Hikes | Travels | Food

Mt. Pulag's Akiki-Ambangeg Trai

A day hike to Luzon island's highest peak

Sunday, November 18, 2012

A Guide to Enjoying Sorsogon (Via Dispatch Media)

Descent to Bayugin Falls
A province in the Bicol Region, Sorsogon offers a variety of attractions for travelers who love nature. Aside from the whale sharks in Donsol, it is blessed with amazing beaches, surf spots, hot springs, historical structures and scenic hiking trails. Read the rest of my post at Dispatch Mag Online. 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Food Quest : Tiyo's Cuisine by Chef & Brewer (Marikina)

I just got home. It's 1:26 AM, five hours past my bed time and my brain's running full speed from the excitement of discovering another foodie's haven so I'm nowhere near getting a peaceful sleep. 

I'm on a food high!

A few hours earlier, me and my two reliable allies battled the headache-inducing Friday traffic to visit a restaurant that's gaining attention from the blogging community. Barely a year old, Tiyo's Cuisine by Chef & Brewer are for those who enjoy discovering and dining at places that offer comfort food in a homely setting. With a good mix of Filipino and Italian dishes on the menu that come in affordable prices (around 200-350 Pesos), you are assured to find a dish that will make you beam. 

We stayed here for almost four hours and if only they weren't closing, I would have lasted for a few more hours since they also offer unlimited brewed coffee for 1 Peso! (Insane deal!) :)  

Now, on with the shameless parade of food :

Sunset Salad - Lettuce, mango, orange, parmesan cheese (300 Pesos)
Good to share with two more friends to rev up the appetite. It's very refreshing!
I love the combination of fruits:P
We are all in agreement that this is amazing!
Basil Tomato Pasta (285 Pesos). Also, good for sharing, just order another dish! :P
For the tortilla wrap lovers - Rolettas (350 Pesos). These are oven-baked tortilla wraps filled with  either pork
or chicken and onions. It also comes with a strong mustard dip which I loved.
Ahhh,  Tiyo's Fried Chicken (375 Pesos). This one, I can consume all on my own. :p
The skin's very crispy  and the meat is quite tender.  I also love the achara that came with it. 
Here, chatter and good-natured laughter is heard all over the place. I guess it's the combination of friendly service and great food that induces the mouth to spew happy stories.
Indoor dining area. Outside sitting is also available. 
The place has already been spruced for the Christmas season. 
It was 12 midnight when we capped off our food adventure and though my friend pointed out that I look drunk despite the lack of alcohol consumption during dinner, it felt hard to leave a place that exuded a happy, relaxing vibe. I wanted to stay there and tell more stories. Oh well, there's always another time. Don't go Tiyo's, I'm in love with you! 

Curious and drooling? Head out to Tiyo's ASAP! :) 
Location Map downloaded from Tiyo's Cuisine FB Page
Tiyo's Cuisine by Chef & Brewer 
29 Almond Nut Street, Marikina East Subdivision, San Roque
Reservation and Inquiries : +63 (02) 646 0576 or +63 0922 8374363 (they're also available for catering, function and special events)
Business Hours : Monday-Sunday, 12:00 Noon - 12:00 MN 
FB Page : https://www.facebook.com/tiyoscuisine
Amenities :
Free Wifi, just ask the staff for the password
Parking area 

Other Notable Details : 
Alcoholic beverages such as wine and beer are also available here! :) 
Cozy restrooms! (Yes, I needed to mention that :P).
Cakes and other desserts are not on the main menu (well, not yet anyway, so just ask the staff if you're craving for sweets.  :) 

For more places to dine when in Marikina, check out - All Over Marikina (it's actually my latest favorite blog because I get great tips on where I can take my voracious appetite next. :P) 

Related Posts on Where to eat in Marikina :
Patio Vera
Qizia Cafe

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Mt. Sto. Tomas, (Tuba, Benguet)

One of the nice views you can see as you approach Mt. Sto. Tomas
Last month, I went to Baguio for a side job and one of the highlights of the trip, apart from traveling with blogger friends and meeting new ones was the hiking. 

Considered as the highest peak closest to Baguio City, Mt. Sto. Tomas towers at 2,256 MASL. The trail to its summit starts at Green Valley at Sitio Digdigwayan  in Baguio City. From its terminal along Shagem Street near Burnham Park, the jeepney ride is just 30 minutes (costs about 15 Pesos as of 2011), but you may need to wait a while for the jeep to fill up with passengers. Another option is to get a cab and ask the driver to take you to Green Valley. 

As the trail inescapably passes by another peak, Mt. Cabuyao (2,025 MASL) which is the first peak from the jump-off, most people do a twin day hike. 

Radio transmitters near the peak of Mt. Cabuyao also commonly referred to as "ra-dar" .
Photo was taken on a separate occassion. 
The trail starts at a residential area with a concrete road. Taking the traditional route up, it is possible to bring a vehicle to the summit of Mt. Cabuyao which is marked with three crosses but you need to watch out for landslides along the way. Another trail, not commonly used, is found near the marker of Sitio Digdigwayan which passes through the mountains. 

Hiking to Mt. Cabuyao takes two hours going uphill for almost the entire way. From there, the obvious trail to Mt. Santo Tomas takes an hour or so with the terrain reminiscent of Mt. Tapulao - slinking up, very rocky and gets foggy as the day progresses. 

