Rafael’s

February 18th, 2015

 

 

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It’s been a while since I posted a restaurant feature. Just to take a short break from my Mindanao series, here is one of the newest restaurants in the city – Rafael’s.

Brought by Chef Rafael ” Tibong” Jardeleza II, it is a new addition to the growing number dining places sprouting in the city of Iloilo. Located in Alta Tierra Village ( from the Parish Church, turn left), it’s just one sikad ride from our house!

 

 

 

 

Relaxing ambiance gives a strong impression. Casual and enjoyable dining with your family and friends.

 

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This restaurant is open for lunch and dinner and I’m looking forward enjoying cozy dinners here..

 
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Chef Tibong conceptualized everything. Repurposing old items always catches my attention.

 

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Now let’s go to the food. Rafael’s serves supreme Ilonggo dishes and that means, many of them are Spanish- inspired – my favorite cuisine.

We started with Lengua con Setas y Oliva – ” stewed ox tongue in Rafael’s roasted tomato sauce with chorizo Pamplano, mushrooms, and olives”.

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I don’t eat lengua because it seems like I’m French kissing a cattle ( seriously!) but I love this dish. My friends also dined here and they liked Rafael’s lengua – even if they don’t normally eat ox tongue. Therefore, it goes without saying that this is must-try when dining at Rafael’s.

For pasta, we had Rafael’s Special – “ a stew type pasta loaded with meat and sausage in roasted tomato sauce“.

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And then we had, Ribs ni Tibs – ” the famous and best-seller of Chef Rafael’s pork shoulder ribs in special hickory sauce“.
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Chef Tibong shared that the shoulder part is meatier, thus, more savory especially when paired with his special sauce.

 

And finally for dessert, Japanese cheesecake.

 
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We paired our dishes with the family’s own, Mariposa Iced-Tea.

 
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A relaxing place to enjoy family meals or hanging out with your friends over food, away from the usual city noise, drop by at Rafael’s in Phase 2, Alta Tierra Village, Jaro,Iloilo City.

 

 

 

More dining stories for you..

Claude’s Le Cafe de Ville

Terrazza Balay nga Kawayan, Guimaras

Could this be the best Piaya?

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Paras Beach Resort, Camiguin Island

February 6th, 2015

 
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Where do most travelers stay in Camiguin?

They stay at Paras Beach Resort! I think Paras is one of the first resorts and hotels in Camiguin. I have stayed here twice – my first visit in Camiguin 7 years ago and last Christmas vacation with my family.

Paras is a big resort and has many rooms from budget-friendly dorm rooms to their suites. I recommend Paras Beach Resort if you are traveling with a group or with your family.

Because we were a group of 6 – my 2 kids, my husband, and my parents- we needed 2 rooms just like what we had at Seda Centrio. And I’m very glad Paras Beach Resort also offers a Family Loft. No need to book 2 rooms. Savings.

I don’t have descent room photos (the challenge when you travel with kids), so I have to borrow these photos from this wonderful resort in Camiguin. This accommodation has a staircase the leads to a loft with a king-sized bed.

 

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Photo from Paras Beach Resort

 

 

The ground floor actually has 3 beds with this pull-out bed – giving the family loft a total of 4 beds! Perfect for big groups.

 

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Photo from Paras Beach Resort

 

 

Our room opens to this big space for  the kids to run around and the older ones to enjoy their afternoon coffee.
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Camiguin will fill up your days with activities and the resort has many ways for you to enjoy some downtime.

 

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Enjoy the sun by the pool..
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Plenty of space for guests to hang out. During our stay, I worked here while my kids enjoyed the hammock and made flower bracelets for me from these santan blooms.
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Before we go to their facilities, here is their receiving area.
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A view of their in-house restaurant though I prefer dining in their cottages and enjoy al-fresco dining.
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Their shop – very helpful when my son lost his slippers in White Island.
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The resort has many entertainment options for guests.

 

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The bar

 

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I guess the best thing about Paras Beach Resort is its proximity to White Island. We signed up for their White Island tour for Php450 ( roundtrip)

 

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If it is your first time in Camiguin, I think you should book your stay at Paras Beach Resort. The resort is the typical resort that you often see in most cities along with their complete amenities. Some resorts in Camiguin, though I love them, may not be very suitable for some guests.

Paras Beach Resort rates starts at Php803 only! For rooms, rates, and reservations,

Paras Beach Resort

Mambajao, Camiguin

Philippines

Telephone: +63 (88) 3879008
Telefax: +63 (88) 3879117
Mobile: +63 9177152285
parasbeachresort@gmail.com

www.parasbeachresort.com

Stayed here twice and I’m satisfied. Have you been here? Share you experience!

