Sofitel Manila’s GM Explains Their Side of the Story

Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila Hotel

Although they already provided a short official statement via Facebook a couple of week ago, Sofitel Manila wants to address and explain their side (once and for all) on several lingering issues about their hotel. I wont bore you with a long read. I will keep this as short as possible.

Another Buffet in Town, The Food Club Macapagal

The Food Club Buffet Manila
Address: Building E, Bluebaywalk Metropolitan Park, Macapagal Avenue Pasay City.
Contact Numbers: 02 7368001 | 09064281669 (globe) | 09983133246 (smart)
Facebook Page:

The Food Club Buffet Blue Bay Walk Macapagal (158)

The Mall of Asia Complex and Macapagal Boulevard is slowly but surely becoming the Buffet Capital of the Metro. To add to the roster, Another buffet restaurant opened in the Manila Bay Area – The Food Club. Apparently, this place still accommodate another buffet place competing against the seasoned buffet restaurants in the area like Vikings, Buffet 101, Yakimix, and even Spiral! The main differentiating factor probably is that the Food Club is categorizing itself as a Lifestyle Buffet Destination which in my interpretation is positioning itself in between the mainstream competitors and of course the high end buffet restaurants. This is just my opinion, which is very possible considering that the location also says a lot about its target market. It is not located inside a mall but instead it is situated in a sort of high end lifestyle area being developed along the bay area similar to Bonifacio High Street, Serendra, and Capitol Commons.

Moving on, I visited the Food Club to give it a try. Upon entry you will be greeted by the familiar reception area. The layout is not much different from the other buffets around the area, but one thing noticeable about the place is it was cleaner than the other buffets around. A big reason is probably since they are fairly new. I hope they maintain the cleanliness since it is a big factor for most people including me.

The interior was very elegant. Crystal chandeliers, the waiters look classy, and the tables ad chairs were similar with what you have in Hotel Buffets.

The Food Club Buffet Blue Bay Walk Macapagal (1)

The Food Club Buffet Blue Bay Walk Macapagal (5)

The Food Club Buffet Blue Bay Walk Macapagal (6)

The Food Club Buffet Blue Bay Walk Macapagal (8)

The Food Club Buffet Blue Bay Walk Macapagal (81)

The Food Club Buffet Blue Bay Walk Macapagal (143)

The Food Club Buffet Blue Bay Walk Macapagal (10)

When I was dining, I saw a familiar face among the crowd, checking the food on the spread. It was Chef Raffy Hubilla, whom I have known before when he was still the executive chef for Acacia Hotel Manila. Apparently, he is not connected with the Food Club. We had a small chat then I headed back in the buffet.

Sofitel Manila and RunRio Half Marathon 2014

Sofitel Manila Half Marathon

I haven't ran in a long time. I love walking for long distances but I don’t seem to enjoy running as much. I used to join fun runs (5Ks to be precise) but I got tired of waking-up so early on a weekend just to run. I have tried trekking for hours but I have not joined a race that is longer than 5K. First of all, I am not trained to run long distances and again, I hated waking up early (well perhaps until recently). Last year, friends from Sofitel Manila Invited me to run on their second Run for a Cause battle of the Sexes 2, a benefit run for the Virlanie Foundation however I was not able to join because If I remember it correctly, I was out of town during the run.

After the success of the 2 legs of Battle of the Sexes in 2013, Sofitel and Runrio have once again partnered to raise funds for the children of Virlanie. Now, on its third and final year, Sofitel Manila and RunRio will host another charity run. But this time, no more battles its just you, the race and the prices you get if you win! Yes there will be prices! Great Prizes I must say!

“The Sofitel Manila Half Marathon aims to be at par with other international marathons such as the Boston Marathon or Singapore Marathon. Aside from this, the greater aim of the event is to contribute to the upliftment of the lives of the street children of Manila through Virlanie Foundation, the beneficiary of the marathon. In the last year, we have raised over PHP 1.5 million through the two runs we have organized – a part of the proceeds had been used to purchase a van that was handed over to the foundation for their activities. This year we are targeting to have over 6,000 runners and for better success in terms of fund raising. ” says Sofitel Philippine Plaza General Manager Adam Laker.

