A Magical Island called Siquijor: Itinerary and Guide

Oh, you can kayak too! No Gravatar

I’ve been wanting to go to Siquijor for quite a while, since I’ve already come so close a few times (Dumaguete, Bacolod and Cebu). I feel lucky that I got to explore this underrated Philippine destination with one of the most adventurous group of friends I know.

The very picturesque falls in Siquijor.

How to get there

Cebu Pacific Airlines and Philippine Airlines have flights to Dumaguete. From here, you need to go to the Dumaguete Port to get on a ferry that’s bound for Siquijor Island. Depending on the weather, it may take 1-2 hours to Siquijor at P160 per passenger.

Touring

If you are travelling as a couple or with 3 other persons, better hire a tricycle to take you around the city for about P800-P1000. However, if you’re travelling with 8-13 persons, it’s so much more convenient to hire a private van (contact: Louie, 09362576713).

Here’s our 13pax Manila-Dumaguete-Siquijor-Manila itinerary:

Day 1: Apo Island (Dumaguete) to Siquijor
1000 – 1100 Dumaguete Airport to Zamboangita
1100 – 1200 Boat to Apo Island
1200 – 1230 Lunch
1230 – 1530 Snorkel with the turtles
1530 – 1630 Travel back to city
1630 – 1900 Catch 5:00PM ferry Siquijor
1900 – 0000 Check in at White Villas Resort, Dinner and Drinks

(If you don’t wanna go to Apo Island, you can go around Siliman University, the zoo or try the Sans Rival and other cakes at Sans Rival restaurant.)

It was an interesting tour, where we saw hungry spotted deers, waving bats and crocodiles.

When he was a young warthog! (My close encounter with Pumba)

Day 2: Siquijor Island Tour
0900 – 1000 Start city tour at Balete Tree with Fish Spa
1000 – 1300 Cambugahay Falls
1300 – 1630 Salagdoong Beach
1630 – 1900 Old house, Snacks, Dinner and Sunset at Larena Triad Coffee Shop and Restaurant
2000 – 0000 Back to resort, Dinner and Drinks

Day 3: Siquijor-Dumaguete-Manila
0800 – 1000 Swim at the White Inn Resort Beach
1000 – 1200 Travel back to Dumaguete City
1200 – 1400 Lunch at Jo’s Chicken Inato
1400 – 1530 Snacks and Pick up pasalubong at Sans Rival Cakes and Pastries
1600 – 1700 Catch flight back to Manila

Some tips:

  • You must try the fish spa at the Balete Tree if you haven’t been to one. It’s the first stop of the day tour. If you missed it, there are fish spas at Robinson’s in Dumaguete, for a hefty price of P250-P300. In Siquijor, it’s free!

The fish are out to get your feet!

  • Spending the night at Siquijor was a good call. White Villas is probably one of the best resorts, with a great staff, good food (we ate dinner and breakfast here) and cozy rooms. Perfect if you’re a group of 3 or 4. Since we booked during the low season, we got a room for 4pax for just P2,500.

 

The beach at White Villas ain’t bad.

  • We were supposed to stay at the Salagdoong Beach Resort, but when we spent some time at the beach there, I didn’t find it relaxing. I read good things about staying at the resort, but the hotel itself isn’t exactly reachable. I’ve personally tried booking through the contact nos. from their website and from travel blogs but it was all a dead end. I think it was divine providence, ha ha!

The perfect spot for a Group Shot.

  • Our second stop was Cambugahay Falls. We’ve enjoyed the time we spent at the Cambugahay Falls than at Salagdoong Beach. Photos taken were more interesting and getting your back massaged by the running water was so relaxing. They have two areas where you can jump off into the water if you’re the adventurous type. As for me, sitting and taking photos are more than enjoyable.

Do some Tarzanning near the foot of the entrance,

Cambugahay Falls, Siquijor

go further up the falls,

or just dive right in. Fun!

