Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Island Hopping in Mactan to Sulpa Island

Island Hopping in Mactan to Sulpa Island

A couple of weeks ago I was away for a day to “finally” to go for an island hopping just near here in the Mactan island. And one of our stops is the small but beautiful Sulpa island.

When we actually got to the island, we have no plans of staying there since there are bigger and better islands to spend more time at. But when we got there, there are already other tourists setting up for their picnic and some going for a swim and snorkeling. But basing from my view and my guide that it’s a great island to stay at, have a picnic, swim (especially if you’re with kids) but not ideal for snorkeling.

Going to the Sulpa Island

I rented a boat going to the islands, their rate is for the whole day so it totally depends on me on where to go first or what I want to have on my itinerary for the day. I’m not sure if there are other else where you can get a boat, but I was able to get my ride at Parola, in Mactan island which is just in the Cordova area.

You can take a vhire from SM going to Cordova, and take a tricycle or sikad (the passenger type for bicycles) going to the Parola area.

Sulpa Island Expenses

So here are my expenses for my trip going to Parola.

3,000 – Boat Rental Fee.
35 – Vhire going to Cordova (times 2)
20 – Sikad going to Parola (per person rate, times 2)
100 – Sulpa Island entrance fee
-----------
P3,210

The Sulpa Island 

First off, let me share with you my experience and photos I took during my visit to the Supla island which was really beautiful. Sadly, since I didn’t really put my feet on the sands of the Sulpa island, I don’t have any photos within the island but I think people there don’t spend time in the middle of the island but just on its sides. Anyway, it’s really small that you could totally finish touring around it through swimming in a couple of hours.

Island Hopping in Mactan

Guess what's there!? I'm coming Sulpa Island!

Island Hopping in Mactan

I'm so near! Surely, it's small that I could just swim around the island!

Island Hopping in Mactan

I'm getting more nearer! We're actually on the side now, I can see the sand! And look! There are other tourists already.

Island Hopping in Mactan

Ah... The sand! I just want to bury my feet on those sands. Sadly, since the island is actually privately owned, they will ask for a P100 fee for each person. 

Island Hopping in Mactan

 I can totally imagine myself taking a photo shoot there. Or maybe I'm imagining my crazy sister taking her shots there. But I can swim near there!

Island Hopping in Mactan

Here are the little boats that we call banka. I'm not sure who's riding this but I'm guessing it's the other vendors who sells stuff or the guests in the island.

Island Hopping in Mactan

Let's have another look of those sands. I think my niece will totally love it here. It's actually low tide when I was there, and that's why I'm quite sure that kids won't drown here. I've dipped my legs to see how deep it is it's just a bit above my knee.

There's another island I went to that day, so stay tune here at Exotic Philippines!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Chitang's Torta - The Famous Torta de Argao

Chitang's Torta The Famous Torta de Argao

Just a couple of weeks ago, I was visiting and touring around Argao Cebu, which is about 2 hours away from the city through taking a bus. One of the stores I dropped by in Argao, is of course the famous Chitang’s torta.

Chitang’s torta is like the commercialized version of torta in Argao, there are other torta makers there but Chitang’s torta is the store that really invests in marketing and promoting their product.

You won’t miss its store, though it’s about a 2 blocks away from the national highway. Just when you enter the town of Argao, you’ll start to see the commercial signs and the sign going to Chitang’s. Just tell the driver to make a stop near the pharmacy (I forgot if it was Rose or Mercury Drug) and you’re totally near from there. You can walk or take a tricycle from there.

There are a lot of ways going to the store, but if you're on the main highway side, then you'll be able to see this from afar.

Chitang's Torta de Argao the Making

But them, if you're coming from the other side, then you'll get a view of this side (below).

Chitang's Torta de Argao the Making
By the way, the yellow house just beside it is actually the house of the current owner.
Chitang's Torta de Argao the Making

When I actually arrived at the store, there these people there buying the Torta from them. They're that famous here. So I became really curious about the store now, and of course what their torta is like.

