Magayon: Mayon Volcano In Photos

Photography by Julius Santos

Seen in the 100-peso banknote and gracing many postcards and magazine covers, the Mayon Volcano (also known as Mount Mayon) is certainly one of the most iconic natural landmarks of the Philippines. With an elevation of 2,463 meters, the Mayon Volcano stands proud in the province of Albay, settling prominently across eight cities and towns.

Mayon, categorized as a stratovolcano, is among the five major and considered as the most active of all Philippine volcanoes. 49 eruptions have been recorded since the 1600s, with the 1814 eruption as the most destructive and the most lethal, burying the town of Cagsawa and killing 1,200 locals. Mayon’s most recent activities were noted on September 2014, prompting forced evacuations of families residing within 6 kilometers from the crater.

Mayon Volcano

Daragang magayon. Nothing makes more sense than comparing Mayon’s iridescent beauty to that of a beautiful maiden. Its perfect conical shape inspires the telling of a timeless legend — that of a heroine whose beauty captivates the interests and dedication of men.

Mayon Volcano

The beauty of Mayon can practically be seen and photographed anywhere in Albay, and even as far as the neighboring provinces of Camarines Sur and Catanduanes. The most popular and frequently visited sightseeing spots include the Cagsawa Ruins, Lignon Hill, and the Daraga Church.

Mayon Volcano

As one of the most stunning mountains of the Philippines, the thought of being an inch closer to the peak of Mayon will certainly elicit a good kind of thrill and excitement. Climbing the summit of Mayon Volcano, considered as a major climb of 7/9 difficulty level, usually requires three days. Prior to the climb, mountaineers are advised to contact the local PHIVOLCS office in Tabaco, Albay for the necessary permits and Albay’s tourism office for the recommended guides and other essential arrangements.

(Link: Guide to Hiking Mayon Volcano – Pinoy Mountaineer)

Aside from trekking, several tour operators also facilitate ATV (all-terrain vehicle) tours from the foot of the volcano to the Lava Wall, across rivers and through trails created by past eruptions.

Mayon Volcano

Mayon Volcano

How to Get There

Flights from Manila and Cebu to Legazpi are available via Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific. Several bus trips from Cubao and Pasay terminals to Legazpi are also available daily. Travel time takes approximately within 10-12 hours depending on driving speed and traffic.

SUNSOAKED: Sizzling Summer Destinations in Visayas, Philippines

The majestic sun has started tickling our skin with its irresistible call to join him in celebrating summer. Outside the walls of our air-conditioned office in Cebu, it’s 33 degrees. For a tropical baby like me, it’s just a fine, ordinary day. For snowed-in citizens though, the summer season can be as sweet as drinking hot cocoa in a wintry Christmas. It is the time of the year again when the spotlight is drawn to the Philippines’ finest beaches and loveliest islands. Start getting sun-kissed in the sand by jumping off to Philippines’ central regions – the Visayas.

Visayas islands, PhilippinesWhere’s Visayas?

Lying in the heart of the Philippine archipelago, the Visayas group of islands is well-known and highly visited for its top selection of sun-sational summer destinations. It is composed of the major islands of Cebu, Bohol, Negros, Leyte, Panay, and Samar.

Getting There. Visayas has a total of nine domestic and international airports. The Mactan Cebu International Airport is considered as the main gateway to the country’s central islands.

The Hottest Three – BORACAY, CEBU and BOHOL

Not a single list of Philippines’ best beaches will ever make sense missing any of these three Philippine tourism gems: Boracay, Cebu and Bohol.


Boracay is everybody’s favorite due to its four-mile stretch of white sand beaches that is simply known as the White Beach. There’s a lot to do before sundown: kite-surfing, scuba diving, para-sailing and other fun beach-side adventures. Sun-worshippers also stay awake during the night and enjoy the best summer party of their lives, i.e. bottomless booze, mouth-watering local food, and a loop of eargasmic sounds.

