Tag Archives: Summer

Summer’s Here (2015 Edition)

I’m officially welcoming summer 2015 with snapshots of my workplace-cum-home in Cebu, the Queen City of the South.

Galapagos Beach
The above is a photo of Plantation Bay’s beachfront taken just last Monday.

I love how the water looked light blue by the beachfront but darkened to deeper shades of blue when farther out.  And the clouds looked so defined.

Next I have a photo taken from the second floor of one of my favorite buildings: Edo Hall.

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The resort has only three floors so each room has really good views of our man-made saltwater lagoons.

Since it is summer already, Frangipani flowers are also in bloom, and I love how they make a perfect frame for this photo.

On the ground floor, Frangipani, which we locals call calachuchi, also framed my view of the East Lagoon and Peninsula Beach.

view from Edo GF
The room where this was taken is called Lagoon Side because it’s only a few steps from the water (I just zoomed in this shot thus it looked so close).

I am blessed to be living inside the resort so I have daily access to this paradise and get to use its facilities for free.  Always.

And when there are moments when the view is more stunning than the usual, I only have to whip out my phone to capture it.

Kilimanjaro Kafe
The above was taken after I had my breakfast at Kilimanjaro Kafé, our main restaurant.  I took this because I got so fascinated with the clouds.

Kilimanjaro Kafé is surrounded by Kilimanjaro freshwater pool, which is our main freshwater pool and we recently refurbished it.  Here’s how it looks like now from the third floor:

view from Alien Abduction
Doesn’t the water look so inviting?

Here’s a panoramic shot, still taken from the third floor.  Note the clouds.

panoramic view from Alien Abduction
Now, isn’t my workplace and Cebu home a paradise?  It is specifically a photographer’s haven because anywhere you look, the view is beautiful.

What more, it has everything a water baby like me loves – beachfront, saltwater lagoons, plus 4 freshwater pools of varying designs.

I’ll end this post with a photo of my favorite building.

Chenonceaux and Dune
That’s our Chenonceaux House (farther out are Dune and Edo).  Chenonceaux and Dune house our Water’s Edge rooms.  Water’s Edge is our most sought-after room category because from the balcony, a guest can jump straight into the water.

Now, excuse me while I don my suit and enjoy summer in my tropical corner of the world.

All photos taken using just an iPhone 6.

Revisiting Alegre Beach Resort

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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.

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

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

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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

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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

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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.

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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.

Baguio on my Mind

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It’s officially summer here in the Philippines and though I have always loved the sun, the sand, and the sea, the sweltering heat of the sun these past days was just too much. I want to be back in San Francisco where it’s cold even at summer, but since SFO’s too far, I’ll settle for Baguio, the country’s summer capital.

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Baguio, I am so missing you right now. And I’ve been missing you more since I saw some Baguio photos I took way back in 2009.

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Photos touched up via Instagram.