Monday, September 15, 2014

Food Tempts – With Jpark Island Resort’s Abalone Restaurant

Great news! I got the chance to revisit Jpark Island Resort and Waterpark again, twice this year. Yay! But this time, I was invited for the presscon of their recent released app called Cebu Travel Guide App. But Jpark loves to feed the press, including me. Therefore, I have something about food to share with you.

This is a part of the new segment I decided to add, which is all about food and just photos of the food of restaurants or food trips I've been to or I'll be. It's like "food porn" but I want to avoid using the "P" word because people thinks that Exotic Philippines is a Rated PG blog, but it's not. Most likely because of the word Exotic.

Warning! If you’ll scroll down and continue reading or watching the whole post, I would like to apologize in advance for making you drool, feel hungry and/or make you hate me because I just like to. Sorry!

First off, let me show you the place where I ate with fellow bloggers.

It's the Jpark's Abalone Restaurant, it's not that busy that day since I was there lunch time. But still, there are quiet a number of dishes to choose from.

Please note that this new segment of the blog is just purely series of photos, no description, no naming of the food but the photos may and hopefully make you drool.

Ready? Here we go!

I don't have the details if you could just go to Jpark and just have a food trip. But their local rate for day use is just now P2,500 instead of around P3,000 before (when they're using the Imperial franchise).

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The 5 Facts About Bohol’s Chocolate Hills that You Might Not Know

Chocolate Hills Bohol Philippines

After more than 10 years, I was able to revisit Bohol once again; I was there way back years ago when I was still little with my parents for an all-expenses paid by the company where my parents are employed. And this revisit was also paid by the company, but the company that I am now working as an Ambassador.

One of the tourist posts in Bohol Philippines that I visited way back before that I can’t forget is the amazing view of the Chocolate Hills.  I used to only see it on books and posters at our school way back before, and as a little girl who was given a great opportunity to see a famous destination in person.

Before going to the Chocolate Hills (when I visited it when I was little), one of the colleagues of my parents that I called uncle told me that I shouldn’t eat a lot of chocolates (because I was eating a big one on the road) because there’s a huge chocolate that I can eat for FREE when we get to our destination. Yeah, it was the chocolate hills he was talking about, and I was like “Uncle, are you sure I can eat that?

This time around, no uncle can fool me. But still I am amazed by the view even though it have been through a rough earthquake.

The 5 Facts About Bohol’s Chocolate Hills

Let me share with you a few facts about Bohol’s Chocolate Hills that you might not know or need to recall. These facts are actually things I’ve learned during my revisit since my tour guide was really informative and shared it with me.

The Chocolate Hills

When you reach the top, even if you turn 360 degrees you’ll see the hills! Plus of course the rice fields in between the hills. It’s very windy too! So wearing skirts is not advised, but a Korean girl did and her photos are like Rose of Titanic.

According to people there, there are at least 1,260 hills but there can be more than that spreading through the towns of Carmen, Sagbayan and Batuan in Bohol, and that is about 50 square kilometers.

Chocolate Hills Bohol Philippines

But two have been industrialized into resorts for tourism, wherein the original resort is placed in Carmen, Bohol specifically at the Barangay Buenos Aires (yes, it’s in Bohol. Not in Buenos Aires) which is a couple of minutes’ drive from the center of Carmen. The resort in Carmen is called Chocolate Hills Complex, and which is where I was and most of the foreigners or tourist are brought while the other one is in Sagbayan and is called Sagbayan Peak.

The Sagbayan Peak

Speaking of the Sagbayan peak, it’s now the other way to view the Chocolate Hills which is just about 75 km from Tagbilaran City and 18 km from the complex. The viewing from this resort is also through the deck of a raised edge just like in the complex that gives you an unbarred view of the Chocolate Hills plus the sea off Cebu City of the province of Cebu Philippines.

I wasn’t able to go to the Sagbayan peak, so there’s nothing much to share about the area but maybe next time?

