Sunday, March 30, 2014

The KaLui Experience

When visiting Puerto Princesa, Palawan never miss to dine at KaLui Restaurant.  A bit pricey but its worth all your money.

I guess first impression lasts.  So we went there without reservation.  Luckily they still accepted us.  While waiting to be seated, it's the only restaurant that asked me to remove my shoes.  That's when my curiosity started.  "Kalui Restaurant is made of native wooden house. Its floor is clean and well-polished, you wouldn't mind to walk barefoot." I was just worried if my toes were clean.

It's like an art shop-slash-restaurant.

The staff were friendly.  He didn't mind my broken Tagalog.

First day and first meal.  We already set the bar very high. I thought, this is going to be a great vacation.

From the menu we got special of the day set.

Fish Steak
It was tender and juicy and flavorful. Signs of freshly caught fish.

The meat was sweet.  the sauce has a tint the garlic and butter which was perfect.

Spicy Squid
That calamari coating puzzled me.  It was a very familiar taste.  I think I tried it before but it was not used in squid.  but hey it was perfect.

We also ordered these. And we remembered there were just 3 of us.

Sinigang ni Kaka
The soup tasted really good.  The sweetness of buko juice and the sourness of I dont know what the put it.

Palawan Seafood Sisig
This was my favorite.  Seafood sisig.  That white sauce is a killer! Took away the "ocean-ness" taste of the squid. It spicy mayonnaise and some  herbs.

 Need I say more about crabs? However is it cooked, I will love them.

as a compliment, mixed fruits

You know sometimes in a restaurant although it's a different dish there's this common taste like a signature taste or something.  In KaLui, each food served has its distinct taste.  They bust in my mouth like fireworks, my mind went crazy analyzing each taste.  Each plate served tasted good, each was just different, I really enjoyed them.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Underground River Adventure, Palawan

Finally Palawan! So what took me so long to visit this amazing province? Me and my ignorance about malaria.  I'm a mosquito magnet and the last thing I wanted is a vacation turned into a disaster. Must be my sweet blood, I attract mosquitoes.

So what made me finally say yes to my friend's invitation?

Air Asia had a seat sale for 900 pesos all in round trip from Cebu to Puerto Princessa. (Air Asia and Zest Air merged sometime last year) So I thought it was a pretty good deal. By the way, kudos to the pilot last March 6, in my entire flying life, it was the safest landing experience for someone who is so scared of landing.

I had read and seen good reviews about the place one cannot deny that it's a must go to spot. The videos and the pictures were so inviting.  Call it ban wagon, most of my friends had been there and they seemed very convincing with their stories.

The food.  Each region in this country separated by bodies of water has its own taste and flavor in their food. Clustered by the language we speak, it would be an intense cultural experience, so I thought. Palawan has their own local language but most of them speak Tagalog. I can understand Tagalog but since I don't use it often, speaking it is a bit challenging.  Luckily they can understand my Cebuano. Except for that tour guide who gave me a hard time, he must have enjoyed hearing me in my twisted Tagalog and only to find out after the tour he knows Cebuano.

Of course the famous Underground River. I learned about it since I was in primary school.  The place got hyped when it became part of the new 7 wonders of the world.  A lot of international tourists come to the country to see it, why not when I'm just an hour away.

Plus my friend did the itinerary so all I have to do is tag along. Cool.

So you can visit the Underground River you need to have a permit from the city hall and it may take weeks due to the number of tourist. They only allow 900 visitors in a day, part of preservation.  To make this vacation hassle free, we got an agent to do it for us. We met Ms Veve (+63-919-272-6174).  She's very friendly and accommodating.  She worries for us.  She made sure that our experience would be the best. We could call her anytime if we need some thing or just have a question about where to.

She booked our tour that includes the permit, the van, the banca, the lunch, environmental fee and a tour guide for Php 1400.00. She also helped us booked for an inn for Php 700 per person. It was her who arranged our transportation from Puerto to El Nido for  Php1250.00 the next day. Basically our virtual tour guide as to where to when we where roaming Puerto Princesa. I'd say you get her when you plan a trip.

