a journal on hiking and traveling around the Philippines

Mt. Pulag's Akiki-Ambangeg Trai

A day hike to Luzon island's highest peak

Review : Asus ZenFone 2 Laser

Check out my experience using an Asus ZenFone 2! :)

Hiking 6 peaks over the weekend

Click to read about one of my all-time favorite hiking adventures. :)

Osprey Pack : Nova

My new reliable backpacking buddy

Hiking in Bukidnon

A day hike to Mt. Kitanglad and Dulang-Dulang

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Travel News : Take a Glamorous Sea Adventure from Manila to Taiwan and Hong Kong with Star Cruises

Here's something to add to your travel bucket list this 2017! If you've been wanting to join a cruise, no need to go out of the Philippines as Star Cruises introduces the first cruise ship to homeport in Manila, the gigantic beauty that is SuperStar Virgo! :) 

Read on for more info!
Photo from GreenBulb PR
Itinerary 
6 Day/5 Night Cruises to Laoag, Kaohsiung and Hong Kong on board SuperStar Virgo

Travel Dates 
From 19 March to 28 May 2017

Itinerary Departing from Manila
- Laoag, the capital of Ilocos Norte, Philippines, featuring Spanish colonial buildings, baroque churches and white-sand beaches
- Kaohsiung, the largest southern port city in Taiwan, a centre of Chinese culture and cuisine
- Hong Kong, a bustling metropolis world famous for shopping, dining, entertainment and nightlife. 
SuperStar Virgo (Photo from GreenBulb PR)
Facilities Onboard SuperStar Virgo
- 13-storey SuperStar Virgo equipped with 935 cabins, including sea-view cabins and balcony suites. 
- offers a variety of dining, shopping and entertainment choices, her facilities embrace Chinese, international and Japanese restaurants, an alfresco bar
- duty-free shops
- foot reflexology salon and spa, gym, steam and sauna rooms
- hairdressing salon
- two-level theatre
- for the water babies, a 100-metre mega water slide, outdoor swimming pool
- mini golf course
-  karaoke room, children's activity centre and more
- A calendar of themed entertainment constantly refreshes the onboard fun and excitement, ensuring every voyage is a brand new enjoyable experience.

About Star Cruises
Star Cruises is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Genting Hong Kong, a leading global leisure, entertainment and hospitality corporation. A pioneer in the Asia Pacific cruise industry, Star Cruises has been operating its fleet since 1993, taking on the bold initiative to grow the region as an international cruise destination with a fleet of six vessels including SuperStar Virgo, SuperStar Libra, SuperStar Gemini, SuperStar Aquarius, Star Pisces and The Taipan.

Rates 
Early Bird Discount starting from PHP 24,500* Per Person (Twin share) will be accorded for cruise departures on 19, 24 and 29 March 2017; third and fourth persons (Quad share) can enjoy an additional 50% off from PHP 12,250 per person*.

Inclusions 
Deluxe accommodations, up to 6 sumptuous meals daily, spectacular performances, pampering recreational facilities and much more – all part of Star Cruises promise to deliver exceptional cruise experiences infused with a touch of warm Asian hospitality.

How to Book
For more information and reservations, please call Star Cruises at (632) 836 6830/ 31/ 32 or visit their website www.starcruises.com.

*Fares shown above are based on twin-share in an Inside Stateroom on SuperStar Virgo, excluding port and gratuity charges, subject to Star Cruises’ terms and conditions.

Star Cruises on Social Media
Facebook:  www.facebook.com/starcruises 
Instagram: www.instagram.com/starcruisesasia 
Twitter:  www.twitter.com/starcruisesasia 


NOTE : Information on this post was from a Press Release provided  by GreenBulb Public Relations. For bookings and additional inquiries, please get in touch with Star Cruises directly. 

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Discover Treats from Around the Globe with World Bites

Here's some exciting news for you fellow adventurous foodies!

If you're curious about snacks from other countries and want to try some,  head to World Bitesa new online store and subscription box service  offering popular international snacks.

For those who are not familiar with a subscription box service - it's basically paying a service provider a fixed fee per month to curate stuff  and send it to you. It's for people who want to try new things but don't have the time or the patience to research on what's good to try. In the Philippines, I've seen subscription box services on books and cosmetics but food is quite new. 
Trying out some snacks from World Bites
Related Post : Gift ideas for travelers and outdoor lovers 

Two weeks ago, I received a World Bites Classic Box which contained a selection of 10 snacks from various countries in Asia, Europe and North & South America.  I opened the package with my siblings and friends -  open-minded foodies who welcome new flavors.  

We got really excited pulling out snacks from the box one at a time. It was amusing to find out which countries it came from!  We actually yelled the countries as though we're announcing contestants in a beauty pageant, haha! 

Here are the snacks we tried out : 

Photo from World Bites

Kurkure Masala Munch from India are shaped like Cheetos - orange, crunchy, short sticks and filled with strong flavors. My brother commented, "it tastes like India in a snack". Being a fan of herbs, I actually enjoyed its salty, mildly spicy and tangy taste.  

After consuming  salty food, I always crave for something sweet, so we opened the Crvenka Jaffa Cakes next. Originating from Serbia, these chocolate-covered  biscuits with orange jelly has been around for 30 years now. It crumbled easily, a bit messy to eat, but I liked the mix of citrus and chocolate. 


