Think and speak of Tagaytay, and a bunch of memories will spark a conversation between friends and strangers alike. The holiday town down south of Metro Manila has been a getaway from the hustle-bustle of the city.
Tagaytay speaks of wonders — the classic Bulalô, overlooking sceneries, karaoke nights, and the sight of the majestic Taal Volcano. A heartwarming reminder that there’s always a place for you in this getaway town, regardless of your emotions.
A trip down south
In the midst of the government’s poor response to the pandemic, many industries were forced to adapt to continue their business operations. When I got a call from a friend to help with their social enterprise’s initiatives in Tagaytay, I said yes without hesitation.
After several signed permits, we took a trip down south. We took the Santa Rosa exit in Laguna and we were greeted by a gloomy sky warning us of an upcoming rainstorm.
Before the skies sent a downpour, I took a selfie on my latest daily driver — the ASUS Zenfone 8. After all, cloudy skies make for the perfect diffuser. Without the sun’s harsh lighting, your selfies will look balanced.
Moments later, a rainstorm occurred and it was my cue to take a nap.
I fell asleep the whole time we were in transit. When I woke up, we were already in Hollywood Subdivision where we’ll leave our bags.
It was a quiet neighborhood, although there are a few hotels and establishments around the area in case you need to grab a quick bite.
An overlooking, late lunch
After getting our bags settled in our place, we went to Green ATS restaurant along Tagaytay-Nasugbu Highway. Because when in Tagaytay, you must get a Bulalô.
Due to pandemic restrictions, a space that was formerly good for five is now limited to two people. We ordered Bulalô or Beef Marrow Stew — a beef dish with clear broth, leafy vegetables, and corn on the cob.
Apologies but there are no photos included. I’m not that millennial anymore: the one that takes a lot of time to snap a photo of food or even style it to look glamorous for his followers to see, even if he’s really hungry.
But I did take a selfie while waiting for the food. Hashtag priorities.
The spot we have has an overlooking view, although still at a distance. I used the maximum 8x digital zoom capability of the ASUS Zenfone 8 to try to capture the barren, exhausted state of Taal Volcano after its sudden phreatomagmatic eruption back in January 2020.
After we were done eating, we went to the balcony to bask in awe of a majestic scene. I used the wide-angle mode to capture its glory.
I also captured the scenery using the wide-angle mode in Panorama, as if I was an old uncle who suddenly learned how to use smartphones. Afterward, we proceeded to our friend’s program — wherein we weren’t allowed to take photos.
Another drive for dinner
It was already dusk when we got back to our place. I charged my phone since I was using the Zenfone 8 since the morning — mobile data, messaging, maps, and all.
It was around 7:30 in the evening when we went out for a drive to look for an open café so I can write and do a bit of my work. Since most establishments are closed, especially all Starbucks branches, my friend insisted to visit Breakfast at Antonio’s.
I was averse to the idea of having my dinner here. But I was convinced when we realized I can bring out my laptop and type peacefully here.
The pastries are to die for, at least for my friend who was an avid fan of this restaurant.
They serve appetizing ice cream as well, which is a trip to the bathroom in my case. Lactose intolerant kids don’t get to enjoy the fine things in life unless we have our pills.
Three things about Breakfast at Antonio’s: First, the service is really slow. We had to call the waiters three times before they get our orders. Second, the food is bland and average except for the cup of hot chocolate. I think that was really remarkable.
Last but not the least, the pricing is insane. The waffle and pancake cost nearly US$ 10 (almost PhP 500) each, and it didn’t make me feel full. Not even a bit. Although my rich friend — who always calls himself comfortable as if he was Nick Young from Crazy Rich Asians — was delighted with the servings. To each his own, I guess.
We capped the night drinking with our friends from the army, who are about to be dispatched to different outposts in the Philippines. It was kind of a despedida since they will be stuck in their posts for two years or more.
The next morning, I found myself puffy and bloated after possessing the spirits of Jose Cuervo and Alfonso. I haven’t got myself drunk in a long time, so I took a much-needed hangover meal and shower that helped me come back to my senses.
Mornings are peaceful here. You can give your soul a break whether it’s through drinking a cup of coffee in silence while you read a new novel, or staring into space.
I went to the rooftop to get some sun. The overlooking view is the perfect sight to capture using a wide-angle mode, and I was glad I have that handy feature. It was breathtaking; as if there were endless possibilities unraveling before me.
