Villa Escudero || Living Simply

For so long, this place has only been a figment of my imagination made only a tad realistic by photos from the internet. Last year, upon an enumeration of suggestions, Gail finally narrowed down to Villa Escudero and Subic to celebrate her birthday. Obviously, the former won.

The Drive

Funny story. It was everyone’s first time to visit the place. Hence, instant road trip! One car was GPS-plus-road-familiarity-gut-feel reliant while the other was faithful to follow blog-directions. Long story short, after a few debates, GPS and gut-feel won!

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Posted in (PH)Luzon, Philippines, Travel Itinerary, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 9 Comments

Davao Itinerary || A Gem in the South

For the longest time Davao has been one of the many places I’ve always been fascinated with the dream of traveling to. I guess, it was initially due to the news of how strict the law was imposed and followed in the City. I was always curious how different Davao could be if it’s as disciplined as I imagined it. Plus, the tourist spots just sounded really wonderful.

The instant the opportunity presented itself, I pounced at it. Yes, pounced. That’s how much I’ve since wanted to get there. Gail was our host and planner for this trip as she is a homegrown Dabawenya herself.

Because I find it difficult to put into words our Davao experience, please allow the photos to speak the thousand words I am not able to write.

ITINERARY AND EXPENSES (4 days-3 nights)

Please note that in this trip, Gail’s family generously lent us the use of their car. Maybe you can do the same for a more convenient city tour.

Day 1

Crocodile Farm: (Rafting Php2000.00/head inclusive of packed lunch, a souvenir t-shirt and a cd of your photos with a video; durian ice cream PhP50.00ea, butterfly Garden, fire dance)

Zip City: Short zipline

Jack’s Ridge: Area for dining and relaxing with a view overlooking the city of Davao

Day 2

Eden Nature Park (PhP280.00 tour; suggestion – try fishing village)
Pearl Farm (PhP2200.00 overnight accommodation/pax with buffet breakfast on agoda discount, PhP750.00 buffet dinner)
Bat Cave (Guiness World Record PhP40.00 entrance fee , habal-habal PhP300/pax)
Hagimit Falls (PhP40.00 entrance)

Day 3

Pearl Farm (suggestion, try out maxima – you will need to ride habal-habal style and negotiate for price)
Lachi’s Lunch (aprrox 150++)
Seagull Mountain Resort (PhP3000 for a room for 5)

Day 4

Seagull mountain Resort breakfast (approx 250+)
Malagos Garden (PhP100 entrance fee)
Abreeza Mall

Pasalubong shopping:

Personally, the best pasalubong from Davao are their fruits: durian (although some people might not like it), marang and pomelo. For the pomelo, we opted to buy the Vic Premium one. I know Golden Fruits is the more popular one found in malls, but I think it’s overrated already. Vic and Nenita pomelos appealed to my taste more. But just to be sure, most stalls allow you to taste the fruits. The boxes of pomelo pretty much sells at the same price whether you are in a mall or a pasalubong store along the road.

Suggested Itinerary

If you have a longer vacation trip, I suggest you stay overnight or at least the entire day and at Eden Nature park and Malagos garden if nature’s your thing and stay for longer at Pearl Farm. If budget’s not a constraint, try staying for 2 nights and try out Maxima which is a habal-habal ride away.

Posted in (PH)Mindanao, Philippines, Travel Itinerary, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Presents Perfect Bazaar

When: 26-27 November 2011, 1000h-2100h
Where: Rockwell Tent, Makati

‘Tis the season to be jolly and no better fa lala lala la lovely time to start enjoying it than now. Lights flickering everywhere, establishments donned in Christmas decors and carols playing all around.

Surprisingly, my day turned out a welcoming of the season. After watching the cute little Erik tap his happy feet (if you’re game for some cute and adorable, you HAVE to watch Happy Feet 2.), we visited Food Magazine’s and Rockwell’s Perfect Presents Bazaar.

The ticket to the event is a copy of the latest (January 2012) issue of Food Magazine which is serves as event pass for two people. Bring one along if you happened to have bought yourself a copy already. Otherwise, copies are available at the venue at PhP120.00.

The tent housed a lot of merchants which was pretty much dominated by all sorts of pastries. It was red velvet galore, I couldn’t decide which one I like best. Most merchants offer their products in give-away packages and the usual to share sizes.

Aside from delicious cakes, cupcakes and desserts, there were other interesting merchants of ham, tea, coffee, snack foods and healthy-alternative products.

 

A small dining area is available for diners wanting to indulge on their purchases or to snack on the goodies from the few food stalls that were there. I tried an order of Fish ‘n Shrimp, PhP220.00, from Hooked. I didn’t realize I was too full from all of the eating I’ve had the entire day so I had a hard time finishing this. Plus it’s quite oily (what else was I expecting from deep fried food?), and a stuffed stomach + oily food is never a good thing. But I like the freshness and moistness of the fish and shrimp.

By the way, the kids from Junior MasterChef Philippines were at the event, too.

I left with no purchases from the event, but I now have a lot of Christmas (and other occasions) gift ideas for the office and friends. Already, I am excited.

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The Works Bistro || Once upon a Time in Coron..

