Palani Beaches in Balud, Masbate

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kilometers of white sandy beaches

I first visited this stretch of long, powdery white sand beaches in 2013. On a recent vist, I was not surprised that this paradise is developing quite fast, and I think that by sheer distance it will never go the way of Boracay or Puerto Galera. SoPpalani will forever be beautiful.

Palani is the crown jewel of the town of Balud, 68 kilometers from Masbate City, the capital of this island province. From the town proper, the beaches are 2.5 kilometers away. Habal habal (back-riding on a single motorbike) is the mode of transport for travelers without their own transport from Balud to Palani.

Today, I would rate Paraiso de Palani as the top resort in this long stretch. Right beside it is Palani Beach Park.

PARAISO DE PALANI

Paraiso de Palani lives up to its name. I like the thoughtful design that blends the facilities with nature. There are huts and shades with white curtains that dance to the wind. The accommodations are well appointed and inexpensive. The staff hospitable, as well as the dogs “Negro” and Negra”, And the amazing turkey that seems to have appointed himself as the official “one-man” welcome committee.

 

Accommodations, all airconditioned, are as low as P1,200 for a room with a bed for two. Two rooms, slightly bigger, rent out for P1,800 for 2 pax. Then there are the pricier “presidential” rooms with wider floor areas and queen sized beds at P2,500, also  for 2 pax. They have rooms for 6 that go for P3,000, with TV and ref. There is a dorm good for 24, with 2 toilets and bath in the room, for only P6,000. There are smaller dorms for 8 or for 10 persons at lower rates.

Room for 6, aircon, with toilet and bath, TV, ref, for P3,000

 

veranda of the room for 6

 

Room for 2, aircom, with T&B for P1,800

 

“Casita” room for 2, aircon, with T&B for P1,200

“Presidential”, a bigger room for 2 for P2,500

Dorm for 24pax at P6,000, with aircon plus 2 T&B

Three of us had lunch consisting of 3 big fried samaral, 4 legs of chicken inasal, rice and bottled water. The bill came up to only P730.

Pity that we were not ready for an overnight stay because our bags were still in the hotel in the city where we checked in. Paraiso de Palani is an “I must return and stay” destination.

Contact Grace Dalida for reservations at

0917 517 6998

0998 577 6818

email : paraisodepalani@yahoo.com

or check out their facebook        https://web.facebook.com/paraisodepalanibeachvillas/

 

 

OTHER ACCOMMODATIONS

 

Bocala Beach Resort

 

My Q

And then there is HORIZON at the far end on the right. I didn’t take photos –  personally I wasn’t impressed and I thought the huge colorful HORIZON sign, meant for groufies, was a turn off.

There are also some “unbranded” smaller resorts that visitors may check out, and maybe find even more bargain.

 

How to go to Palani

We went to Palani on our own vehicle. But there are vans that go to Balud from Masbate City, at the transport terminal in the market which locals call the mercado. The fare I think is around P200 per person, on a 1 1/2 to 2 hours ride over beautiful sceneries of hills and mountains that will remind visitors this is cattle country. There are ranches along the way and grazing cows on grassy hills are a common sight. The roads look immaculate while seemingly endless. From Balud it will be easy to arrange for transport to Palani – – – a solo traveler can take habal habal (on a single motorbike, as the passenger, for P30-50 per person).

 

How to go to Masbate City

 

Masbate City is beautiful. Check out the city before you go out of town. You may even want to prep yourself up for a Masbate beach experience by taking a short boat ride from the city center to Buntod Reef, a sand bar that is the center of a marine sanctuary.

so beautiful, so accessible

 

PAL and Cebu Pacific fly direct from Manila to Masbate daily. Fares on PAL average P5,000 one way, depending on the season

There are also roro buses from Cubao. Check out Isarog Bus, Raymond, and RORO. A regular aircon bus from Cubao to Masbate is around P1,200 one-way. Isarog includes some buses on its fleet where there are fewer seats and the seats recline like airline seats, with a toilet in the bus, for a higher fare.

You can drive your car to Masbate. Travel to Pio Duran Port past Ligao town in Albay and pay P2,500 per 4-wheeled vehicle to transport your car via roro. This will include the boat ticket for 1 passenger. Extra passengers pay the boat fare. Roro ships leave Pio Duran at 8pm, 3 am and 5 pm. Be there at least 2 hours before to arrange your transport.

Alternatively, drive on to the port at Pilar in Sorsogon. The roro fare for your vehicle will be P3,000. There are roro vehicles from 10pm, 2 am and 5am.