Discover: Boracay

Boracay, Philippines
White Beach, Boracay


Cebu will never fail to amaze even its returning visitors with its attractive islands and fancy beach resorts. Just minutes away from the airport, several world-class hotels and luxury resorts in Mactan await to realize your dream vacation. Further away from the city, you can hop a bus and allow it to take you to a tropical utopia. Up north, the islands of Bantayan, Malapascua and Camotes will fascinate you with their alluring simplicity and laid-back island vibe. Southern Cebu destinations, on the other hand, can easily set you up for an intimate face-off with the whale sharks (Oslob) and other marine wonders (Moalboal and Sumilon Island).

Discover: Cebu

Bantayan Island, Cebu, Philippines
Bantayan Island, Cebu


Tourists identify Bohol with the fixed gaze of a Tarsier and the iconic (and inedible) Chocolate Hills. In addition to these unique attractions, Bohol also has the best islands and white sandy beaches to be truly proud of.

On your visit, spend your vacation days in Panglao Island and immerse yourself into Bohol’s rich and diverse marine community. For less than $65, you can also hire a motorized banca, and cruise the unspoiled Balicasag and Virgin Islands to your heart’s content.

Discover: Bohol

Panglao Island, Bohol (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)


Seated in the northeastern edge of Panay is Iloilo’s strong contender for the Philippines’ most picture-perfect isles  — Isla de Gigantes. In the recent years, this secluded paradise is gaining attention for its pristine beaches, enchanting lagoon (Tanke), and dozens of unfrequented caves.

Isla de Gigantes, Iloilo (Photo:


Jacks, parrotfishes, groupers, hawks-bill turtles, flounders, and angelfishes — name it and you’ll surely find it in Negros Oriental’s Apo Island. The 72-hectare volcanic island has earned its distinction as a scuba diver’s paradise due to the impressive visibility of its waters and its outstanding marine biodiversity. During high tides, the waves also usher playful sea turtles closer into the shore, making snorkeling even more rewarding for non-divers.

Apo Island, Negros Oriental (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)


Siquijor captivates you not only by its unique faith healing traditions and enthralling tales of sorcery but also of its less-traveled tourist attractions. You will surely never want for your holiday to end once you’ve camped overnight in one of its exotic beaches (Kagusuan Beach). You’ll get addicted as well with the thrill as you plunge into the deep waters of Salagdoong Beach.

Siquijor Island, Philippines:  A Summer Special

Cliff diving in Salagdoong Beach, Siquijor (Photo by Tommy Schultz)


From April to November, expert surfers and surfer-wannabes journey to Calicoan Island in Eastern Samar to ride the big waves. After catching the swell in ABCD Beach, you can venture onto the region’s other tropical wonders including the sandy beaches of Suluan Island and the pearl culture farms in Kantican Island.

Surfing in Calicoan, Eastern Samar (Photo from GerryRuiz Photoblog)


Located in the northwestern tip of Samar, the rock formations in Biri Island are drawing attention with its utter magnificence and splendor. For thousands of years, strong and creative forces of nature has carved interesting patterns and shapes into the giant coastal boulders that can reach as high as a three-storey building.

Biri Island Rock Formation, Northern Samar (Photo from


The province of Leyte in Eastern Visayas has some of the most idyllic islands of the country. The Sambawan Island in Biliran and Kalanggaman Island in Palompon will certainly keep you awestruck as they fill you with sights and scenes that may soon grace travel magazine covers.

Sambawan Island, Biliran, Leyte (Photo from



The Guardian: Paradise islands in Asia: readers’ tips
Deserted beaches, treehouses with a sea breeze and snorkelling in crystal clear waters … our readers recommend idyllic islands in Asia where you can live out your escapist fantasy.


Sinulog Festival: Philippines’ Grandest Celebration of Faith

Viva Pit Senyor!

January of every year, Cebu City celebrates one of the Philippines’ grandest festival.

The Mother of All Philippine Festivals

Sinulog Festival is considered as one of Philippines’ biggest and most popular festivals. Every January, millions of tourists crowd the streets and sidewalks of Cebu to witness a majestic display of bright-colored costumes and upbeat dances, accompanied by the rhythm of drums, native gongs and other instruments. Sinulog Festival has been originally organized as a religious feast for Señor Santo Niño (the Child Jesus) but has also become a major tourism event.