  • If you’re eating lunch at the Salagdoong Beach Resort, call an hour ahead to order. We were warned that the kitchen takes a while to prepare the food. How about the beach? Is it as majestic as people say? Well, the sand was riddled with seashells and rocks and the cottages did not look like they were being maintained. I wasn’t impressed with the whole set-up and I’m a bit picky with my beaches (bitchez, say whut?!). But, this is a public beach so I should not have demanded more. There wasn’t really a place where you can just lie down peacefully and bake.

Not the finest sand you’ll see.

  • The sea slide below used to be functional until one of the stronger earthquakes hit Siquijor last year. It now has a big crack in between. We asked our our tour guide-slash-driver if this was going to be fixed soon, but he doesn’t know when.

There isn’t really much to do but swim and cliff dive.

Oh, you can kayak too!

That big rock was supposed to be holding the slide in place.

  • If you want to be adventurous at Salagdoong Beach, there’s only one option-you have to cliff jump three storeys high.

My heart almost stopped.

  • After much jumping, we quickly passed by Siquijor’s oldest house (I’m sorry, I did not see it because I was asleep) and spent the afternoon taking photos of and with the island sunset. The Larena Triad Coffee Shop and Restaurant is like their version of Antipolo’s “Overlooking”, where you see a great view of the whole city. We ordered snacks, and had dinner here as well.

Overlooking the whole island.

A view that’s stock photo-worthy.

It’s best to catch the sunset here.

Hit the comments section if you’re planning a trip to Siquijor. I’d be happy to help!

(Photos by friends Mellie V. and Boni A. Special thanks to my dearest friend Tara who helped us get around Dumaguete.)

Tata for now,
Faith

04. October 2014 by Faith Salazar
Categories: Travel | Tags: , , , , | 2 comments

Barber’s Tales: A Cinematic Fury

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This is not a review. As I write this post, I am more convinced that I shouldn’t write a review and that I should write for the purpose of convincing you, dear reader, to catch this monumental film before it gets replaced by Hollywood action films in two days.

Barbers Tales

Barber’s Tales is, I think, an attempt to give the Filipino mind better sustenance. This is unlike the indie films which engulf you in poverty – dirty urban streets or dingy rural holes.

If you watched Bwakaw in the 2013 Cinemalaya Film Festival, you’ll notice the similarity. Both films were directed by Jun Robles Lana, and Barber’s Tales is apparently the second of three films on the Philippine rural life. Bwakaw has been on the top of my favorite films list and I just established the connection right this moment, after having read some articles on the film.

Set in rural 1975, the film focuses on the town barber’s wife (Marilou played by Eugene Domingo) in her struggle of finding her identity and purpose after the death of her husband. While watching the entire film, I felt my gut transform into a pot with a simmering egg-ready to burst at any moment. I couldn’t say any more without revealing the plot, but I recommend you go watch the film without reading up on the plot or a review.

The film rolled like a quiet fury – at times, it will come predictable and sometimes, unexpected. You know what happened at the end? The egg in my imaginary pot exploded as quick as a split second. And at that moment, I cheered inside for Marilou and the other characters. We applauded when the credits rolled out for everything the movie was and everything it represented.

Films like these come once in a blue moon but romantic comedies and action films (ahem MMFF) get distributed with full force every end of the year. For a mere 200PHP, you get to say “FUCK THAT” to Filipino movies that are force fed to us by giant corporations and you also get to support filmmakers who actually make great movies that we can be proud of. Today and tomorrow, you get to decide whether you want to see beauty in truth.

Catch Barber’s Tales until tomorrow. You won’t regret it. If we’re lucky enough, we might get a second run at a small cinema.

18. August 2014 by Faith Salazar
Categories: Personal | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Yardstick: Cold Brews and Deconstructed Coffee

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I tried this coffee place in Legazpi Village, Makati called Yardstick on a Saturday morning. I should warn you that I’m not a coffee drinker, but I enjoy my share of beverages from beer to wine to milk tea. My constitution is so weak against caffeine that I wasn’t able to sleep for 24 hours straight after drinking a mocha coffee from Toby’s Estate – but that story is for a different post. Since it’s my first time, I immediately asked the barista behind their cute counter what a first timer should order.

