August 30, 2010

Thumbs Up for Abe Restaurant

Last night, we celebrated HB's birthday by having dinner at Abe Restaurant at the Serendra in Global City.

Abe Restaurant in Serendra

The restaurant was packed when we got there and we had to wait for about 10 minutes to be seated. We settled for a table outside just so we could start eating.

HB took to the task of ordering. I was anxious because we've both read good reviews about this restaurant but we forgot which dishes stood out. And so HB trusted his food instincts and ordered:

Pastel de Lengua


Squid Calamares.

We also got the bamboo rice, (so sorry I failed to take a photo) and this was served ceremoniously by the waiter. He tapped the bamboo to open it and we were delighted when the staff of the other nearby restaurant clapped their hands to answer the tap. This was such a nice touch and indeed a treat. (I now wonder how the routine would go if we chose to sit inside, heehee.)

But more importantly, we were absolutely pleased with the food. My youngest daughter devoured the calamares which was deep fried perfectly. I liked the fact that the batter was neither too thick nor too thin and the squid had just the right bite. We dipped the crust of the pastel de lengua in the sauce and we instantly exclaimed "Yum!"

the pastel de lengua with the crust off

We are definitely coming back to try their other specialties. And for sure, I am going to read up on the other dishes which have received good raves and we will try those as well.

Photo Op: The Pearl Farm Resort

our souvenir shot

Guess I've still got what may be called a Davao hang-over ;)

Allow me to post photos taken a couple of years back (July 2008 to be exact) when our work team had the chance to "survey" the Pearl Farm Beach Resort in Samal Island, which was a 45-minute boat ride from Davao City.

The Pearl Farm Beach Resort is one of our country's ultimate destination as it offers breathtaking sights of Samal Island's pristine sand and sea and luxurious accommodations. Set amidst 14 hectares, the resort was once indeed a pearl farm. 

this is the resort's most famous landmark, The Parola

The Parola is the resort's famous landmark, featured in several of the resort's advertising campaigns. This landmark serves as the guests's welcome area upon arrival.

the resort's uber inviting infinity pool

I fell in love with the resort's infinity pool which looks out to the sea surrounding the island. Lounge chairs are ideally spread around the pool for guests to soak in the beautiful sights.

the Samal Houses

The Samal Houses are built on stilts on the waters, inspired by the houses of the Samal tribe of Mindanao. These rooms have balconies to afford guests magnificent views of the sea.

the Samal Suites

The Samal Suites are 2-storey cottages which are right by the beach of the resort. 

the Malipano Island

Across the Parola, the Malipano island can be seen. We were told that the island houses a function room, a 3-hole golf course and the most exclusive villas of the resort.  

Accommodations are on the pricey side, with rates starting at US $150 (about PhP 6,900) for the hilltop cottages called Balay Houses while the Malipano Villas go for around US $680 (roughly PhP 31,300) per night. Various promotional packages which include room and board are also offered for honeymooners, families and vacationers to make the rates more affordable.

But from the looks of it, the resort truly offers an unforgettable pampering experience and it may be worth all that moolah.

Fortunately, dreams don't cost a dime so I will wish for my family to be able to experience the luxury offered by the Pearl Farm Resort, and I would settle even for just a day tour. ;) Who knows, my dream just might come true! 

August 29, 2010

HB to HB

The hubby is 40 today...

Happy Birthday to my dearest HoneyBabe!

August 28, 2010

An OMG Moment (!!!)

This humble blog appeared in MrsMartinez' Raves and Rants!!!

Spotted: MrsMartinez in these blogs Version 4.0

Thank you MrsM, you just made my day :))

Random Snapshots and Chronicles in Davao City

Upon exit from the Davao International Airport, travelers are greeted with this:

"Welcome to Davao City"


On my second day, in between meetings, I managed to squeeze in some street scenes

wide intersection in downtown Davao
(Don't be fooled tough, traffic can be really bad during rush hours.)

a bane for smokers
Davao City strictly prohibits smoking in public places.

I don't think I've seen this in Manila ;)

Hmmm... wishful thinking
The Marco Polo Hotel

and a quick look at some souvenir shops at the Aldevinco Center.

shops inside the Aldevinco Center

ethnic bags, costumes, cloth, accessories, etc.

brass ware, native bags and accessories 


On the third and final day, we went to the Citra Mina outlet along Quimpo Boulevard, near SM City Davao. I've always looked forward to going to Citra Mina to buy tuna that I bring back to Manila.

