Island hopping and more (eating) in Coron [Day 3-4]

Third day was another day spent at sea. We went to three beautiful islands: Malcapuya, Banana, and Bulog. These islands are far compared to the 15-minute boat ride going to Coron Island. We left the port at 9:15 am and arrived at our first stop around 10:45 am, a total of 1.5 hour travel. Good thing our group tour is still much the same, we just lost 2 people and had 8 new ones:)

1st Stop: Malcapuya Island

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We always see a rainbow during our beach trip, just like in Bohol :)

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Malcapuya is called the “Boracay” of Coron because of its white sand and clear blue water, minus the crowd of course. The snorkeling area is just a few meters away from the shore. The guides told us to wear our slippers, just a precaution for sting rays. We actually saw a small one but it was too fast.

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There’s a short hike going on top of a small hill and it will give you a different perspective of Malcapuya and its surroundings.

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2nd Stop: Banana Island

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The island is called Banana because it looks like a banana (sabi nila e). There are nipa huts available if you want an overnight stay, a perfect getaway for a soul searching. Haha.

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Our table is getting longer:) Spot the food lined up in the middle, it’s too much for 16 people. We tried giving them to our guides, they resist because they have their own. Sulit ang bayad!

Under362 Under388To burn some calories, after eating fish during lunch, we fed the live ones.

3rd Stop: Bulog Island

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Two Seasons Coron beside Bulog Island

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There’s also a small hill in Bulog, and the view is overlooking Two Seasons.

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Kuya Nono showing us a huge jellyfish (spot its long tentacles) and reminding us to be careful.

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“Patay tayo diyan”shot

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Sand bar that connects to Two Seasons. FYI: They have a security guard for the boundaries. Haha.

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Kuya Nono telling us his experiences being a tour guide, laugh trip!

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Passing by Coron Island as we head back to the port. We left Bulog at 3:50 pm and arrived at 5:40 pm because our guides showed us a different lagoon and where a ship wreck is (can’t remember which one).

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We had another group dinner at Kawayanan Grill Station. It really is a small world in Coron, we bumped into our new friends at the restaurant and invited them to join us. The food is just average. Look at our reddish skin, the sun was out the whole day.

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Wasn’t able to try this Crocodile Sisig, next time!

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We had lunch at Lolo Nonoy’s on our last day. It’s located along the main road, just across Ice Valley. The food is very affordable and good too!

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Mga ayaw paawat hanggang sa airport!

I gained a lot of friends from this trip, added 9 new friends in Facebook, and all in all it was a really fun trip! Until our next one:)

♡ ☮ ☼ Dianne

Part 1 of 3: Coron Town Tour [Day 1]

 Part 2 of 3: Coron Island Tour [Day 2]

Coron Island Tour [Day 2]

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For our 2nd day, we had the Coron Island Tour. It started from 9:00 am and lasted until 4:30 pm. We are a total of 10 in our group tour and we instantly “clicked” right before leaving the port. You’ll be seeing a lot of group pictures in this post until our last day:) It’s really nice joining group tours because you can meet new friends.

1st Stop: Kayangan Lake

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There’s a short hike going to Kayangan Lake, short compared to the 700+ steps of Mt. Tapyas! It has a total of 300 steps, 150 up and 150 down. It’s advisable to apply insect repellent because there’s a lot of mosquitoes especially during wet season. Learn from me because I had a lot of insect bites after this, huge ones:

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Good thing we were able to borrow an underwater camera, plus our tour guides serves as our underwater photographers.

2nd Stop: Twin Peaks

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Our guides showed us the best spots in every place we go. There’s a lot of small jellyfish around Twin Peaks, so we have to be careful snorkeling in this area.

3rd Stop: Banol Beach

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Our first beach stop! Island tours usually include lunch, snacks, and drinks. Lunch was served at Banol and our guides told us to take our time here because it is better compared to our next beach stop. It has some rock formations where you can take photos.

4th Stop: CYC Beach

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CYC is a public beach, meaning no entrance fees. Since snorkeling here is not recommended, we just had our pictorial! Spot one of our guide, kuya Toto, and he’s working it!:)

5th Stop: Balinsasayaw Floating House

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The best snorkeling site in our tour is Balinsasayaw. I didn’t get a lot of pictures here because the battery died. Boohoo, remember to preserve your battery:) This is where we saw different color of corals and the water is crystal blue.

