A Lovely Weekend in Alaminos

Happy Weekend in Alaminos: September 19 – 20, 2009

The famous Hundred Islands in the town of Alaminos, Pangasinan is one of the places I have long wanted to visit but couldn’t, primarily because of the boat rides. I don’t know how to swim and the thought of capsizing boats scare me to death, but I know this is one of the most beautiful places in the Philippines. So I bravely faced my fears when I started planning for this trip. This was also my gift for myself since I recently celebrated my 27th birthday. 🙂

Easy Transpo:

We boarded Victory Liner Bus going to Alaminos at 5am on Saturday. Six hours, a bumpy ride, and occasional heavy traffic later, we reached Villa Antolin Hotel. Our plan is to relax the whole day and explore Hundred Islands the following day (if the weather permits).

Sulit Stay:

After doing exhaustive research of the hotels in the area, we decided to book a room in Villa Antolin. We don’t have photos of our room nor the hotel but I highly recommend the place if you opt to stay in Lucap. (Lucap is the jump off point of boats going to the islands. Since the weather was very unpredictable the past few weeks prior to the trip, we decided to just book a hotel room here so that we won’t encounter difficulties in case it rains). The rooms are small and basic, but it has its own TV, aircon, and CR. When we arrived, the place is packed of students from UP Baguio (field trip).

I suggest, though, that you call Philip beforehand to get a reservation (075 551 3604), as the place runs out of space especially during peak season, including long weekends and holidays.

Fun Food Tripping:

Maxine at night

There are very few restaurants in Lucap. Good thing, there’s Maxine by the Sea, and it’s so good we had our three meals here! Because I love Maxine’s so much, I wrote a special blog entry.

You may read it here.

Tours and Treats:

This is a no-brainer. You came to Alaminos to see the world famous Hundred Islands. Rent a boat and explore the islands. Start the tour preferably in the morning for a more forgiving weather. If you won’t linger much in the islands, it should last for about five hours tops.

Note: We were lucky because the following weekend, Ondoy hit the Metro and then Pepeng followed suit.

Follow our trail in the islands here.

Inclusive of transportation, accommdation and tours, we spent more or less Php 3,500 per pax. 🙂

Note: I guess we were lucky because the following weekend, the super typhoon Ondoy hit the Metro. The following week, Pepeng followed suit. These two typhoons caused great damages in Metro Manila and nearby provinces.

Maxine by the Sea

While doing my research prior to our overnight trip in Alaminos, I’ve come across several blogs about this seafood restaurant in Lucap. And boy, now I’m going to be one of the restaurant’s satisfied customers! 

Maxine by the Sea is a really good find. They serve really good food – fresh ingredients and superb cooking! Imagine, for all our three meals in Lucap, we ate at Maxine’s! We can’t get enough of their delicious offerings!

LUNCH ON OUR FIRST DAY: the highly recommended calamares and curried shrimp

DINNER ON OUR FIRST DAY: C’s steamed crab and my favorite inihaw na bangus

LUNCH ON OUR SECOND DAY: Seafood Kare Kare (with oysters even!)

Don’t forget to include Maxine’s in your itinerary. Trust me, it’s worth every peso. 🙂

More than a Hundred Reasons to Love Hundred Islands

We arrived Alaminos in September 19 but decided to rest and relax the whole afternoon and just tour the islands the following day.

We woke up the following day with a gloomy sky and slight drizzle. But since the water was calm, we decided to go anyway. Philip (of Villa Antolin) referred us to a bangkero who charged us 1,200 pesos for the guided tour of the three developed islands. Armed with our cameras, our binalot breakfast from Philip, and prayers for a safe trip, we left Lucap at 7am for the 45-minute boat ride to our first island destination.

Our first stop: The Governor’s Island, home of the Pinoy Big Brother House (where Teen Housemates Kim and Gerald were brought on the final weeks of the competition). There’s a view deck (of 100 steps I think) were you will get a nice view of all the islands.

Children's Island

Next, we went to the Children’s Island. This is where the rain stopped and out came the sun! They call it Children’s Island because of the shallow waters. We soaked ourselves in the cold waters before we started to journey to our next island.

Quezon Island

The Quezon Island is the most crowded and my least favorite. I think since this is the most swimming-friendly island, people seem to linger here. There are established cottages already with grill options, there are snorkeling gears for rent, there’s even a bridge connecting the island to the next! I was hoping for some privacy and so was C, so even if this should have been the last stop, we urged our guide to bring us to two other islands where we can swim and relax.So after agreeing on the additional 300 fee, he showed us Marcos Island. There were a few people swimming, and there’s a cave with bats all over! We spent some time swimming again, but still unsatisfied, we left and hoped for a better last island adventure.