The cat enjoyed getting some sun, too. I didn’t want to cause disturbance by getting close, so I used 2x zoom to capture it from a distance.
To a patch of greenery
We’re headed on a new adventure and a 30-minute drive to Mendez to visit an organic farm called L&J Country Estate. As part of my friend’s assignment, we’re helping her explore and learn about the place to see if the tour can be part of her next segment.
Upon entering L&J Country Estate, the first hallmark you’ll encounter is its fabulous fountain.
The place hosted an event the weekend before, so the café, swimming pool, and other amenities were off-limits for the timebeing.
Noela Amparo, a rising pop-rock sensation, didn’t pass an opportunity to have her photos taken while we’re on the tour.
The first part we explored is their farm designed to look like gardens.
There was a bird sanctuary as well, for those who love birds.
The place doesn’t welcome smokers with their unapologetic signage. I pretend I didn’t see that and moved on. (I am guilty as charged.)
The open space where kids are welcome is also a space for witchcraft. Just kidding. There was a bonfire for late-night roasting sessions, or when you just want to chill and hang around.
For adventurous kids and kids-at-heart, there are several obstacle courses to enjoy as well.
And there were a lot of swings for those who want to live in the moment and sit in peace.
Flowers bloom almost everywhere, making it the perfect foreground for your Instagram photos.
Garden trellises produce dappled sunlight, so take advantage of them to create a hopeful yet dramatic appeal in your shots.
Halfway, we got tired of walking around that we decided to lounge on a bench and catch up with life. Sometimes, we need to fill our time with laughter and conversations.
Remember: taking care of your relationships and spending time with people you love are also a form of self-care. Find ways to sit down and be present. We shouldn’t be consumed by the worries of the future all the time.
And don’t forget to take selfies with the people you love.
Right after our tour, we passed by this youthful Volkswagen Beetle on our way out.
Of course, we didn’t forget to take a group selfie to commemorate the tour and to appreciate everyone who made the tour happen.
Before heading back to Manila, we took a quick drive to Twin Lakes to grab our lunch.
The place is eerily quiet with only a handful of people roaming around.
Before leaving, I stood at the balcony and took another look, and marveled at a breathtaking and refreshing view, before going back to the gloomy and busy Metro. The trip was quite short, but it was eventful.
All photos were taken using the ASUS Zenfone 8.
24 Hours is a series on GadgetMatch.com where we showcase our travels through a smartphone camera’s perspective. It’s also a documented guide on things to see and do in a city in case you happen to plan a trip there.
A 24-Hour soundtrip with the Huawei FreeBuds 4i
From waking up to sleeping soundly at night
For about a year or so now, I’ve considered my Huawei FreeBuds Lite as my go-to wireless earphones for day-to-day activities. I mean, I could basically just tone everyone out while I proceed to go about my day — whether it’s the weekday or weekend. Plus, I mean I own a Huawei phone so I guess I’d like to keep things a bit consistent.
Until one day, I was lucky enough to test out the new Huawei FreeBuds 4i, which was something quite surprising considering I was looking for another pair anyway. So I told myself, “why not, let’s use this entire thing for a whole day and see what happens.”
Wake up in the morning, feelin’ like…
I’m pretty sure you know what comes after, so let’s get the morning started. That particular Friday morning, I woke up at around 6:30 to 7:00 AM despite only getting 6 hours of sleep. Before starting the day, I did a bit of stretching to some music that powers me right up. So, I popped in the Huawei FreeBuds 4i and instantly, I just heard nothing but the music.
To be honest, being disturbed early in the morning isn’t fun and the FreeBuds 4i’s Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) does wonders for that. In essence, it eliminates every possible noise you can hear and just lets you enjoy your ad-free music on Spotify. Yes, even the sound of loud cars and whirring fans disappear from your ears.
After my morning routine, I grabbed myself some breakfast matched with a nice cup of coffee. Even when there’s still work to do, you can’t really skip a good breakfast! To help me get myself ready for the work day, I tuned up some podcasts about my favorite topics and issues to discuss. With the FreeBuds 4i’s ANC, it was nice to properly hear and focus on the discussion points.
With breakfast out of the way, I had some work to do — mostly on the creative side of things and some writing. For the most part, I just stayed in my room and opened my Macbook to get things started. Luckily, the Huawei FreeBuds 4i was compatible with my Apple device, and connects quite fast.