The Sofitel Manila Half Marathon is a collaboration between the Sofitel Philippine Plaza and the premier running event organizer in the country, Runrio, led by Coach Rio de la Cruz. “By organizing the Sofitel Manila Half Marathon, we hope to one day become one of the world's most popular running event attracting both amateur and professional runners from all over the world to compete in Manila. This marathon is dedicated to the children of Virlanie Foundation with the objective of contributing to a better future for the children of Manila.” says Coach Rio de la Cruz.”

Sofitel Manila Half Marathon - poster

Race Prizes:

Sofitel RunRio Half Marathon Prizes

Registration Dates:

ONLINE (via June 27 – August 1, 2014

IN-STORE: July 14 – August 10, 2014


Hanggang sa muli, Paalam!

Originally Posted On: DENCIO.COM

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HANOI, The Paris of Asia


Remember when we were all a lot younger, when we used to think that flying within the country was too expensive, more so, internationally? When I was younger, I had dreams of seeing places, but never really believed I would do so, because of the chi-ching-chi-ching.

But on the 3rd day, budget airlines were created, like a manna from heaven. They’re like pixie dusts to one’s itchy feet you know, setting aside delayed flights and rude customer service, of course.

Sometime in May 2013, I got lucky and was able to book a roundtrip flight to Manila-Hanoi-Manila. Like I said before, I didn’t really care where I was going, or who I was going with. The important thing was to leave, at a really cheap price. At Php3,900.00 , I flew solo.

I took the 10:30 PM flight and arrived at the Noi Bai International Airport at a little around past 1AM, Hanoi being 1 hour behind the Philippines. I didn’t want to risk my safety, so I booked a nice and decent hotel, which also made arrangements for my tour and car service to pick me up to and from the airport. Having no checked-in baggage (please don’t judge me, I know I am kurips), I got out of the airport around 2-ish. A note of warning, I read some things that one should be extra cautious in dealing with fly-by-night Forex, and it is advisable to just have your money changed at the airport. However, I didn’t see any open Forex at past 1AM. Another note of warning, do read up before going some place. Apparently, I read the wrong materials. March was supposed to be summerish already, as in my country. But as soon as I got out of the airport, the cold greeted me. It was drizzling, the air was moist, I checked my phone, it was 16 degrees. Holy crap, I brought all the wrong set of clothes.

The hotel’s driver was already at the arrival area. By 3AM, I was at the hotel.

I booked at the Angel Palace Hotel, located at the Hang Bong St. within the Hoan Kiem District (Old Quarter area.) The hotel is a 45 minute drive to and from the airport. From the outside, it looked like a really small palace, with gold-plated pillars. They like ‘em grand!


For reference, this might help you plan your trip:

Room rate per night: $37, after tax $ 42.7 with free one way trip to the airport, and breakfast buffet

$18 per car going to the airport upon departure

$50 : One day cruise to the Ha Long Bay inclusive of all transfers, lunch and kayaking

$40: One day Hoa Lu- Tam Coc trip inclusive of all transfers plus lunch buffet.

The hotel asked for a $100 down payment via credit card to process my request, the remaining balance to be paid upon check out.

There are a lot of cheaper hotels in the area, but I looked through Trip advisor and Agoda for the hotel reviews which was very helpful, by the way. I suggest you do this before booking a hotel. And so far, so good. I definitely loved my hotel.

The next day, the Galaxy Cruises, which I would assume, is the Tour Operator tied up with my hotel picked me up at 9AM. They were one hour late, they had to fetch other customers from different hotels. Of course, I complained. The accent in my coaster was thick, I was seated beside 2 married French retirees who knew little English but were kind to me, there were 2 men from Laos, 1 Vietnamese woman with her American boyfriend, 1 woman from Brunei, 1 man from Malaysia, 1 Danish man, a Polish couple, our Vietnamese guide who liked being called Kevin, as in Costner, and me- Pilipinas, represent!