Hanuta. Photo from World Bites
If you love Nutella, you'll surely enjoy the familiar flavor of hazelnut from Ferrero Hanuta! This wafer snack from Germany is crispy, aptly sweet, perfect for cheat days or that time of the month when we ladies crave for sweets. The pack can be consumed in one sitting and not fun to share with others, haha! :P 

My sister and I are huge football fans and another country which we associate to the world's most popular sport is 5-time World Cup winners, Brazil! Finding a snack from the same country turned out to be  a nice surprise.  Nestle Passatempo are biscuits  with milk chocolate filling - you can't go wrong with that. :) 

I love eating falafel,  balled up chickpeas usually served with a pita. Ossem Bisli Falafel from Israel has recreated its flavors wonderfully into thin, noodle crisps. (Foodie tip : If you want to try some good falafel, the real deal, visit Beni's Falafel in Makati!)

All the way from Romania, Eugenia Original biscuits are crisp sandwich biscuits with a generous and enjoyable filling of cocoa and rum cream. 


Takis Fuego. Photo from World Bites
Trying out Barcel Takis Fuego, a snack claiming to be the hottest chips on earth was intimidating.  These  corn chips from Mexico are red, matching the color of red peppers. It looked so spicy, but after taking a careful, small bite, I realized it wasn't so bad. While it is too spicy for my taste, I enjoyed the flavor of lime which was mixed in it. One bite is all it took for me to move to the next snack but another friend enjoyed it and actually finished off the entire pack. 

Samai Jungle Chili Plantain Chips from Ecuador puts a nice twist to plantain chips. Instead of the usual sugar or honey, the chips are mixed with jungle chili and medium hot spices, making it tolerable to the palate. 

Another treat for those with a sweet tooth is Ahlgrens Bilar Original. Originating from Sweden, these car-shaped  marshmallows are chewy and fruity. It's not too sweet, something you can have to get you to the next big meal. 

I've seen Nestle Violet Crumble around but I don't remember ever tying it out.  First made in 1913, this bar made of creamy chocolate with a honeycomb in its center is one of Australia's favorite chocolate bars.

Being a curious foodie, it was a great experience trying out a World Bites Classic box. The selection of snacks were quite good - a mix of flavors - sweet, salty and spicy. Serving size is good for one person but it's really fun to open everything at the same time and try it out with a group. It's also a nice gift idea  for your foodie loved ones. 

If you missed my blog giveaway, visit World Bites to order a box of snacks from around the globe now. 

About the website:
The Worldbites website has a clean, straightforward  and user-friendly interface.  
From the main page, you can easily find the "Subscribe" and "Shop" buttons - two ways you can buy from them. 

Clicking "Shop" shows you all the available snacks you can order while "Subscribe" button provides instructions on how you can receive snacks per month. The subscription plans are quite flexible ranging from 1-12 months in case you want to try it out for a month or so. In case you're trying to limit your food intake, you can also choose from a World Bites Mini which contains 5-6 snacks or World Bites Classic which has 10-11 snacks. :) For a World Bites Mini, rates range from 499-595 Pesos per month and 998-1190 Pesos/month for the World Bites Classic, depending on the subscription. For subscription details, go here

The Helpdesk contains frequently asked questions  and if if you have more questions, there is a customer chat box on the lower right part of the page.

Buy a box and try it out with friends or family as part of a bonding activity or it can also be a gift for your foodie loved ones.  Ahem! :P

Related Read : Cosmo Philippines - A Cute Gift Idea for the Traveler (And foodie) in your Life


Friday, December 16, 2016

Hiking in Samal Island, Davao del Norte

A view at Puting Bato Peak
Samal island in the province of Davao del Norte is known for its beautiful beaches but if 
you’re craving for a refreshing mountain scenery, there's a nice trail going up Puting Bato. At 410 MASL, it is the island's highest peak, offering views of the sea and nearby mountains.  Its name, translated to English is White Rock, drawn from a prominent white limestone wall at its peak. 

From Davao City, I took an Island City Express bus to Samal Island. The bus also stops to pick up passengers at Magsaysay Park but to get good seats, I took a cab to the terminal along F. Bangoy Street. Taking a  bus was quite convenient. I didn't even need to get off when the bus got to the port as crossing time only takes about 15 minutes! Another entry point is at Sta. Ana Wharf where motorboats take passengers straight to Kaputian and Talikud islands.  
Ferry to Samal Island. I was seating inside the bus when I took this shot! :)
At Babak wharf, the bus continued its journey to Penaplata, its last stop. From the terminal, I boarded a motorbike and the driver took me to the jump-off at Guilon, the longer and steeper of the two entry points to Puting Bato peak.  To maximize my day trip, I decided Ito do a traverse - go up via Guilon then back down via the shorter and easier trail at Brgy. Tayapoc. 

As we parted ways, the driver expressed concern about leaving me alone but I assured him I'll contact him  if I ran into some issues. He  wanted to come along but he said he is no longer fit to hike.  

When he finally left, I felt a familiar sense of excitement of seeing a new mountain and setting off on a new trail! :) 
The white limestone wall at the peak where Puting Bato got its name

As it was my first visit, I decided to look for a guideA local I met near the jump-off  called on his nephew to accompany me to the peak. 

The trail is mildly steep all the way passing through a clear path filled with trees on both sides.  I was breathing quite heavily all throughout but thankfully, it only took less than an hour to get to the campsite where  I rested on a bench and  paid an entry fee of 10 Pesos. From here, you can see a view of the ocean and nearby islands. 

