Of X-deals and Because food is life

I will start this post with a sort of rant. I really hate how X-deals work with some bloggers. X-deals are not really a surprising concept in life but what I really hate about this practice is when bloggers would post a lengthy and rave review of a restaurant or whatever; telling everyone how much they love the food, ambiance and all that jazz. You see, the problem with this practice is that readers like you and me will believe the blogger and actually try out the food or whatever they are promoting.

This actually happened to me and my friend, Mark after we have read a “great” review of a certain pasta dish that we love. This may have happened a year ago so y’all probably think that my rant is really outdated. Nevertheless, we tried the dish and we were extremely disappointed. It wasn’t the pasta of your dreams, as what a blog post has declared. I really don’t want to go on with the negatives because I still would like to think that maybe the chef was just having a bad day; thus the atrocious pasta dish.

So anyway, that rant is basically just a prelude to a food review which means that I did not take any x-deals with the establishment. I would have posted this blog a couple of weeks ago but life took hold and all that adulting had to be done first before I could spare a few minutes to blog.

So a few weeks ago, we were able to (finally!) check out Pasta Bella in Kasambagan. This restaurant has received a lot of positive reviews which of course made us very eager to try out their signature dishes. Although I was still a bit skeptical with all the reviews but I trusted my guts this time. We have always been planning to visit the restaurant since they started out but we never had the time.

Pasta Bella is located at the rooftop level of Kima Glass Supply building which is right across Castle Peak Hotel. Look out for the bright yellow door and one of Pasta Bella’s crew will assist you. Brace yourself for a short cardio so you will have to burn a few calories and fats before gaining them back in tenfold. Don’t worry, one of the staff will greet you at the top of the stairs and will offer you a glass of water. Hahahhaa!!! Seriously, if you are out of shape then you will surely feel your fats melting off the stairs.

Now, I am not the type of blogger who takes a lot of pictures because I am lazy AF and I don’t want to spend a lot of time taking pictures like a millennial who’s hungry for Facebook likes. But I was able to take pictures of our food since I had to send the pic to a friend who did not come with us for dinner.

Pasta Bella may not have an extensive menu which is actually a good thing because that means you will not have to go through a lot of selections, half of which you really do not care for or haven’t heard of. We chose their bestseller chicken and spinach lasagna, Penne Arrabiata, Spaghetti with meatballs, Carbonara, rice dish (I forgot the name but  it was good,really good!), pizza and strawberry ice cream cake for dessert.

It may seemed like we ordered a lot but trust me, we always eat like overworked construction workers so don’t be shocked! The food was heavenly and I may have never been to Italy but Pasta Bella’s creations seems so Italian to me. With every bite, I was beginning to realize that the reviews were authentic; no possible X-deals involved there. We will definitely go back to Pasta Bella and try out their other dishes. And oh by the way, if you are within the Cebu city area then you can also contact them for deliveries.

Now back to x-deals. I really hope that bloggers will be more honest and even ethical with their posts. I know how x-deals work which is of course very beneficial for both sides but this practice is very misleading especially if bloggers will not dish out the truth. But who cares about what I think, right? I do not even have a lot of readers or blog followers but I still hope that I get this message across.

So to end this post, I encourage everyone to go with their guts and try out a restaurant or any establishment regardless of the reviews that they get. Keep in mind that some of these reviews are sponsored while some are really from customers themselves. Go check out a new resto especially homegrown businesses and if you plan to leave out a review or blog about it, then always be honest and make constructive points.

Cheers!!!

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Filed under cebu, food, Philippines, reviews

That rare find in Kawit, Medellin

For me, summer will always be synonymous to beaches and spending endless hours basking in the full glory and mercy of the sun. I have been to many beaches here in Cebu; from the very obvious choices in Mactan Island and to my eternal favorite, Bantayan Island.

Last weekend, we headed to Kawit in Medellin which is one of the municipalities in the Northern part of Cebu. This charming town is the starting point for tourists going to the more popular destination, Funtastic Island. For some travelers passing by Kawit, the town may seem not so much of a touristy place. But, this idyllic town has one of Cebu’s pristine beaches with a long stretch of powdery white sand. What amazes me most is that the beach and its surrounding areas are well-maintained even if there are many people who reside there.DSC_0684

We stayed at Costa Blanca Resort (https://www.facebook.com/CostaBlancaMedellin/) which is a private resort. The best part of our stay was we had the whole place to ourselves for only 5 thousand pesos. The resort has 2 bedrooms, a full kitchen, spacious living room and a big yard where you can play or tambay.

