Category

#Philippines

Mt. Pinatubo

Paying due respect to the Death March Heroes.


I’m ashamed that I did not realized the significance of the Capas National Shrine until I came back and googled it. This is another reason I’m going back to Mt. Pinatubo to pay my due respect to the men who defended our country in Bataan and suffered in the death march. If you know the story, you won’t hesitate to pay the P10 entrance fee/ person and a P20 parking fee and to drive closer to the monument.

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Tagaytay

Taal Volcano Crater Experience!


Amazing Taal Volcano Crater!

How can it be soo nice and nasty at the same time? There is a feeling of serenity but also the feeling that you are on the dark side. The mirror lake entices you to come down and flirts with you to hike further down a 1 hour path to the crater lake. Red rocks, blue skies, white clouds, green mountains, dark blue waters welcome you to Taal volcano’s island. You can feel and see the awesome power of the volcano with its steamy rocks and vents that oozes out with white smoke just patiently waiting for the perfect time to erupt.

I’ll be sharing with you more postcards shots of the Taal Volcano and will share in a separate posts on what does it take to get to this place.

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Tagaytay

Ming’s Garden: Only for Mums Not for Food


The food is expensive for a canteen style of menu/ serving.

Ming’s Garden is located along the Sta. Rosa Road going to Tagaytay and I’ve always wondered what can you see in this place since it has a big sign along the road. Another Sonya’s Garden? I would save you the trouble of wasting your time checking this place out, if you are looking for mums, and ornamental plants then check this out and this is for you. Don’t go here if you are looking for coffee or culinary treats — please please save yourself the hassle. I’ll tell you why…

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Tagaytay

The best view of Taal Lake!


Magnificent Postcards from Taal Vista Lodge

Inarguably this is the best view of the taal lake and the volcano. What makes it soo amazing is that you can enjoy the view less the mass crowd or weekend crowd. It would be good if there was a before and after photo but maybe some of my readers would still have photos of the old taal vista that is packed with people. I love taking pictures of Taal Vista Lodge and here are the postcard shots that hmmn, maybe I can sell them to Taal Vista Lodge as postcards. Check out the rest of the postcard shots.

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Tagaytay

Sanctuario Revisited: Ho-hum food?


Ho-hum dinner food

After 9 months (read my january post here), I had a chance to eat again in sanctuario, tagaytay. I was disappointed with the ho-hum food this time around which costs us P400/person and I was looking for the food that I raved about last time. I don’t know what happened but eating there on a wednesday night at 8pm in the evening with only us around might be one of the reasons. I just want to share with you my experience and be cautious next time you visit this place. My conclusion is Sanctuario is best for the merienda — coffee, dessert, bread.

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Viaje del Sol

Viaje del Sol Review

Viaje del Sol is the newest destination 2 hours away from Manila (besides Tagaytay). I checked out all the places already and I can save you the trouble of being disappointed in going to Patio Verde or the Laguna Lake. Sorry for starting this on a sour note, but we were disappointed because the Patio Verde is a hole in the wall grilled beerhouse and even if the food is great, the whole ambiance and crowd is not appropriate. The laguna lake on the other hand, is ugly, and I do hope they are able to revitalize this lake — soo sad 🙁

I’m glad that is out of the way, here are the best of Viaje del Sol:

Collete’s Original Store — This is big and you can say that you have bought your buko pie from the original store in San Pablo. You will see this immediately after entering San Pablo along the Maharlika hi-way. There are a lot of pasalubong goodies and they opened a new cafe beside it.

>> Casa San Pablo — Cozy Place for a retreat

Casa San Pablo — A writer’s retreat place. When you enter the main city of San Pablo, you would see this. Check out my detailed blog post on this with the link above. I’m checking this out and have an overnight stay on my next trip.

