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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Top 8 Products at the 2nd BIMP-EAGA and IMG-GT Trade Fair

Gay Aida Dumaguing - Wednesday, October 29, 2014
Top 8 Products at the 2nd BIMP-EAGA and IMG-GT Trade Fair

If you’re following me on Twitter, Instagram, or friends with me on Facebook you’ll surely get my updates on your news feed about my trip to Davao Philippines for the 2nd BIMP-EAGA and IMG-GT.

One of their side events is the BIMP-EAGA and IMG-GT Trade Fair wherein (trader) participants are free to present their products to the event visitors/attendees. Plus, I get the chance to partner up with locals in other countries (like the Philippines) who are interested and wants to distribute and sell their products in their country or area.

With that, I got the chance to meet different business owners and product creators from ASEAN countries, specifically Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Brunei, and of course the Philippines. The best thing about it is that I was able to try the products too! And buy the products that I love!

Let me share with you the top MY list of top products that I’ve found at the 2nd BIMP-EAGA and IMG-GT which are:

Vigory Chocolatier 

Vigory Chocolatier

THC Cholate Sdn Bhd
No. 101, Jalan Tun Tan Check Lock 75200, Melaka Malaysia

I’d say this is the top product that I’d say everyone must try and a must buy, especially if you’re a chocolate lover. I love chocolate and this chocolate is really delicious even when I’ve just tasted one small Milk Chocolate. I really wanted to buy more than one but due to some circumstances, they’re not allowed to sell their products on the first few days, but they were allowed on the last day.

Thanks to Mohd Faizullizam Zamani for reserving a bottle for me and my friend, and sending it to my friend’s room. I wish to have more but he said, there will be one soon here in the Philippines since they’ve finally found a distributor here in the Philippines.

I’d totally say that you should try this, it’s a chocolate, with nuts (e.g. hazel, almonds, etc.) and not that really sweet – and that’ why my Mama loves it so much.

Superpower Grape Seed 

Superpower Grape Seed

No. 3A, Ground Floor, Jalan Bukit Puteri 9/13, Bandar Puteri Jaya, Taipan Square, 0800 Sungai Petani, Kedah Malaysia

I’ve been including Welch’s grape juice since I started my workout since I found out the health benefits of grapes. When I saw the logo, the product, it interests me right away and I wish I could buy it for me and my Mama but my pocket money was not enough anymore – because I’ve done too much shopping at the trade fair.

Nurul  Ashirah, the Managing Director of the Super Power Grape Seed let me try the spray and sprayed it on one of my hands. Right away, I spread it and just few seconds my hands are really soft and moisturized – which is ideal for me, because I have eczema.

Philippine Bags

Philippine Bags

Sadly, I don’t have the contact info for these beautiful bags, I don’t even know the prize or who made it. It was totally just a display, so sadly I can only show this off to you.

Koko Minda 

Philippine Bags

Lot 28 & 30, Jalan EP9, Melaka Halal Hub, Serkam Darat, 77300 Merlimau, Melaka Malaysia

The word “Koko” itself can mean Chocolate, and again I love chocolates and this is a really good chocolate drink. Plus, it is not just your ordinary chocolate drink, it is a drink that helps to enhance intelligence, gives more energy to the body, and of course helps you to be healthier.

I wasn’t able to take home a box because the price is a bit higher than my budget but it’s really delicious and a must try.

Kopi Luwak Malino 

JL Sultan Hasanduddin No. 88 Malino Kab. Gowa Sulawesi Selatan, Indonesia

I actually just bought 2 sachets for my Mama since she’s the one who likes coffees like these, I love instant coffees and happy with the coffees at Bo’s, Starbucks, and Coffee Bean but my Mama said the coffee is really good that she rate it with 4 stars out of 5. A cup of coffee just needs a spoon of the coffee, if you wish to add a milk, sugar, or creamer then you can do so.

The coffee is a bit expensive though but then again, it’s worth it.

Thailand's Angus Beef Patty

Thailand's Angus Beef Patty

Who doesn’t love burgers? I didn’t get a flyer since it’s not in English but I did tried it myself. The patty alone is good, how much more if you’ll make it a burger. Right? They were not there on the last day, I didn’t get any flyer or card, so I don’t have any info that I can share with you guys. Sorry!

