Welcome to Bicolandia! A region located in the Southern part of the Philippines. This blog is dedicated to anything and everything we love about Bicol. Let me tell you about the things that I find interesting in my side of the world.
Hi again everyone! Okay, this is going to be very brief. Just need to update on my posting and share with you the new places to go and see in the land of sili and gata– Bicol!
So, if you ever have plans to head south bound and visit the Bicol provinces, particularly Albay, you would probably be glad to know that you can now stop, shop and eat (or freshen up) at the newly opened Xentro Mall in Polangui.
This is what we did on our way back home from Sorsogon to Naga City. Yoy was really tired and hungry, and Julienne, she just wanted to go to the mall, period.
First, we needed to use the rest room and on the way, we passed by the lounge.
Then, the rest room was nice and clean and I liked that they have art works hanging on the wall. The cleaning lady was also helpful and friendly.
As we were really hungry, we then headed to the food court! This is what it looked like.
I ordered Strawberry and Cream Crepe and brewed coffee from this shop called Waffle and Crepe. I don’t remember how much I paid but I remember that it was just a little over Php100.
Yoy bought Sisig (spicy pork skin, bits and innards) and rice meal from I don’t know which shop. He said it costed around Php65.00 and the sisig was not crunchy (soggy) and not that great after all.
Other stuff we ate were kwek-kwek (fried quail eggs in dough) and goto (rice porridge).
After eating and resting at the food court, again we were ready to hit the road. Thanks for travelling with us! =)
As we always do during the long holiday due to Undas (All Soul’s Day) here in the Philippines, we took the opportunity to go home to Sorsogon and see my family. It was Yoy’s first time to take a long drive ever since we got our little car so we were just a bit anxious I guess, but it was more like excited, if you ask me.
There were lots of things that put a cloud over our heads prior to this trip though. One was my disappointment that the trip was pushed back one day because the car’s maintenance check up took longer than expected. Because of this, I had to cancel on our hotel, which I booked for the day we were supposed to be there. I was worried we will not be able to find another affordable hotel when we get to Sorsogon so I was really stressed out.
However, when we arrived on a Sunday afternoon, we were lucky enough to get a room in Tentyard Hotel in Pangpang, Sorsogon City. This is what it looked like from the outside. It was very new because it was the newly built extension or annex of the original drive-in hotel (more like motel if anything).
They have air conditioned kubo villas (combination of concrete, wood and thatched roof) instead of the drive-in kind, which made them seem family-friendly as well.
The location is very refreshing as it is set in the heart of a rambutan plantation. However, the trees were still very young and have no fruits yet. Oh, it would have been real nice if there were indeed ripe rambutan fruits on these trees.
They even have a koi pond. The water was murky but I swear there were live koi swimming in the water.
So this is the room we got for Php 800.00 only. It was clean and it had the basic amenities. It was a real relief that it was clean by the way, because we had a nightmare of a stay in Tentyard Roro (San Juan) a few years back wherein we struggled with the dirty CR there. So, I’m really hoping the management will take extra care to keep this establishment clean.
I highly recommend this hotel for the travelers in need of a clean place to lay their heads. It’s got parking space and the staff are polite and friendly.
How to go there: If you are coming from Legazpi City, ask the van/bus driver to drop you off at Tentyard Hotel in Barangay Pangpang. They usually know this place as it is just along the highway. If coming from Centro Sorsogon City, rent a tricycle to take you to this hotel. You may be charged Php 40-50 for a one way ride.
I have not posted anything in almost four months. I have regrettably been MIA in blogsville for quite some time because… life happened. Lots of shitty stuff happened within those months and TBH, they drained the life out of me. And if it wasn’t for my new-found love (addiction) for K-drama, I would have lost a lot of sleep overthinking stuff which could have ended pretty badly with me wearing a straitjacket. Probably. Haha.
So, life happened to dump its crap on me for a while, but it happens to everybody. And while it was all happening, I kept on keeping on and still lived my life anyway, minding my own business – eating, drinking, going on trips, watching my K-drama and even jogging now. And I guess the better stuff of life involves eating a great deal.