They recommended that I try Mocha, Deconstructed (Php190), most likely meant for customers to taste the ingredients used in a mocha (cappucino or latte, not sure which one this is)

1. Espresso, if pulled perfectly, delicious on its own.
2. Milk; if steamed to the correct temperature, becomes sweeter.
3. Chocolate; always a treat!
4. Mocha; the complete beverage for you to enjoy!

If you like your coffee cold, black and unadulterated, get a cold brew (Php 160), also served in a stronger concoction with milk. This has been brewed for 12 hours and apparently, it needs to be shaken every hour to achieve its kick.

The spaces in between tables are so big, people with a sense of private space won’t have a right to complain – like me!

 

But it looks like the coffee shop is a mere prop. Not only do they serve coffee, they also roast their own, distribute coffee machines and train home owners and baristas through workshops. We were lucky to have caught a class when we went to visit. I hope they provide some reading materials like Toby’s Estate – although I don’t think this would encourage their customers to actually look at coffee machines. I would definitely come back to explore their menu, but I’ll make sure to bring someone or something with me.

Try out Your Lokal if you’re near the area and order their Pork and Beans for brunch, I swear it’s love.

TTFN,
Faith

25. June 2014 by Faith Salazar
Categories: Food | Tags: , , , , | 1 comment

Chinese & Drinks: Hao HongKong Diner

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I’ve been looking for a watering hole in Makati that’s not too “street” (literally drinking on the street or al fresco) like El Chupacabra and not too urban hook-up like Distillery. I just wanna eat good food and drink beer in an air-conditioned place that’s not expensive – is that too much to ask?

Yeah, well, good thing I reconnected with my friend Rick Manzano, who used to write at defunct blog ProjectManila.com. He said Hao HongKong Diner in Jupiter St. had a Cubao X vibe and while we we’re driving there, I realized Jupiter St. has really come alive in the past few years – bars and restaurants keeping popping up like over-eager reproducing rabbits. Jupiter I’d rather go here than go to The Fort or nearby Greenbelt.

I looked at Foursquare tips and diners here recommended:


Maling Chips (Php 88). Very crispy. Pair with beer.


Crispy Pork (Php 148). Serving size is a bit disappointing, but damn, this pork is crispy – it’s crazy! I’m in love with it!


Green Tea Apple Vodka. We tried this and another one of their Spiked Teapots, Pineapple. I’d recommend Green Tea Apple Vodka just to taste, but I wouldn’t drink this the whole night.


We also ordered staple Nachos, but this is surprisingly humungous and meaty.

Beers (Light and Pilsen) are at Php 55. Yes, there’s a huge smoking area and the restroom is clean. I would want to hang out here if I want to eat and talk, more than drink. It’s a good catch-up place that’s more relaxed that the usual draft beers bars like Craft, Draft and Distillery. I just wish the music isn’t so loud.

TTFN,
Faith

09. March 2014 by Faith Salazar
Categories: Drinking | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Makati’s Best Budget Persian: Sultan Mediterranean Grill

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Nestled in the inner streets of Salcedo Village, Sultan Mediterranean Grill might just be the best Persian your Php300 can buy. Dine out with a friend when you can’t help but do overtime work – most likely, you’d both have the whole restaurant to yourselves.

Try out these two dishes under P300, when shared with a friend.

Regular Kebab or Koobideh Plate, with a choice of beef, fish, seafood, chicken, lamb (Php180) with Keshmishi Rice (upgrade to Php45) paired with Moussaka (Php190), the Greek’s version of meat lasagna. Add Php75 for Fruit (Mango) Yogurt Shake or Php70 for just the plain Yogurt Shake. Your total bill is Php500, that’s Php275 each.

 

Special Kebab or Koobideh Plate (Php280) with Baba Chanouj (Eggplant Caviar) for Php100 then pair it with pita bread.

Or buy two of their Shawarma for take-out and get 50% off on your second Shawarma. Down it with your favorite local beer, Light or Pilsen costs Php40 each.

