[ Playa Calatagan #1] a Beach Discovery in Calatagan, Batangas

>>>> Our Playa Calatagan 254sqm Lot and Membership for SALE! <<<<

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 πŸ™‚

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.



Fat Michael’s Place: Revisited!

UPDATE: This restaurant is now closed and replaced by Le Bistro d’Agathe.

I got a sudden urge to check out Fat Michael’s Place again and I missed the ambiance more than anything. This used to be an Intel secret years back, but after 5 years, I’m sure this is not a secret anymore because of the thousand dinner dates it hosted and the word-of-mouth raves/ rants. Carlos also uses this as his starting point for his Evangelista tour. The food is better than the usual restaurant, they offer intercontinental cuisine not filipino surprisingly. My only issue about this place is the cocky service embodied in their motto “We cook slow, live with it!” Also, by now Fat Michael is already Fit Michael who is all grown up already (Michael is the son of the owner). In a nutshell, it is a cool homey place to have an intimate dinner with a special someone or your barkada or office teammates.

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Sugarnot!’s Last Temptation

I have glad and sad news for you. I’m glad that there are bakeshops now that are catering to the healthier lifestyle trend. Sugarnot along South Super Hiway is a blessing for us. I first heard of this from Carlos’ who recommended it in his blog. Their bestseller, Last Temptation Cake is sugar-free and they are using maltitol powder instead. This powder is a sugarless sweetener and green food with pure sweet taste. The sad news is, the taste needs a lot of getting use to and there are no crowd every time I pass by this place. So I’m worried that this might not survive specially in the Philippine’s high-carb diet scene.

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Aling Lucing’s Sisig — Pampanga’s Best finally in Makati :)

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 πŸ™‚ 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 πŸ™‚ 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.

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Awesome Festivals

[Dear Awesome Planet #1] Best of the Philippines in 30 days

March 1, 2006

Dear Awesome Planet,
Hello, I found your blogs on awesome planet. Wonderful pictures and info for tourists and Pilipinos who want to see what PI is all about. I’ve taken down the info you posted on Tagaytay restaurants. My husband and I will be traveling to PI in April, what activities/restaurants/places to see would you recommend in the following places?

El Nido, Palawan

Thank you! I enjoyed your site!
=) Bea

Dear Bea,
Thanks for the compliment and I’m glad you enjoyed the site. I don’t intend to be an authority on Philippine travel and I would invite my other readers to contribute to this response. I was overwhelmed and excited with your question, that I was inspired to create a Dear Awesome Planet series, so that I can also share the information to a broader audience, and I hope you don’t mind πŸ™‚ This list is based on my personal experience and some are still on my things to blog about. If you would only have 30 days in PI in April, make sure to check out these awesome activities/ restaurants/ places:

A Special Dinner @ La Cocina de Tita Moning
Dampa Dining experience @ Seaside Macapagal Blvd.
Carlos Celdran’s Intramuros Tours or Escolta/ Quiapo Tour
Quaint basement store –> I Love You Store along Makati Avenue
Filipino-Inspired Spa — Sanctuario Spa in Malate
Best Therapeutic Reflexology Massage — 4 hours for $10/ P500
Allegedly the best sisig in the Philippines — Aling Lucing Sisig, Makati
Balut @ Elvie’s turo turo
Lazy Boy Theater @ Gateway Mall, Araneta Center
Shopping Mall Tour: Greenhills- Best Bargain Place, Glorietta/Greenbelt – Branded Stuff, and
Tiendesitas — One stop shop of Philippines’ best

A Hike/ Horse Ride to the one of the World’s Smallest Volcano in Taal
Still the reigning Best Restaurant in Tagaytay — Antonio’s, Restaurant, Tagaytay
Most exotic and expensive coffee — Coffee Alamid, proudly Philippine made πŸ™‚
Tagaytay pioneer — Sonya’s Secret Garden Bed & Breakfast
View of Taal Volcano @ Cliffhouse, Tagaytay or Taal Vista Lodge

CNT Lechon — Best Lechon in Cebu if not the Philippines!
Malapascua Beach, (What to do in Malapascua) – Thinking Man’s Boracay according to the Lonely Planet
Semana Santa @
Bantayan Beach, (What to do in Bantayan) — only place where you can eat meat
Sutukil (STK) — Fresh Seafood Grilled Restaurant
Visit Sto. Nino de Cebu Cathedral and Magellan’s Cross

Jonas Milk Shakes
The famous Banana Boat Ride
Mandala Spa — World Class Spa in Boracay
Daylife/ Nightlife:
What to do in Boracay?
Outdoor Jacuzzi @ the Nami Villas

Laguna/Quezon (Instead of Cavite)
Tina Decal’s Culinary Tour of Quezon
Viaje del Sol: San Pablo, Laguna and Tiaong, Quezon
Laguna Lake Tour

El nido, Palawan — about to go here in April (Maybe we’ll see each other :), Savor this place for 4 days/ 3 nights πŸ™‚

I do hope this helps, and I invite my readers to contribute to this list or create your own lists and I’ll link it up πŸ™‚ Also, maybe some of you would also have some questions that I can answer in the Dear Awesome Planet series πŸ™‚

Enjoy Awesome Pilipinas!



