Saturday, December 4, 2010

Bantayan Island: A Promising Destination

Cebu has always been special to my heart because this is where my husband proposed to me in 2007. It was in a deserted island in Mactan where he asked me to marry him. Witnesses to this event are the two starfishes he picked up from the shore. And for our last hurray in 2010, we chose to visit Cebu again, but this time with our 19 months old daughter, in the famous Island of Bantayan.

We took the first flight of Air Philippines to Cebu at around 4:15am. Luckily, we scored a promo ticket at Php 1000 for 2 adults and an infant, roundtrip. The flight was delayed a bit because the queue on the check-in counters are too long and they did not open another one. So we arrived Mactan at around 6:00 am already and was able to get our baggage and take a cab at around 6:20 am. We took the cab to North Bus Terminal (fee is around Php 100) and unfortunately, we were not able to catch the aircon bus to Hagnaya. So we don’t have a choice but to take the ordinary Ceres bus. The fare from Cebu to Hagnaya is Php 50 per pax (non-aircon).

There is a stopover where you can eat barbeque (Php 6 each), grilled chorizo/longganisa (Php 8 each) and puso (rice wrapped in bana leaf, Php 5). This is a super cheap meal that is so yummy! I enjoy eating these stuff ala camping style, without spoon and fork, that is.

We arrived Hagnaya before 10:30am, just in time for the next Super Shuttle Ferry to Bantayan. The fare is Php 140 each, Php 70 for children 1-12 years old. A terminal fee of Php 10 each is also collected. The boat ride took around an hour. Upon reaching the Sta Fe Port (Bantayan), the shuttle who will pick us up (from Kota Beach Resort) was already there. The ride from the port to the resort took around 10 minutes.

We arrived at the resort at almost 12 noon. Our room was the standard fan room which is priced at Php 770 per night. It has no TV, no hot and cold shower, no aircon. Just a double and a single bed, a fan and a bathroom. I am not that impressed with the room because the CR doesn’t have its lock, the light is busted and the fans are unclean. The sheets are old and the worst thing of all – there are ants everywhere! So I decided to go to the beach area and see if it will at least reverse my negativities about the place.

The shore is white, but not powdery as Boracay. I can compare it to Pandan Island in Palawan and Alona Beach in Bohol in terms of sand. There are parts of the beach that are a bit rocky. There are lots of “Bugnaw”. But what I like about the place is that the wind is really refreshing and the island is serene. I can even shout out loud here and no one would complain.

We went to the beach next to Kota which is Budyong’s. Here the sand is finer, the shore is cleaner and it appeals like it is better maintained than Kota’s. Here we enjoyed swimming & bathing in the sun. But unlike in Palawan, you cannot snorkel here as you will not find schools of fishes.

We also tried the food in the famous Tristan’s. But unlike the others, we did not order pizza. Instead we tried their Beef Pochero. The serving is good for 2 to 3 pax and it is priced at round Php 200. It is yummy, has lots of veggies in it and indeed a comfort food.

We also tried eating breakfast in Kota Beach’s Restaurant. We ate danggit and longganisa, Filipino breakfast is priced at Php 160 per pax, plated.

You can also go to the nearby market and eat sutukil, puso, there is also a strip of restos there. Perhaps in 2-5 years, Bantayan is going to be like Boracay. I just wish there are direct flights from Manila to Sta Fe.

We also checked out Ogtong Cave & Resort but unfortunately, the cave is under DENR testing so we cannot swim on it.

These are the rooms of Ogtong Cave Resort.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Ilaya Couture Dress and Charles & Keith Shoes

I don't know if I posted this already (memory gap, sorry) but this was my outfit in our last year's Christmas Party at the Canyon Cove in Batangas.

I really love Ilaya Couture for so many reasons. One, the fabric is crisp and does not hug my fat belly too much. It hides the unwanted flabs and makes me look a bit slimmer. Also, most of the designs have accents on either the neckline or the sleeves which fits my personal style. Their pieces are classy and wearable, "fasyon" but not overkill,

Charles & Keith on the other hand is my favorite shoe brand as it fits my feet well, does not hurt even if its sky high and the designs are so classy.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Laura Mercier Mineral Pressed Powder in Rich Vanilla

At last, I finally had my first Laura Mercier product. Presentamus.... Laura Mercier Mineral Pressed Powder. After having the dilemma of having to choose between Mac Blot Powder and this one, LM won me over.

