Category

#Philippines

Balesin

[Balesin Island#1] Come Away With Me to a Balesin Escape

UPDATE 11/6/13: Check out the latest blog post on Balesin Island Club developed by Alphaland:
BALESIN ISLAND (ALPHALAND): Food Tripping Around the World in 7 Beach Resort Paradise!

Balesin. noun.
1. Forgotten Fantasy Isle. (by Elizabeth Reyes for Mabuhay Magazine)
2. Anti-Boracay Beach. (by Rome Jorge for the The Sunday Times)
3. Seven 7 kms. of White Sand Beach Paradise (www.balesin.com)

I’ve been traveling lately almost every weekend in summer, and coupled with hectic schedule at work, expect slow blog postings through-out summer. Although, I’m excited to post my recent adventures in the islands of El Nido, Bacuit Bay, Palawan and island of Balesin, Lamon Bay, Pollilio, Quezon Province. From the western coast of Palawan to the eastern coast of Quezon Province, I have lots of stories to tell. I love beaches and one of these days, I’ll write a photo book about the wonderful beaches of the Philippines.

Balesin Beach is perfect with fine white sand that is close to bora’s station 1 powdery beach sand. The sun sets directly in front of the resort for that relaxing rest to end your day. It has all the elements that makes it perfect: clear blue sky, crystal clear water, fine white sand, lush green trees, and inviting torquise sea. This is really what you call a fantasy hide-away since you are in a secluded resort with the forrest full of chirping birds as the backdrop and with the beach as your only witness. The resort people are super friendly with your typical Filipino hospitality.

Unfortunately, there is a problem with the resort.

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Boracay Island

My Mandala Spa Experience [ The Bora Life #2 ]

This scene welcomes you as you step out the tricycle from the main street walk along a stone road full of trees and withered vines. This exact photo was described by Marc Macapagal on his Praising Prana article as:

“The open air reception, with its wooden teak floors, lounge chairs and glass tables draped with colorful woven silk fabric, and surrounded with lush tropical plans is a calming sight. You feel like you’ve arrived in someone’s hacienda home.”

Mandala prides itself for being a sanctuary for the soul, a place where you experience yourself and go for presence walks. For me, I just came from a Bora night party and stepping into Mandala Spa, I felt like it transported me not into the past or the future, but into another dimension of the present. I felt at home where the staff is friendly, the food is healthy, the air is fresh, and where I felt like the nature and the trees are hugging me as a walk around the spa. Many articles and press releases have been written about this award winning, world class Mandala Spa in Boracay. This is not a press release article but this was my Mandala Spa experience…

Related BORACAY Blog Posts:

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Boracay Island

[The Bora Life.1] Top Ten 10 Cool Things to do in Boracay!

Update: BORACAY FOOD: 10 Most Awesome Boracay Restaurants! (2018)

Our Awesome Planet is not complete without a Boracay posts and here are the Top Ten Cool Things to do in Boracay this year! Just a warning, once you finish reading this post, you’ll be tempted to go to Bora as soon as you can…

1). Jonas Milkshakes — still the undisputed dessert place. This continues to be the best place to hang out for dessert or for watching the sunset. The best part is Jonas is now open 24 hours! It continues to be a mystery as to what is the ingredient of Jonas’ milkshakes? By the way, for the diet freaks you can order a Jonas Shake without milk. My favorite continues to be Banana-Choco-Peanut for P70, what’s your favorite?

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Batangas

[Golden Sunset 3] What to do in Golden Sunset?


Golden Sunset is a very nice place for the family and they have the best Philippines Cultural Show that I have ever seen! Food, Drinks, and Pets are not allowed inside the resort so you have to be contented with eating at the Filipino Fishpond Restaurant or at Cucina de Oro (which serves international cuisine pasta, pizza, etc.). I like the Fishpond restaurant a lot better than the Cucina de Oro (they need to have a better cook). Although the restaurants are not something to rave about in this place. My son, Aidan really enjoyed with the fun swimming pools, playground, kids room, and the butterfly sanctuary. My wife, Rache also enjoyed the massage at the Serendipity Spa for P500 🙂 For me, I enjoyed the cultural show and taking photos of the surroundings and the golden sunset. So everyone is happy 🙂

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Batangas

[Golden Sunset 2] The Golden Sunset Experience


I was actually skeptical when I first visited golden sunset because of the cheesy marketing gimmicks and later on, I found out that the resort does not have an actual beach front. But still we decided to stay for 3 days/ 2 nights during the holy week to rest and re-charge since this is “allegedly” the best resort (so far) in Calatagan. After our stay, I should say that we really had fun specially because the place caters to families with lots of things to do for the kids. Despite the hot weather, there is a gush of winds passing through the resort which makes the summer heat bearable and it is not that humid. Golden Sunset officially opened to the public just this January 2006 and there was a soft opening during the Ms. Earth pageant last October 2004. Ricky Reyes (commonly called Mader in the resort) proudly designed the entire place and I’m glad to see him during the Holy Week in his resort. The resort is very busy and it would be difficult to get a reservations during the summer weekends in this resort. I’ll give you a virtual tour anyway of the resort which is similar to an Island Cove setup but in a much cooler ambiance at night plus a great view of Calatagan’s famous golden sunset.

