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Our Awesome Planet

Our Awesome Planet


9 posts categorized "[Travel] LAGUNA"

June 21, 2012

REPUBLIC WAKEPARK @ NUVALI First Look (from a Non-Wakeboarder Point of View)

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Finally, Republ1c Wakepark @ Nuvali is now open! No need to go all the way to CamSur or Calatagan just to enjoy a world-class Wake Boarding experience. Nuvali in Sta. Rosa is just one hour away from Manila, and you can even go to Tagaytay to eat after. :)

We enjoyed the Wakeboard park in Camsur (even if we are not wakeboarders) because of its yummy food and water park facilities for the kids, so we wanted to know how this one would compare.

Here is a first look at REPUBL1C WAKEPARK from a non-wakeboarder's POV...

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November 05, 2008

Barbara Gonzalez' Lily Pad in Calamba, Laguna

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As we arrived in Lily Pad, I immediately understood why it was called an origami house. It was designed by architect Jorge Yulo with Lighting Design by Shoko Matsumoto. As we parked the car directly in front of the house, I saw Barbara at the door waiting to welcome the entire family. I literally dragged the entire family on a Halloween Friday and drove for 2 hours to Calamba for this historical encounter -- OAP meets Second Wind. (Second Wind is the title of Barbara's STAR column formerly known as Lily Pad Lectures)

I was a bit nervous and I'm trying hard not to show it. I don't think she knew who I was and I want it that way to have a very objective review about Lily Pad. I heard a lot about Barbara Gonzales because of her legendary J.Romero & Associates career and lately because of her creative writing classes. The moment I shook her hand, I knew she was welcoming us like her own personal guests visiting her artsy Calamba home and not as paying customers.

Lily Pad Index
Three Things I Love About Barbara Gonzalez' Lily Pad.
1. Meeting The Barbara Gonzalez
2. The Art of Lily Pad
3. Lily Pad Home-Cooked Meal
Prescriptions for an Awesome Experience in Lily Pad
How to get to Lily Pad

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Lily Pad is the newest, out-of-town, by-reservation only, intimate restaurant in Manila. They serve home-cooked meals by Barbara's friend, Tina Tan for P1,000/ head with a minimum of 5 persons (preferably 10). On Saturdays, they serve Mediterranean with limited customization options and on Sundays, you can choose from the Filipino set menu. It is open lunch time only on weekends but you can reserve it for dinner and on a Friday depending on the arrangement. We were able to eat on a Friday because they were closed for the Nov. 1 weekend.

Is driving for 2 hours to Barbara's Lily Pad in Calamba to eat a home-cooked meal from a passionate chef for P1,000/ head , really worth it?

Let me start with the Three Things I Love About Barbara Gonzalez' Lily Pad.

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1. Meeting The Barbara Gonzalez

The highlight of our trip was meeting Barbara. She welcomed us like her own personal guests. What I like about her is that she is very candid and direct to the point. I asked her about the story of Lily Pad and she told me that it was in the market for a while until her friend saw it and suggested to turn it into a "Sonya's Garden" kind of place in Calamba. I bombarded her with questions about her stroke, her mother's alzheimer's disease, and about what she thinks about the advertising life. She answered all of them candidly, without any hesitation and without a hint of being politically correct about her answers.

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I did not even feel an air of celebrity or snootiness during our conversations. She would serve us and often show us how to enjoy a particular dish like putting Bacalao on top of the slices of French bread. There were moments of silence and she would often break it by playing with Aidan. I can honestly feel the sincerity in making us feel at home.

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She entertained my mom with stories of her paintings which were all about her mother's Alzheimer's disease with her butterfly signature. They also connected on Barbara's stroke recovery story and how Ramon Tan's Carica products were instrumental in her breakthrough recovery.

At the end of our Lily Pad lunch, my mom agreed to sponsor my tuition fee to Barbara's Creative Writing Class (8 Saturdays) starting second week of January. (Yes!) Barbara also teaches Travel Writing in Sonya's Garden this coming weekend.
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2. The Art of Lily Pad
I'm glad that Barbara pioneered the Dining with Style scene in Calamba. Could this be the start of another "Viaje del Sol" effect in the Calamba area? I certainly hope so. Most of her paintings are hanged on the wall and she would quickly point out which ones are from the other artists she admire. You can visit the small gallery in the second floor. The theme is feminine with focus on images of beautiful women.

