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.
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!!
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 🙂
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 🙂
Ah, life is indeed a beach. With a beautiful beach such as Playa Calatagan — I do hope that it can bring it’s vision alive of bringing the Boracay spirit in Calatagan, 3 hours away from Manila. Landco already learned their lessons with the Punta Fuego and Terrazas seaside communities where it gets boring as you stay longer since it is private and there is only so much you could do. What’s great about the Playa Calatagan vision, is that there is a private resort for the seaside community but also there is a public commercial area envisioned to be the Boracay Party Place of Batangas 🙂 As mentioned in my earlier post, I’m glad the Palacios family decided to develop their beach and it has huge huge potential. They are just building the clubhouse now and selling phase 1 (out of 4 phases to be developed) which only started last november to priveleged guests.
This is actually an exclusive (naks 🙂 and I want to share this opportunity to my readers — specially if you are a beach person or you are a balikbayan looking for an investment or a beach home. Take note that I refrained from using retirement house since the vision is that the community would be younger and more vibrant 🙂 I think this is a lot better than the Anvaya Seaside community in Subic. Let me tell you why.
Note: This restaurant is closed already and they moved inside the main Antonio’s restaurant.
8:30am @ Breakfast @ Antonio’s. This is the perfect “halfway” house between Playa Calatagan and Manila which is both approx. 1.5 hours away from this point. I was surprised that this place is jump packed on Sunday Breakfast including the regular group of bikers who meet up here every Sunday @ 8.30am. This was my first time @ Breakfast and I’ve heard mixed reviews that the food was not as great as the main Antonio’s restaurant. I was excited to try it out with Rache and Aidan. This is also our meeting point with Joey and Tisha who was gracious enough to show us Playa Calatagan. Join me as we take a sneak peak inside a Breakfast @ Antonio’s experience.
Temporary Pavilion @ Playa Calatagan, Batangas (Playa is spanish for beach)
Before I leave for a blog vacation for the entire March, I would like to share with you a beach discovery 3 hours away from Manila! I can’t imagine that there is a beach as beautiful as this just within travel distance and previously Calatagan, Batangas is not known to have this kind of beach. The beach is even better than the Laiya, San Juan Beaches and the Nasugbu beaches. There are three criteria for me for a great beach resort: (a) the beach sand is white fine sand, (b) the water is so calm that children could swim in it, (c) a beautiful sunset right in front of the beach! Playa Calatagan meets those three criteria except for the beach having a brownish tint but its finer than most of the beaches in Batangas 🙂
It is still in its natural virgin state and it was owned by Mayor Palacios Family (that is why it remained private all these years!) I’m glad that Palacios and Landco Corporation join in partnership to create this as a seaside residential estate. This is Landco’s 3rd seaside real estate community after Punta Fuego and Terrazas de Punta Fuego. It is still in its pre-selling of P6,000/ sqm and you can still buy as small as 250 sqm. I’ve always wondered in buying Punta Fuego when it was just selling at P4,500/sq (5 years ago) which is now 4x that amount. What’s great about this seaside resort is that you just buy a lot with no club membership fees anymore and there will be both a private country club and a public space. The vision for the public area is to bring Boracay’s vitality and party atmosphere only 3 hours away from Manila. I do hope that the beauty of this place is maintained as they develop the community and the commercial area.
I’m posting an entire series on this beach discovery to share with you the beauty of this place. You’ll hear a lot more about this place, as they begin to market it in May 2006. I’m soo convince of the beauty of this place, that I bought a Lot on my first trip to this beautiful beach in Calatagan, Batangas.
WARNING: Sisig is not good for your health, eat at your own risks.
Move over Aysee, Aling Lucing is conquering Makati! For several years, Aysee’s Sisig in Pasig (near ultra) is the reigning branded sisig and this is a lunch/ dinner destination in itself when you are in the Pasig area. Aling Lucing’s Sisig is the pride of Pampanga with its original location in the “riles” or located near the railroad in Angeles City (mental note: I’ll blog about this original place one of these days 🙂 Also, Aling Lucing is the Grand Slam Winner of the 3rd Sisig Festival in Angeles City held just last Dec. 2-3, 2005 besting 176 other contestants!! A lot to be proud about, and finally a franchise was opened outside the malls along Pasong Tamo in front of former Urban Bank (corner Buendia).
Sisig is a big part of the pinoy culture together with the Halo Halo and Balut, so this is a must try even for a vegetarian like me (I can’t resist not to savor its taste 🙂 I first heard about this from Spanx’s review and this place just opened last Feb. 14, 2006. The sisig was tasty, yummy and you can taste that delicious secret sauce and ingredients that ordering the Sizzling Big Shot (P130) is a must! The sisig is definitely superb better than Gerry’s or Aysee’s I should say. Although the marketing material was well thought of, they should have attracted the after office inuman (drinking) crowd so they should offer San Miguel beer products.
This is my third time to hike up the Taal Crater and still a beautiful experience for me. This is an update of my prior Taal Crater posts last October 2005 and I would like to share with you some things to bring/ expect based on my learnings from all my past hikes:
1). Bring your own water, beer or drinks if you want to save on costs. On average cost of the drink is P20/water, P30 for drinks, and P25/ fresh buko.
2). Wear Rubber Shoes, Shorts and bring a handkerchief to cover for the dust (specially during summer).
3). Leave Manila by 6am, so that you can start your hike at 8am (45mins hike). You’ll be back before 11am in time for lunch @ Tagaytay.
4). Ignore the people offering you boat ride (don’t even look at them), go straight to Taal Yatch Club and rent a boat for P1,500–
5). Other incidental costs would be P10/person entrance fee, and P20/person docking fee to help the community there in Taal Volcano.
6). Don’t forget your camera, and you can opt to ride a horse for P500 back and forth (25 minutes to the crater)
Check out Team OAP’s video on debunking the mystery of Taal Volcano…