Master Chef Oat Cereal Drink

Master Chef Oat Cereal Drink

Lagenda Utara Sdn. Bhd.
No. 73, Ground Floor, Jalan Legend Height 08000 Sungal Petani Kedah Malaysia

I actually bought 2 packs (with 15 sachets per pack), because it’s affordable and delicious, and I think my nieces would love this and I would love to take one every day.
This drink have no cholesterol, with beta-glucan, protein, vitamin B1, and nutritious rock salt which is also good for digestion and very nutritious.

Muhibah Corn Oil

Muhibah Corn Oil

Muhibah Palm Products Sdn Bhd.
No. 1B, Jelan Sungai Burung X, 32/X, Bukit Rimau 40460 Shah Alam, Selangor Darul Ehsan Malaysia

I’m not really into cooking, but my Mama is. I asked her about the corn oil, and she said it’s expensive here in the Philippines and it’s a good product – and that if I could buy one I should have it.

These guys actually cooked a corn using their corn oil, and I’ve been eating a lot of corn since I transferred to a new home – because there’s a guy here who sells cooked corn. And I’d say the corn that they cooked using their corn oil was a lot more delicious and bring out its flavor more.

Again, please take note that these top products here are my personal choices, most of them are the ones who actually entertained me when I stopped in front of their cubicle (yes, some just don’t offer me something or they just look at me), some also gave a free taste or product testers so we could try out their products – which is good, so that if we love it we can partner up with them or buy their products.

Actually, there are other great products at the trade fair, like the clothes, bags from Indonesia, leather jackets and bags, beauty products (e..g whitening products, lotion, shampoo, conditioners), local delicacies or food in their countries, etc.

If you went to the 2nd BIMP-EAGA and IMG-GT trade fair and have your personal favorites, please do feel free to share it with us here on the blog.

Also, I’d like to grab this opportunity to give my big thanks to MinDa for inviting Exotic Philippines at the 2nd BIMP-EAGA and IMG-GT in Davao Philippines.

Monday, October 27, 2014

5 Must Know About Bohol’s Floating Restaurant

Gay Aida Dumaguing - Monday, October 27, 2014
5 Must Know About Bohol Floating Restaurant

One of the top tourist spot in Bohol that a lot of tourists look forward to, is the Bohol’s floating restaurant, the Rio Verde Floating Resto.

I was in Bohol once upon a time when I was still little but then we never get to try this, or maybe it didn’t exist before. So, I was actually excited to finally try this out myself. Luckily, Exotic Philippines was sent by WithLocals to Bohol to meet with a host and get the chance to experience the restaurant.

If you’re planning to try it yourself too, then here’s six (6) things that you might want to know about the famous floating restaurant in Bohol.

The Restaurant Location

The floating restaurant can be found at Loboc River, that’s where you’ll cruise why you eat along with other tourists in a boat which is about 30 minutes away from the main city of Bohol, the Tagbilaran City.

The Boat Designs 

The floating restaurant is supported by two (2) boats, where the restaurant is set and complete with tables, chairs, and buffet.

Loboc River Rio Verde Floating Restaurant Bohol Philippines

Another boat that is separated with the restaurant which will push the restaurant to move around the river and tour you around while you eat.

Loboc River Rio Verde Floating Restaurant Bohol Philippines

There are different designs available of their boat, and their latest is the “Kalamay” boat which is round shape like the Bohol’s famous delicacy the Kalamay - which I was not able to take a photo.

Another one is the Pawikan (turtle), which as of the moment (that I was there) they only have one.

Loboc River Rio Verde Floating Restaurant Bohol Philippines

The cool thing about the Pawikan boat is that the head of the turtle moves from left to right while you’re cruising.

The Boat Stops

The floating restaurant got two (2) stops for their customers which are the following:

The Harana

I call them the “Harana” (I really don’t know what they do call them) because they’re a group of men and women that plays a song for you with guitar. It’s a quick stop, you don’t have get off from the restaurant. Continue eating and listen to their music.

