Activities to do in Iloilo, Philippines

A heart-shaped province located in Western Visayas, Iloilo is aptly called the “Heart of the Philippines.” It may only have a total land area of 5000 square km with a population of approximately 2 Million, but this province offers countless activities for the young and old!

Food Tour

When you’re in Iloilo, it’s kinda difficult to stay faithful to your strict diet. Why? For starters, mouth-watering dishes are Iloilo’s year round attractions. Find a true blue local to show you places where you can eat authentic Ilonggo cuisines: La Paz Batchoy, native “lechon manok” (roast chicken), talaba and sinamak (oysters and native vinegar), KBL (pigeon peas, pork, and green jackfruit), chicken binakol, Pancit Molo, and fresh seafood dishes (The Philippines is an archipelago, so you see fresh seafood almost everywhere).

Heritage Sites Tour

There are several historical sites scattered all over Iloilo. Don’t forget to visit Calle Real, Plaza Libertad, the Iloilo Provincial Capitol grounds, Cathedral, Lizares Mansion, Casa Mariquit, Molo Church, and Bahay Camiña nga Bato, Jaro Metropolitan Cathedral, Miagao Church, San Joaquin Church, Dumangas Church, Santa Barbara Church and Convent, Ermita Chapel, and Nazaria Lagos Monument. You will surely be in awe of the history, architecture, and culture of the people. This activity is not only fun but also very educational!

Take a dip in Iloilo’s pristine waters

No travel article about the Philippines has no section about how beautiful its beaches are. Don’t forget your swimming outfit, eco-friendly sunblock, and cameras (these beaches are soooo picturesque)! Head over to Islas de Gigantes, Concepcion, Ajuy, Sicogon, San Joaquin, Miagao, Guimbal, Tigbauan, and Oton.

Climb, Trek, and Hike

Aside from crystal clear waters, Iloilo is also blessed with lush mountains. Get a trusted local tour guide to show you the roads less traveled: Bucari, Igbaras, Janiuay, Calinog, and Lambunao. Hike hidden trails and be surprised to see amazing waterfalls, overlooking views, and super clean surroundings! Your lungs, eyes, and heart will surely thank you!

Enjoy the city life

In most parts of the Philippines, it is still possible to enjoy the so-called “city life” without losing that laid-back ambience. Iloilo City has a number of lifestyle centers where you can enjoy a cup of coffee while reading a book, spa day (alone or with your loved ones), dine at classy restaurants, and shop at malls. Don’t forget to check out Plazuela de Iloilo, Ayala Atria Iloilo, Smallville Complex, SM City Iloilo, Robinsons Place Iloilo, and Iloilo Business Park.

Or go on a city tour

Iloilo may be a province, but Iloilo City is actually a tourist hub. Aside from its numerous restaurants and shopping districts, it also has amazing museums, hotels, and lifestyle districts.  and nightlife in the province await.

Join a festival

Because the Philippines is hugely Catholic, it’s not difficult to find yourself in the middle of a religious festival while in a province. Iloilo hosts the Dinagyang Festival, a religious and cultural festival held on the fourth Sunday of January. Enjoy the tribal music, religious rituals, street dancing, colorful costumes, amazing food, and most of all, the warmth of the locals.

Not a sleepy old town, Iloilo has plenty to offer for the adventurous and young at heart. Reach out to us to help you to plan your next trip to Philippines @askus@ladyredot.com.


 Hello, I am Mish! I used to work as a travel expert, customer service specialist and a communications trainer in the past. After working for eight years straight since I graduated, I decided to give up my corporate job to focuses on my 4-year old son, works as a freelance writer and a real estate assistant. I am a sun-worshipper, a water baby, and an earth warrior. And oh, I’m tiny but I am an Olympic-level glutton. Let me bring your tummy around the globe! You can reach me at LinkedIn.

 

Advertisements

Street Food in Manila

If you are in Manila, be sure to brave the streets and try the street food. Why not? They say the best way to appreciate and learn the culture of a foreign place is by immersion, and that includes trying out what locals do or eat. Convinced? Great! Let me show you Manila’s world famous street food. Warning: this will probably make you drool (or gag, if you’re a bit squeamish).

