TIPS FOR VISITING MANILA’S RESORT

As a travel destination, the Philippines are best known for beachside retreats and natural attractions. This is a visually stunning country full of fascinating things to see and places to relax. As is somewhat inevitable with popular tourist destinations, however, a resort culture has sprung up as well – primarily in Manila. Visiting the world-famous resorts of Manila is a little bit different than your average trip to the Philippines, so we wanted to provide a few general tips for exploring and enjoying this area.

Know The Top Resorts

Manila is right up there with other Southeast Asian destinations like Singapore and Macau when it comes to major resorts. But it still pays to know the specifics before you’re traveling there (rather than just having a vague understanding that there are some huge hotels there). Generally speaking, there are some excellent luxury hotels in the area, including places like The Peninsula, Amanpulo, and the Pangulasian Island Resort, all of which offer terrific comforts and scenery. However, the main draws are the casino resorts: City Of Dreams, Resorts World, and Okada. These are some of the names that should be in your searches as you set out to plan a trip.

Plan Your Casino Visits

You certainly don’t have to visit the casinos at these resorts, as there are plenty of other things to do. However, the casinos are arguably the main attractions, and if you decide you want to check them out, a little bit of preparation is in order. You’ll want to research which games are offered at which venues, and then make sure you understand those games. You may also want to look into how people present themselves so you can dress accordingly, though as casino gaming has become more casual over the years, people now have the freedom to wear almost anything they like in these types of venues. Overall, you just want to have a solid idea of what you’re walking into.

Plan A Few Meals

In more remote Philippines destinations, you’ll be treated to flavorful local cuisine and generally unique dining experiences. In a resort area, it’s more about fine dining – but that’s not a bad thing at all. Some of the restaurants can definitely be pricey, but often the menus are worth it. A few names to keep in mind are Passion (a Chinese restaurant at Resorts World), La Piazza (a surprisingly lovely Italian place at Okada), and Goryeo (an elegant Korean establishment, also at Okada). At City Of Dreams there’s also a Nobu – part of the empire of restaurants Japanese celebrity chef Nobuyuki Matsuhisa built with Robet De Niro. This will be a lot of travelers’ first choice.

Look Beyond The Hotels

This is definitely a resort destination, and as mentioned there are other places all over the Philippines for natural beauty and cultural experience. However, even if you’re looking for a luxury hotel to stay at, you should keep in mind that Manila is far more than its cluster of casinos and resorts. Rizal Park, for instance, is a beautiful outdoor attractions and one of the biggest urban parks in all of Asia. Taal Volcano attracts a lot of sightseers as well. And those are just two of many places to see as you wander the area during the day.

Once you’ve chosen a resort and arrived in Manila, most of your hour-to-hour enjoyment will come easily. You’ll find things to do in and around the hotel, and you’ll be able to relax however you see fit. However, it’s still a good idea to have some of these experiences picked out and considered in advance.

CATEEL’S KUTOO FESTIVAL: A True Heritage Worthy To Be Proud Of

It was in 2011 that I was given the chance to sit as the Chairman of the Board of Judges for the Kutoo Festival, one of the highlights of the Araw ng Cateel celebration. It was a great opportunity for me not only to witness this colorful event and choose the best performing group but also to learn more about my hometown’s rich culture and tradition through this much-awaited event. Kutoo is one of the many old traditions in my hometown widely practiced even today.

Kutoo is a form of ritual or prayer done during a pre-harvesting process of agricultural crops, particularly palay (rice plants) which is considered the main agriculture produce of the town. Cateel is considered as the rice granary of the Eastcoast of Davao Oriental and this practice of Kutoo traces back even the olden times.

The celebration of KUTOO FESTIVAL has become our town’s tribute to the honor this tradition and has become a festival of thanksgiving for the abundance of agricultural products of our hometown. When Typhoon Pablo hit Cateel in 2012, the celebration was put on halt. But this year the Local Government Unit of Cateel initiated the “comeback” of this festival with the participation of the private sectors, public and private schools of all levels. This year, I was again given the opportunity to sit as the Chairman of the Board of Judges.

In the olden days, Kutoo is said to be typically performed by an old woman by way of harvesting a few stalks of palay while saying a prayer during the ritual. The pre-harvesting process involves showing respect and submission to the gods or anitos, specifically Tagamaling and Dagaw, the stewards of crops. This is intended so that the landowner/farmer will be blessed with a bountiful harvest. In the recent days, Kutoo is still practiced by some farmers but the offerings and prayers for the anitos and gods of the crops are no longer performed.

Today, the celebration of Kutoo Festival features a Street Dancing Competition participated by different schools in Cateel. Participating groups are dressed up wearing Mandaya attire and accessories mostly made of cloth known as dagmay dancing along the major streets to the beat of our Mandaya culture. Cateel is home to Mandaya and Mandaya culture and traditions are still practiced to this day – that includes Kutoo. The choreographed performances of the street-dancing and street showdown are patterned after the rituals of Kutoo. Adding to the colors of the festival, palay takes centerstage as the main props.