The kitchen comes with a functioning gas range oven, rice cooker and basic utensils. There are 2 comfort rooms inside the house plus 2 TV sets with Cable. The resort also offers free Wi-Fi and you can also use any of their 3 refrigerators for food storage. The 5k rent was really a great deal with all the amenities and the resort’s very spacious living areas. Here are some pics of the interior:

As I have mentioned, the resort’s outdoor area is just perfect!

The resort is just near the market so you can buy all your goodies there or you can always buy all the necessities in the city. Outside the resort is the starting area for Funtastic Island so you can just talk with the locals and rent a banca to get you to the island. Unfortunately, we did not have any time or energy (Blame the beer and tequila!) to go on another adventure but we will surely be back at Costa Blanca before we bid goodbye to summer.

Feed your wanderlust. See more of Cebu and have an amazing summer! Costa Blanca is waiting for you!

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May 8, 2017 · 6:23 pm

Chillin’ at Talima Beach Villas

Birthdays are always worth celebrating especially with crazy friends. So, last Saturday, a bunch of us went to Talima Beach Villas  to celebrate Thomas Baby Boy’s 19th birthday. It was a beautiful day; the sun was out and although there were a few funny mishaps going to the island; it was still evident that we are going to have a great day.

I have always believed that it is not the location or the destination but it is the people I’m with that matters the most. Luckily, I had the best of both worlds. I was out with the most beautiful people at one of the best getaways in Cebu.

Talima Beach Villas is situated in Olango Island in Lapu-Lapu and the resort is adjacent to the marine sanctuary. Here’s how to get to the resort:

Head to the wharf (Cebu Port Authority Punta Engano Terminal) which is just right after the Movenpick Hotel. You can take the public boat going to Olango Island which costs 15 pesos per person plus 5 pesos for terminal fee. If you take this route then you will be dropped off at the Olango Wharf wherein you need to take a tricycle ride going to the resort. The fastest route is to ask the resort to arrange the boat ride. It may cost more but it will be a more comfortable ride since the banca will drop you off at the resort area.

DSC_0553Our birthday boy arranged a day use package for all of us, so we were greeted by Nadine and their friendly staff with welcome snacks and drinks. Check out the pinaypay and camote cue!

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The resort has plenty of cabanas where you can place your bags or for lounging. You can also catch a few Zzzz’s while being wrapped in the cool and gentle breeze.

DSC_0568The day use package includes a marvelous lunch which really satisfied our ravenous appetites. The resort also has a swimming pool and we also had free passes to the Marine Sanctuary which we forgot to avail. Here’s our bountiful spread for lunch:

DSC_0580 (1)By the way, the bellychon is not included in their menu. But, daytrippers can just opt for the day use package without lunch and just bring their own food at no added costs.

Talima Beach Villas is your best destination if you want to get away from the usual crowd of Mactan’s popular beaches. For more information, check out their site: http://talimabeach.com/rooms/room-rates

Here are more pictures:

Have a great summer!!!!

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Filed under beach, cebu, Philippines, Summer, travel

A not so secret secret spot

Bantayan Island has always been my slice of heaven in this chaotic world. White sand beaches, that comforting warmth of the sun, best food and quality time with family and friends are the key elements of why the island is close to my heart.

I came across an FB post just recently about this somewhat secluded spot in Bantayan Island and I remembered that it was the same beach that I have been to eons ago. I figured that the spot can no longer be a secret since it was already immortalized in social media so we decided to make a quick weekend getaway. Well, actually the purpose of going to Bantayan wasn’t really about going to that secret place. But that’s an entirely different story.

Anywho, one fine Saturday afternoon, we took a tricycle ride from Bantayan town going to the spot which has been named as “Paradise Resort”. There are a few routes on how to get to the resort and most drivers can get you there for a minimal charge. Since Bantayan was our starting point, we were charged 30 pesos each for the ride.