Citra Mina Seafood outlet near SM City Davao

Inside the shop are two rows lined with freezers on both sides. They sell frozen tuna in a variety of cuts and states of process (sashimi cuts, belly, panga, nuggets, lumpia, etc.). Also available are blue marlin and tiger prawns. They used to have gindara and I was greatly disappointed when I found out that this was out of stock. Their items are vacuum packed and sealed and they also sell styrofoam coolers (the smallest one for PhP 70) and bag coolers (two sizes available, priced at PhP 170 and PhP 300) to make it more convenient for checking in at the airport.


We were supposed to go next to Bangkerohan Market where we would buy fruits but we were told to visit the on-going trade fair at the back of SM City. Since it was a short walk anyway, we decided to check it out. 

we were just in time to see this trade fair

Luckily, the local fruits were in season and prices were low. Pomelos were at PhP 70 per kilo, durian and mangosteen were sold at PhP 35 per kilo each, and the doco variety of lanzones were at PhP 40 per kilo. We hauled off a total of 14 kilos of fruits!

fruits galore

The flowers and plants called my attention ;)

orchids for sale

I couldn't resist and brought home a couple of ornamentals. I think I will name them Dabawenya and Kadayawan =))


My last photo for this post was taken as we were rushing back to the hotel. The day before I took this, there was a rally to show protest for the hostage taking and killing of the 8 Hong Kong tourists in Manila. The flowers were still laid out in front.

People's Park

I know that I have yet to explore many sights and tastes. Until my next visit!

August 27, 2010

Photo Op: The Royal Mandaya Hotel

The Royal Mandaya Hotel is a 175-room hotel located in the downtown of Davao City. With its convenient location in the heart of the city, different tourist spots of the province are easily accessible. From the airport, it was a 30-minute drive to the hotel.

the reception area

an exhibit to "honor" the Mandaya tribe  

restaurant on the ground floor

room upon check in

turned down bed cover on my second day

For more information, please click here the view Royal Mandaya Hotel's website.

Jack's Ridge in Davao

On my second night in Davao City, we decided to have dinner at Jack's Ridge which is located on a hill about twenty minutes drive away from the downtown area.  Jack's Ridge is considered as one of Davao City's must-visit tourist attraction due to its overlooking-view of  the city.

Jack's Ridge

It was raining hard on that Tuesday night, but the rains did not deter our plans for our last night in the city. When we got to the compound, our cab dropped us off right in front of the Taklobo Restaurant. 

Taklobo Restaurant's entrance

the restaurant's interior

I was impressed that the restaurant's usher immediately led us to the table with an unimpeded view. I was also quite thankful that the rains did not mar the spectacle of Davao City's lights.

Wind chill was a major, major factor though. :D I felt very cold immediately and we had to ask to put down the tarpaulin to shield us from the wind and rain. 

While waiting for our food, I read the flier (which I picked up by the entrance of the restaurant) and learned more about the place. 

We feasted on  the restaurant's Kadayawan Special Seafood Platter. The platter had ample servings of crab, seashells (which they called tahong but was way different from the green-shelled and orange meat variety that we are used to), tuna fillet, squid and seaweed salad. All the seafood were grilled and we definitely gorged and devoured everything.

By the time we finished eating, it had stopped raining and I was able to take some shots.

A few steps beside the restaurant is this marker chronicling the history of Jack's Ridge.

Beside the marker is this collection of statuettes depicting the different tribes of the Mindanao Region. (Wikipedia defines Lumad as a term used to denote the indigenous peoples of Mindanao.)

Upon closer inspection, we were amazed that the symbols which spell D-A-V-A-O are comprised of the things which Davao is famous for: 

"D" is for Durian, the province's most popular fruit which is also infamous for its smell ;)
the Waling-waling Orchid form an "A", 
the wings of the Philippine Eagle form a "V", 
"A" stands for Mt. Apo which is our country's highest peak, and 
"O" for Oysters which produces very beautiful South Sea Pearls.

I must say that I will not tire of going back to Jack's Ridge on my next visits to Davao. There are still more to explore on the compound and I vow to return when the sun is about to set as the pictures then would have a nicer play of colors. But then again, I wouldn't change anything in this last experience which put a nice cap to a very busy day in Davao. 