Part of my work includes having voice and video calls with some colleagues and friends through my Huawei phone. With the FreeBuds 4i, I had a pleasant experience with the noise cancellation technologies that my friends could hear my voice clearly. Also, I turned on Awareness mode either through the Huawei AI Life app or a long press on the right earbud. You know, just in case somebody in the family needed my help and they were calling me.
During my breaks, I find myself playing some nice, good ‘ol fashioned League of Legends: Wild Rift on my phone. I teamed up with some friends through the Discord app, and turned up the game’s volume to a tolerable amount. While using the FreeBuds 4i, I heard all the game’s sounds deeply while finding a way to make team comms be a little better.
The night is still young, and so are we
After my eight and a half hours of work and play, it was time for a little bit of relaxation before dinner time. I usually spend this time watching some YouTube videos or a series/movie on Netflix. For this particular Friday afternoon, I watched some VODs from the VALORANT Masters regional qualifiers for that week.
Of course, I had to quickly charge the FreeBuds 4i since it was running non-stop for eight or so hours. By quickly charging it, I mean all I needed was to give it a 10-minute recharge in the case and it’s all good to go. Essentially, this set of wireless earphones gives you about 4 hours of use in just a short amount of charging time.
Within those 4 hours, I reviewed three different sets of VODs of qualifying matches while having a smooth audio experience. With a dynamic 10mm audio driver and low latency audio algorithms, I could take in all the intense action between the best teams in VALORANT plus some commentary. After watching, I put down the earphones and gave it some more time to charge while having dinner.
Sweet lullaby, I want it more everyday
After a hearty dinner, it was finally time to get some sleep and recharge for the next day. Of course, I made it a point to watch a Netflix series and have late night calls with my girl beforehand. Then, I prepared for bed and fired up my playlist to doze off into the night.
Before I began, I popped in the FreeBuds 4i and allowed the case to just charge in the background. For the next 8-10 hours, it would be my companion through the calls and the soundtrip to sleep. Furthermore, I didn’t have to worry too much if the songs stop playing when one of the earphones falls off my ear.
With 10 hours of continuous playback and a comfortable fit in my ear, the FreeBuds 4i allowed me to just close my eyes and recharge in peace. Also, I would sometimes check the battery percentage through the Huawei AI Life app to gauge how long my soundtrip would be. By the time I woke up the next day, it would be prime and ready for another recharge like me.
The Huawei FreeBuds 4i comes in at PhP 3,599, and in three colorways: Ceramic White, Carbon Black, and Red.
This feature is a collaboration between GadgetMatch and Huawei Philippines.
24 hours indoors with the Lenovo Tab P11 Pro
A day in doodles!
So, here’s the tea: 🍵. You’re welcome. Jokes aside, this past year or so has been a roller coaster ride. And, we’ve been frothing at the mouth to keep our sanity at bay. With everything going on in the world (indoors and out), we might just have the right tablet to keep you and your family productive and creative: the Lenovo Tab P11 Pro.
Wasn’t short of pleasant surprises
I was lucky enough to get to test it out and since I developed a horrible rash that made me look like a beaten-up tomato, I decided to sketch a full day in quarantine with the tablet.
And, oh boy, let me preface the next 24 hours with some context. I’ve never had a proper tablet and pen before and the Tab P11 Pro made me realize how little I knew about just how much I might actually need one. From getting more work done wherever, to rediscovering my love for simple sketches, the Tab P11 Pro wasn’t short of pleasant surprises.
Pre-pandemic, I would normally wake up at around midday but now, I usually wake up early afternoon. I usually try not to check my phone first thing up but, I’d be lying through my teeth if I said I didn’t do it every single day.
Start your day right
The Tab P11 Pro really helped me with getting into the creative groove of work, play, and getting up to date. Instead of just being on my phone, I now make myself a cup of coffee and browse through work emails, daily tasks, and news. So, same thing; just on a bigger and better tablet.
Lenovo’s most powerful 11.5-inch Android tablet puts out images through a brilliant 2K OLED display. So, it was no surprise I abused it for Netflix and getting back into sketching when seeing COVID-19 active cases in 2K was festering toxic nihilism.
