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Day 4 in Cebu: Going Home…

15 Apr

When my boyfriend and I woke up, it just stopped drizzling in Bantayan so we decided to check out the sea. There was still too much sand, but it was okay beacuse we had no plans of swimming. We did not want to bring home wet clothes anyway. 😛

Good Morning, Bantayan Island! 🙂

Beautiful Bantayan

After taking some pictures, we decided to have breakfast in a different restaurant. Since we had already tried Marisquiera and CouCou, we wanted to try the food at D’Jungle. However, there was no one in the restaurant so we decided to have breakfast at Le Petit Bonheur. If you have read my previous post, Le Petit Bonheur is a desserts place, but they do serve breakfast, too. 🙂

Le Petit Bonheur offers a ROYAL BREAKFAST (Filipino or Continental). For only Php125, you get 1 rice, 1 egg (sunny side up or scrambled), 2 hotdogs, 2-3 longganisa (I could not remember the exact number), 2 lumpiang shanghai, 4-6 pieces of danggit (I also could not remember the exact number), and coffee for the Filipino breakfast. 🙂

Yum! 🙂

After breakfast, we immediately headed back to our room to get ready for our check-out. Kota Beach Resort’s driver was already waiting for us since we told him the day before that we would catch the 9:30AM ferry back to Hagnaya.

Bye, Kota Beach Resort! Check out time...

The 9:30AM ferry was quite fast. It took us an hour to get to Hagnaya port from Sta. Fe port. And this ferry had a first class area. Too bad we only paid for a non-air conditioned fare. 😦

ferry back to Hagnaya

There were buses already waiting at Hagnaya port so we did not wait that long. The bus trip was around 3 hours and 30 minutes. It was already past 2PM when the driver dropped us off at SM Cebu where we were supposed to have our late lunch. But since we were pressed for time, we decided to just buy take out food from Jollibee. We also bought some pasalubongs since we still have some money left for shopping.

boarding area of Mactan Airport

view of the sunset from our plane window

Here’s our ITIN for the last leg of our Cebu trip:

07:30AM     Wake up time
08:00AM     Breakfast
                         Check-out
09:00AM     Sta. Fe port
10:30AM     Bus to SM Cebu
01:30PM     Late lunch in SM Cebu — this was our supposed ETA, but we were wrong 😛
02:10PM     SM Cebu — bought take-out food and pasalubongs
02:45PM     Head to Mactan Airport (ate our food while in the cab and at the boarding area)
05:35PM     Departure — our flight was delayed for 30 minutes so we ended leaving at 6PM
07:00PM    Arrival

Our Cebu trip was truly wonderful. 🙂 It was our first domestic flight and it was our first time in Visayas. We’re definitely going back! 🙂

Day 3 in Cebu: Bantayan Island

9 Apr

We started our third day very early. We woke up hours before the sunrise to take a bath and to fix our things for our check out. We then went to Orange Brutus, a local fast food resto in Cebu, at Fuente Circle to buy breakfast and then hailed a cab to drive us to the North Bus Terminal (to be able to take a bus going to Bantayan). It was such an Herculean effort for us since my boyfriend and I are sssooo not morning persons. 😦

When we got to the North Bus Terminal, a bus headed to Hagnaya port was already waiting. And it was an air conditioned bus. Yey!  🙂 (fare is only Php110 per head)

inside the air conditioned bus

Our bus left the terminal at 5:35AM and we got to Hagnaya at around 9:00AM. We slept almost all throughout the bus ride. Hehehe… When we got to Hagnaya, porters swarmed as soon as our bus door opened .

TIP: If your bag/s is/are not heavy and you can manage to carry them to the port on your own, I suggest not to let any porters take your bag/s because they would really ask money from you. But please, turn down the porters nicely. 🙂

Anyway, our ferry tickets cost Php150/head and the terminal fee cost Php10/head. The ferry going to Sta. Fe was scheduled to leave at 9:30AM so we had some time to kill. I took a photo of the ferry schedules going to Sta. Fe and Hagnaya ports:

ferry schedule

The ferry was nothing fancy. It’s not even air conditioned. And if you forgot to bring your own snacks, there are a few vendors on board. I did not check the prices though. We were also asleep during the ferry ride! Hahaha!