 

 

 

 

 

More hotels for you

Seda Centrio in Cagayan de Oro City

Camiguin Volcan Beach Eco Retreat and Dive Resort

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Camiguin Volcan Beach Eco Retreat & Dive Resort

January 26th, 2015

 

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One of the newest properties to join the list of Camiguin resorts and hotels, we were lucky to spend a night at Camiguin Volcan Beach Eco Retreat & Dive Resort. After a day of camping, it was such a relief to stay in a modern resort in an island like Camiguin.

I learned about this resort from Camiguin’s tourism officer. He recommended this place and thankful for such tip. As of this writing the resort is only 2 years old and 80% of their guests are international tourists.

 

 

Located in Mambajao, the resort offers villas and rooms with traditional design. With only a few accommodations, guests are ensured of personalized service. The crew starting with the owners, Sabine and Gabriel are amazing.

This is one of their beach villas.Imagine waking up to the sprawling view of Camiguin’s sea and enjoying golden sunsets.

 

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As a small and intimate resort in Camiguin, checking in was a breeze. Our accommodation at Camiguin Volcan Beach Eco Retreat and Dive Resort – Superior Room.

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I love the extra touches to welcome us. Thank you! My boys went down to make  some petal bracelets for me.

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Very tidy room and firm mattresses. The room is perfect for our group – 2 adults ( me and my Mom) and 2 kids. I like how Sabine placed a mini Camiguin guide in each room – some of the information can’t be found in the internet. Truly a local’s guide! Make sure to sign up for their guided tours.

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The first thing that my son asked was, ” Why is there no TV?“. And it was easy for him to grasp that the resort wants you to enjoy nature.  Experience media detox here. For those who need to check their emails while in Camiguin, wi-fi is available at the restaurant area.

At night, the resort is all quiet. All the guests turned off the lights while the night guard roams and checks the whole vicinity. It was such a great experience, people just sleep, relax with the darkness, and enjoy the music of silence. Now rowdy guests here.

We all had a good night sleep at the resort. And this is the main feature of this resort. As Gabriel shared to me, majority of their guests spend time exploring Camiguin and only go back to the resort to rest or dine. Hence, if you are the type of traveler who wants to enjoy a staycation, I think this is not the best place to stay in Camiguin.

Volcan Beach Eco Retreat & Dive Resort offers a secure place to spend the night after going out diving in Camiguin, sight seeing, and other activities. And I strongly agree that. As a dive resort, stay here to enjoy the best of Camiguin’s underwater beauty and then maybe, a massage from their spa before retiring at night?

The resort is very peaceful and green! Soothing for the eyes.

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Make sure to snap some photos of this unlimited banana – as what the staff have called this plant- just like my mother. :)

 

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And how about this space? Bring your book and enjoy the sea breeze..

 

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Aki trying to relax..
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For those with little kids, take extra precaution if you want to swim at their beach, but the seaside is lovely spot to hang out. As a dive resort, it is a good spot to to check out marine creatures. Don’t worry, all beaches in mainland Camiguin are filled with big rocks vomitted by the island’s volcanoes. Reserve your swimming in White Island or Mantigue Island.

We had a mini walk along the safe parts of the beach, spotting some sea urchins and fishermen.

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One of their “iconic” spots is their sundeck made from bamboo. A place to watch their golden sunset. This is also the spot where they hold their daily yoga sessions.

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Camiguin’s White Island as seen from the resort..

 

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Dining in Camiguin can be tricky, but not at Camiguin Volcan Beach Eco Retreat & Dive Center. Gabriel prepares meals using natural ingredients from their own farm. Camiguin tourism officer told me to try their rabbit stew but it was not available during our stay. Will you try it for me then?

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Their very cozy restaurant and bar area.. See, the resort is empty during the day..

 

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If you want to stay in a resort in Camiguin that is peaceful, this is the best place for you. For guests who want to explore every part of Camiguin, but prefer to enjoy a good bath, nice sleep, and most of all, great meals.

Thank you Sabine and Gabriel. You are one of the warmest people I’ve met and your resort’s best assets. The perfect host in the island of Camiguin. More power to you and all the best to Camiguin Volcan Beach Eco Retreat and Dive Center.

