My Balkan journey (first of three parts)

Whole street of Cravat Stores in Zagreb

WE were prepared to face the two-degree or even zero-degree Celsius weather in the Croatian cities of Split and Dubrovnik. Warned of the upcoming negative four chill in Zagreb, the temperature turned out to be kind and friendly, hitting 7 to 10 degrees. But let me start from the beginning of my journey.

The trip took place last November. There was much to explore. The places were filled with history, fascinating bygone times, intriguing details, heartbreaking political invasions and famous movie set locations.MORE

DOT, LGUS to work on ‘Tourism Gaps’

THE Department of Tourism (DOT) is working with local government units (LGUs) to identify every region’s tourism gaps.

“Together with other national government agencies and LGUs, we will identify the tourism gaps in our regions and their localities. And together, we will fill them up with our resources and every support we can muster,” said Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo.MORE

7 things to do before taking the Civil Service test

THE examination schedule for Civil Service is fast approaching. It would be on March 12 this year. Those who have filed may feel pressured and excited at the same time.

For first timers, you might feel curious on what type of examination would it be. For second timers and those who’ve tried several times but didn’t make it, you already have ideas on what particular subjects you will review on.MORE

PMQ is a PYT

HONG KONG. The former police residence is today a creative hub for young talents in Hong Kong.

WHO doesn’t love a makeover? In Hong Kong, the old parts of the city are undergoing a makeover. The restoration gives life to ageing structures and brings back the excitement to the vicinity.

One of the structures that were made over is at No. 35 Aberdeen Street in Sheung Wan in the middle of SoHo—the PMQ, which will turn three years old this year since it opened to the public in April 2014.MORE

Krakow calling

The chapel of St. Kinga, 101 meters underground in the Wieliczka Salt Mine, has sculptures, reliefs and chandeliers made of salt.

DEEP into the bowels of the earth we descended, more than 400 steps with hundreds more to go. In that cold, damp space between gray walls, we moved from one compartment to the next, the eerie sound of wind coming through heavy wooden doors.

The Wieliczka Salt Mine is 327 meters deep (taller than the Eiffel Tower), and its underground maze of corridors stretches 200 miles. But that’s not the reason this mine outside the city of Krakow has drawn tourists for two centuries.MORE

Good reviews for ‘Anak’ ad

Screen grab from ‘Anak’ ad of the Department of Tourism – Philippines

TOURISM stakeholders in Cebu lauded the newest tourism campaign released by the Department of Tourism (DOT), which showcased Filipino hospitality.

The agency has retained the “It’s more fun in the Philippines” slogan, a move that earned praise because it will ensure continuity in the efforts to boost the country’s image to potential travelers.MORE

Filipina fashion designer stuns Paris audience

PARIS. Sari Lazaro’s creation was worn by Vietnamese-born, Paris-based model and “Catwalk on Water” producer, Jessica Minh Anh, left, at the Seine River in Paris last January 27.

Showcasing Filipino creativity in no less than the world’s fashion capital, Filipina haute couture designer, Sari Lazaro, closed the “Catwalk on Water” show at the Seine River in Paris last January 27 with her Royal Secret Garden collection.

Lazaro’s creation was worn by Vietnamese-born, Paris-based model and “Catwalk on Water” producer, Jessica Minh Anh. Combining dramatic, laser-cut details on luxurious silks and flowing tulle and lace, the designer stirred up romance, mystique, and new age flair in her latest collection.MORE

Chinese art, a family heritage

(SunStar Foto/Allan Defensor)

PROSPERITY and good fortune for the year has been opened beautifully through the display of aesthetics brought about by the mix of cultures and traditions. As doors are opened to welcome fortune, happiness and luck, SM Seaside City displayed a massive exhibit featuring 200 artworks by 43 artists mounted by the Chan Lim Family of Artists and Students together with Cebu Dynamic Youth entitled “An Exhibit of Chinese and Western Paintings.” The exhibit can be found at Mountain Wing Atrium for the celebration of Chinese New Year 2017. The launching was held last Jan. 21 with a free painting workshop for the media, together with some student artists from different art schools in the city.

