Monthly Archives: January 2013

Cebu: Nalusuan Island

Originally a sandbar, Nalusuan Island was reclaimed to allow the construction of Nalusuan Island Resort.

The weather was particularly cooperative when we set sail. As always, the beach lover in me basked in the simple joy of watching the deep blues of the sea.

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The skies and clouds were also quite fetching.

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From afar, it was obvious this almost-a-hectare island looked lush and quite inviting.

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Here’s how its view deck looked up close.

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We actually did not go down on its main island because my friends were just after snorkeling. Two of us also opted to stay on the boat.  Even from there, the view was quite scenic.

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Later, I decided to walk around this wooden walkway with colorful swags..

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The said walkway was made of coconut planks and I recommend not walking on them barefoot to avoid getting pricked by their tiny bits, which was what happened to me.

Here’s a shot of our boat and boatman who patiently waited for my friends while they’re snorkeling.

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Yep, Ms. Flirt is the name of our boat that my friend and colleague rented from Plantation Bay for a few hours.

While walking around the plank, my friends coaxed me into joining them but I declined because even from where I was, I could clearly see a lot of fishes.

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If you’re into snorkeling and diving, I really recommend this place because it’s teeming with fishes.  Just make sure to brings lots of bread to feed the fishes with.

A word of caution: They can be quite strict in charging entrance fees because they charged even those who did not go snorkeling on the premise that our boat was docked on the island. They also went as far as charging the one year old infant who was with us. Boo hoo.

San Francisco Skyline as Viewed from the Mandarin Oriental

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Of all the hotels we visited and stayed in at San Francisco, the Mandarin Oriental has the best views of the city hands-down.

In this picture, the Bay Bridge, Coit Tower and Alcatraz are visible but the most prominent structure here would be the TransAmerica Pyramid, which is the tallest skyscraper in the San Francisco skyline and one of its most iconic.

Tagaytay: Sonya’s Garden

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Sonya’s Garden is a must-see when one visits Tagaytay.  This was actually my second visit but it was my first time to dine there since in 2008, we only dropped by the place and bought some souvenirs.

Sonya’s Garden has the same menu for lunch and dinner and they serve all their patrons the same food in the same order: drinks, salad, pasta, and dessert.

For their drinks, they serve fresh dalandan (Sweet Orange) juice.  It was perfect and was not too sweet or too sour.  Dalandan Juice is actually one of my favorite drinks and I will always prefer it over Calamansi or Orange juices.

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Next, you get to create your own salad from their serving of freshly harvested lettuce and arugula served together with mango, jicama, eggs, cucumber, nuts, pineapple, edible flowers in season, etc.

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You also get to choose your own salad dressing: Balsamic Vinegar and extra virgin olive oil or Sonya’s Secret Dressing.

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Here’s my Mixed Green Salad creation peppered with nuts and smothered with Sonya’s Secret Dressing.

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Next to be served was a basket of whole wheat sesame bread with an array of homemade dips and toppings: basil pesto, white cheese, anchovies, bruschetta tomato toppings. mushroom pate, black olive tapinade and fresh green peppercorn in olive oil.  Each one was delicious but my favorites would be the anchovies and basil pesto.

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Pasta was the main course and it was served with two kinds of sauces and toppings: sun dried tomato and chicken cream with mango. Topped with ratatouille, salmon belly, shitake mushrooms, black olives, capers and grated parmesan cheese, and pepperoncini.

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And for dessert, we had the most delicious glazed sweet potato I ever had.

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There were also banana turon with sesame and jackfruit.

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And the very sinful chocolate cake made from their Panaderia.

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Lastly, there’s the very aromatic tarragon tea.

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But these delicious treats are not the only reason to visit Sonya’s Garden.  It’s the ambiance and these photos are a testament to the country charm that it offers.

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Ever the flower-lover, I had a grand time taking these photos.

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I don’t know what the long red flower (upper left in the collage) is called but it brought me fond memories of my grandma chasing after me after I rid her plants of such flowers so I could use them as a headband or wrap them around my wrist or neck as a bracelet or necklace.

There were lovely orchids in the garden too.

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These also caught my attention because I used to see them in just red and yellow varieties.

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We call the above Pilahon it Manok (Rooster’s Comb) in our dialect because well, it looked like a rooster’s comb.

This one looked a lot like a candle flower but with a different color.

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Then there were wild cherries, dalandan, and tomatoes.

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Lastly, there’s this Mickey Mouse flower that I’ve always been fascinated with but I only got to see just the flower itself so it was a joy to see the entire plant there.

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For more information about this piece of paradise, please visit www.sonyasgarden.com.

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