The van picked us up at 7:00AM.  Surprisingly they were on time. No Filipino time in Palawan. It was a hour drive from Puerto Princesa to Sabang port. It was a roller coaster drive going there. There were sharp curves, zigzag roads, uphill and downhill.  The tour guide was being funny so I guess it helped.

Sabang port
From Sabang Port a "banca" will take you to the Underground River.

 Roughly 20 minutes.  The weather was so perfect.  The sun was up and the waves were not as crazy.

I never expected we would dock in a beach. "wrong footwear" I must have said it loud, this guy with an English accent smiled and greeted me hi.

After the registration we followed this wooden trail

viola! just like in the post cards.

We were fully geared.

The rock formations were amazing.  The tour-guide/paddler (a different guy from the van) said to activate our imagination. He directs us what to see, where to glance, he was funny actually. What the guy said from the vlog above was right.  A little left, left, nooo.. too much left.. There was a part that I was laughing really hard, yes inside the cave!

It was a good 45 minute adventure.

Luckily for us, we didn't have to wait in line for that long. We were ready for lunch when we headed back to Sabang port.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Birthday At La Creperie Paris

There's a new diner in town called La Creperie Paris. So, its French and they serve crepes (can it be more obvious?!)

My friend took me there on my birthday because:

1. I tried to learn french yet failed.
2. Paris is my dream destination.
3. I have a huge crush with the French chef.
4. and the crepes

I have tried to learn French since college. The pronunciation is just too difficult and spelling is another story. The only main reason why I enrolled those classes was because I like how it sounds.

There something about the Eiffel Tower that amazes me, like a moth glaring at a flickering oil lamp, every time I see a picture of it.  My minds starts to wander.  When will I see you Paris?

I didn't really know he's a chef.  We met him at M√∂venpick. He's the boyfriend of my friend's friend's-friend. He caught my attention while he was in this small pool nothing but he's board short.  Drool.  He started talking and I caught his accent.  He was from South France. Interesting.

I didn't really fancy crepes.  There's something in the pancake that disagreed with my tongue until I tasted the mango crepe from Marco Polo.  So when my friend told me that the crepes at La Creperie Paris tasted good I took her word for it, plus I know the chef and it was a birthday treat, how could I say no? 

They serve two types of crepes, the salted crepes (the breakfast type) and the sweet crepes (the dessert kind.)

La Fermiere: Bacon. Mushroom, Emmental, Mozzarella and Egg @ 185 pesos
Salted crepes are made from buckwheat flour.  You can never go wrong with bacon. Surprisingly I like it.  It was heavy actually or perhaps I did not come with an empty stomach. La Classique was marked with a flag on their menu.  Its the chef's specialty made of Ham, Emmental, Mozzarella and Egg.  I prefer bacon than ham so I chose the first.

For dessert my friend chose the mango.  The pancake tasted good.  It was thinly made the way I want it. It tasted good overall however, I wish they seasoned the mangoes with butter, lemon and wine they same way in Marco Polo.  The fresh mangoes were not as sweet.  (so I've tasted better mangoes)   

I chose apple-cinnamon with salted caramel and vanilla ice cream. I give this 2 thumbs up. I can be biased. but hey who doesn't love caramel and vanilla.  Toppings are toppings, what I watch in a crepe is the crepe (I call it pancake) itself. and this compliments well with the toppings without the eeekkk taste.

Like any other french meal.  I wrap it with a fine coffee.

They are located near Sacred Heart School for Girls.  Its near Homebakers along Juana Osmena St.  They are open 11AM to 10PM. see the facebook page here.


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Pocketful of Sunshine At Canso X

Feb 15, 2014

A week after my trek to Mt Sirao, a friend invited me for another outdoor activity.  Me and my selective reading saw the words hike and Balamban (a town in Cebu) without hesitation I cleared my calendar.