August 26, 2010

New Shops at the NAIA Terminal 3

I got stuck at the airport last Monday when my Cebu Pacific flight to Davao was delayed for 3 hours. To while away the time, I checked out the new shops at the mezzanine level.

Choices were very limited and prices were the same with those found in the malls. I got very tempted to get a pair of Grendha sandals but I controlled myself. ;) I guess I wasn't really in the mood for impulse buying.

Instead, I went to the National Bookstore inside the departure area and just got a book to pass the time. I felt that this was the wiser choice.

August 22, 2010

The Aristocrat Restaurant

About a couple of weeks ago, HB and I had lunch in one of Manila's oldest - The Aristocrat Restaurant. Our generation grew up with stories about our parents dating along Roxas Boulevard and dining in this restaurant during special occasions. While there was no particular celebration for us, we fondly recalled our parents' tales and excitedly went inside.

As soon as we entered, I was greeted with the restaurant's claim to fame:

We unanimously chose to order "the classics":

Alas, the quality of the food has greatly changed and we were terribly disappointed. It just wasn't the same good old Aristocrat that we have fond memories of. And the java sauce which were served in sachets (rather than in bottles) really put us off. The commercialism bug got them pretty bad. And while they may have stayed in spite of the competition, they leave diners like us who expect the quality of the yesteryears sadly wishing for the good old days.

August 21, 2010

Dissatisfaction Guaranteed at The Dawal Beach Resort

the resort entrance (this photo is courtesy of Joseph Molde)

After a 5 hour road trip, imagine checking in at a resort (where you made prior reservations and deposited the requisite 50% down payment) and find out that your room is NOT available. This was just the first of the comedy of errors we encountered at the Dawal Beach Resort - only it didn't feel like a comedy for us who were involved. (but of course!)

I fumed at the hapless front desk staff who could only apologize for the "overlooked detail". The room we were supposed to get was occupied until the following day. We had no recourse but to get an alternative room.

Allow me to backtrack a little: prior to our trip, we arranged for our accommodations and specifically asked for 5 adjacent rooms: 4 quadruple and 1 double. The resort assigned us to two adjacent "cottages" located on the left side of the entrance of the resort and three rooms near the pool area. Theoretically, this was fine. 

But when we got there, we found out that the three rooms near the pool area were not really adjacent to each other. And there was that hullabaloo with our room still occupied. In reality, we were booked on rooms that were really far from each other. As we were all quite tired after the 5-hour trip, we felt that we had no choice but to settle in as we were all eager to freshen up, lie down or dip in the pool. But then HB prodded me to try to look into the other available rooms that were nearer to our companions. To cut it short, we finally settled into a smaller room near the pool area.

While the rooms were tastefully furnished, the bed sizes were small. (I think, you, dear reader, will agree that a room suited for double occupancy would have either 2 single beds or 1 queen sized bed at the very least.) Alas, they fitted their rooms with single and double sized beds only. The extra mattresses were very flimsy and were charged at Php 400 each.

We were also dismayed with the meal arrangements. When we inquired, the resort staff said that we could bring in our own food for a minimal corkage fee and minimal cooking charges. It turned out that the cooking charges were unreasonably priced. We were even charged for a "deposit" for the use of their pot and pan. In the resort's restaurant, some in our group tried to order but most of the food listed in the menu were unavailable!

The little things piled up and we had to stop ourselves from getting really mad so as not to ruin our mini-vacation/team building activity.

the resort as viewed from the beach entrance
(this photo is also courtesy of Joseph Molde)

On the positive side, the Dawal Beach Resort is a huge property fronting the beach and the island of Potipot can be viewed easily from its shores. Also, I must say that  the resort's facilities are quite extensive. Aside from the kiddie and adult pools, the resort was equipped with other recreational facilities such as billiard tables, table tennis, and dart boards. There was also a separate bar area near the beach entrance.

the reception area

the adult swimming pool with slides

the restaurant

billiard tables and table tennis

Dawal Sports Bar and Grill

The resort's overall design and landscape are impressive. I also noted the collection of bonsai scattered all over the property.

impressive bonsai

And to be fair, the rooms do look nice both on the inside and out. The bathrooms were modern and hot shower was readily available.

poolside rooms

poolside rooms

poolside room interior

row of standard rooms

standard room interior

pink cottages

standard and deluxe rooms

building with dormitory type of rooms

If only they would train their staff to be more professional. And they've got to do this real soon.