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Her sold paintings are now displayed as post cards. They represent the Alzheimer's world of her mother. It is better for Barbara to tell you the story behind each of the paintings. (I don't want to spoil that experience for you)

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The restroom can accommodate our entire family and it is as big as our one bedroom condo in Burgundy. I like the garden scene outside and how I wish I can have this restroom experience in our own home.

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You are literally eating in the middle of the pond. You can feed the coi's and go around the garden while waiting for lunch to be served. The entire dining room has a matrix of rectangular glass views of the garden. The steel rectangular frames were made to have a wood-like illusion.

The house was named after the lilies that grow abundantly around the house.

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Please specify to eat in this heirloom circular table which could easily seat 8 people comfortably and 10 people max.

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May 20, 2008

Arabela, Liliw - The Foodie Place to be in Liliw, Laguna

In the land of slippers in Liliw, Laguna, the Arabela restaurant is the foodie place to be in. Usually people visit Arabela before or after they visit the Pahiyas in Lucban. It is about 45 minutes away from Lucban via the Majayjay road. The low-ceiling restaurant is cute and patronized by even foreigners.

Named after their daugthers Ara and Bela, Bobby and Tonet Camello started the restaurant by just selling cakes and brownies. Tonet is the cook while Bobby just loves to eat. These days, they are known for Pasta, Pizza and their Salad inspired by Italianis. Tonet confessed that they don't really have a formal background on cooking but they are just passionate about the food.

Kesong Puti Pizza Large (P220). Mozzarella, onions, mushrooms, black olives, green bell peppers, native white cheese.

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April 02, 2008

Massage Under Pagsanjan Falls

rache Trip to Pagsanjan Falls

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Have you experienced the full body massage under the Pagsanjan Falls? We finally did it. and it was fun, scary and something that is worth the hassle of going to Pagsanjan. The safest time to go to Pagsanjan Falls is during the summer season when the water level is low and the waterfall is smaller and less powerful. We have been always discouraged of going to the falls because of illegal boat flaggers on the way to Pagsanjan Falls. Here are some tips on planning your Pagsanjan Falls trip:

1. Avoid the weekend or holidays where there are a lot of tourists. We would recommend to go on a weekday to avoid the traffic jam on the way to Pagsanjan and the tourist crowd.

2. Don't ever stop or entertain the illegal flaggers who would offer you overpriced boat ride to the falls. In fact, they are rude and would shout at you as if you violated a one-way road. You'll be intimated with the number of people swarming to offer you boat rides. Some of them will follow you via a motorbike so don't even attempt to have an eye contact with them.

3. Go to an accredited resort directly where you can pay for the proper boat ride fees. Currently, It costs P635/ person for the boat ride to the falls and P90/person for the raft ride to have the massage under the falls. Unfortunately, there is no kids rate so we paid full price for Aidan. We went to Pagsanjan Falls Paradise Resort (+63 49) 808-4393, 808-5494.

4. Expect that you'll hear a pitch that the boatmen only earn from tips. The intent is to condition you to give a high tip. Currently, the tourists are giving them P200 or $5 per boatman (there are two boatman per canoe). For the Raft man, he is expecting P100 tip. In total, we gave P500 tip to make everyone happy. That is an expensive tip for a local tourist, and the right tip would have been half of that. On the other hand, it is also very hard to paddle all the way to the falls and they took care of us throughout the entire trip.

5. Allot a total of 5 hrs to go up to Pagsanjan Falls from Pansol, Laguna. We went to 88 Spa and Resort in Pansol, Laguna for lunch and drove to Pagsanjan for 90 minutes. The entire boat ride is 2 hours. You'll be going back for another 90 minutes in time for the sunset scene in Los Banos.

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Aidan was scared at first but courageous enough to join us inside the Pagsanjan waterfall. He is already wearing a swim suit so that he is ready to get wet. BTW, we heard that the film crew who was filming when we went inside the Pagsanjan Falls was from Unang Hirit. It was a pleasant surprise. I wonder how it looked because Aidan was so scared of the sound of the Pagsanjan Falls.

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