Friday, July 24, 2009

wiped out

For some reason, I feel that the dessert choices here are quite limited-- even though there are hundreds of restaurants. Or maybe I just don't pay attention.

Like this place, Halowich. My initial impression: The service staff are all women, all tiny and sexy, all wearing a pink or red tank top and white short shorts, and all going up and down a spiral staircase right in the dining area where everyone can see their, um, assets. Who cares about the food?

On the menu board, there's a column labeled "Ice", which is described as a flavored sorbet with fruits and ice cream and whatnot. We decided to order the "Couple Ice" since there were two of us i.e. a couple.

It was ginormous. This order could satisfy three to four people. Bravely, we dug in. Surprise, surprise. It was basically a halo-halo with loads of soft-serve ice cream on top, and what takes the place of the shaved ice is the sorbet. Brilliant!

From Wikipedia: "Halo-halo (from the Tagalog word halo, "mix") is a popular Filipino dessert that is a mixture of shaved ice and milk to which are added various boiled sweet beans and fruits, and served cold in a tall glass or bowl. There is no specific recipe for this dessert, and a wide variety of ingredients are used. The order in which the ingredients are added varies widely. Primary ingredients generally include boiled red mung beans (monggo), kidney beans, garbanzos, sugar plam fruit (kaong) and plantians caramelized in sugar. Other components may include jackfruit, tapioca, nata de coco, purple yam (ube) or sweet potato, sweetened corn kernels or pounded crushed young rice (pinipig), custard (leche flan) and gelatin. Other fruits such as cherries may also be added. Some preparations also include ice cream on top of the halo-halo."

By using sorbet or sherbet instead of plain shaved ice, another flavor component is added-- your choice of mango, strawberry, green tea-- whatever suits your fancy. Before we knew it, we had eaten it all!

I am impressed. It's a new twist on the ubiquitous halo-halo.

goyard goes rustic

These pictures were taken yesterday from the highest point on Boracay, Mt. Luho. Here's the northern tip of the island:

This is Ilig-iligan on the northeast, with Carabao Island, Romblon in the distance:

Here's Bulabog on the east:

This past summer, a starlet was interviewed for a TV show. She was asked what she enjoyed about Boracay. She replied, "Oh, I don't really like parties. I like nature. I like going to the other islands, like Bulabog Island."

Bulabog is not an island, you airhead. It's part of Boracay.

This is the characteristic long shape of our island, with the Panay mainland in the background:

And then I got distracted by this Taiwanese lady and her cute Goyard St. Louis tote that costs a fortune:


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

desert fashion

Photo by Bunny Rabbit.

Wearing: sunglasses by Topshop, tank top and walking shorts by Esprit, Baume et Mercier watch, Dupe flipflops and Fisheye Lomography camera.

Location: La Paz sand dunes. Less than 20 minutes' drive from Laoag City.

bokeh mo rin

From Wikipedia: Bokeh (derived from the Japanese, a noun, meaning "blur" or "haze") is a photographic term referring to the aesthetic quality of point-of-light sources in an out-of-focus area of an image produced by a camera lens using a shallow depth of field.

I've been playing around with my Lumix LX3, specifically the Aperture setting so that I get a blurred background.

Watermelon and ginger slush.

So far, I have only tried macro subjects because the camera has auto focus for macro.

I suppose if I ever get around to learning the manual focus, I can take non-macro bokeh pictures.

Pumpkin risotto with grilled veggies drizzled with a balsamic vinaigrette.

Food review: The risotto was very good-- creamy and mild. The vegetables were too sour. Maybe their balsamic was cheapipay? The watermelon and ginger slush was excellent-- the perfect refreshing drink on a hot day. All available at Lemoni Cafe, Boracay.



finger lickin' good

Homemade fried chicken brings me back to my childhood. My grandma would serve it every Saturday, when all the cousins, aunts and uncles would get together at her house.

Her recipe was very simple. There was a light dusting of cornstarch, but that was it.

Lately, I've been cooking my version of the homemade fried chicken. It's our Sunday ulam.

Marinate chicken drumsticks in a mixture of calamansi juice, fish sauce (patis) and freshly ground black pepper for a minimum of 30 minutes. The longer, the better.