Chitang's Torta de Argao the Making

 When the people cleared out, this is my view. They also have a FREE wifi there, but that time it seems that their internet connection is really slow that my internet on my mobile is a lot faster. But hey, their store is pretty clean!

Chitang's Torta de Argao the Making

If no one is there to attend you at the store, you can totally ring the bell at that Mr. Chef statue guy (lower right of the photo above). 

Chitang's Torta de Argao the Making

 Other than torta, they also have other products there. The (coconut) wine though is not theirs but they have podreda, suncake, browas and even polvoron. But since I came there for torta and my guide (and new found friend) Janine is a neighbor of the owner, and I was lucky enough to be given a chance to see the making of their famous torta de Argao!

Chitang's Torta de Argao the Making

First stop is here, it's here where they do the mixtures and do the last step which is putting the sugar on top and wrapping the torta. So the first and last step goes here.

Chitang's Torta de Argao the Making

Check out what they've done after the first step. Their secret recipe with raisins on top! And this one will go at their traditional baking of torta (below).

Chitang's Torta de Argao the Making

Nope! The torta is not on top, it's in the middle where the lady is sticking her stick into checking if it's cooked. It's totally hot in here though.

Chitang's Torta de Argao the Making

When it's all baked, it looks like this. It makes me want to take a bite but they're not done yet!

Chitang's Torta de Argao the Making

Someone else will also put the cheese on top after that. Then send it back to the area (first area) where they put the sugar on top and then wrap it for take out! And of course, my trip won't be complete and my visit to Chitang's Torta is not done without tasting it.

Chitang's Torta de Argao the Making

They served us with their famous Hot Chocolate milk (which Argao also have the best tablea maker, the Guilang's tablea) and of course their famous torta! I totally did have the best food of Argao that day!


Chitang's Torta - The Verdict

What's unique of torta de Argao is that they don't use yeast for it to rise but instead they use the bahalina or tuba (coconut wine) and I believe they use and actually sell a coconut wine there too which is also from Argao, it's actually called the Bahalmax owned by Mr. and Mrs. Nilo Sedon who I also visited on that day and share about their product here on the Exotic Philippines blog.

The people of Argao proudly says something about their torta, "magkadugay, magkalami" which means the longer it is stored (not eaten) the better and best it taste. So we didn't ate it for a couple of days, but I was able to taste the fresh one at the store and the other we ate it 5 days later. And to tell you the truth, and I'm not paid or forced to say this but it actually taste a lot better.

So please note that my rating for Chitang's torta is based on my type of taste and I would rate Chitang's torta, torta with 2.5 stars out of 5 stars. The fresh one that I tasted from Chitang's torta is not that good, I mean I think that I'm just used with the traditional use of yeast so I could totally taste the tuba so I find it weird to taste it with the torta. It's still there even days after but the taste of the torta is a lot better, but then again I like the one using the yeast a lot better - probably because we're used with the torta version of Lilo-an's Titay's. But then again, it's my tongue, the torta is not my type of taste and the torta is Argao's best, so better have it a try.


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

A Day at Jpark Island Resort and Waterpark

Jpark Island Resort and Waterpark

From being known as the Imperial Palace in Cebu Philippines, this 5 star hotel re-brands its name and now known as Jpark Island Resort and Waterpark. Where the new resort name is taken from the owners names, the businessmen Uy siblings that both names starts with “J” and Korean Yong Jun Park.

Everything is still the same for them though, even they dropped the franchise name of the Imperial and no one was fired, all their staff are retained. They wish to grow and add some more activities for their guests which was not  allowed back then for their license is limited. So expect that there are more new things coming to Jpark to offer you.

Along with other Cebu based bloggers, we were able to get a chance to experience the resort for the whole day and enjoy their restaurants, pools and water slides. It was actually my first time stepping into the result, the ironic thing is I only live few minutes away from the resort and for the past years I never ever visited it. So I was pretty much excited to see it for myself (at last) other than listening to what people have to say about their experience.