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Our main guide, kuya Nono, showing us some huge clams. By the way, if you’re afraid of the water or tired of swimming, your guides will happily pull you using their baywatch floats. Haha:)

6th Stop: Twin Lagoon

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For our last stop, our guides gave us an overview that if it is low tide – we swim under a small passage (spot the small opening below the wooden stairs), and if it is high tide – we climb the stairs. They also told us that we don’t have to bring our snorkels because the lagoon is like water filled with oil (blurry). The water also alternates between hot and cold, because the fresh cold water from the mountains is mixing with the salt water.

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The time we went to Coron is great according to our guides. If we go there during summer time, they say that the lagoons get pretty crowded. This was a totally different Coron Island tour compared to my 2012 trip, because a lot of areas are closed including Twin Lagoons and Banol Beach. I’m glad that the locals decided to open these areas again.

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The group decided to meet for dinner at Santino’s Grill. It’s kinda far from town, a tricycle ride is needed, but we totally agree from online reviews that it has the best ribs in town! The service was slow but the food was totally great.

♡ ☮ ☼ Dianne

Part 1 of 3: Coron Town Tour [Day 1]

Part 3 of 3: Island Hopping and more in Coron [Day 3-4]

Coron Town Tour [Day 1]

Last month, I went back to one of my favorite places here in the Philippines – Coron! There is something in this place that makes me want to go back and live there. The first time I went to Coron was last year, click here to read my 2012 post, and it was one of the most memorable trip because there was a storm! Good thing this time there was no cancelled flights, storm, or whatsoever. After checking in at our hotel, conveniently located at the town proper, we were fetched by our tour guide/tricycle driver for our Coron Town Tour.

1st Stop: Coron Municipal Hall

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I don’t get it why this is part of the tour, photo op with the signage?:)

2nd Stop: Lualhati Park and Public Market

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From Lualhati park, you can have a view of the Mt. Tapyas (lower left) and Coron Island (lower right) – two of the must-see spots.

3rd Stop: Coron Souvenir Shop

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Bought this magnet for my collection:)

4th Stop: Mt. Tapyas

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During my first trip, I wasn’t able to go up to Mt. Tapyas because of the heavy winds brought by storm Gener. Good thing because it became the highlight of the tour.

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The hike is made up of 725 steps (other people have different numbers, so 700+ steps will do). Once you see the huge cross, that means you’re almost there, around 75%. There are benches on certain areas where you can rest, plus make sure to be hydrated!

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The view is definitely getting better as we go higher, you can have a glimpse of the town proper and some islands.

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WHEW! I MADE IT! Of course I had to take a photo with the famous cross on top of Mt. Tapyas.

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The peak of Mt. Tapyas has a 360 view of Coron. It has a huge viewing deck (upper left), where you can spot the town proper and Lualhati park (upper right). There’s also a “hidden” mountainous side which you can take if you go around the side of the cross (lower left). And of course, a better view of the Coron Island (lower right).

5th Stop: Coron Harvest

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And for our last stop, the famous cashew nuts! I actually liked the freshly cooked samples given by the owner because it’s not that sweet compared to the brittle one.

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We decided to try La Sirenetta for dinner, a floating restaurant just a few minutes away from our hotel. It offers variety of food from Filipino, American, Greek, etc. It also has a good view of the sea, a good place to watch the sun set.

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We passed by this dessert place walking back to our hotel, Ice Valley. It is a small Korean inspired place that offers halo-halo (Korean style), fruit shakes, and tea.

12A beautiful quote on the wall by Ninon de L’Enclos, not Sunz Nail okay? haha:)

More tours coming up!

♡ ☮ ☼ Dianne

Part 2 of 3: Coron Island Tour [Day 2]

Part 3 of 3: Island Hopping and more in Coron [Day 3-4]

Restaurant Hopping

Here’s a rundown of restaurants I visited the past weeks with my family and friends. I narrowed it down to 5 restaurants.

