Friday, January 29, 2016

Palaui Island: Part 2 ~ Siwangag Cove and Crocodile Island

After touring Cape Engano, our next stop was Siwangag Cove.  Our boatman actually asked if we wanted to visit the place, we said yes because we thought we’re already there so might as well explore everything.  It took us around 30 minutes boat ride from Cape Engano to Siwangag Cove.

The view of Pacific Ocean from Siwangag Cove.

Sadly, nothing really was worth seeing at Siwangag Cove.  There are lots of dead corals and hermit crab.  We busied ourselves running after hermit crabs.  Also, you can catch an estuary at Siwangag Cove. 

The estuary: where the river meets the sea.  

Corals everywhere.

After 15 minutes, we decided to leave Siwangag Cove and traveled to Crocodile Island.  It’s another 15 minutes boat ride.  It was called Crocodile Island because it is shaped like a crocodile.

Crocodile Island view from our boat.  Where’s the head and where’s the tail? 

There’s a small part of Crocodile Island where the water is ideal for swimming (white sand), but most part of the island is not.  It has a lot of corals, and some part has rocks.  My mom-in-law told us that they went swimming to this island years before. 

Strolling along Crocodile Island.
My first time to see a sea worm.

That’s how ‘mabato’ Crocodile Island is. 

We didn’t stay long at Crocodile Island, partly because with only coffee as breakfast, we are looking forward to eating.  So after some pictorial, off to Punta Verde we go.  

Monday, January 25, 2016

Product Review: Sugar Scrub by Amethy

I love body wash and body scrub.  Using body scrub has been my weekly ritual.  It helps me get rid of dust and dirt accumulated weekly.  Much as I love to use body scrub daily, I don’t because I risk bruising myself due to thinning of skin.

Before 2016 arrived, a package was sent for me to try and review.  Sugar Scrub by Amethy.  I am so excited to try it since this is something new to me because I am used to salt as the main ingredient for body scrub. 

The flavor given for me to try was peppermint.   Main ingredients for the sugar scrub are sugar, peppermint oil, and Vitamin E. 

Shalene, the proprietor of Sugar Srubs by Amethy, also sent instructions on how to use it to gain the best result.
·         Dampen your skin in the shower OR after using your favorite soap, rinse, then slight towel dry your skin.
·         Shake the tub OR give your scrub a good stir using a wooden/plastic spoon before scooping out a generous amount on your palm.  Refrain from using your [wet] hands to avoid contamination.
·         You may [or may not] add a few drops of water to the scrub [on your palm] to make it smoother.
·         Gently scrub your body down with it in slow circular motions, using very light to moderate pressure.  DO NOT SCRUB TOO HARD OR TOO LONG.  Scrub until the sugar dissolves. 
·         Rinse clean and enjoy the refreshing feeling.

The instructions given by Shalene were what I normally do whenever I try body scrubs.  The sugar scrub was something new.  It is quite coarse in texture.  You will find that it is somewhat hard to the skin.  Also, after rinsing, you will feel the sugary stickiness.  You have to rinse well or wash with soap again, to ensure you don’t leave extract of sugar in your body.

What I did to augment this was combine the sugar scrub into my body wash – and the result was surprising.  Rubbing the sugar scrub + body wash in the skin makes the skin feeling rejuvenated.  It doesn’t hurt while scrubbing.  As with using any scrubs, you will feel the glow of your skin after using it.

For product orders and inquiry you can contact Shalene from the below accounts:

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Celebrating My Birthday with a Cause

Some 10 years ago, I started writing down my goals and dreams.  Some would dub it as their bucket list.  I write this at the back of my yearly planner (and would re-write it yearly as I change planners).   As I grow old, I add more to this and tick off some.  One of those goals is to spend my birthday with less fortunate kids.  It is written under no. 39.

Mid of last year, I read this list again and decided to make it a reality this year.  Today I mark my 30th year in this world.  I want it to be as memorable as I can.  Nothing too lavish (the economy is going down, I need to save, charot!) and nothing too plain.  This is when I (together with my hubby) decided to spend it by doing a small feeding program.

