cebu weekender

my ma and i spent a weekend in cebu island the last time i was on days off.  it was a first for both of us to visit the island and i have planned it in advance as a special treat for her.

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after the flight from manila (also a ‘first’ for my ma where she was all quiet – i don’t think it scared her but i held her hand anyway!), we took a cab from the airport going to tune hotels, a budget accommodation found in the center of the city.

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i have stayed in tune hotels in penang and bali.  this is how their cebu branch looks like from the inside.

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at tune hotels, you only pay what you need!

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you won’t need a 24 hour aircon specially when you will surely be outside touring the city most of the day, tune hotels gives you that choice of a 12 hour aircon less the price of a 24 hour.  anyway, there is still a ceiling fan that is free for use inside the room.

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the room is clean with freshly laundered bedding.  water pressure in the shower was also good, i paid extra for the towels and toiletries.

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the next day was a sunday and we heard mass in the basilica.  we passed by the cross of magellan which was near the church.

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i think this painting depicts the spaniards’ introduction of christianity to the filipinos.

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the marker found at the foot of the cross.  i never knew that the original cross (as claimed) was encased inside.

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nearby was fort san pedro where my ma and i just walked going here coming from the basilica.

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there was a small entrance fee (i already forgot how much!).

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i walked around the fort which was small compared to the forts i visited in jaipur.

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we then went back to tune hotels, checked out and took a cab to check-in at marco polo plaza.

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i booked a double room from their website where they have this tempting offer, the weekender promo.

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this includes buffet breakfast for two and there was even a free havaianas slippers that we claimed at their gift shop.

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a grand beautiful flower arrangement at the lobby – and they were real!

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after check-in, we were assisted by a bellman with our luggage to our room.

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room was simple and worth the price.

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furnitures was made of bamboo, rattan and abaca rope.

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flat tv looks new and a small study was available in the room.

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wi-fi was without charge (i hate it when i get charged for internet connection!), and the connection was good and no disruptions.

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there is also a marco polo hotel in davao city, i hope to visit that too.

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clean toilet and bath with marco polo signature toiletries.

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this was the view from our window.

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i wanted my ma to enjoy her ‘staycation’ and we were never interested to go out from the hotel so i decided that we take our dinner in the hotel’s restaurant, cafe marco.

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after dinner i left my ma in our room to watch her favorite ‘teleseryes‘ as i checked the hotel’s other facilities.

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i found out that they charge for sauna use which was located in their spa.

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a well-equipped gym and a fitness personnel assists the guests.

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i went outside to check their pool.  i actually took a dip to relax my tired muscles.

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they also have a bar beside the pool.

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i bought this ref magnet from their gift shop as a souvenir for me and my ma’s satisfied stay at marco polo plaza. 🙂

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india chronicles: the golden triangle

a few days from now is my schedule for days off from work here in the gulf and i will be flying straight to new delhi coming from bahrain.  i have included in my bucket list for the year (see 10 things i have not done before, 2012) a visit to india particularly, the famous tourist circuit, the golden triangle.  i am glad that i will be able to do this – as the scottish philanthropist thomas guthrie quoted . . “do it now”.

the golden triangle covers three interesting cities of india which consists of delhi the national capital, jaipur the pink city, and agra, where taj mahal is located.  my plan is to spend 8 days to visit these three cities: first stop is delhi then travel to jaipur by plane.  after three days return to delhi then travel to agra by train, and after three days again return back to delhi. 

visiting india is a dream and i have always wanted to see the taj mahal.  for me it is too majestic, almost hypnotically magical.  keep posted on my next entries on my solo backpacking tour (first time that i will use a backpack – honestly!) to the golden triangle. 🙂

an elephant, a tarsier and a bee

i have planned a bohol trip for myself and my best friend which is budget-friendly and kind of laid-back.  it was only a three-day weekend trip and what happened on our first day was unproductive due to the rain.  we actually just had a good dinner and checked the bars lining alona beach in panglao.

the room i booked from agoda website was at l’elephant bleu.

this accommodation in panglao island offers rooms and cottages and is very near alona beach.  we were given a room in their new building.

the room is average and working wi-fi is available and complimentary.

the beds made of bamboo were comfortable and the sheets clean.

one of a must-do in bohol of course is to visit a tarsier conservatory.

in my list, one of the ten things i have not done before was to photograph a tarsier.

i noticed that most of the tarsiers were asleep when we visited (hello world, they’re nocturnal!) and as stupid as i can be i forgot to bring my zoom lens in l’ elephant.  so here’s the result – unimpressive pictures, but anyway seeing these curious-looking creatures was enough to fascinate me like an elementary pupil on an educational field trip. 😀

i have read online many reviews about the food at bohol bee farm.  i made sure that i had to try some.

cab-cab chips paired with green tomatoes and grated parmesan cheese

spicy flower salad with honey-mustard sauce

buko (coconut meat) pasta

seafood pizza

they have these homemade ice cream with unique flavors such as camote, malunggay, ginger, tomato and pandan.  i tried sweet potato (camote) and found it good-tasting.  they also serve it into a cone made of cab-cab (from grated cassava root).

locally handmade items like these are available in their souvenir shop where i bought some for my ma.

friend for keeps

me and my best friend has known each other since our senior year back in highschool.  he was my classmate and we were both transferees from different schools.  we had the same barkada  (group of friends) but after graduation and college started, we lost contact of most of them.

