Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Lakwatsera Goes to Boracay

At Sur Boracay Resort. Photo by Sweetie

So, let's talk about Boracay, the place where everybody seems to obsessed about going to. I must have been the last one to go to Boracay among my friends and the excuse I got to go? Work. Back in 2005, my advertising agency dragged me to Boracay to oversee a photo-shoot (oversee and be part of it pffftt). The shoot had to cover the Boracay lifestyle since we were preparing materials for a property development so we just had to go island-hopping, experience the nightlife, the food, shopping and how to relax in Boracay (spa). The only thing I missed out doing on that trip was swimming on the beach (yeah yeah it's truly hard to be a girl) and I wasn't able to do that as well when I brought Miguel in another trip.

And so I planned on a weekend getaway as a surprise Christmas gift. I booked tickets last October and thought that I could just go and backpack. Good thing a good friend got Sur to host my stay and I'd say I love staying at Sur, most especially since it's located at the quiet side of Boracay (Station 1). Check out the place in my Sur video.

Lakwatsera in Boracay

This is the only time that I've been to Boracay for a vacation. Probably 95% of my posts here at Lakwatsera Ako are by-products of business trips. I don't really get to go around nor relax since I'm always tied up by an engagement or appointment. I must say I was honestly, overly happy that I finally had a small window for a short vacation.

So, what did I do in Boracay? I ate, I swam, walked and walked, shopped and slept (and let's not forget watching the PBB big night).

I Ate - I have bits and pieces of the places we tried out in Boracay. We stuck to a budget of PhP200-250 per meal and read restaurant recommendations searched on Google. Check out some posts I've done about a couple of Boracay restos here at Lakwatsera Ako.

I Swam - I finally got to swim in Boracay! I don't really stay in the water coz I like sun-bathing better, but I'd say that I enjoyed the cool clear water. I like seeing my feet when swimming, so Boracay's white powdery (or should I say sugar-like?) sand is just perfect. I just couldn't understand why the fish kept biting my feet!

Walked and Walked - we explored where Station 1 led to and we ended up at Diniwid Beach. Since the trek was quite far we ended up swimming and having snacks before walking back to Station 1.

At Diniwid Beach.

Shopping - I've managed to curb my "travel shopping spree addiction" when I went overweight on one trip and I realized that it takes me a long time before I actually use the stuff I buy, but it was a joy looking for pasalubong for Sweetie's family and friends.

Sleeping - well, isn't that what one normally does when on vacation? Sur more than fulfilled my "bed" expectations. I would've made nenok the pillows LOL, I wonder where they bought it.

The Boracay Budget

Airfare - approx. PhP4,500 (Cebu Pacific will soon have flights to Caticlan)
Accommodations - approx. PhP7k per night (they gave us the family room which had 2 rooms that can accommodate 5 people)
Land Transpo (tricycle) - PhP200/day
Ferry (Caticlan-Boracay-Caticlan) - approx. PhP200 (roundtrip)
Meals - approx. PhP250/meal
Pasalubong - PhP500 - 1,000 (depends on the amount of stuff you want to buy)

How to get to Boracay (from Kalibo Airport)

1. Ride the orange tricycle and tell the driver to bring you to the van station for Caticlan near La Esperanza Hotel). Cost: PhP80.
2. Ride the van to Caticlan. The trip would take about 90 minutes. Cost: PhP100/person.
3. At the port pay the following: environmental fee (PhP50), terminal fee (PhP50), ferry (PhP19.50).
4. Just take the tricycle to your resort/hotel upon arrival at the Boracay port. Cost: PhP80 - 100.

Precious Moments in Kalibo

I've been to Kalibo several times, most of the time as a passageway to Boracay and once for work. I never did have time to look around since I was usually rushing about. A few weeks ago I actually stayed a night at Kalibo, still for work, but it was such a pleasant surprise to find out that I was going to stay at Sampaguita Gardens Resort. Sampaguita Gardens Resort was built by Sam Butcher, the founder of Precious Moments, so you can imagine my delight when I saw Jojo's Christmas Cottage.

I was grumbling on the flight from Manila to Kalibo since the jampacked Domestic Airport made me grumpy, but when I realized I was going to stay at an interesting place I couldn't help but ask questions from the resort's driver who picked me up at the airport. It was drizzling when I arrived but this did not stop me from exploring the place. The resort has a lot of stuff to see and there are educational tour packages (costs between PhP56 to 246 with food) and you can go swimming as well for a small fee.

