The Sama Tribe teaches us to make Amik

On this particular sunny October day, the community was buzzing with activity. The Sama Tribe in Bgy. Tagbaobo, Samal Island were preparing for the death anniversary of one of their tribe members, and we were smack in the middle of it.

The tribe knew that I was coming to visit, I was housed next door and had previously spoken to Ms. Zenaida, their Community President. I approached the busy group awkwardly that morning, and it was then I was greeted with a local dance and then offered amik (local rice snack) and coffee (ground with corn).

The story goes, amik is what the Sama Tribe will offer guests and family members during the death anniversary celebration itself. The actual anniversary date is November 11 and since they need to produce at least 200 pieces, the whole barangay is up to their elbows in work. And thankfully, they were willing to let me pitch in.

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My Gastronomic Davao Experience with

Davao is synonymous with good, affordable, inventive food and on my second visit, I was invited to try out a new food tour conceptualized by along with accredited DOT guide Samuel Libre, Jr. I’ve met Sam before, he was our assigned tour guide during Kadayawan last August . He did such an exceptional job that I got in touch with him right away when I planned my return to this busy city.

So here’s a peek at the different Food Tours you can choose from:

Organic Food & Urban Farming

Features a roster of farm-to-table establishments that offer delicious organic food. Our first stop is Echostore, a popular haven for all-natural products and healthy living. We tried the Father Franco’s Pizza All Meat (ham, bacon, smoked chorizo). Fr. Franco is a priest residing in Bukidnon who has built his brand called “Parde Ninno,” known for his bottled delicacies, pizza dough, and duck pate.

Compared to the Manila branches Echostore Davao City has a more homey feel with a larger floor space, the menu is different, and it has a varied selection of skin care products, drinks, and local chocolates exclusively available here.

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Glicerio Villaluz: The ‘Birdman’ of Davao City

Where can your Php 5.00 take you? Seems a measly amount but it can make you happy and feel like a child again, at least momentarily. And no, we’re not going to buy ice cream or candy, nothing of that sort.

You can simply buy a pack of bird seeds for Php 5.00 and feed the pigeons in Rizal Park, Davao City.

This was my first stop last Monday, and the park that was teeming with people at last August’s Kadayawan Festival is now empty and quiet. Sam (my guide for the week) told me that I should start my Davao experience here. I bought just a pack (because I was stingy) and started throwing it into the air.

The birds never came though. I frowned and was disappointed. “I wasted Php 5.00!” I said, making a face like a very indignant child. I was told to wait a while. While this was apparently a popular attraction and the pigeons are used to eating seeds from tourists, the hum of the buses temporarily parked in the area are making the birds wary.

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The charming old town of Kiangan, Ifugao

My first encounter of the word “Ifugao” was my Mom’s faded and dusty photo that I brought with me to Show & Tell back in Grade School. On it was an actual Ifugao (the tribe) posed in “attack” mode, behind him was the famous terraces. I remember holding the crumbly photo in my hand and thinking, wouldn’t it be amazing to be transported back in time to see how everything used to be?

Kiangan_Elegantly Wasted 9

Although it would take decades before I’d set foot up north (I was always a beach bunny and never a trekker), I was happy to be able to experience the rich culture via the Tourism Promotions Board product update trip. More than just a quick getaway from Manila, I see it as a way to experience our different cultures and explore lesser known parts of the Philippines. Grouped with travel enthusiasts and experts, the expeditions are always more educational and in-depth.

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The Go Mindanao Bus

Imagine visiting a new country and exploring it with only a bus pass in hand. This is exactly what I experienced while going around Auckland, New Zealand last year. I got a day pass, hopped into the bus, picked the stops I was interested in, got off, explored, then got on the next arriving bus with my sights on the next destination.

See how easy that went? You are guaranteed convenience, adventure, and safety. This is the idea behind the up-and-coming Go Mindanao Bus, make traveling around beautiful Mindanao easy for all kinds of passengers: the solo backpacker, flashpacker, barkadas, corporate groups, and families.

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A quick guide to South Cotabato, Sarangani, and General Santos City

Thinking of your next big vacation? Divert from the usual tourist traps such as Palawan, Cebu, or Boracay and experience the unique culture of SOX. Short for SOCCSKSARGEN, it’s the development cluster referring to 4 provinces and 1 city in central Mindanao, namely South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, and General Santos City. If you’ve ever wanted to explore Mindanao, then this is the perfect time to visit as SOX has so much to offer.


GenSan, the city synonymous with our Phil. boxer Manny Pacquiao, is usually the starting point for any traveler. Here are some of the spots you have to check out when you come visit:

3DOE Ecopark and Restaurant

Adrenaline junkies, take your pick from the ATVs or buggies to get to the next cultural destination. I chose to drive an ATV myself on the way to Lamlifew Cultural Village in Sarangani. The travel time is 1-1.5 hours passing through scenic rice fields and involves crossing two rivers. The drive itself was fun, perfect if you already know how to drive a car or a scooter as it’s pretty easy.

Tip: Wear trekking sandals as you will get wet! Don’t forget your sunblock, too. 

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