Since I was the last to be fetched, I sat at the back of the coaster, uncomfortable at a 3 hour long, bumpy ride. We stopped over at some souvenir shop/ café for 30 minutes. Knowing that the souvenirs from this place would cost more compared to those found at the Old Quarter, I didn’t buy anything. Just a cup of Vietnamese coffee at 40,000 VND. And to be on the safe side, I took 1 banana from the hotel, you know, in case I go hungry. :D






Beautiful, isn’t it? It reminded me of the mountains surrounding Puerto Prinsesa, Palawan, Philippines going to the Underground River. I also met a group of Filipinos who were out for a company vacation, and yes, they took my pictures. Hurrah!

By 9PM, I was back at the hotel. Too tired to go out and explore, I opted to have dinner at the hotel. I forget the name, but the chef recommended it.

The following day, the hotel staff felt the need to redeem itself, and asked Galaxy cruises to pick me up on time. True enough, by 8AM, the coaster was outside. I was the first customer in the car, and I got to choose the best seat in the house.

By 8:35AM, we were all aboard and so the 3 hour journey to the Hoa Luc-Tam Coc began. 2 Korean women (mother and daughter) sat beside me, and the rest were all Europeans. One thing I noticed, Asians tend to revolve around each other, we were more at ease with each other. Plus the fact that “Omma” (Korean term for mother) was so sweet; she was worried for me being alone on a trip.

We stopped by a buffet restaurant for lunch, which proudly serves goat meat. Ah, nothing special about it really, I come from a country that boasts of “balut”; and from a province in the North where we eat caribou and goat meat anytime, anywhere.

Hoa Luc was the ancient capital for Vietnam located in the Ninh Binh province, around 110 kms from Hanoi. It is composed of two temples.



Tam Coc, on the other hand, is considered the Ha Long Bay on land. The rice paddies, sitting beside the river was just too beautiful. The Tam Coc river cruise lasted about 1 and a half hours, get ready to be swayed by the gentle touch of the river it will make you really sleepy.




Most of the boat paddlers are women, by the way. We tried our hand at it, and it was so difficult our arms were sore. That explains the reason why these women, when tired, use their legs to paddle, which must be very difficult. If I did that every day, I am sure I would have the most toned arms and inner thighs in the ugh, universe. J

The annoying part of the trip was the part where all these boat paddlers would take you to the small floating market, the sellers bugging you to buy food, and if you refuse, they tell you to buy something for your boat paddler, which is ok. But at 5USD for a plastic of mangoes, that wasn’t ok. My Korean friends were very nice, they bought it. Upon purchase too, they ask for 1 USD for service fee, and there were 2 of them. So that’s 7 USD. And then the part where your own boat paddler parks the boat somewhere far from the dock, where you cannot refuse, and sells you stuff. She wouldn’t really budge, I bought a coin purse for 50,000VND (php107.00). Upon arrival at the port, she asked for a tip, I gave her another 50,000VND. A tip is usually customary, I know. But you do know if it’s a little bit too much, it kinda smells like a rip-off. So in case you go, beware. Be smarter than we were.

After the river cruise, I didn’t know that biking around the small town was part of the tour package. Cool, right? But your lola is a corn ball. I have so many physical limitations it’s annoying. Lola can’t swim, Lola doesn’t even know how to ride, drive or pedal a bike. Note to self: will have to learn to better enjoy things.

By 7:30 I was back at the hotel. By 8PM, I hit the streets of the Old Quarter hunting for dinner. I wanted the real thing, and I found a carinderia somewhere along the alleys of the Old Quarter. For 35,000VND (Php75.00) I had rice noodles in sweet and sour soup with pork bbq and spices, or what they call Bun-Cha. In Filipino, ang sarap!!!




By 8:30PM, I was strolling and shopping for souvenirs. Bought ref magnets for friends. Depending on the size, the price would range from 20,000 VND (Php43.00) - 80,000VND (Php172.00). A pack of 3 in 1 Viet coffee costs around 40-50,000VND (PHP85.00-PHP172.00).