The Ati Tribe

I didn’t know that I can meet these people here, I’ve seen them on YouTube before and I was actually wondering where and how to get there. The stop at the Ati Tribe is included in the whole experience, so that’s a plus to the experience.

Loboc River Rio Verde Floating Restaurant Bohol Philippines

The Eat All You Can Menu

I actually took a photo of the menu but it may not look clear for you so I decided to type it in for you since I can zoom in and out to see what’s really in there.

You can choose between two (2) types of restaurants that you might want to ride on and eat.

The Menu
Pawikan/High End
Corn Soup
Tinulang Manok (Chicken Stew)
Salad Bar
Guso Salad (Seaweed Salad), Atsal/Puso Salad (Banana Bud Salad), Manga with Bagoong (Green Mango with Shrimp Paste)
Guso Salad (Seaweed Salad), Potato Salad, Lettuce Salad, Manga with Bagoong (Green Mango with Shrimp Paste)
Main Course
Plain Rice, Pancit Special, Sautéed Squid, Pork Barbecue, Buttered Chicken, Garlic Kangkong, Fish Fillet in Sweet and Sour Sauce, Ginataang Langka (Jack Fruit in Coco Milk)
Plain Rice, Red Crabs, Grilled Fish, Sautéed Squid, Pork Barbecue, Pancit Special, Camaron Rebosado, Chopsuey Guisado, Buttered Chicken, Hot and Sour Mussels, Lechon Kawali (Pan Roasted Pork)
Bibingka Special (Rice Cake), Puto Kutsinta (Brown Rice Cake), Camote with Latik (Sweet Potato), Puto Special (Steamed Rice Muffin), Banana Turon (Fried Banana Fruit with Caramel Sauce)
Maja Blanca, Malagkit (Glutinous Rice), Puto Kutsinta (Brown Rice Cake), Camote with Latik (Sweet Potato), Puto Cheese (Steamed Rice Muffin with Cheese), Banana Turon (Fried Banana Fruit with Caramel Sauce)
Fruits in Season
Watermelon, Banana, Pineapple
Watermelon, Banana, Pineapple
Php 392/head
Php 500/head

Food Rating

Loboc River Rio Verde Floating Restaurant Bohol Philippines

I’d be honest, their food is not that delicious and I won’t even recommend it if you’re looking for the best food in Bohol. The floating restaurant is just well-known because it’s unique (floating) and has a bit of a tour around the river.

They can totally get and hire a better cook. Surely, there are surely other restaurants in Bohol that is a lot cheaper and the food will be a lot way better. If you ask my food rating of the restaurant, I’d say it’s a 1 out of 5 stars, even it’s an eat all you can buffet.

It’s one of the top tourist destinations in Bohol Philippines, sure! But if you want to eat somewhere that will satisfy your taste buds, it’s not the place. Will I return? Maybe, I want to try the high end, maybe the food there is a lot better than the regular one.

What I really like about it though is that it’s refreshing, with a great view, plus a staff will play a guitar and sing songs for you in different languages.

Exotic Philippines Tips:

* The restaurant is only open at around 11:00am to 2:00pm. So if you want to try the high end restaurant, be there before 12nn because the high end one only have limited trips.

Loboc River Rio Verde Floating Restaurant Bohol Philippines

* Bring some coins if you want to leave a tip for the presenters in the Ati Tribe since they kids holding the animals will not and are not shy to ask for a tip.

Loboc River Rio Verde Floating Restaurant Bohol Philippines

* Pay first before boarding. You need to pay the fee first before boarding the floating restaurant.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

BIMP-EAGA & IMT-GT 2014 Live Social Stream

Gay Aida Dumaguing - Thursday, October 23, 2014
 BIMP-EAGA IMT-GT 2014 Live Social Stream

As your reading this, I'm in Davao to attend the second BIMP EAGA Business Conference, as the media blogger representative of Cebu Philippines and of course Exotic Philippines - and Mayor Rodrigo Duterte just pass by me.

It's hard to live blog about it since I have to move around and there are times that the internet connection will go down. So here's my only solution, sending you the LIVE social stream of the event for the whole week.

If you're following me on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram then no worries, you'll see it there too but below you'll find everything about my  BIMP-EAGA and IMT-GT 2014 experience in one page.