1. 14 FOUR CAFE, Taytay, Rizal

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14 Four Cafe is a private-home-turned-cafe during weekends. There’s also a furniture showroom beside it, but was closed when we got there. As you enter the gate (private lot talaga), you will immediately notice the ambience of the outdoor dining/hangout area. There’s a mixture of different designs of sofas, chairs, benches and tables.

21st row: Pumpkin Soup, Mashed Potato, Adobo Rice. 2nd row: Country Fried Chicken. 3rd row: 14 Four Tapa, Aligue & Tuyo Pasta, Cinnamon Bun Pancakes, Amaretto French Toast (no photo). The food is just so-so. I tasted everyone’s order and it’s all too sweet.

3The air-conditioned part of the café has also an eclectic interior design. The whole place looks like a furniture showcase. It’s so cozy and fascinating, up to the smallest details.

2. WATAMI JAPANESE CASUAL RESTAURANT, Mall of Asia

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Discovered this new restaurant in MOA located at the 2nd level, Veranda Bayside (overlooking the sea)

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Mom and I ordered the Chicken Cutlet with Scramble Egg Sauce, Pepper Beef with Rice in Stone Pot (the server mixed it immediately because the pot is still hot), and Milk Tea with Pearl. We really loved our orders, simut sarap! We actually went back after a week.

3. MAPLE, Shangri-la Plaza East Wing

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It’s my first time to see the newly constructed East Wing of Shangri-la Plaza. Maple is one of the few restaurant that’s already opened, some shops and restaurants are still closed. They have a kids section which contains books and wooden toys, a very helpful “distraction” for the kids while waiting for order.

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Since they have huge servings, we decided to order and try different dishes. 1st row: Maple House Salad, Fish Tacos. 2nd row: Sunrise Sunset, and Spaetzle Jambalaya. Spot the Sunrise Sunset: composed of layers of pancakes, bacon, ham, cheese and egg. What a champion meal!

4. BREAKFAST AT ANTONIO’S, Tagaytay

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Went all the way to Tagaytay to have lunch at Breakfast at Antonio’s. It’s great that they reopened this branch and added a bakeshop.

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1st row: Organic Green Salad, Pumpkin Soup. 2nd row: Reuben Sandwich, Pastrami Sandwich. 3rd row: Beef Tapa, Portabello Tagliatelle with Truffle Cream Sauce. I really liked the Pastrami Sandwich and the Portabello Tagliatelle Pasta, a definitely must-try.

11 12Because it suddenly became foggy and cold, we decided to drop by the new branch of Starbucks in Tagaytay.

5. MODERN SHANGHAI, Mall of Asia13

Another lunch in MOA, this time we opt for some chinese food and went to Modern Shanghai just beside Watami. Xiao Long Bao is one of their specialties.

Now, does this define me as a “foodie”?:)

♡ ☮ ☼ Dianne

Pinoy to Singaporean Food Trip

Met up with my good friend, Laila, at University of the Philippines to have our “pre-dinner” food trip. Our main goal was to have dinner in Bugis: Singapore Street Food located at Banawe, Quezon City. Since we had so many stop overs before our dinner, we felt it was nice to document and blog our food trip:)

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1Finally saw the famous “Zorro” of U.P.

1st Stop: Mang Larry’s Isawan, UP Diliman

210 isaws for Laila and 10 isaws for me! Whew!

2nd Stop: UniversiTea, UP Diliman3

Ordered the Winter Melon Milk Tea and Green Tea Yogurt

3rd Stop: Taho, UP Diliman4

Taho along the U.P. Oval while watching the sunset, haha!

4th Stop: Nails & Beyond, Banawe, Quezon City5

Decided to have a break from all the eating and found this nail salon along Banawe to have our pedi:)

5th Stop: Bugis – Singapore Street Food, Banawe, Quezon City6

After all the stopovers, we finally got to Bugis. We ordered some of their street foods a.k.a. numnums: fish tofu, breaded scallops and breaded lobster cheese. They are all good especially the lobster cheese!

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Lastly, the most awaited Singaporean Laksa! It is good for 2-3 persons. The laksa was so rich and full of seafood! Since it is placed in a hot pot, the soup dries up fast. You can ask for a soup refill up to 2 times.