Balut
Perhaps the most famous Filipino street food by far, Balut or Balot is both weird and appetizing. Balut is an intact duck egg that is boiled and then eaten with vinegar and salt. What do you see inside? Well, it depends on “how old” the embryo is. Some eggs are pure eggs (you know, with the egg white and egg yolk), while some eggs contain tiny developing ducks (yes, with beaks, eyes, and feathers!) We know it’s weird, but we know it’s irresistible! It is a must-try!

Day_2_-_Street_Food.jpg

By Debbie Tingzon from Doha, Qatar – Day 2 – Street Food, CC BY 2.0, Link

Kwek-kwek
Filipinos are known for repeating names like Rap-rap, Maw-maw, and Ton-ton, so you can say that “kwek-kwek” is, on all levels, so Filipino. This dish is essentially just whole quail eggs coated with a mixture of food dye, flour, eggs, and water. The coated egg will then be submerged in super hot cooking oil. The orange eggs are finally served with a very appetizing sauce made with vinegar, calamansi (local lemon), salt, onions, and pepper.

Adidas
No, you’re not gonna be eating some pieces of rubber! Adidas is actually chicken feet on sticks. The chicken feet are coated with a special sauce made with ketchup, soy sauce, and pepper and then grilled. It may look scary, but Adidas is delicious, and is best paired with rice. Why “Adidas”? Because, (chicken) feet = shoes (Adidas)!

Obet's Fried Isaw

Isaw
Isaw is grilled or fried chicken intestines on a stick. Now don’t get squeamish just yet. The intestines are purposely boiled for several minutes prior to kill organisms. It is served with a dipping sauce made with vinegar and salt, or a combination of chili, soy sauce, and coconut vinegar.

14966402162_28e362726f_o

Betamax
Named after the real Betamax tapes, Betamax is chicken blood cut into cubes, skewered, and then grilled. But how do we cut chicken blood into cubes? Well, chicken blood turns into a gelatinous state when cooled (and no it does not go back to its liquid state when grilled). Gross? Wait ‘till you taste it. It’s sinfully delicious.

Taho
Every Filipino, regardless of age, loves Taho. It is basically soy curd with brown sugar caramel and tapioca pearls and is best served warm. It’s a healthy and very affordable drink! If you’re in Manila or in any other place in the Philippines, you’ll know that a Taho vendor is nearby because you’ll hear “taaaaahoooooo!!”

Banana Que
Banana Q or Banana Que a shortcut for Banana Barbeque is banana on stick. Usually served as a snack, this dish involves deep-frying plantain bananas in boiling oil with caramelized brown sugar. It’s usually eaten in the afternoons, after or before a siesta.

Love our introduction of local food? We can help you in hunting down the local hidden food in anywhere in the world! Just askus@ladyredot.com.


mish

Hello, I am Mish! I used to work as a travel expert, customer service specialist and a communications trainer in the past. After working for eight years straight since I graduated, I decided to give up my corporate job to focuses on my 4-year old son, works as a freelance writer and a real estate assistant. I am a sun-worshipper, a water baby, and an earth warrior. And oh, I’m tiny but I am an Olympic-level glutton. Let me bring your tummy around the globe! You can reach me at LinkedIn.

Animal Lover Paradise

If you love animals, it is very important to interact and connect with them in an ethical way. While dolphin shows and huge aquariums are fairly common in some areas these days, some of them may do more harm than good. In this article, we have listed five places where you can enjoy the company of animals without harming them.

Screen Shot 2017-03-09 at 12.41.10 AM.png

The Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary in Woodstock, New York
Located in New York, this rescue shelter believes that animals should be respected and treated with compassion. Guests can learn about the effects of eating meat from animals during their visit. They rescue, rehabilitate, and care for animals that most people know as food—goats, cows, chickens, and pigs. The best part is guests can even pet the beautiful creatures!

Okunoshima, Japan
Also known as the “rabbit island,” this small island has more than 300 wild rabbits that freely roam around and interact with visitors. It can be accessible by a ferry ride from Hiroshima. Aside from being surrounded by cuddly furry friends, the island is a resort and has camping grounds and swimming pools for use. If you love the furry creatures, this is a must-go-to destination!

Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai, Thailand
One of the many activities you can do in Thailand is ride elephants. Sadly, many of these elephants are abused to entertain human. Luckily, ENP or Elephant Nature Park, a rescue and rehabilitation centre in Chiang Mai, allows tourists to interact with elephants in an ethical way. You can volunteer and help them bathe and feed the gentle giants. All money earned by the organisation will go back to the elephants and to the local volunteers.

maxresdefault.jpg

Serengeti in Tanzania
More than a million animals traverse through the Serengeti every single year. Here, you can witness an incalculable number of lions, giraffes, elephants, hippos, hyenas, leopards, cheetahs, zebras and so much more. This is truly a one of a kind experience!

Bear Rainforest Ship Safari in British Columbia, Canada
Bears may be “beasts” to some, but they are actually very intelligent and interesting creatures. Hop on a wooden schooner or tugboat and cruise through the Great Bear Rainforest where you can observe bears (and wolves, occasionally!) in their natural habitat. Bonus: a percentage of the profit goes to bear and whale conservation research.

cccc5ee4ade5198d63af289e69cbd9f9.jpg

Invernesshire, Scotland
Love dogs? You have to put this on your bucket list! Every year in July, the Golden Retriever Club of Scotland holds the Golden Retriever Festival or Guisachan Gathering in Scotland. Participants can enjoy the dog show and bond with more than 200 fluffy dogs! Heaven!

Senda Verde Animal Refuge and Eco-Resort in Yungas, Bolivia
Make your trip more worthwhile by volunteering at this animal refuge centre. You can care for parrots, turtles, bears, monkeys, wild cats, and more. The site uses solar energy to power the oven that is used to prepare food for the animals, and only sources local raw materials. This place is, on all levels, ethical!

timg.jpeg

Lougantai, Zhouzhi
It is without a doubt that pandas are lovable animals. I mean, just look at them! So cute and cuddly, ugh!!! Luckily for those who love pandas, Xi’an has a volunteer program that allows travellers to care for panda and interact with them. Guests can feed them, and of course, clean after them.

We are eco-friendly and we strongly believe that ecotravel. Find out more from us at askus@ladyredot.com on how you can travel responsibly today.


mish

Hello, I am Mish! I used to work as a travel expert, customer service specialist and a communications trainer in the past. After working for eight years straight since I graduated, I decided to give up my corporate job to focuses on my 4-year old son, works as a freelance writer and a real estate assistant. I am a sun-worshipper, a water baby, and an earth warrior. And oh, I’m tiny but I am an Olympic-level glutton. Let me bring your tummy around the globe! You can reach me at LinkedIn.

The Essentials to Pack while Traveling in South East Asia

South East Asia is always the hot travel spot, that tourists worldwide flock around all year long. The seducing white-sand beaches, sunshine, delicious food, culture diverse and most important, the affordability. It is hard to refuse the temptation.

Packing is hard enough if you want to survive the humidity in the tropical South-East Asia. As someone who has lived all my life in summer, trust me if I say these are the essentials you will need to bring along.

screen-shot-2016-11-17-at-11-02-57-pm

Clothes
The weather in SEA is always, always hot and humid, you sweat almost all the time unless you choose to snooze and stay in the air conditioned environment for your entire trip. So, something loose will do best, bring along your shorts, maxi dresses, baggy pants, button-up shirts, blouses, T-shirt or blouse will do. A small light jacket is necessary too, just in case. No need to bring the whole lot, the sun here will dry your clothes in no time, so a few pieces for mix and match are enough.

Screen Shot 2016-11-17 at 11.04.47 PM.png

Footwear
A pair of flip-flop and sneakers will do, unless you are into trekking or mountain climbing, then get your hiking shoes as well. If you likely to walk a lot, get the shoes that you feel most comfortable walking for like 12 hours or so. Don’t forget the pretty socks too.

Screen Shot 2016-11-17 at 11.06.29 PM.png

Accessories
Glasses and sun hats, of course, to look cool while posing for a photo and more importantly, to protect you from the glaring sun.

A light scarf too, is a must if you are going to visit the temples and mosques in your itinerary, bring a scarf to save you the “rental cost” for cover up you will need to enter these premises. In addition, due to the quick temperature change in and outside of the AC environment, a scarf will keep you from freezing while inside the public transportation or shopping malls.