After resting, my guide gave me directions to the summit. I paid him 150 Pesos, the rate we agreed on and parted ways.  The peak is only 10-15 minutes away through an exposed trail with grasses taller than my 4'11 feet frame. 

After the grassland, the view got even more beautiful. Another hut, fascinatingly built on a ravine, served as a view deck and rest area. 

Walking further up, I walked in a middle of a large garden surrounded with colorful flowers - bright pink, orange, yellow, purple!  A signage said I was at Huyong-Huyong Mountain Park. Yellow benches strategically placed near the cliffs offered views of the sea. 

A group of dogs started barking at me which caught the attention of the occupants of the hut, a woman and a child.  Here, I  wrote on my name on a log book and paid another entrance fee of 10 Pesos. 

I  ran into another gated area and waved to some locals and started to make my way down. I think there's a trail here that leads to the area just below the white limestone wall but I  skipped it because was beginning to feel tired. I made my way down towards Brgy. Tayapoc. Some hikers enter the mountain on this side where the trail to the summit takes about 30 minutes. 

When I got to the jump-off, I asked some locals for some directions to Canibad, the closest beach. There is a trail that takes another hour but to save my energy for swimming, I decided to flag a passing motorbike. The driver, a young guy who looked like he couldn't be more than 16 years old, was impressive. He knew how to navigate the super bumpy road towards Canibad quite well. It was an uncomfortable ride which was actually felt more tiring than earlier's hike. 

The driver picked a resort and let me off. A huge signboard that said "Canibad Adventures starts here" welcomed me. I couldn't see any people or even the water.  Living up to its name, the path towards the water is on this super steep dirt trail down a cliff!

As though I was hiking a second mountain, I was sweaty, breathless and feeling annoyed by the time I got to the resort's main entrance but the annoyance brought by fatigue (incidentally, it was also that time of the month making me feel more moody than usual :P), quickly disappeared as soon as I saw the beach. While the shore is filled with pebbles and rocks, the water is beautiful -  still as a river and as clear as a pool! There were many people but the groups were well spread that you can get a quiet spot and enjoy. 

The resort charge a minimal entrance fee of 20 pesos. Cottages can be rented for 250-350 Pesos but since I was alone, I just walked to the beach, put my backpack by the shore and jumped in the water in my hiking clothes. Though water was clear, I felt a strong current pulling me out towards the sea so I stayed in the shallow area. 

Fellow visitors were very friendly and I actually felt like I could walk up to anyone and join their group but I was really enjoying my time alone, I didn't have too. The water just felt so nice! 
Canibad Beach in Samal island
After swimming, I walked up to another resort to use their shower facilities. I wanted to get a nice, heavy meal but unfortunately, there's not much food around here but snacks. 

I dreaded the steep set of stairs I had to take to get back to the main road so I walked around a bit in search of a gentler way up. I did find one - a concrete stairs with smaller steps. It was easier indeed but still tiring. 

Lunch was at Aznebo Grill and Restaurant, a popular food establishment in the island
 offering delicious Filipino dishes  that come at affordable prices (around 100 Pesos for a combo meal). 

By 6:00 PM, I was back in Davao city exploring its restaurants! :P 

As a first time visitor to Samal island, experiencing its greener side turned out to be a wonderful surprise. A return trip is in order!

Samal island is among the destinations featured in this helpful interactive beach map from Expedia. Visit the site to learn more of the country's breathtaking  island getaways. 
How to get to Puting Bato Peak
From Davao City, board a Island City Express Bus. 
The terminal is at F. Bangoy Street but it will also make a stop at Magsaysay Park. 
Fare to Penaplata is 50 Pesos. From the terminal, you can board a habal-habal to the jump-off.  

As of November 2016, the only fees being paid are the ones located at the rest stops on the mountain. Guides are not required especially when entering via Brgy. Tayapoc as the trail is established. However, if taking the Guilon trail for the first time,  it is recommended to get a guide. It's a longer trail that takes 1-2 hours and has some forks along the way. There is no established guide system but you can always ask around. If hiring a guide all the way to the summit and back, a rate of 200-250 Pesos would be fair.

Other sights to visit : Kaputian beach, Taklobo Clam sanctuary and Hagimit Falls

Monday, December 5, 2016

Blog Giveaway c/o World Bites : Win a Box of Treats from Around the Globe!

Are you the adventurous type who loves traveling and trying out new food? Are you willing to book a flight or ride a boat solely just to eat?  (No judgement, I'm that way too! :P See related post, Samar-Leyte in a Day

Yes?! 

Well hello there kindred soul! Have I got a treat for you! :)

Last week, I received a box of snacks from World Bites, a newly launched  online store and subscription box service  offering popular international snacks  you rarely see in retail stores around the Philippines. 
World Bites website, http://worldbites.ph/
Seeing treats I haven't tried got me really excited and before I could stop myself (I had just taken my breakfast),  I'd already open four bags. I was with my siblings  at the time and we all enjoyed trying it out. The selection of snacks were a variety of sweet, spicy and salty, over-all, a nice combination of flavors.  Coming from a family of foodies, it also turned out to be a nice bonding activity for us. I'll write a separate review about what we've tried on another post. :) 

For now, here's a preview of what World Bites offers. 
Snacks from Korea, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Germany, India, Canada, France, Romania,  Serbia,
Mexico, Israel, Sweden and Brazil, whew!
Though I have mixed feelings about sharing food (why share when you can eat everything, diba?), the saner, kinder side of me  prevailed - must be from ingesting all those cookies earlier, haha! I'm extending the joy of discovering treats from around the world through a a giveaway! The mechanics are  super simple. Just follow instructions on the Rafflecopter widget below. 

