Monday, July 30, 2012

Palawan: Tours

It was a Wednesday and dad brought us 4 (me, my mom, and 2 siblings) to NAIA Terminal 3 early in the morning. Things went smooth without problems or delays. We totally forgot that liquids aren't allowed on board. We attempted to check them in but it would cost us P200+ per container so we just gave them away to a janitress. We only paid the P200 terminal fee per person.

Flight was only an hour long. So when we reached Palawan we headed on immediately for a city tour that costs P600/head as a package. But I read DIY blogs and it saved us a lot, though we weren't able to go to the Cathedral, Plaza Cuartel, and Baywalk.


Rented a trike (may seat 4-5 people) for P500 but you can still haggle up to P400. Good thing about doing your own city tour is that you control the time and the places you want to go to.

Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center a.k.a. Crocodile Farm
First stop is the Crocodile Farm  where you get to see live crocodiles and other cool animals like the bearcat. Tours are held every 30 minutes (except lunch break).
This a great way to experience nature and of course know about it because there are various informational posters everywhere. What I enjoyed most is getting to hold a bearcat for P20. Fluffy and heavy! And since we're not that too strict on time, we waited until everybody left and so we were able to have the bearcat all to ourselves! :) Don't forget to try their crocodile's meat sisig while you're here!

Baker's Hill
Time for lunch so we headed to Baker's Hill! The place was beautiful and clean, designed by lovely flora. I love their crinkles and hopia! For me, their hopia is better than those in Chinatown-- I prefer it more than Holland, Poland, and Eng Bee Tin.

So we ate lunch-- Palabok (P100 I think?), Tapa (P120), and Carbonara (P105). The carbonara is sulit because it was cheap yet creamy and yummy. We also tried their famous tamilok (woodworm). Tastes like oysters but still gross. :| The ambiance of the restaurant was refreshing (yay for alfresco dining). You could eat inside although it's a bit dark; outside if you like your feet on soft, green grass; or at the 2nd floor if you want to wind blowing on your face.

Mitra's Ranch

This is quite near Baker's Hill and entrance is free. There's not much to do, but to admire the panoramic view of Palawan and its bays. There are horses, trampolines, and a zip line, for a price.

Butterfly Garden
Butterfly garden is a small garden filled with various flora and butterflies that are free to pollinate around. Enjoyed the part where we got to hold scorpions, stick insects, and beetles! :))
Soooo... Instead of paying P600/head, that's P2400 for 4, we only paid:

I also consulted blogs about DIY Honda Bay tours because the package costs P1,300/person or P5,200 for the 4 of us! :o  We contacted our trike driver yesterday to drive us to Honda Bay for P600. We left early around 8:00a.m. When we arrived, there are booths where you can rent a boat for P1300 (for 6 people). Since we're 4, we accommodated 2 more, which we became friends with later on! They were so nice! Didn't feel like they were strangers. Since we shared the whole trip, we mostly did all our activities with them, and we enjoyed. :)

Luli Island
First, we passed by Luli Island, but we didn't stay for long since it was a high tide and we couldn't see the shore. We didn't want to spend P50/person on entrance fee. The name Luli, by the way, is short for Lulubog-Lilitaw and you can see or not see the shore depending on the tides.

The guy was calling us to join them. Seems that he's enjoying diving.
Pambato Island
This was my favorite because of the super clear water. My siblings got to snorkel for P100, complete with guide. But even if I didn't snorkel I still saw some fishies swimming. That was cool.

Starfish Island
Then we headed to a small island with many starfish called--- starfish island! :)) This was the most serene, relaxing island we went to since there weren't too many people here.

In the middle of our enjoyment though, the sky turned gray and it rained so hard! We couldn't see a thing and we were advised to stay here for the meantime before heading to the last stop. While waiting, might as well enjoy the waves.

Honda Bay Island
The last stop was the most commercialized island of all-- Pandan Island (which had many Pandan trees). The island was huge and divided into areas like the massage area, grilling area, activity area (large space for beach sports!), restobar, and they even have a community church.

Since the weather kept changing, our photos kept changing too. Sometimes the sand would look brownish, then when the sun rose it became white. Same with the waters. The colors kept changing too. But all in all, the place was beautiful.

We rented a hut and well, we asked for a discount so instead of paying P300, we only paid P200! :)

Around 4 p.m., we headed home. We texted our trike driver and we met him up at the port. Instead of paying P1,300 per person or P5,200 for 4, we only spent...
In case you missed my blog entry here, we weren't able to go to the Underground River ((UR) tour since it was cancelled due to strong winds plus 5 fishermen went missing. My mom got really sad so we suggested that we go to the Sabang Beach Port (where you take off going to the UR) in case the coastguards would allow us to continue on.