The 4 Legends

Filipinos love legends and stories; and there are at least 4 legends that are shared with me about the Chocolate Hills: From the two feuding giants who forgot to clean up their mess; the town that is plagued by the giant carabao leaving behind a mount of feces, and the feces dried and shaped to this Chocolate hills; the greedy giant so-called Miguel that eats anything and everything in his path, who fell in love and decided to lose weight for the girl, and defecated everything he ate and obviously formed into these hills; and lastly, the romantic legend of a giant named Arogo who was really powerful and young, who fell in love with Aloya, a simple mortal who died. So Arogo was in too much pain that he can’t stop crying and his years formed into these hills.

Chocolate Milk Hills?

These cone-shaped or dome-shaped hills are actually made of green grass-covered limestone, wherein the grass will turn brown (like chocolate) in the dry season, and that’s why they named it the Chocolate hills because it’s chocolate colored and probably because it’s shaped like the Hershey’s Kisses. But due to the earthquake they have last year, some of the hills cracked (and even the complex have cracked) and saw the middle of the Chocolate hills, discovering that the Chocolate Hills is actually a Chocolate Milk Hills – because it’s white inside.

Stairway to Heaven Cardio

Going up to the complex, you’ll already see the hills but to appreciate the view more it’s best to climb up these stairs.

Chocolate Hills Bohol Philippines

There are a total of 214 steps that you must take before you get the best view, so that’s why I don’t call it a stairway to heaven, but a stairway for a good cardio. Prepare! Good thing I was already doing my workout, so I was able to make it.

I was actually about to cry when I climb up because I remembered my Dad. The last time I was here, is when I was with my Daddy. I remember and can hear his voice saying “be careful, look at your steps” because I was running up the stairs when I first visited the Chocolate Hills. So combine the emotion and the cardio, it’s a great way to pump up my heart!

It’s totally free to use the complex but if you’re bringing a car you’ll have to pay for the parking fee. There’s also an ATV below the complex that you can rent for P250 (if I recalled it right) for about 30 minutes of use.

More of my trip to Bohol coming soon here at the Exotic Philippines blog!

Monday, September 1, 2014

A Day Island Hopping to Nalusuan Island Resort

A Day Island Hopping to Nalusuan Island Resort and Marine Sanctuary

So it was a few months ago that I was finally able to do an island hopping here in Cebu. This is really ironic since I just live near by the port for the boats going to the neighboring small islands.

The Nalusuan Island Resort and Marine Sactuary is known for its clear sea water and of course the beautiful view underwater. It’s actually where the well-known sports host, Ms. Dyan Castillejo. The thing is, she went there before me and she lives hundreds of miles away and have to spend huge amount of money to get here – so I was challenged to really put an effort in going and doing the island hopping and at the same time, feel like I’m that really poor. Poor me.

Here’s Dyan Castellejo at the Nalusuan Island Resort for Sports Unlimited.

How to get there?

A Day Island Hopping to Nalusuan Island Resort and Marine Sanctuary

I actually visited other islands on the same day, so please check out my post Island Hopping in Mactan to Sulpa Island wherein I gave the details on how to get to the port. But the only different thing is the island from the port to the island.

But you can get there via the boat, through the Cordova mini port in Mactan Island.
A Day Island Hopping to Nalusuan Island Resort and Marine Sanctuary

On your way to the island, you may see boats like these. Where's the owner when the boat is in the middle of the sea?

A Day Island Hopping to Nalusuan Island Resort and Marine Sanctuary

They're diving. I'm not sure what they're doing but I'm guessing that they're catching huge fish (by hand).

The Nalusuan Island Resort and Marine Sanctuary

It may take about 30 minutes or so (depending on the weather) for you to get to the island. And you'll now that you're getting near there when you see this.

