GLIMPSE | Our Lady of the Pillar's Malampaya Sound Fluvial Parade



October 12, 2013. New Guinlo, Taytay, Palawan - by the bay of Malampaya Sound, New Guinlo citizens and devotees paraded their patron saint, Nuestra Señora del Pilar, to the brakish water showcasing their solidarity of faith, give thanks, and to ask her blessings for abundant fish in the watershed. 

More photos of the fluvial procession will be posted next.



Hotel Review | Hotel Centro, Puerto Princesa, Palawan

Hotel Centro
National Highway, Brgy. San Pedro
Puerto Princesa City, Palawan
Telephone Number: (048) 434.1110 




Most traveler, when they stay in a city hotel, they either pay a fortune for a decent one but end up with unnecessary facilities they are never going to use or stay in a budget hotel and find themselves in some musty building that doesn't look like it has been cleaned since 1950. That is a fact.

In Puerto Princesa City however, such is life in this brand new hotel, Hotel Centro.

From outside, Hotel Centro's exterior remains integral to its appeal.  Complementing the natural beauty and vastness of Puerto Princesa, a fashionable modern-classic building fleeced in bright white with green vegetation around it. Its location in the ‘wide open’ square, at the very heart of the Philippines' city in the forest gives its guest an easy striking distance to everything in the city and gives an instant head-start over rival hotels.




Rome was welcomed warmly on arrival and a friendly young man escorted him to his second-floor billet. The top-notch hotel offers 111 highly stylish guest rooms that provides quality and comfortable accommodation (check my room review here). Both businessman and holidaymaker guests will definitely have maximum comfort for that much deserved goodnight’s rest in Hotel Centro's newly built rooms. 




The main dining area, Expressions Cafe, is spacious and yet remains cozy with a magnificent view of swimming pool, Verde Garden and manicured garden on the other side. The food tastes remarkably good and the prices won’t give you indigestion (check out my complimentary breakfast post here). And if you are in the mood for romantic, resort-feel dinner, Hotel Centro's Verde Garden is a perfect setting. 




If you are a business traveler, you will definitely enjoy the convenience of working in Hotel Centro's fully functional Business Center equipped with 2 desktop computers with high-speed internet access and Wi-Fi connectivity. A holidaymaker will surely love dipping into hotel's very nice swimming pool and admire the Palawan sun while sipping cocktails from the nearby Soul Pool Bar. No dull moments here, guests can shop "pasalubongs" at the souvenir shop, or have a blissful escape at Whizza Spa. There's an Atletico Fitness Center fronting the garden for fitness conscious visitor available to use, free of charge.




Hotel Centro really offers an all-round package, there's no excuse to be bored. The hotel itself is an attraction, it's a destination - and one well worth going the extra mile to discover.


Foodiscovery | Beef Stewed Chaolong



Rediscovering food from my hometown brought a lot of funny memories to me. In Puerto Princesa City, where I spent my college days, we usually hang out in a "Chaolongan" after school. Chaolongan is a Vietnamese restaurant that serves this noodle dish - chaolong. If  "Lugawans", "Pares" or "Gotohans" are the popular after-drinking-session hang out in Metro Manila,  Chaolongans, scattered around my favorite city are the most popular among locals and foreigners alike. 

Chaolong is a Vietnamese noodle dish brought to Palawan by Vietnamese refugees who escaped Vietnam during Vietnam war and found home in the island in the 70s. Contrary to Vietnam's "Chaolong" which is a congee or rice porridge with pork innards, Palawan's Chaolong is made of rice noodles top with stewed beef, pork, or chicken meat. Appropriately, this Vietnamese noodle dish is called Pho (phở) in Vietnamese cuisine. 

Raw toge (Monggo or bean sprouts) and mint leaves are added on top of the steaming stew before eating. Vietnamese baguette or bánh mì with choice of fillings from chicken, pork, beef, butter and garlic spread or longganisa is chaolong's best partner. 