I don't know, maybe, I guess its just me and my mellow dramatic bones but there's something about the sun. It gives happiness even if it hurts you, just like love.  Snap.  Okay I went overboard. (this is what you get for toggling from this page to fb reading status. haha)

The crisp scent of fresh air from the greens tickles me. The lovely sight takes away the pain I started to feel. (I hate descend, it weakens my knees).  And life is like that, we need inspiration to keep moving forward. So what inspires you?

A one fine day with nature. The clouds. Reminds me of a childhood poem by William Wordsworth "I Wandered Lonely as Cloud"
"I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze." 

But naahhh, of course I was with friends and actually I met new friends too. or maybe they were the daffodils. This is me spacing... my mind wanders a lot.. ;)

Finally a creek.  It was time to wash and rest.

While I found a good spot to just hug my knees under a shade, I played with the stones. I tossed one then another. I must have hit the play button as the music started to play. Like an orchestra, the water started to hum as it hits the stones. Then the leaves joined in chorus as they sway with the soft wind.

"So open up your morning light
And say a little prayer for I
You know that if we are to stay alive
Then see the peace in every eye"

Don't blame me, I grew up watching Dawson's creek.  I must be hungry that time.

This and more outdoor activities in Canso X. It is a 12-hectare themed leisure eco picnic park offering a variety of outdoor entertainment and attractions developed by AboitizLands.  The e-mail from my friend that I selectively read was about their soft opening.  Located in baranggay Cansomoroy Balamban Cebu.

I can reconsider camping but biking, I leave it to the experts.  During soft opening, everyone was treated for yoga, hooping, poi, parkour and capoeira exhibitions. The best of Balamban’s delicacies including mais, bibingka and coconut were also offered.

While X stands for extreme, I kept mine within.  

click. click. click.

Just be a kid again and play!

Here's their promotional video. Enjoy

Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Alps Cafe: A Little Piece of Sky

A secret love affair.

An oasis hidden in the labyrinth streets of Guadalupe and Capitol area, you can find Alps Cafe: A Little Piece of Sky Cafe

Far from the madding crowd, this travel inspired cafe, is a perfect place to hide - - - or not anymore.

Its noiseless background makes this a perfect place to talk. Or just stare at each other. Oh that smile, confirms you are being loved.

The owner must have been to everywhere. A display of memorabilia from Cairo, Paris, Singapore and India.

They open from 4pm to 9pm.

It's so home-y, it feels like you are in your own living room.

I don't care how you get here just get here if you can.

I was just reminiscing a secret love affair which was done eons ago.  I came here with my friends who finds other cafes so cliche already. We tried to avoid crowded places so we laid our map and began our hunting. We just had lunch so I wanted to start with a cafe mocha.  The barista knew what he was doing.  It was smooth and less foam-y the way I like my coffee to be.

From the menu:

Matcha Waffle @ 95 pesos
Ignorance is a bliss. This looked appealing to me so I ordered one without knowing what matcha is.  Green could be avocado, pistachio or mint flavored ice cream.

The waffle tasted good and I love chocolate, but when the ice cream sent signal to my taste buds, instinct told me to stick out your tongue and get that tissue.  I didn't like it.  I tried to be a tea person but hey I am team coffee and you can never sway me.  That's when I learned matcha is green tea.

But to each his own (taste buds).  It was one versus three.  My three friends liked it and it was evident on their faces.  How I wish I could find the same taste that painted a smile on their faces.

Popeye's Dip: Pesto dip served with wheat bread @ 105 pesos
This I could take, pesto. But how I wish they put more olive oil and cheese for a more flavorful taste. It was a bit bitter but overall it was fine.

Shirley Brown: Homemade brownies, vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce @ pesos
This is the best.  I could be bias since I love both chocolate and vanilla. How much more if its combined. The bitter taste of the chocolate and the sweetness of vanilla, it's a party in my tongue.

Tito Lemonsito: Moringa juice mixed with cucumber and lemon @155 pesos
Simply refreshing.  Of all the green we had, this is the farthest I could go.  No traces of the bitterness of "malungay" as the lemon won the taste.

Thank you alps cafe for the warm welcome.  And thank you for your goodbye wish.  I will surely be back

This is their bill pouch... very unique!