But before reaching Sabang, we tried the Ugong Rock, which was super fun! We climbed the insides of a mountain and at least we were able to see stalactites and stalagmites too. The tour was educational with excellent tour guides plus there a lots of fun activities inside like spelunking. Then we tried the Zip Line, the fastest in the Philippines! It was soooo high, really got scared during take-off :|

Finally, we reached Sabang Port. It looked like a ghost town since there were no tours-- no people. The waves were, as expected, strong and huge. We stayed for around 2 hours, enjoying the peacefulness of the area. We shall miss then when we return to Manila.

Since we weren't able to avail of the UR tour at P1,500 each, we got our P6,000 back and just used them all up here:

And so that ended our trip. The following day we flew back to Manila and I was excited and preoccupied with thoughts of our next trip, hopefully not in the Philippines anymore. It was a long time since the family got to travel together and I realized that it was a great experience for all of us. :)

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Palawan: Learning Experiences

We are back from Puerto Princesa, Palawan and I have a lot I wanna blog so I will just divide them into 2 parts: Learning Experiences and Tours.

Backgrounder, me and my family booked this trip last January during Cebu Pacific's seat sale. This was my first time to plan a trip and to treat my whole family. I booked the lodging and underground river tour in advance, then the rest, read about it in DIY tour blogs. Here are some of my mistakes that no one should ever commit again when going to Puerto Princesa (PP).

Mistake #1: Give your best effort in finding for a place to stay. Because I didn't. I got a room for P2,000 a night at Sotera Mansion (out of convenience) and I didn't like it that much. Though they had air-conditioned rooms, wi-fi, drinking water, heater, plates and utensils, it really wasn't worth the 2k. Especially when I learned that Go Hotels in PP offered cheaper rooms (around P788 for 2 during promos). Plus there are a lot of cheaper rooms ranging from P700-P1400 found here. That could have saved me at least P1500.

Mistake #2: Permitting the travel agency to change our underground river (UR) tour date from July 19 to July 20. The agency told us that the July 19 date had no slots left since the UR management only allows 780 visitors per day to help conserve the area. Wrong move! Our tour was cancelled due to strong winds that day and we didn't have any chance to re-book it to the next day because we were already leaving.
We met some friends from PP and told us that we should ALWAYS PRIORITIZE THE UNDERGROUND RIVER TOUR and as much as possible book it on the first day of stay to avoid missing it. If the agency won't give the UR tour on your first day, try to get the permit from the Underground River Booking Office (URBO) for P175 at the city proper. URBO gives certain slots to agencies and certain slots to walk-ins. So when your agency says that the UR tour is full, it's not completely full. Fight for it! :))

Mistake #3: Buying souvenirs on the first day. I was so excited that I impulsively bought souvenirs the moment I saw them. Then I realized that they were EVERYWHERE and were cheaper depending on the place. Buy bracelets, pouches, etc. at stopovers/ view decks going to Sabang Beach. I bought a pouch at the city for P70 then saw them at P50. :| If you're buying dried fish or squid, then they're cheaper at the city. We bought them for P100 then saw them at Sabang for P150.

Mistake #4: Not asking for discounts. Just ask. We saved a lot by asking after I learned that our first trike ride was too expensive. P400 to P500 is the cheapest you can go.

So these are my major mistakes that I think should be heeded not just in Puerto Princesa but in booking for future travels. Though I'm super sad about how much I could have saved, it's okay now because now I know what to do for planning for the next trip! :) Yay!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Marks and Spencer's Free Ice Cream Tasting

We're so lucky that our office is near Greenbelt 5, so when Marks and Spencer (M&S) and Nuffnang Philippines announced that they were having free ice cream tasting there, Sandra and I rushed immediately. :)) We're talking about free ice cream! Who passes that off? So anyway, when we arrived we tasted 6 of their 16 flavors (by the way, they recently launched their ice cream line last July 12, 2012).

Flavors we tasted include:
1) Blueberry Cheesecake Bliss - my favorite! flavorful and has big chunks of cheesecake in it
2) Triple Chocolate Decadent - has cute little cheese stars on top; chocolatey yet not too sweet
3) Rum and Raisin - unexpectedly yummy-- who knew rum could become such a sweet treat! You could really taste the rum plus the taste stays for a time in your mouth (AND throat!)
4) Strawberry Cheesecake Indulgent
5) Caramel Pecan Crunch - their best seller though I find it too sweet plus has a different texture-- I like my ice cream super smooth :))
6) Mint Chocolate

Craving for that unique, satisfying cold dessert? Prices range from P350 to P475, relatively similar to Ben and Jerry's, Blue Bunny, and Haagen-Dazs. But M&S does have an edge against these brands since the former brands are hard to find, while the latter, Haagen-Dazs, is set to close down this September.

