Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Le Bistro D' Agathe is Le Magnifique

Do I know French food? I thought I did until we came to this (relatively) newly opened French bistro. It's actually an art gallery as well. (How's that for multi-tasking?) The three times we went here, they had different sets of pieces.

It's not posh or anything but it's one unique restaurant.

Everybody! Try Everybody's Cafe

A friend's birthday wish to be in the beach brought us to Pampanga. Sadly, it rained and we had to change plans. Our beach adventure soon became a gastronomical adventure, to everyone's horror.

Sly, wicked me brought them to Everybody's Cafe to eat frogs and crickets!

Mabuhay, Mabuhay Palace

Back in December, I went mental and bought so many vouchers from Groupon, Metrodeal and Deal Grocer. I must say, I've learned my lesson: it's not worth it to buy those. I've discovered that the best deals are those that cost x amount for y amount. Melo's offered this kind of discount and it was great. Whereas deals that offer x amount for a set of dishes are totally not worth it. One example is this last meal I bought for Manila Hotel's Mabuhay Palace. For Php 970 per person, we were served a good meal in small servings. 

D' Persian House is THE House

One lazy sunday night, we decided to have some Persian food which I fool myself to be "diet food". 

Nearby is D' Persian House where we've eaten before. We thought it was great but then we were badly hungry then and might've been unfit to judge.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Walang Kilig sa Camalig

Filipinos call Pampanga the local France just because Kapampangans are known for their delish cooking. This is the reason why I have such a long list of restaurants to try there. 

After watching the hot-air balloons take off, I chose to try out the Historic Camalig Restaurant which is also in Angeles, Pampanga right beside Nepo Market. It would have been hard to find because there's no sign along the street, one needs to go inside the parking lot first before seeing the name. Thankfully, we got directions from their website and didn't have a hard time going there. 

Sri Lanka Offers No Rhyme

Sri Lanka is right there in the map just near India (Agra, Jaipur and Delhi) and Maldives (that trip). Since we were in the area, we decided to drop by. Yup, it's the most casual thing to do!

Having spent a lot of time (and money) in India, we could afford just a little more to see Sri Lanka. We (well just true for me) had two days to see the country. It's sad though because there's the Adam's Peak I wanted to visit but it's a few hours from Colombo and it takes a night and a day to climb up and down the mountain. We therefore just had enough time to see the capital, Colombo and another city, Kandy.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Puerto Princesa, the Port of a Princess

So many people had travelled to Puerto Princesa. I discovered that while everyone seems to be visiting the city to see the Underground River or UR to the locals, not everyone does get to see the unconventional river. I shall therefore share some tips in visiting the city. I'm not saying my way is best, I just like to play know-it-all. :)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Calm Vietnam

I apologize to all Vietnamese, but the real reason why we visited their country was the fact that there were no direct flights to Cambodia and we so wanted to visit Angkor Wat (that trip here). We took advantage of Philippine Airlines' sale (every January) of USD 99 for Asian destinations and flew to Vietnam just to fly to Siem Reap. Of course, we took the chance to see a little of the country as well. And the country proved to be a nice stopover.

Picking Some Lorry Atop Pico de Loro

Not all people appreciates the challenge of a good trek. This I found out when I couldn't get our barkada to join us trekking. We just sent out an invite to anyone who came to mind instead. ( anyone reading this can contact me in case interested to join the next trip. Bear in mind we are slow though.:) ) Therefore, the group I was with conquering Pico de Loro was mixed with old and new-found friends alike.

I left My Puso in Pinatubo

It's one hour drive in the 4x4 ( there was a driver but hanging on to stay in the car was just as tiring especially for someone who rode at the back sideways like we did) followed by a 2.5 hour trek ( if you were as slow as we were. ). That was just on the way up. Every step was heavy with lahar. It was very sunny although windy. The air was full of unseen grains of lahar which createsdlayers on our face and our hair that felt like it would take days to get off. Blisters aren't uncommon ( believe me, I've seen several groups suffering from many. ) Shoes might give up along the way. ( there were some worn soles littered about to prove this.) To top it off, it can be expensive to arrange ( relative to other treks. ) All the hassle is worth it though just to see that picturesque crater lake atop Mount Pinatubo.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Capones, Intiendes?

After getting awestruck by Anawangin the day before (that day), we didn't really expect to be amazed once again. Looking at it from afar, it's not so inspiring as well. We were therefore once again caught off guard as we disembark from our boat (Php 800 for 3-4 pax). 

Another big WOW! This is even better if that's possible. I guess it is. This is a lot less frequented by tourists that there's little trash littered about. It's just glorious white sand drying itself under the warm morning sun. 

Isang Tingin sa Anawangin

We were planning a summer getaway. We love adventure. We love beaches. We love photo ops. We only have 2 days. Where else can we go but to the islands of Zambales!

Hardinero ng Villa Escudero

I'd been to Villa Escudero but that was the time beyond my memory, I guess my parents were taking advantage of the child discount. (It's pointless though since I don't remember it at all. Save for one thing that made me want to go back.)

Monday, February 13, 2012

Adore Corregidor

Early one sunday morning (6.30 am), we headed to Sun Cruises office (CCP Terminal A. CCP Complex, Roxas Boulevard) to present our deposit slip of Php 5,997.00 for 3 pax. After confirming, we hop on their shuttle service which took us to Manila Bay (Gloria Maris Complex). We went aboard the ship and on we go to Corregidor!

Swooning in La Cocina de Tita Moning

Thanks to Deal Grocer, we got to experience La Cocina de Tita Moning for Php 1,250 only when the usual rate is Php 1,800++ depending on the menu.