Palani, you’re for me

 

OTHER PLACES TO VISIT IN MASBATE:
I have visited Masbate so many times and have marveled at the sights, moving me to write about how beautiful and how underrated this province is.

https://boyplakwatsa.com/2016/01/10/masbate-so-beautiful-so-underrated-2/
https://boyplakwatsa.com/2014/05/03/masbate-so-beautiful-so-underrated/

 

Best Hotels in Isabela

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I last stayed in hotels in Cauayan and Santiago in 1978, back when these towns were “tertiary” areas when I was a newbie media buyer, checking on advertising placements on radio stations all over the Philippines. I remember landing in Cauayan airport then when the runway was not yet concrete but land that was just flattened by a grader and with tiny pebbles to harden the grounds. I then visited Bombo Radyo DZNC in Cauayan, and radio station DWSI in Santiago. I also visited Ilagan then. Those were the days.

Now, the hotels in these towns, now both re-classified as cities, are up to par with other hotels in bigger cities. Let these photos tell the story. ( I paid full rate for everything and did not even declare myself as a blogger to the hotel staff)

Hotel Andrea in Cauayan

Lobby

 

 

Front desk

 

Rooms

Rates and Details

 

HOTEL ORYZA in Santiago City

Front desk

 

Lobby

 

Room 301

 

Coffee Shop, Bar and Restaurant

 

 

Room Rates

Contact details

 

Room 301

 

Baler Revisited

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This is another revisit. April 2017.

On a previous visit, Costa Pacifica was under construction. Now it is the best Baler has to offer, and nothing comes close.

Costa Pacifica has no equal. The 2nd best will be a far 2nd.

Aurora Beach Camp is a campsite no more. It has been developed into a resort called Coconut Plantation.

Not a trace of the old campsite, Coconut Plantation is now a proper resort, with air-conditioned cabanas.

 

There was just a pebbly beach before, now there is a swimming pool with gazebos

 

this cove is the only thing that reminds me of the old camp site

 

While the resort looks nice, I can not see my self staying in this place which is about an hour from Baler’s nerve center, Sabang Beach. The snacking experience was also bad. The “restaurant” is a shared space with guests checked into a room within the restaurant area. we were having snacks while the guests were comfortably slumped in the sofas right beside our table, applying make up, and doing things normally done in the privacy of their cottages. Not their fault. Just bad space planning.

 

I didn’t stay at this resort, and only went for snacks. Ordered “pako” hamburger. I thought it was expensive at P200, way more expensive than the better tasting (for me) Big Mac which even comes with fries.

PASALUBONG CENTER

For some reason, I missed writing about things to buy in Baler. The best place to go to is the Pasalubong Center at the back of the public market. The best buys are Pacing’s coco jam and also shredded beef. Look also for rice cakes and other kakanin in the stalls just outside.

vinagar, including pinakurat in stalls outside th Pasalubong Center. And suman (photo below). There are also several carinderias in the area if you get hungry after shopping

 

WHERE TO EAT IN SABANG BEACH

Yellow Fin : top favorite. At the back of Costa Pacifica

 

Good Food. Inexpensive. With healthy options.

at Good Food, blue marlin with rice (and it is a good size cut of marlin) is P200. Quesadillas was good. Taco was nice. No softdrinks here – – so we had lemon grass for drinks.

 

Vegetarian.

 

ALTERNATIVE ACCOMMODATIONS. 

There are plenty. Here are some of them just around (at the back, actually) of Costa Pacifica

wherever you end up staying, you will want to be on the shores of Sabang morning and afternoon. Enjoy Baler !

To and from Baler, there is Hillocks Coffee Shop and Restaurant. My favorite stop. Along Pantabangan.

 

CLICK ON THE LINK BELOW FOR LAKWATSA TO SEE MORE OF BALER

LAKWATSA

Baler is now more accessible after the roads have been completed and it now takes only a few hours from SCTEX. Before we hit Baler town, we stopped at the centuries old balete tree that is so huge and intricate it can literally carry 100 people at any one time, hanging around it.

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Baler now teems with visitors from Metro Manila, for that now-so-near holiday. Especially for those who love the beach and the surf. In fact, Baler is gives visitors a flavor of either Boracay or Phuket.

