Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Visit to General Santos City: Day 3

September 14, 2014 - We checked out 12 noon at Rosal Beach Resort. We arrived in General Santos City near 3:00 PM.  We had late lunch at Coco's. Nothing unique actually just like any other diner.  Its not bad but I've tasted better dips.


We lazily spent our afternoon there. We didn't have any other activities anymore. We missed the wet market for the mandatory picture with the giant tuna. The idea of walking in the park that didn't buy us. Museums were closed on a Sunday. Kris had to go to work.  

And if we go to Lake Sebu, we needed more time.  We were scheduled to fly back to Cebu the next morning already.

Tourism is not the main focus of GenSan. They are more on business. The city is only a gateway to those must-visit-out-of-town-sites.

We headed to our room for the rest of the afternoon.  We went to SM to meet Jmari (the one who picked us from the airport) again for dinner.  And of course I had to buy a gift for my inaanak
 

For dinner, J brought us to Tiongson Arcade.  Its a cluster of grilling stations.


It's pick and grill.


or sizzling... tuna belly.


And of course, the star of this trip, Tuna Panga normally costs 400 pesos from where I came from but only 250 pesos in GenSan or they said could be cheaper.





Monday, October 20, 2014

The Visit to General Santos City: Day 2

Last September 12, 2014, together with 2 of my friends, I prepared an itinerary for the first time; destination from Cebu City to General Santos City via Cebu Pacific. The mission: invade the Tuna Capital of the country.


We spent Friday night in the city. See Day 1.


Day 2. We decided to go further south and experience the waves of Celebes Sea. It was a fair day actually. The sun was up but not too hot. A good day to go to the beach. Yes, we planned to spend all Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning at a beach.  With no other plans but to enjoy the breeze, the sand and the sun.

There's a van terminal near Veranza Mall going to Glan for approximately an hour to an hour and a half ride. The fare was 100 pesos.


From Glan, we took a tricycle for 40 pesos each going to Rosal Beach Resort. We initially planned to go to Isla Jardin but the tricycle driver discouraged us because of the rough terrain going there.  He said the sand were better at Rosal anyway.  He sounded reliable as he was friendly, so we got convinced.


We were hoping to get a beach front hut.  With no prior reservation, we got luckily, there was one room available for us.


Yup behind me is the room.


It was actually spacious for just the 3 of us. Room rate: 2,800 for 2 plus 300 pesos additional person.


This was our dining. A bit pricey but it was really a big room. The resort was so quiet. It felt like we were the only guest. It was all worth it.


Here's our view (Sorry no panoramic cam)

To my right:

In Front of me:

To my left:

This was my spot. Perfect while reading a book.

The room came with a free breakfast.  But I suggest you bring food especially for dinner. That was what we miss to bring. So we went back to Glan for another 40 peso ride to buy a lechon manok and bread.

However, the water was not clear. I understand it could be the monsoon. But what I don't understand were the plastic bags floating.  It was dirty actually.  Please take care of your natural resources.  You'll miss it when its gone.  

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Visit to General Santos City: Day 1

12:30PM - We arrived 10 minutes earlier than scheduled at the International Airport of General Santos City.


A lot of friends asked me what is in GenSan? Why GenSan? That was the first trip that I prepared the itinerary.  Google came handy so I made my research days prior to our trip. What's in GenSan? uhhmm TUNA.

In fact it was the last day of tuna festival when we arrived; Sept 12, 2014. We missed the street parade. What we saw were colorful parade floats displayed outside a mall.

The city is quite far from the airport; approximately 30 minutes.  Based on my research, you can take a taxi for 300 pesos or a van for 150 pesos or if the budget is tight at 50 pesos for multi-cab.

Luckily a friend of mine was available to pick us up. She used to be my office mate and a close friend of mine. I guess that answers the why.

  
For six years, I have not seen my inaanak. I thought I owe him big time.

Our room wasn't ready yet so we went to a nearby mall for late lunch.

The most expensive King Crab I've eaten @ 700 pesos

I read good reviews and a friend recommended it.