I'll try to update everyone as much as possible, but if you're in Davao Philippines please do drop by at the SM Lanang Premier and check it out yourself. You'll surely learn a lot from the business leaders in Asia, and may get to partner or buy products from different countries - Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Brunei and of course the Philippines.

So, check out the event here:

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Swimming with the Whale Sharks in Oslob Cebu

Gay Aida Dumaguing - Tuesday, October 21, 2014
whale shark watching and swimming with the whales in oslob cebu

I was up and awake early in the morning for another mission as an Ambassador, and that is “finally” meeting the whale sharks in Oslob, Cebu Philippines.

I’ve been living here in Cebu for almost a decade now and never have actually roamed around Cebu or at least come over and see what’s with this talked about whale sharks in Oslob. To think a lot of people from around the world spend thousands just to be here and get to do swimming with the whales.

I’ve meet up with my host, Roger at the South Bus terminal in Cebu city around 6am but since we preferred to ride the air-conditioned bus we have to wait around 7am. Luckily, the first round was not full yet so we get to ride but we’re on the last row, the butt part of the bus.

whale shark watching and swimming with the whales in oslob cebu

It took us about 3-4 hours to get to Oslob, luckily I have my phone and mobile internet to check my emails, chat on Facebook and listening to music during these hours. Though I feel secure, since I’m with the two (2) gentlemen I did not get to sleep since it’s too bouncy on our spot – I don’t recommend sitting there. But our Korean seatmates slept well.

There are a lot of resorts to choose from when you get there, there’s actually a resort that the bus may drop you but do feel free to go to other resorts since they all offer same price when you want to do swimming with the whales or dive with them.

I suggest you go directly to the government resort since there are restaurants there, and anyway you’ll need to go there before going to the whales since you’ll need an orientation.

So, we chose the most quiet resort that we can find and after paying for the fees we changed our clothes and went to the area where the fishermen guides will pick us up.

whale shark watching and swimming with the whales in oslob cebu

The one in the middle is the WithLocals host, Roger and the other guy is his friend John. I'm so happy that Roger got his own GoPro Hero camera, since I can't take my DSLR with me out there.

whale shark watching and swimming with the whales in oslob cebu

Here's what we're looking at. The ones that you're seeing that seems like small islets, they're actually boats with tourists - Roger took the photo while I was trying to fix my hair.

Few minutes later, the guides called us up to go down.

whale shark watching and swimming with the whales in oslob cebu

The official fishermen guides of the government are the ones wearing blue shirt. If you don't know how to get into the boat or what we call "banka", no worries the guides are very helpful and kind to assist you.

They won't bring you right away to the whale sharks, since you must take the short orientation by the government employees to ensure your safety and the whale sharks. Do take time to listen since any violations can send you to jail.

whale shark watching and swimming with the whales in oslob cebu

 Say hello to the Korean girl! (photo above on the right lower corner)

It took me a while to get the courage to jump into the waters since it was windy that day and the waves are a bit big. So when I jumped, this is (somewhat) my view.

whale shark watching and swimming with the whales in oslob cebu

I'm saying "somewhat" since this is Roger's view but this is somewhat my view right away after I jumped. Can you imagine my feeling? I swim my way up and told the guide that the whale shark is to near me. They said that it's okay if they're the ones touching you, as long as you're not intentionally touching them - I don't want to go to jail.

The guide told me that I should not use the life jacket since I know how to swim but since I'm not that experienced, I don't trust myself so I wore it!

whale shark watching and swimming with the whales in oslob cebu

I keep on holding on to the banka, and the guide wants me to experience letting go of the banka so he just keep on holding on to me, even though I'm wearing the life jacket.

whale shark watching and swimming with the whales in oslob cebu

The guide suggested that I use it the life jacket as a floater, or just hold on to it so I can look deeper. So I got the courage to do it, and just use my left arm to hold on.

whale shark watching and swimming with the whales in oslob cebu

Oh yes! Love this shot!

As the guide noticed that I'm starting to get comfortable and want to dive a bit to see the whales, he suggest to throw the life jacket into the boat and promised that he'll look at me all the time to make sure I won't drown. So I did!!

whale shark watching and swimming with the whales in oslob cebu

Thanks to kuya for holding on to me. Making sure I'm safe and making sure I enjoyed my time swimming with the whale sharks.