The following day, I rose up early and went on a city tour by myself. Armed with a city map and some cash, I prayed to God to keep me safe. I took a cab going to the Ho chi Minh Mausoleum, which was near my hotel. Fare was around 35,000VND (Php75.00). There was only way to enter the park where the mausoleum was located, and the cab cannot go there. So like all visitors, I walked a few extra miles. There was no entrance fee for the mausoleum (yey!), security was very strict. There were only parts where taking of photos were allowed, any kind of noise is strongly admonished, no caps allowed, hands outside the pocket all the time. The guards were sprawled everywhere.




I wish I could’ve taken photos of Ho Chi Minh in his glass casket, but to my dismay, it was prohibited. Looking at him, the man was larger than life. Looking at him, lying there, it was almost eerie and unreal.

After this, I just followed the throng of people without really knowing where to go. I wanted to see the Presidential Palace, the one Pillar Pagoda, and the Ho Chi Minh Museum, and I thought I needed to ride a cab again or walk far. But nope, by following where all the people went, I ended up at the Presidential Palace, that was when I understood the map finally. Hihi! The garden was one big “park” where the mausoleum, Presidential Palace, One Pillar Pagoda and museum are located.


Fees are:

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum- none

Presidential Palace- 25,000VND (PHP54.00)

One Pillar Pagoda- none

Ho Chi Minh Museum 25,000 (PHP54.00)




After this, I decided to go the Hanoi Opera House by taking a cab. Fare was around 140,000VND (PHP 300.00), and from there I walked, got lost a lot of times, took so many photos of the city and drank on the beauty of their architecture. The opera house is located at the French Quarter, and then I understood why it was called the Paris of the East. It was because of the architecture. Well, I have never been to Paris, but from what I saw from the movies, the French Quarter looked a lot like ‘em movies.


From the French Quarter, I walked and walked and somehow ended up back at the Old Quarter. And finally, I saw the Hoan Kiem Lake (Lake of the Returned Sword) at day time. I found a small resto serving Viet coffee and had a wonderful view of the Lake from the top.


They say a must watch is the Water Puppet show, also located at the Old Quarter. It was one-hour puppet show, I think. I didn’t really fell like watching it, I just wanted to stroll, shop, sit at a coffee shop and people watch. But in case you are interested, the reviews are great. Ticket costs 100,000VND (Php214.00) and 60,000VND (Php129.00) per person. The schedule differs so it is good to book through your hotel. But when I passed by the theater, I checked and the show was at 3PM.



So I sat at a café, it is called Thuy Ta beside the lake. Fresh brewed Viet coffee costs 40,000VND (Php85.00) and a slice of lemon cake costs 35,000VND (Php75.00). So much better than the overpriced commercialized coffee shops, eh! I had all the time in the world to go to more temples and museums, but all I really wanted to do was to walk around. So I did. I walked the mile and went back to the French quarter and just stared. Oh Paris, where art thou?

I went back to the Old Quarter for dinner by walking. I think it was a 20-30 leisurely walk. Dinner consisted of rice and beef simmered in lemon grass and spices, the best food I had in Hanoi. It was at restaurant called Cau Go Vietnamese restaurant, at the 5th floor of a building over-looking Hanoi city. Fancy place but the food was affordable.

I am not sure if I had been really helpful to you. My vacation consisted of sight-seeing, eating, walking, sitting, walking, walking and walking. No pressure, really. J

The good news is, I spent a decent price for this trip. I am sure, if you were wiser than me, you’ll spend even less:

Php3,900.00- roundtrip fare

Php1,650- Philippine travel tax

Php550.00- terminal fee

Php500.00- cab fare to and from the airport to my house

Php6,600.00- total

$256.00- 4 days 3 nights accommodation with breakfast buffet, 2 day tour all inclusive except dinner, one way car service to airport upon check out

$100 - pocket money for dinner, shopping and miscellaneous.

$356- total

OVER-ALL Expenses: Php 22,709.00 or $501.86

By 11PM, I was back at the airport, ready for my 1AM flight home. By the way, as if as an anti-climax, our flight was 20 minutes delayed. Because it was not 2 hours, or 20 hours, 20 minutes was forgivable to me.