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Batangas

[Golden Sunset 1] Allegedly the Best Resort in Batangas :)


Golden Sunset is one of the hottest resorts in Batangas now! Thanks to Mader Ricky Reyes (people in the resort calls him Mader) for opening their suppose-to-be family vacation resort to the public. The resort is located in the heart of Calatagan, Batangas — 3 hours away from Manila via Tagaytay which is the half way point. I say that it’s hot because it just fully opened this January (soft opening last Oct during Ms. Earth Pageant) and all the weekends were fully booked and overflowing with tents on its open grounds! If you call the reservation office, nobody would answer you because a lot of people are inquiring about this place and they cannot handle the volume anymore. I actually had to drop by as a walk-in and risk that I will be rejected but fortunately I was able to get a standard room for 3 days and 2 nights. I’ll be creating a trilogy series on Golden Sunset to give you the overall experience, what to do and what to expect of the Golden Sunset Resort.

I also got a lot of frequently asked questions in my blog about Golden Sunset because there was really lack of honest-to-goodness article about this place. This is a well-marketed place so expect only the good reviews in the internet and good photos at their official website. Although, for the first time, I hope to provide you with what a Golden Sunset Resort experience is all about. In this first post, I’ll tackle the frequently asked questions about Golden Sunset.

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Viaje del Sol

Sitio de Amor Conversations [Viaje del Sol]


I had one of the most interesting and stimulating conversations with strangers lately which makes me love Philippines a lot lot more. Meet George and Amor Bondad, owners of Sitio de Amor in San Pablo, Laguna which is part of the Viaje del Sol group. My friend Luisa and I after visiting Tahanan ni aling Meding decided to check out Sitio de Amor because we are hearing some good stuff about it and they say it was featured in a Dec issue of cosmo magazine. This 4.7 hectares farm place is a budding private resort (turning into a public one) which is a hobby of the Bondad couple for 12 years now. I always like to see these places when they are young and you can see them transform into that beautiful resort. What I like about this place is its simplicity and honesty. Of course this is far from The Farm @ San Benito’s landscaping and concept, but this is a better than your typical Pansol Laguna resorts. Best time to go is during the Rambutan Festival in August or in time for the cool weather in Dec/Jan/Feb.

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Viaje del Sol

[Viaje del Sol] Welcome to Tahanan ni Aling Meding


This is the scene that would greet you as you arrive in this mansion in San Pablo Laguna directly in front of the Sampalok Lake. I was curious to check out this mansion cum hotel and restaurant which was described by the viaje del sol brochure as: ” Tahanan ni Aling Meding is a tribute to the Borja sibling’s parents, especially their mother, Meding, who kept hearth and warm, soothing and comfortable.” One of my readers was also raving about the good filipino dishes they serve and that was enough for me to check this place out.

Just a side note: San Pablo, Laguna is a great alternative to tagaytay because it is merely 2 hours away. Imagine I already left manila at 10am and I was leisurely driving to this place and we still arrive at 12nn considering the traffic already in south super highway and in Batangas. Also, I tried to highlight the beauty of this mansion versus the scarry photos found in their brochure.

The verdict: Tahanan ni Aling Meding is San Pablo’s version of Tagaytay’s Josephine’s or Leslie’s. If you have a guest where you want them to taste authentic Filipino food at a homey Filipino Mansion ambiance, then this is the place to be. I love eating in their main dining area where you are served with good food with a hospitable service Filipinos are known for, while the Sampaloc Lake winds kissed your face through out your dining experience. Thanks to the Borja family for letting us enjoy their vacation mansion!!

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#Restaurants, Food, Tagaytay

[ Playa Calatagan #5] a Manos Greek Tavern Dinner


Ever since I’ve tasted Greek cuisine in Australia three years ago, I’ve been looking for an authentic greek cuisine in Manila. The first time, I saw Manos Greek Taverna with its inviting blue and white structure, I hesitated to try it out because of the fear of being disappointed with a Filipino-style Greek cuisine similar to Mati in Rockwell. I was waiting for raves about this place before I try it out. AJay’s first blogged Manos Greek Taverna in Nov 2005, and I recently read a poetic tribute by Dr. Honrado Palugod on his hellenic dining experience to this place that made me decide to check it out. On our way back from Playa Calatagan, we decided to have this as our last stop before finally heading back home. I’ve tried the best sellers in the house: Tzatziki, Hellenici Salata-Greek Salad, Mousaka, and the Baklava dessert which are indeed very good. On the contrary, the kebabs were ordinary.

I love this place because the food is healthy, ingredients are freshly made by the owner, and Manos is almost always there to entertain his guest — very hospitable fellow. Manos claims that everything is cooked in Greek virgin olive oil which comes from their olive plantations in the island of Crete 🙂

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Batangas

[ Playa Calatagan #4] Beautiful Golden Sunset!!


Right in front of Playa Calatagan beach is this golden sunset. It is soo beautiful just to watch this. This post is just all about the sunset shots I made and I suggest that you gotta watch this when you decide to visit this place. For those of you who are in the office and I do hope these shots would de-stress you and make you more excited to visit the Philippines awesome beaches. Enjoy the sunset shots! summer is here, finally 🙂

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