They also deliver: Unit 9 Valero Plaza Condominium, San Agustin St., Salcedo Village, Makati (across Metrobank)
Telephone No.: 894-5909

 

03. March 2014 by Faith Salazar
Categories: Food | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

10 Unforgettable Moments at the 7107 International Music Festival

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Unforgettable moments in subtitles and photos:

1. The Stage Set-up is Epic

[U-D, L-R] Main Stage, Entrance, Local Stage

2. Then Suddenly We Find Out Water isn’t Allowed Inside, Even though Organizers Explicitly Advised To Bring Some

And Water, Coke and Beer  is So Fucking Expensive

3. How This Huge Ball is Rolling Over Innocent Festival Goers

4. The Local Bands Killed It On Stage

5 Who’s DJ Alvaro? I don’t know but I Danced… as a Blue Disco Ball.

6. Kendrick Lamar is Suprisingly Fun to Watch. Yeah, Pussy and Patron make me feel alright~

7. Empire of the Sun’s Award in Best Entrance

8. The Red Hot Chili Peppers. Period.

9. It Ended With The Sky Falling – No, Fireworks!

10. Then We Couldn’t Find The Car Because The Parking Area Doesn’t Have Markers, but Good Company Still Made the Whole Trip Awesome.

26. February 2014 by Faith Salazar
Categories: Entertainment, Manila News | Tags: , , , , , | 1 comment

The 28th Visual Arts Competition is drawing to a close

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If you’re a photography enthusiast who wants to join PLDT’s 28th Visual Arts Competition and win P80,000 frickin’ pesos, you might want to submit today. The deadline of submission of entries is tomorrow, February 7. Just send in three creative photographs on or before the deadline and make sure to meet the requirements here: http://www.visualarts.ph/mechanics.

The winner won’t just take home P80,000, a Canon EOS 550D DSLR camera and a special trophy designed by sculptor Impy Pilapil and a feature on the covers of major telephone directories all over the Philippines are also included. So, if you’re a student between 15-24 years of age and currently enrolled in any local school, send in your most creative photographs depicting “Scenes from My Hometown” to get a chance to win over P700,000 in cash prizes.

How to join

Each student can submit up to three entries, either in full color or in black and white.To qualify for the major prizes, any entry must have an 8” x 12” portrait orientation with a resolution of at least 10 megapixels. All entries must be uploaded to the contest’s website, www.visualarts.ph,between Oct. 16, 2012 and Feb. 7, 2014 (up to 11:59pm).

Sample Photos

Below are winning photographs from last year’s Visual Arts Competition:


Photo by Maria Angela R. Miranda, Hillside Academy
Top 50 finalist for the 27th Visual Arts Competition


Photo by Marc Henrich Go, University of Santo Tomas
Top 50 finalist for the 27th Visual Arts Competition

For more information on the VAC 28 mechanics, prizes and other details, please visit www.visualarts.ph or like their Facebook page here - https://www.facebook.com/visualartsph.

06. February 2014 by Faith Salazar
Categories: Contests | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

10 Reasons That Convinced Me to Go Back to the Dinagyang Festival

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Dinagyang is the first festival I thoroughly enjoyed and here are ten reasons why: (Warning: Most photos have my face in them. No, they are not in GIF format.)

1. The beach is two rides away from the city.

Guimaras Island is a 10-minute ferry ride away from Iloilo city. Hop on a ferry from Ortiz Port and pay P15-P20 to get to Jordan Wharf in Guimaras. Alubijod Beach, a 30-minute jeepney ride from the wharf, can be accessed through Raymen Beach Resort – just pay P25 for a daytrip pass and P50 for a cold beer. Or you can go farther up to Guisi and spend the night, swim and visit the 18th century ruins in Guisi lighthouse.

This is how old the lighthouse is – KALAWANG galore!

2. Because… MANGOES!

Guimaras mangoes are known to be the sweetest kind in the Philippines and made into jams and dried mangoes. Visit the Trappist Monastery in Guimaras island, where these mangoes are grown.

(No need for photos)

3. Biking can actually get you somewhere

If you’re fit enough, try biking up to MontPiller in Guimaras to see this creepy -looking tree and Mother Mary’s shrine. It takes 2-3 hours back and forth from Barangay Daragan, so that workout should last you the whole week.

