Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Team Elite At Bunzie's Cove

Planning a team building can be task-y.  Sometimes it takes weeks.  Locating a place that suits the budget can be the hardest part without compromising the comfort.  After all, if you work hard you need to learn how to play hard too or maybe just really relax.   There are lot of things to consider.  Enough space for the team building activities, comfortable rooms, great amenities and the distance.

Last year I took my team to Bunzie's Cove, located in Tabogon, Cebu.  It is the town after Borbon and before Bogo City in the north.  It maybe far from the city but it is accessible to local transportation via North Bus terminal.  They have an office within the city and you may also arrange a van at a reasonable cost.

I learned about the place through a friend of mine who posted a pic in FB.  What attracted me were the fine details in each corner.  It spells fine arts.  I'm not an expert but I can tell a good art work.  The owner must be an artist.

photo by Bunzie's Cove
This is the front view of the main villa.
photo by Bunzie's Cove
This is the back portion.
one of the rooms: back view
  This is the main bedroom.
photo by Bunzie's Cove
The Mezzanine Bedroom has 4 single beds.
Mezzanine bedroom
Hard wood dining table.
dining area
The kitchen comes with a fridge that you may for the entire activity.
kitchen and wash area
They also provide utensils. So no need to buy plastic cups, plates and spoon and fork.  
storage cabinet for their utensils
Most importantly the toilets are spacious and clean.

Talking about spacious ground, we did what we came here for.  We played The Assassin.  

The goal is to hit the mark.

Last man standing wins.

And I lost.

So its time to relax.

Take a plunge in their pool.

or ease the humid air in this calm sea.

or just enjoy the view.
the sunrise
you can never wake up at the wrong side of the bed if this is your morning view.
view by noon
I couldn't resist I needed to have a picture taken. ;)

whatever you do...

take a nap

catch up with the latest.

or just let time passes by.

the best time to bond is dinner time.  What I have learned is: always celebrate small wins.  Its the baby steps that get you to your goal.  Enjoy good food!

Thanks for coming with us Don Enriquez and for the picture.  I grabbed them ha ha.
And Marivic for the food. And the dishwashers! 

Business Walls
856 A.S. Fortuna Street, Banilad
Mandaue City, Cebu 6014

Main Villa
"The Main Villa offers the unforgettable experience of staying in your own private beach house.
With sweeping views of our cove and the resort, it is outfitted with a kitchen, living and dining area as well as a large outdoor terrace."

2000 sq ft
King size bed in main bedroom
4 single beds in mezzanine bedroom
Sleeps 6 adults
Additional single beds $4 (150 Php) ea
Dining room with 6 seats
Sofa and coffee table in living room
Full kitchen
Full bathroom
Multiple lounge and sitting areas
Bay windows
Large terrace
AC units in bedrooms and air coolers
Complimentary Bibingka and Calamansi juice
Meal service upon request (at resort price)
Beverages and snacks available for sale (Coke, San Miguel beer and assorted chips)
Rate: $160 (6500 Php) per day

Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Secret Gems

On a secret date? Surely, Cebu is a small place to hide. But let me take you to some places away from the curious eyes of the madding crowd.  One route, 5 dessert shops stops that will complete your date. Or you can skip everything else and get to dessert right away.

Here are some the secret gems within the city.

CupcaKen. Driving through Salvador extension Rd from Labangon to Banawa, just before you reach Convergys, right after the corner road that exits to V-Rama. I've been curious about the place. I saw a photo where my ex was tagged smiling sheepishly outside the store. I've been told of the location but just couldn't spot until a friend who lives nearby pointed the place.

A small place yet very neat. Here are some of their best sellers. (55 pesos each)
Red Velvet
Chocolate Choco-Chip Dough

Mango Float
My favorite? The mango float cupcake. The cake and the cream on top create a perfect combination.  It's like magic when its in your mouth. There's a pinch a zesty taste that will linger in your tongue.

From CupcaKen, take the R. Duterte St and continue driving until you reach Cebu Provincial Capitol then take the road below for the next stop.

If you can see the building of UNO, then you are at the right place.

Prepare your basic french as the chef/owner is from Bordeaux, France. Here are some of their delectable desserts: 
Blueberry Cheesecake

strawberry and pistachio macarons

Canelés de Bordeaux
My favorite is Canelés de Bordeaux.  Don't judge by its look.  It surprised me. Like a bomb, it burst in my mouth and gave an orgasmic blast. The bitter taste of a burnt outer layer played with the sweet soft inside. The owner explained that it contains the same ingredients of a crème brûlée but baked differently. Its best paired with coffee.

Parallel Road along Juana Osmena St, you may find Homebakers.

Here are some of their sweet delights.

Red Velvet

Chocolate Cake

Braso De Merceditas ( I dont own the pic)
Too yummy I forgot to take a picture, my personal favorite is Braso De Merceditas.  Funny how I visit the place often but I couldn't remember how they call the red velvet cake and the chocolate cake.  There's another bitter-sweet chocolate cake that i like, its called Serendipity.  Its a moist chocolate cake but doesn't hurt your throat. Two thumbs up for serendipity cake plus my unforgettable story behind it.

Drive through Juana Osmena then turn right on the next corner along Escario st.. When you reach the intersection, don't take the Gorordo Ave rd, continue driving until you get the intersection of Escario and Apitong St. It should be the street before Parklane International.