All smiles for Sinulog Festival
All smiles for Sinulog Festival (Photo by Luis Enario)
HIGHLIGHTS. Thousands of devotees attend the Fluvial Procession (third Saturday of January, 6AM) wherein images and statues of Señor Santo Niño are carried in boats adorned with flowers, candles and other colorful decorations. A large crowd will also join the Solemn Procession later that afternoon at 2pm. On the third Sunday, the major streets of Cebu will be jovial during the Sinulog Grand Parade. Dozens of contingents, tribal dance groups and majestic floats that represent different Philippine provinces and organizations will participate in the said event. In the afternoon, a showdown among the contingents will be held in the Cebu City Sports Complex.

Sinulog Festival Fluvial Procession
Sinulog Festival Fluvial Procession (Photo credit to:
Sinulog Festival honors Señor Santo Niño
Sinulog Festival honors Señor Santo Niño (Photo by Froilan G. Rogor Jr.)
Sinulog Festival 2013
Sinulog Festival: One beat. One dance. One vision. (Photo credit:

Sinulog Festival 2017

Bookmark this page or visit the Sinulog Foundation, Inc. website for the updated Sinulog Festival 2017 schedule. Here is the lineup of activities and events to watch out for and its corresponding (tentative) venues:

  • Sinulog Street Fair, Osmeña Boulevard
  • Sinulog 2014 Photo Exhibit, SM City Cebu
  • Sinulog Fun Run
  • Sinulog sa Kabataan (Sinulog for the Youth)
  • Cultural and Talent Shows, Fuente Osmeña Circle
  • Concerts and Street Parties, Osmeña Boulevard
  • Miss Cebu 2017 and Sinulog Festival Queen 2017
  • Fluvial and Solemn Procession of the Miraculous Image of the Sto. Niño
  • Sinulog Fireworks Competition, SM City Cebu
  • Sinulog Grand Parade

Sweet Summer Ending in Sipalay City, Philippines

“Summer” vacation, the Philippines’ dry season and those few months (March-May) when students are relieved from school duties, has come to an inescapable close. Before the rain clouds bring gentle showers with them, we were lucky enough to catch and enjoy the final rays of the warm summer sun in Sipalay City’s lovely (yet mostly secret) destinations. As desired, our experience was awesome and sweet!

Sipalay City, The Jewel of the Sugar Island

Sipalay City (si-pah-lie) is one of the best kept tourist destinations in southern Negros. Despite being remarkably beautiful, this paradise is somehow off-the-map especially when compared to its well-known neighbors, Boracay and Cebu. With the sun on its side though, Sipalay will surely help you withdraw your self temporarily from the 8-to-4 lifestyle and salvage your life’s lost adventures.

Getting to Sipalay

The cities of Dumaguete (Negros Oriental) and Bacolod (Negros Occidental) are the two main entry points to Sipalay City. From Dumaguete City, take a bus to Bayawan City, another bus to Hinoba-an, and finally hop into a Bacolod-bound bus stopping in Sipalay City. The 180-kilometer trip shall usher you through sugar cane farms, paddy fields and quiet villages. Six hours and the minor inconveniences of travel will indeed pay you off lavishly with Sipalay’s beautiful beaches, charming islets, and cheery locals.

Flights to Dumaguete City and Bacolod from Manila or Cebu hubs are provided daily via Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific Air.

When to visit: Anytime, but the dry months from December until May may give you the best experience.

Sipalay City, Negros Occidental, Visayas, Philippines

Sipalay Attractions

Beaches, islets, dive spots, caves, springs, waterfalls – these are all yours to see and behold when you explore Sipalay City.

Sugar Beach

Your Sipalay getaway will never be complete without strolling along the shore and catching the scenic red sunset in Sugar Beach. Its isolation from the city center and the total serenity of its surroundings make it a sweet retreat to willingly unplug yourself from the pressures of reality.

Sipalay City, Negros Occidental, Visayas, Philippines

When we arrived in what locals refer to as “the public beach”, a row of motorized bancas instantly caught our attention. These sea striders take tourists and residents to the outlying Sugar Beach.