Well, since I’m not one to dwell, let’s talk about M Plaza instead. It is located along Diversion Road in Triangulo, Naga City and a good place to hang out and have a fun time with friends and family because they have restos offering good food and a good ambiance.
I have been there around four times already. The first time was with Caressa, a new co-worker of mine . We tried it for the first time and ate at this resto called Oppa, which is a Korean fusion restaurant. Oppa’s food were reasonably priced. We had Samgyeopsal (Php 270.00) or pork belly that we grilled ourselves and Cheese Teokbokki (Php 130.00) which was spicy rice cakes with gooey cheese on top. Yum!
The second time, there was already four of us and we tried the Japanese restaurant near Oppa called Cha Tze Tei. Their prices were a little on the high side and the portions were not very much as well, but the dishes we tried were tasty.
We had Naruto Ramen, although the waitress said that three persons can share this one but I’m pretty sure I can finish this bowl alone. The broth was lovely and I especially like the fried pork belly rolls. So good!
I always love California Maki, and this one is good!
M Plaza is a good place to hang out during a cool breezy evening such as when we had soju and beer.
It is also very kid-friendly as they even have a play ground for kids with swing, see-saw, a jungle gym and a go-kart rental.
I guess that’s that for now. Thanks for stopping by! =)
Good news for the residents of Del Rosario, Naga City, nearby barangays and towns, All Day Supermarket is now open! It is located at Vista Mall, a mall which is still under construction as of this writing. However, the residents of Del Rosario, such as myself, will find it accessible to do their grocery shopping at All Day Supermarket which opened last June 15, 2018 with Alex Gonzaga as the celebrity guest.
I was meaning to post this real time but I was struggling with my own… oh, just got a bit lazy, I guess.
Anyway, we went there during the opening night because we figured there’d be too many people during the day who would wanna go in first. When we arrived, Alex Gonzaga was just being called to the stage, which was situated outside the mall near the entrance. We stayed during her first two song numbers but went inside the supermarket soon after that because we were really far and couldn’t really see anything anyway.
So, there were still a lot of people inside the supermarket.
I have seen all sorts of food items that you would expect from a supermarket – grains and beans, canned items, eggs, milk, fresh produce and a lot more. They even have various kitchen tools, bags, slippers, toys and even underwear.
In the fresh produce section, I got excited to buy some fresh black cherries because I never had fresh cherries before. It doesn’t grow here in the Philippines and we don’t often see it in our grocery stores. It’s kinda expensive though at around Php500 per kilo so I just bought a few pieces just to taste.
They also have other imported fruits such as peaches, strawberries, kiwi fruits, grapes and lychees.
Local fruits that were on display are avocadoes, guyabano, papaya, bananas and coconuts.
What they have that other supermarkets and groceries around here don’t have are these imported ready-to-heat food such as pizza, pasta, risotto, roti and burrito.
Another thing they have that others don’t is this service called “Paluto” where you can buy fresh seafood and meats and have them cooked inside the supermarket. There are tables and chairs there where you can relax and enjoy your meal, much like Dampa style.
The only thing they have to improve on though is the cashier being too slow. People get frustrated while lining up at the cashier because, let me say it again, really slow. Almost not moving.
The All Home, Vista Mall’s appliance and furniture store, is also now open. This store is huge and the employees are friendly.
I think Nagueños and other town folks will definitely like their display of household items, lighting, home decorations, furniture and appliances. The words I can think of to describe their stuff are updated, affordable and plenty of choices.
So, there it is, if you happen to be in the area, you might wanna check this new supermarket out and pretty soon, the Vista Mall will be opening too.
Our trip did not seem very promising. I slept late the night before and initially woke up at 4:30 AM and it was raining heavily. I know we decided to go through with it, rain or shine, but I had second thoughts about bringing Julienne along. Will it be okay to bring her in this kind of weather? Anyhow, the rain was not able to keep us from taking a short trip to Hibiscus Camp in Consocep, Tigaon, Camarines Sur.
Our first stop was along the meandering road on our way up to Consocep. We were on an elevated road and found ourselves enchanted by the picturesque landscape. It was very windy and the sky was gray, it did really feel like we were in “the middle of nowhere” but we loved every minute of it.