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To know more about Camiguin Volcan Beach Eco Retreat and Dive Resort, visit their site

www.camiguinvolcanbeach.com

www.facebook.com/VolcanBeach

Baring, Naasag, Mambajao

Camiguin IslandPHILIPPINES

Email: info@camiguinvolcanbeach.com

Phone: +63 883 879 551

 

 

 

 

Check out these attractions in Camiguin

Tuasan Falls, Camigiun

Mantigue Island Nature Park

 

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Take a Break from Breakthrough- 30 Places to Eat in Iloilo

January 21st, 2015
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Dessert Spread of Promenade Restaurant

 

A little interruption from my Mindanao Series. Dinagyang is coming up and you might be interested to know where to eat in Iloilo aside from Breakthrough.

Before anything else, I have nothing against Breakthrough Restaurant – no doubt, it serves one of the best food in Iloilo and I often bring visitors to Breakthrough. My title is simply to tell you that there are more dining options in Iloilo other than Breakthrough or batchoy.  I know, some visitors would ask ” Aside from Breakthrough, what are other restaurants in Iloilo?” or ” I have tried batchoy, what else should I eat?“.

This is my own list of restaurants that I have visited, recommending them based on my taste buds’ set of standards. Basically a list of where locals eat in Iloilo.  I added their links for you to click and get more information.

Apologies if I can’t blog all of them, sometimes I just want to eat and I don’t take photos everytime I’m out with my family and friends.

If you can’t find the restaurant here, it is either I don’t like it or I haven’t been there yet. Or I simply miss them, so please leave a comment so I can add the restaurant.

Let’s start?

 

 

HOTEL RESTAURANTS

In-house restaurants are our best bet, not just to redeem our complimentary breakfasts, but when you are tired, you should rely on them. Here are my picks

1. The Promenade Restaurant (General Luna Street)- The in-house dining venue of Days Hotel Iloilo, located at the 4th floor of Atrium. If you love buffet, this is the place. Plus, with its location, you can see the festivities below while you are enjoying your meals.

 

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Days Hotel’s Promenade Restaurant

 

2. Diversion21 Hotel Restaurant ( Diversion Road) – No idea how busy it will get during Dinagyang, but I love dining here if I want some peace and quiet. We often come here for coffee and dessert ( they serve Maridel’s cakes).

3. Freddy’s Bar (General Luna) – Our favorite dating place and yes, one of my favorite restaurants in Iloilo. Sarabia Manor’s Freddy’s Bar is cozy with diner set-up. Enjoy their sausage platter, nachos, baby-back ribs, and pizza. I really want to blog this place. Promise I’ll snap some photos next time!;)

4. Al Dente (General Luna) – Still at Sarabia Manor. Great pasta and pizza. Get a reservation, this place is often packed or reserved for events.

5. Ayanna Garden Restaurant (Oton,Iloilo)- Technically, this is already outside Iloilo City. Sheridan Boutique Resort’s restaurant is also a great place to unwind. Haven’t been there in a long time but I love their food.

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A glimpse of Ayanna Garden Restaurant of Sheridan Boutique Resort

6. Happy Kitchen (Iznart Street) – This is not an in-house restaurant, but it is one of the restaurants in Amigo Terrace Hotel. The food are simple and the place is for some light meals or some bites to go along while meeting up some friends. I like their coolers. Try their frozen margarita.

7. Gloria Maris ( Iznart Street). Same street and building as that of Happy Kitchen, those from Metro Manila may be familiar with Gloria Maris. Serving Chinese cuisine, price is higher than the usual food in Iloilo. Still, a great place to dine especially if you come in groups.

SMALLVILLE COMPLEX

The entertainment center of Iloilo, which is also home to many bars and restaurants in Iloilo.

The Venue – The Venue is a small strip within the complex, fronting Smallville 21 Hotel. It is lined with restaurants, many of them belonging to the same family like Mojave ( for meat lovers), Amalfi ( Italian cuisine) and Bourbon. Not to mention the famous coffee chain in Iloilo – Coffeebreak.

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KBL from Bauhinia Filipino Cuisine

 

 8.    Bauhinia Filipino Cuisine. If you want to enjoy Ilonggo specialties like             KBL, come here. Add their Beef Liver to your order.

9 Nothing but Desserts –  Save room for dessert. So far, the only dessert  place I know in Iloilo.

10. Ohana  - Located at the ground floor of Skinetics Spa and Boutique Hotel. Ohana serves Japanese cuisine. The restaurant is small, so better come here early or avoid rush hours.

11. Afrique’s – Maybe one of the most loved restaurants in Iloilo. I miss their old place at Hughes St. with the restaurant housed in an old house. Still, try their pasta, pizza, and baby back ribs.

12. Punot ( Boardwalk)- Punot is a favorite restaurant among tourists going to northern Iloilo. Its first restaurant is in Estancia Iloilo but their menu is a little bit different in Boardwalk. Try for some homegrown recipes.