Here's what I saw:

convention center - that's where I did my talk

a 43-foot aquarium
- quite a number of fish, I don't know though what kind

Oriental Flavors
- fine dining restaurant (will blog about what I ate there soon)

the SJB Mansion
- the presidential suite overlooks the ocean and the mansion is filled up with furniture and houseware from all over the world (including a 300-year old bed)

The Spa
- I had a body scrub treatment in the evening and it was truly relaxing, most especially since I had the place to myself.

Jojo's Christmas Cottage
- I spent quite a lot of time there chatting with the employees and asking about the dolls. I ended up buying 2 sets. I'll blog about that soon.

Precious Moments Meditation Chapel
- the chapel from the outside looked gorgeous, it was unfortunately closed.

Sammy's Circus Rides
- I tell you, seeing the ferris wheel and boat made me feel like a kid again.

I unfortunately missed going to the Precious Moments Gallery since my time was limited and I had to catch a plane. Well, check out the photos below.

If you find yourself on your way to Boracay or Iloilo I strongly suggest spending a night at Sampaguita Gardens Resort or set your meetings/seminars/conventions, their packages are quite affordable. Room rates range from PhP1,000 to PhP3,000. You may call them for reservations at +(6336) 264-6556 or 264-3422.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Boracay: Inasal

Whenever I travel to the Visayas and Mindanao region I never fail to eat chicken inasal. I think it's the region's specialty and you'd find a restaurant serving inasal anywhere. Boracay's no different, there's Island Chicken Inasal -

Pa-a (Chicken Leg/Drumstick)

and Mang Inasal and a lot of other restaurants that serve inasal. There are quite a number of Mang Inasal branches nationwide. I discovered it last year when I was in Capiz and I was pleasantly surprised when they opened a branch in SM near where I live - unfortunately they don't serve their atsara in Manila. I tried out their pork sisig (yummy!) and Sweetie ordered the bangus.

Pork Sisig


Island Chicken Inasal is located at D'Mall near the ferris wheel. Mang Inasal is located at D'Talipapa (I don't recall if they have a branch at D'Mall, I think they do).

Boracay: Bite Club Grilled Burgers

Much as one tries to enjoy eating vacation food (read as: not fastfood), eventually you'd end up craving for some fast, easy, and greasy food. I remember scouring the internet for places to try out in Boracay, but some were quite far to trek so we ended up taking the chicken way out and went to D'Mall. We noticed that Bite Club Grilled Burgers was always filled with people and noted that if it wasn't filled-up we'd try it out. We got our chance when we had a late dinner the second night.

Here's the menu:

The way it works is: (1) choose a patty (the 1/4 lb. was really filling), then (2) choose your topping.

I chose the club burger and the blue cream cheese topping.

Sweetie chose the burgerella (1/4 lb. pattie, mozzarella stuffed) with hickory smoked bbq sauce.

And, of course, some potato wedges on the side.

I was a bit scared to take my first bite since I'm used to the regular fastfood burgers, but I was very ecstatic after my first bite because the burger tasted a lot like Dayrit's burgers and I looooove Dayrit's. I'd longed for Dayrit's to re-open at Magallanes after they tore down the place. Good thing they're back, but it would be better if they were located near where I live, I'd probably eat there everyday.

Bite Club Grilled Burgers is located at D'Mall in Boracay, near the now-functioning ferris wheel.

More about my Boracay trip at An Apple a Day.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Singapore: 7,107 Flavors

What do Filipinos who live overseas do when they get together for Christmas?

They eat in a Filipino restaurant!

I wasn't really after the food since I get authentic Filipino cuisine everyday at home, but I went for the company and besides it was a rare occassion to have a Pasko Lunch with my colleagues. So off we went to Marina to dine at 7,107 Flavors, an all-Filipino cuisine restaurant. 

We went overboard and ordered a lot of dishes!


Lumpiang Hubad (which Joann coined as "Lumpiang Bold Star")


Crispy Pata, the Youth Elixir


Most of us had sago't gulaman for drinks (too sweet though) and we were too full to order dessert. 

Cost per person: almost SG$20 each (we were a group of 7)

Location: Level 2 of Marina Square (near the Raffles Link entrance)