Multitask with ease, anywhere
You’ll be happy to find the display comes with HDR10 and Dolby Vision support. The chassis also comes with four JBL speakers, supplemented with Dolby Atmos support.
These came to good use when I got to playing after work or listening to podcasts while I was going about my baking shenanigans mid-afternoon.
Quickly after baking, or while dough proofs, I get to work. The Lenovo Tab P11 Pro is great for getting more done at home.
The ultra-thin Keyboard Pack with built-in trackpad snaps into place when you need to fire off an email, get work done, or school degenerates. The magnetic stand cover and integrated kickstand prop up the tablet, marrying ease and comfort while you stay productive and creative.
Features you’d need and want
A day full of work meetings can be a breeze with the Tab P11 Pro’s dual rear (13MP and 5MP) camera combo and a dual (8MP and 8MP) selfie-shooter.
On the note of features that showed off how horrendous I looked from my rash, you can unlock the Tab P11 Pro with facial recognition. And, as you would have hoped, it hadn’t failed to give me access despite how non-hyperbolic and realistic I am of the extremes my face had turned me into a walking raspberry.
When work is at a standstill or I’m hitting a wall, I get to sketching. I haven’t had the chance to dabble into sketching much lately but, the tablet has given me a creative outlet to express myself.
The intuitive Lenovo Precision Pen 2 is a huge help with its subtle pressure adjustments for a smoother digital writing and doodling experience.
Under the hood specs
The Tab P11 Pro sports the Snapdragon 730G chipset, up to 6GB of RAM, and 128GB of internal storage (with expandable storage up to 1TB through microSD).
So, the Lenovo Tab P11 Pro is more than capable to last a full day of work, play, baking, and doodling with its 8600mAh battery.
But hey, didn’t I technically just use it for only half the day since I woke up in the afternoon? Well, I match my ungodly waking hours with ungodly sleeping hours.
I usually end my day with journaling around 3am to 5am. These hours seem to be when I polish my doodles, write about my day, meditate, and plan out the next day.
Is this your GadgetMatch?
The Lenovo Tab P11 Pro embodies the tablet you didn’t know you needed without taking all the money in your wallet. It goes without saying that if you’re looking for a tablet to optimize your creative and work output wherever you are, this is the perfect tablet for you. It’s feature-packed to make sure you get every bang for your buck while working like a pro.
The Lenovo Tab P11 Pro is currently bundled with a Keyboard Pack, Folio Case/Stand Cover, and Precision Pen 2. The optional Lenovo Smart Charging Station 2 enables hands-free movie-watching and stable charging while docked. The Folio Case lets you strut in style with its modern fabric doubling down as extra protection for when you need to chuck it in your bag and go.
The Lenovo Tab P11 Pro has a price tag of PHP 36,990 and is available at Lenovo Exclusive Stores and Authorized resellers nationwide.
It’s also available at the Lenovo Mobile Official Store in Lazada and the Lenovo Mobile Official PH shop in Shopee.Follow Lenovo Philippines on Facebook and Instagram to get updates about the latest products and promos.
This feature is a collaboration between GadgetMatch and Lenovo Philippines.
24 Hours in Corregidor Island
Capturing the beauty of the ruins with the iPhone XS
Back when I was a kid, I only knew of Corregidor Island as part of Philippine History textbooks. Most (if not all) Filipinos would think of the place as a “haunted island” due to the number of casualties during the World War II.
To those who are unfamiliar, Corregidor Island is located several kilometers away from Manila. The ferry trip took about two hours before we reached the port. Despite being near the shore of Bataan, don’t be confused as this island is part of the province of Cavite.
If you look at the museum diorama above, the island’s shape reminds us of a “tadpole” — but I thought of something else entirely. 👀
I’m not here to bore you with the specific bits and pieces of the island’s history. Rather, I want to show you the hidden beauty of the land that was once devastated.
Corregidor’s one and only hotel
After we reached the port, we were greeted by several trams and headed straight to Corregidor Inn. If you’re planning to stay for a night or two, it’s the only place in the island that accepts accommodation.
The inn is spacious and comfortable that you wouldn’t actually think you’re in an isolated island. Just keep in mind that there’s no Wi-Fi connection — a perfect place for social media detoxification. I don’t advise anyone to do this but if it’s an emergency and you can’t keep your phone in your pocket, turn on your mobile data as the signal reception works well in this area.
