The Month of the Heart of Winter

the new leaf of January is my Month!

Monthly Archives: January 2011

our Boracay vacay (part 4)

Before we went to bed (on our last night), we planned of getting up as early as 6am to enjoy a morning sea breeze but it didn’t happen.

Rain awakened us and bigger waves welcome us that Sunday morning, so, that gave us no choice but to spend our last day at the hotel vicinity.

We decided to get breakfast first at Mama’s Fish House and we had pancake, scrambled egg, sausages and fresh fruits. I paired my breakfast with orange juice this time. It was another superb plate; I wish everyday breakfast would be like this 🙂 .

After breakfast, husband and I peeped at the beach. And there were the rough waves comparable when it’s low season. I stayed on the shore and professed in sand writing how I miss our Bea.

When rain started to pour down husband and I went back at the lounge and serve ourselves with coffee. I took that moment to discover more of Microtel.

The hotel’s kid playground is spacious; the colorful slide is a sure winner to kids!

There were also playthings, which can draw attention to toddlers.

I love the fact that the hotel is family friendly too. (Note: Sorry, but I steal a shot of this mother and son’s bonding moment –lovely!)

For the grown ups the hotel provides reading materials and a computer unit with internet access. I was also surprised to see a “sungkahan” ,  a local game-board.

That’s how Microtel look after their guests; they ensure every vacationer will truly enjoy Boracay Island.

After an hour, husband and I went to our hotel room and prepare for our 12noon check out. And even before we left our room, I felt missing our modest stay.

Truly “Nowhere in Boracay is the comfort and intimacy of hotel living available at such great-value deal than at Microtel Inn and Suites”

Husband and I spent our time back at the hotel lounge while waiting for our shuttle to D’Mall. I wish to be back and enjoy these luxuries again.

Few minutes before we left…

And during our shuttle ride…

From D’Mall we rode a tricycle to Cagban…

Cagban was such a busy port with all these guests…

The experience was truly amazing…

Arriving at Caticlan Jetty Port does not mean to say goodbye at all, until next time 🙂 .

Before we check in at the airport, we sampled big bowls of La Paz Bachoy with Kimchi. It was a different combination but I love how La Paz Bachoy balances the strong flavors of Kimchi.

Our flight back to Manila was scheduled at 4:20pm however, it was delayed and we waited for another hour for our aircraft to arrive.

I was a little worried that our flight would delay further and that we may need to stay overnight at the airport. Oh my!

To kill time I kept myself busy with my rebel baby while  munching some of our pasalubongs 🙂 .

When finally the arrival of DG0042 was announced I felt relieved, finally we’re coming home! Boracay would always be paradise but I have no money tree to sustain the life at the island. If I would ever win a lotto bet by millions, I would get a house in Boracay to fulfill a dream 🙂 .

The flight back to Manila from Caticlan was fast, it went a little rough but maybe it was just the wind.

And these would be my last memory of Boracay –the Island Paradise!

This vacation would not be possible if not for the generosity of people at Hit A Bargain! and Microtel Inn and Suites. My husband and I truly enjoyed our time and we cannot thank you enough.

As promised, I would do a summary of all our expenses during our 3days/2night stay.

click to enlarge

 Read on and have your own unique Boracay vacay!

It was an awesome birthday experience for husband and me 🙂

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our Boracay vacay (part 3)

I realized that while in Boracay time is significant. Actually, it’s always 🙂 but during our short visit, the more I need to move double time.

After a catnap, husband and I get ready to experience White Beach, try out something else and make our last night in Boracay as memorable as possible.

We skipped the shuttle ride from Microtel to D’Mall and decided to explore on-foot 🙂 .

From Diniwid Beach to White Beach, we use the trail, which is a cemented pathway along the cliffs. It’s the easiest way to jump at Station 1.

 

At Station 1, most of the establishments were starting to set up dining tables and chairs. I cannot help but love the mood of dining outdoor and watch over the sunset –romantic!

Most high-end resorts are located in Station 1, where there is less crowd and wider beach.

We passed by Friday’s, Pearl of the Pacific, Waling-Waling Beach Hotel to name a few.

Boracay is truly something unique and every angle is picturesque.

The breathtaking sunset is something to look forward as day end set off.

And even if during our visit, it wasn’t the usual orange-filled dusky sky, it remained beautiful as is! 

I suddenly missed Bea during our trip when we bumped with a black Aspin. Bea would also love to wander and feel the powdery sand on her paws. She would especially enjoy the crystal-clear water.

 

As we move along, we spotted Willy’s Rock, which remains a favorite photographed spot in the island and I need to have a keepsake even if it was so hard to get a singly copy of my own.

If it’s not high tide the rock formation is accessible by foot but since it wasn’t that time, we didn’t bother to get wet to see the Marian grotto sitting on top.

