Tag Archives: Restaurants

Camiguin: Camiguin Action Geckos Dive and Adventure Resort

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stunning sunset at Camiguin Action Geckos

This was where I spent my third and fourth night in Camiguin.  As I had already toured the island’s attractions on my first two (2) days in the province, my stay at the Action Geckos was purely for leisure.  That is, I spent my 3 days here doing nothing but sleep in my room, or read a book while listening to the crashing waves, walk along its beachfront, or just laze at one of its hammocks without a care in the world.

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the entrance and the resort’s main building that serves as its front desk and restaurant

Accommodations
I booked via Agoda, since the rates I got here were cheaper than what I saw on Action Geckos’ website.   I specifically chose their Beach Bungalow because of its beachfront location.  It’s expensive at Php 2,150 per night for a solo traveler, but it was worth it.

I especially appreciated their warm welcome.  I was charmed when I opened the door and saw the bed canopied with an intricately-made mosquito net.

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I was even more charmed when I saw the welcome note with flowers.  Such a sweet and thoughtful gesture.

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And I loved my room’s furnishing too!  Who knew you could make beautiful ceiling lamps from a bulb and strainer?

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And the bathroom was beautiful!  I loved the mosaic of colorful tiles on the vanity and the floor.

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And yes, after making do with just cold water and using dipper at Enigmata, it was nice to finally have access to a shower with strong water pressure and hot water.

My room was called Ardent, which is named after one of Camiguin’s hot springs as featured on this blog.  It has a hammock and wooden loungers right at its doorstep, which offers me a good view of the sea.

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I loved that my room was right by the beach.  Even when I chose to stay in my room as it was too hot outside, I could hear the waves crashing against the shore.

Aside from the hammock right in front of my room, there were hammocks too beside the bungalow where my room was located.

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Dining
The resort’s restaurant is called Tuko (Gecko) and serves local and international cuisine.  I loved its very native ambience.

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My first meal here was the dinner I had on my first night.  I ordered their specials for the day, which was Meatballs with potato chips and garlic mayo and mango shake (sorry I forgot to take its photo).  I did not like it.  The garlic mayo was too garlicky and the mango shake was bland.

The following day, I had Filipino breakfast, which consisted of tocino, egg, and tea.  Yikes!  It was the worst tocino I’ve ever had.  It was too salty.  I told one of the staff and they said it’s homemade.

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Since the food I had so far were not good, I opted to go out for lunch but come dinner, I had no choice but to again dine at Tuko as there were no other resorts or restaurants near Action Geckos.  I had  Spaghetti Action Geckos, which was described as Asian style spaghetti with chicken and vegetables.  It sounded interesting, but I found it weird.  It’s like pancit, but with pasta.  And it’s again too salty.  By this time, I was convinced of the resort having expensive but so-so food.

The next morning, I ordered Helvetia for breakfast, which is a combination of grated potato fried with onion, topped with melted cheese and bacon bits.  Tuko’s menu specifically mentioned that it had a 20-minute preparation time and the staff who took my order said so too, but added that it’s a specialty so I took her word and was not disappointed as it was the only food I liked here.  For my drinks, I upgraded my regular coffee to Latte Machiato.

Beachfront

Unlike White Island’s white-sand beach, the beach here has black sand.  Though this is something not new to me as we also had black-sand beaches in Aklan (I’ve even blogged about one of them HERE), I found the black sand here to be the finest.


It was nice to walk barefoot on it and watch my feet create footprints, or just sit and watch the horizon while squishing the fine sand between my toes.

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On Action Geckos’ photo gallery, they had photos of their beachfront with volcanoes (or mountain range?) as its backdrop, but I did not see such a view.  Instead, I chanced on these sights, but the volcanoes/mountain range were not right in front of the resort, but about a dozen meters from it.

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Too bad the towering coconut trees were blocking the views (or perhaps when the photos were taken, the coconuts were still not that tall so the mountain range was very visible from the beachfront).

While walking along the beachfront, I also chanced upon these fishermen.

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You may have noticed that my beach photos so far had overcast skies, and that’s because the weather was pretty bad on my second day here.  Thankfully, the weather improved on my third and last day.

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Note the bluer sky and the sea.

Garden
Action Geckos’ garden is beautiful and most of the flowers were in full bloom when I was there.  My favorites were the colorful cosmos that came in yellow or pink, or a combination of both.

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There were white and pink vica plants (top photos in the succeeding collage) too, as well as sampaguita (lower left), which is the national flower of the Philippines.  I don’t know what the other two flowers are though, but I’ve seen them before.