Bat Cave at Marcos Island

AND WE WERE NOT DISAPPOINTED. We loved Romulo Island! It’s the only island with super fine white sand and awesome view. And most of all, we were the only people there! (talk about romantic. hahaha). The sands are almost as fine as Boracay’s, C said. This was also where Marina shot most of their scenes.

Romulo Island

After the island hopping, we went straight to the hotel to freshen up and pack. We were able to catch the 2pm trip back to Manila and were home before 9pm.

“Tiring, but worth it.” Amen.

Thought for the Day

“Dating is a horribly confusing human process. It seems that its nearly impossible to know when you’re right about a person. So we read magazines, we ask our friends for advice, we call our ex. But maybe the way to have a more successful relationship is to ask fewer questions, seek less advice, think not so much, and just experience the person, smells and all – and go with that very deep whispering voice in the center of our chest known as instinct.” -A Bouroughs

– Thanks Anna for sharing. 🙂

Search for the Best B&B:Surprising Mi Carlo at CASA DE CARLO

I’m a big fan of short but sweet weekend getaways near the metro. It’s a cheap and effective way to relax and de-stress, and most especially, bond with C and/or my family and friends. During these trips, I love exploring hidden and cozy BED AND BREAKFAST INNS! This series will guide you through our search for the best B&B in the Philippines. Let me know if you have any suggestions! 🙂
While searching the internet for the perfect most affordable value-for-money place where we could relax over the weekend, I chanced upon Casa de Carlo website. It says that it’s a Spanish-inspired bed and breakfast cum restaurant in Tagaytay, and is still considered as one of the city’s hidden getaways.

 

Sounds good, but I must admit, that I got interested initially with the name of the place. I thought it would be cute to surprise C and stay in a place with a name just like his. 🙂

(more…)

27 on 27

Yep, I’m turning 27 exactly a month from today. Three more years and I’m saying goodbye to my bittersweet 20s. Here I am again when I say, “how time flies.” Yes, indeed.

It was a long and tiring journey, but I believe I fought a good battle, and I can smell my “happy ending” already. Good for me, eh?
So today, I’m writing 27 thoughts in preparation for my 27th birthday. It should be broken down as follows: 7 I WISH (my birthday wishes) + 10 I WILL (goals in the “near” future) + 10 I THANK (things to be thankful for).
I WISH…
1. I want a looong vacation away from all work-related stress, and other distractions. I want to sleep in a room overlooking the beach; enjoy the sun during the day, catch the sunset, and wait for wishing stars at night. In between all these, I want to eat all the seafoods I can take, and sip margaritas by the shore.
2. I still want an iPhone. But I guess this is impossible unless someone will give one to me, or if ever I win a raffle. There’s still hope though, so I’m still keeping it in my list. 🙂
3. Good health for Nini and Angelo, most especially. I, more than anyone, knows how difficult and emotional and financially painful it is to have a sick member of the family. I hope we’re all gonna be okay. No more sickness please.
4. I want a new black bag (my office bag is soooo beaten already!) and that shoes from Charles and Keith that I’ve been eyeing since June! Argh!
5. On my birthday, I want to watch Richard Poon with my sisters and treat them for a quiet dinner afterwards. I wish he’d be having a mini concert in Eastwood by then (he’s there every Tuesday, hopefully his schedule didn’t change though). It’s my way of giving back to them for alternating as Angelo’s guardian whenever I can’t be around.
6. I wish for peace in my heart and less conflicts at work, and all those people around me. And I wish those who matter most continue loving me and caring for me.
7. I want to be surprised. For a change.
I WILL…
1. I will save enough dough to be able to enroll at “Style Studio” for my dressmaking lessons. I really want to learn how to make my own clothes and make a business out of it…
2. But first, I need to but my own Industrial Sewing Machine so I can practice at home. 🙂 So I will have to buy one.
3. I will minimize/completely take out of my system all my vices/bad habits. That includes smoking, occasional drinking, making “kutkot” my nails, and scratching my allergies like crazy. Smoking should be number 1 – I know I said I’d quit smoking when I get pregnant again, but I feel it’s time for me to. It doesn’t do me anything good anyway.
4. I will do my best to LOSE WEIGHT! – has been my wish ever since I can remember, but I lack the discipline to work out and burn calories! I’m a yo-yo dieter, and I tend to starve myself! I will enroll in a gym, or jog – whichever’s more comfortable. 🙂
5. Save. Save. Save for the rainy days. Open a new bank account for my emergency fund. Budget more and stick to it!
6. I will travel more and explore. I want to save up for that Indochina Tour. I want to experience Boracay. I want Angelo to see Disneyland in Hongkong. I want to backpack the Bicol Region.
7. Exert more effort to be closer to God. Learn to love and understand my parents more, especially my Mom. Strive to be a better Mom. Give more time and attention to Angelo.
Be a more loving sister. And be the most supportive and loving partner.
8. Go to the doctor and surrender myself to the pain of every tests I have to undergo. I’m not sick but I know I have to go to my OB Gyne, Dentist, and Surgeon (to have my cyst operated), and Allergicologist (to know the source of my allergies).
9. Love myself, more than anything. I don’t want to wake up one day again and realize that I have lost my self-worth once again.
10. I will never stop dreaming. Marriage, a dream wedding, a house, a nice car, a good and saisfying job. God will give these to me when the right time comes, I know. Until then, I will never stop praying, wishing, and hoping. And that’s all that matters. 🙂
I THANK…
1. God, for all the blessings.
2. Angelo, for loving me unconditionally, and for inspiring me to fight the hardest battles
3. My family, for always backing me up
4. My boss and my officemates for making every single day in the office bearable
5. My friends who have remained true all these years
6. The “angels” that God sends for me everyday.
7. Brix fr lighting up the house with your cuteness and innocence.
8. Those who believe in me…
9. … and those who don’t.
10. Most especially, C – for your love, patience, and understanding. I can never find someone like you. Thank you for inspiring me and for making me happy each day.
Advance Happy Birthday to me! 🙂