As the car continued to ascend on the zigzag road that climbs uphill, we reached our second stop. We enjoyed yet even more picturesque landscapes.
Photo credit: Mam Cha’s FB
There was a little house there and beside it were these fresh produce on display – bananas, sweet potatoes and even avocadoes. The problem was, nobody was around so we couldn’t buy anything. And we really really wanted to buy some. Don’t worry, the only things we ever took were these photos.
We continued to drive uphill and passed by the entrance of Consocep Nature Park. We had to pass that one up because of the weather and the younger kids couldn’t handle the trek. I looked it up online and I know there are three waterfalls to see in that place. A few meters up ahead and we reached Hibiscus Camp. It got seriously foggy in these parts too.
This wooden cabin was the first thing we saw (amidst all the fog). I could have taken nice photos of the cabin but then it started to rain heavily, so we had to rush for shelter. So, grabbin’ this photo (below) from Mam Cha’s FB instead 😉
Hey, did I mention it was foggy?
I like my views misty. Reminds me of the time I went to Sagada with some friends. It was really an amazing place and wonderful people too.The camp has a three-tiered swimming pool but I decided not to go swimming because it was cold, so when the fog cleared up a bit, I explored the place by myself.
I was hoping to not leave a stone unturned but I regret not being able to take pictures of the inside of the cabin. When I got there, someone was cooking in the kitchen and having conversation with another person, and I didn’t want to intrude.
To tell the truth, this place is probably the prettiest I have seen in Bicol so far. It is being dubbed as Bicol’s “Little Baguio” right now and you can see why from the coolness of the place, high altitude, the flowers and the mist.
You will definitely like it if you’re into nature and stuff. It is perfect for celebrations and pre-nuptial photo shoots, but during weekdays maybe. It is fast becoming a popular destination that there is not enough cottage during weekends. Also, the area is not that huge and still under developed but the views are surreal.
They have no rooms for overnight accommodations. It would have been nice though. And it would be best to visit in the summer because when you’re high up on a mountain, I found out that the rain can be a real pain in the rear.
How to get there: From Naga City, take the Diversion Road in Pili, Cam Sur and upon reaching the junction at Anayan, take the left turn going to Ocampo. It takes approximately 30 minutes and you should reach the junction at Hanawan, Ocampo that will take you up to Consocep. Around 8 kilometers along the zigzag road and you will pass by the entrance of Consosep Nature Park and a few meters up ahead, just along the road, is the Hibiscus Camp.
Entrance Fee is P25.00 only per person for those who just want to have a look around and take pictures. For those who want to swim: Adults are charged P100.00 while kids are charged P50.00.
It was easy enough to find and the road, although zigzagging, is solid concrete. It was our first time to go there and we didn’t get lost at all.
P.S. : All photos are mine except those I give credit to whom credit is due =)
Just at the back of ALDP Mall, along Diversion Road of Barangay Triangulo, Naga City, we discovered Agua Vista. Not that we were the first ones to discover its existence, but more like delighted to discover how nice it was. We have been hearing about it for a while and the little one had been bugging us to take her there to go swimming.
This is the entrance way going to Agua Vista, which is located within what they call as the The COMRES 100, a Commercial Residential Park.
Upon entering, the first thing we noticed was the three-storey building that was described in their brochure as “A grand fusion of 3-storey commercial/building in a self-contained and walkable community situated in the highly urbanized city of Naga.” It is still under construction at this time though .
They also have a koi pond where they keep quite a number of koi in different sizes and colors.
The entrance to the pool is through the door of the cafe (behind us in the photo below) where they have attendants who cordially greeted us. We paid the kiddo’s fee inside so she can swim.
This is their going rate: WEEKDAYS: Adults are charged P200/day rate and P250/night rate while kids are charged P100/day rate and P150/night rate. During WEEKENDS AND HOLIDAYS: Adults are charged P250/day rate and P300/night rate while kids are charged P200/day rate and P250/night rate. Also, they are strict with the dress code, as in swimwear only, and no food or drinks from outside are allowed. You have to buy from the café or if you must bring food, I think they charge for corkage. The good news is the use of their amenities is free (no cottage fee).