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There was hibiscus too, and more flowers that I’m familiar with, but cannot specifically identify.

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Sunset

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Action Geckos’ location is perfect for sunset-watching .  On my first afternoon here, it was cloudy so the sunset was not that colorful.

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On my second and last afternoon though, the sunset was mesmerizing.  It came in vivid hues of red and orange.  I must have spent a quarter of an hour watching the sky change colors while the sun was sinking beyond the horizon.

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The main photo on this post was from the same set.

In closing, Camiguin Action Geckos is one good accommodation option when in Camiguin.  It’s more expensive that other resorts but because its newer and well-thought-of design-wise, it’s worth the splurge.  Their restaurant though, is an altogether different story.

For more information about Camiguin Action Geckos Dive and Adventure Resort, visit their official website.

Macau: A Lorcha Comida Portuguesa

Before leaving for Macau, a friend who was there a couple of years ago strongly advised us to try this really good Portuguese restaurant. Unfortunately, my friend has a rather poor memory so she does not remember the restaurant’s name.

In Macau, we asked around for this elusive restaurant’s name and our excellent Filipino concierge at the Royal Hotel recommended A Lorcha as the must-dine-in Portuguese restaurant when in Macau.

After touring the Ruins of St. Paul’s, Museu de Macau, and Senado Square, we headed to A Lorcha for lunch.

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Arriving without a reservation, we were surprised to see the place still full even when it was almost 2 PM. There were some waiting guests, but the mostly Filipino staff graciously accommodated us to the sole available table for 2.

Clueless on what to order since it was our first time to dine in a Portuguese restaurant, our very knowledgeable waiter recommended the clam and Portuguese fried rice. We added chicken to our order though in hindsight, this was unnecessary since the fried rice was so yummy it did not need any viand. And the serving was generous that we finished only half of everything. Here’s a list of our order and the corresponding charges:

1 Arroz “Chau Chau” a portuguesa
(Portuguese fried rice)                                        HK$98
Ameijoas “Bulhao Pato”
1 Clam “Bulhao Pato” style,
with garlic, coriander and olive oil                    HK$98
1 Frango assado na brasa com piri-piri
(Spicy charcoal-grilled chicken)                         HK$128

All prices are exclusive of 10% service charge so our total bill amounted to HK$356.40, excluding tip.

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This was our most expensive meal in Macau (including in Hong Kong, actually), but it was worth the money. The Portuguese fried rice was very similar to the Spanish Paella, which I like. The clam was good, but salty, which made it the perfect dipping sauce for my bread. The chicken was tender and despite being labeled spicy, was not spicy at all. And the bread was the best I ever had (though the bread from a Brazilian restaurant in Chicago will later change this).

Service was impeccable and prompt even when the restaurant was full. The waiters were knowledgeable and smiling and since we were their fellow Filipinos, had been very kind. They even gave us complimentary bottled mineral water!

If you ever find yourself in Macau, I highly recommend this place, but do reserve a table because it is always full.

A Lorcha is located in 289A Rua do Almirante Sergio, Macau Peninsula, Macau, China. Contact them via +853 2831-3193 or +853 2831-3195 or e-mail alorcha@macau.ctm.net. For more information, visit A Lorcha’s official Facebook page.

Los Angeles: Palms Thai Restaurant

I have low tolerance for anything spicy so I’m not really a fan of Thai cuisine. In 2008, my company sent me to Bangkok, Thailand for a convention and food-wise, that was one of my unhappiest trips. All our meals were provided for by the organizers and I had to make do with sandwiches and fruits since everything else was spicy.

The newspaper and magazine clippings/reviews hanging on Palms Thai Restaurant’s walls are a testament to how popular the place is, and I could only hope the raves are true as my tummy was already rumbling long before we arrived in the restaurant since we just finished walking for almost an hour along Hollywood Walk of Fame.

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This meal was a treat from our very nice host family who happens to be Palms’ frequent costumers so we let them choose our food.

We had Thai Iced Tea for our drinks, Spicy Seafood Soup, and Papaya Salad.
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There were Pad Thai, Shrimp Cakes, and Beef Sa-Tae too.

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The tea tasted more like milk than tea and reminded me of bubble tea sans the tapioca pearls. I tasted the soup and though it was not too spicy, I only had at most three spoonfuls.  Their Papaya Salad was really good. I liked their Beef Sa-Tae and Pad Thai (though the latter was of course too spicy for me so I only ate a little), while the Shrimp Cakes were my favorite.

