beautiful scenery. This is an amazing volcanic crater with vineyards and a wine press where local wines can be sampled.

While on the island, don’t just stick to resorts and touristy areas. Spend time in traditional villages, eat local food and see local entertainments. If there’s a festival happening while you’re in Gran Canaria, be sure to visit.


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.

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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.

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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.