Last Jan. 28, for the celebration of the Lunar New Year, a performance with the dragons was held as a tradition for good luck. The dragons danced on stage and roamed around the paintings to bless the event and entertain the audience at the same time. The paintings will be available for viewing until February 5.MORE

Student-filmmakers make it to Int’l Children’s Filmfest

certificate_of_congratulations

IT’S VERY busy in Davao these days. There was the euphoria over the official state visit of Japan Prime Minister and his various activities in the city that included the adoption of Philippine Eagle Sakura with the Philippine Eagle Foundation, the visit at the Mindanao Kokusai Daigaku (International College), and the breakfast at President Rodrigo Duterte’s residence at Dona Vicenta Teacher’s Village in Matina, Davao City.

Then came the launching of the President’s chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) on Sunday attended by hordes of Asean leaders and visitors.MORE

Frigid northern China hosts snow and ice sculpture festival

In this Dec. 31, 2016, photo, visitors tour a castle-like structure made from blocks of ice at the Harbin International Ice and Snow festival held in Harbin in northeastern's China's Heilongjiang province. (AP)
In this Dec. 31, 2016, photo, visitors tour a castle-like structure made from blocks of ice at the Harbin International Ice and Snow festival held in Harbin in northeastern’s China’s Heilongjiang province. (AP)

HARBIN, China — The city of Harbin in China’s frigid northeast is hosting one of the world’s largest festivals featuring ice sculptures of animals, cartoon characters and famous landmarks.

The festival, which officially opens late Thursday and last year drew more than a million visitors, showcases the region’s tradition of snow and ice carvings as well as ice swimming in the Songhua River. Harbin’s temperatures can fall to minus 25 degrees Celsius (minus 13 degrees Fahrenheit).MORE

Agatha Christie helped in uncovering Iraq’s ancient Nimrud

NIMRUD. This Nov. 19, 2008 photo released by the US Army shows the statues of the lamassu, the winged, human-headed bulls that stood at the gates of the palace and were believed to ward off evil in the ancient city of Nimrud, near Mosul, Iraq. The bulls were destroyed by Islamic State group militants in early 2015 as they razed the entire site, one of the most important archaeological ruins in the Middle East. (AP)
NIMRUD. This Nov. 19, 2008 photo released by the US Army shows the statues of the lamassu, the winged, human-headed bulls that stood at the gates of the palace and were believed to ward off evil in the ancient city of Nimrud, near Mosul, Iraq. The bulls were destroyed by Islamic State group militants in early 2015 as they razed the entire site, one of the most important archaeological ruins in the Middle East. (AP)

NIMRUD, Iraq — Her diligence and face cream cleaned Nimrud’s most famous ivory. She captured the archaeological dig in Iraq on celluloid and Kodak film, developing the prints in water painstakingly filtered from the nearby Tigris River.

And every day, after she balanced the books and arranged for the next day’s meals, Agatha Christie sat down to write.MORE

South Korean market interested on virgin coconut oil

SOUTH Korean investors are interested on virgin coconut oil exports from Davao Region for their booming cosmetic industry.

Virgilio Sangutan, president of Davao Inventor’s Association and an advocate of coconut products, said that last Friday and Saturday, he met with South Korean investors in his MI Herbal Plant in Carmen, Davao del Norte.MORE

7 places to visit in Philippines this 2017

El Nido offers a wide array of watersports activities, including paddle boarding. (Photo by Alan Tangcawan)
El Nido offers a wide array of watersports activities, including paddle boarding. (Photo by Alan Tangcawan)

WITH 7,107 islands, there are plenty of places to explore around the country. Just browse through blogs and social media posts and you’ll find that another beach or natural attraction has captured the delight of travelers and adventurers. They are so many that it can last me a whole lifetime just exploring all of them.

I have come up with my own list of places in our archipelago that I hope to visit this 2017. If I can tick off even just two of them, it will already make my year a good one. But if my resources can bring me to all of these spots, why not visit them all? Here’s my travel wish list in the Philippines this year.MORE