Hidden away in a corner J Block Building is Sweet Little Things.

It is true that great things come in small packages.

mudpie . red velvet . blueberry crumble
My favorite: its the mudpie of course. If you have seen my face, I had chocolate all over and a smile like that of a 2-year old kid.

Take note that Apitong St is a one way road, so take the Rosal rd then turn right and exit through J Solon.  For the next stop, get to Mindanao avenue and exit Ayala through Cardinal Rosales Ave.  Cross the intersection to F. Cabahug Street.  Turn left.  Corner of Pres Roxas St and Pres Magsaysay St is the Corner Bakery.

Not your ordinary bakery. It feels home-y. 

chocolate cake
Banana-Caramel Pie
When desserts save a not so good date, this classic chocolate is a monster sent from above. Each bite spells satisfaction. It’s perfectly baked and well moist. The cream plays with your tongue. The banana-caramel pie has a different story. The taste of the banana, nuts and cream explodes in your mouth. It will make you forget your name or your date!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Hunt for Cupcakes

I cancelled 2 trips.  Last weekend,  I was supposed go to Camiguin but cancelled early because of bad weather. The country had been hit by a series of tropical storms.  It was not ideal to travel by boat as the waves could get crazy.  It was too late to book for a plane as ticket would cost a fortune.

Another friend of mine invited me for Bantayan-Malapascua in the north. I confirmed since I cancelled my original plan anyway. Then the earth shook with a magnitude of 7.2 that devastated my hometown and the nearby island Bohol.  We decided to drop the plan.

The experience was so traumatic.  Other than that, the aftershocks were stressing us.  Couldn't sleep well as we were awaken each time the ground shook.

While scanning some blog sites I read this caption "I'm not hungry, I'm bored, thus I eat."  This gave me an idea rather than hibernate in my room, I could not sleep anyway and it was a long lazy Sunday afternoon.  I got my keys and drove to the city to find: CUPCAKES

So I went for a cupcake hunt out of boredom.  ha! ha!

I heard a lot about Cupcaken and Cupcake Theory, some good reviews and all but too bad they were close on a Sunday.  So I drove to Lahug hoping to find the first store. Located at SSY business center in Salinas drive, alas this chic cafe:  Cafe Caw.

Ahhh pastel colors.  It felt like I was in a prep school classroom.  It was neat and cute. I like the message they wrote in their stairs.

So I asked what's their best seller.  It's none other than the velvet cupcake of course for 60 pesos a piece!

The cream is sweet it hurts my throat.  The cake tastes good but not as moist as I wanted it. But both just compliment each other.  3 stars out of 5 for this velvet cupcake and 4 stars out of 5 for the whole place.  I will be back to try something else.

Then I drove to Mabolo for the 2nd store.  The earth shook again, I thought someone was just messing the car while waiting for the green light.  Located at the e-zone in Panagdait Mabolo is the Cupscake Avenue.

It was a small store like a container van turned into a store kind of thing.  But they did a great job decorating the place, majority in pink tone.

The bestseller is Banana Nutella for 49 pesos.  I could be bias I love banana cake and nutella.  Combining these 2 was just a smart idea. and I love it.  The cake was moist yet soft. The bittersweet nutella compliments with the taste of the cake.  Its not sweet that could hurt your throat.

4 stars for the cake and 3 stars for the place though their staff were friendly.

2 of my friends joined me as they felt the same way after the last aftershock. We went to BTC in Banilad and found Cake Couture.  It was a small store.  I didn't see any tables set up perhaps its only for take out. Maybe cupcakes aren't their main business.  I saw some wedding cakes that were made with great craftsmanship. For 60 pesos I got another velvet cake as the salted caramel sounded weird for a dessert.

The cream is not made mainly of butter so its not so sweet.  The cake is soft and not dry. Bocca Felice means happy mouth, true, it made me smile after my first bite. 4 stars for the cake and 2 stars for the place for the fact that they don't have dine in option.

A block away is Phoebe's Cupcakery, the road going to Maria Luisa.  Although I've been here before and their cupcakes were amazingly yummy, my friends haven't been there so I took them there.  There must be at least 1 cupcake I haven't tried.

So I picked the Cinnabunny for 55 pesos.  Again, Phoebe never failed me.  The cake was dense and moist. It's not oily as most carrot cakes are.  The cream leaves a desired taste in your mouth maybe because of the cinnamon.  Its perfect 5 stars for me.  Very  intimate place too, neatly designed, it must be a 4 stars!

For dinner, we selected either One Claypot House in Capitol Area or Mae Krua Thai Cuisine in Ramos. With the earthquake and all restaurants inside the malls were so ever rated. Also, we just wanted to avoid crowded places plus we like doing the search thing.  That feeling of accomplishing something because you found what you were looking for felt happiness. So we went for the Thai.

Mae Krua is in Ramos St near Velez Hospital.  Its a sister company of Krua Thai in SM, Siam in Ayala and Blue Elephant in IT Park. But its less expensive. Our bill was only 880 pesos for the 3 of us.  If we were in Blue Elephant it would cost us a thousand plus something. The place was cozy, different location not the usual to go place.  Taste wise, I still like Blue Elephant and the best Phad Thai in town is in Siam.

That was one fun afternoon.