Address: 2nd Level IL Terrazzo Mall Tomas Morato cor Scout Madrinan Brgy. South, Quezon City
Operating Hours:
Mon to Wed – 1100h to 0000h;
Thu to Sat – 1100h to 0100h;
Sun – 1100h to 0000h
Contact No: 09235802636

One of the things I love most when traveling is meeting new people. Whether it be the locals or fellow travelers, it’s a frighteningly exciting thing. It’s like entering a bookstore. Walk along the aisles, scan a few titles. Your eyes land on a curious little book making you stop, flip it over and read it’s synopsis. If you find it interesting, you leaf through a few more pages, read a couple more paragraphs and may end up buying one or staying long enough until you read a few chapters. If it doesn’t, you return it or set it down and move on to the next one.  If books aren’t you’re thing, my point is just that there are certain people you meet and keep as friends, acquaintances or just another stranger depending on what you have established at the time of your meeting.

 

 

Hopping on and off an outrigger boat with five other strangers for half a day while having the majority of the destinations to be enjoyed solely by your tiny group, it’s pretty inevitable conversations are going to start rolling and stories start unfolding. In the narrow shared space afloat the clear waters, our Coron trip yielded a friendship among ladies that kept in touch thanks in large part to social networking and data plans.

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Posted in Metro Manila, Restaurants By Location, Tomas Morato | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Jatujak || Developing a taste for Thai

2/F Entertainment Mall,
SM Mall of Asia
(also in other SM malls)

Thailand. One of the Asian countries still on my to-visit list. As that has yet to be ticked off, the closest experience I get is through food. While I have little to say about authenticity, I shall remain vocal about what appeals to my liking.

 

I spent this Jatujak dinner date with my dear friend, Jesse. I cannot exactly recall how we ended up at Mall of Asia, but the stories we shared are still pretty fresh.

Between us, we shared the Sampler Appetizer, PhP198.00, that came with two pieces each of shrimp cakes, fried spring rolls and Thai Spring rolls served with three different sauces. I found the shrimp cake a little too salty for my taste, the fresh spring rolls were quite good although the herbs may not appeal to some, while the fried rolls were well, forgettable. The sauce variants make each one a little bit more interesting. It was fun mixing and matching sauces with the appetizers.

Green Curry Beef, PhP265.23. I think I’m developing a preference to this dish and this particular curry over the yellow one. Probably because it’s newer to me and has sort of a different pungency. Or maybe it’s just this dish altogether that I am liking. I’m still not sure but it’s definitely something different from the curry dishes served on Filipino tables.

The aforementioned dishes were a companion to our Pineapple Rice, PhP170.00, whose serving was too much for two ladies. I was actually a little bit disappointed it wasn’t served in a cored pineapple because I’ve had it served to me once that way. Haha! But, the rice was quite good. The pineapple flavor wasn’t too overpowering and I like it that way.

Both of us ordered a glass of Thai Iced Tea, PhP85.00. Thai milk tea served ice blended in a TAAALL glass. Look, it’s taller than our spoon!

With what is available through various restaurants in and around the city, I find Thai cuisine something I would truly enjoy once I get first hand, authentic experience in the country. I understand that not many people (i.e. Filipinos) like Thai food since majority of it is spicy and quite the difference to what we are used to. But spicy and different are my sort of thing. So until I’ve had my passport stamped ‘Thailand’, my taste buds shall have to be satiated with what is available here.

Posted in Asian, Elsewhere, Metro Manila, Thai | 6 Comments

Coron Dining || Bistro Coron, Kawayanan Grill Station and Cafe B.O.G

What to do in Coron: 3-days /2-nights Coron Itinerary.
Where to stay: Sunz en Coron

Coron, though a small, intimate island, offers its share of discoveries among which includes food.

BISTRO CORON

 

Along its narrow roads sits Bistro Coron, a quiet restaurant offering a variety of European dishes. Its architecture was reminiscent of European cement houses with arched windows bordered in white. The restaurant has indoor and outdoor seating. Outside were monoblock chairs and tables dressed in colored cloths. The indoor area is anchored by a bar with a billiard table to its side. The interior is adorned with mermaids and maps, big fish and ocean artifacts, bringing sea to land.

On her friend’s suggestion, Gail tried the Pork Tenderloin with Pepper SaucePhP230.00.  A dish generously peppered and drenched in gravy. Delish and quite a plate, I must add.  It’s served with two cups of rice and a centimeter thick tender steak.

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Posted in Coron, European, Filipino, Luzon, Restaurants By Location | 5 Comments

Coron Accommodation || Sunz en Coron

website: http://sunzencoron.ph/
mobile: 0915.901.2642 / 0906.206.0048
email: sunzencoron@hotmail.com
What to do in Coron: 3-days /2-nights Coron Itinerary.
Where to eat: Coron Dining.
 

In a setting very much provincial, the municipality of Coron has its share of businesses run by locals and foreigners alike. One of which is the Korean-owned, Sunz en Coron.

Open for around a year now, the roads are yet in the process of paving (as of mid July). Designed as an array of modern nipa huts with cement walls in white crowned in dried straw/nipa, blending in nature while standing out in its surroundings. It has 16 rooms that can accommodate guests from solo travelers to families on vacation. The rooms surround a pool which serve as the resort’s centerpiece with a backdrop of the greenery of the hills and mountains among which is Mt. Tapyas.

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Posted in (PH)Luzon, Philippines, Travel Itinerary | Tagged | 5 Comments