Baler Kahea

Baler Aliya

Baler surf2

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Baler resort

Baler Desiree's Inexpensive accommodations on the beach front

Baler Amihan

Baler outdoor Boracay feel – – food and drinks almost on the water

Baler outdoor 2

Baler store Store on the beach front

Other than the main beach lined with hotels, surf shops and restaurants, Baler offers tens of other beach locations. We had lunch in a rather quiet beach, at the Aurora Beach Camp. Here, there were no other visitors and we…

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Costa Pacifica Baler

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This is my nth trip to Baler, but the last was when Costa Pacifica was still being constructed. My first was at Bahia, that beautiful resort with a swimming pool at the front, with beautiful rooms, but really very few. Next thing I knew, there was another Bahia, this time a 3-level structure. Costa Pacifica, built by the same owners, is right between the 2nd Bahia and the ocean.

Today, Costa Pacifica is without equal. Nothing comes close. The resort compares with the best resort hotels I have been to.

As one enters the lobby, the resort feeling immediately sets in. Very tropical. Open space plan, with the huge pool and the ocean right in front of the guests. Tables and deck chairs surround the swimming pool.

The rooms have verandas facing the ocean. Ours was a suite on the second floor with a perfect view of the whole grounds, including the pool and the beach.

The room has 2 comfortable beds, a wardrobe with a safety deposit box, a luggage rack, color tv, a nice big bathroom with a shower and a tub. Two lavatories. Spic and span. With all the bathroom amenities one finds in 5-star hotels and resorts.  Not all rooms have living rooms, but our suite has a good-sized living room with 2 daybeds that double as sofas, another TV with a DVD player, a round breakfast table for 4, a bar counter top with 2 bar stools, a kitchen counter, with coffee and tea facilities. And a fridge stocked with mini bar items. The veranda has two deck chairs and a clothes drying rack.

 

 

the pool deck as seen from our bedroom, on the right

 

when the blinds are up – – the view from our beds

 

the living room, and the living room deck

 

 

Costa Pacifica sits on a huge property that has a long waterfront, probably the longest waterfront property in Baler. The garden has colorful chairs grouped in one section, a gazebo with swing chairs, a swimming pool bar. And nearly everyone gravitates to the shore where surfers get the ooohs and aaaahs from awed guests. I understand that Baler still offers the cheapest surfing lessons, and there are surf boards for rent. And lost of surf instructors.

Buffet breakfast is served at the restaurant called Beach Club. The breakfast spread is sumptuous, with cereals, fruits, breads, omelettes, and rice plus many choices of dishes to go with fried rice.

Outside of Costa Pacifica are a variety of restaurants and bars. And alternative, albeit cheaper, accommodations.

 

But one can say that Costa Pacifica is the nerve center when one comes to Baler for a holiday. One can go around. But the spell of Costa Pacifica will stay in the visitor’s mind for a long time. And this view will probably stay for quite a while, until the visitor encounters another beautiful resort.  Costa Pacifica will have a place in in their guests’  hearts.

I booked online, and you can book thru their website:
http://web.costapacificabalerph.com/

Sagada : suitcases not allowed here

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A prized possession : antique backpack bought 30 years ago. Must now be 50+ years old.

Sagada is a dream destination for backpackers. I dreamed this dream in the 80s when Sagada was just a small town in a mountain forest. To this day, I keep as a prized possession a local backpack that was already very very old when I bought it nearly 30 years ago. In one of my travels to Australia, a European backpacker tried to charm me and offered me her hi-tech backpack plus cash in exchange for mine. No way.

This beautiful town is part of the Cordilleras within the Mountain Province. The nearby town of Bontoc is the provincial capital and the nearest trade center.

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A most photographed Sagada landmark, the Episcopalian Church, taken in 2008

 

taken December 2016

taken December 2016

 

inside the church

inside the church

 

The Town Center
The commercial center of Sagada features the Tourist Information Center (where all visitor, locals and foreigners alike, are required to register, at a P350 fee, and where arrangements for guides to the caves or just tours to the different spots can be made), the market, the centrally located inns and restaurants, souvenir shops, and where travelers commuting to Sagada are dropped off.

the town center

the town center

 

On a recent visit (December 2016), the town was busy and the streets were crowded with visitors, the narrow streets congested by the vans and cars that one had to literally walk sideways to avoid being sideswiped by the vehicles. There were so many interesting finds on the street sides, including those selling “binatog”, suman and native Ifugao rice.