After 2 hours and 15 minutes, we finally reached Sta. Fe port. Porters will again ask if you needed their help, turn them down nicely if you could carry your own stuff. Good thing, Kota Beach Resort’s driver was already waiting for us at Sta. Fe port so we were not “harassed” by the porters.

You may be wondering why I chose Kota Beach Resort even if there were a lot of negative feedback about the said resort’s staff. Well, Kota has the cheapest air conditioned beachfront room, that’s why. And they have free transfers to and from the port. 🙂

Our room cost Php1,260/night. It’s air conditioned with private toilet and bathroom (no hot shower though). There were no towels, no soaps, and no tissue provided, too.  😦 It was a good thing we brought our own towels and toiletries with us. The room looked old and it seemed like it’s not really that maintained. The bathroom’s pail and dipper (timba and tabo) looked old and dirty, too, so we did not use them. Also, the cabinet and sofa were a bit dusty. My boyfriend even told me that the resort beside Kota, Budyong Beach Resort, looked new and cleaner. I can tell that my boyfriend did not like our room! Hahaha!

I did not take pictures of the room because I did not want to remember how it looked like. 😛 But I must admit, the people working for Kota Beach Resort were not as bad as what I’ve read. They were actually accommodating, especially the driver and the receptionist.  🙂

Here are the pictures of Kota Beach Resort’s shores:

Kota Beach Resort's beautiful beach

sand bar

Bantayan Island is beautiful. It’s really really really photogenic. But I honestly did not like swimming in its waters because there’s just TOO MUCH sand! 😦 I don’t know if it was only because of the time of the day we swam, but we just did not enjoy swimming.

Too much sand!!! 😦

However, what we loved most in Bantayan Island was food tripping! 🙂

lunch at Marisqueira O Portuguese Resto

desserts at Le Petit Bonheur

our desserts

dinner at CouCou Bar and Restaurant

my choco-peanut-banana shake from Le Petit Bonheur

my boyfriend's ice cream (we went back to Le Petit after eating dinner)

TIP: On weekends, D’Jungle Restaurant and Marisqueira Portuguese Restaurant have affordable buffets. I think it’s only more or less Php300 per head!!! 🙂 Too bad, we went to Bantayan on a weekday. 😦

Here’s our ITIN for our 3rd day in Cebu:

04:30AM     Wake up time
Check-out of Verbena Pension House
                         Bought breakfast from Orange Brutus Fuente Circle (24 hours)
Took a cab to North Bus Terminal (Php90)
05:35AM     Bus departure to Hagnaya Port — Fare: aircon bus – Php110/head
09:30AM     Ferry to Sta. Fe — Fare: Php150/pax; Terminal fee: Php10/pax
11:30AM      Check-in at Kota Beach Resort
12:00NN      Lunch at Marisqueira O Portuguese Resto
Desserts at Le Petit Bonheur
01:15PM       Back to Kota Beach
07:00PM     Dinner at CouCou Bar and Restaurant
Desserts at Le Petit Bonheur

Day 2 in Cebu: Shangri-La Mactan’s Day in Paradise

2 Apr

As what I’ve written on my previous entry, Day 2 was definitely our favorite. 🙂

We woke up early to have breakfast at Verbena’s restaurant. Since there’s only 1 free breakfast (no free drink), we bought another meal (Php75) and a cup of hot chocolate drink (Php20). There’s free mineral water from the resto’s water dispenser so I suggest not to buy hot chocolate or coffee since it’s just a sachet of Milo or a sachet of a 3-in-1 coffee (or try bringing your own sachet! Hahaha!).

Verbena's Cafe Tukana

My Php95 breakfast meal --- tocilog + a sachet of Milo for my hot choc drink

A month before our trip, my boyfriend and I emailed Shangri-La Mactan asking about their day tour called Day in Paradise. According to the service manager, the payment of Php2,500/adult (Php1,300/kid) shall be made on the day the package will be availed and would not be available when the hotel is full. (So we were hoping that Shang would not be full on the date we’re planning to go to Mactan. Evil us! Hahaha!)