We were told that the place is also famous for its Elvis impersonation but since this is only available at night, we missed it so I just took a photo of Elvis’ statue. At their parking space, there were also paintings of celebrities, but since we were in a rush, I managed to get just the photo of Barbra Streisand.

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For more information about Palms Thai Restaurant, please visit its official website.

Batanes: Jmacmae’s Bar and Restaurant

This is the restaurant closest to Rapitan di Vasay, which was where we stayed in Batanes, so most of our meals were from here.

Our first meal here was on our first day. For lunch, we ordered the following:

1 Upland Rice Php 60
1 Fish Fillet Php 150
1 Fern Salad Php120
1 C2 Apple Php 30
1 Iced Tea Php 15
Total: Php 375

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This was not the first time that I had eaten brown rice, but I was just surprised that Batanes’ upland rice was kind of glutinous. It’s yummy though, and smelled of pandan (fragrant screw pine).

The Fish Fillet was okay, though I find it a little bland that I had to smother each piece with its accompanying sweet chili sauce. It was crunchy though as it was served hot.

The Fern Salad is a must! It might look unappetizing because of the chopped carrots and tomatoes piled on top, but trust me, it’s really good.

All in all, it was a good lunch.

Dinner time came. We were supposed to dine at Bunker Café, but it was closed because they did not have running water. Since Jmacmae was closest to where we were staying, we decided to again eat here. This particular meal was included in our tour package so we really had no say on what to order and had no idea on its cost.

When the food was served, I was delighted to see the turmeric rice, which is a type of rice dish flavored with turmeric, a spice with a distinctive yellow hue that gives the dish a mustard yellow color. This spice is made from turmeric root, which is closely related to ginger. I read about this when I was researching about dining options in Batanes, and it was nice to finally experience one of my Batanes must-tries.

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The chop suey was also good and reminded me of my dad’s cooking, which was really a big compliment since my dad’s chop suey was excellent (Oh how I miss him and his cooking). I also loved the chicken skin of our fried chicken because it was tasty and crunchy, but the meat lacked marination and was not tasty enough. The sweet and sour fish was okay, but not really outstanding. The dessert (banana turon with jackfruit) though was something else – sweet, delicious, and the perfect item to cap our dinner off.

My last meal from this restaurant was my dinner before we left Batanes. Aside from turmeric rice, Batanes Adobo was also included in my “must-eats” and our very accommodating tour guide Kuya Jun offered to order it from Jmacmae and have it delivered to Rapitan di Vasay so I could taste it before I left.

You might be wondering why I was craving for Batanes Adobo. You see, like maybe most Filipinos, I love Adobo, which some consider our unofficial national dish. It is a cuisine marinated and simmered in soy sauce and vinegar. My interest was piqued though when during my travel planning, I read that Batanes Adobo does not use these typical ingredients. What more, it’s dry and merely utilizes salt.

When my Batanes Adobo was delivered, I eagerly dug into it and was not really surprised when I saw that it was dry and looked like deep-fried pork cuts instead of the usual adobo.

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Taste-wise, it also tasted like fried pork, except that it was tastier, perhaps due to it being well-marinated in brine.  Here’s a close-up shot.

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Lastly, I’ll end this post with a reminder to those who are planning a trip to Batanes. Please do lower your restaurant expectations ambience-wise because with the exception of Fundacion Pacita, the restaurants in Batanes are not the typical city restaurants. Here’s how Jmacmae Bar and Restaurant looks like:

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Jmacmae’s Bar and Restaurant is located in National Road corner Castillejos Street, Kaychanarianan, Basco, Batanes. Contact them through +63999-372-0390.

Punta Fuego

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Peninsula de Punta Fuego is an 88-hectare flame-shaped peninsula in Nasugbu, Batangas. It is now a world-class residential beach resort and entrance and use of its amenities are exclusive to its members.

Our first stop was at Il Jardineto.  It is a garden restaurant located in their Lower Beach.

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While waiting for our order of fresh buko (young coconut) shake, I wandered around and took in these great views of the pool.

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I also checked their beachfront.

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And was lucky to chance on this solitary blue bird.

IMG_7109After walking around, we cooled off by having our drinks.  I found my buko shake too sweet.  I also could not tell if there’s buko meat on it.

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Afterwards, we headed to perhaps Punta Fuego’s most popular feature: the stunning Infinity pool.  But to get there, first we have to descend from these flight of stairs.

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 It was a little tiring but these amazing views are so worth the effort.

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Before heading back up, I took this shot of the building and gardens as viewed from the Infinity pool.

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This photo was taken from the top of the stairs.

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While this is from the lobby.

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Isn’t the place breathtaking?