Monthly Archives: April 2013

Aklan: The Black-sand Beaches of Navitas

local children playing along the coastline

It just dawned on me when I was browsing through my posts about beaches that I so far have featured just the white-sand ones. So here’s one fun fact about my beautiful country: not only do we have white-sand beaches. We have pink-sand and black-sand ones too!

And in my hometown is a black-sand beach that became our weekend haven when I was growing up. You see, it’s just 30 minutes from our house so almost every weekend, we would go here for some family bonding.


Navitas Beach in Numancia, Aklan is perhaps about an hour from the province’s capital of Kalibo and as mentioned, features dark sand. The waves could get really rough here, which makes the frothy waves even more stunning against the black sand.

my pair of black & white Roxy slippers blended well with the view

I also spent most of my time chatting with my sisters that I did not start taking pictures until dusk was starting to settle and it was time to leave.

Pictures taken in November last year. Pardon the photo quality as these were taken using just my Samsung S3.

Revisiting Alegre Beach Resort

I had my internship in this resort in 2004 and it was one of the highlights of my college life. Here, I enjoyed being “out into the real world” and applying everything I learned in school. Truly, experience is the best teacher and my exposure in this resort’s five (5) departments (Front office, F & B Service, Kitchen, Aqua Sports, and Housekeeping) laid the groundwork for my career in the hospitality industry. It was thus with great fondness that I visited Alegre for a day tour last April 9.

We were lucky to avail of their Php 9,000 7 + 1 promo so this cost us just Php 1,125 per person.  What more, it already included pick up and drop off to and from Alegre and lunch sans the drinks. They even agreed to pick us up at Plantation Bay instead of at their usual pick-up place of SM or Ayala.

The place is just as I remember it. Though the water did look inviting, I opted to tour the place first and take photos and just swim after lunch.


Here’s a shot of a boat among bamboos.  One of my favorites in this set.


I roamed the whole of Alegre that I even passed by a mini-aviary and reached an undeveloped part of the resort.

For blogging

Lunch time came. Since it was a holiday, there were many guests on day tour so they served the food buffet-style. Here’s my plate.


The only food I liked here were the humba, chicken, and longaniza. The burger patty was bland, the pancit was salty and overcooked, the shrimp was also overcooked and the squid was rubbery. They also did not prepare enough food since most of the dishes run out. Their fresh fruits (mangoes, pineapple, watermelon) also ran out. I also did not like the desserts. I was so disinterested I did not bother to take a photo of their rhumball (?) and bread pudding (?). I actually didn’t know what the food was because there were no menu labels!

After lunch, I still wasn’t keen on swimming so I opted to go to their Dive Shop. Going there, I passed by these views.


And by their rooms, one of which I took a picture of.


As I passed by it, I had memories of me being assigned in Housekeeping and spending almost an hour with a buddy to clean a room. Thankfully, my buddy was so nice he never asked me to clean the bathroom or bathtub and only assigned me to clean the bedroom, do the dusting or replenish the amenities.

I finally arrived at the Aqua Sports / Dive Shop and was greeted with these views.



Some of my fondest memories of Alegre are the moments I spent here. Our main task then was to rake the beachfront free of seaweeds and assist guests during their activities e.g. sunset cruise or island hopping, but whenever we’re free, we would kayak, snorkel, jet ski, and parasail. We even got to dive for free!

On my way back to the Cove from the Aqua Sports, I passed by these flowers.

For Collage1

After going swimming and bonding with my friends, the resort’s Executive Chef who was also the acting Duty Manager that day invited us for some snacks at the Pavilion, the resort’s only restaurant.  We opted to dine al fresco to enjoy the view.


When I saw their Ube Ensaymada, I was surprised because the size was almost half (maybe even just a quarter) from what I remember, and the ube was barely discernible (It’s that little!). They also got rid of the Macapuno-flavored ensaymada, which was too bad since it was so yummy. The coffee was just okay.