Contact Information/ Directions:
Gomez Compound, Barangay San Roque, San Pablo City, Laguna
It is along the main road going to San Pablo city proper (see website for map)

email: [email protected]
website: http://www.casasanpablo.com/index.html
mobile: 0917-8126687, 0917-5268628

>> Quezon Culinary Night Cap @ Kusina Salud

Kusina Salud — Bohemian atmosphere with an excellent food. Patis Tesoro was the one who started this Viaje del sol concept and I’m glad that they marketted the whole San Pablo and Tiaong as one destination rather than competing with each other. Buffet lunch on the weekend and massage is one of the things you can enjoy here.

Contact Information/ Directions:
One you are in the main highway, Maharlika along San Pablo City, There are alot of signs going to Kusina Salud. You won’t missed it.

Mobile: 0921-7726985, San Pablo: 049-2466878, Manila: 726-5058/ 59
email: [email protected]

>> Carlito’s Workshop 1– Intimidating House with Surprisingly Hospitable Host!
>> Carlito’s Workshop 2 –Photogenic House with an Outstanding Garden 🙂
>> Carlito’s Workshop 3 — Carlito’s Coffee

Carlito’s Workshop — I was smitten by this place that I had to wrote a series on this. No food here, just plain coffee, puto and rambutan/lansones during this season. But it is a must to have a good chat with Carlito and that would complete your afternoon coffee break.

Contact Information/ Directions:
Just a word of advise, there are no signs from the maharlika highway going to Carlito’s workshop. If you are coming from Manila, after passing the left turn going to kusina salud, you will make a right turn to Brgy. Sta. Ana. The only landmark is a direction going to 3j foods corp. It’s a big road with alot of tricycles in that corner.

Carlito Ortega Cellphone # 0919-837 7755 or (049) 5620351
Open on Saturdays. For the rest of the week, please call to give prior notice.

>> Quezon Culinary Series 10: Ugu Bigyan’s Secret Pottery Garden

Ugu Bigyan — This is a winner by itself and you go here for pottery, food, and ambiance. I’m raving about this place so you should check this out if you decide to venture into Tiaong, Quezon

I don’t have the passion to blog about Villa Escudero not unless there would be something new or I’m accompanying a balikbayan. But, one of the last place I want to visit would be Kinabuhayan Cafe and I’ve heard alot about this place. Maybe this coming long vacation, we’ll take the opportunity to check it out. Good luck on your own adventure!

Contact Information/ Directions:
If you plan to go here, there are no signs along the national highway because Ugu wants it to be a secret. I made a mental note of landmarks along the national highway in Tiaong, Quezon which is the Ebreo Castillo Agri Poulty Supply, Lusaca highschool, and old Petron Station.

Ugu Bigyan
Telefax: (042) 545-9144
Mla. #: 250-8416

Anton

Viaje del Sol

Casa San Pablo — Cozy Place for a retreat


Casa San Pablo is one of the destinations in the Viaje del Sol‘s San Pablo destinations and we checked it out during our Rambutan Picking adventure. We were trying to check it out if it serves dinner but it only provides food to the in-room guests. So, I ended up shooting the ambiance of the place which was suppose to be designed by Ugu Bigyan. The above photo is my favorite among the set and gives you the overall ambiance of the place.

According to the Casa San Pablo website:
“Casa San Pablo is a cozy bed-and-breakfast wrapped in a tropical setting. Designed by potter Ugu Bigyan, the main cottage has six bedrooms mos of which open up to private decks. Each bedroom is designed with eclectic wit– from folk art papaer mache’ horses and bird houses to sea shells and funky car parts.”

The rooms are nice and has it’s own theme. Although it was disappointing to see that the beds are short and hard (see beds in the photos). But if you don’t mind and you don’t miss your soft spring beds at home then you’ll feel right at home here. They have a few rooms so better book in advance.

Clockwise from top: 1. Conference and Community Room, 2. Rooms with double deck beds, 3. The swimming pool at the nearby Kay Inay Resort, and 4. the facade of the dining room.