So, the pool size was decent and even though it was the weekend, the place was not so crowded.
The kiddie pool was on the small side but there was free flowing water to the kids’ delight.
I am thrilled about Agua Vista because it is a nice clean place where we can take our loved ones that they will surely enjoy. I am happy to learn about it because every time I have guests, I keep on asking Google where I can take them to have fun, and it always tells me the same thing – take them to the Hot Spring Resort in Panicuason or to Haciendas de Naga, which are kinda far and a hassle to go to when you don’t have a car. Agua Vista is in a prime location and very accessible indeed.
We were the last ones to leave so we were able to take photos without ’em photobombers lol.
With the sad lack of beaches nearby, I think we need more of these in Naga City.
I have long wanted to feature Green Earth Café in my blog ever since a friend of mine introduced me to the healthy dining experience it offers. The right opportunity presented itself when my aunts and cousins visited from Manila and I thought I’d bring them there for lunch because both my aunts cannot eat just anything anymore. They have limited food choices now that they’re older. They always have to eat healthy.
So, Green Earth Café was the first thing that popped into my head that I know serves healthy food in Naga City and with a really cozy ambience to boot.
The food took a long time to prepare, something that I have not taken into consideration beforehand, knowing that my guests were tired from the long trip. And tired often leads to hungry eventually. On our table was a reminder warning that healthy food preparation may be slow but it is worth it, or something to that effect. The reminder advised that to avoid waiting for a long time, better call or text your order ahead of time. Why did I not know this before?
So, after what seemed like a looong wait, the Nacho with Salsa dip was served. The nacho tasted like it was made from scratch which I like. Everyone liked the salsa dip because it was fresh and laced with mint leaves. My kid liked this dip even though she does not eat veggies unless wrapped in lumpia wrapper and deep fried.
Next that came out was the Tofu with Black Pepper Sauce. This was a good healthy dish and the tofu was homemade.
Then there was the Shiitake Mushroom in Sesame Sauce which I thought was very similar to the dishes you can eat in a Chinese restaurant because of the sesame seeds and sauce. It also had tofu, carrots and young pechay leaves. This might be my new favorite among the dishes we ordered.
We ordered brown rice and they even made an effort to plate the rice with a sprig of mint. This mint eventually went into Nay Henring’s glass of warm water.
We also ordered the Vegan Mushroom Sandwich, also a favorite of mine, but not such a huge hit in our crowd of eight.
The Vegan Pad Thai was the very first dish I tasted at Green Earth Café. Bianca and I went to this café twice. And on the two occasions that I have been there, we ordered this dish, which is good for 3-4 persons. I usually like the noodles but I think they overcooked it a bit because it did not seem as al dente as I remember. And the last time I had this dish from this same café, the peanuts were young, crunchy and fresh and just barely cooked so when you munch into them they give that delightful milky taste. However, this time I forgot to get some peanuts for my plate so I cannot say that they were the same but I liked the crunch of the sprouted mung beans.
We also had the Thai Spring Rolls which was made of sprouted mung beans, grated carrots, nuts and herbs wrapped in lumpia wrapper and served with Thai style peanut sauce.
The last order that arrived was the Veggie Spring Rolls which was basically lumpia with sprouted mung beans as the main ingredient. It came with vinegar with chilli and mint, and a side dish of tomato enchilada.
After our meal and while waiting for my aunts and cousins outside, Julienne and I had a good look around.
This cafe is located at 3rd St., Villa Sorabella Subdivision, Concepcion Grande, Naga City. How to find it when you’re driving: take the Maharlika Highway going to Concepcion Grande then look out for the building which houses Banco De Oro (BDO) or Olivan Home Depot, take the right turn (assuming you came from Naga City proper) going to Villa Sorabella Subdivision, just a few houses straight ahead and you’re sure to spot their signage. Its the left turn for vehicles coming from Legazpi City. For commuters: Take the jeepney going to Concepcion and ask the driver to take you to Royal Ann. The building that now houses Olivan Home Depot and BDO used to be the Royal Ann Hotel, and until now, commuters always say Royal Ann instead of BDO so as not to confuse the driver and miss their stop.