So I went home. With my fake North face bag, my traditional Vietnamese hat, and my memories. Priceless.


HANOI, the Paris of the East
Authored By: Maria Angelica “Gege” Espaldon


About the Author
Gege is a Contract Manager by day and a cam-whore traveller in between. She is a self-diagnosed bipolar with a penchant for travelling, fun, adventure and living a little dangerously, but her bank account keeps telling her she’s really not so she better stop with her delusions.She dreams of winning the lottery and flying to Nepal, Amsterdam and India. A girl can dream.

You may follow Gege on:


Hanggang sa muli, Paalam!

Originally Posted On: DENCIO.COM

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Free Bruno Mars Concert Ticket from Max’s Restaurant!

Bruno Mars

2014 Project BM Web Ad

Bruno Mars will be coming to Manila this coming March 22, 2014 for his Moonshine Jungle Tour. Even though there were very minimal advertisements, the tickets are already sold out (no surprise there). But if you’re a big fan of Bruno Mars, don’t fret, you still get a chance to get free tickets and watch him perform live this coming Saturday! How? Read on!


Max's Restaurant to Share World-Class Experience at Bruno Mars Concert Live in Manila

Global Filipino brand Max's Restaurant boosts its support for international recording artist and two-time Grammy awardee, Bruno Mars by announcing that it is the official restaurant of The Moonshine Jungle Tour: Bruno Mars Live in Manila concert.

Slated to take the stage on March 22, 2014, 8:00 pm at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, the "Nothin' On You" half-Filipino vocalist is expected to draw in thousands of Filipino "brunofanatics" and concert enthusiasts. Mars' much-awaited stop in Manila is part of his ongoing world tour to promote his second studio album, "Unorthodox Jukebox." Part of the proceeds from his concert will be donated to helping Yolanda victims.

Born Peter Gene Hernandez, Bruno Mars grew up in a musical family. His father, Peter Hernandez, was a Latin percussionist while his Filipino mother, Bernadette "Bernie" San Pedro Baluyot, was a singer in Hawaii. Mars wrote and performed music at a very young age and was exposed to a diverse mix of reggae, rock, hip hop and R&B music. He had his share of hurdles early on in his career, but his persistence to succeed and remarkable gift in music helped catapult him to worldwide fame. It was only a matter of time before he captured the world's attention after helping popularize hits like "Nothin on You" by B.o.B, and "Billionaire" by Travie McCoy.

"Max's, a global Filipino brand, believes in showcasing the exceptional talent of Filipinos. We are very proud to support a multi-awarded international artist like Bruno Mars. As the official restaurant of his Moonshine Jungle concert in Manila, we share Bruno Mars' love for great music and world-class food. It is an experience that we would love to share with every Filipino," shared Bobby Simborio, Corporate PR and Media Manager for Max's Group of Companies.

Bruno Mars is one of the most respected and in-demand artists today. He has sold over 115 million records all over the world as a singer, producer and songwriter. A recipient of a number of prestigious awards, Mars has also catalogued 22 Billboard "Hot 100" hits. He was named as one of the top 100 most influential people in the world by Time Magazine in 2011, and was ranked number 1 on the Forbes 30 under 30 list in 2014.

2014 Project BM FB Ad

Watch Bruno Mars live on March 22, courtesy of Max's Restaurant. Just 'like' Max's on Facebook and fill up the online entry form to win free concert tickets. Every day, one fan will be chosen to win 2 Moonshine Jungle tickets for free! For more updates, visit Max's Restaurant's Facebook fan page or log on to


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Originally Posted On: DENCIO.COM

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Experience Marco Polo Manila for only Php5,500!

Marco Polo Hotel Manila
Address: Meralco Avenue and Sapphire Street Ortigas Center, Pasig City, Metro Manila
Contact Number: +632 7207777
Facebook Page:
Twitter and Instagram: @MarcoPoloManila

Deluxe Room of MarcoPoloOrtigasManila_v1a

Deluxe Room of MarcoPoloOrtigasManila_v2a

[Press Release]

Fresh Encounters Room Offer: Meaningful Journeys Begin Here!