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Sagada from Banaue and Bontoc

I last went to Sagada from Banaue via Bontoc. It was after a damaging typhoon that practically washed away the road. The 4×4 we were driving gave us some comfort that we will somehow get out alive from the adventure we were in – – – driving thru mud in washed out roads with deep ravines on the edges. Occasionally there were concreted portions of the road and, seeing some form of civilization, I rejoiced and laid down on my back in the middle of the road. (Update December 2016: the road is now mostly paved)

My frayed nerves were soothed by the fantastic view of nature all around us, including more terraces on the way to Sagada, just after seeing the magnificent Banaue Rice Terraces. We finally made in into Bontoc, and Sagada.

Route to and from Baguio

Travel from Manila to Sagada is about 12 hours  via Baguio. I admit that when I was young, I thought Sagada and Banaue were next door neighbors of Baguio. Until I realized they were very different destinations, and can not be scheduled as just a day tour – – Sagada is 140 kms away from Baguio, and is a 4-5 hour travel.

To go to Sagada, drive thru  Halsema Highway and Mt. Data. We actually took this route when we returned to Manila via Baguio. When taking this route, make sure you stop at Mt Data Hotel, even just for coffee. This is the hotel with the highest elevation in the entire country.

Also a must-stop is the Highest Point view deck, the highest elevation within the entire Philippine Highway system. It is also a convenient  spot for a nature break and for some drinks from the roadside stalls.

Showbiz Sidetrip (2008)

When we last passed this route, the girls in our travel group stopped to pay homage to the tomb of teen star Marky Cielo who was interred in their backyard just the day before.  In fact, the staff at Mt Data Hotel said they were never as fully booked. The GMA7 stars came to the wake and the interment.

buried in a tomb within their backyard

Accommodations:

We stayed at St Joseph Resthouse, a charming cluster of cottages in a sprawling garden, run by the Episcopalian Church. Sagada is the only town in the country that is predominantly Episcopalian. The cottage had 2 bedrooms at the ground floor, plus an attic with several beds. There are only 2 units of this “big cottage’ that rents out at P3,500 per night, accommodating 8 persons. (not updated as of December 2016, please google contact details to check rates)

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The big cottage for 8 persons, with only 1 bathroom

 

beds on the attic

Well and good, except that there was only one toilet and bath and 8 people will have to queue. The smaller cottages opposite from ours looked charming, and had fireplaces. When the guests checked out, I asked the cleaners if I could see the room. I figured I would rather stay in this smaller cottage when I come back, and get 2 cottages when our group won’t fit in one unit.

The adjacent Cafe St Joe’s is probably the biggest restaurant in Sagada. Definitely not a 5-star establishment, but the food is tasty  and the ambience is nice. The tables outside became our favorite spot for breakfast  and snacks. And coffee.

I have since become a big fan of mountain coffee

We booked our St Joseph accommodations thru a lady named Mrs. Julia Abad who may be contacted at 0928 9517156, or 0918 5595934

While walking around Sagada, I checked other inns that I could stay in in next visits, if I decide not to book St Joseph. I thought that I will try George’s next time. Private rooms so cheap, with toilet and bath in the room. In fact, outside of St Joseph, rates in Sagada are the cheapest in the country. A backpacker can get accommodations for as low as P150 per person for the night. Rooms in most inns are priced within the P200-P600 range. Unless it is peak travel season (Holy Week), travelers do not need to make reservations, and instead just walk into the many inns and check out the accommodations that suit their style and their budget. The inns are just a few steps away from each other, especially on the main road where Masferre’s restaurant is located, and where the souvenir shops are  found.
Accommodations Update: december 2016:

Ganduyan, one of the first inns and is centrally located, charges P300 per head, common toilet and bath.

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Mother Mary

We were booked by the tour company for our December 2016 visit at Mother Mary. Quite far when compared to most inns, but I would highly recommend this inn for travelers who will visit Sagada on easier days, when visitor traffic is not expected to be terrible. So that you can take leisurely (albeit rather long) walks from the inn to the restaurants or even to the town center. Best to case the joint and decide whether to walk or to ride. But the inn is new, clean, with clean beddings and blankets. The host (and her grand kids who were assisting then (they study in Manila) were all nice and helpful. The toilets are clean. There are rooms with en suite toilets. Hot and cold water. Guests can cook on the common kitchen and use all the cooking utensils, plates, spoons and forks, etc. For a small fee. Best of all, the rent is sooooooo inexpensive. P300 per head if staying for 2 nights or more, P300 per head overnight. Quite a steal.

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They also sell beautiful red “bignay” wine for only P130 per bottle. In banaue, the same stuff was being sold for P200.