 

Paraw sailing is the most popular water sports in Boracay and I hope I am gutsy enough to brave the waters and find balance to try this activity.

Note: I regret for not buying a sturdy tripod, so, husband and I could have a decent photo together.

Aside from Boracay’s welcoming atmosphere, it is a foodie’s paradise.

Jonah’s Fruitshake is considered as one of Boracay’s delight –labeled as The Best Fruitshake in the Island.

It is contained on mineral bottles with a straw punched on the bottle cap, I find it only one of its kind 🙂 .

Because husband had been nursing a cold while we were in Boracay, he passed this cold drink and makes one or two sips on my Banana Choco Vanilla. He ordered Chori Burger, which is another popular beach food in Boracay. The usual beef patties were replaced by grilled chorizo. They say that your Bora vacay is not complete without tasting this yummy burger. I give two thumbs up for this 🙂 .

Be sure not to miss the signage during a leisurely walk to Station 1.

 

We also passed by all flip-flops by the beach.

Zuzuni Boutique Hotel & Restaurant, which is located at the southern end of Station 1, is a must-stop for Boracay habitués. I will save this Mediterranean inspired restaurant probably on my next trip 🙂 .

Our last stopped before we sat down for dinner was the sand castles. Locals make sand castles using fine white sand everyday and tourist can pose at those sculptures. Do not forget to give donations later on 🙂 .

Finally, dinnertime! It was another cooking feast, which isn’t new to me. Guilly’s  Island serves buffet where you can sample Filipino, Japanese, Italian and Chinese cuisine at a very affordable price (Php275.00).

Chicken soup tasted very good and hot.

 

We decided for makis as appetizer, instead of their green salad.

We sampled some grilled seafood and pork belly.

I also had lapu-lapu (cooked like escabeche) and lechon kawali. 

 

We skipped the pasta dishes, which are cook right in front of you.

And I cannot miss the Mongolian bowl however being a fan of this simple dish I was disappointed that they do not have bean sprouts.

I cannot help but asked the cook why they don’t have it, and I was told that it is not available in the island and even in Caticlan, it is very hard to find. I guess I have to take their words and enjoy my bowl.

Okay, I always prefer my bowl without rice or noodles on it 🙂 .

Husband envied my creation so he tried to get his own and enjoyed it much.

For dessert, they have sweetened banana and fresh fruits. We chose the latter.

While we were trying to warm down from a very filling dinner, husband ordered two bottles of Beer Zero. It was my first time to try the SMB Light ice-cold and with frost outside. It taste like water and I love it.

It’s like my love affair with SMB will be rekindled with this creation 🙂 .

 

If we came there in a group, I would have rent out a shisha paraphernalia for everyone to enjoy. Another next time 🙂 . FYI –rental fee is Php550 unlimited with different flavors to choose.

We left Guilly’s few minutes before 9pm and walk to D’Talipapa, where cheap finds can be found from souvenir shops to wet market and restaurants. I took the time to buy pasalubong for my co-workers and for my family.

I had bayong style refrigerator magnets at 5pcs for P100; compared to the D’mall they sell it at 4pcs for the same price.

Hand-painted fish refrigerator magnets cost 9-10pcs for P100, depending on your haggling expertise. Island souvenir shirts (sando style) Php100.00, medium sized native purse at P40.00 and capiz necklace 2 for Php150.

Back at D’Mall, we walk around to kill time while waiting for our hotel shuttle. I had time to shoot some activities as it happen. There’s D’Wall rock climbing and Ferris Wheel ride.

And before I got tired of people watching Microtel’s shuttle arrived. Maybe my age makes me easy to get tired after few hours of walking and talking.

I told you I would prefer a cozy lounge to spend the night away and like the previous night after arriving back at the hotel we decided to laze at the lounge while having coffee and chat about our fun-filled day at the island.

Day 2 officially concluded with traces of HAPPINESS from both of us. Again, thank you Microtel and Hit A Bargain!

Our last day in Boracay will follow soon…

our Boracay vacay (part 2)

Husband and I were awakened by the sound of my buzzer (my ever-reliable mobile phone); yes, I have to set an alarm because we might oversleep again and missed our FREE breakfast  🙂 .

Mama’s Fish House is Microtel’s concessionaire, which faces the hotel’s pool area is perfectly set to welcome each guest a refreshing new day. They serve Filipino and American breakfast. On our first breakfast (Saturday), the set is bacon/sausage, poached/scrambled egg, French toast, fruits and your choice of coffee, tea or juice.

Husband had bacon while I had sausages, which is filling and delicious. A breakfast lover like me cannot say much except that Mama’s Fish House breakfast is excellent!  

Oh and by the way, we ordered an extra toast with butter and mango jam.