Lookie, M&S even gave Nuffnang bloggers these cute giveaways and so I went home and lived happily after........ just how a "Perfect Princess" should. :) #FreeIceCream

Monday, July 16, 2012

Which are you: Carrot, egg, or coffee bean?

One day, a daughter complained to her father how things were going hard for her.  She said, “Father, I do not know how I am going to make it.  I feel like giving up. I’m tired of fighting and struggling. Every time a problem is solved, a new one comes along. I just can’t take it anymore.”
Her father took her to the kitchen, filled three pots with water, and placed them each on high heat. Soon the pots came to a boil. In one pot of boiling water, he placed carrots. In the second, he placed eggs, and in the last pot, he placed coffee beans.  He let them sit and boil, without saying a word. The daughter impatiently waited, wondering what he was doing.

Twenty minutes later, he turned off the burners. He strained the water from the carrots and placed them in a bowl. He lifted the eggs out and placed them in another bowl. Then he ladled the steaming coffee into a third bowl.

Turning to her he asked, “What do you see?” “Carrots, eggs, and coffee,” she replied. He brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots first.  She touched the carrots and noted that they were soft and mushy. He then asked her to take an egg and break it.  After cracking its shell, she saw the hard-boiled egg.  Finally, he asked her to sip the coffee.  She smiled as she tasted its flavor and smelled the rich aroma.

She humbly asked, “But what does it mean, Father?” He explained that each of them had been plunged into boiling water, but  each had reacted differently. The carrot went into the water strong and hard but after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak.

The egg had been fragile.  Its thin outer shell had protected its soft, liquid interior.  But after sitting in the boiling water, it became hard on the inside.

The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After being in the boiling water, the water did not change them. They changed the water! “Which are you?” the father gently asked his daughter. “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond?  Are you more like a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?”


How about you?  Are you the carrot that started out strong and hard long ago, but with the pain and adversity of your life struggles, did you become soft and lose your strength?   Are you the egg that started out soft inside?  Were you a fluid spirit, but after the pain of death, abuse, rejection, poor health, divorce, or a layoff, have you become hardened?  Your outer shell may look the same, but has your heart become hard-boiled and toughened?

Or are you like the coffee bean?  That was plunged into the rapidly boiling water when the beans gave flavor and aroma, and would even please whoever encounters it. Do you worship God more in the midst of problems, that people see that you have used the situation to make you into a better person?

Be like the coffee bean and leave a fragrance that lasts. :)

Browsed through Francis Kong's blog and read this. Thought I might share it here because I really loved it.

Friday, July 13, 2012

David's Tea House @ Greenbelt 1

Thank God for malls near our office! Whenever we crave for something, we can always go and check for restaurants that offer them. So a while ago we had Chinese food for lunch because Ms. Bless was craving for dimsum. We had lemon chicken (P245), yang chow (P180), assorted dimsum (P255), and for dessert, steamed cuapao with condensed milk (P60). And guess how many we were? THREEEEE. :))

We're growing girls! :)

Their version of Lemon Chicken was more sour than the others. The sauce was much more thick and yellow than those I've tried before.

Then of course.... The assorted dimsum platter! Sandra coined a new term-- "Disco Dimsum"-- because she took a photo of 'em, clicked on the "Disco Effect" on her app, and got really colorful dimsum lol

Shiny Hakaw close-up photo! Mmmm, 90% shrimp! They also have beef meatballs, shrimp siomai, shark's din dumpling, and two other more that I don't know. :)) So you get two pieces for each kind. I really love their shrimps-- juicy and tasty. Finally, dimsum craving-- satisfied!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Announcement: Unlimited crispy pata!

I didn't want to post anymore announcements for today (since I just posted two) but OH MY GOSH-- Unlimited Crispy Pata for only P199?! :))

Well that's if you reserve prior going (reserve early at (02) 723-2347! It's 11:30am right now and they don't accept reservations anymore). If you weren't able to reserve, C2 offers the treat for P299. Still cheap!