Was the restaurant worth it (even with the discount)? Well, not really. But the over-all experience was! 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Punung Puno sa Bale Dutung

We Filipinos have been eating lechon (roasted pig) for our whole lives thinking there's two way to cook it: Kapampangan way (needs sauce) and the Cebuano way (without sauce). Unbeknownst to us (until now) there are five, well six ways to eat lechon! This means cholesterol heaven times six! :D

Friday, February 10, 2012

Xiamen Shooting (the camera kind)

China has photo studios taken to the next level. It's one experience everyone (well, women and gays to be specific. Mind you, if any guy does this solo, I'd consider him gay.) should pay to have. It's the most worth it Yuan you'd spend. 

Naligaw sa Bolinao

Bolinao, Pangasinan is an hour's drive (or less) from Alaminos (that part of the trip, click here) and so we decided to stay there for the night (there are no resorts in Alaminos). It proved to be a great decision.

LaLaLa, Isang Daang Isla

We've studied about the Hundred Islands since grade school some would even mistake calling the salad dressing Hundred Islands. Yet, it doesn't occur to many to visit this place even though it's up to par with every beach that's more popularly frequented.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Pagnanasa sa Nagsasa Cove

Much was our desire to go to Nagsasa Cove, Zambales that we did a day trip out of the ideally overnight adventure. What happened was we had one crazy day.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Monday, February 6, 2012

Don't dive in Maldives.

Many are confused of how to pronounce Maldives. (I used to be one of them.) So I decided to visit the country and learn the right way. (First rule of Language, the correct way to say the words is how the native speakers pronounce it.) Apparently, it isn't Maldives with a long i like in dive, but a short i like in give. 

People I met in India (a slight horror story though has a good ending)

1. The first person I met in India was a cab driver who wouldn't take me to the hotel I specified. He kept on insisting that I switch to a hotel of his recommendation (Cosmos Hotel). I have tried to explain that I have already booked and paid for my hotel (as if I would admit it if I haven't.) and yet he stopped right in front of Cosmos Hotel. It was after minutes of refusing to go down and "see the hotel" did he finally drive me to the correct hotel. Upon arriving to the hotel of my choice, I gave him Rs 600 in payment and he gave me a big Indian smile and said thank you to my horror. (The meter read Rs 525. After what he did, I wasn't really inclined to give him any tip.)

Happy in Delhi

We saved the capital for the last leg of our India trip.

Singing Jaiho in Jaipur

The pink city known as Jaipur has this complicated feel. It's a busy city that also feels like a small town. I'd dare to say this is the best city of the three we went to in India. It's not too small (with more places to go to than in Agra) and not too big (like Delhi is), and to think I was thinking of skipping the city!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Home of Love, Agra

It's true, you can go 'round Agra in a day even if I chose to do otherwise. I've always been smitten by the thought of Taj Mahal and took my time sitting there and just staring at it. I once read that the special thing about Taj Mahal is that you sit there the whole day and you'll see the beautiful theoretically white structure turn from pink to blue to yellow to orange and to green. Well, not in that specific order. 

Friday, February 3, 2012

Wandering Alone in Fatehpur Sikri, India

Fatehpur Sikri complex is in between Agra and Jaipur, but since we were going to take the train I went for a half-day visit right after arriving in Agra. 

I opted to book a car (Rupees 1000) with my hotel (Hotel Taj Resorts for 77.38 USD tax inclusive for 2 -I know it's not the cheapest but we're girls, we like good hotels!) thinking it's safer (all those stories of women, local and foreign, disappearing in India that I read from the newspaper in the train going to Agra!!!) even though there were lots of others offering (in a very forceful manner) at half the price.

The moment I arrived in the complex parking lot a huge man got in the car beside me (frightening for a girl who just read horror stories in the newspaper, even more frightening for one who read Slumdog Millionaire!) and showed a government ID (you'll find the government is on making the most money out of tourists as well.) and claimed to be an official tour guide. The fees are even on his ID, a whopping Rs 600.00! 

To visit Fatehpur Sikri, you have to pay Rs 250.00, if you bring a video camera, you have to pay an additional fee of Rs 200.00 but you do not have to pay extra if you bring a point-and-shoot camera with great video quality. :)


Having just a little sleep from the night before, I FELL asleep on the way back to Agra. I woke up half way when the driver stopped in front of a railroad and got down the car. I went, "WHAT?? Would it take that long??" and it did. We were right there waiting for the train to pass by for an hour! 

I Fell back asleep after a while and woke up from loud honking. Traffic in India is worse than horrendous. They do not follow any lane. It was truly a sight to behold.

We fast forward to the next day. I spent an entire day going around Agra by foot. Mostly, I bought stuff like the Petha from Panchi Petha Store. It's a sweet jelly-like dessert I read from the Internet. It's actually more expensive than I expected at 300/box, and it's not at all a big box. It's not that yummy for me as well, too sweet for my sweet tooth. It's worth a try anyway. 

That late afternoon I went to buy a ticket for Mohabbat the Taj or the Taj Mahal Show. It's my only Indian theater experience and so I deem my Rs 1,100 very worth it.

By any means, don't expect that I actually remembered all these details. I am referring to brochures and tickets I kept, as well as my Agoda account, as I go along. In a way, this should be good as you're assured my information is surely correct. :)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Encore what? Angkor Wat!

It took a great deal to visit Siem Reap, Cambodia just to see Ankor Wat back in 2010. We had to fly to Vietnam (we took the opportunity to some of the country as well.) just to go to Cambodia. Luckily for Filipinos, Cebu Pacific will connect Manila to Siem Reap starting April 2012 with direct flights.