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Punot’s Hearty brunch with longganisa, daing, spam, tocina and fried egg!

13. Bluejay Coffee (Ayala Techno Hub)- Used to have a deli with their cold cuts,but still a good place to hang out with friends. I like their coffee and their breakfast.

INDEPENDENT RESTAURANTS

Iloilo now claims to be the “food haven in the Philippines” and I can’t totally disagree. Food here is great and the price is pocket-friendly. Iloilo is also home to many gourmands, opening their own restaurants.

14. Esca’s ( Aurora Subdivision) – Another homegrown restaurant. Local’s favorite when it comes to events like birthdays and baptism.

esca's liam

15. Lighthouse Resto + Bar (General Luna St.) – One of the newest restaurants in Iloilo. Serving is smaller compared to other restaurants, but I like their food and the family-restaurant ambiance of the place.

16. Kusina Tsina (Quezon St) – As the name suggests, they serve Chinese but since they revamped, they also serve Japanese (maki).

17. Emilion Roadhouse ( Quezon St. Near the flyover) –  Another family restaurant that I like. We come here earlier to ensure a very peaceful dining experience. We actually come here for their laswa ( local vegetable soup). From 3-5pm, they have a merienda buffet – great deal!

 18. Cilantro (Jalandoni Street) – For healthy eaters. Nice ambiance, friendly staff. Check their lobsters – one of the cheapest in the city.

19. The Oyster House Seafood Restaurant ( Arevalo, just beside the plaza) – Iloilo is famous for its talaba ( oyster) but if you are picky when it comes to where to eat these succulent shell, The Oyster House Seafood Restaurant is the place to go.

20. Rafael’s  (Alta Tierra Village) – As of this writing, the newest restaurant in Iloilo. Serving local cuisine and Spanish dishes. Try their lengua and pasta.

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Rafael’s, away from the busy streets of Iloilo, in a peaceful residential area of Alta Tierra Village

 

21. Bavaria German Restaurant – (Seminario St, Jaro). Across St. Vincent Ferrer Seminary and very close to Jaro Cathedral. Try their sausages, back ribs, mashed potato and most of all – beer.

22. Uncle Tom’s – It’s been a long time since I dined at Uncle Tom’s both in their Jaro and Diversion Road branches. Fried chicken is their speciality.

23. Markim’s –  Iloilo’s underated restaurant. Serves mainly Chinese dishes. Small serving, but just right for their affordable prices. I love their food, their humba (Chinese style braised pork) is the best!

24. Midway (Delgado St.)- The famous stop-over in Passi has a smaller place in Iloilo City. Midway is across SM City Delgado. Glad that they built more space to accommodate more diners. Their kansi is still my favourite, along with their fresh organic green salad. Yum!

25. Buto’t Balat ( near Plazuela) – For everything comfort food and local cuisine. I’m not sure if their other branches are still open. Love their kalderate, beef salpicao, and try their biga-biga ( Cebuanos find this dish funny. “biga” means “lust”, but the dish is actually made of pork innards and stomach.

AND MORE…

26. Pedbac’s Kusina (Manduarriao)- Pata is another Ilonggo specialty. Tastes like balbacua to me. But at Pedbac’s, I love their callos the most! This small diner is located close to Iloilo Business Park.

27. Camiña Balay nga Bato (Arevalo)- Not a restaurant per se,but you can enjoy the famous tsokolate E ,  Ilonggo biscuits and even molo soup. Come here and call in advance if you want to enjoy molo soup here. Their molo soup is from Kapitan Ising – the best and according to the city’s foodies, the most authentic molo soup.

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Camiña’s famous chocolate drink

28. Steps of Rome (Plazuela)- One of the restaurants in Plazuela. In fact, you go to Plazuela and you will find some options there. Belonging to the same family of Al Dente, Steps of Rome offers pasta, pizza and buffet. Check out their latest special menu from time to time.

29. JD Bakeshop – It is hard not to mention JD – Iloilo’s most popular budget food chain. I personally like JD. Great food and you ca eat for as low as Php60! The bad thing about JD is that food is good and price is cheap so you’ll end up eating more! So beware;)

30. Olé Spanish Tapas Bar and Restaurant (3rd floor Robinson’s Mall) – Malls are always haven for tourists, not just for shopping but for food and downtime like enjoying batchoy at Ted’s in SM CIty Iloilo. Olé is a familiar name in Boracay – their restaurant has been serving Spanish, Cuban, and Mexican food in the island for the past ten year. Try their fajiitas, nachos, appetizers, and paella. I love their gambas though too spicy for me ( because I don’t like spicy), I kept eating because it was good.