The resort is through an off beaten path which takes up to 10 minutes of trekking. dsc_0481

The trek isn’t laborious or anything that requires too much effort. Towards the end of the trek, you will right then feel the cool breeze coming from the sea. You’ll know you are already on the right place when you see this:

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This unassuming gate is the entryway to paradise. The entrance fee is only 50 pesos and there are a few cottages around the resort but you can also pick a cozy spot along the shoreline. The resort is not really a resort with the usual amenities but it is a great escape from the hubbub of the usual beach resorts in the Sta. Fe town.

Just a few meters from the gate, you will be greeted with this captivating view:

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TBH, there really is nothing too special or amazing with the place but if you are looking for something new to discover in the island then Paradise Resort is your best bet. However, I am pretty sure that more people will know about the place which can either be good or bad. Well, the influx of tourists can be a good thing for the economy but unfortunately not all tourists are considerate in terms of keeping the place clean and orderly.

Paradise Resort has its own charm and if you listen closely enough, you can actually hear the wind and the ocean singing. It is a wonderful place where you can relax, chill with your mates or just being in the moment.

Quick tips:

  • Bring a banig/mat/big towel/magic carpet
  • Bring food and drinks
  • Be a responsible traveler; dispose garbage properly
  • Don’t spend all the time taking pictures looking constipated
  • Leave when there is still light
  • Make sure that you have made transportation arrangements beforehand
  • Have fun!

Here are more pictures:

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Live Love Laugh…

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Filed under beach, cebu, Philippines, Summer, travel

Senatorial Aspirants 2016

Less than a month to go and it will be Elections here in the Philippines. Now, most of us already have our Presidents and Vice-Presidents in mind but just like me, I haven’t made up my mind yet when it comes to choosing the Senate slate. You see, I used to not care about Philippine politics because well, half of them candidates are just full of sh*t. But, I think that it is high time for me to take a stand and make my own decisions no matter what other people may say.

So while I was researching about the senatorial candidates, I came across this article from PhilStar Global: http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2016/01/21/1544896/list-senatorial-bets-may-2016-polls

Quite helpful but I need more information and not just names. So, one sleepy Monday night (although I have deadlines to meet), I created this post in the hopes that many people will be better informed this coming elections. I will not try to be eloquent in this post. Although there may be some points wherein I may be a bit biased or ignorant or whatever. But all descriptions/achievements/highlights of the candidate will be in simple terms. Okay?

RAFAEL ALUNAN (INDEPENDENT)

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  • Former DILG Chief during the Ramos administration
  • DOT Head during Cory Aquino’s administration
  • Hates China

Additional Information:

INA AMBOLODTO (LP)

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  • Supports BBL
  • Asst Secretary for Muslim Affairs & Special Concerns of DILG under the late Jesse Robredo
  • Former professor and a “bakwit” survivor

Additional Information:

ANTONIO BOMBATE AQUINO (INDEPENDENT)

I really can’t find any helpful information about this candidate. But here are some links that may shed light or will make you realize that this one is a nuisance candidate.

GODOFREDO VILLAR ARQUIZA (INDEPENDENT)

  • Senior Citizen Partylist Representative

Additional Links:

LEVITO DONIEGO BALIGOD (INDEPENDENT)

  • Lawyer

Additional Information:

GRECO ANTONIOUS BEDA BANTA BELGICA (INDEPENDENT)

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  • Pastor
  • Councilor 6th District of Manila (2004-2007)
  • Current President of Yeshua Change Agents (anti-drug org)
  • Advocate for flat tax system
  • Filed a petition to junk PDAF, PSF and the Malampaya Fund

Additional Information:

WALDEN FLORES BELLO (INDEPENDENT)

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Additional Information:

SANDRA MARTINEZ CAM (PMP)

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  • Jueteng Whistleblower
  • Former OFW
  • Head of the Whistleblowers Association of the Philippines

Additional Information:

JOEL URSABIA CATMON (PGRP)

In gay lingo: TOVS! But here’s what I found online when I Googled his name:

MELCHOR GONGORA CHAVEZ (WPP/PMM)

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Ahhh… All time nuisance candidate which makes me wonder why the hell would Comelec allow him to run this time? Oh well, it doesn’t really matter anyway.