On the occasion of the opening of the new Marco Polo Ortigas Manila, book a stay from March 08 to August 31, 2014 and take advantage of the introductory room offer of Php 5,500 net per night inclusive of sumptuous buffet breakfast for two at Cucina, complimentary high-speed internet access and late check-out of up to 4PM (subject to availability).  As bonus, a consumable dining credit worth Php 800 per room per night will be given so guests can sample the distinct food & beverage offerings of the hotel during their stay.  Offer is valid for local residents only.

For more information contact (632) 720 7777 or book online via or  Visit or follow @MarcoPoloManila on Twitter or Instagram.


The room looks gorgeous and the deal is super sulit! This is the perfect time to do a Summer Staycation! I can’t wait to try this hotel really soon! :)

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Artisan Bread Goodness at Harina Artisan Bakery Cafe

Harina Artisan Bakery Café (Formerly Monsees Café)
Location: 118 Katipunan Avenue, White Plains, Quezon City
Contact Number: (02) 3526721
Store Hours: Monday to Sunday, 6am to 9pm.
Twitter: @harinacafe
Instagram: @harinacafe

Harina Artisan Bakery Cafe  (26)

Formerly know as Monsees Café, Harina Artisan Bakery Café officially re-opened its doors to the public this November. From a smaller neighborhood bakery, Harina is now ready to accept a bigger audience and offer a more extensive line-up of dine-in and take-out breads and meals.

ar·ti·san  [ahr-tuh-zuhn]: a person or company that makes a high-quality or distinctive product in small quantities, usually byhand or using traditional methods.

Upon arrival at Harina Café, you will be greeted by a couple of beautiful red doors which will lead in to a very homey and cozy dining area. A bunch friendly staff will assist you inside the cafe. The café is divided into 2 parts, there’s the dining area and the take out area where you can choose and buy their Artisan Baked Goods.

What makes Harina Artisan Bakery Cafe special?
”Everything is a labor of love. The baking is done the traditional way, without shortcuts and chemical additives. Since chemical additives are not used, the flavors of each ingredient are fully developed. It wasn't necessary to add chemicals to bread for centuries and Harina believes that it still isn't. Nothing less than premium ingredients are used. The breads are hand rolled. They do not mass-produce their breads, they are baked in small batches rather than on a vast assembly line. An interesting corner is their open baking area which allows customers to see how some of their products are made.”

Harina Artisan Bakery Cafe  (28)

AirAsia Zest’s Amazing In-Flight Meals and More!

AirAsia Zest, The Right Way to Fly!
Book now @
Customer Service Number:+632 742 2742 (AirAsia and ZestAir Philippines)

Air Asia Zest


The Green+Orange Planes are gone and they are all turning RED!

You may have noticed some changes in the local airline scene recently. AirAsia Philippines, formerly flying from Clark Airport are now flying from NAIA Terminal 4 (Old Domestic Terminal) and Zest Air Planes are now being converted into Red AirAsia Planes. Not to mention the redirection on their website. That is because AirAsia Philippines and Zest Air have joined forces to create a new formidable force in the Philippine Airline Industry - AirAsia Zest now in Manila!. Banking on each other’s strengths, Zest Air’s local experience and AirAsia’s regional connections, AirAsia Zest Plans on stepping up the competition and further lowering down the costs of flight for the Philippine Tourism Industry. I believe this new partnership will definitely drive growth in the Philippine Tourism Targets and provide new destinations to travel hungry travelers and under-serviced flight destinations.


AirAsia Zest is off to a great start by offering a first in the Philippine Airline Industry – Flights to Miri Malaysia. The Inaugural flight from NAIA 4 to Miri Malaysia will take place on December 7, 2013 and will be joined by Tony Fernandes himself and his new chief of staff (the Apprentice) Jonathan Yabut.

