Saturday, December 22, 2012

Legazpi, Albay - Embarcadero de Legazpi

Day 1 - After checking in at our hotel, me and my friend just unpacked our things and went straight to Embarcadero de Legazpi. Getting there was easy; we rode a tricycle to LCC mall and then we just had to wait for Embarcadero's free shuttle service. Travel time took less than 30 minutes. 

We also passed by Legazpi Boulevard, Bicol's version of Manila's Baywalk. It's a good place to hang around and feel the cool sea breeze. 

Legazpi Boulevard by day

 Embarcadero de Legazpi

Embarcadero serves as one of the prime shopping and lifestyle hot spots in Legazpi. I like the sophisticated interiors which reminds me of Ayala Malls. It's also a good venue to hold different events. When we were there, a kids' beauty pageant was taking place. I took time to relax and watch the program while waiting for my friend to fetch me up.

World - class shopping and dining establishments can be seen, it's a one-stop-shop for local and foreign tourists. There's also the pasalubong center where one can shop for 
Bicol - made products such as native abaca bags, keychain, hats and many more.

Monday, December 10, 2012

What I ♥ about my Samsung Galaxy Note II

October 26th. I got my awesome phone through a post paid plan subscription. At last! I was dead happy and excited to get my hands on this wonderful device which I have been looking forward to even before it's official and international release. 

Let me share with you the reasons why I just love the Note II ♥ 

First stop: Specifications. what's in the box?

The Galaxy Note II is equipped with a 5.5" HD Super AMOLED display,  HSDPA and 4G LTE network, 1.6 GHz quad core processor, 16 - 64GB memory plus 2GB of RAM with expandable memory and Android version 4.1.2 Jelly Bean. Not to mention the 8 MP rear camera and 1.9 MP front camera.

The Galaxy's Best Ever Yet

My Top 4 Coolest Features

Pop Up Play

Ever experienced a time when you have to close a video or a movie that you're watching because a call just came in or an email popped out? The Note II has a solution for that. Taaa Daaaa! presenting the pop up play feature wherein you can still enjoy whatever it is that you're watching at the same time doing other things such as text messaging, internet surfing and even games.


Air View

This feature allows the user to browse his or her photos, videos, text messages and other stuff without having to open the actual content or folder, just by sticking the S Pen close to the screen that you want to preview.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Legazpi, Albay - Biggs Diner

While exploring Embarcadero de Legazpi, me and my friend stumbled upon Bigg's Diner.        
The place caught our attention so we decided to have our late dinner there. That's when I only knew that it's Bicol's largest and most popular fast food chain which started in Naga City and spread throughout the rest of the country.

Bigg's adapted the diner concept which serves typical American foods such as Hamburgers, hash browns, pizza, all things fried, grilled and the likes; at the same time showcasing Bicolano and other Filipino cuisines.
The design is inspired by posh retro vintage. makes me want to go back to the 60's and 70's. It's all about checkered flooring, antique toys, paintings, collectibles and wallpapers of famous personalities.

I was too tired to eat that night so I just ordered the Pepperoni Pizza Bread (P47.00) and  Creamy Macaroni Salad (P55.00). The salad actually tastes good, It suited my palate. Not too bland, not too sweet. Just right. I was glad to order the bread, it's so cheesy and full of flavor. Pizzas never really disappoint me. Good thing it was toasted just the way I like it.

On our third and last day, we visited their branch in Pacific Mall for brunch. I had the Italian Spaghetti Platter (P129.00). I was surprised that the serving size is bigger than most of the local food chains. The chicken is tender and crisp, the pasta is cooked just right. I recommend this for all the kids and kids at heart like me.

Concorde cake anyone? Another first for me. I'd say the flavor is very rich and I love the mousse filling. It's every chocolate lover's dream.