Right after finishing breakfast, we decided to check the beach.  Microtel’s beachfront is small, it’s like a private beach but the good thing is it doesn’t get over-crowded at all unlike that at White Beach. Not long, a local tour guide approach, and ask over if we wanted an island tour. Of course, I would love to 🙂 !  I wanted to see more of Boracay and this activity is the best way to experience more of the island paradise.

*Note: I will do a separate post about fares and fees of our vacay 🙂

Our boat was a small one, I somehow feared of riding it but hey we have two boatmen on board, life vest and I have a swimmer husband to save me 🙂 .

From Microtel beachfront, we passed by the long of stretch of White Beach then off to Crocodile Island. All the while, I thought the island is habitat to reptiles…hahaha, that was my idea until Manong (one of our boatman) pinpointed from a distant a rock formation like that is shape like a crocodile. We didn’t get closer to the island instead; we stopped at a snorkeling area where marine life is plentiful. I brave the waters and tried to snorkel a bit, I had the view of the beautiful collection of corals, blue fishes and more fishes. It’s like a school of fish. I wanted to stay longer in waters but I felt something isn’t right, my life vest is malfunctioning and I started to panic, so, I asked husband to pull me up right away.

I content myself from enjoying the sea breeze while waiting for husband to get tired of his water activity.

I didn’t watch the time but based on my assumptions we went off after 30 minutes or so. I regret that we passed going to Crystal Cove because our boatmen sailed away. Anyway, I enjoyed our time at our next stop –Puka Beach.

Puka Beach is an isolated place, from my POV; a far-flung stretch of white sand that is ideal for me-time or “our-time” moments, it’s very ideal for people like me who loves quietness 🙂 .

There were a number of eatery at beachfront and we were offered a seat instantly. And since it was nearly lunchtime, we decided to try the cuisine on this side of Boracay.

garlic prawns Php170.00

The place is Sea Shore Grill and Restaurant and we ordered Garlic Prawn and Grilled Squids.

grilled squids Php200.00

 I was a little disappointed at our food serving size; I find it costly 🙂 .

We ended our meal with Buko juice, which husband says has water addition on it; it taste bland 😦 .

 

We explore more of the white sand and azure water at Puka Beach; there were plenty of stores that sells pasalubong items like jewelries, house decorations and religious pieces, which are all made of puka shells.

And despite the scorching heat of the sun at noontime, we didn’t passed to test the waters. It tends to be a little rougher and the sand is not powdery compared to White Beach but the surrounding is serene.

We stayed for a while, take it easy and had photos before we left the place. I promise to be back at this side of the island if by chance Boracay will welcome me for a second time  🙂 .  

*Note to self:  ride the ATV next time you come to Puka Beach

We boarded our banca and sailed back at the open sea. The route back at Diniwid was a long one and waves are relatively bigger. If not for the outrigger of our boat, I bet if we can survive the tangling and shifting.

Shangri-la's Boracay Resort & Spa

By the way, on our way back we passed Shangri-La’s Boracay Resort and Spa, which is secluded but very luxurious even from afar.

Boracay West Cove

Next to it was said owned by Manny Pacquiao –-Boracay West Cove. It’s perfect for romantic get-away because of the breath-taking sea cliff view. I could only dream staying in one of their room with veranda and ocean view.

And Microtel Inn and Suites may not be as posh as those spectacular resorts but not to demean because everyday is guaranteed to be fun and relaxing 🙂 .

Anyhow, back at Microtel we spent our time at the inviting pool…it was indeed inviting because I found out that it was kid friendly too and perfect for non-swimmer like me 🙂 .

When you’re on a vacay, a 30-minute nap is considered so much rewarding so we give in and head back to our rest-conducive hotel room…sssshhhh, wake me up buzzer I need to see the sundown.

Next will be part 3, hehehe…more of Boracay –sundown, dinnertime and a whole lot more 🙂

our Boracay vacay (part 1)

The weekend that passed was pampering, extra ordinary and breathtaking because husband and I had a grand time at the scenic island of Boracay.

 

Let me recap all the happenings as it happened during our three days/two nights stay 🙂 

We left Makati past 11am of January 14 (my birthday!) and while on our way to Domestic Airport, I was praying that traffic would be bearable. Our flight to Caticlan is scheduled at 12:50pm and we have to board at least 45 minutes before the scheduled departure  time. Unfortunately, we didn’t make it 😦 ; the counter had closed 10 minutes prior to our arrival.

Right away, I asked if we could board the next available flight. Good thing the slots are still open, the boarding pass was handed to us right away. After paying the terminal fees, we decided to check-in and wait for our 3pm boarding.

It was one of the longest wait I had, so, to kill time husband and I ate (expensive airport meals 😦 ), watched Showtime, play with his iPod, went OL (using his BB) and cam-whore 🙂 .