Note: Rene Saigon in Pardeco, Niche at Manalo corner Burgos Streets, Bona's in Manalo Extension, and Pho Saigon located in San Manuel are the most popular Chaolongans.




Travel Tip: How to Check Your Flight Status Online





Everything you wanna know are just few clicks away including your flight status.

Using google chrome's address bar or google.com, type in a flight number and the top result is the details of your  flight and its status. So, for example, typing in 2P 944 reveals that PAL Express Flight 944 departs Puerto Princesa at 5:00 PM today and arrives at  Manila at 6:20 PM local time.


Ginataang Saka-Saka (Mangrove Snail in Coconut Milk)



Saka-saka is a mangrove snail found in Malampaya Sound in Taytay, Palawan, my hometown. I had a chance to rediscover this exotic food last week when I went home for 4 days. Straight from my cousin's copper, cooked from her humble "kalan" (stove using wooden fire), I took this picture using my camera phone. I apologize for the resolution.

This is an authentic Coyunon dish, I think so. I hope to share the recipe and a glam photos too by December when I visit home again.

International Release: FILA for Fitness

F. DESERVE MENS
Color: Grey 1416
Size: USA 8
Price: Php 4248 1500


Believe it or not, I thought about physical fitness too everytime I eat a 300-calorie-count-nutella-inspired food. Seriously though, now that I've gained weight more than what my age should have, the guilt I felt after I munch a slab of grilled meat is really driving me crazy. 

So, I vowed to fitness and health more seriously. First, I have to purchase a pair of training or running shoes because the last one pair of Merrell shoes I have was already donated to charity last year. It was rarely used anyway. Second, I have to fix my daily schedule and make sure I have time for at least 30 minutes of running everyday. Third, I have to decide what type of  training exercise I would follow that could, possibly,  flatten my belly and firm my body fat. I'm interested to try hiphop dance, jazz, or aerobics, it sounds so much fun! Lastly, I have to reduce my sugar and carbo intake which I think, very inhuman, LOL!

On my checklist, let's rub-out running shoes. I've chose to buy Fila shoes for a bargain price of Php 1500 from Php 4248 last green light sale in Trinoma. As of writing this post, I never had a chance to use it yet. So, stay tuned for my review. Lets see if this pair of shoe will deliver  protection, comfort and enhance my performance.





Breakfast at Hotel Centro, Puerto Princesa, Palawan



Hotel Centro is perfect for those who've been and not been to Puerto Princesa and want a more friendly approach to the Philippine's last ecological frontier - Palawan.  

Hotel Centro's sumptuous buffet breakfast is one of the best experiences I had when I stayed in this top-notch accommodation last week. And here's an inviting post to feast your eyes on....





While most of the hotels in Puerto Princesa City are offering plated or ala carte breakfast, Hotel Centro located at the very heart of the "city in the forest" is one of the few that offers buffet breakfast at affordable price. Buffet in style - apart from the eggs which a friendly crew cooks right in front of you - pandesal, good toast, baguette, fruit jam, butter, cereals and fresh milk were all on offer.  The French bread came from local business bought probably from a Vietnamese maker.  From its smell, I knew it's fresh. I put some fruit jam and butter on and toasted it in an electronic bread toaster while fixing a cup of brewed coffee as I wait for the bread to be toasted. Soon, a familiar promise of a great morning filled the air. 






Chicken noodle soup gave warmth to my cold hearted soul brought by that wintry morning. Ooh, Christmas season is fast approaching, I figured.  Dipping a piece of pandesal into chicken soup is one weird habit I have so I checked around to see no one's looking, LOL. The atmosphere in the room was relaxed;  fellow guests chatted across tables about their weekends - no stilted silences here. Service crews were very attentive, rounding, making sure their guest were attended. I can't help but notice, the friendliness factor is a huge asset here.






Lamayo, Palawan's version of Cebu's Danggit was the one I was looking forward to try but was not available. Delicious Eggplant Parmagiana, Corned Beef and sausage flowed freely instead. I can't complain, the main course was superb with sticky garlic rice, cooked the way I want my garlic rice to be. 

