IN PHOTOS: Jogjakarta’s Heroes of Batik


Batik is a method of dyeing fabric using wax resist. The traditional process is handmade from start to finish, and the result is a motif textile that can be transformed into clothing ranging from everyday wear to traditional costumes.

Indonesia is credited to have proliferated the art of batik. In Yogyakarta, or Jogja for short, batik has developed with hundreds of years of skill and sophistication, resulting to thousands of unique and elaborate motifs.

Batik Plentong showcases this and more through its artisans, masters, and truly, heroes of the art.

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IN PHOTOS: Huta Siallagan at the Heart of Lake Toba, Indonesia


GADING SIALLAGAN is an old man, probably in his 70s or even 80s, who sports silver hair that is neatly parted sideways. His facial features are refined but what strikes are his eyes, deep set with wisdom as a Batak of Northern Sumatra in Indonesia.

In his prime years, Siallagan was an aerospace flight control engineer, which made him see the world from Asia to America to Europe. He also became an educator in a top Indonesian university.

Today, the well-traveled Batak is settled in his hometown, particularly in Huta Siallagan in Samosir Island at the heart of Lake Toba. At 1,145-square kilometer and 450-meter deep, it is the largest volcanic lake in Southeast Asia, as well as one of the deepest in the world.

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Facing Fear, Testing Limits, and Seeing Beauty at Kibungan Mountains – Part 3


(Last of Three Parts)

Chasing Time, Going Home

DO you know that feeling when you’re chasing time to something very important, like a concert or a flight, but suddenly luck isn’t on your side? With every ticking of the clock, you’re tummy is also turning. You need to make it, no matter what.

There wasn’t any concert in the mountains or a flight back to Manila, but we were indeed chasing time on our last day at Kibungan. To be exact, chasing our bus ride back home. It was still in the evening but we already knew how limited our time and resources were. The chase was on. 

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Facing Fears, Testing Limits, and​ Seeing Beauty at Kibungan Mountains – Part 2


(Second of Three Parts)

Crying Mountains to Tacadang

HOW does one prepare for a journey to someplace one has never been before? Often, a traveler relies on research and recommendations. For us mountaineers involved in community work, communication among locals and leaders are required.

It is them whom we based our itinerary and estimations on trek time. Often, if they say it takes them one hour to summit from jump off, then we double it for ourselves.

This was the case for our Kibungan circuit, in which half was to be spent on unfamiliar trails despite RAK Ph Mountaineers’ regular outreach activities in the mountainous province. We were aware that coming from Sitio Lanipew, all of us would technically be “first-timers” going to Barangay Tacadang proper on Day 2.

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Facing Fears, Testing Limits, and Seeing Beauty at Kibungan Mountains – Part 1


(First of Three Parts)

Rainy Assault at Almasi

IMAGINE assaulting a steep trail with small steps carved from a mountain’s solid surface while being exposed to the forces of nature—behind you is the open mountain range covered in white. You realize you’re actually inside the clouds or the fog, whichever, for it is raining and every now and then, the wind blows sharp, cold stings. Below, you see the endless and tiresome steps you just took but not the bottom.

Now imagine arriving at the top of such the arduous ascent only to be faced with a new peak, beyond it, a silhouette of yet another peak. It feels and seems like there is no end to this assault.

​This was the infamous Almasi trail of Kibungan’s mountain range of high summits, deep gorges, thick forests and countless waterfalls.

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Camiguin May Be PH’s Next Best Diving Destination – Says Cebuano Diver


BO MANCAO is not just a diver by heart but also by blood—if there’s such a thing. After all, he was born into and raised by a family of divers from Cebu, one of the most renowned dive destinations in the Philippines.

The country being an archipelago teeming with marine treasures, Mancao naturally ventured out of his hometown, discovering other sites in nearby and faraway island provinces. Camiguin was one of them. He was still young when he first discovered and explored the waters of Camiguin together with his father back in the 90s.

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From Farm to Forest to Sea: 3 New Destinations to Visit in Oriental Mindoro


PUERTO GALERA is the first destination that comes to mind whenever thinking of traveling to Oriental Mindoro. However, the town famed for its beaches has its significant share of tourist arrivals from both the country and abroad.

It’s time to discover what else lies beyond Puerto Galera, going south and throughout the province of Oriental Mindoro—especially with the newly launched #ByahengOrMin campaign.

A project of the Provincial Tourism, Investment, and Enterprise Development Office (PTIEDO), #ByahengOrMin is just the beginning of province’s long-term goal to become the leading agri-eco-tourism destination in MIMAROPA by 2025.

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Dong-Elay’s: The Homey-est Homestay in Maligcong


IT was barely two weeks before the set dates and we at RAK Ph Mountaineers were still deciding on a destination to climb—this after months of trying but failing to form a team for a major climb.

It had to be something easy, something we can accomplish in a weekend. Yet it had to be in the Cordilleras, home to our most loved mountains in Northern Luzon.

​It had to be a “chill climb”and Mts. Kupapey and Fato in Brgy. Maligcong, Bontoc town in Mountain Province fit the bill. We would sidetrip to the community’s Maligcong Rice Terraces too. 

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5 Ways to Experience the Charm of Corregidor


LOCATED off the coasts of Bataan and Cavite, right at the mouth of Manila Bay, the island of Corregidor served as the focal point of naval defenses of the Philippine and American forces against Japanese troops during World War II. After days of bloody battle, the former surrendered Corregidor to the latter in 1942, heralding Japan’s reign in the country.

With such remarkable history, many have come to Corregidor lured by tales of ghosts and haunting. After all, its storied ruins and defunct armory tell of turbulent battles; while its dark tunnels form shadows and reverberate with echoes.

But beyond the history that it bore witness to and the remnants of this gloried past, what is Corregidor’s charm to us today? ​

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IN PHOTOS: A South Korean Fishing Village


WINTER is not the best time to hit the beach, but the sight of it waters—turning almost teal in this season—is enough to charm. 

Last December during a media familiarization tour of Gangwon province in South Korea, this author saw how Youngjin Beach remained busy from tourists. It’s a bit popular for the fact that it served as setting to the global K-drama hit “Goblin” featuring the famous Gong Yoo. In one of its many breakwaters, an important scene took place and many locals and foreigners were trying to recreate it. 

But this wasn’t what really caught my attention.

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