A Day Island Hopping to Nalusuan Island Resort and Marine Sanctuary

It was low tide when I visited the island, but if you're in a great season the water will be higher than that, that it may actually almost reach the bridge/ It will be like walking in the water - oh! It would be great to have a glass bridge right?
A Day Island Hopping to Nalusuan Island Resort and Marine Sanctuary

The (what do you call that?) house is actually where you can go to dive and get equipment. The fish likes to wait there since you can feed the fish from there.

A Day Island Hopping to Nalusuan Island Resort and Marine Sanctuary

The tide is really low. so that's why the foreigners can  just walk around. But for safety purposes, they have a life jacket on. The bridge is where you can park (if I am right with using the "parking" word for the boat) the boat that you're renting, that's why there are stairs there.

A Day Island Hopping to Nalusuan Island Resort and Marine Sanctuary

The water is so clear that you can actually see the group of sea urchins. I even saw a blue fish.

A Day Island Hopping to Nalusuan Island Resort and Marine Sanctuary

I think the place is really nice to relax and getaway from the city life. I can totally relax and have a break in this island. Live a day without the internet. I do believe they have an electricity though, because there's a music playing from the radio.

A Day Island Hopping to Nalusuan Island Resort and Marine Sanctuary

When I arrived, I actually caught these group of friends taking a picture and posing. They're actually taking a picture with a star fish. They're Koreans by the way.

A Day Island Hopping to Nalusuan Island Resort and Marine Sanctuary

Friends talking heart to heart at the beach. So I guess it's a great place to have a retreat too.

A Day Island Hopping to Nalusuan Island Resort and Marine Sanctuary

No need to be under the sun, you can be under a tree and relax.

A Day Island Hopping to Nalusuan Island Resort and Marine Sanctuary

This is their restaurant where you can order your meals and have the food package.

A Day Island Hopping to Nalusuan Island Resort and Marine Sanctuary

If you want a drink (liquor, soft drinks or water) then they do have their own local bar but their prices is expensive compared to the main island since they have to shop from the main island and bring it to the Nalusuan Island. So, it should be higher than the regular selling price. I'm not sure though if they charge if you're going to bring your own but hey, I think not. Since you'll be paying an entrance fee.

After roaming around. I saw this area of the island. White sands!

A Day Island Hopping to Nalusuan Island Resort and Marine Sanctuary

If you're having a team building, I think this is a great place too since you can play in this area. It's a huge area and you'll actually see small crabs walking and the star fish.

A Day Island Hopping to Nalusuan Island Resort and Marine Sanctuary

Anyone care to play volleyball with me?

So since I feel like I'm in the middle of the desert here. All alone like I'm lost and lonely, I decided to go back to the main island and saw this at the resort.

A Day Island Hopping to Nalusuan Island Resort and Marine Sanctuary

It's a mini boat. Great for dolls. Toys for your kid but it's not for sale.

A Day Island Hopping to Nalusuan Island Resort and Marine Sanctuary

Their public comfort room is clean too. That's a total plus since it's well maintained.

Costs and Expenses

Of course, it’s best if we include the expenses I have but please do take note that this may change since they do make changes.

Boat Transfer (Good for a Maximum of 15) 3,000
Vhire Transfer (Round Trip) 70
Sikad Transfer (Round Trip) 40
Food (By the Nalusuan Island Resort) 600
Entrance Fee 200
Total P3,910

NOTE: The boat transfer above is not from the Nalusuan Island Resort, since the island do offer their own boat transfer but then the transfer we hired can drop us to other islands in that same rate except for the island that is faraway – specifically the Pandanon Island.

The resort also offers other food package for P450.00/person but I like the P600/person much better. I do believe that they may offer you FREE from entrance fee if you’re going to stay there or you’ll eat there (if you’re many, I think). I went alone there, so I’m sorry if I can’t give you the benefit if you’re going to visit the island with a group.

I was hopping to go to Pandanon next time, I've heard it's better than Boracay and whiter (sands). Maybe next time? Surely I'll try my best to update everyone reading here in the Exotic Philippines blog once I do.

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