We scheduled it last January 16 at Rizal Park (commonly known as Luneta Park).  My officemate, Karen just celebrated her birthday start of the year and wanted to join our charity work.  We planned to give out sandwiches and juices for street children.  We divided the task: Karen was assigned for the juices and I, for the sandwiches.

Preparing the night before.
Night before January 16, our house was so busy.  We were preparing the egg sandwich spread.  The next day, we woke up early to prepare the sandwiches.  Before 8AM, we were already at my office (our meeting place).  Karen unfortunately wasn’t able to come due to migraine. L

But that didn’t stop us from pushing through.  We waited another couple of minutes for another friend and colleague, Des, who came with her boyfriend, PO1 Francis.  Together with Leo, Neo, Ate Espie, Des and Francis, off to Luneta we went.

However, Luneta Park no longer allows street children to sleep there.  We were able to give out sandwiches and juices to older people.  We still had a lot so we decided to walk outside of Luneta to Roxas Blvd Baywalk.  Baywalk is where the street children are.

After 1 hour, our sandwiches and juices were gone but our hearts are full.  We were tired from waking up early to prepare the sandwiches, we spent money to give food to people we don’t really know, we were tired giving out food during brunch time, and yet we feel fulfilled.  Giving has its way of warming our hearts.

With the people who helped me.

This is something I would like to do yearly.  Something I’d like my little boy to know how fortunate he is and how thankful we are that we are blessed.

PS:  My conversation with my little boy the night before:

Me:  Anak, sleep tayo ng early kasi naalala mo ung mga bata na walang bahay, walang damit, at walang food?
Neo: Opo.
Me: Bibigyan natin sila ng food bukas.
Neo: At bahay at damit?
Me: Ay hindi anak! Food lang! Wala pang ganun kadaming pera si Mama

Oh, how little minds work the most innocent of ways! J

Monday, January 18, 2016

Palaui Island: Part 1 ~ Cape Engano

After spending the afternoon strolling at Nangaramoan Beach, we decided to rest early to prepare for our Palaui Adventure the next day.  The boatman who will take us to Palaui Island told us that we should be sailing as early as 6AM to maximize our time. 

The boatman quoted us Php3,8oo from Nangaramoan Beach to Palaui Island inclusive of bringing us to five areas: Cape Engano, Crocodile Island, Siwangag Cove, Punta Verde, and Anguib Beach.  Note that Anguib Beach is not located at Palaui Island.  We also paid Php5o per person for environmental fee.  

We were up early and we are so excited.  By 630AM, we were already sailing the Pacific Ocean AKA East Philippines Sea.   Since we were coming from Nangaramoan Beach, our first stop was Cape Engano, the tip most part of Palaui Island.  Our boat can seat a maximum of eight people.  It took us almost an hour boat ride.

Our boat can seat a maximum of 8 people.  

The northern tip is where Cape Engano is located.

Upon arriving at Cape Engano, we were ushered to the tourist area where we were told that we need a tour guide.  Each tour guide costs Php3oo.  Ratio is 4 tourists to 1 tour guide.  We are a group of 6, and thus we paid Php6oo.  After paying, we were given certain instructions by the tour guides as what they say the by-laws of protected land.  Apparently Palaui Island is a protected area. 

We actually hiked up the tip of that small mountain.

We hike up to Cape Engano Lighthouse stopping every now and then to savor the beautiful view that is God’s creation.  Cape Engano Lighthouse was built during the Spanish Era.  The area is no longer as beautiful as it used to be though still functional.  According to our tour guide, during the Marcos Regime, a certain budget was sent for the Cape Engano to preserve the Lighthouse.

Let me end this blog post by showing you pictures of the beautiful northern tip of Palaui Island.

Batanes-like view. 
I am 50 meters above sea level. 
The Cape Engano Lighthouse.

Sundial in front of the lighthouse. 

Dos Hermanas as background.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Sta Ana, Cagayan: Nangaramoan Beach

Cagayan Valley at Region II is Papa Leo’s hometown.  We visit the place on a yearly basis.  This year was extra special because we stayed for more than a week during the Christmas break.  And since we don’t want to waste any time, we decided to visit the Sta Ana, Cagayan, particularly Palaui Island.