Up for grabs :  World Bites Mini  Box -  contains 5-6 snacks, the contents' a surprise! :) 
Who can join?  Open to foodies residing in the Philippines only
World Bites will ship the prize free of charge via Xend so if you won, please expect to be asked for your full name and shipping details. :) 

One winner will be drawn via Rafflecopter and announced on my Twitter account, @jovialwanderer and on this post by December 12! :)  I will get in touch with the winner. :) 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
And we have a winner! :) Congratulations Rain Gatdula! I just sent you an email a few minutes ago.  Please check your inbox or Spam folder. 

If you can't wait for the blog giveaway (who has the EQ to wait for food?!), you can start shopping by visiting their website, http://worldbites.ph/. You can purchase the items by piece or surprise yourself with a box of snacks every month by availing of their subscription service (1, 3, 6 and 12 month terms available). 

To receive updates quickly,  follow World Bites on their social media accounts -> Facebook Page : World Bites PH | Twitter : @worldbitesph  | Instagram : @worldbitesph





Friday, December 2, 2016

Gift Ideas for Outdoor Lovers & Travelers

Christmas is fast approaching and if you're still hunting for presents,  this post is for you! :) Here are some  recommendations on what to give to your adventurous, wandering loved ones. 

Not celebrating Christmas? You can also make this part of your wish list or as a present for another occassion!:)

Note : I've excluded some items which I've already featured on previous years' lists (For more gift ideas, see past lists here, 2011 | 2013You'll still find most of them in the market! ;) 

1. TAKE THEM  OUT ON AN ADVENTURE!
Rockies peak, Mt. Maculot in Cuenca, Batangas
Mountain Hike
Do something fun and challenging together by visiting a mountain!
Here's a good resource on organizing a DIY hike, Top 6 Hiking Spots Near Manila Ideal for Romantic Dates  (Update : Pico de Loro which appears #5 on the list is  closed indefinitely for hiking activities.)

Spending a night out of town? Get discounts on unique accommodations here.  

Not much into hiking? Check this post by The Poor Traveler for other travel ideas, 15 Cheap but Awesome Destinations Near Manila

2. OUTDOOR BOOKS 
Day Hikes and Nature Walks from Manila - written by Pinoy Mountaineer, Dr. Gideon Lasco, this handy guidebook provides information, itineraries and topographic maps of worthwhile hiking destinations near Manila. 

Where to Buy : R.O.X. Marque Mall - Pampanga, R.O.X. Ayala Center – Cebu, and Solidaridad Bookshop in Padre Faura, Manila.
Price : 390 Pesos
For orders of 5 or more books, you can order by email at info@pinoymountaineer.com (with free delivery nationwide!)

AKYAT! A Filipino's Journey to the Seven Summits - through this book, veteran mountaineer, Romi Garduce shared his journey, struggles and anecdotes on climbing the highest peak of each of the seven continents, dubbed as the Seven Summits. He is the first and currently, the only Filipino to have completed this feat. 
Where to Buy : Central Bookstores, Amazon & R.O.X. stores. 
Price : 499 Pesos
Romi Garduce's team climbing Vinson Massif, highest peak in Antartica (Photo from Primer Group of Companies)
Inspired by these books to explore the outdoors? Click here to get good discounts on flights, hotels and vacation packages around the Philippines and overseas. 

3. A BOX OF TRAIL FOOD!
Make sure your loved ones are getting enough sustenance while they're out on an adventure. Look for  those that are easy to pack, low in sugar and high in protein such as energy gels, and sports bars. Brands I've tried are Nice & Natural (available in Rustan's Supermarket, Pioneer Center in Mandaluyong).  You can also find those in Healthy Options stores. Energy Gels are available in sports stores such as Toby's, R.O.X., Multi-sport stores (Stinger or GU works for me). Note : The effectiveness of energy gels varies from person to person. Do find out which brands they use before giving it to them. 
A sample of some of the food you can put in your gift box
4. TECHNICAL SOCKS 
Buying footwear for you loved ones can be a little tricky - it may not fit or  it just might not be their style. A safer alternative are a pair of socks. Specifically designed for hiking or running, these provide maximum comfort and offer extra protection from chaffing and injury. 

Here are two local brands which has good reviews online. 
Ahon 
Price Range : 399-1,200 Pesos/pair depending on model
Where to Buy :  Basekamp branches and online through their Facebook page, Ahon.PH.

Vamos Socks 
Price Range : 395 Pesos/Pair-795 Pesos (bundle of 3). 
Where to Buy : Visit their website, wearvamos.com for a list of retailers or to purchase online. 

5. BOOK THEM A FLIGHT 
Surprise them by flying them to their favorite destination or a place they've never been! 

Not sure which destinations to book? Check out this helpful article posted on recommendation from the travel gurus at Lonely Planet for their Best Destinations for 2017

Need to spend a night in Manila or in Hong Kong? Visit this link to avail of discounted hotel rates. 



Friday, November 4, 2016

Angono Travel Series Part 2 : Where to Go (with Itinerary and travel information!)

If you're in Manila and looking for a nice day trip, consider Angono, the Philippines' art capital. Located in the province of Rizal, it's only 1-2 hours away (depending on traffic) and easy to reach either by public or private transportation. With most galleries and restaurants  close to each other, it's an ideal destination for food and art lovers who have limited time.  

Here are some of the art galleries and other places I visited recently with my fellow bloggers. 