Another must have item is a bum bag, it is easier to carry while shopping or going for adventure tours. Plus, it is safer to keep your valuable things near you while wandering around the streets. Snatch theft is everywhere in the world but I must say, it more severe here.

Raincoat is a necessity due to the unpredictable rains, especially if you are bound for the monsoon seasons. Don’t worry, the rains are generally come and leave pretty quickly, but it’s still good to prepare a raincoat just in case.

screen-shot-2016-11-17-at-11-08-16-pm

A cheap unlock phone
Get a local sim everywhere you go and allow easier communication. Your latest iPhone may be in danger if you keep pulling it in and out of your pockets when strolling along the street.

Screen Shot 2016-11-17 at 11.11.09 PM.png

Personal care
Insect repellent is a life saver. Welcome to the land of insects, tropical weather makes it perfect for mosquitoes, bugs and all. So make sure you are ready for them otherwise, you’ll be scratching yourself the whole night through.

Shoes and Body Deodorizer, as we emphasis on the key words here: hot and humid. Get a spray bottle and make sure you sanitise your sneakers or sports shoes properly on the go. Meanwhile, it will do you some good if you don’t stink up everywhere you go, so pile on the Body Deodorizer.

Sunblock crème: the sun the sun the sun… tan is sexy while getting burned is not

Don’t let street food destroy your fun. Travelling means you got to try a bunch of new food and the food is not always compatible with your digest system so keep the charcoal pills handy.

Public toilets are not always clean and dry tissue won’t do, wet tissue with some sanitised function is the one you will be looking for. Plus, it can really refresh you in a hot afternoon.

If you forget to bring some, don’t panic. You can get almost everything from clothes to personal care at a wallet-friendly price.

So pack light, experience full!

Join June and our writers for an adventure of a lifetime as we help you to plan for your next trip!


june June explores different roles to find out what is her passion. She used to be a travel consultant, a Kindergarden English teacher, an Expedia’s Lodging Partner Support agent, and the latest is being a freelancer. Eventually, she figures that her passion is to express the hospitality spirit from her heart and inspire others from her works. Being a writer for LadyRedot, where she get inspired and inspire others, and running her own bed and breakfast in her homeland. She views life as a colorful and adventurous journey, join her as she shares her passion with you! You can reach out to her @ LinkedIn.

A Guide to Souvenir Ideas

While travelling, we often question ourselves what to buy for those loved ones back home, especially those that make them know you thought of them during your journey. However, with the limitation of luggage weight and the tight budget may cause restriction when it comes to buying souvenirs and sometimes even create a burden for you.

I don’t know about you, but to me, when it comes to gifts, any kind, I value the thoughts and the sincerity you put in it. I love that Y5 coin from a Japanese friend because of its meaning: Go-en, the pronunciation of this coin sound similar to the phrase “fortune to meet” in Japanese. Also, with a hole in the middle you can wear it as a necklace or bracelet. How thoughtful!

So, let use this humble guide for meaningful souvenir ideas, that work almost everywhere you go in Asia to avoid the boring keychains (unless your friends specify this), excessive snack bags or some random iconic decoration items.

spices-541974_960_720.jpg

Spices package
Each country has their unique dish and you can always buy the packed spices come with instructions for special dishes that you loved there. You can either get some and cook for your friends when you back or distribute to among them. You bring back the tastes you experienced, you share the gathering moment with friends and family while telling them about your adventures. And of course, you all learn to cook a new dish, can any gifts be better?

woman-590490_960_720

Silk fabric, brocade fabric products
Travelling in Asia, you find that in almost everywhere you can get affordable silk or brocade products: range from clothes, bags, shoes to decorations. The price of these materials in Asia is always much cheaper as compared to those you get in the West.

Screen Shot 2016-01-31 at 3.01.56 PM

Homemade herbal balm
You know what Asians love, the medical balm or oil. You know that friend of you that usually get muscle cramps or your grandma just loves the smell of herbs when she catches a cold? Get them this. You may also simply give them to your friends, they will surely enjoy a massage with the thoughtful gift.

necklace-518268_960_720.jpg

Handmade jewellery
These come with the incredibly cheap price and various in style. From bracelet, rings, earrings to necklace or hair wear, you can easily grab a couple of small pieces. It might not be as fancy as real jewels yet are unique to give to those back home.

dollar-941246_960_720

Currency notes and coins
No worry about buying anything, just keep the notes or coins from the places to you have been to but to make them more special and stylish, get a frame when you are back, arrange those pieces randomly, put your friend’s name at the corner with your well-wishes. Tada, a decoration for their bedroom or living room.

