Friday, January 24, 2014

Bora Dispatches Day 3: Ending on a High Note

This is my third travel post on my recent holiday trip to Boracay. For the earlier installments, go here and here. For my resto review, go here

Bora, Day 3: Unlike yesterday, this time I woke up earlier, 6 am to be exact. From the hotel, I jogged towards Station 1. I was having the runs so I had to cut my jogging short. Just as I passed the Marian grotto, my stomach acted up.

Bora in the morning is a sight to behold, and well worth the effort to wake up early for a jog, although to be truthful, I had to stop now and then to take a picture of the scenery and the places where I ate. I dropped by at Jonah's to check if they have the elusive avocado shake. They told me to return by 9 am. 

My tummy calmed a bit, so I proceeded to the 24-hour Smoke Restaurant located at D'Mall. I ordered their bestselling pork kaopad. The resto is quite difficult to find, since it is along a narrow alley behind Andoks.

I then proceeded to nearby Lemoni Cafe for something sweet. I've been here before in my first solo leisure travel. I love the refreshing interiors done in citrusy yellows and greens. I wanted to try either the lemon muffin or cheesecake, but these were not available, so I settled for Mango Madness instead. It was quite good. I highly recommend it.

before arriving at bora i was expecting it to be crawling with the holiday crowd,
but traffic was light 
I proceeded back to my hotel because I felt my stomach was acting up again. I rested for an hour, and then checked out at 11 am. I don't think I'll be coming back at La Carmela Hotel, unless I'm penny-pinching. Yesterday i woke up to the chatter of the staff, the people manning the front desk, except for a few, were not attentive enough, and I can't access my mobile data plan inside my room.

I wanted to eat at Truefood Indian Cuisine for lunch before proceeding to my next hotel but it was still closed. While walking, I didn't notice that my phone falling out until I was approached by some good Samaritans, boatmen who offer rides to tourists, with my phone in tow. This was the second time this happened to me--leaving my phone and someone returning it to me--and  I was feeling blessed, despite yesterday's letdown.  Perhaps not all is lost to creeping commercialism. 

For lunch I went to Epic. The meal was not remarkable but their happy hour is--it starts at 12 noon. After having my fill of margaritas, I proceeded to The Tides Hotel, a little woozy from the drinks. During check-in I arranged an airport transfer to Kalibo, and at P750 it was a good deal.

this greeted me while i was lying on bed

unfortunately, i had no secrets to hide
I love the clean, modern lines of the Tides. Three years ago they gave me a red room. Now my room is in black and white. If yesterday I felt laid-back now I can say I can say I wanted to stay in, which I did. Around 4:30 pm I stirred. At this time Bora has come alive--it is teeming with people. I proceeded to Jonah's, but still there was no avocado shake.

From Jonah's I proceeded to Discovery Shores, where I tried the crab fat noodles. It was a nice touch that they gave me some chocnut while waiting for my order. Their mojito is excellent, and I was just in time for the happy hour, which is from 5 pm to 10 pm. I hope next time I'll be staying at the hotel. Order the classic lime mojito--the watermelon was not as good.

At quarter to 7pm I went to Truefood Indian Cuisine and ordered an excellent lamb dish with naan bread.  This was an fitting end to my Bora resto run. Tip: as in elsewhere, the priciest restos do not guarantee good food. 

I then went back to the Tides for my complimentary drink at their rooftop bar Solstice. With margaritas on hand I checked my Facebook wall and worked on my blogs. I was the first one to arrive, but pretty soon the crowd trickled in. Around midnight I felt queasy from all the drinks I had all day, and so I called it a night.

The next day I woke up at 5:30 am, had an early breakfast, and checked out at 6:40 am. I was the lone passenger in the 7 am hotel van. The driver assisted me up to the raft going to Caticlan. At 8:05 am I boarded a minibus bound for Kalibo airport.

And that was how my holiday Bora trip went. I'm happy I was able to go to most restos in my list, and many of the meals I sampled were good. There's no stopping commercialism, but some people can surprise you with their generosity and good spirit. Well, until the next trip.

Credits: For some of my leads, I'm grateful for these two bloggers: onewayticket and philippinebeachesAside from sources online, my friends clue me in on places to eat, going out of their way to point where the good stuff are.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Pasalubong Options 3: Iloilo City, Cebu, and Cagayan

If you happen to travel to Iloilo City, Cebu, or Cagayan, or if you know someone coming from these areas, here are pasalubong options from the said places.

1. Margec's Cream Horn from Iloilo City

This is one memorable pastry. I first tasted this in Davao from someone who brought this all the way from Iloilo City. If you love custard, this is for you. This is similar to Camiguin's Vjandep Pastel, but the filling is more subtle, but addicting nonetheless.

2. Danggit from Cebu

Leyte might be gaining a reputation for this dried fish variety, but the original danggit from Cebu is still the main standard. Just make sure you buy the special danggit, for these are the ones that are less salty.

3. Cagayan Peanut Candy

For fans of Chocnut, this ones for you. Nutty, milky, and creamy.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Marcia Adams: a Touch of Tuscany in Tagaytay

spur-of-the moment dinner. posing for posterity at the Sunset Room
I first visited Marcia Adams in 2011, and for almost three years I wanted to go back and have a Mediterranean meal prepared by the excellent home cook Marcia Adams. lst year, out of the blue I asked a colleague to reserve dinner there. Let's just say we were charmed by the whole experience. The restaurant is at the border of Tagaytay and Alfonso, near Residence Inn Zoo. For what we ate, go here

I love establishments that put time and effort to adorn their place with fresh flowers.  

I love the attention to detail. Curiously, Marcia Adams did not make an appearance, but her husband said she cooked every meal. 

I have a soft spot for antique chandeliers.

I first went to Marcia Adams on May 28, 2011. After attending a wedding in Tagaytay, a friend suggested we go to Marcia Adams, which she described as Tuscany tucked away in a corner of Tagaytay. I first came to know about the restaurant in Daphne Osena's blog, but the only thing I can remember is that it's like Sonia's Garden. We didn't have reservations, but the owner, Mr. Marcia Adams, welcomed us still, as  my friend asked him for directions over the phone. It was out-of-the-way, and there was no signage by the gate, but it was love at first sight. The place was overrun by vines and bushes and curio plant holders, an explosion of green--not too studied, but charming nonetheless. 

Pardon the askew pictures. I tried everything to set them right, but this is beyond me. 

Mr. Adams entertained us on both occasions. He was solicitous, very warm and welcoming.

This is my favorite--the vine-covered facade of the restaurant. He said they'll be selling furniture soon.

You can choose to eat indoors with a breath-taking view of the garden.

This is a good outdoor option, but bring some Off Lotion. The restaurant has hosted some small wedding receptions.

The restaurant has re-used antique bricks.

Fans of gardens will enjoy it here. 

Marcia Adams's Tuscany
JP Rizal Street, Tagaytay City
0917-8011456 (tip: just text for reservations)