Deep fry in very hot oil. When done, drain on paper towels. Enjoy!

Monday, July 20, 2009

just can't get enough

This is a remixed version of the video in my previous blog entry, so I suggest you watch that one first.

Check it out!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

existential david

I know how you feel, kid.

My favorite lines:
1. Is this going to be forever?
2. I can't see anything.
3. Is this real life?
4. Why is this happening to me?

These are four great existential questions, I believe.

Note: David's video on youtube has over 25 million views now.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

pig on the beach

My friends the Cookie Couple brought their kids to Boracay for the first time this past May. Naturally, even before they came here, we already planned their "eating itinerary". I told them that we should schedule a lechon lunch.

Lechon is whole pig, roasted on a spit over an open fire. The most famous lechon in the country is in Cebu, but personally I prefer ours. Intrigued, the Cookie Couple said go, let's order one. And oh, let's have some lobster, too.

The lechon's skin was very crispy, and the meat was super flavorful. Like the Cebu lechon, ours doesn't need any sauce to make it tasty.

We ordered the lobster from Angel Wish Dish. I usually don't see what the big deal is with lobster, but this one was perfect. It was extremely fresh, and not overcooked at all.

Uyy... sweet sweet!

bacolod = food

We ate a lot in Bacolod. Of course, we had to have chicken inasal at Chicken House...

As well as the chicken butts.

Somebody ordered these yummy spare ribs. Ooh, that lovely oil!

Our friends from the NERDS (Negros Recreational Divers) took us to dinner at Imay's. Check out the cool decor...

And the great food.

I'll be dreaming of Bacolod tonight.

diving with the nerds

We had three diving days during the Great Visayan Tour. The first was Panglao Island in Bohol. Unfortunately, the weather was bad. We couldn't get to the really good dive sites around Balicasag. We went to Doljo Point instead. It was OK.

And then, after our friends from Bacolod arrived in Dumaguete, we went diving around Siquijor Island. It was also OK.

Everyone was looking forward to Apo Island. I was worried about the weather, but on the day, the sea was as flat as a pancake.

Bunny Rabbit relaxing in the sun. The Mayor and BenG in the background.

Hot Tuna, Attorney Gold and the Architect getting ready to dive.

The first thing we saw:

My favorite underwater subject is Bunny Rabbit.

Isn't he photogenic?

Our dive guide was the Architect. Here he is surrounded by jacks.

NERDS: Negros Recreational Divers. Our friends from Bacolod are members of this org.

The receptionist at Dumaguete Royal Suite Inn, to Hot Tuna, as we were checking in: "Sir, are you a NERD?"

delightful dumaguete

Traveling around the Central Visayan Sea is such a breeze. We were all pleasantly surprised. From Tagbilaran, we took the fast, fast ferry to Dumaguete. Even though the water was choppy, it seemed like the boat didn't need to slow down for the waves. The ferry schedules are pretty regular and the safety record was OK. My only gripe was that Ocean Jet charged us for excess baggage, like a plane! (The other ferry company-- Weesam from Bacolod to Iloilo-- didn't.)

Dumaguete is such a cute little city. You can walk everywhere, or take a tricycle. There are hardly any cars, but lots of motorbikes, especially around Siliman University. They have a lot of spas around the city. Honey Bunny, Hot Tuna and I went for a foot spa and body massage for less than 1,000 pesos each. You can't get that anywhere else, I think.

Rizal Boulevard with its huge ancient trees seems to be the heart of the city.

We met the Sisters of Saint Paul of Chartres there.

Since I travel mostly for food, the most memorable part of our stay in Dumaguete was the sizzling bulalo at Dumaguete Royal Suite Inn. It's a whole beef shank served on a sizzling plate, with the marrow practically oozing out-- horror for health-conscious people, but heaven for me! It will definitely be on my list of to-do's when we go back.

Waiting for our sizzling bulalo.

i see you

More tarsiers!

Tarsiers are primates, which means that they are related to us. Although they were once more widespread, all the species living today are found in Southeast Asia.

Its eyeball is bigger than its brain.