Angelo’s First Field Trip

Time to play “yaya” and “mommy” to Angelo last August 12. It was their school field trip in Laguna, and I just couldn’t let him go on his own (though some kids went without companions, since the school hired professional tour guides anyway).

So off we go, and that means I had to take a leave from work, to follow little Angelo with Rox’ trusty digital camera to document his first ever field trip.

We left JRU Grounds at exactly 6am. On our way to Laguna, the kids were entertained by Tour Guide Aileen of Outbound Tours, the company that arranged the trip. Along the way, the restless Grade Ones sang, played games, and eagerly listened to Aileen’s stories, in preparation to the long day in store for the kids.


I’ll let the pictures do the talking now. 🙂

First Stop: Rizal Shrine in Calamba Laguna









Second Stop: St John the Baptist Shrine








Third Stop: La Vista Pansol Zoo and Animal Rehabilitation Center







Fourth Stop: Gardenia Bakery Factory and Plant Tour

 


We were home at 5pm that day. That was one long and tiring day nevertheless! However, seeing Angelo all excited and giddy even after the tour, I can say that it’s all worth it. Next year, I think I can already let him go alone, so that he can experience how it is to be independent. 🙂

Fine Dining at Chateau Verde on our 3rd

Where else should we be celebrating our 3rd monthsary but in our Alma Mater? UP houses several yummy and affordable restaurants and eateries but only Chateau Verde gives the “fine-dining” feel, perfect for romantic dates and celebrating special occasions, such as ours. 🙂
 
Chateau Verde is a small, open-air restaurant located just at the back of PNB near shopping center and UP Infirmary. The menu boasts a lot of food offerings: from Spanish to Italian to Filipino, at affordable prices as compared to its counterparts outside. We were craving for C’s favorite Paella at that time, so that’s the very first that we ordered.
The yummy Paella (complete with crabs, shrimps, shells, chorizo, and everything else one can put in a paella) was complimented very well by the Salpicao.
After the heavy meal, we ordered Mango Jubilee for dessert (it’s Vanilla Ice Cream topped with hot mango puree with a certain kind of alcohol). We were disappointed with this one, but still can’t forget the heavenly Paella, so it’s okay. 🙂
Overall, I’d give Chateau Verde a nine for providing us with a nice and quiet ambience, great food and equally good service. I just hope they could add more offerings in their menu, and that they make sure everything is available (we tried to order something but was told it’s not available).
Can’t believe how time flies. Three months seem to pass by ever so lightly, but still very memorable. Everyday, I’m thanking God for this blessing. I’ve never been happier. 🙂
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