1. Promo runs from

           12:00 - 3:00 PM and 5:00 - 8:00 PM on Sun-Thurs
           12:00 - 3:00 PM and 5:00 - 9:00 PM on Fri-Sat
2. For dine-in only; not valid in conjunction with other promo or discount
3. Strictly no sharing
4. No leftovers; Double pay for leftovers
5. Unlimited Portions of Crispy Pata.
6. Replenishment can only be requested upon absence of leftover
7. Valid at C2 Greenhills only

Sadly, this promo is only available in their Greenhills branch (Missouri St., Northeast Greenhills; Landmark: C3 Events Place).
Though they have branches in Robinsons Place Manila, Katipunan, SM North Edsa, SM Megamall, and Shangri-La Plaza mall. :) 


Announcement: Ultimate Taste Test 9.0

Our Awesome Planet, in partnership with Soderno @ Molito, presents the Ultimate Taste Test 9.0 on July 29, 2012 (Sunday), 6:00pm - 11:00pm, at the Soderno Night Market, Molito Lifestyle Center, Muntinlupa City.

This is pretty much like the set-up in Mercato and Banchetto with overflowing, wide range of food and we get to rate them from 1 to 5 (5 being the highest). Food and drink concessionaires will give free tastes of their products that are already available in the market, those newly launched, and those that will soon be launched.

To participate as a food critic, we have to buy UTT9.0 tickets (P300 each) from Soderno, Mercato (Fort), or in Distrito (Makati). Tickets will be available starting this coming Friday (July 6). It entitles the bearer to one (1) bottle of beer (for those 18 years old and above only) and part of the proceeds will go to Balikhatang Thalassemina organization (a support group of Thalassemia patients).

Hurry, 500 slots only!

For more details, like how to participate as a Food Vendor, check  :)

Announcement: Rustan's Asian Street Food Invasion 2012

Last June 29, Rustan's Fresh launched their latest food series: Asian Street Food, that offers signature dishes and ingredients from our Southeast Asian neighbors like Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam.

For a limited time only (July 1 to August 15), they will feature the ingredients used in dishes cooked during the launch such as Vietnamese Pho, Pad Thai, and Hainanese Chicken. Free booklets will also be given that contains these yummy recipes. So convenient already for home cooks!

I just saw their tarpaulin yesterday when I passed by Rustan's in Gateway.  I'm excited for their cooking demos and I will try to get my mom to go to Rockwell on the 14th so I can watch! Plus, when you buy these products you get a chance to win an all-expense paid trip to any of the four Southeast Asian countries.

Cooking demos will be on July 14 in Rockwell, July 28 in Shangri-la Plaza, and August 11 in Makati. I hope to see you there!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Attempt to Design a Cake

It was Ayessa's birthday and we got her cake at Red Ribbon. Their new one: Ultimate Chocolate Cake (Large- P495) which was super chocolatey, not too sweet, melt-in-you-mouth type of yummy. <3

When Ayessa's sister and I got the cake, I asked the counter girl if I could personally write on the cake with icing. She wrote the "Happy birthday Ayessa!" part:

And I designed the most beautiful part of all:

The two separate ends of the message part. It's FLAWLESS! :))

KKK @ SM Megamall

Belated happy birthday, Ayessa!!! :)

Funny, Ayessa didn't really invite me. Her sister did. They wanted to surprise her so I was flattered that they chose me to do the honorable job (Note: We were only four in the group: Me, the birthday girl, and her sisters). I haven't seen Ayessa since college, and I don't think I'm the person she would want to see :)) But nevertheless, I enjoyed and I think they did too (because Ayessa kept bullying me that night).

We ate at KKK, SM Megamall, a Filipino restaurant with a "Fiesta" theme. Since my latest review post was about Kanin Club (KC), also a restaurant that's famous for their Filipino dishes, I will attempt to compare and contrast.

Ambiance is, like I said, fiesta celebration in nature, bright, well-lit, not like KC that features dark wooden panes and stained glass to represent the inside of a traditional house.

They have smaller servings than KC, but they're well-plated, well-presented and they're very delicious. Their Binagoongang Lechon Kawali (P290) is perfect. Crunchy skin, soft meat, complimenting sauce. We also ordered Sinigang na Salmon (P290), and since I love salmon, I loved this! And for dessert, buko pandan-- placed inside a buko!<3 They gave us complimentary iced teas to taste-- pandan and tanglad (lemon grass).

Food in KKK and KC are both good so I can't decide..............

But if I were given a million-bucks and I really had to choose one, I would choose KKK because it doesn't give me the umay feeling I get from KC.

As for prices, their ranges are as follows:

Seafood:                                  Veggies:                        Pork:                       Soups:
KKK- P250 - P380                P150 - P300            P250 - P500            P180 - P350
KC-    P216 - P298                P150 - P260            P180 - P400             P290 - P190

Relatively, KKK is more expensive, but you get to enjoy both "home cooked" and "luxury" in one. Plus, it's not always that you get to see a jeepney inside a restaurant.

Missed you all! And I love you to bits!
(In picture: Nina, Ate DG-- the one who invited me, Ayessa-- the birthday girl, and I :D)