Mambukal Resort, a perfect daytrip for the whole family
Once upon a time, a hill station was established in the area in 1923, through a provincial administrative order, to serve as a weekend getaway for the officials of the Negros Occidental provincial government and its guests. Now many years later it has became a tourist attraction mainly known for its Sulfur pools with a public sulfur pool, the Japanese-constructed rotenburo and the Ishiwata Bath. But there are also waterfalls, picnic spots, butterfly garden which attracts the visitors.
Mambukal is home to several rare bat species for example the endemic giant golden-crowned flying fox and the Philippine tube-nosed fruit bat can be seen in the area. These, along with other resident bat species, are estimated to number between 7,500 to 8,000.
From Bacolod, take the bus from Mambucal Bus Terminal 40 PHP person. The trip takes 45 to 60 minutes. The last stop is the Mambukal resort so no worries there. Entrance fee is 50 PHP per adult. There is a foodcourt with several restaurants. So no worries there either if you are hungry and thirsty. The food is fully recommendable. Some of the attractions cost additional, for example the sulfur pools. 50-100 PHP per person. You can hike to the waterfalls and swim and if you are really lucky you might see some of the mythical creatures of the forest as well. When you are done the bus is waiting for you. They are going every 10 minutes (or so, you are in the Philippines after all) back to Bacolod.
Onuk island, the last frontier of the Philippines?
If you are like me, constantly searching for the pristine, unexploited and off the beaten track, then this can be something for you. But beware, it’s a little bit tricky to find your way out to Onuk island and there is no infrastructure for tourists whatsoever. But that’s part of the adventure right?
And hey! Don’t miss to watch the video clip at end!
How about the safety?
The short answer is yes, it’s safe to go to Onuk island. But consider the long answer as well. Remember before you travel to Balabac it’s always good to listen around regarding the concerns below since things can change.
There have been Malaria outbreaks in the mountainous Mainland Balabac but for now it’s considered safe to be out in the Balabac archipelago. But bring mosquito repellants because there will be tons mosquitos hunting for your blood after sunset.
A minor concern are the saltwater crocodiles but they are only present in the Mainland Balabac. Which means out in the archipelago it’s safe from crocodiles.
The weather can be unpredictable. The dry seasons of April and May are the best times to visit the Balabac archipelago since the sea is perfectly calm on most days during these months. You may also visit Balabac during the months of December to February where it is fairly good. However, these months can the waves be particularly rough on the beaches.
But hey! Balabac islands are located in the Sulu sea. Hmm wasn’t that the place where the Philippine army battle bandits? Yes, that’s right. But that’s on the other side of the Sulu sea at Jolo. There are no bandits in the Balabac archipelago.
Facts about how to get to Onuk island
Be sure to bring your snorkeling gears and you can enjoy the crystal clear water under the surface as well. There were some coral reef surrounding the island. Sorry to say much of the coral was already dead. But beautiful sea turtles were grazing sea grass from the sea floor but ever how hard I tried I couldn’t catch up with them. There were some amazing giant clams which were easier to spot since they didn’t swim away from me.
The final thought
If you are too comfy this trip is nothing for you. But if you are more adventurous and don’t mind to put in a bit effort to experience the beauty of Mother Nature I can recommend to explore this part of Palawan. It’s totally worth it all days in the week! Other post which is related to Palawan click here
Sizzling Republic, a savior in the night
Let’s say, that you for some reason end up late at the bus terminal in Rio Tuba (southern Palawan). Not many tourists go there in the first place... but anyway on top of that you are hungry, craving for some real food after a long tiresome ride in the bus. Then you will soon discover there will not be so many options for you. But if you extend your search by 5 minutes walking distance from the bus terminal you will likely find the Sizzling Republic Restaurant. Surprisingly enough they are open 24 hours and at Friday and Saturday they have live music... and that’s not all they even have a separate menu just for their cocktails!
The main attractions here at Sizzling Republic were of course their sizzlers. It’s what they claim to do, right? But they also had a varieties of breakfasts and other western and Filipino dishes. The menus below show just a sample of what the Sizzling Republic had to offer.
What is a “Sizzler” you may ask? It’s a common dish here in the Philippines and can be something like a open-roasted, grilled or shallow fried pieces of meat, chicken, fish or vegetables and it usually comes with rice, served on a metal or stone hot plate, kept on a wooden base.
