Monday, January 25, 2016

Muscat, Oman

Photoblog: Muscat, Oman

My apologies for not having updated this blog the past 4 months.  I have been very busy with work and business.

Since my last blog post was about my favorite travel photos, this post will be a photo blog but will be about a specific location - Muscat, Oman.

-end of post-

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

My Favorite Travel Photos (Philippines) Part 1

My apologies for not having  posted updated this blog the past 2 months.  We are halfway thru the rainy season here in the Philippines, so travel is still not encouraged due to typhoons (storms) coming in and out of the country.

Nevertheless, I am still posting some of my favorite Philippine travel photos made the past three years to whet your appetite for more travel as in 2 months, the dry season here will be commencing.

*I am also a freelance photographer  specializing in weddings, events and portraiture.  Hence, I have been working on a lot of my photo files the past few months.

Part of the Intramuros Wall, Manila
Manila Ocean Park, near Luneta, Manila
Mauban, Quezon

Boracay Fire Dancer
Taoist Temple, Cebu City in the Visayas

Since these photos have large file sizes to showcase their quality, I am limiting the entries in this post and will post my other favorites in a different post.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Nobu Restaurant City of Dreams

Last June, I had the chance of staying with visiting relatives at the Nobu hotel of the newly launched City of Dreams casino complex.  The P8,888 promo rate for the room included breakfast for two at the famed Nobu restaurant.

Since it was during breakfast hours, the restaurant was virtually empty so I got the chance to take a few photos of the restaurant's interior.

So after we were seated, we immediately proceeded to the buffet table. And as you can see in the photos below, the presentation was top notch.

I skipped most of the usual breakfast buffet fare, so I could try the unique offerings of Nobu.  Also, I wanted to gorge on something healthy so I had mostly vegetables.

The waitress informed us that aside from the buffet items, we are allowed to select 3 items from this menu list.  They serve it one at a item, so if you liked what you ordered, you can use up your remaining 2 orders for that same item.

Nobu style tapsilog with Wagyu beef
Note that the servings here are quite small so the tapsilog pictured above is actually smaller than the usual value meal serving size of even fastfood establishments in the Philippines.  A few bites, and the tapsilog is done.

Silken Tofu Hotpot
Shioyaki (fish dish common in Japanese cuisine)
I may have eaten healthy during that breakfast, but I am still a fan of dessert (yes even for breakfast!) so here are a few more items I had.

If you are looking for the usual buffet wherein you are expecting generous servings of the usual meat items this may not be the buffet for you. Nobu restaurant is more of a dining experience,

 I also did not include the price of the items as this was a breakfast buffet bundled with the hotel   room.  Do note also, that even in California, Nobu restaurants are known for premium prices.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Baguio Revisited

While Baguio has been traditionally considered the Philippines' summer capital, other Philippine destinations (e.g. Boracay and Palawan) have challenged it in recent years

Camp John Ampitheater
However this summer and months before that , Baguio experienced a resurgence due to the extra exposure given by the romantic Philippine telenovela Forevermore.

The Forevermore viewers don't just want to watch, they actually want to channel their inner Xander and Agnes by visiting the actual shoot locations in Baguio and neighboring areas

Not really an actual cemetery but this where you can "bury" negative feelings the way Agnes and Xander did in the series.

If you get tired chasing the supposedly "Forever" of your life, you can dine for around P1000 (US$22) per person at the nearby Manor Hotel (aka Hotel Grande in the telenovela).  Yes, it is expensive for the typical local tourist but you will feel like a Grande or a Saavedra during your meal.

After your meal, you can sip coffee enjoying the view while contemplating your next business moves e.g. acquiring that parcel of strawberry farmland known as La Presa.

Hotel lobby of Manor ("Hotel Grande")
Just don't dangle someone from the balcony the way Xander did in the series

Note that I did not feature La Presa location anymore given the huge crowds, negative environmental impact and garbage left by some irresponsible tourists.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Crimson Resort Mactan Daytrip Part 1

Summer in the Philippines will be over in around 3 weeks.  That's still enough time for you guys to make 1 or 2 more trips to a nice resort before the rainy season starts.  Crimson Resort in Mactan island is a luxurious option if you will be travelling to the Cebu area.

I was actually staying in Crimson's sister property, Quest Hotel, when the latter's hotel staff gave me the option to go on a daytrip to Crimson resort.  The daytrip cost me a total of P1,867.50 (March 2015) inclusive of lunch buffet and use of the resort facilities (locker, swimming pool, etc)  Use of kayaks, snorkels and other water sports equipment is not included though.

Note that when you get your locker key for your stuff, you will be required to provide a P500 deposit which is refunded when you return the key at the end of the day.

The resort's famous three tiered swimming pool facing the seas

The daytrip is from 10AM to 5PM and the free shuttle trip takes around  45 minutes from Quest Cebu to Crimson Resort Mactan.  So by the time we got there, the lunch buffer had just opened so I decided to have lunch first.

Anyway, I will continue this article in another post to make this page entry shorter and thus easier to read using portable devices.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Villa Noe Cagbalete

Here are more details about the Cagbalete resort where we camped out last March

Here are the rental rates as provided by my contact person for Villa Noe Resort
(Prices as of April 4/15/2015)

Cottage Rentals per night

1 - 2 pax   P1200
2 - 3 pax   P1800
2 - 4 pax   P2000
4 - 6 pax:  P2500
6 - 8 pax:  P3000
8 - 10 pax P4000

Tent Rentals per Night

Small   -   P400
Medium - P600
Large    -  P700

If you bring your own tent, you pay only P250/night

Of course, the tent campers can use the toilets and baths available. Don't expect hotel-like bath amenities.  Also, don't forget to bring your basic toiletries as there are no convenience stores here..  Yes you still need a toothbrush even if you are just communing with nature.

Picnic tables are also available for P200 per day for daytrippers, mostly Quezon locals I suppose given Cagbalete's distance from other urban areas.

The cooking area is also available for free but there is a P100/fee to rent a set of cooking utensils. Charcoal is also available for P50/bag but you can  buy cheaper ones at the Mauban public market before boarding

Note that Cagbalete is a small island without its own power generating capabilities.  Hence electricity at the resoirt is only available from 6PM to 6AM when the resort powers up its generator.

Activities at Villa Noe

Rental of a 2 person kayak is a very affordable P100/hour

You can do some snorkeling, but like most Philippine beaches, you have to do a bit of further travelling by boat to find some good coral formations with schools of fish

A local kid was trying some sort of skimboarding but did not find any success given Cagbalete's calm waves.   By the way, the waves at their peak during the high tide at night and early afternoon (March 2015).

Given Cagbalete's shallow and calm waters, it is also perfect if you just want to chill with friends given Cagbalete's uncrowded and quiet atmosphere.

the calm waters of Cagbalete
Not sure if it is every night, but there were fire dancers during the Saturday night we were there.

If you are into backpacking/camping (eg Anawangin, Burot, etc) and prioritize nature and solitude over deluxe hotel amenities and rowdy parties, you should definitely try Cagbalete.