Screen Shot 2016-11-02 at 1.53.36 PM.png

Map with highlighted spot you went and a postcard of each place
Another classic idea yet creative one. Give a map of the country you went to, highlighted the places you visited and attached a postcard (from your own photos are fine too) to each place. Your loved ones will feel special and inspired from this gift.

Finally, always remember, souvenirs are a way to share your experiences with someone back home while you are travelling. So do not make it a burden, you know your loved ones still love you even if you come back with just stories to tell and photographs to show. After all, love does not always come with items, but rather the way you show and prove them.


 

june June explores different roles to find out what is her passion. She used to be a travel consultant, a Kindergarden English teacher, an Expedia’s Lodging Partner Support agent, and the latest is being a freelancer. Eventually, she figures that her passion is to express the hospitality spirit from her heart and inspire others from her works. Being a writer for LadyRedot, where she get inspired and inspire others, and running her own bed and breakfast in her homeland. She views life as a colorful and adventurous journey, join her as she shares her passion with you! You can reach out to her @ LinkedIn.

Free-ish Activities When in Phuket

Many think that tourism has spoiled Phuket and made it a little too ‘commercial’ for what it used to be a laid back little village. Despite the booming tourism in Phuket, there are still somewhat free-ish budget activities to do when you are in Phuket. Come and join me while I share my secrets with you.

Rent a Bike
Only about 100 baht (2 dollars) a day, renting a motorbike can end up being the best part of your trip. If you’ve always driven a car, riding a bike will make the landscape come alive. You’ll notice places you would have otherwise missed. Although be careful, Thai traffic can be hectic. If you’ve never ride one, ask the renter to teach you.

beach-261572_960_720.jpg

Beach Hopping
Phuket has over 30 beaches. With crystal blue water and tropical weather, they have been ranked some of the best in the world. There’s the bustling Patong beach with jet skiing, surfing, and parasailing; or if you’re looking for something unique stop at a local restaurant and ask around. If you’re lucky you might end up getting the directions to a secret beach.

bang-wad-25-11-13.jpg

Bang Wad Dam
This reservoir has a refreshing 6k loop. For those tired of beach hopping take a jog around Bang Wad to clear your head. The loop with a scenic opening then goes through the woods. It’s also a popular place for fishing and to hang out with friends at night.

Screen Shot 2016-11-02 at 1.34.31 AM.png

Promthep Cape
The cape is located at the southernmost point of Phuket, out looking the Andaman Sea. A popular tourist’s attraction, at the top of the Promthep viewpoint you can get an 180° scene of the adjacent island and sea. Go there during a sunset for a humbling picturesque experience.

big-buddha-744385_960_720

Big Buddha
There’s ‘big’ in the name but it’s hard to fully grasp the size of this Buddha statue unless you see it in person. At 45 meters tall and sitting on a hill, this site can be seen from all around the island. The view outlooks Chalong Bay, Phang Nga Bay, Kata Bay, Kata Noi Bay and others. It is a larger than life representation of the Buddhist values of moral happiness and peace on earth.

screen-shot-2016-11-02-at-1-35-49-am

Chalong Temple
The most visited temple on the island, Chalong Temple is like walking into an ancient museum. It has many smaller temple nearby all decorated with vibrant colours. Tourists are allowed inside but you must respect their traditions: people should wear clothing that covers their shoulders and pants. In each room, there are paintings and monk statues. At the top of the temple, you can get a view of each of the smaller temples in the area.

Walk Around Phuket Town
Most known for its artsy coffee shops and bars, Phuket Town also has some really historic sites. Dating back to the 19th century, the architecture is a site to see. This area is also a hotspot for some live music and local festivals.