Conquering the Taal Volcano Crater!

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)

Guide to Trekking Up to the Taal Volcano – world’s smallest volcano!
Taal Volcano Crater Experience!

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A tribute to Euro Star Carnival — The Best Carnival in the Philippines!!

Booster with 3d spining action!!

Thanks to media source for bringing us the most successful carnival in the Philippines — Euro Star Carnival! I had my doubts initially, and the Philippines blogosphere have attested to this awesome carnival rides. Manila is the first stop in its 8-city Asian Tour and February 28 is its last day here in Manila. This is my personal photo tribute to this awesome carnival that Manila has ever seen and I’m glad that we are elevating the entertainment level to world class European standards! This is the first time I got dizzy with carnival rides and I’ve been to Orlando’s theme parks, and I can say these are one heck of a ride that surpasses all of them (except for the roller coaster rides). Booster, Flipper, Ranger, and G-Force will be the carnival tales of generation to come. Good luck to your China Stint and I do hope Manila will see you again in 2 years time πŸ™‚

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Japanese delights @ Seryna, Little Tokyo

Kaizen Gozen (P250) — one of the set menu best seller in the house πŸ™‚

I’m back! I have a hectic travel schedule lately and will be out in March. Before I go on a blog leave again, I want to give you another food delight — this time a Japanese restaurant in Little Tokyo. It is a modern japanese resto and have been less than a year in operation. I’ll rave about their food presentation that makes the food soo appetizing when you see it. I judge all the japanese restaurant I’ve been to based on the taste of their Kani Salad, California Maki and the Wasabi. Only the Kani Salad failed the test, the maki was good and soo is the wasabi — not too strong but it has that kick in the nose when you eat it. So generally the food is OK but since there are a lot of Japanese eating here which is a testament of its authenticity. We averaged around P300/person so not too bad for a japanese resto with a good ambiance and good food! This is one resto that I’m going back for more…

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“Love is more important than food!”

Happy Valentines Day to all of you! Valentines’ used to be a big day full of anxiety because of preparation of a wonderful surprise gimmick for my loved one. These days, it’s about planning an escape to spend an evening dinner together at a secluded restaurant. I actually don’t mind traveling all the way to the end of South Super Highway and visit Esperanza’s Farm Dining in Calamba, Laguna. However, what I do mind is traveling all the way and be disappointed with the taste of the food. So, there won’t be any food shots in this post πŸ™ I know that there are risks sometimes for visiting places for the first time and not yet tried and tested. Oh well, since we paid for the ambiance then we will just shoot the ambiance and build our collection of couple pictures πŸ™‚ On normal days, they serve ala carte for P550 (which should be better than the buffet we had) and by reservation only.

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Viaje del Sol

Best of Viaje del Sol Posts!

I got an inquiry on Viaje del Sol on what to expect and how much would it costs. I decided to provide a link post for all my best post on this Viaje del Sol journey. I’ve visited here twice already and I’m going back for a third time to try out the new additions to the Viaje del Sol route.

Viaje del Sol Index

(April 2006)
Sitio de Amor Conversations [Viaje del Sol]
[Viaje del Sol] Welcome to Tahanan ni Aling Meding

(December 2006)
[Viaje del Sol Series.1] Breakfast @ Kusina Salud
[Viaje del Sol Series.2] Step into Nina’s Kusina Salud
[Viaje del Sol Series.3] “Starbucks” stop @ Jay’s Kinabuhayan Cafe
[Viaje del Sol Series.4] Postcards from Kinabuhayan Cafe
[Viaje del Sol Series.5] The Charm of Kubli Springs
[Viaje del Sol Series.6] Sumptuous Lunch @ Ugu Bigyan!
[Viaje del Sol Series.7] Ugu Bigyan’s Pottery Garden Postcards
[Viaje del Sol Series.8] Carlitos’ Workshop – Our Last Stop

(October 2005)
Viaje del Sol Review


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