4. The Dinagyang nightlife will make you feel like you never left Manila, but in a good way.

I was pleasantly surprised to see celebrities and pretty women in heels partying in Iloilo – and was a bit embarrassed with the beach wear ensemble I put together so my clothes won’t be mistaken as rags. Spotted some celebrities like DJ Tony Tony at Flow Superclub FlowNation Night. Thank you Globe for giving us the best seats in the club and hands down to FlowNation and Republiq for bringing DJs who can make people dance crazy.

Unlike Sinulog, the partying at Dinagyang is so steady – it’s lucky you will get smashed. It’s just good old partying, without the major hangover. You can wake up early the next morning to join the street parade. Old people will most probably appreciate this.

5. No one actually knows you – party all niiiiight!

I have seen a few people I actually know on Dinagyang – probably because most of my friends have already spent their office leaves at Sinulog the week before. Now, everyone’s probably stuck at their desks while you’re partying like crazy. No one will actually know what happened, until someone tags you on Facebook.

6. Headdresses and masks are totally part of your clubbing outfit.

At Saturday’s more upscale night at the FlowNation event, locals came in their little black dresses and heels. I came in a leopard print top and a pink Dinagyang headdress. And you know how many fucks I gave? None.

7. Talaba (Oysters).

You can get fresh talaba here just about anywhere. If you want to rough it out, enjoy it and other seafood in the food festival right in the heart of Iloilo city, near SM city for P60 a bucket. You can also get it at restaurants like Allan’s and Breakthrough, although I personally recommend trying their street food – just make sure you bring your own water.

8. Choco boys.

If you’re into the “katawang hinubog ng kahirapan” look, you will enjoy dancing with the costumed men at the Dinagyang street party, which usually happens after they perform.

9. Street parties aren’t that stressful.

At first, I was really hesitant to go to any kind of festival, including Dinagyang, because I didn’t wanna experience the jostling and near-death temperatures at street parties. When we joined the festivities, we tried looking for a better view then got stuck in the middle of a crowd. Fortunately, we found a side street, found a restaurant along the road where we waited for the street dancers to come to us. It all boils down to how far you’re willing to come out of your comfort zone. Lookie here, I could even take a decent selfie:

10. A testament to the rich culture and history of the Filipino people.

Unfortunately, we didn’t catch the performances but I was able to catch them on TV and they were epic.  It’s like watching mad cheerdancing competitions. The tickets were sold out when we got to Iloilo, so better get tickets ahead of time.

So see you at Dinagyang next year?

TTFN,
Faith

02. February 2014 by Faith Salazar
Categories: Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 comment

What to Read this Halloween?: Top 10 Horror Reads

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This list is super late, I know. I’ve started building this since last week and I’ve been so busy with work and partying (it took me a whole day to recover from last Thursday’s hangover). If you’re looking for something to read this weekend then I suggest you take up my Halloween Reading List – if your stomach is ready for it.

10. Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman (novel)
Horror Score: 5/10
This is such an awesome pairing and a great book to start with – light and hilarious. This is the first time I’ve actually laughed about the Apocalypse. The second time was this movie – This is the End. (Disclaimer: I’m a huge Pratchett fan)

9. Chew by John Layman (graphic novel)
Horror Score: 7/10
The story revolves around a “cybopath”, someone who can find out what happened to food or anything s/he eats by chewing it. Such is the life of Tony Chu, an FDA inspector, thrown into world food crisis. This can get a bit graphic, but its humor easily makes up for it. Interesting, original and fun. 11/10.

8. The Jaunt by Stephen King (short story)
Horror Score: 8/10
If you like sci-fi and mind-fuck, you should read this short story, which might have been overlooked in King’s sea of famous novels like It, The Shining, Pet Sematary, Carrie, Needful Things (my favorite), Under the Dome (now a TV series) etc.

7. Sweet Tooth by Jeff Lemire (graphic novel)
Horror Score: 7.5/10
A rare new breed of hybrid human-animal children are the only ones immune to a strange pandemic that has swept the Earth into chaos. Survivors hunt these hybrids for research, food, money or for sport. This post-apocalyptic graphic novel is both shocking and depressing. I cried a few times in a short span of 25 issues.