Related post : Check out part 1, Where to Eat in Angono

ART GALLERY AT BALAW BALAW SPECIALTY RESTAURANT


Though Balaw Balaw is popular as a specialty restaurant serving exotic and folk dishes, their gallery is also worth a visit! It features paintings and sculptures from members of the Vocalan family  and other local artists, showcasing  Filipino folklore and traditions. Do  try out their adventurous dishes while you're there! Crickets anyone? 
Fellow blogger, Gretchen Dublin of Filipina Explorer taking photos in the art gallery of Balaw Balaw Specialty restaurant
Another equally interesting art gallery and restaurant which you can actually spot from Balaw Balaw is Nemiranda Arthouse and Atelier Restoran along Dona Elena Street. Click this link for more information. (Facebook Page : Atelier Restoran)

Balaw Balaw Specialty Restaurant
Address : 16 Doña Justa Subdivision Phase 1, Manila East Highway Angono, Rizal
Contact Number : +63(02) 651 0110
Business Hours : Daily, 10:00 AM - 10:00 PM 
Facebook Page : Balaw Balaw 
Website : http://www.balawbalawresto.webs.com/

BLANCO FAMILY MUSEUM
Mr. Michael Blanco, one of the owners and artists whose work is on display in the family-owned museum. I  enjoyed touring around and listening to his stories on some of the paintings. :)
Built on a 1,200 meter lot in 1980, this museum houses a collection of more than 400 artworks by all nine members of the Blanco family. Their works highlighted Filipino culture and tradition using realism,a style depicting real life.  They've mastered it so well that staring at a painting infuses a dose of inspiration to its viewer.  With the wide pool of artistic talent in the family, it's no surprise that the Blancos became the first to stage a family exhibit at the National Museum in 1978! 

Going around, visitors can witness the progression of each artist, with the paintings arranged  in different galleries starting from the youngest of the siblings, Peter Paul (born 1980), followed by Gay, Jan, Joy, Michael, Noel and Glenn,  then on to their parents, Loreto, their mother who began painting at 48 years old and the patriarch who started it all, Jose "Pitok". Each gallery of the siblings contains their works as children up to the time they grew up. It was amusing to see how each sibling evolved in terms of technique! 
Dada of PointandShootWanderlust.com checking out one of the galleries in Blanco museum
Other Facilities : 
- audio visual room that can accommodate 50 guests for lecture or meeting
- Jose Blanco Hall that can be used for performing arts, lectures and conferences 
- a gallery for art exhibits
- garden and koi pond

Blanco Family Museum

Address : 31 Ibanez St., Brgy. San Vicente, Angono, Rizal
Email : blancomuseum@yahoo.com
Contact numbers : +63 (02)651-0048 / 09266730805
Operating Hours : Tuesday-Sunday, 9:00 AM-12:00 PM-1:00 PM-6:00 PM
Entrance Fee : 100 Pesos
Facebook Page : Blanco Family Museum

CARLOS "BOTONG" FRANCISCO SECOND GALLERY
In 1973, Carlos "Botong" Francisco (November 4, 1912 – March 31, 1969), a notable muralist from Angono was conferred posthumously as a National Artist for Visual Arts.
When he was alive, his former residence along Dona Aurora Street also served as his studio. Now under the care of his grandson, Totong, also an artist, visitors of the gallery can view Botong's memorabilia including his old tools and the medal awarded to him as a National Artist. Totong's works are also displayed near the entrance of the gallery. 
Memorabilia of Botong Francisco displayed at the Second Gallery
Works of Totong displayed at The Second Gallery
Carlos "Botong" Francisco Second Gallery
Address : 217 Dona Aurora St. Angono, Rizal
Contact Number : +63 661 05 98 (Landline) | +63 998 532 5004 (Mobile Number)
Facebook Page : http://www.facebook.com/CarlosFranciscoStudio2Gallery/
Entrance Fee : Donation only.

DONA AURORA STREET GALLERY 

Dona Aurora Street
The street that served as Botong Francisco's old residence is lined with murals featuring replicas of his works, created as a tribute by Charlie Anorico and other local artists.
A replica of a  mural by Carlos "Botong" Francisco featuring a significant event in
Philippine history, the execution of Dr. Jose Rizal
At the end of the block is a mural honoring another National Artist, Lucio San Pedro, a notable musician. Featured on a wall of a house are the lyrics to one of his works, "Sa Ugoy ng Duyan".
A mural dedicated to Lucio San Pedro located at the end of Dona Aurora Street
Tricycles regularly pass through this narrow street. Be careful when taking photos of the murals! It would be nice if they can limit the vehicles to residents. As this is an open street, you can pass by at any time. No fees are being charged to visitors. Best to come early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid the heat or bring a cap or umbrella.  
Location : Dona Aurora Street, Poblacion Itaas, Angono

ANGONO LAKESIDE PARK
Laguna de Bay as seen from Angono Lakeside Park
Locals refer to this place as "Wawa" (not to be confused with Wawa Dam in Montalban :P), a recreation area in Brgy. San Vicente.  Located beside a section of Laguna de Bay, it  offers residents and visitors a tranquil space to hang out. It's also a good space to run or bike. Entrance to the park is free but trying out other activities like the zipline and boating across Laguna de Bay come with a minimal fee.  Another beautiful attraction in the area that's free of charge is the sunset. :)


Travel Tip: Apply some insect repellent when you come here.
Read more about it on Celineism's blog.