My friend also bought a slice of carrot cake (P49.00) for dessert. I always find carrot cakes interesting, its yummy and healthy at the same time.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Palawan Adventure - Mitra's Ranch and Baker's Hill

I was surprised that the city tour went faster than expected. We were just down to two attractions and it's not even lunch time yet. Our tour guide decided to put Mitra's Ranch and Baker's Hill last on our itinerary so that we can have time to shop for goods there.

Mitra's Ranch

The ranch is owned by the family of the late senator, Ramon Mitra. It's a good spot to enjoy the view of the Palawan cityscape from afar. We spent our time to sit and relax while feeling the cool breeze.

Unfortunately, visitors are not allowed to enter inside the house anymore but anyone would still prefer to stay outside and enjoy the breathtaking scenery. 
Picnic chairs and tables are everywhere from the parking area to the viewing deck. One can also try horseback riding and the 360-meter zip line for P500.00 each.

Baker's Hill

Not far from the ranch is the Baker's Hill. It's basically a bakery on top of a hill turned into a tourist attraction because of the adorable life-sized displays which makes you want to go back to your childhood :)

The Hopia Ube is so good my mom bought 5 boxes to take home to Manila. Yummy!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Palawan Adventure - The City Tour

It's the 2nd to the last day of our Puerto Princesa getaway. Nobody wants to leave, I don't want to think about leaving at all. We felt at home there. I wish our town in Cavite can be that beautiful and disciplined. But before we say goodbye to the place, we just have to make one last stop - the city tour! 

Immaculate Conception Cathedral

The church was the nearest place from our Pension House, barely took 10 minutes to get there. I like this holy structure, it reminds me of our church back in Naic. I discovered that we share the same patron saint and celebrate the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary every December 8th.

inside the church

The Grotto

Just beside the church is the Plaza Cuartel. nothing much to look at but it has a historical significance in the city. It served as a garrison during the 2nd World War wherein Japanese soldiers and American hostages where burned and killed. 

Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center

The Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center is basically a breeding ground for different kinds of crocodiles.  It is also a research institute for the conservation of Palawan's other endangered species. 

On the picture is my brother posing with the remains of a crocodile, the skin and bones tells the story of the country's largest crocodile until Lolong came along. I thought we'll see him there but the tour guide said that he is being kept in Surigao Del Sur. 

Bones of a Sperm Whale are also displayed in the center. It is said to be recovered from the Tubbataha Reefs. 
HUGE! I see some sort of a boat or a canoe when I look at it.

The Bearcat interaction

For a minimal fee of P20.00, one can take unlimited pictures with Palawan's Binturong, or popularly known as the Bearcat. In my opinion it is called as such because it's fuzzy like a bear but not big enough to be like one, much like a cat. It's totally harmless, it doesn't make any sound when you carry it and it's extremely cute! I'm just a little afraid that it will scratch my neck and bite me haha foolish thought! I wish I can take one at home :)

Crocodile Farm

It's time to meet and greet the crocs! First stop is the hatchery. It's where the eggs are kept and hatched. Baby crocs are everywhere, mostly from 0 months up to 2 years of age. Our guide told us to avoid making loud noises and to the take the flash off our cameras so as not to scare the babies because they might just jump off their cage and bite us!

Down to the lair of the big crocs. According to our guide, casualties have occurred in the past wherein visitors accidentally fall off the viewing deck and gets eaten by the big boys.   
My mom told me that before it was really dangerous to walk through the ledge because there were no railings on the side, one wrong step and you're sure to get eaten! 

This was our complete souvenir shot with a baby crocodile. Unlimited pictures can be taken for P30.00 each. The baby croc is 2 years old, it had it's mouth taped to prevent casualties. I'd say its awfully slimy and cold but it behaved and cooperated with us just fine!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Palawan Adventure - Honda Bay

Day 3 - Sunny Tuesday morning. Everyone's excited because it's beach day! The whole family was already awake as early as 5AM, preparing what to wear and bring. As for me, I brought 2 pairs of swimsuit just in case. As long as my sunblock and camera is with me I'm sure to be okay.
It was a 30-minute drive from our pension house to Sta. Lourdes Wharf, the place where Honda Bay is situated. As we availed a tour package, everything was set. An outrigger boat was waiting for us. Hooray! we're one notch closer to the corals and fishes :D

smile guys!
Pambato Reef

Not far from the port is the Pambato Reef. Basically, it's one of the famous snorkeling and diving spots in Palawan. A marine sanctuary where a variety of fishes, corals, clams and other sea life can be found. 