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Where to Eat

Other than Cafe St Joe, the popular restaurants that are worth going to include Ganduyan Cafe, where the guide who knew the owners brought us up the roofdeck. Not a fancy area, in fact plastic chairs were brought up. But it sure felt nice having a beer on a roofdeck.

Also Yoghurt House, where my friends went to while I was having a massage in my room. They said the place was busy, attesting to its popularity. (On a December 2016 visit, the place was filled to the rafters and there was only 1 flavor of yoghurt available). Yoghurt House also serves meals for lunch and dinner.

We also  went to Masferre’s restaurant primarily to pay homage to this great man from Spain who adopted Sagada as his hometown. His photographs of Sagada, mounted on the walls,  bring the guests to an era when Sagada was hardly visited by people from the lowlands. When only hard core adventure travelers knew about Sagada, and persisted in going in spite of the extremely difficult access to this town then. Masferre’s is now a fastfood restaurant. They officially open at 12noon, but get there as early as 11:30 as the tables may all have been taken by the early birds. Good food, freshly cooked, and you can pick exactly what you want from the food counter. A piano is available for anyone who plays.

The other popular restaurants are Lemon Pie and Salt & Pepper.

My favorite restaurant is Log Cabin. In this small town, this restaurant feels like you are in some small European country cafe. On a cold night, a fireplace provides warmth for the guests, on top of the warm reception provided by the staff. Diners need to book ahead, and even order from the menu while making reservations.

Log Cabin restaurant, my favorite

We were so glad we did. Good food, great place, low price. How can anyone go wrong? Log cabin also has a room for guests, but it was occupied when I wanted to check it out.

What to do

Or maybe what not to do. Do not expect a party place. Do not even expect bars and videokes. Sagada is a place where visitors trek, walk, and hike all day, with some red wine or cold beer after a good dinner, before going to bed early. A good night’s rest for more walks and hikes the next day.

foggy, serene, quiet. DO NOT DISTURB

On this short visit, we went to the Hanging Coffins, the Sumaguing Cave, Lake Danum, and the Echo Valley. Hire a guide from the guides’ center. All guests are, in fact, required to register at the Tourism Desk at the town hall. One guide is assigned for every 6 persons. The fees are reasonable, and definitely worth every centavo.

on the way to Sumaguing Cave

Sumaguing Cave will make you feel like Indiana Jones.You start the descent from the main road down to the mouth of the cave. And the thrill begins. The guide carries with him a hurricane lamp. We walk from spot to spot, hopping from rock to rock, holding on to crevices on the cave’s wall. I didn’t realize that the guide was actually observing each member of the group then. After wards, he organized us and made us explore the rest of the caves with the “weakest link”  at the front, and the strongest at the rear. For proper pacing, and also to make sure that the weakest link is always helped by him personally.

We went inside on our shoes. Slippers are not allowed because they won’t give you grip. However, at some point, we were all told to take off our shoes, to be left in one spot, and will be collected by us on our return. It is because as we went deeper down the cave, the difficulty level also went up. The grip provided by our bare feet was much better than the sole of our shoes. And besides, we had to wade into water at some portions.

The most exciting part of the caving experience was rappelling down another section of the cave, descending from a huge boulder. Don’t worry, the guide will give you all the tips on how to successfully negotiate this part. It was exhilarating.

inside Sumaguing

Sumaguing Cave gives explorers a feeling both eerie and peaceful. Making it back will give you a huge sense of accomplishment.

Lake Danum is postcard-pretty. It is a small lake where locals and visitors go fishing. Danum in Ilocano means water, so the lake is actually Lake Water. Eh?

lake “Water’

Echo Valley is an excellent trekking area. Some serious adventure travelers even go down deep into the valley and explore the caves, one of which has an underground river. Hanging coffins can be seen on the walls of the mountain.

Helloooo Helloooo

A local cemetery is along the way to Echo Valley. For some reasons, it is not an eerie sight. In fact, our group went around, taking photographs. Maybe the dead here are a happy lot.

Sagada Weaving
Only if really interested in weaves. Otherwise, I recommend to skip. They do not even allow photographs to be taken of the weaving process, nor of items inside the store.

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Sagada Pottery: Highly Recommended

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In sharp contrast with my admonition to skip Sagada Weaving, I urge visitors to check out Sagada Pottery. The potters Siegred and Tessie are so warm and welcoming. They explain the process to visitors and, for a group fee of P200, demonstrate how pottery is made. For P100, anyone can even go hand on. I loved this shop so much I ended up buying coffee cups, with prices ranging from P400 to P650 each. Same quality as Ugu Bigyan’s and cheaper.