Sipalay City, Negros Occidental, Visayas, Philippines

I knew our sojourn in Sipalay would be beyond awesome as soon as we hopped into this funky boat. For just P400, this lovely ride brought our group safely and in style to our resort in Sugar Beach.

Sipalay City, Negros Occidental, Visayas, Philippines

These playful kids greeted us with their gorgeous smiles as they play in shallow waters. They befittingly represent the helpful and accommodating Sipalaynons.

Sipalay City, Negros Occidental, Visayas, Philippines

With the sight of verdant hills ahead and the surrounding turquoise waters, even those 10-minute short boat rides easily add up to a fond memory.

Sipalay City, Negros Occidental, Visayas, Philippines

Sugar Beach has a long stretch of pale brown sand that feels like you’re walking through powdered sugar. Now you’re getting the idea how the beach got its pretty straightforward name.

Sipalay City, Negros Occidental, Visayas, Philippines

The gentle sloping of the shore makes it ideal for beach activities including frisbee, volleyball, and whatnot. It is also a perfect spot to make your idle afternoons extra special.

Sipalay City, Negros Occidental, Visayas, Philippines

Sipalay’s sunset is definitely not a moment to miss. It is the kind of special that you’ll never want to forget.

Sipalay Resorts

    Location: Sugar Beach, Barangay Nauhang, Sipalay City
    Contact: (+63) 920-230-9174 | (+63) 915-628-3516
    Web: City, Negros Occidental, Visayas, PhilippinesAll of Takatuka’s rooms and function areas are embellished playfully with unique items.
    Takatuka Lodge & Dive Resort, Sipalay
    The resort has plenty of rest areas to choose from – hammocks, cushion chairs, and sheds.
    Sipalay City, Negros Occidental, Visayas, Philippines
    Aside from bringing guests into Takatuka, this boat is also used by the resort’s staff to transport goods from the city’s market area.
    Takatuka Resort, Sipalay, Philippines
    Also a dive resort, Takatuka provides services and tour packages for scuba divers who’ll want to explore Sipalay’s underwater treasures.


    Location: Sugar Beach, Barangay Nauhang, Sipalay City
    Contact: (+63) 920-529-2582 | (+63) 919-591-3805
    Web: Resort, Sipalay, Philippines
    This quiet spot in Bermuda Resort’s beachfront inspires moments of total relaxation.


    Location: Sugar Beach, Barangay Nauhang, Sipalay City
    Contact: (+63) 920-900-3663
    Web: Village, Sipalay City, PhilippinesBehind the trees that border Driftwood Village are bungalows that are constructed mainly with native materials to enhance the tribal vibe.


    Location: Sitio Sambulawan, Barangay 4, Sipalay City
    Contact: (+62) 928-459-7412 | (+63) 923-901-8944

    Sipalay City, Negros Occidental, Visayas, PhilippinesPerth Paradise Resort overwhelms its guests with its infinity pool that showcases a stunning view of the islets.
    Sipalay City, Negros Occidental, Visayas, Philippines
    The sweeping view of Sulu Sea from the roof terrace is even more breathtaking.
    Sipalay City, Negros Occidental, Visayas, Philippines
    Won’t you just love to gaze at these wonders all day?


    Location: Sitio Latasan, Barangay 4, Sipalay City
    Contact: (+63) 920-902-2300Sipalay City, Negros Occidental, Visayas, Philippines
    Translated as “a hidden sea”, Tinagong Dagat manifests a unique charm that instantly lures its visitors to stay a little longer than planned.
    Sipalay City, Negros Occidental, Visayas, Philippines
    A bridge connects the resort’s main area to an islet that houses several cottages and a swimming pool that kisses the open sea.
    Sipalay City, Negros Occidental, Visayas, Philippines
    On the opposite side of the islet, another footbridge is constructed to connect to another islet where a viewing deck can be found.