As you start getting comfortable, you'll be able to see and appreciate the view more, the view of the whale shark and the fishes following them around.

whale shark watching and swimming with the whales in oslob cebu

How to get there?

Go to the Cebu City South Bus terminal, take a bus going to Oslob – feel free to choose between the open air or air-conditioned bus but I suggest go for the air-conditioned since it’s a lot safer and less stops, since the open air is preferred by the locals because it’s cheaper.

Just tell the bus conductor that you’ll stop at Oslob, tell them to drop you there. They usually issue tickets about 30 minutes after the bus left the terminal, then collects the payments about 30 minutes later.

You’ll know that you’ve arrived or near if you’re starting to see this sign.

The Total Expenses

Roger’s experience offered in the WithLocals website includes a trip to Moalboal with an overnight stay. But I squeeze it all to one day since I don’t want to take too much of his time. Let me give you Roger’s rate.

2D1N South Cebu Tour Experience Highlights:
  • Swimming with the whale sharks in Oslob
  • Trip to Moalboal
  • Trekking to Kawasan Falls
Inclusions: Entrance fees, Meals, Snacks, Bus Transport, Overnight stay
Price: $88.40/person

But then if you insist on just going for the swimming with the whale sharks, here are their rates.

Swimming with the Whales – P500/person
Diving with the Whales – P1,500/person

Note: I believe the snorkel is included. I forgot the fare for the bus, but it’s lower than P200 I think it was around P170. Sorry, forgot to write it down.

I’ll try to update the post once I get to roam around the south area of Cebu again, so hopefully I’ll be able to update you with the exact fare for the bus. The meals there goes around from 150 to 250 and the taste can pass. Our meal was about P300/head since we had drinks – mango shake for me!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

5 Must Check Out Areas at Cebu White Sands Resort

Gay Aida Dumaguing - Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Cebu White Sands Resort and Spa

Along with fellow bloggers, Exotic Philippines was invited to come and visit one of the resorts in Mactan Cebu Philippines, the Cebu White Sands Resort and Spa.

Let me just note that this is not a hotel review, but just a featured hotel. I do hotel reviews but since I was just there for a day to talk with the owner and his family, I can’t provide any hotel review since it’s purely just viewing the hotel, talk and dinning with the family who owns the resort – which was a pleasure to meet them.

The Cebu White Sands Resort and Spa

Though I’ve been living here in Cebu for more than 10 years now, and just live near by the resort, it was my first time to enter and really see what’s inside the resort.

The name itself is a brand, there are other White Sands resorts owned by the Unchuan Development Corp. For years passing by this resort, I really thought that it’s one of the expensive accommodations here in Cebu, a resort that I can’t afford and where rich people stay. But then when I entered the resort, it was welcoming and feels at home. It’s just like you own a house with huge ground or lot area.

Comparing the size of the lot area of this resort, it’s not as big as other resorts in Mactan, but it’s a place where you’ll surely can relax and feel at home. I’m not that type of person who’s really comfortable with high class hotels and I usually feel out of place. So, I really appreciate the environment and ambiance of this resort, I feel more like being at home or visiting a friend's home.

Here are the areas at Cebu White Sands Resort and Spa that I think you want to know more about and that you must try out.

The Rooms

The owner of the resort tours us around the resort and of course, they let us see their rooms and here they are. Sadly, because I forgot to take notes I wasn't able to pin point which rooms is which - since there are 3 types of rooms that they offer.

Here's one of their oldest rooms, this room is one of their rooms from the start (if I remember it right, it's been around for 18 years) and look at the room. It's so clean, well maintained, classic but still beautiful!

Cebu White Sands Resort and Spa

At the back of the sofas, there are two beds where one can fit 2 persons and the other is just one. I believe it's equivalent to a family room but it's their deluxe room.

Cebu White Sands Resort and Spa

I'd say that this is my favorite. It looks so comfy that I wasn't able to stop myself from sitting on it. I have to, I wanted to, love it!