It was more than two years ago when we last visited the municipality of Sta Ana, Cagayan. This is the northern tip of Luzon at the right side.  Traveling from Tuguegarao, Cagayan (where we are staying) to Sta Ana took us three hours.  Last time, it was four hours.  There is a newly built road spanning 22 kilometers, where the Cagayan North International Airport is located.  Thanks to this road for saving us an hour of travel time.

We arrived at Nangaramoan Beach at around 2PM.  Since it was a bit late to travel to Palaui Island (boatmen won’t like to risk traveling the sea during afternoons because the waves are rougher), we just contented ourselves to touring Nangaramoan Beach, while Neo swam to his heart’s content.

Beautiful, calm sea.

The last time we visited Nangaramoan Beach, only daytime cottages are available.  Luckily for us, they already built some overnight cottages which are affordable (because it was off peak season).  Two non-airconditioned rooms at the second level with balcony, shared bathroom, and day cottage at the lower level cost us Php1,2oo only.  The airconditioned-room with own toilet and bath, but with no day cottage cost Php1,ooo per room.  Cheap right?

Cottages you can choose from. 

After touring the beach, we chanced upon Aetas selling wild orchids.  We bought some.  This is the first time I encountered Aetas.  The adults are shy and the kids are a jolly lot.

By nighttime, the sea will hit low tide allowing fishermen to collect shells – some to eat, others to decorate.

Here are some photos of Nangaramoan Beach, Sta Ana, Cagayan.

Mama and Neo’s itchy feet wandering the beach again. 

Just the perfect place to swim and relax. J

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Dining Experience at Iloilo and Cagayan de Oro

In the first two weeks of November 2015, I traveled to Iloilo, Cebu, and Cagayan de Oro for work.   But since I traveled those places in 6 days only, giving me 2 days in each place, there was really no time for me to roam around.  My colleagues were kind enough to just treat me gastronomically J

Here are some of the places we ate at that you may want to try when you go to these places too. 

Dong Juan Restaurant, Iloilo

Dong Juan is your regular restaurant offering non-conventional delicious food.   We ordered salad, pizza, pasta, and baby back ribs. 

But what really stuck to me was this Calamansi blush.  It’s pure strawberry beneath and pure calamansi above.  Super refreshing. 

Breakthrough Restaurant, Iloilo

Who wouldn’t want to eat seafood with a view like this?

That’s Guimaras island viewed from The Breakthrough Restaurant at Iloilo.  The place is very cool even without air-conditioning.   I also tasted some really delicious seafood from there.

The Aligue Rice (which I tried to make my own version at home).

Baked Oysters.  These oysters are so big (twice the size of what you can find at Manila). 

The Lato.  I like this food.  I think it’s an algae or something.  Very delicious and healthy.

High Ridge, Cagayan de Oro

If I’ll sum up this place into one word it would be awesome.  It was really hard to go there (especially because we went there during evening).  I think it was situated in a hill.  Going there was rough; you wouldn’t think you could find a very beautiful place up high.

It has a high rise view of Cagayan de Oro, very nice ambiance, and surprisingly affordable delicious food.

That’s CDO by night.
Dining up high.

Merry Christmas from the Bamboo Christmas Tree at High Ridge J

Seaside Restaurant, Cagayan de Oro

Okay, I admit, I forgot the name.  But it’s located within the seaside.  This is my view while eating.

We ate lots of delicious seafood which were cooked while we wait.  Look, the King Crab and the Lapu-lapu are still alive.

This is the place to be if you want to experience eating seafood at its best.  And no fly would ever dare enter this restaurant, thanks to the strong wind from the sea. 

Excuse the dark photo (I’m against the light).  I just like to share the wind blowing my hair.  I had to tie my hair in a ponytail while eating by hands. J

No food treat from Cebu as we went to the normal (Cnt and Larsian, my fave).  I’m such a lucky person having experienced all these gastronomic feasts that’s available in the Philippines. J

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