The Day in Paradise package is from 8AM to 9PM and the free lunch buffet at Tides is from 12NN to 2:30PM. The package inclusions are the following:

Lunch Buffet at Tides Restaurant
Free use of beach, pool, towels — you can use as many towels as you want
Free use of Gym and Health Club facilities (sauna, steam bath, jacuzzi)
10% discount on Health Club and Salon Services for adults
Complimentary 2 hours use of Kid’s Adventure Zone for kids (kids must wear long sleeves and socks)
25% discount on Dinner Buffet at Tides Restaurant

Anyway, after having our breakfast, we hurried to hail a cab going to Shangri-La Mactan. Some drivers would ask for a higher rate (Php350 and above) to drive you to Shang. I suggest you look for a metered cab since it just cost us less than Php300 to get to Shangri-La from Verbena Pension House.

As soon as we stepped in Shang’s grounds, we felt like we were indeed in paradise. The place is really beautiful (and looks really expensive, too). The front desk officer pointed us to Senses Souvenir Shop where we can pay for our day tour. The lady in Senses was really nice. However, she  answered us in Tagbisaya (combination of Tagalog and Bisaya) when we asked her questions in English. Good thing, I could still understand her even if I don’t know how to speak Cebuano.

When availing of the day tour package, I suggest you immediately hit the beach to get the first dibs on the chairs with huge umbrellas. Foreigners may love to bask under the sun, but they still like shade. 😛 By the way, there are no lockers at the beach area. You just have to leave your things on the shore.

the beautiful beach of Shang Mactan

marine life in the beach (Shang gives free food for the fish)

There are other water activities in Shang --- zorb, snorkeling, parasailing, diving, sailing, etc.

After having a hearty lunch at Tides, my boyfriend and I decided to try out the pools this time. And man, we loved the texture of the water! It’s like swimming in Evian! Seriously, are they using distilled mineral water for their pools? Hahaha!

Death by Tides!!! ;P (We were sssooo full!)

pools

Shangri-La Mactan offers a ride to SM or Ayala for only Php100/head. Since Shang is far (if you’re coming from Cebu City and we saw that there were a few cabs on the road), we decided to take the shuttle’s last trip, which is at 5pm. Had we known that the guards from the entrance by the road could hail a regular metered cab for their guests, we could have stayed longer. We initially thought that the cabs hailed by Shang guards could have a “hotel rate” for their fare.

shuttle sched

Anyhow, at 3:45pm, we decided to go to the Health Club to have a shower since we have no room where we could change our clothes. FYI: Males and females have separate room. According to my boyfriend, males would have to get naked when they enter the locker room/changing area when trying out the steam bath, sauna, and jacuzzi. For the females’ room, it’s fine to wear your swimsuits.

Health Club

After taking a bath, my boyfriend and I met up at the common area in the Health Club. We still had time to take pictures before our shuttle arrived to drop us off at SM Cebu City.

From SM, we took a cab to get to Tabo-An Market. It was a HUGE mistake not to check out the local products’ prices in SM before going to Tabo-An because the products are indeed cheaper in SM Cebu’s Snack Exchange area in the departmet store. Take for example, a 200 gram dried mangoes in Tabo-An is Php120 (it’s Php119.75 in Manila), but in SM Cebu, the same brand and weight is only Php94.75! So I suggest to just shop in SM. You can use your credit/debit card and even get points for your SM Advantage card!

We went back to SM Cebu to compare the prices of the pasalubongs we bought from Tabo-An. We then decided to try out Jonie’s in SM. It’s a local restaurant in Cebu whose radio ad we heard on our way to hotel on our first day in Cebu. The prices are pretty affordable. For only Php59, you could get a slice of sizzling porkchop with gravy, buttered vegetables, and 2 cups of rice! Busog! Hehehe…

dinner

Here’s our ITIN for Day 2:

06:30AM     Breakfast
08:00AM     Day tour in Shang Mactan
12:00NN      Lunch buffet at Tides Shang (12:00 – 2:30PM)
01:30PM      Pool
03:45PM      Health Club
05:00PM     Last trip of Shang’s shuttle to Cebu City
05:35PM      Cab to Tabo-An Market — fare: Php90 (wrong move!!!)
06:00PM     Cab to SM from Tabo-An — fare: Php90
06:30PM      SM Cebu
                         Dinner at Jonie’s
08:00PM      Cab back to our hotel — fare: I could not remember (sorry)

Who would not fall in love with the Shang? It definitely is a paradise in Cebu! It made our second day in Cebu legend… Wait for it… dary! Legendary!!! 🙂

Entry about our Day 3 to follow…

Sun Bloom Beach Resort has a New Website!

2 Sep

screenshot of the website

For reservations, please look for Maribel or Allan at +63 916-543-9709. You can also email them at reservations@sunbloomresort.com.

Updated Contact Person for Sun Bloom Beach Resort (Potipot Island)

22 Jul

For the longest time, I have not been to Potipot and I have not checked Sun Bloom Resort’s multiply site. When I signed in last Tuesday, I saw a message from Maribel Crout:

Hello-
Thanks for taking the time to create this great site for our resort. We are in the process of having our own website which will be provided very soon. We just had taken over the resort last December 2009 from my sister who sold it to me and my husband. That will mean that Mercy doesn’t own the resort, as she used to be the caretaker for my sister. Currently, I have delegated Allan to take charge of reservation & bookings and he can do an excellent job & good services,too. We are happy to make room for improvements for the resort in the near future. We have stopped cooking for our patrons during the busy or peak season, but will resume again. We plan to put up a restaurant by next year and an internet cafe, as well.
As of now, please contact Allan for your bookings at this number :0916-543-9709. We will be providing you with our new phone number soon. Also, for your convenience, please send me an email for your inquiries to :
m2albano@hotmail.com*** for immediate response. Thank you all and God Bless…

Maribel Crout

 

Sun Bloom Beach Resort has a new owner and has a new contact person for reservations. Instead of looking for Ate Mercy for the bookings, kindly look for Kuya Allan (according to the message above). It’s the same cel# though: 0916-543-9709.

***UPDATE:

Maribel Crout’s email address is now m2albano@hotmail.ca

Celebrating Pahiyas

15 May

I wonder what the Pahiyas Festival has in store for the tourists this 2010 especially that the Philippines has been experiencing El Niño. I sure do hope that there are still a lot of harvest.

Last year, my boyfriend and I went to Quezon to celebrate Pahiyas. Despite the unpredictable weather (one minute it’s sunny, then it would drizzle/rain the next), we did have a lot of fun. This festival is in honor of  the patron saint of farmers, San Isidro Labrador, as thanksgiving for bountiful harvest (masaganang ani).

Here are some of the pictures we took during Pahiyas Festival 2009:

Lucban Church's belfry

Lucban Church's entrance

colorful kiping

Lucban longganisa

bayongs (native bags) painted by grade schoolers

higante (giant)

row of kipings

a lady selling pancit habhab for only Php7!!! 🙂

Pahiyas 2009

fried kiping (I did not know kiping is edible. Hehehe...)

Lucban hats

souvenirs

We did not stay the whole day in Lucban. After lunch, we went to some of the must-see places in Quezon:

Kamay ni Hesus / Grotto

Silangan Nayon Resort --- I loved the huts on the water!

Pagbilao Power Plant (on our way to Puting Buhangin and Kwebang Lampas)

Puting Buhangin (at the end of the shore, there's a cave called Kwebang Lampas)

inside Kwebang Lampas

Kwebang Lampas

Patayan Island

Patayan Island's sand bar

I hope even if there’s drought, our farmers still have a lot to be thankful for. 🙂

Happy Pahiyas Festival, everyone!

Revisiting Zambales: Sun Bloom Beach Resort and Potipot Island

4 May

Labor Day weekend 2009 (last year), my boyfriend and I vistited Potipot Island again. Here are some of the pictures I took using my Olympus 850sw camera: 

[For our 1st Potipot trip, click here.]

We're back!

rocky side of Potipot

snorkeling time!!!

I love my digital underwater cam! ♥

I also wrote this on Sun Bloom Resort’s multiply site:  

Last weekend (2-3 May 2009), we went back to Potipot (and of course, we stayed in Sun Bloom). There were a few things we noticed:  

1. There were a lot more trash compared to the last time we went there. [To the tourists, kindly bring your own trash bag and throw your trash bag when you get back to your resort].   