Now, below is I believe the one they call the courtyard room. I just love the colors, it's so warm and the bed looks so comfy.

Cebu White Sands Resort and Spa

If you're looking for a modern room, then book their Mabuhay guest room which is below.

Cebu White Sands Resort and Spa

It has a terrace that you can hang out, and the nice thing about it that I think honeymooners will like is...

Cebu White Sands Resort and Spa

See that window? if you'll turn off or open the blinds, then you'll see everything inside the toilet room in black and white. Naughty! Naughty!

Cebu White Sands Resort and Spa

If you're looking for a room good for two (2) then here's another Mabuhay guest room for 2.

As for the room rates, they are:

Room Type
1 Night Stay
3D/2N Stay
Courtyard Villas
Courtyard Junior Suite
Supreme Room

If you're more than the capacity of the room, they charge P1,500/night for adults (I think the extra bed is included) with breakfast and P900/night for kids.

The Restaurants

We were able to have our lunch with the family who owns the resort, and I tell you their food is really good. I totally forgot the name (see I forgot the name, I was so focus on eating it) but it was like a steak or something.

Cebu White Sands Resort and Spa

I do have photos of the meal but since I took the picture using my phone with a low quality camera, it does not goes well with the post.

The Anahata Spa

I love massage and upon entering their Anahata spa made me want to just lay down and call someone to massage me. The aura and the feel of their spa is so relaxing that I bet, I'll fall asleep.

Cebu White Sands Resort and Spa

I love the lighting's! The colors they choose, it's so cool! I'm not sure what's the tub for but I believe it's for the other services of their spa. Other than massage, they also offer body scrubs, body wraps, and facials.

Cebu White Sands Resort and Spa

Their message have lots of variations too! Including the traditional "hilot" massage, Thai massage, bentosa,  etc.

The Swimming Pools

If you don't like swimming at the beach like me, then check out their pools that looks like the head of Mickey mouse.

Cebu White Sands Resort and Spa

Look at the top view that I shot. It's like a hidden Mickey at the resort.

Cebu White Sands Resort and Spa

The resort is a family friendly resort, the resort is also owned by a family so I think they did think about their guests with kids. So, if you've got kids who loves to swim, then they'll be just fine at the kiddie pool. 

Cebu White Sands Resort and Spa

You can relax and at the same time, be with your kids.

Cebu White Sands Resort and Spa

Sit down, get wet and watch your kids. If you fall asleep, no worries they have people watching the pool.

The White Sand Beach

The Cebu White Sands Resort and Spa is called "the white sands" for a reason. They do have REAL white sands at their beach that have been there from the start. It was preserved by the owners, they did not buy it somewhere and put it there and I was running around the seaside at the white sands.

Cebu White Sands Resort and Spa

The girl is Mary by the way, she's also a blogger. The one she's standing from is actually the second restaurant of the hotel, that is the Buenavista restaurant.

The Royal Koi Fish Pond

The owner Mr. Unchuan is fond of the Koi fish, but wait, what's this falls doing here?

Cebu White Sands Resort and Spa

It's a real false but a small one. It's one of the Koi fish pond at the resort wherein huge Koi lives in.

Cebu White Sands Resort and Spa

 And the Kois loves me way too much or they know I'm pointing a camera at them.

They have 3 ponds for their fishes, and one of them is near the rooms.

Cebu White Sands Resort and Spa

 And yes, they are all Koi fish at the resort. I can't count them. I'd guess they have almost a thousand Koi fish at the resort.

Cebu White Sands Resort and Spa

So, the questionis, o Cebu White Sands Resort and Spa really have white sands?

I'll let you decide through this picture.

Cebu White Sands Resort and Spa

If you just want to visit and relax for a day, the Cebu White Sands Resort and Spa also offers day use. For Monday to Friday, their rate is P750/head for adults and P400/kid wherein the P200 is consumable at their restaurant. As for weekends, their rate is P950/head for adults and P500/kid which includes an Eat-all you-can at their buffet from 11am to 1pm.

They also have day use rooms, wherein the entrance fee is waived for 4 persons, and a P1,000 conumable food at their restaurants and includes a free use of the pool and beach from 9am to 5pm.
Book Cebu White Sands Resort and Spa

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