Sunday, February 24, 2008

Relaxing in the Philippines

Whenever I'm stressed (or when I simply have time) I indulge myself by getting a massage or going to the spa. I'm happy to share that I've managed to squeeze in some "me" time whenever I travel and these are the places I go to outside of the metro.

1. Cebu - Body & Soul. I usually go with my best friend for a full body massage. There are quite a number of branches scattered all over Cebu City.

2. Davao - I unfortunately forgot the name of the spa, but it's beside Basti's (coffee shop). They give the best foot spa!

3. Kalibo - Sampaguita Gardens Resort offers a huge discount for its to its guests. I enjoyed my body scrub a lot since I was the only one being serviced late in the evening. Whoever fixed the interiors of the spa really took pains in fixing it up and the atmosphere contributed a lot to getting me to relax.

4. Cagayan de Oro - Ban Sabai. It was my first time to have a Thai massage and I was quite surprised that the foot massage included having your legs high up in the air. I couldn't help but giggle and started feeling ticklish. My friends wanted to bonk me in the head since I woke them up.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Cagayan de Oro, the City of Golden Friendship

I had a grand time in Cagayan de Oro last month most especially since my good friend Honey brought me around after work. I probably gained a couple of pounds after a weekend in CDO, the city of Golden Friendship.

Here's what I enjoyed:

(1) Going to the Del Monte pineapple plantation in Bukidnon.

Read more at my Pineapples! Pineapples! and more Pineapples!

(2) Park Cafe - winded down with a drink at CDO's main street after having a foot massage.

(3) Ban Sabai - relaxing foot massage.

(4) OIC - Only in Cagayan for coffee and a meet-up with IT practitioners.

(5) Panagatan - ahhh this is where I probaby gained 3 pounds in one sitting

(6) Candy - and this is where I gained 2 pounds just by eating dessert and pizza.

(7) Divisoria - every Friday the main street is closed for a street market and barbecue-ing.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Tacloban: Hotel Alejandro

I think Hotel Alejandro is the oldest hotel I've stayed in. Constructed from 1831 to 1832, the founders were Mr. and Mrs. Alejandro Montejo and the hotel showcases about 450 photos from the war and pays tribute as well to Gen. Douglas Macarthur (I even saw a letter his wife made for him). Now before you go thinking "ghosts!" I want to share that the place does have a historic feel in it. The lobby which houses a gallery of old photos was indeed charming and I'm sure it would pique the interests of history buffs.

We arrived at the hotel at around 10 in the evening but were welcomed by the service crew of Cafe Theresa for some drinks and fruits. The place was already decorated for Valentine's. The longganisa-sinangag-itlog breakfast would rival Vigan's and Lucban's longganisa. Charming place to hang out in.

Too bad we only stayed there for a night. I would've loved to go around and explore Tacloban a bit. I even missed seeing the San Juanico Bridge!!!

Hotel Alejandro
P. Paterno Street
Tacloban City
+6353-321-7033/321-7509 to 10


Ormoc is a town 2-hours away from the Tacloban airport in the Visayas region. The trip from the airport to Ormoc was a dizzying experience since there was quite a long stretch of zigzag roads. Good thing I was asleep most of the way. I was quite surprised to see that Villa Ormoc Hotel was just a stone's throw away from the sea and the pier and it was quite endearing.

The first time I heard about Ormoc was for Richard Gomez' and Lucy Torres' wedding and the flooding tragedy. I have to admit that's all I know about the town. I did enjoy my short stay though at the Villa Ormoc Hotel and thought of sharing some photos:

Leyte: I Shall Return

I was on a high when I got to Tacloban because it was my first time in the province! I completely forgot about the Leyte Landing Memorial and only remembered when the driver mentioned it. Good thing he volunteered to drive us there before proceeding to Ormoc and here are some photos:

That's me with 2 beauty queens Mutya ng Pilipinas Zara Aldana (also
formerly a PBB housemate) and Little Miss Philippines Lerma

I really thought that the monuments were by the seashore... apparently not. Gen. Douglas MacArthur's feet were also stamped on a concrete block.

Here's Leyte's interesting version of the padyak -

Yummy pasalubong: corioso and the famous Tacloban buko cassava. Too bad I wasn't able to get any of the Hopia de Pili.

I shall return!

How to get to Leyte: Take Cebu Pacific Air or Philippines Airlines - approximately PhP4,500 roundtrip

How to Get Around - there are taxi's, jeepney's at the airport and you can also try riding the padyak or tricycles

Where to Stay: Hotel Alejandro for less than US$20 per night