So there you have it. Hope I didn’t miss anything. Again, please do suggest some restaurants. Tell us what we should try too!

Thanks for reading!

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Mantigue Island Nature Park

January 13th, 2015

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Some Camiguin tourist spots are just worth sharing. From Tuasan Falls ( in case you missed it, click this link to read) let’s proceed to Mantigue Island.

I want to tell you every bit of Camiguin, but this is something I want you to know now. Many visitors know about Mantigue, but not all of them visit this island when they are in Camiguin maybe due time constraints – there are so many places to see in Camiguin and a 2-day tour may not be enough. So I’m telling you now to put this island on top of your places to go in Camiguin.

 

 

 

Also known as Magsaysay Island, Mantigue Island is 3 kilometers away from mainland Camiguin, and part of the Mahinog municipality. You can see this island as you approach or leave Camiguin from Benoni port. A small white-sand island with vegetation, very distinct from White Island, which is actually a sand bar.

To get to Mantigue, you have to go to Barangay San Roque. You don’t have to worry,in case you are on a DIY tour in Camiguin, you can just ask the locals for directions. From the jump-off point, you have to wade to reach the bancas that will take you to the island.

Can you see the island?

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The trip is between 15-20 minutes, depending on the passengers. The boatman will slow down if you have kids. Look at my Liam’s face..poor thing!

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Finally here!
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The island of Mantigue has been declared as a nature park, protected and governed by the local government. If you know someone who’ve been here 10 years ago, the island was very off-the-beaten back then, with a local community of fisherfolks.

Now, only a few families remain. According to Manong Isoy, one of the staff, they are the ones who are still contesting the government in court.

Now let’s go back to my story.

The first thing that you will notice is how inviting the water is..very clean and the landscape of the island with the peaks of the mainland in the background is just picturesque.

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We arrived when the sun was up and it was really hot. Good thing, Mantigue has some shade. Therefore, if you will be visiting White Island and Mantigue on the same day, you go to White Island first, early in the morning. Expect to spend more time in Mantigue.

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There is a small store and tables with chairs. If you want to dine there, you can surely do that, someone can cook for you.

If you will be bringing kids, never miss the glass-bottom boat for Php300 (30 minutes, good for 6 pax). It was the highlight of our Mantigue tour.
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I thought it will be for the kids alone, but I’m telling you now, even the adults will have a blast. It makes me wonder, how wonderful it would have been if you go Mantigue diving. My husband, couldn’t resist that he jumped from the boat and went free-diving. Please don’t follow! haha.

We saw all kinds of fishes..all the characters of Shark’s Tale with their resident hawksbill turtle. The photos can’t do justice but these corals are alive…These are the table-top corals

 

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It was the closest we can get to the underwater beauty. It was amazing. Can you spot the giant clam?

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You should go snorkeling or diving in Mantigue. The most impressive thing about our glass-bottom boat tour in Mantigue is that it was not very far from the shore, like 10 meters away! It was really great but looking at the small glass bottom with a running boat made us seasick. haha.

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Still, I want you to try the glass-bottom boat tour. The sun was not blazing anymore that much and it was great for some dip! See how clear the water is?

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Not to missed when you are in Mantigue Island Nature Park is their mini-forest trail. The starting point is at the main area of the island and I’m glad my father forced me to join him and my kids. I could have missed the opportunity for another insightful activity with them.

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I like how they built these bamboo platforms. We initially thought the mini-forest is just filled with pandan trees but it is really a forest!

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Big trees, there are signs for their names. My dad knows most of them. The boys love the walk! I think we spent 20 minutes inside. Totally safe, there is a rope for you to keep track of the trail.

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Some of the trees inside Mantigue Island’s forest
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I love the experience. The only forest I’ve been to is Bulabog National Park in Iloilo. At the end of our “lasang” tour curated by my father.
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And this view opened at the end of the trail. My father can’t resist but to swim before heading home.

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Hope you enjoyed this post and my Mantigue Island photos will entice you to visit this island in Camiguin. It is a must! There are many attractions in Camiguin, but you must prioritize this island, ok?

Hope to hear your story in the future. Thanks for reading!


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Mindanao Roadtrip Part 2

January 10th, 2015

 
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Now help me continue reminisce our epic road trip in Mindanao. If you haven’t read the first part, here is the link to Mindanao Roadtrip Part 1.

Our final destination is the beautiful island of Camiguin – we spent almost a week in the “Island Born of Fire”, in reference to its volcanic origin and characteristics. More on Camiguin, next time. I have LOTs of posts to share with you about Camiguin.