Michelle (MA from LM) wasn't in Rustan's Makati yesterday so it was Linda who assisted me. She is good, too! She helped me choose the shade for me. I tried Real Sand, Natural Beige and Rich Vanilla and the last one blended well on my skin. Natural beige appears pinkish on me while Real sand appears grayish. I do not know why. But Rich Vanilla just disappears on my skin.

I like the packaging better than NARS (which is a dirt magnet as everyone would agree). I just do not like the sponge though. It is too thin for me. I like applying it using my ELF powder brush.

Linda says this one has good oil control properties so I road-tested it today and it keeps the oilies away for about 3-4 hours, then I have to retouch. I also like how it appears on photos because it does not make look grayish. It is also very lightweight and does not make my MAC concealer cake, so this gets a thumbs up for me!

Here's my look for today:


Laura Mercier Mineral Pressed Powder in Rich Vanilla
MAC Studio Finish Concealer in NW30 for my undereyes
NARS Oil Free Foundation in Santa Fe

In2it Eyebrow kit

MAC Powerpoint in Engraved
Fashion 21 5 -color eye palette (I used the black with gold shimmer and the matte black which looks like MAC Carbon)

NARS Silvana for contour
NARS Luster as blush

NARS Lipgloss in Supervixen

Sunday, November 14, 2010

FOTD: Gold Eyes

It's Monday! To start the week right I created a look using gold eyeshadows from NYX (Golden) and Shawill Palette. For the cheeks I used NARS Orgasm and Viva Glam VI for my lips.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

How do you find my face of the day?

I have been laid back for 5 months now since I transfered to my new job as an editor of a medical journal. Then one restless night, I tried to browse my Bobbi Brown Makeup Manual and suddenly I felt I want to do makeup again. So here it is, how do you like my look for the day? Let me know!

NARS Oil Free Foundation in Deauville
Ellana Foundation in French Vanilla Latte
MAC Studio Finish Concealer in NW30

NARS Blush in Luster

Fashion 21 Eyeshadow Palette in Silver and Black

NARS Roman Holiday

Monday, November 1, 2010

Puerto Princesa City, Palawan Day 3: Honda Bay Island Hopping

It is our last day in Puerto Princesa and we don’t wanna leave the city without seeing the famous islands of Honda Bay. As some would say, save the best for last.
Sis Tiara (Cha) of Girltalk help me arrange our Honda Bay tour and Dos Palmas day trip. She texted me the night before that the shuttle will pick us up from the pension house at around 7:30 am. So we had early breakfast again and waited for our shuttle. At around 7:45 am, the shuttle arrived. We were like 10 in the van, with 2 foreigners onboard.

At about 8:30 am, we already reached the wharf. We waited for our boat and we departed at about 9:00 am. The first two islands we saw was the Bat and Cowrie Islands. We just passed by those islands because our guide says the beach there is not that nice, or rather there is no beach at all.

The next stop was the Pambato Reef. I must say, this is the scariest moment of my life as we have to pass a floating bamboo bridge over the water with no island around. As I am afraid of heights and depths, I am really trembling while crossing the bridge towards the floating kubo. The boatman assisted me as he saw that I am damn nervous. But the scary challenge was worth it. At first I don’t want to snorkel because again, I am afraid. So hubby tried it first. He went up to the kubo with a big smile on his face. He was so eager to show me his underground photos so I envied him and ask a boatman to assist me while I am snorkeling. Alas! This is the first time I snorkeled! And now I am getting addicted to it. The corals are not that astonishing but the fishes are so cute! And it is really wonderful to see whats’s under the calm sea.

After an hour in Pambato Reef, we headed to our next destination, Snake Island. En route to Snake Island we saw the Starfish Island. Snake Island is a mile long sand bar with a shape like a snake because it is where the waters of opposite currents meet. The island is popular for snorkeling, fish feeding and beach bumming. So we waste no time and hit the beach as soon as we put out stuff in our cottage.

The fishes here are more colorful and bigger. I and my baby enjoyed feeding the fishes with bread we bought from the wharf at Php 15 per pack. My Husband enjoyed taking underwater photos once again. I am getting really addicted to snorkeling that I would like a snorkel and mask for Christmas, aside from the underwater digicam!

While we are swimming, our tour guide prepared our lunch and called everyone up at 12 noon. The food includes squid, shrimps, grilled pork and fish and fried chicken. We ate without fork and spoon so that we really feel the island life. I ate a lot! The food is so yummy. After eating, we were given another hour for swimming and we left for the next destination.

