Bo’s Coffee in Island Central Mactan: Digital Nomad Cebu Hotspot

ECHO CHAMBER. Noise is amplified on the 2nd floor and could be quite distracting if you’re working on something.

The latest Cebu branch of the Philippine coffee chain is a cozy two-storey location in a new mall in Lapu-Lapu City- the Island Central Mactan. We went there when it was newly-opened and so it wasn’t as crowded as most coffee shops are in the city. On the ground floor of Bo’s Coffee in Island…

Have app, will order turkey rice

REAL-TIME TRANSLATION. Reading instructions at a bus terminal using the Google Translate app.

I had my first taste of Taiwanese milk tea at a shop in a train station on our way to the remote township of Alishan. My wife and I headed straight to the station from the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport to catch the train to Chiayi in time for the last bus to Alishan. We…

How to get to Alishan in Taiwan

The train stops at the Chiayi City station.

There is a wide range of options for getting to the Alishan National Scenic Area in Taiwan. The first step will be to get to Chiayi City in the southwest from wherever you are in Taiwan. This provincial city is the base of public transport services that ply the Alishan route. Do take note that…

Taipei trip highlights culture, food, nature

JIUFEN. Formerly a gold mining district located in a mountainous area of the Ruifang District in New Taipei City, Jiufen was once a prosperous and booming town that earned for it the nickname “Little Hongkong.” That was during the discovery of gold in the area during the Japanese occupation of Taiwan in the late 1800’s.

She beckoned to us from the shadows cast by the sculpted posts filled with symbolism the meaning of which now escapes me, there in that structure that represented religion in Taiwan. “Come, come. I want to introduce you to some gods.” Or at least that is what I heard local guide Jane Fan told our…

Online shopping? There’s an app for that!

PAYMENT CONVENIENCE. Whether shopping online or spending during travels, PayMaya offers a convenient solution.

(Note: This story is also published on Cebu Daily News in its InfoTech section) With the holidays and the bonuses and extra pay that come with it just weeks away, people are bracing for and eagerly awaiting Christmas shopping. Malls are starting to get packed and traffic, especially around shopping centers, has turned for the…

Oppo introduces F1s “selfie expert” in Cebu

POWER SELFIE. With a 16-megapixel front camera that has a large 1/3.1-inch sensor and f/2.0 aperture, the F1s is a “selfie expert.”

The Oppo F1s is a mid-level phone but with features of high-end devices, brand marketing manager Stephen Cheng said during a media preview Tuesday night in Cebu. Cheng said the F1s “has high-end specs and high-end feel for a good price.” What sets the Oppo F1s apart is the exceptional quality of its front camera…

With bots, chat is more than idle talk

CONNECTED. Since bots operate on the Facebook Messenger platform, alerts and messages are ubiquitous, including in connected smart watches, which works well for reminders like this one.

“Hey, Jarvis,” I sent a message to the eponymous Facebook Messenger chat bot, “remind me to reply to Cass’ email in 30 minutes.” The reply came as quickly as the Facebook pop to notify you of an incoming chat message. “Okay, I’ll remind you to reply to Cass’s email at 10:24 PM on Monday, September…

My PayMaya experience: Sticking to a budget in Hong Kong

TRAVEL WITH PAYMAYA. Using the PayMaya app and card, I was able to create a travel budget and stick to it in a recent trip with friends to Hong Kong.

Luck had me traveling to Hong Kong twice this year, one for a trip long planned since last year, the other for a complimentary hotel stay that had to be availed of by May. Foreign trips cost money and I was traveling with women friends in a shopping mecca that is Hong Kong. For that…

Picture this: Disintermediation

PEOPLE broadcast via Facebook Live the performance by the Eraserheads during the unveiling of the new PLDT and Smart logo.

Last week, members of iconic Pinoy band Eraserheads reunited, the first in a long time, for a concert. The occasion was the unveiling of the new logos of PLDT and Smart. Save for company employees, the event was all hush-hush. The press contact who invited me only said I was going to a “confidential” event.…

Authentic Spanish tapas, best cocktails at Dumaguete’s Allegre

SPANISH TAPAS served in Allegre, a bar on the scenic Rizal Boulevard in Dumaguete City.

Being one of the many hangouts that dot the long stretch of Rizal Boulevard in Dumaguete City, the Spanish tapas bar Allegre is an easy a spot to overlook. If we hadn’t gotten that invitation to try it out on our last night there, we would have missed the authentic Spanish dishes and great cocktails…

Beyond level 5, Aguinid Falls is unspoiled, green

ALL TO OURSELVES. We went past the crowded lower levels to enjoy a dip in level 7 of Aguinid Falls.

A regular climb to Aguinid Falls in Samboan, Cebu entails going up the pathway created by the flowing water as it makes its way down from the fifth level to the sea. Beyond the fifth tier, however, the falls go up three levels more. There, beyond the reach of the regular climbers, nature is raw,…

Quiet corners and busy streets, cold mountain and hot tea: our Hong Kong of contradictions

VICTORIA PEAK. This is where you can have the best view of Hong Kong.

There we were, frozen and shivering on a long line that snaked around a lonely bus stop in a cold mountain spot in Hong Kong, and there was no bus. A digital sign gave a countdown of the 15-minute interval before the next one comes. It was an eternity of waiting. A thick fog had…

Pescador Island adventure: dolphins, marine beauty make up for the “sharks”

Dolphins swim beside our boat as we approach Pescador Island off Moalboal in southern Cebu.

Dolphins! They swam beside our boat as we neared Pescador Island off Moalboal for a day out snorkeling and enjoying the much better preserved underwater marine life in the southern town known for its long strip of white sand beach.

Gateway Continental Club brings extra level of service to hotel guests

CONTINENTAL CLUB LOUNGE offers guests of Gateway Hotel of the Marco Polo chain complimentary breakfast, afternoon tea, evening cocktail, and all-day snacks and drinks.

Travel to another country can be intimidating but our recent trip to Hong Kong was smooth all throughout, thanks in large part to a complimentary two-night stay at Gateway of the Marco Polo chain of hotels in Hong Kong.

Ambient noise? Think ambient news!

TIME TO GO. Google Now takes into account your appointments for the day, traffic data on roads you are likely to pass and then sends contextual and timely notifications like this one on connected devices such as Android Wear smartwatches.

UV radiation levels will be high, the smartwatch we have been testing warned at noon of Sinulog Sa Kabataan Sa Lalawigan last Saturday. The data was processed by AccuWeather and detected by the weather app integrated into my wife’s phone and from there, pushed into the smartwatch she was wearing.