Angono Lakeside Park
Barangay San Vincente, Angono
Best time to go is around 4:00 PM when it's less hot or early in the morning if you want it really quiet. Facilities and food stalls may not be open if you come in too early though but you can always grab good food near Angono town proper. :)

ANGONO PETROGLYPHS
From the main entrance, visitors must pass this tunnel on the way to the viewing deck of the Angono Petroglyphs
Located in an old forest, the rock shelter where the drawings were found was used by Filipino guerillas during World War II and was a serendipitous discovery by National Artist, Carlos "Botong" Francisco. He was on a field trip with a troop of boy scouts when their group stopped for a rest. While lying down, he noticed the engravings on the rock and reported it to the National Museum in 1965.

The 127 drawings, in a shape similar to frogs and lizards were engraved on a rock shelter and is officially recognized as the Philippines' oldest known artwork.

Viewing platform of the Angono Petroglyphs. It's also a good place for Instagram worth nature-inspired shots :P

How to Commute to Angono-Binangonan Petroglyphs
From Angono town proper, hire a tricycle towards the site. As the road is steep, not all tricycles may be willing to climb up all the way to the entrance so be prepared to walk. 

Angono-Binangonan Petroglyphs National Museum 
Brgy. Bilihiran, Binangonan, Rizal (same road going to Thunderbird Resorts in Binangonan)
Operating Hours : 
Mondays-Fridays, 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Saturdays, Sundays and holidays by appointment
Entrance fees : P20 for adults | P10 for students.
Contact Information: National Museum Central Office; +63 (02) 527-4192 
Email: nm_asbmd@yahoo.com

For additional info, please check this article from National Museum.

Related Blog :  For other museums in Angono, check out this post by Angono resident, Celineism. 

TRAVEL INFORMATION
How to get to Angono
If commuting, you can take a a UV express van from Shaw Boulevard. The terminal is right in front of Star Mall (This mall is on the southbound side just along EDSA, across Shangri La Plaza Mall). The vans going to Angono run daily but trips start around noon. As an alternate, you can board a van going to Binangonan which has trips 24/7 and ask driver to let you off in Angono. Fare is 50 Pesos as of Oct 2016. Travel time would be dependent on the traffic. On a Sunday, ride takes only 30-40 minutes.

Where to stay in Angono? During our 2 day tour, we stayed at Villa Jhoana, a nice resort close to the city proper. For details, please see part 1 of this post by clicking here (info on the resort is near the bottom of the page.

TRAVEL TIPS
- Note that most art galleries/museums are closed on Monday. Check the operating hours for each gallery on this post before going. However, schedules may change. You may contact the galleries on the numbers or FB page which I've also shared. 
- With the exception of Angono Petroglyphs, all galleriesm including the Lakeside Park are within walking distance from each other. Wear comfortable footwear and clothing. 
- Need some quality, cheap clothes? Come visit the tiangge (bazaars) in Taytay located near Club Manila East. Nice dresses can go as low 100 Pesos and shirts at 70 pesos! Taytay is just next to Angono, about 15-30 minutes away. Check out this blog for some helpful info! :)

For more travel information and to receive regular updates on Angono, please hit the Like button on their Facebook page, Angono Tourism

Angono celebrates Higantes Festival every November. For a comprehensive schedule of activities, please check out my post. Click here.

Shout out to  fellow blogger Celine Reyes and Lady of Angono Tourism for inviting us to explore Angono!

Please check out part 1 of this post, Where to Eat in Angono


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Angono Travel Series Part 1 : Where to Eat (Plus travel information!)

The province of Rizal is close to a section of the Sierra Madre mountain range and I've gone here several times for hiking but with limited to go around, I haven't explored much of its surrounding towns. Last week, I joined my fellow bloggers on a 2-day tour and this time, I was introduced to the thriving food and art scene of  one of its municipalities, Angono! :)

Dubbed as the Art Capital of the Philippines, Angono has numerous galleries, museums, food establishments featuring art works and even an entire street lined with murals! It is also the hometown of two National Artists, Carlos "Botong" Francisco, a noted muralist and Lucio San Pedro, the composer behind the classic, Sa Ugoy ng Duyan (Listen to it here.)

After two days of overeating, I'm sharing with you all the food establishments we visited, where you can indulge in affordable, quality, comfort food. :) 

Related Post : Where to Go in Angono for arts and recreation!


BALAW BALAW RESTAURANT AND ART GALLERY
Shooting the food at Balaw Balaw Restaurant. #Bloggerlife :P
Opened in 1982 by the late artist Perdigon and his wife, Luz Vocalan, this specialty restaurant has become a prominent establishment in Angono. While its menu focuses on serving Filipino food cooked the traditional way,  it is widely known for serving exotic dishes with ingredients such as native duck, frogs, snails, balot, Soup #5 (cow's testes or penis) and is often featured in blogs and television programs. The restaurant's name, Balaw Balaw was derived from a dish of tiny fermented  rice and shrimp with the same name. It serves as an appetizer and sauce, considered a common  accompaniment of every satisfying meal.
(Left) Cream dory wrapped in Alagao leaves
(Right) Soup Number 5(cow testicles)
(Top) Fried Alamang, a crunchy and salty side dish, love this one!
Aside from exotic dishes, they also serve Filipino favorites such as kare-kare, sinigang and more, as well as palatable experimental dishes such as Cream dory in deep-fried Alagaw leaves and fried alamang. 