Tea, juices and fresh tropical fruits are abundant at the back of buffet table too. I had fresh fruits paired with hot tea for the sweet ending.  

While hotel breakfast is often a deal-breaker for the great foreign and local holidaymaker, tastefully, Hotel Centro's breakfast is undeniably fantastic. 






Hotel Centro
National Highway, Brgy. San Pedro
Puerto Princesa City, Palawan
Telephone Number: (048) 434.1110 


Ilustrado Restaurant's “Breaking Bread with our Heroes” at The Maya Kitchen

Ilustrado, the home of heritage Filipino-Spanish cuisine shares well loved dishes from our heroes’ hometowns at The Maya Kitchen, 9am-1pm on October 26, Saturday with Boni Pimentel, Ilustrado president and his chefs taking center stage. 

Recipes include Umbuyan, tinapa flakes sautéed in olive oil and wrapped in pechay leaves has its origins in Manila where Andres Bonifacio was born. Bagnet with KBL Sauce is an Ilocano version of lechon kawali with kamatis, bagoong and lasuna as sauce. Juan Luna and Antonio Luna are the proud sons of Ilocos Norte. Manok ng mga Bayani, chicken simmered in bold textures of dill, kamias, ground peanuts and toasted rice is inspired by no less than President Manuel Luis Quezon who hailed from Baler, Aurora. National hero Jose Rizal from Biñan, Laguna inspired Jaleang Bayabas, very ripe guavas peeled and mashed in milk and sugar. Rounding off the recipe line-up is Paella Ilustrado, Spanish rice dish with pork, chicken, seafood, chorizo bilbao, peppers and peas which is a consistent bestseller in the restaurant menu.




Ilustrado located at 744 General Luna Street, Intramuros, Manila opened its doors in 1989. Through the years it has expanded all over the metro and has also made a name in catering for clients such as Malacañang Palace and other government agencies, foreign embassies, multinational corporations, local businesses and prominent personalities. It is also a favorite wedding reception venue due in part to its proximity to some of Manila’s historic churches.

For more information on other course 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 / Mobile No. +63947 835 2290.


Press Release: This means that this material is fully and directly from the company issuing the press release. This also means that this website is not the author of the statement being read. The Cuisineuer is simply providing the information for readers who may be interested.

Room Review | Hotel Centro, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan

Hotel Centro
National Highway, Brgy. San Pedro
Puerto Princesa City, Palawan
Telephone Number: (048) 434.1110




Straight from northern Palawan's Municipality of Taytay, a 4-hour land travel, Rome checked-in at Puerto Princesa's top-notch hotel - Hotel Centro.  He arrived at exactly 2 pm.  Standing at the front of a brand new, modern-classic designed hotel, Hotel Centro's visual impact has a gorgeous appeal, Rome thought.

His arrival was expected, there was a feeling of belonging as he approached the reception. Sincere affection and kindness were reflected from the guard's smile to the attendant greetings... "Good afternoon, welcome to Hotel Centro", he cordially said while opening the glass door for Rome. The gentleman on reception called for a welcome drink, had him registered quickly, handed him his electronic key card and offered to give Rome a guided tour of the hotel but he politely declined because he was desperate to freshen-up and take a short nap before his scheduled dinner with his friends.




Opening the wooden door of room 203 that use electronic identification door lock system was a pleasant surprise. Hotel Centro's newly built deluxe room was beautifully finished, with lot of woods, neutral colors, top-notch fixtures and fittings, and generous bathroom. His room was comfortably fashioned with work desk, 1 queen-sized and 1 single bed. Acres of fluffy immaculate whiteness cover the bed with a fluffy duvet and comfortably soft pillows. With free internet access! It was such a glorious and delighting room.

Equipped with Samsung LCD TV with cable channels, there's an in-room movies and DVD player in his room. It's sexy, grown-up and eminently stylish room, he figured.