Demonstrating how pottery is made

Demonstrating how pottery is made

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Backpacking next time

On this trip, I actually bought bus tickets from Manila to Bontoc, to go to Sagada. Because we decided to bring a 4×4 instead, we were unable to use the tickets. I was told I can use the tickets for another date.

My unused Year 2008 ticket, leaving Manila for Bontoc 8:30pm, P650 fare

Thus, on my next visit to Sagada, I will go by bus and have a backpack with just a few sets of clothes with me. Maybe wear the same set of clothes for 2 days or so. I think I can do this, and tell you how it feels.

Useful contact details:

Check out this site of the Sagada Genuine Guides association. Not only will you see how they are organized and are professionals, but the site will tell you more about Sagada, where to go, where to stay, and read stories about guest’s experiences share on this blog:

http://sagadagenuineguides.blogspot.com

Another site I found to be really useful and informative:

http://travel-philippines.com/locations/central-luzon/4-sagada/htm

(Sagada scene photos courtesy of a member of our Yahoo Travel group, Janna)

Crowne Plaza Ortigas

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Until I was invited by a good friend to attend his son’s birthday at Crown Plaza in Ortigas one weekend, I never imagined that one can enjoy luxurious accommodations in a top hotel’s presidential suite for a  rate one would pay for a regular room in Singapore.

And part of the benefits is breakfast at the club lounge, plus afternoon tea and cocktails in the same exclusive lounge.

The presidential suite is right beside the club lounge. The room is spacious, with a king bed, and all the amenities one would expect. The bathroom is adjacent, and is the size of another hotel room.

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The living room and dining is welcoming. There is a huge TV on the wall facing the sofa. The dining table sits 6. A bottle of wine and a selection of fruits and pastries welcomed me into the suite.

 

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Well I guess if the distinguished guest wants to prepare some food, there is a kitchen adjoining the dining room.

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I love the thoughtfulness. And the fact that there is a varied selection of beverages, including my favorite teas.

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The view may not be spectacular when you look down from your window, as the roofs of the nearby establishments are just at the bottom. But looking farther away makes one feel the magnificence of being on the top floor of this hotel, and in a presidential suite at that.

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As the hotel is quite popular and is easy to find, I am not doing a “How to get There” and not publishing their rates.

And by the way, the Seven Corners Restaurant is one of the top attractions of this hotel. Sadly, I was not able to take a photo as we were all busy partaking of the varied dishes around the many buffet tables.

I give this hotel a Perfect 10 for Value.

 

 

 

 

Degustacion and Tertulia

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The heritage town of Taal, Batangas, celebrated Philippine Independence Day with a weekend Art, Food and Fashion Festival.

The old homes were decorated with Philippine flags and the atmosphere was festive.

Villa Tortuga

Villa Tortuga

 

An art exhibit was nearby, with artists from UST on a reunion.

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Meanwhile, preparations for a fashion show were were being done at Paradores, the town’s premier hotel. A degustacion at Casa Feliza appealed to me the most so I went, having booked well ahead as there were limited seats.

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Why was it a must-go?

The menu is a mouthwatering version of dishes served during the Malolos Convention, prepared by Chef Giney Villar.

Researched by, and presented by Chef Giney

Researched by, and presented by Chef Giney

 

The event host was Elizabeth Angsioco, resplendent in a gown re-created from old gowns.

Beth with media person Howie Severino

Beth with media person Howie Severino

The town’s historian Dindo regaled the visitors with stories from the past, how Taal was also nominated for inclusion in the UNESCO Heritage list, about the festivals in Taal, all in his interesting Batangueno accent.

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To highlist history and the link to the Malolos Convention, a delegation from that Bulacan town was present, headed by their vice mayor.

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The guests included actors playing guardia civil, General Luna, and then president General Emilio Aguinaldo.

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Casa Feliza was home to Feliza Diokno, then the secretary of President Emilio Aguinaldo. Today, it is open as a taverna at the ground floor, and B&B at the second floor. For the degustacion, the table setting was nothing less than impressive.

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I was lost in the bliss of this culinary experience that I forgot to take photos of the dishes. So I instead took a photo of the dessert corner.

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Towards the end, a friend of the hosts recited a poem in Spanish. His original composition in English that he translated to Filipino and Spanish.

An event to look forward to in 2017.