Most of the dishes at Green Earth Cafe are priced higher than Php150.00 but with all our orders, our bill only reached up to Php1,300.00+. Good healthy food and good value for money. No wonder the restaurant has a regular following. It’s a must-try for tourists and those of you who want to embrace a healthier lifestyle.
Every town in the Philippines is famous (at least nationwide) for one thing or another. Bicol is tagged as the Sili (chilli) Capital of the Philippines. And every town in Bicol is also well-known for a specific crop, product, or tradition that is endemic in the region.
For instance, Naga City is known for its kinalas (a noodle soup not so different from the batchoy of Visayas), Sorsogon for its Pili fruits and baluko (a kind of edible shellfish), Daet for the sweet Formosa pineapples and kakanin (variety of cassava or sticky rice cakes), Ligao for its Christmas lights and the town of Camalig for its pinangat (taro leaves cooked in coconut milk). There are many more to mention but each town is special because of something and they hold festivals each year to celebrate the products that are uniquely their own.
Now, let’s talk about the town of Bula. Do you know that this place is known for its vast supply of bamboo? Bula is a quaint little town located in Camarines Sur. It is also one of the oldest municipalities in the province (one of the first four towns along with Naga, Quipayo and Nabua) founded by the Spanish conquistadores when they came to the Philippines in 1500s.
Bamboo is the town’s pride and joy. Not only does bamboo beautify Bula’s surroundings but it puts the town on the map thru the innovative way of turning this locally revered humble grass into a piece of beautiful art – the engineered bamboo.
In 2012, the Local Government Unit of Bula (together with the DOST, PCW, DTI and DOLE, built a Common Service Facility (CSF) located in Barangay Pawili with an area of 1.260 hectares. The CSF aims to promote and support the One Town, One Product (OTOP) vision of the municipality with bamboo furniture as the flagship product. This facility was built in order for the people of Bula to master the technology of bamboo engineering, develop ways to further strengthen the bamboo and come up with beautiful and classic designs. The CSF intends to bring livelihood, art, and culture together. It naturally brought jobs to many people and pride to the otherwise sleepy town.
Many people pass by Bula through the Maharlika Highway, usually on the way to Albay or Naga City, and they hardly see the true character and beauty of the town. Its charm lies in its simplicity and tranquillity, its magnificent sceneries, captivating agricultural landscapes and breath-taking views. Bula Masarig captures the essence of the place and lovingly incorporates it into every piece of furniture to give you the same kind of experience right in the comfort of your own home.
I was debating with myself whether or not to still post this because I really regretted our second stay at Selvina’s Hotel in Sorsogon City. Just thinking about it now is still upsetting even though it’s been a month. It’s such a shame because I raved about this hotel during our first stay, that experience was a far cry from the second time we were there. So what happened, Selvina’s?
First, let’s start with the good points. Same as before – they have good firm beds, the room has a terrace (dirty by the way), complementary coffee and toiletries. List ends there.
Now, the upsetting part. First of all, there was no personnel manning the reception and we rang the bell many times. We took the liberty to fetch someone from their resto or we would have spent hours waiting in vain at their reception area. This employee who checked us in acted like she did not expect us. She stared at the confirmation booking for too long without actually having an idea which room to put us in, like looking at a complicated puzzle and no idea how to solve it. So, maybe she’s not the receptionist. After all, she was fetched from the resto. Still, any decent establishment that dares call itself a hotel needs a receptionist. And still, it’s more than a bit awkward for the guest because they made us feel like an inconvenience for them. Something I mind a bit when I’m paying more when I could have spent a lot less elsewhere if I’m just getting lousy service.
One more thing, their cleaning lady (who arrived, I assume, to assist Ms. Clueless) was rude. She made a rude remark after I asked if the room was on the second floor. Something about “Duh, of course all our rooms are on the second floor” but in Sorsoganon dialect. Ok, I was tired and the important thing was we finally checked in, so I let that pass.
It got worse, the A/C in the room was very noisy and unable to cool the entire room. Summer here in the PH has a reputation for getting really nasty hot so I was already contemplating of complaining at the front desk. But thinking there was probably nobody manning the front desk again anyway, I decided against it. Instead, we went out to visit my parents, put the A/C on timer to run for two more hours and hoped that it will eventually cool down by night time when we got back.