My Jpark Island Resort and Waterpark Experience

I just took the habal-habal (a motorcycle for hire) so that I don’t have to walk from across the street anymore. The guard stopped us, said I have to walk from the gate which I don’t mind since I want to take a picture of the whole front building, which was this:

Jpark Island Resort and Waterpark

As I entered the building, someone greeted me and  asked if there's anything they could do for me. I told them I was invited for the bloggers presscon, so the staff said I'll have to wait for the other bloggers in the lobby since I was early. Check out my view!

Jpark Island Resort and Waterpark J Lounge

That is actually the J Lounge, where coffee, tea and other pastries are served. I was already there around 7AM but the staff are already there, preparing.

When my fellow Cebu bloggers arrived, we were then taken to the Olive Restaurant to have our breakfast. I was able to catch up with some friends and of course discuss about the food of the Abalone where we took our breakfast. Our breakfast is from the Abalone, but we were placed at Olive since they're just connected.

Jpark Island Resort and Waterpark Olive Restaurant

You might want to check out my post about our breakfast experience of Jpark's the Abalone restaurant. I  have more details there with their food and of course our experience.

Surely and honestly, I tried my best not to eat too much since I have to eat light for the slides later, I don't want to throw up and ermbarass myself but still I was really full in our breakfast. Good thing we have to walk up to the function room where we'll have the presscon.



After the Q&A, a chef came in with foods with him and it's the dishes from the Olive restaurant. There was no rice since it was just a food tasting, but still my tummy was full from the dishes served and desserts.

Jpark Island Resort and Waterpark

We needed a bit of time to stretch out, since they've been feeding us a lot so they gave us time to roam around the resort. I was with two pair of lovers, and again I'm the 5th wheel roaming around the resort and taking pictures of the beautiful building again.

Jpark Island Resort and Waterpark




I just love the landscaping of the whole resort, everything is clean, there's no garbage that is thrown anywhere. Actually, the resort is really nice to walk around, even under the heat of the sun since there are mini roads that are covered by the trees (real trees, not man made - I think because there are real birds living in there).

We also pass by some villas of the resort, I'm not sure though if these are the ones with private pool.
Jpark Island Resort and Waterpark Villa

In about 30 minutes or so, we were then called to go back and take our lunch. Yes, another feeding time! But I'm loving it. We took our lunch at the Ching Hai restaurant, which is still within the resort. Their Dim sum basket is worth it, you can have it for P2,500 which is good for 2 persons.

Jpark Island Resort and Waterpark Ching Hai Restaurant

That's the entrance of the restaurant, which has a Chinese look already.

And of course, after taking our lunch, filling up our tummy, the resort organized a team building activity for us. Where they (I didn't join) were divided into 2 groups and have 3 contests prepared for us. One was where they have to take a photo of the whole group in an area assigned to them (basing on a photo provided  - so they have to find the spot).

I took the photos for one of the group, so I have to run around with the TEAM BONAKID around the resort. Here's the team Bonakid!

Jpark Island Resort and Waterpark Cebu Bloggers Team Building

Now here are the fun photos we took! Look at their faces, it's priceless!

Jpark Island Resort and Waterpark Cebu Bloggers Team Building

Jpark Island Resort and Waterpark Cebu Bloggers Team Building

Jpark Island Resort and Waterpark Cebu Bloggers Team Building

Jpark Island Resort and Waterpark Cebu Bloggers Team Building

Jpark Island Resort and Waterpark Cebu Bloggers Team Building

Sadly, they didn't win because the number of the photo above is covered and cannot be seen and confirmed that it's the one given to them. Sorry guys!

After that we were able to get the rest of the hours to ourselves and enjoy the pool and water slides!

Jpark Island Resort and Waterpark Beach Pool

This is where we have our team building, the Beach pool!

And this is obviously for the kids, and the kids at heart! Which is the Captain Hook's pool.

Jpark Island Resort and Waterpark Captain Hooks Swimming Pool

No kids will drown here by the way, really, no kids! If there is, then that will surely be (a freak) accident.

