This is a trilogy series on the 10th Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta (PIHBF) @ Omni Aviation Field, Clark Field Pampanga. Finally, I was able to savor the beauty of the balloons on the fiesta’s last day and I was not disappointed. Unlike in the World Pyro Olympics which you have to stay awake until late at night, in the Hot Air Balloon it starts at 5.30am in the morning when the hot air balloons start to setup and leave before 7am. Also, for some reason, the internet sites in the Philippines lack any experiential information on what to expect in this fiesta except for the official website: http://www.philballoonfest.com and the press releases. In this series, I would like to share with you this awesome experience and it felt like I was not in the Philippines with all these world class balloons (total of 21+ I believe)!
This is the final post on the [Bantayan+Malapascua] Series and Malapascua is such a nice place for enjoying beach and nature. In this final post, I would leave you with some visual ideas on what to do here in the charming island of Malapascua. I’m starting to miss this place everytime I look at the photos. Enjoy and share this post with your friends special those planning to go to Malapascua this summer!
I can’t imagine how an authentic Italian restaurant exist and able to survive in an island called Malapascua. When the first time I visited here, 4 years ago, this place does not exist– it is only about 2 years+ old. This is run by two Italian couples who fell in love with Malapascua and spends 6 months in the Philippines each year. La Dolce Vita, also boast of a sugary fine beach sand that rivals Boracay’s station 1 beach sand. All of us were surprised at how good and authentic the food really is, in this far far away island of Malapascua. Although, this is located at the south beach and you have to walk all the way to the end of Malapascua’s main beach (there are alot of signs along the way). After eating here, we decided to extend one more day in Malapascua — we just fell in love with it!
It was tough leaving the island of Bantayan. As much as we want to savor the serene ambiance of Kota beach, we have to leave as early as possible so that we don’t catch the big waves enroute to Malapascua. The boat trip took us 2 hours+ and it was a rough, wet boat ride. Also, the biggest banca in Bantayan is small compared to the banca in Malapascua. It was just enough for the six of us to seat under the trapal covers. One of the problems I had was it costs us P4,000 for the one way boat trip and I know that this is too much (should only be around 2,500+) if we went from Malapascua to Bantayan. Check out this photo tour of the trip from Bantayan to Malapascua trip.
UPDATE Feb. 8, 2006: Finally I was able to complete this Antonio’s article in time for Valentines. Although, if you are just reserving just now, forget about it because the valentines day and valentines weekend is fully booked!
Almost every year, I have the privilege of having dinner at Antonio’s @ Brgy Neogan, Tagaytay by renowned Chef Antonio Escalante. It continues to be the best special dinner you could ever have in Manila. This is the food paradise place where you won’t complain about how expensive it is (P2,000+/person) because you are paying for the dining experience with perfect food, perfect ambiance, and perfect service from Antonio’s and his staff. You would even appreciate how slow they would serve the food because they make sure that they it is cooked fresh when you order it. For those who have not been to this place or planning to go on any season, here is a guide on how to have the best Antonio’s experience.
Massimo is one of those restaurants in Tagaytay where it is very homey with a country feel to it, having a siesta atmosphere while indulging in the excellent cuisine of Chef Hazel Yu-Galvez, who sharpened her culinary skills in Italy. It is a european type of dining experience where you savor the food and each dish is served one by one without any hurry. I love the al-fresco dining outside where you can savor the tagaytay cool weather and sweet breeze. Although, this is also the smoking section where you could savor tabako smoke if you are lucky 🙂
Anyway, I’ve eaten here almost two years ago and I just started my blog January of 2005 so I don’t really have a detailed post on this. But I’ll just leave you with a sample of her valentine’s menu from feb. 11-15, 2006 for P1,995++ per couple. I don’t mean to promote it but just check this menu out and if I have not eaten here yet, I would be sure to reserve on these dates…
Here is another tip for you. Bag of Beans is the coffee place to be in Tagaytay. Here you will find the most expensive coffee that is proudly Philippines made! You should try out the roasted Coffee Alamid which has a sweet, chocolatey aroma that heightens the senses — light and naturally sweet. What makes this amazingly expensive is that the coffee beans are digested by the Philippine civet (a cat) which ferments the coffee beans and excreted as whole beans. If you did not get that, these are beans harvested in the civets waste by farmers in the wild forrest. It became known when it was tasted by Oprah who was surprised to know about the origins of this delicious coffee. Now, I guess this is enough trivia for you to impress your date 🙂 Check out the story of –> Coffee Alamid!
This is one of our favorite videoke place in the island. One of the advantage of being on the island on a weekday is that you can expect that you’ll be the only group in this restaurant. Marisquieira O Portuguese have a unique system for their karaoke: You have to buy a bottle of beer which would be equivalent to 2 songs. If you buy a grande size it’s equivalent to 5 songs. Coming from the chinese dinner @ Santa Fe, we decided to hang-out in this popular pub which is known for its pizza. We tasted them earlier in the day during merienda, and it was a home made pizza delight 🙂 This is communal videoke style and oh boy, we are glad that we are the only people in this resto– as if we rented the whole place for P500 sing-all-night! I was inspired to take a lot of pictures while we were singing because of the cool ambiance of the place — check it out!
When you are in the island, you can’t help it but miss the comforts of Manila Style living and sometimes crave for that chinese cuisine. Santa Fe Beach Resort has the answer for you. In fact, this resort is one of the better resorts in the island in terms of amenities. The only issue with Santa Fe to my point of view is that it is near the pier so the beach is actually dirty with oil and some debris. If you don’t mind that, then book here. For me, this is a place for eating the best chinese cuisine in the island and ice cream for dessert! Lastly, this is my first attempt at night photography and check out these night shots of Santa Fe. I love them!
Welcome to Cliff house, Tagaytay. Most people miss this place because of its very simple signage outside the main highway. My wife loves this place because it reminded us of Long Beach, California because of the wind blowing and overall ambiance/ architecture of the place. There are two great restaurants here: Buon Giorno! (Italian Restaurant), and Fire Lake Grill (Steakhouse by Chef Paul Huang). Soon, by March 2006, Cafe Breton will open and this would address the dessert cravings of people going up to Tagaytay.
Check out this photo tour of Cliffhouse, Tagaytay…