A bit pricey actually but the taste was worth the price.  I noticed they are generous with garlic. 

L-R: chicken lumpia - fried rice - beef spareribs - chicken adobo
Overall, it was a good lunch.


That mandatory picture a tourist should have when visiting Veranza. The cascading water controls the humidity and it was pretty cool actually. Surprisingly, for a weekend there were few people even some shops were on sale like as low as 70% off. After lunch, I couldn't resist the markdowns so we went shopping. We were supposed to be visiting some museums and parks and learn about history but naah Aero, GAP and Guess were worth visiting and my friends agreed.


This was our room.  We stayed at Palm Woods Pensionne House. We got the Twin Deluxe for 920 pesos for the 3 of us already.  Staff were very friendly and accommodating.  The room was neat, free wi-fi and toilet was clean. I booked through their facebook page only and no down payment requirement.  Isn't that hassle free?

Friday night at 8pm, we went to our room to freshen up and rest for a while. We were waiting for another friend who would take us to the night life scene of the city. For the meantime, let us take a selfie.

  
So Kris took us to Pahayahay Resto Bar for a drink. I saw another familiar face singing at the stage. I waived hello as he announced my arrival.  Blushed as everyone turned their head to see me. Thanks Jess for the grand entrance.


I wasn't feeling well, I was about to have fever so we call it a day early.


The following morning before leaving to Gumasa, Kriss brought us to Taps and Mix for a posh breaksfast. Naah he just like to use the word posh. @75 pesos per meal it was enough to start a bright day ahead.



Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Tale of a Scaredy Cat in Medellin Cebu

I really thought Medellin was just a vast plantation.  Every time I visit my mom's hometown, Daan Bantayan, the town next to Medellin, all I could see was a limitless green in the horizon.



One summer, I joined my friend's team building activity. Instead of turning right to my mom's hometown, we turned left. We drove to a long road with nothing but sugarcane. Uphill. Downhill. It seemed endless.


Alas, at the end point, beyond the greens, this long stretch of white sand and blue water.  But this was not our destination. We were bound to Gibitngil Island.


So we camped.  The last time I slept in a tent was when I was in grade school.  I came unprepared and my back hurt.  The lights were off at 8PM.  It was humid.  I had trouble sleeping.  Until I found an even ground. Then the temperature decreased.  The cold breeze started to hover our tent.  It came with mild dew.  Then I was snoring.


"Medellin is a second class municipality in the province of Cebu, Philippines. It is one of the nine municipalities comprising the 4th Congressional District of Cebu Province. Approximately 120 KM north from Cebu City via Barangay Curva and 113 kilometres via barangay Luy-a. The town is bounded on the north by the municipality of DaanBantayan; on the south by the municipality of San Remigio and city of Bogo; on the east by the Camotes Sea and on the west by the TaƱon Strait."
  

A pump boat just docked next to ours and brought these, crabs at 80 pesos per kilo.  The cheapest I've encountered.


Couldn't resist my all time favorite we bought some for lunch.


Getting impatient,  I know, on my way, I said to myself, I was the last person to hop in.

video

Remember this scene? Yeah I'm a fan. By the way, we were off to "Funtastic Island". Colorfully painted that made this rock island fantastic.


I joined the group because I was hoping I could tick an item from my bucket list, cliff jumping.  Inspired by Bella from the video clip above.  I'm a fan and I'm crazy so I wrote it in my list.  Ok, so yeah, love life troubles and that stories.


So it's 30 feet high. It was high.  I was standing at the diving board. My knees were shaking. I could see the tension of the water.  One wrong foot forward it could hit my spine.  Disabled me forever or could kill me.  I attempted 3 times. But, I got my senses back.  Yes, Bella was too crazy to jump off and true, I was too scared. F**k drama. I was relieved, no jumping needed.  So yes, I scratch cliff diving from my list not because I've done it but because I will not do it. I don't have to prove anything. Maybe my youthfulness has faded, I will let it fade gracefully.  I was already happy with the sand and the sun. That really scared me. No defense needed. I accepted my defeat.