Kutoo Festival showcases not only our customary harvest ritual but it displays Cateel’s artistic, cultural and historical heritage. Being a festival fanatic who’s been around the country covering different festivals, witnessing our own festival is heartwarming. It is heartwarming because it is my own heritage and it speaks our own culture – the culture and tradition of my people. As I say it before and I say it again, Kutoo Festival is an eye opener for me to know that there is more to discover and more to be proud of of our town – something that the new generation can learn from.

Together with my fellow Cateeleños, I pray that this festival will flourish and this culture will be preserved. For it is a true heritage worthy to be proud of!

CONGRATULATIONS dearest CATEEL!

ALIWAGWAG FALLS FROM THE SKY

For millions of times, I always say I take pride to have been born and raised in the town where the highest waterfalls of the country is found, the majestic Aliwagwag Falls. I would say my hometown of Cateel is blessed with so many natural wonders but topping on the list is this multi-tiered Aliwagwag Falls which is considered as the one of the most beautiful falls in the Philippines.

As a photographer who hails from Cateel, I have loads of stunning photos of Aliwagwag Falls even before it was developed as an EcoTourism destination. Recently, I went home to take drone shots of our hometown’s ultimate pride and these are what I’ve got.

Aliwagwag Falls is considered by hydraulic engineers as the highest waterfalls in the Philippines with over 130 cascading tiers that appears like a white stairway amidst a forest of emerald green. It is regarded as one of the most beautiful falls in the Philippines.

From a true Cateeleño, I am sharing the PRIDE of my hometown to you and to the World. Visit CATEEL and discover the magnificence of Aliwagwag Falls, the highest waterfalls in the country.

CHARMING CATEEL: Davao Oriental’s Water Wonder

The charming town of CATEEL in Davao Oriental is considered as the WATER WONDER of the Province because of its majestic cascading waterfalls, long unspoiled coastlines, pristine beaches and clean rivers. More than a water wonder, CATEEL is blessed with other natural wonders that truly made it a perfect destination to discover and explore.

VISIT CATEEL. VISIT OUR HOME. VISIT OUR CATEEL.

#CharmingCateel #DavaoOriental #ExperienceCateel #MindaNOW

TAWI-TAWI’S AGAL-AGAL FESTIVAL | The Philippines’ Only Seaweed Festival

The Province of Tawi-Tawi is considered as the biggest producer of Seaweed Powder in the country. Because of its significance to the livelihood of the people and the economy of the Province, one grand celebration is made every year as tribute to its great value. This is the Agal-agal Festival which is said to be the only Seaweed Festival in the country. It is derived from the word Agal-Agal which is the local term for seaweed in the Sulu Archipelago.

The staging of AGAL-AGAL FESTIVAL coincides with the Kamahardikaan Sin Tawi-Tawi or the Founding Anniversary of the Province which happens every 25th of September. This year, the celebration was held in the town of Languyan, one of the 11 towns of Tawi-Tawi.Agal-Agal Festival shows how the community value the importance of the seaweed industry which has been part of their living. Being a Province composed of island towns surrounded by vast seas, Tawi-Tawi is endowed with rich marine and aquatic resources. The celebration also reflects these rich bounties of the sea that Tawi-Tawi takes so much pride of.

The festival features the rich culture and traditions of the Sama, Badjau, Jama Mapun and Tausug who peacefully and harmoniously live in the Province – colourful cultures and admirable traditions that are still lived and practiced to this day.

In this year’s edition of Agal-Agal Festival, 9 out of the 11 municipalities of the province participated in the street dancing competition and showdown. Each contingent showcased their well-rehearsed and choreographed dances and performances in their most elegant traditional costumes, colourful props, and upbeat traditional music that reflect the rich culture of their town. Pangalay which is a traditional dance of the Sulu Archipelago is greatly incorporated in their graceful performances.

I have been to a number of festivals in the Philippines. In Mindanao, I have covered some of the most significant festivals that the Island boasts. And just when I thought I have seen enough, Agal-Agal Festival offered me a different festival experience – a different vibe incomparable to the other festivals I have witnessed in the country.

To be here in this southernmost part of the Philippines witnessing such spectacular festival is truly an honor. Given a chance, I shall come back and again relish another Agal-Agal Festival experience!

Shout out of thanks to the Department of Tourism – ARMM headed by Regional Secretary Ayesha M. Dilangalen for inviting The Travel Teller to witness this amusing festival of the country’s southernmost Province.

Wacth THE TRAVEL TELLER’s Video Blog of the Agal-Agal Festival HERE.