Looks very interesting and now I know where to go to for our next teambuilding session 🙂

MORE INFORMATION
Gomez Compound, Barangay San Roque
San Pablo City, Laguna
It is along the main road going to San Pablo city proper (see website for map)

email: [email protected]
website: http://www.casasanpablo.com/index.html
mobile: 0917-8126687, 0917-5268628

Anton

Viaje del Sol

Carlito’s Workshop 3 — Carlito’s Coffee

Superb Barako Coffee, Sweet Lansones, and Delicious Puto 🙂

This is the highlight of the trip —a cup of Barako Coffee and delicious Puto at Carlito’s workshop. Our only regret was we did not call in advance because he could have served us Rice Coffee and would be a unique experience. Since we are just walk-ins (hehe) we were entertained as guests still and Carlito was very hospitable. His art and books collection are intimidating but it was actually cool spending merienda in his workshop. BTW, he also serves sweet lansones that we cannot help but eat and be addicted to it (much better than rambutan hehehe).

There are interesting art pieces all around and my friend, Maong was fascinated with the swinging wooden chair in a steel frame (middle photoo). Carlito showed us how he is doing his steel/ brass masterpieces that could costs P40,000 at a minimum. The ambiance is very Filipino and alot of art talk pieces. We simply had a fun time in this place (this could change if there is already alot of people visiting here). We’ll let the photos do the talking here 🙂

Of course, I had to take the obligatory family picture photo (top right photo) 🙂

Here are the contact information:

Carlito Ortega Cellphone # 0919-837 7755 or (049) 5620351
Open on Saturdays. For the rest of the week, please call to give prior notice.

Just a word of advise, there are no signs from the maharlika highway going to Carlito’s workshop. If you are coming from Manila, after passing the left turn going to kusina salud, you will make a right turn to Brgy. Sta. Ana. The only landmark is a direction going to 3j foods corp. It’s a big road with alot of tricycles in that corner.

Anton

Viaje del Sol

Carlito’s Workshop 2 –Photogenic House with an Outstanding Garden :)

Photogenic House with an outstanding garden!

When we went to Carlito’s, we were hesitant to go in because we are literally walk-ins because we did not call in advance for reservations but the brochure said it is open on Saturdays. When we arrived, the place looks quiet with only one red pickup car parked in front of the house. Now, the main reason we went here is to have coffee and this is right after the rambutan festival in Tiaong.
The picture above shows the facade of the main house and the back of this nice house.


It was really intimidating because the house is very beautiful. The leftmost picture is the view of the well manicured lawn from the main door of the house. Upon entering the house, you are greeted by the picture in the middle where there is a fountain statue behind a glass encarving. We were invited to the living room where there are alot of art pieces as well including a patis tesoro doll (see right most photo above). At this point, Carlito met us and we felt right at home and we felt like a guest of a long time friend.


At the back of the main house is a small structure that has dining tables featuring Carlito’s work. At this point, Carlito was explaining to us what he is doing, his work, and the story behind Carlito’s workshop. Apparently, he is a very good friend of Patis Tesoro and she asked him to open up his very nice house for people visiting San Pablo. Viaje del Sol, was a very nice concept where the insight was people who would love to eat at Kusina Salud needed to have other site seeing places in the area. Thus, Carlito was convinced, and he opened up his nice home.

Having said this, Carlito’s workshop is still not a full pledge coffee house (yet) since viaje del sol is just 6 months old. I actually like going to these places when they are young when there are not alot of people. In this particular case when we visited, we were the ONLY people and we were entertained very well 🙂 Carlito lives with his wife and daughter but they were out in San Pablo city when we arrived. After looking at the magnificent (first time we’ve seen such) steel brass artwork, we finally tasted the coffee that we came for and much more in his workshop place.

The structure above is his workshop where he creates his masterpieces. This is where we spent our afternoon coffee time — Carlito’s Workshop ala Starbucks with a Filipino touch.

to be continued… 2/3

Anton

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