The heat wasn’t as bad at night and we were able to sleep. The room they put us in had a queen bed and a single bed. I expected just one queen bed, just like the one we booked on our first stay, but since they really did not know what they were doing, gave us the wrong room. I should be grateful for the extra space, but I really would much rather have the room we first stayed in because it had a functioning air conditioning unit.
So maybe you’re thinking it wasn’t that bad. You’d be wrong. They cut the water supply of the hotel at 10:00 in the morning! Without so much as a warning. Can you believe a hotel cutting the water supply on their guests? Were they even aware that they still had guests to begin with? Fortunately, we woke up and showered early but what if we didn’t? We’d be stinking and all thanks to them. The pseudo receptionist mumbled some poor excuse of a water leak or something but not even an apology. What kind of operation are they running blah blah blah? (BLAH because I. Have. No. Words. and Blah because that’s how I feel about this hotel now. How was my stay? BLAH.)
So, against my better judgement, I am posting this to mark my second and DEFINITELY LAST STAY at this hotel.
Hi guys! I’m happy to report that this is my third post for the month of April and I think I’ve outdone myself in the posting department. As another blogger friend, Anne, told me just weeks ago, even if I come up with only one post per month, the important thing is to not give up. Thanks a lot for cheering me on Anne! Means a lot! ❤
So, last Monday after office hours, I went out with two of my friends from work, Irene and Arleyn, who took me to this new food barn in Naga City called 24 High St. It was really nice and thoughtful of them to ask me to eat out just because they thought I could use it for my blog. Well, the place is blog worthy anyway, so why not?
24 High St., located in Brgy Triangulo, is easy enough to find and not just because of the classic VW Beetle which was hoisted and placed about 12 feet from the ground as landmark but because it is just at the back of St. Joseph School and very near Bicol Access Health Centrum. However, it is not included in the jeepney route so you will need to take a tricycle to get there (fare is Php8.00 per person).
Inside the food barn are several food stalls selling assorted food and drinks from barbeque, chicken, noodles, coffee, fruit juices, soda, french fries, pasta, sandwiches, burgers, nachos and even lechon belly. There is even a bar that sells beer and other alcoholic beverages.
I ordered from the stall of a coffee shop called Single Ancestry. I was in a less than adventurous mood that time and I already know this shop so I got the Matcha Over Ice which is a sweet green tea milk drink and the Shrimp Pesto Pasta. To be honest, the Matcha Over Ice was delicious but a bit too milky for my taste. I should remember to ask for more green tea and less milk next time.
The pasta was delicious as well. They did not scrimp on the pesto sauce and the black olives balanced the nutty flavour of the dish. The only let down maybe was the shrimps being on the small side, and oh, the portion was not a lot. I could eat two servings, and I eat like a bird.
My two companions were just there a few days before and Irene really liked the Hong Kong Style Noodles that she ordered again and the black gulaman drink. I liked this noodle too since I used to have this for lunch or snack when I was still working in Manila. It included two pieces of siomai and crunchy mung bean sprouts topped with sauces (teriyaki, soy sauce, chilli garlic, etc.) that is added according to your taste.
Arleyn had the Watermelon Shake from Single Ancestry, which she said was really refreshing, and the Burger Platter with three small burgers (cute pink buns), nachos and fries. The taste of the food on this platter was satisfying but I think the portion was just enough to feed two people, not three. It’s a shame I do not remember the name of this stall that sold the burgers but I remember clearly that it took them almost an hour to prepare and serve the food. So, service was sluggish.
The ambience of the place though is really nice. Even though there were a lot of people that time and they were showing something on the big TV screen and playing relaxing music at the same time, we were still able to hear ourselves talking. When night time came, even more people began to arrive, mostly students and yuppies. The atmosphere of the place was warm and friendly.
Over all, we had a nice time eating, chatting and just spending quality time to talk about everything under the sun (Yes, you can actually hear yourself talk). I hope 24 High St. will continue to grow and improve to become a top foodie destination in Naga City.