 
Anyhow, the water was cool. So I happily played in the water.  Looking forward to scuba diving instead.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

The 10 Things Why You Should Visit Ilocos Norte

Welcome to Ilocos Norte.  Finally!  After several plans and attempts I set foot to the northernmost part of the country, Region 1.  While in El Nido this year, the same bunch talked about their purchased tickets to the province, while I, monitored diligently Cebu Pacific's webpage hoping for a seat sale! Alas, that trip was meant to be!


Here are the 10 things why you should also booked that ticket and visit Ilocos Norte.

1. The Parola (Lighthouse) of Cape Bojeador


"First lit on March 30, 1892, and is set high on Vigia de Nagpartian Hill overlooking the scenic Cape Bojeador where early galleons used to sail by. After over 100 years, it still functions as a welcoming beacon to the international ships that enter the Philippine Archipelago from the north and guide them safely away from the rocky coast of the town." (Wikipedia)


What pairs old structures? yes ghost stories.  The atmosphere was a bit eerie even with fellow guests.  Good thing, I don't have the sight for that dimension.

2.   Kapurpurawan Rock Formation


It felt like I was in a Tagalog movie.  To explore the area, you can walk or ride a horse.  It was so hot that day I opted to rent an umbrella for 10 pesos and walk.


I was curious with this piece of art.  I wasn't sure if there were alligators in the area that this sculpture represent.  But the main feature was this white limestone formation.  If I were a geologist I would have appreciated it more.  I should have paid attention to my geology class back in college.  It was beautiful actually but too bad I did not give justice in my photo.  I don't have an eye of an artist and I don't know my camera that well.  If you are a photographer, the view is a good subject.      


3. The Bangui Windmills


Kudos to Ilocos Norte for this renewable energy source.  I hope my hometown would take this lead for cheaper electric bills.  We may not have strong winds but hey, we have the sun!  Amazing towering giants. And my friend did her windmill pose with her flags.


4. The Beach

Need I say more? These photos speak for themselves.  And if you get lucky, you'll catch a wave.  Visit them during the -ber months for surfing.

Saud Beach

Saud Beach

Maira-ira Beach (Blue Lagoon Cove)

Maira-ira Beach (Blue Lagoon Cove)

5. Patapat viaduct

"The bridge is elevated 31 meters over sea level. It is a concrete coastal bridge 1.3 km long and connects the Maharlika Highway from Laoag, Ilocos Norte to the Cagayan Valley Region. It rises along the town's coastal mountains, which is the starting point of the Cordillera Mountain Range that snakes through Northern Luzon. It is the 4th longest bridge in the Philippines." (Wikipedia)


So they asked "what are we doing here?" As an engineering grad, I said, great project. And to appreciate the place more, of course a jump shot!


6. Paoay Sand Dunes - 4x4 ride 


Naaah, I'm a poser.  I didn't drive.  Not on the steep hill and worse loose sand.


It was a fun ride.  You should have heard me scream with all the stunts Mr driver gave us.


7. Paoay Sand Dunes - Sand Boarding


I thought it was easy. It was until I scrape my knees and elbows.  The board halted but my body mass was still in motion I flew a distance from the board and end up lying under the sun with sand all over me.  I saw my friend's worried faces, "I'm alive" I shouted then laughed.

8. The Marcos'


Ilocos Norte is a Marcos territory.  To learn about the other side of the story, visit the museum.  The adjacent building is where they laid the body of late president Ferdinand Marcos. No pictures allowed.  



This was his house growing up.  I love the windows, we used to have one like that, capiz shells.


 9.  Old Churches, Buildings, Parks

Sinking Bell Tower
Paoay Church
 
Provincial Capitol Building

Pamulinawen Fountain in Aurora Park
The revived house of Juan Luna

 10. Food

And of course the best part.

Dragon Fruit

Ilocadia Express

Dinakdakan

Pinakbet pizza

Bagnet
Crispy Dinugo-an