Thursday, March 21, 2013

Pasalubong Options 2: Bacolod and Pampanga

1. Bacolod

Work found me in Bacolod a few months ago, and beyond the usual piaya and biscocho here are things that I tried and brought back home to Manila.
baye-baye is made of coconut meat, sugar, and pinipig.
sticky and grainy in texture,  the ones i tasted hinted of peanuts

merci pasalubongs are found all over the city, and this one is quite addicting 


cute shirt. from merci pasalubong
2. Pampanga

Pampanga is known for its good cooks, and this product affirms that. I did not travel to Pampanga for this one; it was brought to the office by a colleague. Joriel's cassava cake, a popular dessert, is soft, moist and rich. Cassava cake is made from manioc, a woody shrub cultivated for its edible tuberous root. It appears that Joriel's cassava cake is based in Mexco, Pampanga. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Ilocos Norte Quick Day Tour: Dragons and Lighthouses

Work found me in Laoag City last November, with one whole afternoon free. For P3000 I and some colleagues rented a van and toured nearby environs. 

A quick note: Laoag, the northernmost city in the Philippines, is the provincial capital of Ilocos Norte. Tourism is a major industry in the area, and for a series of posts I'll show some places of note.

First stop is the Pasuquin Ilocos Norte's REFMAD Dragonfruit Fruit Farm, which claims to be the first plantation of its kind in the province and the Ilocos region. What started out as a hobby for Ms. Edita Aguinaldo Dacuycuy is now a thriving enterprise, with demand outstripping supply.
How can i describe the taste without sounding forced? Let's just say this tastes
better than the pale ones in Manila. The deep purple ones are sweeter, with hints of strawberry, kiwi, and banana.
the scales are reptilian, thus the name

the dragon fruit plant needs support to remain upright
we arrived weeks after the harvest. this is one of the last fruits still clinging to its branch
try the ice cream. it's quite good, and very refreshing

Next we made a stop at the Cape Bojeador Lighthouse, a cultural heritage structure in Burgos, Ilocos Norte. 
the lighthouse was first lit on March 30, 1892. until today, it serves as guide for sea-faring veseels
view from the area where we alighted from the van

Cape Bojeador over yonder
the lighthouse is typical of the spanish colonial lighthouses, made of
bricks prevalent in the area

the lighthouse was declared a national historical landmark in 2004
and a national cultural treasure the following year
For my next post, I'll be featuring natural and man-made formations that rock

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Bohol's Flushing Meadows Resort and Playground

If you want tranquility and solitude in your next island getaway, consider Bohol's Flushing Meadows Resort and Playground located at Panglao Island. It is located about an hour away from tourist-heavy Alona Beach

Panglao is derived from "panggaw," a fishing device. Aside from being a tourism hotspot, Panglao is also a  marine biodiversity center after numerous species of crustaceans and mollusks were discovered around the island in late 2000s. 

Obviously the owner is a tennis freak--Flushing Meadows Corona Park is where the US Open Tennis Tournament has been held since 1978. Wonder no more why the facilities are named after tennis greats, i.e. the Graf Conference Room. 
even though it was raining when we arrived, i was impressed with the place
love the mural adorning the main door
closer look
i wanted to read a book in this corner

i was there for work, and this was my room

flipflops in summery colors
view from my door
golden papayas
what the frack?
geckos! they were ginormous, and everywhere 
from the conference room, to the beach
on the last day of work i woke up early to take some last shots of the resort 
a chapel inside the compound
the restaurant. nearby, obscured, is the pool
yonder looks interesting

crystal clear water--those specks make up a school of tiny fish
because of the rain, we missed having our meals here
money shot

Flushing Meadows Resort and Playground 
Brgy. Dao, Dauis, Panglao Island
Manila Office Contact No.: (+63) 02 892-4961

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Half Day Bohol Tour Part 4: the Loboc River Cruise

The essential trip to Bohol would not be complete without having at least these items: tarsier-sightings, viewing the Chocolate Hills, and going on the Loboc River Cruise.

Our cruise started from Loboc town. One can also have as jump-off point Loay Bridge. A group of around twenty can charter a floating restaurant  with lunch or dinner served buffet-style, with a singer serenading the passengers throughout the hour-long trip.

The people of Loboc are a a musical lot, the town being known as the musical capital of Bohol, and its Children's Choir is quite renowned, with wins both here and abroad. Our guide told us that many in Loboc are either singers or adept in musical instruments, or both.

the ubiquitous papaya
a glimpse of the convent of Loboc church, the Church of San Pedro,
the second oldest church in Bohol

our cruise begins

a salad of seaweed, chopped tomatoes and onions


fresh coconut topped with hibiscus

the view was awesome

i hope the riverside remain lush when you visit 

at this point the boat headed back

we stopped by for some song and dance

some of the members of our group joined the fun

back at the docking station

nipa palm trees

the fruit cluster of the nipa palm, used as decor detail in the floating retaurant

bye bohol--hope to see you soon!