Weather changes rapidly here. This was taken at 9:00 AM. 
Misty trail as we began our descent at 10:20 AM. 
We terminated our hike as we approached the area where several tv station towers are built. We climbed up the balcony of the ABS CBN tower. The workers were quite friendly and allowed us to take some photos.

Group photo taken by the charming Jela. :)  L-R : Dong Ho, Pinoy Adventurista, Epic Potato,
yours truly and Batang Lakwatsero. 
Notes : 
  • No registration fee is collected for both peaks as of this writing. 
  • If you take the traditional trail, you can just wear rubber slippers on your way up, or even wedges, as with the case of the lovely Ms. Epic Potato. :)  For safety purposes however, it's advisable to wear closed shoes with a good traction as there are sharp stones along the way. 
  • It's a non-technical, easy hike but don't forget to bring water (500 ML will do, more if you drink a lot) and some snacks. 
  • Please refrain from hiking during bad weather due to threats of landslide. 
  • You can easily make your way up, so hiring of guides is not a common practice here. 
  • Locals here are very friendly so don't forget to acknowledge them if you run into them along way. It's always good practice to make your presence known when visiting new places. 
  • As always, please leave no trace when you hike and bring your own garbage down. :)
  • Detailed itinerary can be found at Pinoy Mountaineer.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Azalea Residences : Baguio's Holiday Haven

Baguio City
As I enjoy indulging in budget accommodations, posh hotels with endearing bellboys are what I normally don't get to relish. This doesn't mean I detest classy hotels because there's definitely a reason behind the premium pricing. I wouldn't mind staying somewhere really nice for a break from all that roughing up, especially when the cash I earned doesn't have to go out of my own pocket. ;)

Last month, along with six other travel bloggers and two model families, we went around Baguio to take photos of tourist spots which can be enjoyed by a family or a group of friends. The assignment was from Azalea Residences, who took care of our stay, meals and transportation from Manila. This post is not out of gratitude but because I truly enjoyed my stay with them and hope to share this delightful experience with you. :) 

Here are the things I loved during my stay here : 

1. Cozy interiors - each room is made to look like a home and contains a kitchen & dining area, sofa (and in bigger rooms - a separate living room), private t & b, refrigerator, microwave oven, electric cooktops with range hood,  iPod docking station, LCD TV and DVD Player, Cable TV, phone, Mini bar, hair dryer, no aircon here but it's quite cold inside anyway, iron and ironing board. The sizes of the rooms are between 30-75 sqm. and rates start at 6,000 Pesos for Deluxe rooms and 15,000 Pesos for a three-bedroom suite. They also offer cheaper rates during off-peak season. 

Dining Area
Clean bathrooms
Dimly lit rooms with your own television
We stayed in a 75 sqm. three bedroom suite which I was happy to share with blogger friends. I wished I had more time to hang around the room because it's really relaxing inside, like being in your own condo that you don't have to clean. :P 

2. Toiletries - most hotels will provide you with the basics such as lotion, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste and toothbrush but not everyone will supply you toiletries with good quality. Azalea Residences provides their guests with shampoo, conditioner, shower gels from Archive, a brand which specializes in aromatherapy blends. Since I am a fan of hotel toiletries that come in cute bottles, I tested everything and was satisfied with it especially since the shampoo and conditioner smelled like green tea and kept my hair moist while the body lotion is in grapefruit scent, easy to apply and not sticky at all. 

Bath essentials from Archive
3. Breakfast buffet - we stayed in Baguio for 3 days and each morning, I wake up excited to head towards Tradisyon, the restaurant where the breakfast buffet is set. I love the variety of options available. You can have pancakes (which is quite good and very fluffy too), omelette prepared upon request, soup, salad, rice, fried dishes, cereals and my favorite part - unlimited coffee refills of brewed coffee! :) 

I truly enjoyed the coffee and food here. I can dine here for hours!

4. Location - I love that it's easy to get in and out of the hotel even without a private car. It's located along Leonard Wood loop, 10-15 minutes away from SM Baguio and the Victory Liner terminal with trips from Manila. It's a few blocks from the main road too (Leonard Wood road) so you don't hear the traffic. 

5. Staff - as popular as its rooms are the friendly staff who give you a heartfelt smile all the time. You don't feel as though they're after tips or a great review. They give you enough space to enjoy the place and instantly available when you need them. 

You bet I will be back for a staycation. :)

For more information about Azalea Residences, visit their website : http://www.azalea.com.ph/  (You can also check them out on Facebook - Azalea Residences)

Azalea Residences 
Address : #7 Leonard Wood Loop, Brgy. M. Roxas, Baguio City 
Email : reservations@azalea.com.ph 
You can also read the reviews from Trip Advisor here.

Watch out for the opening of Azalea Residences in Boracay, Davao, Cebu, and Angeles! :) 

Shout out to my fun companions (click on the links to visit their blogs) : Batang Lakwatsero, LaurenErick Dantoc, Rocel, Dong Ho, Pinoy Adventurista

Hello also to Baguio-based bloggers who I met for the first time: Emil and Chico.  

Special thanks to Darwin of TrackingTreasure.Net who referred me to this assignment, Star , nurse Anjela, chef, kuya Leo and to the rest of Azalea Residences for making us feel at home. :) 

Related Post: 
Read about what we did during our stay here.

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