Punta Ballo Beach

Punta Ballo Beach is also one of the highly visited attractions of Sipalay City. Like Sugar Beach, its shoreline stretches up to a kilometer long. The place is also dotted with beach resorts and dive shops that provide services for world class diving in 44 of Sipalay’s dive spots.

Campomanes Bay

A 10-minute drive from Punta Ballo Beach takes you to Campomanes Bay. Aside from being a great jump-off point for diving, its waterfront is also ideal for water sports activities such as kayaking and jet skiing, among others.

Sipalay Caves

Sipalay is heaven not only for beach bums. With caves that are largely unexplored, the city is also a favorite among spelunkers and true-blooded adventurers. Matlag Cave features remarkable cave formations while Mamara Cave surprises explorers with its underground river.

Sipalay Festivals

If you happen to visit Sipalay on the last week of March, you may catch Pasaway sa Sipalay, the city’s local festival. It is held annually to celebrate the city’s charter anniversary. During the street parade, dancers from several villages clad themselves in unique and colorful costumes and perform choreographed presentations that depict the mining industry, a significant contributor to the city’s growing economy.


Sipalay City Tourism Information Center

Contact: (034) 473-2101


Google Doodle joins in celebrating Philippine Independence

Google joins millions of Filipinos in celebrating the Philippine Independence Day with a Doodle on its homepage. The national holiday is observed yearly on June 12 to commemorate the Philippine Declaration of Independence from Spanish colonial rule.

Google Doodle celebrates Philippine Independence
Google Doodle as seen in Google Philippines’ homepage (June 12, 2014).

On the search engine’s Philippine portal, users will see colorful illustrations of people extending the Philippine flag and community members carrying and moving houses.  The Doodle depicts the spirit of “bayanihan”, a Filipino tradition that values unity, volunteerism and community participation.

Bayanihan in Sipalay City, Philippines
BAYANIHAN IN SIPALAY CITY, PHILIPPINES. Bayanihan is still practiced in towns and rural villages in the Philippines. Photo by Rudz Misa


Vote Vigan for New7Wonders Cities

The city of Vigan in Ilocos Sur, Philippines has been shortlisted for the distinction as one of the New 7 Wonders Cities. Vigan is tagged as the Philippines’ Heritage City because of its well-preserved Hispanic villages and ancestral houses that date back to the 16th century.

Vote Vigan for New 7 Wonders Cities
By Jsinglador (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons
Vigan is one of the earliest settlements built during the Spanish colonization. In 1572, Juan de Salcedo founded the town and envisioned it to become a progressive capital for trading and commerce in northern Philippines.

In 1999, UNESCO recognized Vigan as a World Heritage Site. It describes Vigan as “the best-preserved example of a planned Spanish colonial town in Asia”. Calle Crisologo, Vigan’s major attraction, forms the mestizo district that offers a glance of the city’s glorious past.

Now on its final selection stages, Vigan competes with 27 other finalist cities across the globe. The finalists will be cut down to 21 by July 7th, and 14 by October 7th. Seven cities with the highest number of public votes will be declared as the Official New7Wonders Cities on December 7, 2014.

July 7, 2014 UPDATE: Vigan has been voted to qualify for the next elimination phase along with 20 other finalists.


We’ve shown our solidarity before and gave Puerto Princesa Underground River its rightful distinction as one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature in 2012. We can surely do it again this time for Vigan.

Vote Now!

There are three ways to vote for Vigan:

1. Online via the New7Wonders voting site

2. SMS voting: text VIGAN to 29290777 (P2.50 per text)

3. International phone voting lines


Philippine National Police (PNP) enforces fun on Twitter

Law enforcement is serious but that doesn’t mean police officers can’t have a little fun. Through its official Twitter hotline @PNPhotline, our comrades from the Philippine National Police unexpectedly adds humor and gamely interacts with Filipino netizens.

Here’s what our Pulis cybernaut has to say:

Pink police batons? No.

A “Frozen” duet? Yeah, sure!

Skin care problems? No, please don’t.

Trying to stay fit? I’m your man!

Drugs make you NOT cool.

P.S. Having fun doesn’t mean we’re not serious.


Follow @PNPhotline on Twitter now.