i still keep with me the snail letters and greeting cards he sent me during those days when text messaging and facebook was non-existent.  i am just glad that i have met someone like him, someone who is real, someone unpretending.

i have met people who has made a difference in my life in one way or another that became my friends where most of them left and very little stayed.  it just proves that friendship is tested through time, through thick and thin – i thank god for my best friend for he, is a blessing. 🙂

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this post ticks off one of my “10 things i have not done before” list where me and my high school best friend spent a weekend in panglao island, bohol last july, 2012 (post to follow!).

pork knuckle encounter

i met up with some of my high school classmates whom i have not seen personally for a few years back when i was on my vacation last march.  it was a way of reminiscing our good old high school years, specially the fun moments we had together.

it was also a good chance for me to tick off one of my 10 things i have not done before item when everyone was asking to decide where to have our late dinner.  the mall we met up was just near barrio fiesta, a filipino restaurant that is famous for the dish, crispy pork knuckle or crispy pata.  i then suggested the place and they agreed, unknowingly, they did not know my real purpose.

it has been years since i last ate pork.  i stopped eating it when i was in junior high school, the reason still unclear even to myself which is straightforwardly odd!  to cut it short, let’s not talk about it and focus on the crispy pork knuckle itself.  hehe.

crispy pata is the hind leg including the knuckles of a pig boiled in broth with spices, drip dried or drained, rubbed again with spices and then is deep-fried until golden brown.  here is the famous crispy pata of barrio fiesta.  crispy on the outside and succulent on the inside.   i wonder how much percentage of cholesterol one serving has.

i ate a piece and the taste reminded me of my ma’s lechon kawali (pan-fried roasted pork) that she cooks before.  though it tasted good it did not mean that i will go back on eating pork again, it was just a self-dare for myself for my list.  another thing, i also stopped eating beef more than four years ago – and i think that deserves a separate post. 😀

10 things i have not done before

2011 was a year of self-fulfillment for me.  what started as a dare of travelling alone in another country has let me prove to myself that it can be satisfying doing a solo travel.  it is in fact a way to let you see the things around you in a wide-angled way, for what i fear before taught me to find a direction to overcome.  it was also a year that i spent better quality time with my loved ones when i am home.  there were no drama, my life was more carefree as a single person.

to start the year, here is my list of 10 things i have not done before.  these might not all get completed by next year as i did the last time (i missed three, but putting them again here!), but i do find it amusing to do such list that i look forward when i am about to be scheduled for a short vacation from work.  it gives me that adrenaline-pumping feeling that i have to accomplish something.  so.. here i my list for 2012! 😀

1.  visit indonesia (done), vietnam (done), singapore and india (done):  i am very specific this time on my travel destinations.  i want it this way so i’ll have more focus on planning to get there (i hope that i do! haha.).

2.  blog a day at work:  let everyone see how a boring workplace can be stressful!

3.  eat crispy pata:  believe me, i have never tasted this ever in my life.  i stopped eating pork almost 20 years ago – it won’t actually hurt me to eat some, for i’ve actually eaten a cricket!

4.  spend an out of town weekend with my high school best friend:  i have to force him to do this with me.  he is a workaholic, i think he has forgotten that there is word spelled as u-n-w-i-n-d!

5.  ride on a train:  i don’t mean the metro rail or a subway – it’s the choo choo train.

6.  have my blog domain:  always wanted to get one but i always change my mind.

7.  date my mom:  my ma and i always go out when i am home but i want this one to be special.

8.  sport a mohawk:  this became difficult to do last year.  i just wanted that beckham- style (ahem!) mohawk but i suddenly started to have thinning hair!  this can be a problem, tsk!

9. photograph a tarsier:  for the third time i am going to book a flight ticket to bohol to see this creature.

10. attend a yoga class:  the vouchers i purchased got expired last year.   i still want to try yoga and.. kama sutra?!

so that is my list.  last year, pm of prinsesa’s anatomy joined me on this meme.  she did had fun and she’s doing it again this year.  hope you join us too! 😀

7 things i have already done before

nearly a year ago, i have posted a meme entitled 10 things i have not done before.  one of my fave blogger, pm who joined me on this has updated her list today, so i’m hurriedly posting this entry for i almost forgot that we agreed to do this after christmas!  i was not able to do all the 10 things in my list (fail! haha!) for i lacked time (please do consider for i’m most of the time at work in the middle of the sea!).  so here is my results:

1. lone backpacking: i went to malaysia, thailand and hongkong  (posts to follow for hk!) – alone and loved it! 

2. eat an insect delicacy:  ate a mole cricket – i can’t put into words the taste till now.

3. drink camel milk:  pasteurized, flavored and bottled!  can’t find a mama camel willing to feed me, hehe.

4. set up a blog contest:  pm won this contest for she had no one to compete with, haha!

5. sport a mohawk:  failed!  i started losing hair this year i did not wanna do this!

6. do horse back riding:  i did this in kuala lumpur but was not documented.  hope to do this again.

7. attend a yoga class:  failed!  i bought a voucher for yoga class but really did not have the time.

8. spend a night in a historic hotel:  had a one night stay at manila hotel.

9. photograph a tarsier:  failed!  for the second time, cancelled a trip to tagbilaran. 

10. take a ride on a roller coaster:  screamed and shrieked like a bitch i thought i was about to have a cardiac arrest!

pm and i will post another ten things i have not done before list this coming year (will have to include my “failed” ones!).  i hope some interested bloggers will join us too.

merry christmas to everyone.  mwah, mwah!  😀