6. The Murders in the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allan Poe (short story)
This is a collection of mystery stories that are most likely precursors to locked-room mysteries, cyphers and dropping false clues in the art of detective storytelling. Highly enjoyable if you enjoy detective stories and archaic English.

5. Sandman by Neil Gaiman (graphic novel)
I don’t believe Gaiman has topped this one yet. The unfolding of a great mythos paired with art to scare the sleep out of you – will get you hooked on the first volume. I’m glad I got to see a graphic novel growing into a classic.

4. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz, Illustrated by Stephen Gammell (children’s book, compilation of short stories)
Horror Score: 10/10
Reading the stories without the art will be completely pointless. Make sure you get the first edition – it is so freaky, it has been banned in the US. The drawings will scare you so much, you’ll peel every page like a band-aid – well, that’s just me. This lady reminds me of the demon in the Spanish film, Rec.

3. A Treasury of Victorian Murder: The Beast of Chicago by Rick Geary (graphic novel)
Horror Score: 9/10
Geary tells such good accounts of historical horror – every story is way better than fiction, because all of them are strangely real. I recommend this if you’re interested in reading about murders and how they happened – in a very factual and sometimes humorous way. His account of Jack the Ripper, also a part of this collection, is a fascinating read as well.

2. The Nightmare Factory by Thomas Ligotti (collection of short stories)
Horror Score: 9/10
I’m a big Lovecraft fan and I think no one has ever come close to his kind of storytelling than Thomas Ligotti. The dread comes very slowly, gets disturbing and leaves you hanging like dishrag. Poetic and emotional. Make sure to read “The Frolic”.

1. The Best of H.P. Lovecraft by H.P. Lovecraft (compilation of short stories)
Ah, who doesn’t love a good Lovecraft story? If you haven’t read him, start out with the “The Dunwich Horror” and “The Thing at the Doorstep”. Seriously, I think this guy has seen things.

If you like something a bit shorter but can still give you nightmares, try www.reddit.com/r/nosleep or if you find listening easier, subscribe to RelicRadio (The Horror) or Old Time Horror on your Podcast app on iTunes.

Let’s swap scary stories, comment here if you want to scare and share! :)

02. November 2013 by Faith Salazar
Categories: Personal | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Calling all Student Photographers!: Cash Prizes and Cameras at Stake at the 28th Visual Arts Competition

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Hey student photographers! Now’s your chance to not just take home P80,000 in cold cash, a Canon EOS 550D DSLR camera, a special trophy designed by sculptor Impy Pilapil (believe me, she’s famous) – your winning photograph will be featured on the covers of major telephone directories all over the Philippines, making your photo a part of every Filipino’s home. So, if you’re a student between 15-24 years of age and currently enrolled in any local school, snap away and submit your best photographs depicting “Scenes from My Hometown” to get a chance to win over P700,000 in cash prizes.

What’s at Stake?

The grand prize winner will take home P80,000 in cash, a special trophy designed by sculptor Impy Pilapil, and a Canon EOS 550D digital camera. In addition, his or her school will receive a P25,000 donation from DPC and PLDT, plus a Canon PIXMA printer.The next three major winners and their respective schools will receive similar prizes.

The top 50 finalists will automatically win P5,000 in cash, and their works will be put on display at Gateway Mall. Among the top 50 pictures, the public can select their favorites for the People’s Choice Awards—one each for Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao—via online voting through the competition website.

How to join

Each student can submit up to three entries, either in full color or in black and white.To qualify for the major prizes, any entry must have an 8” x 12” portrait orientation with a resolution of at least 10 megapixels. All entries must be uploaded to the contest’s website, www.visualarts.ph,between Oct. 16, 2012 and Feb. 7, 2014 (up to 11:59pm).

If I were 24, a student and had mad photography skills, I would have joined this competition. Don’t pass up on this – it’s a great way to show everyone how culturally rich the Philippines is.

For more information on the VAC 28 mechanics, prizes and other details, please visit www.visualarts.ph or like their Facebook page here - https://www.facebook.com/visualartsph.

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24. October 2013 by Faith Salazar
Categories: Contests | 1 comment

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