From Wikipedia: "Tarsiers have never formed successful breeding colonies in captivity, and when caged, tarsiers have been known to injure and even kill themselves because of the stress. One site having some success at restoring tarsier populations is in the Philippine Island of Bohol. The Philippine Tarsier Foundation has developed a large semi-wild enclosure that uses lights to attract the nocturnal insects that make up the tarsier's diet."

I heard that nowadays, tourists are not allowed to touch them anymore.

amazing race bohol edition

While doing some research for the Great Visayan Tour, I read about Rod in an online travel forum. He was highly recommended as a tour guide for Bohol, so I got in touch with him and made arrangements. Three of us (Hot Tuna, Bunny Rabbit and me), one van, eight hours, ten tourist spots. Count 'em:

1. The Blood Compact Site. (We still don't know which one is Sikatuna. All of them are wearing leather boots and are heavily-bearded.)

2. Baclayon Church. (Very ancient-looking.)

3. The largest python in captivity. (Did I mention that Hot Tuna is afraid of snakes?)
4. The tarsiers! (So cute. I could watch them for hours.)

5. Loboc River Cruise. (The most amazing thing about this cruise was the fact that the boat drivers couldn't see where they were going. Their view is literally blocked by the boat's body and the people on it.)

6. Chocolate Hills. (A must-see-before-I-die site.)

7. Man-made Forest. (Bunny Rabbit loves trees.)
8. The Hanging Bridge. (We stayed in the van. It was raining.)
9. Hinagdanan Cave. (It was dark. It's a cave!)
10. Alona Beach. (S'OK. What else can I say? I'm from Boracay-- one of the world's best beaches.)

There were some spots which were really spectacular, but there were some which were so-so. But I think you have to evaluate the experience as a whole. Take one tourist spot off the list and somehow it doesn't feel... complete.

Part of the fun was racing with the other cars and vans doing the exact same tour using the exact same route. After a while, the faces start to look familiar and you feel like you're on the Bohol version of the Amazing Race.

I was a little disappointed that we were not able to meet the highly-recommended Rod. He sent one of his drivers. Apparently, since that post in the online travel forum, he's become so popular that he was able to buy a fleet of vans and doesn't give tours personally anymore. Ah, progress!

the great visayan tour

In February 2007, our friend from London, Hot Tuna, said that he was coming back to the Philippines in July and wanted to see more of the country. "Where shall we go?" A fair question, since he had been to Boracay a dozen times at least!

In March, Cebu Pacific announced their One Peso Fare promo, so Bunny Rabbit and I booked our flight from Kalibo to Cebu. I emailed Hot Tuna to buy his ticket from Manila to Tagbilaran, and we would meet up there.

So the plan was to meet in Bohol and work our way back to Boracay by land and sea. Check this out: On DAY 1 we drove from Boracay to Kalibo (AKLAN), flew to Mactan (CEBU) and took the ferry to Tagbilaran (BOHOL). On DAY 4 we took another ferry to Dumaguete (NEGROS ORIENTAL). On DAY 6 we went diving at SIQUIJOR. The evening of DAY 7 we drove to Bacolod (NEGROS OCCIDENTAL). On DAY 9 we took the ferry to ILOLO and drove to President Roxas (CAPIZ). Finally on DAY 10 we drove back to Kalibo and Boracay-- back to where we started.

That's eight provinces in ten days!

The most surprising thing about the whole trip was how easy and stress-free it was. All I arranged in advance were the one-way flight, the first night's hotel stay, the diving in Bohol and meeting the NERDS in Dumaguete. Everything else was "we'll see when we get there". The ferry rides were especially enjoyable.

The cemetery at President Roxas, Capiz.

Friday, July 10, 2009

case in point

I've been searching the internet for a leather case for my Lumix LX3. I found these on ebay.

The most common is this. It's available here, right now. The problem is I want to keep using the LX3's neck strap.

So, I need a horizontal case, not a vertical. Like this, but without the snap buttons.

This is the infamous DMW-CLX3 a.ka. the Eveready.
This is the lovely limited edition red DMW-CLX3. It's incredibly expensive at around US$230-- can buy a new camera with that money! But it's really beautiful.

I might end up with this one. It's cheaper than the black DMW-CLX3. It's simple, don't have to screw anything in the tripod thread, just whip the case off the camera when taking pictures. And best of all, I can still use the neck strap.

Should I get it?