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The place is very simple and very clean. I will definitely go back there to satisfy my laksa cravings.

♡ ☮ ☼ Dianne

Choco Tour, Bohol [Part 2 of 2]

Going on a tour around Bohol is a must, because this island has a lot of things to offer. There are different tours to choose from such as Bohol Country Side, Panglao Island, Island Hopping [Balicasag and Virgin Island], and Danao Extreme Adventure. We decided to take the Bohol Country Side a.k.a. Choco Tour [as what the locals call it nowadays]. This tour consists of up to 12 stops, but we chose to skip the Butterfly Garden, Hanging Bridge, etc.

1I just have to commend our ride, a van just for the 4 of us! [spot the white leather seats]

1st Stop: Tarsier Sanctuary is not like this before, wherein you can touch and take a photo with the little creatures. Now it’s more like “stalking” them around the woods, you’re lucky if the guides found all the Tarsiers in the sanctuary that day. I think it’s a better way of taking good care of the endangered species. They are such stressful creatures: touch them, they’ll get depressed, and will commit suicide. [Emo lang!]

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2nd Stop: Chocolate Hills is the number 1 must-see in Bohol. There are 214 steps going to the view deck where you can have a good panorama. The hills become “chocolaty” during summer, when it’s extremely hot and dry.

4 5 6a7Spotted the “Ship Haus” owned by a former ship captain. Since the house became a tourist attraction, the owner decided to build a new house just behind it.

3rd Stop: Mahogany Man Made Forest, our tour guide/driver/photographer describe it as a “Twilight” peg :)

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4th Stop: Lunch buffet at a floating restaurant while cruising along Loboc River.

9 1015Stopover at a raft where everyone’s singing and playing the ukulele. The floating restaurant will be docked so the visitors can join the fun! Check the clip below to see how they welcomed us :)

 

5th Stop: Close encounter with a python named Prony, the world’s largest and biggest python in captivity. Just outside the cage you will meet Marimar, he/she [boy-girl siya] is giving an information background about Prony and their history.

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I noticed this homemade ice cream just outside the python sanctuary because of the flavors available. I had the Spicy Chocolate and Batida de Coco on a homemade cone. I really tasted the chili and the rum [what a wild combination!]

6th Stop: Baclayon Church is one of the oldest churches in the Philippines. The interiors is what I really love, very classical! [parang lalabas si Padre Damaso, haha]

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7th Stop: Blood Compact for our last stop. It’s just sad that there’s a hotel being built just beside this historical place.

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So I’m done showing you around Bohol, until our next trip… coming soon!

♡ ☮ ☼ Dianne

Part 1 of 2: Panglao, Bohol

Panglao, Bohol [Part 1 of 2]

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Hooray for another beach trip! This is actually my 4th for the year, I didn’t blog about my trip to Nasugbu, Batangas last May. I’ve been to Bohol when I was younger and this time I’m excited to see how it progressed. Well actually I’m always excited whenever the beach is part of any trip :) We stayed at Bluewater Panglao – it’s around 30 minutes away from the Tagbilaran Airport.

1I love the concept of the hanging beds!

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The main attraction for the resort would be the huge pool in the middle where most of the rooms are located. You can jump anytime you want, especially if your room is on the lower level. It’s quite weird that the main pool closes early at 8:00 pm.

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The place looks more enchanting at night.

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The sad thing about this place is that there’s no shoreline. You can’t take a dip especially in the afternoon when it’s low tide. To surpass that “negative” feature, I think they made sure that the rest will be extraordinary. I also enjoyed walking along the bamboo path every time I go to the infinity pool or restaurant.

Bohol13Bohol6Good thing Alona Beach is just 5 minutes away via car. This is where we usually eat, swim, read a book, lie in the sun, get a massage, etc. – just the typical beach bums! Swimming here is quite interesting for us. Because we saw some school of fish, starfish, jellyfish, snail, sea urchin and a sea snake! FYI: No one got hurt :)

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6Bohol280A beautiful sunset and a rainbow to end this post. To be continued…

♡ ☮ ☼ Dianne

Part 2 of 2: Choco Tour, Bohol