Few minutes before 3pm, boarding was announced. We’re flying via Seair flight DG139 and while at the boarding gate, I noticed that 99% of the passengers were foreign nationals. Oh well, expect more of them at the island, hehehe…

Our 35 minutes flight went on smooth, despite some rains it went well; we arrived Caticlan airport in no time and my second thoughts of riding a small aircraft recede 🙂 .

 

I can now say that Seair is the fastest way to experience the beauty of Boracay!

 

From Caticlan Airport (Godofredo P. Ramos Airport), we hailed a tricycle going to Caticlan Jetty Port, which is our jumping point to Boracay Island. It was another 15 minutes ride by pump boat to Cagban Arrival Center. And since we have no arrangements on transfers, and was clueless on how to get at Diniwid we chartered a tricycle again. The route was a long ride and slightly expensive. I only wish somebody from Microtel offered us the free shuttle from D’Mall, at least we could slash half of our fare.

From the main road, Microtel is located at the north of Station 1 and we have to pass the back doorway leading to the front desk. I handed my Microtel GC and we were welcomed with capiz shell necklace, complimentary welcome drink and cold towels 🙂 . We were shortly briefed about the facilities, the island adventures, about the shuttle schedule (a copy was handed to us) and even offered a safety deposit box if we need it.  

After we got our key card, we were assisted to our room, which is located at the second floor. Our room was spacious enough, hotel living at its best!  Let me pore over every corner of our room this time.

 

The package I won from Hit A Bargain! was a Double Room Accommodation for two. The room was equipped with two chiropractic queen-sized beds enhanced with high quality linens and pillows.

I always love fresh linens and Microtel exceeded my expectations 🙂 .

Our room also had a cable ready television, air-conditioning, ceiling fan, telephone system, and a built-in closet and radio clock. Sorry but I didn’t see the internet-ready data port.

I especially love the full-sized bathroom with hot and cold shower facilities, who wouldn’t anyway 🙂 .

 

Window seating is available for relaxation however, we could have enjoyed it more if we were given a room facing the beach. I think the view we got from our window was the backside of Melrose Place. We chose to have the curtains closed most of the time for that time alone.

 

Having all these comfort, we felt big time! Husband and I sampled the bed by taking a short nap before hitting the beach. And it’s because of the coziness we over sleep, hehehe…by the time we were freshened it was already dinnertime. We hopped at the hotel’s shuttle going to D’Mall where food outlets were mostly located.

We went around and found plentiful of shops that sells pasalubong items and beach items (there’s S.W.I.M, Nothing but H20, Lonely Planet, etc.). Even if we wanted to wander, our tummies were complaining badly, so, we look for a place to settle and eat. For first timers like us, it was not easy to decide. We almost ended up eating in Mang Inasal if we didn’t found the dinner buffets at the beachfronts.

 

We thought all buffets were priced at Php300.00 so we settled with that one with plenty of shells and crabs, and lechon on their selection. We find it cheap and satisfying, though I was wishing there were shrimps included 🙂 .

Husband and I overload ourselves with seafood and seafoods and later on had watermelon to rinse out.

Now I wonder if watermelon really works 🙂 .

Tropical beach nightlife in Boracay happens in Station 2 and after that filling dinner, we walk around to experience more of it.

There were too many to chose from drinking, eating, dancing, singing and other entertainment. We then found out that there were plenty of buffet, cheaper by P50.00 than what we had for dinner. Oh okay, we were too gullible at these first times 🙂 .

 

While our way to Station 1, we were surprised to see a Starbucks branch, so, instantly we get ourselves a Grande frap to go. It’s perfect to sip something cold while getting around.

We also stumble upon some fire dancers and you think I would let the chance passed without having photo with them? Of course not, so I drag husband to that photo op 🙂 . It was amazing to watch these poi dancers perform –spinning and twirling.

 

We wanted to try Sandbar because of their tempting consumable rate (Php275.00) however, we felt too heavy to drink. It was almost 11pm when we decided to walk back at D’Mall to wait for our shuttle.

Back at Microtel, we decided to stay at the cozy lounge for a while before ending the night.

Day 1 has concluded with BIG smiles and BIG thank you to Microtel and Hit A Bargain!, we explore more of the beach the following day 🙂 .

 

To be continued…

birthday surprise?

It was! I’m not used to celebrating my birthday in advance but today they made it a day earlier for me 🙂 .

 

And though I was caught much unprepared (see my unruly hair, my haggard looking eyes, I wasn’t ready for the Kodak moments girls…hehehe)  it turned out be a very special one! A very remarkable one!  It was so thoughtful and sweet of you to give me a “birthday salubong” this time 🙂 .

 These people make my day everyday at work, something that is worth staying, should I say 🙂 .

Thank you for the filling mid afternoon snack!

an early birthday gift

Thank you to Mr. P for the early birthday gift last Tuesday afternoon.  

It was a treat, which everyone enjoyed 🙂 !