Potong Clubs – People Watching
For all the nightlife people, Bangla road is the place for you. Clubs and bars have free entree but drinks are quite expensive. So don’t go into a bar but you can walk along as if you’re on a mission. After every five steps, a promoter or stripper will try to suck you into their bar so walk fast. And with the beach so close after a night of dancing, you can head towards for a swim in the sea.


josh-may Hello! I’m Josh and I’m a journalism and business student from the U.S. I grew up near Boston but now I’m living in Thailand. In the past I’ve been a ski instructor, waiter, and camp counselor. Now I’ve taken up the pen and want to develop my skills as a writer. I got hooked on traveling last December. I found the microscopic image of my town and realized how much of the earth I hadn’t seen. Since then I’ve had a fire in my belly to see and do as much as I can. My experience here in Thailand has been so great and now I’m eager to share and inspire others to get out, it’s worth it! You can keep in contact with me at LinkedInUpwork or Facebook.

Road Trips in Malaysia

 

I just love road trips! When I was in Singapore, there isn’t much chance to do a road trip to the tiny country is really small (think east to west in about an hour or so). But when I moved to Malaysia, opportunities for road trips are plenty! As I am located in Kuala Lumpur, the capital of the country, there are several options open up to me.

Nearby places such as Genting Highlands to Malacca or even for the adventurous and the daring, drive up to Thailand! Many have done it and commented that it is worth it to try.

So if you are arriving in Kuala Lumpur and thinking of spending of setting up 1, 2 or even 3 days for a road trip, here are my fabulous tried and completed recommendations:

Genting Highlands

Journey time: 1 hour+
How far: 55.4km

Why: Genting Highlands are like the winter amusement park for the families or aka Las Vegas for the Malaysians and Singaporeans alike. Jackpot for the grannies, roller coasters for the kids, shopping for the mummies and superstars concerts for the teens. You can spend a weekend there with your family and not be bored.

screen-shot-2016-09-17-at-4-31-18-pm screen-shot-2016-09-17-at-4-39-56-pm tb2nxcuapxxxxxtxxxxxxxxxxxx-71281715

Cameron Highlands

Journey time: 3 hours+
How far: 205km

Why: If you are looking for more educational and closer to nature trip for your family, Cameron Highlands is the place to be. Cooling, fresh air with peaceful nature all around you. That is how I felt whenever I am over there. Plus there are strawberries farms and BOH tea plantation not to be missed!

screen-shot-2016-09-17-at-4-42-53-pm tb2aikiapxxxxaexpxxxxxxxxxx-71281715 screen-shot-2016-09-17-at-4-48-50-pm

Ipoh

Journey time: 3 hours
How far: 198km

Why: This sleepy old town has lots to offer from the fantastic food like famous Ipoh Horfun, Ipoh Chicken Rice, Dim Sum to water rafting to cave exploration. This town doesn’t seem to be that sleepy after all!

screen-shot-2016-09-17-at-4-50-15-pm u4378910781953881675fm21gp0 screen-shot-2016-09-17-at-4-57-51-pm

Penang

Journey time: 4 hours
How far: 353km

Why: The mainly Chinese population town serves really good Penang Laksa, Penang Rojak and Char Koay Teow. Penang has nice beautiful beaches too! Great to drive up for a Sunday seaside picnic.

screen-shot-2016-09-17-at-8-53-28-pm screen-shot-2016-09-17-at-8-50-51-pm screen-shot-2016-09-17-at-8-54-49-pm

Malacca

Journey time: 2 hours
How far: 150km

Why: It is a location full of history and old charm, this place just mesmerises your old socks off. Malacca has a super rich Peranakan culture so do remember to try all the Peranakan food like Asam Laksa, Ayam Pongteh and my favourite Mee Siam! Yummy!

screen-shot-2016-09-17-at-8-56-54-pm screen-shot-2016-09-17-at-8-58-56-pm screen-shot-2016-09-17-at-8-59-20-pm

If you want to plan your next road trip, we can help you to navigate the best route with the best pitstops. Just drop us an email at askus@ladyredot.com!


Writer’s Profile

Kally

Kally is a former Sales and Customer Service manager turned Writer and Founder of MiddleMe.net. She came from Singapore; lived in Shanghai and now calls Kuala Lumpur her home. After hanging up her corporate briefcase, she now pursue her passions – Writing, Traveling and of course, hunting for good food

Connect with me @ Kally@ladyredot.com