 

We arrived in Camiguin at 3pm, and Benoni Port (Camiguin) looks different. I think the Port Authority made a big effort in changing the infrastructures of each port in the country. One of the changes in the port is this..

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All incoming visitors have to step on this rug of disinfectant while a personnel is in-charge to spray each wheel of all vehicles. Camiguin is a protected landscape and this will ensure its agriculture will not be harmed from possible diseases. They same is true when you enter Bukidnon.

Camiguin is still as surreal as I left it six years ago..

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I think we covered all attractions in Camiguin and I’m hoping to check out some unknown attractions in the future. Camiguin is filled with water – beaches, springs, falls, pools..Thus, perfect for those with kids.

Liam at the Santo Niño Cold Spring, one of the oldest attractions in Camiguin…freezing cold!

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My goal for my next visit is to end every single day in Camguin at Ardent Hot Spring which is open 24/7..
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We spent Christmas in Camiguin. No opening of gifts for the boys — the long vacation is already a gift. We left Camiguin on the 26th, Typhoon Seniang was already coming. Glad we left before trips were canceled.

This is something different, my father, a ship man, was a little bit worried that the ships might collide at Balingoan Port. Turns out, it is how they manoeuvre all ships- let them slide. Cool.

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Back in the city, we visited some attractions in Cagayan de Oro like Stoneware Pottery – yes, my trips are EDUCATIONAL. haha.

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And then to Ostrich and Crocodile Farm in Opol just outside Cagayan de Oro City.
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Instead of spending the night in CDO, we chose to just travel to my family’s place in Lanao. My boys were smitten with the presence of the soldiers, just as I was excited to see those military tanks by my grandmother’s window every afternoon when I was a little child.

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We ate dinner in Iligan City and at 8 pm, finally arrived in Maigo, Lanao del Norte – my mother’s hometown. The next day, we went back to Iligan City to see for ourselves Maria Cristina Falls.

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My mother spent her birthday in Maigo and we left  the next day on December 29th. Rainy weather but lucky to have Mukas Port allowing vessels to sail. Ate lunch in Ozamiz City and off we went to Dapitan City, stopped to take some shots of Jimenez Church along the way.

It was signal #1, but it didn’t stop us from visiting Dapitan City’s most famous attraction – Rizal Shrine. Weather was really gloomy and rainy when I took this shot of Rizal’s landmark in Dapitan.

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December 30, we were officially stranded. We stayed at Ariana Hotel. Tired mother.
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Vessels were still not allowed to sail, so we took the time to explore Dipolog City while closely monitoring the weather and any road closures via internet ( Facebook specifically) and local radio because it seems Philippine TV was more into giving updates about the wedding of Marian and Dingdong than about Typhoon Seniang.

Weather was actually sunny with little rain in Dipolog. We did had a day tour in the city but these big waves reminded us to stay indoors.

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Just before midnight on December 30, we tried our luck and went to Dapitan Port. The long queue of vehicles was like 1.5 kilometers plus those vehicles inside the port.

With prayers, we got our tickets but it was one hell of a ride. You can’t see it from the picture but this ferry was swaying left to right. Now, I always carry bonamine.

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My father and husband didn’t sleep because the sea was really rough.  Our assurance of a safe trip is that there was no wind and my boys were asleep throughout the trip. I guess, our trip from Dapitan back to Dumaguete as my mom describes it was, ” thrilling”.

We arrived in Dumaguete at 8am and the sea was very calm. Had breakfast and went to Sibalom for another ferry ride that will bring us to Cebu where we spent our New Year.

And that concludes our roadtrip in Mindanao. Thanks for reading!!

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Mindanao Roadtrip Part 1

January 4th, 2015

 

 

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My previous posts on Seda Hotel Centrio and Tuasan Falls are just part of our two-week vacation in Mindanao. Mindanao is completely not a stranger to me; almost every summer vacation was spent at my Lola’s place in Lanao del Norte. Let us say, Mindanao gave me my first taste of what travel is all about.

I enjoy road trips. My family loves it. It took some months to plan this epic road trip to places that have shaped our ( mine and husband’s) childhoods.

 

Dapitan- Ozamiz City

The port of Dapitan is the gateway to Western Mindanao and for us taking the RoRo, it was our first port of call. We arrived in Dapitan from Dumaguete City at 8pm. We then spent the night at Ariana Hotel in Dipolog City.

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Right after breakfast at Chloe’s Bistro, we officially started our Mindanao road trip traversing different towns in Zamboanga del Norte and Misamis Occidental. Along the way, my son had some review on his Civics lessons :)

We had lunch at Oroquieta City in the province of Misamis Occidental. Then, stopping at the House of Suman in Clarin.