There's a silver tea & coffee electric kettle with china tea cups and complimentary tea & coffee amenity. Plus, a mini bar with in-can sodas and 2 complimentary bottled water in it.  
 
The shower streamed generous amount of hot or cold water. It gave him a proper drenching with comprehensive supply of bath amenities from Pure Herbs. Pure Herbs contain the finest formulations and created using natural botanical ingredients, from pure essential oils of Rosemary, Melissa and Thyme. According to its website, Pure Herbs products is renowned for their healing powers, sophisticated fragrances and a rich array of natural and organic extracts to truly nourish the skin, soothe the body and revive the soul. Two sets of fresh and tidy white towels were neatly hanged on towel bar.




Hair dryer, vanity set (face care with 3 cotton buds and 3 cotton pads), shower caps, polishing file, shoe polish sponge, shaving kit complete the bathroom amenity.

An electronic safe box fitted for laptops & gadgets was available to use inside the closet for safety and security of his valuable items.




Hotel Centro offers high standards and provides top quality, comfortable accommodation. He slept perfectly well and concluded that this room is godsend to business and leisure travelers who have limited time exploring the city in a forest or to amorous couples looking for a couple of hours of privacy.





Glimpsed | Hotel Centro, Puerto Princesa Palawan



Tempted to splash out? Hotel Centro's incredible swimming pool is one of the best in Puerto Princesa City. Get a drink from the Soul Pool Bar and float around on an inflatable raft while waiting for my room review of Hotel Centro.




Welcome to Hotel Centro, Puerto Princesa, Palawan



Lemon Grass Juice, a trending welcome drink among hotels I've visited. With different tastes and presentation, Hotel Centro's version is one of the best!


Chocolate Fondue



For the grand finale, we had the cutest mini chocolate fondue yesterday after our Taco day Fiday courtesy of Nika. Set up as shared communal dish on our manager's station, she used ready made chocolate mixture to coat our dippables. Apples, Banana and heart-shaped marshmallows were our dippers. We used barbeque stick to push through the pieces of dippers. 

This was what, our absent teammates, who were unfortunately on leave, missed last Friday!

Thank you Nika for the sweet and elegant treat!


Food Friday: Mexican Taco




From the undisclosed company I work in, everything is love! Especially the perks of the quarter end. Since quarter three of this year has just ended, higher management treated us with food from Richmond Hotel last week. To top it all, my colleague Nica and I thought of celebrating quarter end within the team. We brought Taco today for The Canadians and everyone were delighted. 





Nica prepared the garnish of diced tomato, cabbage, white onion and grated cheese. I prep the ground beef filling earlier today at home. Here are the ingredients;

750g ground beef from Monteray (regular)
40g McCormick Taco Seasoning Mix
250g Hunts Tomato Sauce
2 tbsp oil 
3 tbsp McCormick Italian Seasoning
1/2 cup water
1 Medium red onion, chopped
salt to taste





Here's how I made it;

Dissolve McCormick Taco Seasoning in 1/2 cup of water, set aside. Sauté onion in oil until translucent. Add ground beef, break it up using your spatula to brown meat. Pour in tomato sauce and stir, add salt and the dissolved McCormick Taco Seasoning. Add a little bit of water, if necessary. Mix it with your spatula once in a while to prevent burning. Simmer for 15 minutes and set aside.

Scoop a spoonful of beef filling, place inside a taco shell, add in the garnishes and enjoy!





Deal Alert: Avail Special Offers at the Top-notch Hotel in Puerto Princesa - Hotel Centro

2014 National Holidays are now out! And to top it all, here's a cheap accommodation deal from the top-notch hotel in Puerto Princesa, Hotel Centro, for your Ultimate Puerto Princesa Vacation!

There is a perfect date idea for the upcoming holiday season for as low as P5,988.00 for two. Get your calendars ready, plan for it as early as now and don’t let expensive immediate travel accommodation rates stop you!