Our last destination was the Pandan Island. Here, there are big cottages, umbrellas, tables, even a bar and restaurant that offers halo-halo and fresh buco juice and some lunch like grilled fish and liempo. I liked this island more than the snake island because it has the feel of a resort where there more trees to keep you from the harmful rays of the sun especially on midday. It also has shower rooms. The sand here is finer than the ones in Snake Island. The sand in Snake Island is like the ones in Dos Palmas, white but not powdery. Here in Pandan Island, the sand is closest to those of Boracay, only a bit coarser and darker. I wish I could stay here longer. On our next Palawan trip, I’ll surely visit Honda Bay again and try Underground River.

After we all get sunburned, we headed back to the wharf and bid goodbye to the beautiful islands of Honda Bay. On our way to the wharf, the rain fell really hard. It made me panicked once again but thankfully we arrived safe.

After our Honda Bay Tour, we were brought back to our pension house. Liberty Park Pension is so lenient with check out times that we even got to shower and rest for a while before going to the airport for our 7:35 flight to Manila.

At 7:00 pm, we boarded the plane and officially ended our Palawan trip. I really do hope I can get back again and explore the other places in Palawan.

For more photos, click here

Puerto Princesa City, Palawan Day 2: Dos Palmas Day Tour

We had breakfast at 6:00 am so that we can be at the NCCC Mall, where the shuttle going to Dos Palmas is, at 6:45 am. The bus is set to leave at 7:00 am. We arrived just in time. We are the first to board the bus. We were like twenty persons onboard. We reached the Sta. Lourdes Wharf before 8 am. There awaits the boat that will take us to Dos Palmas. The boat is pretty much like the ones in Caticlan port. So the waves aren’t that much felt. But, as we started our journey, the boat stopped and the boatman said that the rope got entangled with the propeller. Good thing we are not far from the wharf yet. One of the boatmen took a kayak and asked help from the other boat on the wharf. After about 30 minutes later, the problem was solved and we were able to sail safe and sound.

We arrived in Dos Palmas at little past 9:00 am, and we were welcomed by some people playing kumintang (a native musical instrument). We went to the gazebo for the short briefing where we were also served our welcome drinks (refreshing orange juice). Afterwards, we went to the sports center to get our locker keys and change our clothes.

The water in Dos Palmas is so clear that I can even see fishes even if I am at the bridge connecting the bay cottages. The sand is white but not as fine as Boracay. I even had a few scratches on the knees because of some rough stones and shells on the shore. What I like most about Dos Palmas is that there are no big waves on its beach, which makes it child-friendly. My baby enjoyed playing along with her inflatable boat. Not so far from the shore we saw schools of fishes. My baby was so amazed about the fishes.

At 12 noon lunch was served already. There is a seat assignment that everyone has to follow. The lunch buffet includes shrimps on coconut cream sauce, lumpiang shanghai, grilled blue marlin, some veggies, a variety of salads and desserts and chicken tinola soup. The food for me is so-so, perhaps I was expecting more from this premiere resort. I was actually expecting more seafoods on the menu. One thing I noticed about the resort is that aside from our group who are on day tour, the rest of the guests are Koreans. Yes, Palawan, just like any other place in the Philippines is occupied by Koreans.

After lunch, we lounge at the shore while waiting for our boarding time. This place is so relaxing. It has the perfect blend of nature, serenity and exclusivity. You have the calm sea, the mountains on the backdrop and the calming breeze. Aside from the unfortunate incidents of Abu Sayaf kidnapping and Rico Yan’s death that made Dos Palmas infamous years ago, this place is totally a blast. At 3:30 pm, we boarded the boat and headed back to the wharf where the shuttle bus awaits us.

We reached the pension house at about 5:30 pm. We took some rest and headed to Ka Lui, Puerto Princesa’s most famous restaurant, for dinner. This restaurant is always fully booked so make sure to have your reservation ahead of time. Ka Lui’s setup is like the typical bahay-kubo. Another interesting thing about Ka Lui is that you have to take off your shoes before going inside the restaurant. This is because Filipinos used to take off their shoes before entering somebody’s house as a sign of respect. I remember in the province where I grew up, this is still being practiced especially in the barrios.

I ordered spicy crabs, halabos na hipon and manggang hilaw with bagoong. The crabs are bigger than the ones in Bilao’t Palayok. It is not that spicy so I guess I have high tolerance for spicy foods. Overall, I think it is worth trying Ka Lui if it is your first time in Palawan, but there are lots of restaurants available for you to explore Palawan’s culinary specialties. Our food comes with a free dessert (fruits in coconut shell).

After dinner, we called it a night and took some sleep. Next day would be our Honda Bay island hopping.

For more photos, click here