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A must stop to all travelers. These served as our afternoon snacks in Ozamiz City.

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Ozamiz City

Ozamiz City is special to me because my husband hails from this port city. I also grew up traveling to this city from Cebu, since it is close to my Lola’s town of Maigo in Lanao.

We spent the night in Ozamiz, letting my boys meet their titos, titas, and cousins. It was also a time for the kids to visit their grandparents.

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After our visit, we toured some attractions in Ozamiz like the famous Cotta fort. This is also very important to me. My blog post of this landmark in Ozamiz led to one of Mabuhay Magazine’s editors to notice me, paving the way to my regular contribution to Mabuhay.

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Lanao to Cagayan de Oro

The next day, off we went to Cagayan de Oro via Lanao del Norte. From Ozamiz port to the port of Mukas in Lanao passing Panguil Bay.

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With my mom and my eldest. Nostalgic trip. Childhood memories.
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It is nice to revisit old places especially when you realize that now that you are older, what used to be a long trip is actually just a 45 minute-ride.

We stopped for a few minutes at my relatives’ house in Maigo, Lanao del Norte and went straight to Cagayan de Oro. We had lunch at Timoga in Iligan City– Gloria Ihaw-Ihaw. This lechon is one of the best.

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We arrived in Cagayan de Oro at 4pm and checked in at Seda Hotel Centrio.

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At 11 am, we traveled for almost 2 hours to the port of Baligoan where we rode another ferry to take us to Camiguin where we spent 6 days of “best vacation ever”.

Please stay tune to my next part of our roadtrip in Mindanao.

Thanks for reading!

 

 

Related posts..

Roadtrip to Dumaguete

A Quick Trip to Cebu

A Quick Peek to Zambales

Why I Love Roadtrips: Negros

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Tuasan Falls in Camiguin

January 1st, 2015

 

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Chatting with Camiguin’s tourism officer, Tuasan Falls is one of the attractions in Camiguin  I was told to check-out. This is my second visit in the island and I have to admit, I am not aware of this falls. Intrepid travelers have visited this once off-the-beaten path attraction in Camiguin. Talking to locals, they prefer Tuasan Falls over the other more known falls, Katibawasan Falls.

Staff from Camiguin’s tourism informed me that they have made Tuasan Falls more accessible and it sure is. Very convenient for our group of 6 that includes 2 oldies and 2 babies.

 

 

I like  how accessible attractions in Camiguin are with their paved roads. It is just a short drive from the main road with beautiful scenery of Camiguin like Tres Marias, one of Camiguin’s many peaks.

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Travelers used to hire a motorcycle then walk the rugged landscape surrounding the falls but now, you just have to walk a few steps from drop off, making Tuasan Falls perfect even for families with little kids.

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The strong waterfall of Tuasan.

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The flow is stronger than Katibawasan, though Katibawasan is taller. The area surrounding the falls is smaller, you might think of coming here early or during off-peak season to truly enjoy the falls.

It was a little hard to get a souvenir shot of the Donya and the General without some photo bombers.

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Tuasan Falls is one of Camiguin’s things to see. Come here early and enjoy the water and the surrounding foliage.

Thanks for reading!

 

Related posts…

2 of Lake Sebu’s 7 Falls
Samal’s Hagimit Falls
The Mystery Behind the Seven Falls
Take Me Back to Tibiao, Antique

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Where to Stay in Cagayan de Oro: Seda Hotel Centrio

December 30th, 2014

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Looking for hotels in Cagayan de Oro City? Seda Hotel Centrio was my top choice when I first searched for accommodations in Cagayan and I was not disappointed. Thus, I would like to share to you my own Sedai Centrio review.

Seda Hotel Centrio is just one of the properties of Seda Hotels, one of the prime hotels in the country with hotels in Davao, Bonifacio Global City, Nuvali (Laguna), Cagayan de Oro and soon in Iloilo. I must confess that I prefer to stay in hotels with a “name” or those highly recommended by my travel blogger friends because traveling with my family means ensuring their comfort.

 

Seda Hotel Centrio is located right in the center of Cagayan de Oro. Perfect for tourists, it is connected to three malls – Ayala, Robinson’s, and Rustan’s Supermarket. It was very convenient for us to buy all our supplies for our 5-day trip to Camiguin Island.

The reception area is actually located on the 4th floor of the building, the ground floor is their concierge.
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Lobby is everything to me.