Jpark Island Resort and Waterpark Captain Hooks Swimming Pool

If you have a toddler with you, the Toddler's pool is just right for them, a bit smaller but ideal for the toddlers. They also have their own slides!

Jpark Island Resort and Waterpark toddlers pool

I was not satisfied by the other pools, because the beach pool is just about 3 feet and connected to the Amazon river and wave rider. So I move to the island pool!

Jpark Island Resort and Waterpark island pool

The floor of the island pool is tiled, the beach pool is a bit rough but I think it's best so kids won't slide there. But I love the island pool, but then it was hot. I'm not sure if it's what it is or it was just really hot that time.

Jpark Island Resort and Waterpark island pool

There are parts of the island pool that are not that deep but I believe the deepest one is about 5 feet. I wasn't able to roam around the island pool, no one joined me because the other guys spend their time at the pool bar.

Jpark Island Resort and Waterpark pool bar

 If you want to rest, catch up or just relax you can stay at their cabanas.

Jpark Island Resort and Waterpark Pool Cabana

The one above is their cabanas near their pools.

Jpark Island Resort and Waterpark beach side cabana

And this one is one of their big cabanas, ideal for big groups which is near the beach.

I can't dare to try their slides because I'm full and I'm not sure if I'll fit (LOL). But here's a photo of their slides.

I also made a video for my whole experience at Jpark Island Resort and Waterpark, it can make you dizzy but anyway, here you go!



Tips on a Getaway to Jpark Island Resort and Waterpark

Having the chance to experience the resort (at last) for a day, I could give you a couple of tips when going away from the city life and spend your day to relax and enjoy life with Jpark.

  • No need to bring towels because it's included in their hotel service. But bring your ID to exchange with the towels you'll borrow.
  • Their day use package already includes a buffet lunch at the Abalone or dining at one of their other restaurants. Lunch starts at 12:00 to 2:30pm and dinner starts at 6:00pm to 9:00pm.
  • If you don't like to wear a bikini or at least a rash guard to use their pool, no worries. You can wear a tshirt and shorts, they're not that strict on swimming attires.
  • A maximum of two (2) kids that are 4 years old and below are free of charge but they should be accompanied by at least one paying adult.

Jpark Island Resort and Waterpark Day Use Rates

I think it's just right that I'll share with you their rates, since this is my one day getaway and for day you can get away from the city and busy life at Jpark with their following rates:

Waterpark Package P3,500/person      P1,750/foreign child
Discounted Rates P2,500/person      P1,500/local child

Includes:
- Free use of towel, locker room, changing and shower room.
- Buffet lunch at the Abalone Buffet Restaurant, or dine at Ching Haio, Maru, Olive or Coral Seaside.
- Free use of the waterpark

Find out more about the resort by visiting their official website www.jparkislandresort.com or check out their new fan page at facebook.com/jparkresort - they dropped their previous fan page.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Top Road Trip Destinations in the Philippines

Top Road Trip Destinations in the Philippines

If you’re thinking of escaping the daily grind and booking that long overdue vacation, you don’t have to look far from our own exotic country. Why pay extortionate prices abroad when all you need to relax and rejuvenate your mind and body is right on your door step?

From white sandy beaches, to luscious greenery and tropical weather, a staycation in the Philippines means you can avoid fretting over the finances and finally immerse yourself in some much needed tranquility. If you want to keep costs low, you could consider renting a car to travel to some of the Philippines best holiday destinations. 

If you’re the more adventurous type and frequently enjoy wild rides around the country, you may find it more practical to purchase your own road trip car. Carmudi has some great used vehicles on offer so if you are more accustomed to internal travel, there are cheap transport options on offer for all.

The next step is to decide where to spend your time off. Below are some of my top places to visit in the Philippines.

Batangas

Batangas Philippines

Photo Source: Wikipedia ©

Only a two hour drive from Metro Manila, Batangas is the perfect location to recharge your batteries. Situated beside Taal Lake and volcano, holiday makers can relax and swim in the fresh water beaches that are dotted around its perimeter. 

