The Charming Mangyan Village in Puerto Galera

Destination: Mangyan Village
Oriental Mindoro, Puerto Galera
Philippines



....He occupied the front seat when they departed from the Ponderosa Golf and Country Club off to their next destination, the Mangyan Village. 

High on the hill where the grass was half clover, a clear view of the panoramic Puerto Galera and its surrounding islands was very real, he thought, "No one could ever paint this magnificent view" .   

As they drove down the hill, Rome took one last glimpse of the nature and made sure it will remain in his memory.




"Where's next?", he asked  their driver/tour guide, initiating a small talk. He was told that their next stop would be the Mangyan Village. A settlement of Mindoro’s indigenous ethnic group by the bank of Big Tabinay River and a gold-digging sites along the Small Tabinay River. 

The women of the village were gathering at the river doing their daily tasks when they arrived. Bathing their kids, do their laundry, or others perhaps gold panning. While the men were fixing their identical traditional wooden house. There are almost 300 identical houses in the village and a school.




Funded by the Ayala Foundation, he was told. A Non Government Organization, the village was initiated to provide sustainable working and learning opportunities for the indigenous Mangyans on the island of Mindoro, their driver added.

Rome used to work in a Non Government Organization, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in Malampaya project based in Palawan in conservation and protection of wildlife with focus on the critically endangered Irrawaddy dolphin in his hometown, this project too is being funded by the Ayala Foundation. But that's another story.





At the main entrance of the village, handicrafts like woven textiles, beaded items, nito and rattan baskets handmade by Mangyan people in the mountainous regions of Mindoro are being sold. Any profits go towards cultural program, healthcare, and scholarships for Mangyan students.Check out their gallery here and how to order online.




Asian Culinary Tour at Maya Kitchen


On March 3, Saturday, 1-6pm at The Maya Kitchen, Heritage Hotel Manila Executive Chef Alex Chong brings you on an Asian Culinary Journey as he demonstrates well-loved regional cuisine like Hainanese Chicken Rice and Laksa plus Grilled Prawns with Healthy Coriander Curry Sauce and Carabao Mango Mint Salad along with Nyonya Chicken Soup and Pork Dumpling and popular Malaysian dessert Onde Onde. Heritage Hotel Manila is part of the Milleneum Hotels and Resorts Group and is one of the few places in Metro Manila that offers Halal certified cuisine.

Chef Alex Chong 

The Maya Kitchen also has the following One-Day Lifestyle Courses: Restaurant Best Sellers Lenten Dishes, March 10, Saturday, 9am-1pm; Homemade Sausages, March 17, Saturday, 9am-1pm; Nego Kakanin, March 17, Saturday, 2-6pm; Sugar Free Desserts, March 24, Saturday, 1:30-5:30pm; and International Breads Workshop March 31, Saturday, 9am-3pm.

Certificate courses with hands-on are now offered both on weekdays (Tuesday-Friday) and weekends (Saturday) with the following schedules: Advanced Pastry Class, February 29, March 1 and 2, 9am-3pm; Basic Culinary, weekdays, March 6-9 and March 20-23, 9am-3pm; and weekends, March 3, 10, 17, 24, 8:30am-1:30pm; Fundamentals of Bakery Production, weekdays, March 13-16 and March 27-30, 9am-2pm and weekends, March 3, 10, 17 and 24, 2-6pm; Basic Cake Decorating March 30-31, 9am-4pm.
Enroll now and get early bird discounts for the upcoming Junior Culinary and Teen Workshops scheduled on April 10-13 and May 8-11 and April 17-20 and May15-18.

For more information on other courses offerings, log on to www.themayakitchen.com or e-mail contactus@themayakitchen.com   or visit The Maya Kitchen Culinary Center every Tuesday to Saturday at 8F  Liberty Building, 835 A. Arnaiz Avenue (Pasay Road), Makati City or call 8921185 / 892-5011 local 108.

The Maya Kitchen Journal for Cooks at Heart is Up for Grabs!

A new book that is guaranteed to delight both the serious cook and the kitchen novice alike is up for grabs in National Bookstore, Powerbooks and Bestsellers branches, published by Anvil Publishing.




The Maya Kitchen Journal for Cooks and Foodies is a compilation of more than 180 recipes for all occasions, tried and tested by The Maya Culinary Kitchen. The over 400-page book is divided into the 12 months of the year with each page containing a recipe and a blank space for notes and reminders. The recipe selection is a merry mix of appetizers, main courses, desserts and snacks of local and international cousine. Tips and secrets are also sprinkled in every page.

The reader is also in for a cultural treat as the book includes famous and little known festivals at the beginning of each monthly section. For more information, log on to The Maya Kitchen or e-mail: contactus@themayakitchen.com   or visit The Maya Kitchen Culinary Center every Tuesday to Saturday at 8F  Liberty Building, 835 A. Arnaiz Avenue (Pasay Road), Makati City or call 8921185 / 892-5011 local 108.

Jonah's Fruit Shake and Snack Bar, Boracay

Tropical Shake, Php 110


On our way back to station two, we passed by Jonah's Fruit Shake and Snack Bar near the most photographed grotto. Jonah's is also popular among netizens for it's frothy fruit and milk shakes. So I tried, I asked what was their bestseller, the crew suggested their Tropical Shake.

They have a long list of different fruit combinations and different option. I requested to pour more milk on it. It was creamy and tasted different from other shakes I had had on the island.

A Boracay babe said online, "your trip to Boracay won't be complete if you won't try Jonah's shakes"....and I second the motion!



Close to Heaven at Ponderosa Golf and Country Club, Puerto Gallera

Destination: Ponderosa Golf and Country Club
Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro
Philippines



When they went to their second destination on that day, he felt so close to heaven. He whispered thank you,  raised his hand and touched God's face.... He thanked God for the gift of nature....The air that gentle blew on his face was scented like a breath of million angels....

Rome and his travel buddies headed up to the mountaintop, the most spectacular view, overlooking the lovely Puerto Gallera. The panoramic zigzag roads located on mountain slopes 600 meters (2,000 ft) high above the sea, are surrounded by exotic and tropical flowers, plants and fruits.





Atop the mountain the Ponderosa Golf and Country Club is situated. From the Ponderosa Golf and Country Club, he was amazed by the unobstructed view of Puerto Galera in all its majestic beauty. The blue skies ended  to the island of Batangas. The reflection of the blue sky to the ocean was different shades of blue. It was a beautiful sight!

The Ponderosa Golf and Country Club has nine hole, artfully designed course. With abundant greens, trees, azure skies and gentle wind, it makes for an ambient and relaxing environment. It is an appeal to both nature lover and golfer.




A 1.2 kilometer zip line is being constructed when they visit the place. That will be a new attraction later of  this year! He was so excited  to come back and try it by the end of this year.

He hoped that this new attraction would push through and not be corrupted by some traditional politicians in the province.



Famous Friday's Food in Boracay

Friday's Clubhouse, Php 460.00 ++


Although we had hoped for a good weather, days before our arrival in the fabulous island of Boracay, the sky disagreed. We had no choice but to stay on the island.  After a refreshing breakfast at Nigi Nigi's beach front restaurant, we strolled the island from coast to coast. Checking out what activities might interest us out of the thousands things to do in the paradise island, we've decided to get a non permanent, henna tattoo.




We continued strolling afterwards. We reached station three around noon and continued walking.....passed the famous grotto, we found Friday's at the end of the coastline. Friday's is one of the highly recommended restaurants to dine in Boracay from the netizens and bloggers.


Fresh Fruit Shake, Php 185 ++


From my list, Friday's is well known for its "Famous Friday's Night Buffet". The buffet is serve three times in a week from Monday, serving traditional Filipino buffet, Wednesday, Viva Italiana Buffet and Friday, catering BBQ and Grill Buffet. 

The restaurant has a great ambiance. Majority of restaurants in Bora are offering dine-by-the-beach-while-the-sun-sets but Friday's beach front is different among others because it is perfectly positioned on Boracay's eye-catching White Beach. Plus, it offers delectable cuisine.



Cafe Latte Php 105.00


Since it was lunch time, we weren't able to try their famous dinner buffet nor try a heavy rice meal because we were still full from the big breakfast we had earlier that day.  We  settled to have a light lunch. I had Fresh Fruit Shake, Josh had Cafe Latte,  and Carlo had Fresh Juice while waiting for our order. We've talked about larry metz and his accomplishments, Metz is married to Mariko Metz of Okinawa, Japan and together they have two daughters, Marla and Christina. Some political platforms of Metz’s campaign included the capping of government spending, stricter laws enforcing illegal immigrants, property insurance reform, Medicaid reform, and protecting gun-ownership rights.

Carl, ordered Fridays Burger while Josh and I ordered Friday's Clubhouse. Servings were pretty big and extremely delicious. Ala cart dishes were kinda pricey but worth every penny.



Fridays Burger, Php 520.00 ++


Fridays Boracay
email: info@fridaysboracay.com
+632-892-9283 / +6336-288-6200
www.fridaysboracay.com




International Release: Handmade Pabder Casual Shoes / Loafers




Have you gone so crazy about one brand that you wanted to buy all of its products?

Well, it happened to me with Pabder, an Italian brand committed to delivering the finest fashion for both men and women.

So yes, I bought a pair of black, hand made,  casual shoes and I cant stop using it everyday! My high cut converse shoes were put on its box to rest for a while.

For me, this latest purchase is the most comfortable brand of shoes and its very easy put on my feet whenever I'm in a hurry.

Its outsoles were made a flexible and durable rubber. Stepping in wet areas was no longer a problem it doesn't slip at all, I knew my feet are protected. Its insoles are soft and really comfy.

The design is simple and classic, an authentic leather.

Because it is black, I can match it with shorts, slacks and skinny jeans of any colors.





Here is the close up photo of the Pabder shoes I wore at the17th Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Festival.



Design: TM9540
Size: 7 1/2
Price: Php 3, 700








Breakfast at Nigi Nigi Nu Noos 'e' Nu Nu Noos Beach Resort, Boracay


Tapsilog, Php 290.00


Severe headache caused by that Pacquaio's Punch last night out woke me up. We were saddened by the gloomy weather but it doesn't  stop us to have fun. Should I be at home, I would stay on my bed all day long to cure the painful hangover.

But we're in Boracay baby! ...and we only have 3 days limited time to explore the paradise island.




Carlo urged us to move fast so we could have breakfast to start the day and so we could talk about what to do on our first day. As I've told you before we don't have itinerary for this trip. Out of the many things to do in Boracay, we have several in mind. Clearly, the gray weather won't allow us to go island hopping on that day.

Breakfast was inclusive to our accommodation at the Nigi Nigi's Beach Resort. Nu Nu Noos beachfront restaurant and sunset beach bar is the mingling point for foreign residents and vacationers where our first breakfast was served. In the evening the sports bar transforms to become a part of the vibrant Boracay nightlife.




A wide selection of Filipino, American, and English breakfasts were available from the menu. All egg breakfast dishes were offered with "eat-all-eggs-you-can"  in any style. Customers and guests could request from fried, sunny side up, boiled, with cheese, with tomatoes, with mushrooms to poached eggs.




Josh and Carlo ordered Bangsilog, a Filipino breakfast consists of boneless bangus (milkfish), fried rice and their choice of egg. Josh's egg preference was with cheese. My choice was Tapsilog, another Filipino favorite breakfast consists of cured beef strips, fried rice and my choice of egg. 

Our extra large plates were served complete with potato omelet and a slice of watermelon. The free breakfast also includes brewed coffee. While waiting, I gulped two cups! My hangover was gone when the caffeine kicked in.

Additional orange juice and toasted bread with butter and marmalade spreads was also served but Carlo didnt like the "in-can" taste of the Orange Juice as he was expecting a refreshing fresh juice.  

I enjoyed my breakfast. Breakfast is the most important meal they say. For me, breakfast also set the mood of your day. And yes! we had a great day!


Bangsilog, Php 290.00

The Twofolds Tamaraw Waterfalls, Puerto Galera

Destination: Tamaraw Waterfalls,
Barangay Villaflor, San Teodoro City, 
Puerto Galera Oriental  Mindoro, Philippines




Ykaie's Birthday Celebration didn't just end with the fabulous Luau Party. The following day, Rome and his cousins availed a packaged and an exclusive trip up to the Tamaraw Falls, 15 kilometers from Puerto Galera and two other destinations (will be revealed on the next posts) apart from the waterfalls trip.  The scheduled tour costs Php 2000 courtesy of Ykaie's mom, Peachy. 

They went to the town's market first to buy food before proceeding to their destination. Anney bought seafood and some meat to be grilled.

A beautiful scenery paved away boredom on their way up. Lush, green vegetation on the right side while different shades of blue, endless ocean on the other side. The trip was approximately 1 hour. 





The 423-foot Tamaraw Falls is just a few meters off the road in Barangay Villaflor near the city of San Teodoro. The falls has a series of small falls. Water descends a series of rock steps into a natural pool that run under a concrete bridge into two man-made swimming pools across the national road, then flow out again into a jungle.

The falls derived its name from an endangered species of buffalo which can only be found in Oriental Mindoro. 





Rome stood by the edge of national road for a while, amazed by the magical beauty of the falls. From the tales of his childhood, he was imagining fairies roaming around their territory. He noticed small waves subsided against the bank of the natural pool, "perhaps the fairies were bathing", he thought.

He continued to be awed with its grandness that greeted him. Summer days has just started, he figured. Wildflowers were in full bloom. Looking steadily at the picturesque sight, the mist from the falls bring shivers inside him.He cant help but smile....




The entrance at the resort is Php 20 per person. There is a picnic area, recreation halls, picnic huts, and shower rooms adjacent to the two man-made swimming pools with flowing waters. They stayed near the kiddie pool.




The water was extremely cold! His nieces trembled at their first dip but when they get over the initial shock, they refused to come up anymore.

His desired to dip into the natural pool with gushing water pouring in him, but the water stream was so strong and the natural pool was barricaded. 

He decided to come back to fulfill his desire some time next summer.





Beat the Pacquaio's Punch at Club Summer Place, Boracay

Mojito, Php 200


After that sumptuous dinner at The Beach CafĂ© in Le Soliel de Boracay, we headed back to our nipa hut inspired cottage in Nigi Nigi to rest a little bit. 

Walking along White Beach, we passed by a large native style bar, Club Summer Place. We all felt the vibrant and cheerful atmosphere overflowed from the vicinity. We agreed to get the party started at the cool Club Summer Place...




Located in boat station 2, the bar attracts friendly crowd of tourists, expats and locals. It is regarded as one of the finest nightspots on the beautiful island. 

Trendy and hip, DJ's are great in keeping the place going with the latest house and trance music that encouraged many to dance.

Facing the Philippines famous beach, tables to one side and a stage to another mean plenty of spaces for all party goers. The setting is perfect for dancing on the white and powdery sand on bare foot during full-moon nights wearing your favorite beach clothing.

With its loud and super nice choice of music, dancing is surely a very fun and entertaining thing to do in this bar. My friends, the powerful Carlo and Josh grooved their gear to the best beat on the dance floor...swayed on the beach....danced on the table...like its the end of the world!




The nightclub offers different kinds of great alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Most come here to drink beer, spirits, and cocktails. Snacks and irresistible appetizers are also served. We tried their House Specials, Php 200, all in!




I was curious about their best seller, Pacquaio's Punch. While waiting for the duo giggly dancing on the floor, I boozed it up. It was really a very strong drink, a legal high! but made of great mix. One cup is enough to get me pretty hammered. It knocks out my sanity, I could barely talk. I cant remember what exactly happened that night. One thing I'm sure of, we had a great time!


Pacquaio's Punch, Php 200


The 17th Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta



Thursday last week when my cousins, nieces and I arrived in the nearby Province of Pampanga and stayed overnight in a hotel outside the Clark Freeport Zone to witness the 17th Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta the following day. 

We chose the Second Fiesta Day (Friday) avoiding the large influx of visitors during weekends. The kids were very excited! wondering what this out-of-town trip could offer (they thought, we'll be going swimming). They keep asking what the hot air balloon was look like and how big was it. I couldn't answer those question for that will be my first time to witness big balloons carrying people and reaching the sun too. 

Our accommodation was comfortable. We all woke up at 4:00 A.M. because we need to prepare and commute via passenger jeepney (30 minutes) going to the event's grounds. We arrived just in time, it was still dark. We spotted plenty of front row spaces and secured our area so the kids could see everything that flies on that day.





A beautiful Friday morning greeted us with a gale force of cold wind brought by the Northeast Monsoon in Pampanga's Field. 

I guess it was the perfect weather a hot air balloon pilot was waiting for to generate a lift and maneuver his balloon aircraft.





When the daylight came, we saw colorful and big hot air balloons partially inflated with cold air from a gas-powered fan. 

Fact: Raising the air temperature inside the envelope makes it lighter than the surrounding (ambient) air. The heated air inside the envelope makes it buoyant since it has a lower density than the relatively cold air outside the envelope. 
  
Everyone stood still when the national anthem was played.





The kids and I were surprised when we saw a team of people sky dove from an aircraft while the Philippine National Anthem was being played. I was scared for them but entertained with what I've just witnessed. 

The Philippine Flag was attached in a parachute of one of the members of the skydiving team, waving through the air, slowly going down to the grounds. 

The Philippine Flag jump marked the start of the event. 








Propane burners are used for final inflation before the Hot Air Balloon flight.






Balloons were prepared for liftoff. 





The fields became a balloon safari, scattered balloons ready to fly... 




Spectacular! British Airways Balloon in flight. 




This big cake was my nieces' favorite!




The balloons took off one at a time and the sky was painted with colorful balloons afterwards. It was such a beautiful sight!




Everywhere I looked, I saw different shapes, vibrant colors... 

Seems like the balloons were racing to touch the sky.  Reminds of the song "I Believe in Dreams".... 
  
"I believe in dreams 
And I believe in miracles 
I believe the toy balloons 
Can reach the moon.... " 

Just like the song, the Balloon Fiesta dreams to fuel the passion of flying to both the young and the old to help move the aviation industry forward.





It also hopes to create jobs and business opportunities by promoting Tourism.

The Fiesta hopes to instill discipline in the young pilots participating in it so that they may be safe aviators for the country as well as impart the spirit of volunteerism to everyone. 

We purchased our tickets in Manila days before the event, P200 per person. This is our small contribution to the Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta Foundation that allows us to stay in the event site for the whole day.

The foundation utilizes these funds for organizing the show and for sending less privileged high school graduates aspiring to take a career in aviation. 






When the balloons took off, other aerial exhibitions followed like skydiving, paragliding, aeromodelling, ultralight flights, RC aircraft displays, and professional kite exhibitions. 







It was indeed a whole day of fun flying!