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Front desk officers are not just friendly but highly competent. Everyone at Seda Centrio are trained to please the craziest guest, I think. The hotel is also equipped with security features, one of them is their elevator security system.

After a few minutes upon checking-in, we were billeted to our respective rooms.

Our room with twin beds

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My parents’ with a queen-sized bed.
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Rooms at Seda Centrio have enough space with decor and ambiance that induce rest. I love the lightning- all soft for guests to sleep and relax.

Here’s the bathroom complete with toiletries, hair dryer, and weighing scale.

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Coffee or tea?

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After a quick tour around Cagayan and some shopping, husband and kids didn’t waste any minute to enjoy the pool. Beside the pool is their fitness center.
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Swimming is always my trick to let them sleep easily.
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One thing I commend about Seda Centrio is their breakfast served at their in-house restaurant, Misto.

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We arrived along with plenty of other guests, but there was no chaos. Staff were all poised and organized from filling up the food to answering special needs of some guests.

Can we have an extra chair?“, ” Can I have a smaller spoon?“, ”Can I ask for brown sugar?” – okay, I made these requests..traveling with a multi-generational group can be a challenge.

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Plenty of food choices. I love their different juices and this locally-made yogurt. Bravo to businesses patronizing local products.

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My parents, who are hard to please when it comes to food stayed longer, which only means that they like the food and the place. They took their time feasting on their salads and pudding.

My boys after getting enough of their bacon have to stay at the lounge area while waiting. I like that I can have a glimpse of my kids while joining my parents for breakfast.

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Another look at the lounge. You will be interested on how they used these photographs. Very subtly styled.

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Seda Centrio offers Mac for guests check their emails at the lounge. Internet connection in guest rooms is very stable.

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Seda Centrio just opened two years ago, making it one of the newest hotels in Cagayan. Other may see it as a business hotel, but I recommend this place for those traveling in Cagayan with your family. I traveled with my two and my parents, and the hotel is perfect for our needs. The room, the location, the kiddie pool and the very attentive staff will make family vacations stress-free.

Thank you Seda Centrio for the wonderful stay and for a relaxing sleep in Cagayan de Oro. Hope to stay longer next time we are in town!

SEDA CENTRIO
C.M. Recto corner Corrales Avenue
Cagayan de Oro City 9000, Philippines
T: (6388) 3238888 or (088) 5636100
F: (6388) 3238891
Email: cdo@sedahotels.com

 

 

Related Posts

Where to Stay in Davao: Park Inn by Radisson Davao
Staycation at Marco Polo Plaza Cebu
Zemkamps Chalet Guimaras

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Holiday Menu from Steps of Rome

December 14th, 2014

 
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Tis the season to satisfy your cravings. If you happen to be in Iloilo this Christmas or looking for places to dine during the holidays, check out Steps of Rome.

From the award-winning Gruppo Dente, Steps of Rome offers comfort food-based Holiday Cravings menu on top of their signature Italian cuisine.

Using imported ingredients, Chef Pauline Gorriceta-Banusing has come up with a holiday menu to fully give in to your cravings..

Spanish Chorizo, Bell Peppers, Smoked Salmon, and Cheese Fritata served with Toasts (Php275)

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My personal favorite, Steps of Rome’s Croque Madame – Croque Madame with Mortadella Ham, Gruyere Cheese, and Bechamel Sauce (Php280)

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I love it because they use whole wheat bagel for this sandwich recipe. A rendition to the classic French ham and cheese – Croque Monsieur, it becomes Croque Madame with the addition of a fried egg.

If you are Pinoy diner, that is a rice eater, you may want to get this – Big Breakfast of the Champion (Php340)

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The Big Breakfast is a buffet in a plate – sausage, ham, Spanish chorizo, omelette, and fried garlic rice. It also comes with toast and jam.

Off menu – fried chicken served with rice pilaff. Great for those with kids – kids can’t say no to fried chicken isn’t it?

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And for “desserts” – waffles! For their Holiday Cravings menu, Steps of Rome offers two kinds of waffles.

This is the Cookie Butter, Jelly, and Chocolate Warm Waffle with Cream (Php220)

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Belgian Waffle Dulce de Leche with Blueberries and Pistachio Ice Cream (Php220)

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Enjoy all-day breakfast this holiday at Steps of Rome! Come and bring your visiting friends and relatives!

Steps of Rome

Plazuela de Iloilo ( beside SM City)

Diversion Road, Iloilo City

+63 (033) 333 3509

www.facebook.com/stepsofrome

 

 

Related posts…

Filipino Cuisine and Desserts

Lunch Buffet from The Promenade Restaurant

Lighthouse Resto + Bar

 

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