Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Best Pastillas in the Philippines

The best pastillas in the Philippines is found in San Nicolas 1, Magalang, Pampanga. Its unique taste is because of the carabao milk.
Is it worth going to Magalang, Pampanga to just buy pastillas? Not really. But if you're going up north (to Pangasinan, Baguio or Ilocos) anyway, it's on the way and definitely worth the side trip. You can never have enough snacks on the long journey! :)

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Terrazas de Punta Fuego

"Touted to have the best swimming beach in Batangas, Terrazas is the newest enclave of the exclusive Punta Fuego lifestyle communities - and is the perfect setting for afternoon interludes with the sea, a soothing massage at the cabañas, frolic in the pool or merely a sip of the famed Terrazas Sunset by the Juice Bar." -link

How to get to Terrazas de Punta Fuego?
1. Take the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) and exit at Sta. Rosa.
2. Follow the road all the way to Tagaytay.
3. Once in Tagaytay, make your way to Nasugbu, Batangas.

Terrazas de Punta Fuego is located at Barangay Natipuan, Nasugbu, Batangas, Philippines. Telephone (+6343) 7290180 to 82.

Punta Fuego
punta fuego
Punta Fuego
coy pond
Punta Fuego
lobby
Punta Fuego
pool

Terrazas de Punta Fuego is an exclusive residential resort that is NOT open to the public. Guests, accompanied by members, are charged a guest fee of 150 pesos.

Punta Fuego
restaurant
Punta Fuego
cabanas
Punta Fuego
cabanas
Punta Fuego
bar

Terrazas de Punta Fuego only has 1 restaurant. They serve both local and western food to suite all tastes. If you're hungry, do order in a advance because it takes a while for the food to be prepared. Cabanas are available for rent and are reserved on a first come first served basis.

At the middle of the row of cabanas, you can find the juice bar where you can order both alcoholic and non-alcoholic refreshments.

Punta Fuego Punta Fuego Punta Fuego Punta Fuego

Terrazas de Punta Fuego has one of the best shower rooms for a beach resort. It's an air-conditioned, luxurious bathroom. There's hardly any sand on the floor because it's always kept nice and clean by the staff. It's a welcome departure from the icky shower rooms in most Philippine beach resorts.

Terrazas de Punta Fuego, in my opinion, is the best swimming beach that you can visit from Metro Manila for a day trip. The best part about a Punta Fuego day trip is you can have dinner in Tagaytay on your way back to Metro Manila.

Tips while in Terrazas de Punta Fuego:
1. If you can, go on a weekday. You'll be the only guests in the resort where you'll feel like you own the beach resort. It's closed on Mondays though.
2. If you're hungry, go to the restaurant early because it takes a while for the food to be prepared.
3. If you do go on a busy week, make sure you finish early. Otherwise, there'll be a long line in the shower room.
4. You can ask for a plastic bag from the front desk of shower room for your wet clothes.
5. You can't bring outside food or drinks.
6. If you're on a budget and don't want to spend on renting a beach-side cabana, the pool-side cabanas are free to use.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Bethel Guest House

"Bethel Guest House is situated directly along the Boulevard in Dumaguete City, the capital of Oriental Negros. It is only an hour and fifteen minutes flight from the country’s capital of Manila. It is a fifteen-minute drive from the airport and three minutes to the seaport. Located at the heart of the city, the hotel is within walking distance from business establishments, universities, churches, parks, theaters, tourist spots, and other entertainment centers. It also offers a refreshing view of the sea and of Dumaguete against the backdrop of Mt. Talinis and the neighboring provinces of Oriental Negros. Also, available in nearby Bais are the Popular Dolphin Watching Tours plus other refreshing sights in the City of Gentle people." -link (http://www.bethelguesthouse.com/)

hotel facade

hotel lobby

hotel lobby

My sister's friend recommended Bethel House as the best place to stay in Dumaguete. There are only a handful of buildings in Dumaguate, and Bethel House is one of the tallest structures in the city.

satellite view

sunrise

Boulevard (left)

Boulevard (right)

What makes Bethel Guest House the ideal place to stay is its proximity to everything and the fact that it's right across the sea. In the morning, there are lots of people walking and jogging by the beach. This evokes images of an unpolluted Manila Bay. This makes me really wonder how glorious and magnificent Manily Bay was in the past.

