Saturday, December 21, 2013

D'Mall's Boracay

D'Mall is  Boracay Island's tourist trap. D'Mall strip is laden with shops selling all sorts of beach stuffs you can think off (but beware that prices here are quite steep compared to Boracay's D'Talipapa)

If you are going pasalubong shopping, I suggest you skip D'Mall and head straight to D'Talipapa.  There are more choices there at half the price. 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Ilog ni Maria Honey Bee Farm (road less travelled)!

I have read such good reviews of Ilog ni Maria from the internet. So, on our way home from our last Tagaytay trip, me and my boys decided to give this much reviewed stop over a visit.
It took us a while to find the place.  We had to stop for a couple a times and ask locals for directions (who similarly doesn't have a clue about what we are looking for).
When we finally saw the signage, we were led to an unpaved narrow (one-way) road.  It took us another 3-5 minutes to reach Ilog ni Maria.

We finally saw the farm entrance and a small shop, displaying the farm produce. 
I hurriedly took a small native shopping basket and began prowling the place for "pasalubong" and possible giftable items.  I got healing massage oils and propolis throat spray. 
My boys love night massages and Ilog Maria's massage oil were just perfect. 
Products and price, I think are comparable to other organic/eco-shops we have in Manila. I was expecting something extra (I think, this is a long way from home, after all.).

We were running a bit late and rain clouds seem readying a heavy downpour and had to cut our visit short.

Alas, we were  unable to tour the rest of the farm... that could have made the extra mile travel to Ilog ni Maria more worthwhile. 

Maybe next time!

For details on how to get to Ilog ni Maria, please follow this link.

Museum of History

Hong Kong has obvious high regards of its history and culture.  For such a small country, it boasts more than 50 first class museums. They have a museum for just about everything... 
One of our favorites, whenever we are visiting is the HK's Museum of History. 
My kids love the replicas and re-creation of old Hong Kong. 
A visit to this museum was more like a make pretend game rather than a education fieldtrip. 



 If you are travelling with kids to HK, I suggest you go museum hopping and experience first class museums which are actually both fun and informative.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Porta Verde (Gate to Greenery)

 I snatched an overnight stay for me and my family at Porta Verde Resort in Cavinti Laguna 
through a group buying site. 
I thought it would be a perfect-unwind-weekend from the hustles of work; and I was correct!
I was surprised at how fast we reached our destination via Lumban-Caliraya-Cavinti Road.  In just less than 2 hours smooth travel from Taytay Rizal we were warmly welcomed by Porta Verde's friendly resort staff.
Road condition was perfect (newly paved road, with ongoing widening of the highway), less the toll fees and traffic, if we opted for SLEX. 
We would definitely be regular visitors of Laguna and Quezon, from this time on!
PORTA VERDE is truly breath-taking.  
We are surrounded by Mother Nature at its finest, the resort fronts Lake Lumot (a man-made lake), with the Sierra Madre Mountain ranges as our backdrop.  The cloudless starry night accompanied by a symphony of insects completed the "back to nature" ambiance.
We felt like camping with the luxury of electricity, soft beds and air-conditioning.  However, there are no televisions and wifi signal was quite low (although Smart gets in sometimes).  This is perfect if you want real bonding time with your family.  
The resort has 5 suites and 3 cabanas.  We stayed at the Catmon Terrazo Suites.  It has a sala, a working kitchen and 2 bedrooms-the master's bedroom has a queen size bed, the other bedroom has 2 single beds, in the sala are 2 huge day bed (I would say it could fit 8 comfortably).  There are 2 bathrooms- 1 inside the master's bedroom and another one outside.  The Catmon Terrazo has a spacious veranda with a commanding view of the entire resort.
Our package included free boat tour of Lake Lumot. 
The boys were so excited they jumped on board the motorized banca and did not bother putting on life vests.  I was shocked to learn after that the lake goes up to 100ft deep and abounds with huge (50kilos heavy) bass fishes (that info should have been given earlier - what if the boat capsizes? 


The lake was calm and the wind refreshing as Lumot Lake is a freshwater lake. 
Porta has huge grounds for the kids to roam around and learn a bit or two about getting dirty and chasing bugs (my boys had loads of laugh).

My boys having fun!!!

My boys working out their appetite!

The resort pool was cold, but that did not stop my boys from getting wet.

Striking a pose  (or should say taking a break before climbing the stairs)!

The Catmon Terrazo Suite!

The view from the Catmon veranda was just lovely!  I can spend hours just admiring the view.

VERDICT:  Price is quite steep and would wait for another deal to come, before returning.  Our package was a real steal at 50% off, paying full, however would be a different story.
The resort has no restaurant, so you would have to bring everything in to cook your meals.  This could be a bother to others who would rather just enjoy and relax. 
As for our accommodations (I cannot say anything about the other suites/cabanas since I never got to see them).  I am sure the Catmon Suite had been splendid in its heyday.  The structure has aged and traces of which already showing on its interiors, walls, ceiling and furniture. The accommodations looked better in pictures.
The view, however, is undeniably perfect and enough for one to decide to comeback for more!

PORTA VERDE CAVINTI  is located Lumban-Caliraya-Cavinti Rd, Cavinti Laguna. 
You may contact Telephone: 632 807-8414 or 8405 or Mobile phone: +63 922 813 3950 / +63 907 556 4214  for inquiries and bookings.
Please see also related article of our relaxing Lake Lumot boat ride.


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Porta Verde Boat Ride

The Lake Lumot boat tour came free with our Porta Verde overnight package. 
It was a 20 minutes tour via a motorized banca around Lake Lumot.  Lake Lumot is man-made reservoir / embankment dam for the Kalayaan hydroelectric plant located in Cavinti Laguna.


Sunset view may not be as magnificent as the others we have in the Philippines, but this one is still special, viewed from a man-made lake surrounded by mountain ranges.

Holy Land 2019 ~ Saying Goodbye to Jordan (DAY 13 ~ JORDAN)

Day 13 ~ Jerash We spent our last day in Jordan with a visit to Jerash.  Jerash (old name Gerasa) is mentioned in the Bible as "the...