Other than breakfast meals, they also offer lunch and dinner buffet — something you would want in a place that shows the majestic view of the sea. If you’re in need of “Vitamin Sea”, you can go to the nearest swimming pool outside (which feels better when you swim during the night). If you’re not satisfied, you can go to a beach meters away which I’ll talk about more later.
Ruins, ruins everywhere
The things that crossed my mind the moment I knew I’d be visiting this island were destroyed concrete slabs and cannon bombs — and I wasn’t wrong. You will find ruins such as the Mile-long barracks, laterals in Malinta Tunnel, and more.
Just because these buildings were ruined, it doesn’t mean they’re worthless. In fact, I recall how the tour guide pointed out that there was zero vegetation during the catastrophic bombing but these landmarks show how they survived and managed to keep their overall structure, just without glass windows and wooden walls.
A haven for thrill-seekers, hell for lost souls
I may not be someone who can sense (or see) ghosts, but conceptions about the island being surrounded by wandering souls might actually be true. Not to creep you out but during our Malinta Tunnel visit, someone hurriedly went out of the tunnel’s lateral as she sensed a roaming spirit. It made sense as the tour guide told us that the bombing completely wiped out everyone — including Filipinos, Japanese and even the Americans.
With the hard work exerted by the “prisoners of war”, Malinta Tunnel was successfully built for 10 years. It has managed to keep its structure even after what happened.
Meanwhile, the narrow Japanese tunnels were built with a different story in mind as Japanese troops built it for hideouts against the American soldiers. We had a short hike around the area and the hardest part is climbing all the way up with a steep stairway in between. Thankfully, the rope helped us along the way.
Although it may not be a big deal for me, this part of the trip is not for the faint-hearted. It’d still be a great experience though. You just need to stick with your group in order for you to not feel scared and alone.
There’s no such thing as “accident prone” roads
Early in the morning, I went out for a short jog. It eventually became a long walk as I can’t keep up with my low stamina. As I enjoyed the shore, there’s an uphill and curvy road where there are no vehicles passing by. If you have a companion, you can pose around and have your picture taken in the middle of the road — something you can’t freely do in most parts of the Philippines.
When we headed towards the Kindley Field, it’s a sight I enjoyed looking at. At first, I thought it’s the usual long road but it was just an illusion since it’s already a dead-end. It used to be a landing strip of war planes.
It’s a (hidden) paradise
As mentioned earlier, there’s a beach near the inn where you can spend your day by chilling with the sight of sparkling water. Even at night, you can enjoy the sound of sea waves while grilling your favorite food by the bonfire.
Other than the South Dock, there’s also the Corregidor Island Lighthouse which gives you a spectacular view of the island from the “topside” or the island’s peak.
You get splendid views whether you’re facing the Manila Bay or West Philippine Sea. Sunrise, mid-day, sunset — they all look breathtaking. On the “tailside” part of the island, you’ll see the Tadpole’s Tail with another smaller island called “Caballo Island”.
If you’re a huge fan of astronomy (like me), you will enjoy the island’s lack of light pollution as it shows stars and planets scattered around the pitch black sky. Constellations appeared right in front of my eyes as if I’m in a planetarium.
The unexpected surprise
There was a special contest for both participants and media by showing off everyone’s best iPhone shot with the theme “Capture the old glory of Corregidor in modern times“. It was my first time on the island so I just looked around and captured unusual perspectives and subjects that attracted my eyes.
What’s the surprise? My shot won first place — something I never expected at all. I can remember how I got pressured deciding what would be the title of the shot I submitted.
During the awarding, I ran out of words especially after hearing the comments of the talented visual storyteller Mr. JC Gellidon and Mr. Joey Alvarez, PMC’s Director of Marketing and Product Management.
View this post on Instagram
Featuring the top 3 best #ShotoniPhone photographs from Project Bayani Workshop Corregidor taken by participants. Huge thanks to @jcgellidon for sharing tips and tricks on iPhone photography and @suncruises for giving us an extraordinary experience in Corregidor Island! #PMCProjectBayani
Many thanks to our friends from Power Mac Center and Sun Cruises who made this trip possible. Seeing an unfamiliar place while meeting new people, it’s honestly a wonderful weekend experience I would never forget. If you ask me, I would go back to Corregidor Island if I have another chance.
All shots were taken using the iPhone XS.
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