AirAsia Zest In Flight Meals Menu (3)

An Incredible Island Vacation at Bluewater Sumilon

Bluewater Sumilon Island Resort
Location: Sumilon Island, Oslob, Cebu Philippines
Contact Number: +6332-3183129 (Cebu) | +632-8175751 (Manila)

Bluewater Sumilon Island Resort  (62)

It was a dream come true. I have been to a lot of different beaches here in the Philippines but enjoying the sun, food, and the sand in your very own private island resort was a surreal experience. Bluewater Sumilon Island Resort is located 3-4 hours drive south of Cebu Island, it is just a couple of towns away from the southern most tip of Cebu – your jump off point to Dumaguete and Siquijor. Upon arrival on their Mainland Port/Reception area, we were greeted by their super friendly staff. From there going forward, we were officially on vacation. No need to lift a finger on carrying our luggage and stuff.

ISSAAS: Linking Agriculture with Tourism

I recently attended the press release session of ISSAAS (International Society for Southeast Asian Agricultural Sciences) during the start of their 2013 Congress here in Manila. I am a big fan of Agri-Tourism so I thought I’d listen in and get their thoughts on some burning issues related to Agriculture and Tourism as well.

ISSAAS 2013 Congress

Global Warming

One of the main issues of the Agriculture Industry is Global Warming so to mitigate this, they are trying harder to keep up with the changes in the environment. They use more water for irrigation and on the other side, they use more storm resilient crops to survive sudden storms and typhoons. Agriculture was not as it used to be but we must keep up and stay resilient to keep the food basket full.

Attracting Young Minds

The new generation of adults are leaving the farm and very few are taking Agricultural related courses in place of more popular and in-demand city courses. This problem is the same across all countries. Young people are moving out of their Family Farms to move to the city, leaving the farm to be ran by their old folks with no clear future on succession. To mitigate this, countries are offering free Agricultural Courses to individuals who want to pursue a career in Agriculture. Even in the Philippines, UPLB offers subsidies to some agriculture related courses. In Japan, they included “Farm Visits” to the Educational Field Trip Itinerary to familiarize the students about the farm activities – in the hopes that they will like it and get a career in Agriculture.

GMO: Genetically Modified Organisms

A surprisingly sensitive topic between the members of ISSAAS. Some are ok with it some were not so much. But among all the answers given, what struck me was – it really exists. GMO is being used for the food security of the world BUT unfortunately, there are no extensive research or studies on the long term effects of these GMO Products on humans and the environment. Everything is still in the Gray Area.

Plantation Based Farming

Plantation based farming is basically utilizing a huge amount of land dedicated in the production of a certain produce. For example: Banana Plantations, Coconut Plantations and now the ever Growing Palm Plantation for the production of Palm Oil. The challenge here is, huge amounts of lands are being used as plantation lands since it is easier to maintain focus on a certain product than to allow other produce to be planted and harvested. More and more chunks of land are being converted into Palm Plantation and less and less lands are being used for other crops.

Organic Products

Organic Stuff are becoming more and more popular nowadays and people are paying the premium. The problem is, particularly here in the Philippines, there are only few private organization which offers organic certifications and no government official seal on organic products. That is why even though products are marketed as organic, the public is not really assured of the authenticity of the seal and at the same time, the public is not even aware that there should be a seal of authenticity. Currently, the organic farming relies on trust.


Agri-Tourism is becoming bigger and bigger nowadays. In Japan, they have farm tours where you can actually take part of the actual farming process – Hands On! In the Philippines, there are bee farm plantations, strawberry picking in Baguio and other family or privately owned farm restaurants and resorts which cater to tourists. The challenge for the organization is to raise awareness about Agri-Tourism, make it more mainstream and to get more support from the government.

Member Countries of the ISSAAS meet every year to present new technologies and to impart the best practices in the Agricultural Industry. Last 2012 and this year 2013, ISSAAS Congress were held here in the Philippines. The 2014 ISSAAS Congress will be held in Japan. To know more about ISSAAS, visit their website at ISSAAS.ORG.

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Originally Posted On: DENCIO.COM

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