For Collage

Their day tour was supposedly just from 8 AM (pick-up) to 4 PM (drop-off) but the Executive Chef was so nice he allowed us to stay until 7 PM.

After freshening up, I went to the bar by the beach.


I ordered Tropical Slurp. Its description says, “This smooth, thick drink has style and substance-it can’t help but be good for you, a mixture of pineapple, orange juice, banana and mango fruit.”


My verdict? It was delicious, but a little pricey at Php 220+.

After enjoying my drinks, I enjoyed walking around the cove to capture the place at dusk.




Then it was dinner time and while waiting for our food, I walked around the pools to capture these night shots.




My order of Australian Angus Rib Eye Steak with Sautéed Forest Mushrooms, Peppercorn Sauces and Sliced Potatoes was already served when I came back to our table.


This was the most expensive item on their menu but it failed to impress me. It was fatty and bland to my taste even when I smothered it with sauce.

After our meal, it was time to leave. As I settled our bill, I took this shot of the lobby where I had fond memories of us assisting their Front Office staff during check-in and checkout, preparing orchid bouquets for couples and honeymooners, etc.


In summary, here are my pros and cons of visiting Alegre:

Pros: a picturesque place with a private beachfront; the best room I ever saw here in the Philippines would be Alegre’s


Cons: too far as it’s 3 hours from Cebu City (though those who want to get away from it all will find this a con); mediocre food (I don’t mind paying a lot so long as I get my money’s value); staff were not helpful (I saw guests dragging the loungers by themselves while the staff looked on); service is intrusive (they would greet even when I was talking to someone or taking pictures); the place is showing signs of its age e.g. paint peel-offs in the buildings; the female restroom in their wash-up room got clogged up and it stank of urine; the same wash-up room (both male and female) also did not look well-maintained; come low tide, seaweeds would wash up on the beachfront


I actually felt sad when I realized that Alegre Beach Resort had somehow deteriorated in terms of service. I even spoke with someone who said that the time when I had my internship here was the good old days of the resort. Sigh.  No wonder almost everyone we knew then already left.

I will end this post by sharing my Evaluation Forms during my internship, which I found in my college memento box.


To quote a few,

She has an exceptional quality output at work as a service staff; A very good service provider and at the same time, a sales person; Willing to handle guest complaints; Shows good camaraderie to her supervisors and colleagues; Smart; A self-starter; The moment you see her, a big smile greets  you; Very friendly, courteous, and with a positive outlook in life; I am very positive that she will be a good leader someday

Amazing how words like these can make me dream and believe in what I can become.

Palawan Cherry


It’s Cherry Blossom season in Japan right now but few people know that here in the Philippines, we have our own Palawan Cherry that looks so much like Cherry Blossoms.  Most Filipinos are also unaware of this because when I posted this in my Facebook page, my friends thought it was taken in Japan.  I admit that I too did not know about us having such a beautiful tree until I saw the tree in full bloom here at Plantation Bay.


And the flowers look even more beautiful up close.




I was so mesmerized that I did some research and thankfully came across this site where I finally confirmed its name.  Further, I learned that Palawan Cherry or Cassia nodosa is a species that is native to the island of Java, in Indonesia.  As observed, this too blooms only during summer.

Here are vivid shots of these lovely blossoms, with the edges blurred.



Aren’t they so dainty and pretty?


Giftwrapping: Manila Paper Wrapper with a Handmade Gift Tag of Quilled Yellow Flowers


Wrapper:  Plain Manila Paper.  

Gift Tag: Everything about this is recycled. The gift tag is from a scrap of a Hallmark Scrapbooking Accessory label while the abaca rope was from the product label of a pair of Lee jeans.

Main Accent: Quilled yellow flower. I simply rolled a strip of golden-yellow quilling paper around the tip of a marker, slid them off then pinched both ends. I then folded a strip of shredded light yellow paper into four parts then glued them to one end. I made six of these to make 2 flowers with 3 petals each.

Here’s a close-up: