Hotels

Tentyard Hotel (Pangpang, Sorsogon City)

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).DSC01229

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.DSC01222

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.DSC01219

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.DSC01192DSC01190

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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.

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My Bicol

Summer Feels from our Garden

How do we know it’s summer in the PH? For one, the sun feels really hot outside that I need to use my umbrella even in the morning, the usually cold A/C can barely be felt anymore because it is just way too hot. Summer is here, and it cannot be denied when it’s all over the TV – special features about where to go this summer like beaches, spring pools, resorts and just about every activity that families and adventure-seekers can do this season. Even in our office, people are already planning the (mandatory) summer get-away where it is conveniently called “team building.”

For me though, summer means the garden will come back to life again. Like right now, flowers are all in bloom which is a real nice view to wake up to every morning.DSC00520DSC00521

The impatiens and periwinkle always go together rather nicely in our plant boxes  located outside of the fence.   DSC09930DSC00233

But wait, the bougainvilleas will not be outdone. They have been boring and flowered sporadically for the past months but they are finally coming out!DSC00505DSC00570DSC00509

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My little model is always up for this =)

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This summer is also the first time our cacao tree yielded its first fruits and hopefully the summer sun makes the fruit really sweet. We plan to roast the beans and make them into tsokolate or tableya after. DSC00498

Yesterday, I came home after work and harvested these eggplants. Our eggplant “tree” is about 6 feet tall already. It grew so tall because it has to compete with other plants to catch the sun’s rays. It has been around for so long, around three years maybe, and every time we try to cut it, it just yields more fruits/veggies. So I guess it has amazing survival tactics lol.DSC00500

And the good old herbs – basil, mint, rosemary, chili peppers…DSC00506DSC00526

Not everyone is aware that due to the implementation of the TRAIN Law in the Philippines, additional taxes have been imposed on the consumers and everything has been getting more expensive than ever now, especially food items. Food should be affordable for everyone as a matter of principle, but our lawmakers obviously think otherwise. What real schmucks they turned out to be. So, why not grow our own food right at home? I have started by putting these green onions in soil so we don’t need to buy anymore. It’s a small start but it’s a start.DSC00511

So there goes the start of my summer feels. I finally know it’s summer when the garden feels and looks like this, as it should. It’s summer!

Thanks for reading! Have a happy weekend ahead =)

My Bicol

Home Garden (Naga City)

I was just going through my picture files and saw these pictures of our home garden here in Naga City. Last year, there was a time when we were not particularly very busy, especially Mama Pat, who tended our home garden which used to look like this.DSC07699DSC07701

Our garden is mainly for food than for beautification purposes, although flowers were abundant especially during summer. Like these Rosas de Alas Dies as they call it here in Naga, but my Mama used to call it “Oro Alas Dose” in Sorsogon, so called because the flowers bloom in the morning but by noon, the flowers wither.DSC03951

This blue marnate vine literally covered the window of Mama Pat’s room. You can’t even tell this is a window. Anyway, this vine has been removed a few months ago because it was getting too big already. I miss the flowers, they are actually edible and can be found to adorn salad plates in some restaurants.DSC07703

In front of our house are bougainvilleas that also yield a lot of flowers in the summer and the blue flowering plant that I don’t know the name of.17190791_1619408251409407_5117129497669685115_n17265245_1619408431409389_1668838369552764419_n We also have a guava tree, cacao tree, moringga tree (malunggay) and rows of turmeric still rooted on the ground. Some plants we still have include culinary herbs like holy basil, mint and oregano. There are also aloe vera, okra, bitter gourd and eggplant.DSC07721DSC04946DSC07707

We are not as lucky growing the bitter gourd. They never seemed to grow just right, either they got eaten by insects or they ripened when still way too young so I don’t remember eating these. Although, that might be a good thing since they’re just way too bitter!   bitter gourd

And these string beans? They’re gone by now but we used to have them stir fried in soy sauce or with meat dishes like the Filipino favorite “Sinigang,” made with pork (or shrimp) with a savory and sour soup base.DSC07574

Our garden at home made me a believer that God’s blessings are truly abundant and within our reach. Because of this garden, we were able to save a lot of money since we didn’t need to buy our vegetables, we grew them (although most of the effort of course is due to Mama Pat). There was also something very special about harvesting food from the garden which always left me in awe. There was something really special about eating too knowing that there was no pesticide added and they were freshly picked. Last year, we were able to harvest this (below) almost every other day.DSC07814

Gardening truly brings joy to the heart and food to the stomach. I hope that this new year 2018, we will be able to bring our garden back to life, if our time and schedules will allow.

Thank you for reading!