Check out Hotel Centro's Christmas Holidate Special offer. Check availability, reserve and book here.



Inclusions:

    Overnight stay in a Deluxe room for two persons
    Buffet breakfast for two at Expressions Café
    Round trip airport transfers
    Special welcome drinks upon arrival
    Express check-in
    Complimentary early check-in at 10am & late check-out until 3 pm
    Welcome Christmas cookies and hot choco in the room upon arrival
    Complete Pure Herbs luxury toilet amenities and bathrobes
    Palaweno delicacy for turn down amenity
    Hotel Centro postcards to send to your loved ones at home
    Special set dinner for two at the Gazebo in Verde Garden
    Souvenir photo during dinner to be printed before check-out
    Web check-in assistance for your departure flight
    10% discount in F&B outlets
    10% discount in spa services
    10% discount on tours

Terms & Conditions:

    Subject to room availability
    2 kids, 11 years old and below are free if sharing bed with adults
    Additional peak season surcharge of P500/room/night (December 16, 2013 to January 7, 2014)
    Stay period: October to January 31, 2014


Contact:
customercare@hotelcentro.ph
Manila: (02) 556.5656 
Palawan: (048) 434.1110 
Mobile: (0917) 599.1912


Bacolod’s Vibrant Smile: Masskara Festival 2013 - Schedule of Activities

It’s an idea that really dazzled. 

What began in 1980 to pull the residents of Bacolod City out of the pervasive gloomy atmosphere during a period of crisis and tragedy has become one of the most celebrated festivities in the Philippines and consistently creating huge hashtags to the global tourism community every year. 

The word "Masskara" has a two meaning. First, it is a fusion of the English word "mass" or many and "kara", the Spanish word for "face." MassKara then becomes a "mass of faces," and these faces have to be smiling to project Bacolod's tagline "City of Smiles" since the late 70's. Second, MassKara is a Filipino word "maskara" for the English word "mask", which gives rise to the use of giant smiling masks in vivid hues, colors and design which the gaily costumed dancers wear as they stomp, swing, pulsate and gyrate in the major streets of the city every third weekend nearest to the 19th of October, the City Charter Anniversary of Bacolod. 

The incredibly amazing pieces of masks that are used in the festival are constantly changing from masks influenced by native Filipinos and then influenced by Carnival of Venice and Rio Carnival motifs. Earlier masks had feathers, native beads, and hand painted while modern masks are made of plastic and adorned with beads, colorful feathers and glittering ornaments.

Major activities include the MassKara Queen beauty pageant, carnivals, drum and bugle corps competitions, food festivals, sports events, musical concerts, agriculture-trade fairs, garden shows, and other special events organized ad-hoc every year. 




Below is the Official Schedule of Activities in this year’s Masskara Festival:

October 18, 2013 (Friday)
02:00 pm - MassKara Street Dancing School Category
11:30 pm - Mass Kara Lights Show
11:55 pm - Countdown to Bacolod's 75th Charterday Anniversary
12:00 mn - Fireworks Display

October 19, 2013 (Saturday)
09:00 pm - Electric Dance Parade

October 20, 2013 (Sunday)
09:00 am to 03:00 pm - MassKara Street Dancing Barangay Category in Paglaum Sports Complex

Note: Street dance will start at Araneta Avenue and will end at Paglaum Sports Complex.


Ever since its inception, Bacoleños has hosted an annual MassKara Festival that attracted millions of local and foreign tourists descending on the town to look at the brilliant displays and to witness the festival's highlight, the street dance competition - where people from all walks of life troop to the streets to see colorfully masked dancers gyrating to the rhythm of Latin musical beats in a display of mastery, gaiety, coordination and stamina. Over the years, Masskara festival has become the major tourism identity for Bacolod City. 

MassKara Festival is not anchored from history nor religious or cultural events. MassKara is a festival of Hope. It showcases Bacoleño's ability to smile, to be gregarious and charming and to shoe his instinct to survive and triumph over trials and challenges.