When you see a turtle - shaped raft stationed somewhere out the sea, that's the snorkeling spot. We hurried to prepare our gears - life vest, sunblock and snorkeling mask. and don't forget the cameras!

A brief orientation is given before the activity. A designated diver/guide is assigned in every group. the diver will then bring their groups to a snorkeling site. 
I saw things I never saw before, giant clams and pearls, different kinds of fishes and those blue corals are just so awesome :) It's not my first time to do this thing but I think among the places I've visited, Palawan has the best diving and snorkeling site. Too bad we didn't rent one of those underwater camera case. I feel bad whenever I remember.

Pandan Island

After an hour or so, we headed to Pandan Island. I was hoping to visit one more island before we get home but our guide said some of the Islets like the famous Snake Island is now restricted. She didn't mentioned why, but we were still happy to push through nonetheless.

According to our guide Ate Jean, the island is called as such because of the Pandan Trees  growing around since it was discovered.

Welcome to Pandan Island!
Our tour package comes with a buffet picnic lunch. We shared a hearty meal of Shrimp, Grilled Pork and Fish, Inihaw na Talong, Crabs, Mangang hilaw and salted eggs and tomatoes on the side. It was prepared by our tour guide and some of the staff on the island. Seafood never tasted this yummy!

Things to do in Pandan Island

The island is a good spot for diving and snorkeling. little fishes can be seen not far from the shore. it's fairly easy to spot them. Jet skis, Banana Boat and Kayak equipment can be rented. Henna Tattoos and Body Massages are also available.

There are people who offer to take some trick shots for free. it is only your discretion if you will give them a tip or not. 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Palawan Adventure - Iwahig prison and penal farm

Day 4 - We were scheduled for the half day city tour. First on the list is the Iwahig prison and penal farm. 
A unique penal system is implemented wherein the prisoners are not totally locked up, they can roam around the area and are given the privilege to choose whatever activities they want from farming, fishing and handicraft making. Those activities serve as their punishment. 
If not for our tour guide, I wouldn't think that I'm inside a prison and penal colony. It's like I'm visiting an hacienda in the province. Ducks, goats, cows and other farm animals can also be found within the vicinity. It's much like a typical community with a school, canteen, lodging and a hospital.

The Recreation Hall - the gift shop

The place is a one stop shop for souvenirs. A little pricey than what you can buy in the city but the products sure are worth it. Handcrafted by the inmates, the sales income will go to the inmates and their families by the time their sentence is lifted.

Prices range from P5.00 - P30.00 for key chains, bracelets and refrigerator magnets. 
T-shirts can be bought for P250-P300 depending on the design. Large wall decorations and wood works come at a much higher price ranging from P500-P3,000.

Sungka. wood carvings. crafts made of shells

My adorable nephew grooving with the inmates! 

A wide variety of refrigerator magnets, purses and key chain souvenirs

We had the chance to meet the prisoners. They were inside the gift shop actually selling the goods to visitors.
Warm greetings and heartfelt experiences were shared. I can't help but cry inside and feel pity for those guys. If only I can buy all the goods in there I would. Most of them have a new life waiting outside while others suffer the ill fate of permanent confinement inside until their last day.

Perfectly made wood works. Crocodile and Turtle - inspired stuffs

My mom enjoying her shopping time

This photo was taken by one of the inmates as we bid Adieu. 

One thing that the prisoners taught me:

 LIFE is too SHORT. LIVE it. SEIZE THE DAY as it comes. never do something that you will REGRET in the long run.