Additional Information:

NERI JAVIER COLMENARES (MAKABAYAN)

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  • Human Rights Lawyer and Activist
  • President of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers
  • Bayan Muna Representative
  • Angel Locsin’s cousin (LOL!)

Additional Information:

LEILA NORMA EULALIA JOSEFA MAGISTRADO DE LIMA (LP)

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  • Lawyer; appointed by PGMA as Chairperson of CHR (2008-2010)
  • Secretary, Philippine DOJ
  • enunciates like there’s no tomorrow

Additional Information:

FRANCISCO MORENO DOMAGOSO (PMP)

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  • Current Vice Mayor of Manila
  • Actor with the screen name Isko Moreno

Additional Information:

FRANKLIN MAGTUNAO DRILON (LP)

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  • Senate President (2001-2006 and again from 2013)
  • Currently serves his 3rd term in the Senate
  • Chairman of the Liberal Party

Additional Information:

LORENZO “LARRY” GACILO GADON (KBL)

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This guy does not need bullet points. I know a fool when I see one. If you don’t believe me, check this out:

Ugh!

SHERWIN TING GATCHALIAN (NPC)

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  • Businessman
  • 1st Representative to represent the City’s 1st District on Philippine Congress in 2011
  • Valenzuela Mayor (2004)
  • Pauleen Luna’s ex boyfriend (#showbiz LOL!)

Additional Information:

RICHARD JUICO GORDON (INDEPENDENT)

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  • Chairman Philippine Red Cross
  • Former SBMA Chairman
  • Former DOT Secretary
  • Senator

Additional Information:

TEOFISTO III DE LARA GUINGONA (LP)

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  • Senator (This guy is actually doing his job. He has passed several laws according to his Wikipedia page.

Additional Information:

ANA THERESIA “RISA” NAVARRO HONTIVEROS (LP)

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  • Activist and Journalist
  • Akbayan Rep from 2004-2010

Additional Information:

JAY ANGELIQUE SIBUG JAAFAR (INDEPENDENT)

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  • Tausug Princess
  • Beauty Queen
  • Tired of the government

Additional Information:

MUSTAPHA MAMA “EID” KABALU (INDEPENDENT)

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  • Former MILF Spokesman
  • AFP Peace Consultant

Additional Information:

LORNA PATAJO KAPUNAN (AKSYON)download (5)

If you are into showbiz news or scandals, then you will surely be familiar with Atty. Kapunan. Although to be fair, Atty. Kapunan is considered as an expert on IPL or Intellectual Property Law. More details here:

PRINCESS JACEL HICARTE KIRAM (UNA)

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You know what, TBH. My eyes are tired and I can’t find any good links about this candidate. Or maybe I lost my mind when I read that she’s the Joan of Arc in the Philippines.

Additional Information

VENESA “ALMA” MORENO LACSAMANA (UNA)

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Well, I’m pretty sure that almost everyone especially in the online world know who Alma Moreno is and may have also seen her interview with Karen Davila. It was cringe worthy, you know. Like nails to a blackboard. But, I’ll focus on other noteworthy things. I think poor Alma had enough share of bashing.

  • Paranaque City Councilor
  • 1st female President of PCL (Philippine Councilor’s League)

PANFILO MORENA LACSON (INDEPENDENT)

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  • Former PNP Chief
  • Primary Author of the Anti-Money Laundering Act

More details here:

SIXTO BAFLOR LAGARE (INDEPENDENT)

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Oh Gad! Y’all be the judge! Here are the links that I have found when I googled his name:

Ok, I’m really getting sleepy. #GorProblems But there are 52 senatorial aspirants and this post features the 1st half of the candidates. I’ll post the other half as soon as I can.

Thanks for reading and please feel free to comment if there are some things I’ve missed.

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Elections, Philippines

So last weekend, the dirty bunch went down south to get a taste of adventure, of some sort. And every trip going south should, and let me repeat that, SHOULD commence at the city of Carcar where you can get the best lechon for only 280 pesos a kilo. Getting extra lechon for free was a sign that the trip was going to be epic. Well, I have always believed that an amazing experience depends on who you are travelling with, so I was pretty sure that the weekend will be well spent.