Balaw Balaw Restaurant and Art Gallery
Address : 16 Doña Justa Subdivision Phase 1, Manila East Highway Angono, Rizal
Contact Number : +63(02) 651 0110
Business Hours : Daily, 10:00 AM - 10:00 PM 
Facebook Page : Balaw Balaw 
Website : http://www.balawbalawresto.webs.com/
Price Range : 200 Pesos above per dish
Notes :  main dining area is open air and can accommodate big groups
Aside from the food, also worth checking out is its art gallery featuring paintings and sculptures of the Vocalan family and other local artists.

KIM IS HUNGRY
Recommended for those who have a relentless appetite for sweets, this cozy pastry shop offers  moist cakes, cheesecakes, cupcakes, cookies, coffee and cold drinks that are budget-friendly (Price range : 30 pesos for the cupcakes and 70-140 Pesos for a slice of cake).They also serve snacks such as pastas and quesadillas, fitting salty accompaniments to sweet treats if you ask me. :) 
Some of the items we tried at Kim is Hungry - Quesadilla, Carbonara, lasagna, lots of cakes and cupcakes!
We had several cakes and cupcakes - at least five of each! All were  moist and aptly sweet. The quesadillas' a hit too. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to try it. My fellow foodies finished everything off before I could have a bite so it must be really that  good! (Friends, I forgive you, I have my selfish, weak moments too :P). 
More cakes from Kim is Hungry. My personal favorite is blueberry cheesecake because it has real blueberries! 
Kim is Hungry  
Address : 2nd floor Paulina Bldg. M. Diaz corner A. Ibanez Brgy. Sto. Nino, Angono, Rizal
Contact Number : + 63 0916 271 7551
Email Address : kimishungrycakes@yahoo.com.ph
Business Hours : Monday 2:00 PM - 8:00 PM / Tuesday-Sunday  11:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Facebook Page : KimisHungry
Notes & Tips : Seating capacity is limited, ideal for small groups (5-10 people); has aircon;

WINGS ON THE GO
Budget-friendly menu of Wings on the Go 
Its name pretty much gives its menu away. Their buffalo wings are flavorful and crispy, a great pair for their grilled burgers which comes with juicy, sizable patties. The bread is on the sweet side which complements the salty flavor of the beef. Other items to enjoy with the wings and burger are nachos, fries and salad.  It opens late in the afternoon  at 3:00 PM, making it a it a good place for a heavy snack or dinner. 
buffalo wings and  burger at Wings to Go
Wings on the Go
Address : #213 E. Rodriguez Street Brgy. Sto. Nino Angono, Rizal
Contact Numbers : 
Landline +63 (02) 6513051 
Mobile Number +63 09265332794 
Business Hours : 
Monday - Closed
Tuesday-Thursday, 3:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Friday-Sunday, 3:00 PM - 10:00 PM
Facebook Page : Wings on the Go
Notes & Tips :waiting time for orders is 30 minutes to one hour. If you're really hungry or traveling with a group, call on the numbers above to order in advance)

LAVA MOCHA
Overloading on sugar at Lava Mocha. Better bring your friends when trying this out!
Another option for those who love sweets, this cafe offers ginormous coffee shakes, snacks and meals such as pastas, rice meals, nachos, camote chips, chicken wings, cheeze fries and mojos (Menu here). It's of the bigger cafes we've visited and is conducive for hanging out long hours. 
We were so full but I just had to try the food which turned out to be a good decision. :P Yum!
Aside from serving coffee and food, it's also a space that showcases paintings and arts & crafts of its locals. A signature item on the menu is Higante Frappe, a dessert coffee topped with syrup, candies, marshmallows, candies and chocolates. At 280 Pesos, it's good enough to be shared by 3 people.  You can also choose a DIY frappe and and top your drink  with your choice of marshmallows, wafers, candies and chocolates.  

Lava Mocha
Address : 97 Doña Aurora Street Barangay San Roque Angono Rizal 
(near Angono High School and Pandayan Bookstore) 
Business Hours : Daily, 11:00 AM - 11:00 PM
Facebook Page : Lava Mocha
Notes & Tips: with free wifi; try their photo booth at the second floor. You need to bring your own camera though but the masks  and other props are free to use.

BALWARTE 
Balwarte's Pork steak, balun-balunan (chicken gizzard), and isaw.

Located on the second floor of an unmarked building, this obscure family-owned restaurant features mostly meat dishes that are packed with a lot of flavor. Their bestseller is the buffalo wings. Inspired by a relative undergoing a heartbreak, customers have the option to select from three levels of spiciness namely Nagmahal (a little sweet), Nasaktan (slight spicy) and Nagpatiwakal (overly spicy). 

*For the benefit of foreign readers, these Tagalog words translate to Nagmahal = pertaining to someone who loved, Nasaktan = got hurt and Nagpatiwakal = committed suicide). Pork steak and balun-balunan (chicken gizzard)  are also must trys. 
Menu
Balwarte
Address : 201 E. Rodriguez road cor. Mauricio Diaz, Sto. Nino, Angono, Rizal(it's on the 2nd floor of a building at the cor Mauricio Diaz street. Downstairs, you'll see other food stalls like Bulalugaw, Captain's Burger and I Love Milktea)
Contact Number : +63 0998 997 4548 (mobile)
Business Hours : 
Monday : 2:00 PM - 10:00 PM
Tuesday : Closed
Wednesday-Thursday & Sundays : 2:00 PM - 10:00 PM
Friday-Saturday : 2:00 PM - 11:00 PM
Facebook Page : Balwarte
Notes & Tips : If bringing a car, you can park at the side of a nearby gym or at the municipal hall. 