Watch out for the street vendors selling pearls. They wait along the Boulevard waiting for tourists to come out from Bethel House. They can get annoying and persistent.

elevator advertisements

4th floor lobby

room corridor
There are a lot of ads posted in the walls of the elevator. Some ads are for properties while the others are four local tours. The ad that got my attention was the home service massage. :)

Once we arrived at the fourth level, I couldn't help but feel like I was in a hospital - and it smelled like one too! The lobby looks like a nurse station and the tiles and colors of the wall are all white - again, another common interior look of a hospital.

family room

view from room

dual faucet

bathroom

We stayed in the family room (Php 1,800) that's good for 4 people. You can squeeze a fifth person by requesting for an extra bed. The family room also reminds you of a hospital room again. The white floor tiles, white venetian blinds and white walls all support that image. Was Bethel House a hospital in the past?

Why are there two faucets? Both faucets deliver cold water. But even if one faucet was for hot water and the other was for cold water, what's the point? you still need to mix both hot and cold water to get the desired moderate temperate for bathing. Or maybe I'm just ignorant?
There's also a cafe at the ground level that looks more like a cafeteria. You get a tray, fall in line, and point at the dishes you want to eat. There's a wide selection of food available. You only pay at the cashier after your meal.
 
I've been to Bethel House twice already. The rooms are very clean and neat. It just reminds me too much of a hospital - and it smells like one too! Still... I'll most likely stay there again in my next visit to Dumaguete.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Bugwas Festival - San Juan, Siquijor

"Bugwas Festival every last week of August in San Juan town. BugwasFestival is San Juan's way of celebrating a bountiful and abundant harvest in honor of its patron saint, St. Augustine. Bugwas represents the abundant supply of spring water in the town which in turn gives the inhabitants an abundant harvest for farmers and abundant catch for the fishermen."

Capilay Spring

stage

resort stall

coco grove

We booked our flights months in advance without realizing that we actually scheduled our Siquijor trip during the Bugwas festival in San Juan, Siquijor. It was a pleasent surprise to be informed that there was going to be a fiesta and lots of events and activities in the town center near Capilay Spring. Unfortunately, we only had time to attend the first night of the 3 day fiesta. We were able to eat a lot of grilled (sinugba) food that was served and prepared by the local resorts in San Juan. The food and drinks were a lot cheaper too than the food in the Coral Cay Resort.

Luckily, we were able to watch the fireworks which was only scheduled for the first night. It was the first time I experienced a shower of spent fireworks dust. Though the fireworks were exploding far from us, the strong winds were blowing the fireworks dust towards us like rain. We had to cover our eyes with our hands to protect them. Unfortunately, I had to throw away my mango shake which was starting to get contaminated with small black, round pellets.

Coral Cay Resort (Again!)

For my second trip to Siquijor this year, we once again stayed in CoralCay resort. The resort is located at Solangon, San Juan, Siquijor 6227 Philippines. Their contact numbers are (63) 035-481-5024 and (63) 919-269-1269.

Habagat Room (outside)

Habagat Room (inside)

For our first night, we stayed in the Sinugdanan rooms which were poolside. "SINUGDANAN - (which means beginning) is a Garden Duplex.  A family room with 2 queen size beds, ceiling fan, hot and cold shower, and a veranda facing the swimming pool." -link


habagat room

1st floor

2nd floor

terrace

For the next two nights we stayed in the Habagat Room which was facing the bar and restaurant. "Amihan/Habagat - (which means Northeast wind/Southwest wind) is a two-story duplex.  Habagat is available and will accommodate up to 6 persons with it's single and double beds downstairs, and a queen size bed upstairs.  Features include a covered terra-cotta veranda upstairs and down, views of the sea and garden, a spacious marble bathroom, and efficient ceiling fans." It's as close to staying in a house without the kitchen. The safe is located behind the painting in the second floor.


white-sand beach

Siquijor is famous for its white sand beaches. Unfortunately, the water and the beach is full of seaweed at this time of the year because the winds are blowing in-land. My friends spent most of their time swimming in the pool instead because the sea is only clear and white until your knees. It's best to go to Siquijor during the summer.


path to pool

pool

night swimming
I love beach resorts with their own swimming pool. It allows you to cool off in an environment without sand or any other living creatures swimming around you. The pool is also open in the evening if you want to go night swimming.

library

playground

gym
The library has its own books you can borrow ONLY while you're in the resort. They have a TV with cable or satellite television. They also have a pool table. The playground is just behind the bar and restaurant. The gym is beside the library.


bar and restaurant staff

bar and restaurant
The bar and restaurant is the only place to eat in the resort. Unfortunately, it is also the only option because there are no restaurants or other resorts nearby. They have a good selection of both local and international cuisine. It does take at least 30 minutes before your food arrives so do plan ahead. Their food is also quite expensive.

Still, I'll probably be booking another room in Coral Cay on my next visit to Siquijor :)