If you’re the physical type, a trek up Mt. Maculot is challenging but rewarding, with fantastic views of the region even a partial distance up. If city dwelling is more your thing, Batangas city has some of the best examples of colonial Spanish architecture in the country and Basilica Minor, located in the Taal region of Batangas, is one of the largest Catholic churches in South East Asia. 

Considering its relatively short distance from the capital, Batangas should be at the top of your road trip vacation list.

Mayon Volcano

Mayon Volcano Philippines

Photo Source: Wikipedia ©

Approximately a six hour drive from Metro Manila, Mayon Volcano is a sight truly worth seeing. Located on the Island of Luzon, the volcano is the most active in the Philippines, with 49 eruptions over a 400 year period. 

Take a day trip up and around the volcano or enjoy the spectacular scenery that characterizes this thriving region. It may be a long car journey but I can assure you that you won’t regret it.

Banaue Rice Terraces

Banaue Rice Terraces Philippines

Photo Credit: Jojo Nicadao-Flickr ©

A four hour drive north of Baguio city, the Banaue Rice Terraces in Batad are one of the most spectacular ancient man-made creations not only the Philippines, but the world. Carved into stone nearly 2,000 years ago, the terraces evoke a true sense of indigenous heritage.

A trip up the terraces will take between 2 and 3 hours but the awesome views from the top are not to be missed. Here are some tips to see you through a short stay in this peaceful region.

Lake Lanao

Lake Lanao

Photo Credit: to Owner

If you’re travelling from the southern part of the Philippines, Lake Lanao located in Mindanao is a road trip must. Not only is it the second largest lake in the Philippines but also one of the 15 most ancient lakes in the world. The scenery alone should be enough to entice you, but if you’re left wanting, a boat trip, a spot of fishing or a swim in the fresh water lake will instantly refresh your senses.


Primary Photo Credit: nuttakit

Monday, June 30, 2014

AsiaRooms Blogger Awards 2014 is Here!

AsiaRooms Blogger Awards 2014

It used to be on the month of June when blog awarding bodies starts getting nominations for their awards, and I totally did not check any last month – busy with my part time job, traveling. Luckily, I was contacted by AsiaRooms asking if I would like to nominate myself and invite each of you (who’s reading my blog) to enter my blog as a nominee.

Of course I’ll be submitting mine, but I will not make it to the list without your help. So, if you would like to help and support my blog, help it get recognize (again, since most of you guys did support me for these past 3 years), do please feel free to enter and submit my blog for AsiaRooms Blogger Awards 2014.

They’ll ask a few information about you (like your name and email), and they’ll also ask about the person you would like to nominate, which in this case is me. But first off, go to the AsiaRooms Blogger Awards 2014 nomination page and enter the following info about me (if you’d like to nominate me):

Nominee Name: Gay Aida Dumaguing
Nominee Website: www.exoticphilippines.info
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EPhilippines
Twitter: @agigil
Instagram: @agigil
Award Category: Hotel Review Guru / Foodie Blog

I gave two (2) category options that I want to join, and that you can submit me to. I’m a bit puzzled which one should I go for, so I’ll let you guys decide on this. I have published few hotel reviews or featured hotels this year, but there are 2 hotel reviews coming the following months. As for the foodie blog, I have more food trip posts this year and there are a lot more. That is from food products, to food trip, food reviews and more.

You may also support me through their Instagram category, I can’t decide yet for now which photo should I post and submit as an entry, but I’ll surely update this post anytime this week or next week with the link to my Instagram photo. You’ll be able to support me through just LIKING my photo.

For those who will enter and submit my blog and give their full support, thank you very much in advance. You've helped me become the top #7 Cebu Blog for Best Cebu Blogs last year and hopefully this year, I'll also get your warm support. Please do feel free to vote your other favorite travel bloggers for the AsiaRooms Blogger Awards 2014.

I have other exciting news to share to you (officially here in the blog) this month but I’ll have to wait for something else and I’ll totally share it here. But surely, if you’re able to follow me or a fan on my fan page, then you surely have read about the latest updates. So keep the love warm and coming!

Thank you for your 3 years of love and support!

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