ART CAPITAL CAFE
Coffee shakes at Art Capital Cafe
This cafe's a little farther from the rest of the establishments on this list, about  2KM away from Angono Municipal hall, but still very accessible. It's close to Manila East road, a major highway used by both public and private vehicles traversing Rizal.

Though slightly more modern than the other cafes we visited, it stayed  true to its creative roots with paintings, miniature Higantes, surrounding its dining area. 
The menu consists of sandwiches, nachos, mini burgers, pizza, pasta, beautifully decorated coffee frappe and non coffee-based shakes, teas (they serve Dilmah tea here). I was most impressed with their Amerikano, which you can have hot or iced (I prefer it hot). Freshly brewed, the flavor is strong, exactly the way I like it. It's the type of brew that leaves you inspired and feeling productive. I enjoyed it so much, I came back a week after, traveling all the way from Mandaluyong. It was a Sunday so the traffic was light. :P
Nice treats to pair with coffee at Art Capital Cafe
Art Capital Cafe
Address : M. L. Quezon Avenue, Brgy. San Isidro
Angono, Rizal (Nearby landmarks, San Martin Subdivision and Caltex)
Contact Number : +63 0920 597 6985 (Mobile Number)
Business Hours : Monday, 4:00 PM - 10:00 PM 
Tuesday-Thursday 12:00 PM-10:00 PM
Friday-Sunday, 12:00 PM-12:00 AM
Facebook Page : Art Capital Cafe
Notes & Tips : Dining area has around 5 small tables so consider that when visiting with friends; It has ample parking space though. 

ANGONO DELICACY 

Similar to a lot of other Filipino delicacies,  Kumanoy is made of coconut milk, ground rice and sugar. In other areas, it’s referred to as inutak.  Sweet and sticky, it's usually eaten as a snack. 

For other delicacies  to try in Angono, check out, 3 Angono Delicacies You Must Avoid (or Not) by Celineism 

Where to Try Kumanoy/Inutak?
One of the known makers in town is Jhoana Miano of Tindahan ni Inday, located along E. Dela Paz street, Brgy. San Pedro. Angono being a small town, it's easy to ask around for directions to "Tindahan ni Inday". Aside from Kumanoy, you can also order Pancit malabon, a Filipino noodle dish. You may also get in touch with her at +63 09176802779. 

Prices :  
50 pesos (lanera - this is a small molding dish, good for 1-2 persons)
Tray - 500 Pesos
Batya - 750 Pesos
Jhoanna Miano of Tindahan ni Inday

Chef Joel's Inutak (Kumanoy)

Chef's version is made from Thai glutinous rice flour mixed in with pure coconut milk.
Prices : 
Big Pan(5x7in) - 180.00  Pesos 
Small Pan (3x5in) - 95.00 Pesos
Solo pans (2x2) - 40.00 Pesos each or 220.00 Pesos for a box of six (must be ordered in advance)
To order, get in touch through their Facebook Page, Chef Joel or through his mobile number, +63 0917 632 3878.
Chef Joel's Inutak
TRAVEL INFORMATION
How to get to Angono
If commuting, you can take a a UV express van from Shaw Boulevard. The terminal is right in front of Star Mall (This mall is on the southbound side just along EDSA, across Shangri La Plaza Mall). The vans going to Angono run daily but trips start around noon. As an alternate, you can board a van going to Binangonan which has trips 24/7 and ask driver to let you off in Angono. Fare is 50 Pesos as of Oct 2016. Travel time would be dependent on the traffic. On a Sunday, ride takes only 30-40 minutes. 

TIPS FOR FOOD TRIPPERS : 

The establishments listed above are within walking distance from each other. 
Click on this link for a map which I plotted it for you! :) With the exception of Balaw Balaw and Lava Mocha, the seating capacity of most establishments we visited  are limited, suited for a group of 5. Consider that when planning your trip. 

WHERE TO STAY IN ANGONO
Villa Jhoana is a former residence turned resort, located near the town proper.  It served as our home during our 2 day tour. With its spacious rooms, function halls, adult and children's pool, it's also a good option if you're looking for a venue to hold your teambuilding or company outing. 

Villa Jhoana
Address : 1070 Ibanez St. Carebi Subdivision, Brgy. San Isidro, Rizal, Angono, Philippines
Phone:  +63 2 542 8975
Mobile:  +63 917 453 5311
Website :http://www.villajhoanaresort-rizal.com/
To reserve, click on this link  (this goes to the resort's website)
Rates :
2,800 Pesos-5000 pesos depending on room type

Angono celebrates Higantes Festival every November. For a comprehensive schedule of activities, please check out my post. Click here. 

For more travel information and  to receive regular updates on what's happening in Angono, please hit the Like button on their Facebook page, Angono Tourism

Shout out to  fellow blogger Celine Reyes and Lady of Angono Tourism for inviting us to explore Angono's joyfully edible side. 

Please click here for my post on art galleries in Angono! :) 




Translate this page

Looking for a hotel? Find good deals on Agoda!

About Me

Featured Post

Advocacy : Cebu Pacific Partners with UNICEF for Children's Health & Nutrition

While I believe we make our own destiny and that we all have equal chances at succeeding in life, it does help when we're equipped with...

Instagram

I support!

I support!
An advocacy to make Metro Manila, a walkable city

Homeaway's Top Filipino Travel Bloggers 2016

Popular Posts

Blog Archive

Hello readers! :)