2. People were so amazed to see live sea stars (a.k.a. starfishes) that they were taking them from their habitat and putting them under the sun to dry. [Please don’t take those creatures home. They’re meant to stay in the sea. If you keep taking sea stars, Potipot eventually would have none.]  

underwater shot: starfish that's still in the sea

Here's one starfish taken from the sea. 😦

3. People were stepping on the live corals. [Please don’t step on the live corals, fishes live there and they lay their eggs there. If you keep stepping on them, they will eventually die. No corals = no fishes]  

another specie

4. A lot of people were planning to catch the fishes swimming in the shallow waters. [Please don’t try to catch them. Let Potipot keep those fishes.]  

Did you notice the other specie of fish?

5. If people are feeding the fishes, please don’t swim where the fishes are. You can check them out underwater but please don’t swim right through the fishes. You’re disturbing them.  

To the owner of the island (if you’re reading this), kindly do something about these. We’re paying Php50 (day tour) or Php100 (overnight) to be on your island. You can put posters/tarps on the island to remind people what not to do. You can impose rules like these. You can even ask the rangers to penalize tourists who do these horrible things.  

We lurve Potipot!

 

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   * 

How to get to Sun Bloom Beach Resort – Potipot Island via public transpo: (via private transpo, click here)  

You can take Victory Liner Bus (Caloocan, Sampaloc) headed to Sta. Cruz, Zambales. You can ask the driver and/or the conductor to drop you off at Dawal (Uacon, Candelaria). You can just walk going to Sun Bloom. Dawal and Sun Bloom are just beside each other. From Sun Bloom Resort, you have to ride a boat going to Potipot Island (around 5-15 minutes).

view from the shore going to the main road (If you're coming from the main road, Sun Bloom is at right side and Dawal is at the left side of the street)

It cost us Php418 per head (Caloocan to Uacon – Dawal). But this was a year ago, okay? Better phone Victory Liner and check out their rates. 

Going home, you’d be a chance passenger. Just wait along the highway for a bus headed to Manila. However, it might take you a long time to wait for a bus going back to Manila so you may also take a bus going to Iba or Olongapo. Once you’re in Iba or in Olongapo terminal, you can then take a bus going to Manila (Caloocan, Cubao, Pasay, Sampaloc).  

  

Sun Bloom Beach Resort’s Rates: (I’m not sure if these are still the rates so better contact Ate Mercy — 0916-543-9709

Room rate: Php1,200 (1 – 4 pax) 

Extra Person: Php150 / head a day  

Additional hours: Php50 / hour  

Folding bed (if needed): Php100 / day

Lost key fine: Php150  

*FYI: The rooms have 2 beds, an aircon, an electric fan, and a clean toilet and bathroom.

Check in time: 12 noon

Check out time: 11:00 am  

 

BOAT RIDE TO POTIPOT: Php400 (two-way) up to 6 – 7 pax — pay the boatmen directly (Ate Mercy will only contact the boatmen and arrange the boat trip for you) 

boat to Potipot

Regarding the time/schedule, you have to inform Ate Mercy or her people. They will arrange the trip to Potipot for you. Also, you must inform the boatmen what time they should pick up from the island. Once you’re back to Sun Bloom’s shore, don’t forget to pay the boatmen.  

*FYI: Potipot Island entrance fee — to be paid when you get to the island (a ranger from Potipot will collect the entrance fee) Php50/head (day tour) or Php100/head (overnight)  

  

OTHER CHARGES: 

*FYI: No corkage fee for the food, drinks, and any items you bring in Sun Bloom. But if you need a fridge, burner, and/or utensils, you may rent them from Ate Mercy.

Rental fees:  

Refrigerator – Php100 / day  

Single burner – Php150 / day  

Double burner – Php250 / day  

Utensils – Php25 / item / day  

For the electrical items you brought, charge for the electricity:  

Php 100 / item / day (example: charger, radio, speakers, etc.)  

  

FOR DAY TOUR ONLY: 

Entrance fees:  

Adult – Php30 / head  

Kids – P20 / head  

Tables Pavillion area: Php150 / table  

Coconut area: Php100 / table  

*FYI: The tables are big and long. 10 – 14 persons could be accommodated (I think).  

*** Prices subject to change without prior notice. ***