Our next stop was at the Molave Milk Station in Barili where we can stretch our legs and maybe twerk. Well, technically it was just a quick stop to get a few refreshments and take pictures that maybe considered blog-worthy. Travelers can grab a quick bite at the Milk Station or go pee or whatever. In our case, we got ice cream, snacks, took silly pictures and Bryan wanted to steal some books while Janice was complaining why she did not get a vanilla ice cream and instead got one with an M on the lid. I think M stands for Mlack or Mogal or you know, it could be Mocha.

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The original plan was to go to Moalboal for lunch and of course beach time. Unfortunately, the place was too crowded and most gors do not like crowds. Ha! So we headed to Badian and we found a perfect spot in Lambug. It was still a bit crowded but I guess we were all hungry so we figured that the place was okay. The Manong said that we have to pay 400 pesos for the table with lantay/bed but of course we haggled and we only had to pay 300 pesos. So we finally got to have beach time plus lechon, puso and beer. Happy me. 🙂

Next stop was supposedly Aguinid Falls in Samboan but since it was a weekend, the place was of course packed. So Janice suggested that we’ll just take a quick dip at the public beach and I was finally able to take ahem, blog-worthy pics of the setting sun.

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But the day was not yet over. Of course, we have to have the best dinner prepared by Dencio but I was too hungry to take pictures of the food. Oh well. We capped the night with a few shots of Emperador lite with Pepsi na Coke and a few ghost stories. Seriously, all the dogs howled in unison around 12 midnight. That was actually exciting. Hahaha!!!

The itinerary for the next day was to check out Dau Falls which should instead be named Dauy ka yopak! If your only exercise is to get up from the couch to open the fridge then you are in serious trouble if you decide to go to Dau. All right. So first things first. Trekkers/tourists must pay 20 pesos per person as environmental fee. (I think!) The staff will then assign a guide for your group and please, be generous with your tips. Most of the guides depend on the tours as their source of income, so you know, don’t be stingy.

So the first challenge is to cross this bridge after climbing, walking, slipping down a rocky trail.

 

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Check out our worried faces! Ha! And we aren’t even halfway yet. And if you have a fear of heights like Mark, then this is what’s under the bridge:

The rest of the trail was exciting, nerve wracking, amazing, mesmerizing and you know all the other superlatives that you could think of. You can probably hear Ed Sheeran singing: “When your legs don’t work like they used to before”. Like really.

Tip: Make sure you have the right slippers or trekking shoes/sandals. Havaianas are only good for leisure walks and not for trekking. The term slippers is surely apt since they can make you slip, break your ankle or even your neck. Here are a few snapshots:

But you know, it was all worth it.

Last tip: If your guide says that you all go take a shortcut going back to the base camp, do decline. Unless, you want your eyes to roll out of your head and you cut your tongue because you are already gasping for air.

Seriously, if you live in Cebu, go check out the many falls and beaches of the South. Let’s support local tourism and of course do not forget to leave nothing but footprints and take nothing but pictures. Always be a responsible traveler and do not forget to wear sunblock.

See you on our next adventure!

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April 13, 2016 · 11:33 pm

Just go

Hey you. Yes you. This is not how it is supposed to be. You see, I was fine. I was more than fine. My life was like finding a good cup of coffee with a book in hand while I lay in a hammock. I can even hear the waves crashing in the background while I take a short nap. It was the simple life that I wanted. The kind of life where contentment and serenity have their own mailboxes. I was ok. I was more than ok. I was finally at peace with myself and with all my inadequacies and quirkiness.

Then there you were. I then realize that I no longer want that coffee. So I started drinking tea. I realize that life can be more than just chillin’ in the hammock. Life can be about taking steps and enjoying the risks. Life can be about throwing caution to the wind and breaking my theory apart. Life can be more than what I have.

But you see, I wasn’t ready. I was never ready. I will never be ready, I guess.

Now, I want my old life back. I want no more dramas, no more cliches, no more heart wrenching moments.

Peace. Clarity. Me.

So, just go. Leave the memories behind and I will lock it in my memory chest. I may visit those memories sometime in the future or perhaps, I will leave it locked. I don’t really know what the future has in store for me. But I know that I can shape my present. So, just go.

Live.Love.Laugh.Let Go

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