Squid and shrimp sizzling
We tried the squid and shrimp sizzling. I liked that they included a large chili fruit. I had it sliced in small pieces and mixed it to get the right level of spiciness. The taste was really good.
If you ever come to Rio Tuba I can definitely recommend the Sizzling Republic Restaurant. Generous open hours actually 24 hours daily, really good food, wide variety of dishes, nice staff, Friday and Saturday come with live music... what else can you wish for?
Linaw Pearl, a restaurant with view
Linaw’s restaurant, I’ve been here a couple of times two years ago and thought it was time to catch up again with good food and the amazing view you get for free here.
A variety of dishes
They have wide variety of everything to choose from. European, Asian and Filipino dishes with every kinds of meat and even crocodile for the brave ones. They have also a small selection of vegetarian dishes. When I get this kind of menu in front of me I tend to have a hard time to choose among all the delicacies. The menus down below is just a sample of what they offer.
After some decision agony I decided to go for Tuna Sashimi and Tuna Provençal. Yes I like tuna. But to my disappointment they were out of tuna. That’s ok. But then again I had to go through the decision process but after some reading back and forth I finally opted for prawns with creamy tomato sauce. Instead of an appetizer which I thought of first I chose a dessert instead, Supreme Crepes. That would make my tastebuds very happy!
Linaw Pearl Restaurant is a part of Linaw Beach Resort which probably is a nice resort to stay at. I never stayed there though. The location of the restaurant is beautiful. To have your dinner there is like to have the front seat for an amazing sunset. The food was delicious and service excellent. Everything from the CR to the surroundings was nice and clean. One note about the surroundings though. Just very close behind the Linaw Beach Resort is currently a construction site where a new hotel is coming. It will be a large and high building which will not melt in in the beautiful environment like the Linaw Beach Resort do. Development is good but over exploitation is not. Just saying.
My second living room, Bo’s in Tagbilaran
Bo’s Coffee Club in Tagbilaran is an institution for coffee lovers and others. It’s a life savior when you need a break from the bustling life outside and it comes with access to WiFi and clean comfort rooms as well. When I have been staying here in Tagbilaran it almost has felt as my second living room.
There are two Bo’s in Tagbilaran
There is one Bo’s located in ICM mall 3 km from the Plaza Rizal aka the City Square. The other one, this one is located at Plaza Rizal. Tagbilaran and not to mention Panglao with its new international airport is a very expansive area. New malls, restaurants and coffee shops are growing like mushrooms after a rain all over the place. So in this fierce competition, Bo’s still holding its position as the nr one coffee shop here in Tagbilaran.
Simply the best coffee in town. Deliciously unhealthy pastries and breakfasts. WiFi and clean comfort rooms. Nice and swift service. A good thing to know, is that the coffee they serve at Bo’s is grown and harvested locally here in the Philippines. So what are you waiting for??
Indian food today, New Bombay in Manila
So far on my short stay here in Manila I’ve eaten me through two different countries. Now it’s time for the third country India. It’s not that I don’t like Filipino food on the contrary I do, but soon enough I will travel out in the province where Filipino food will be the only option.
The menu was like a bible
I am far from being a specialist on Indian food but it seems to me that’s nothing was missing in the menu. Mutton, chicken, fish and seafood in many varieties. There were lot’s of vegetarian dishes without any meat as well. So down below are just some samples of what was available.
I ordered Chicken Cafrala, cubes of boneless chicken cooked in onion cashew gravy with coconut milk, garnished with grated cheese and cashew nuts with rice and Naan bread with garlic and cheese. The portion was not gigantic but together with the Naan bread it was totally enough for me and I consider myself as a big eater after all.
The food was delicious. The flavor was rich and spicy and together with the Naan bread it was super. Service was nice and swift. The prices are low to midrange. All together my lunch here was very pleasant and I will be back some day!
Teriyaki Boy Restaurant, Robinson Place
Today I had no special plan for the lunch. I was just randomly wandering around in Robinson Place fixing stuff when I ended up at the Teriyaki Boy, Japanese styled restaurant.
Ramen, Tofu Steak, California Roll, Gyoza, Sushi, Rice Bowl, Dynamite Roll are examples from the menu. Some of the dishes would be suitable for vegetarians also. What I miss here is a combo platter with both sushi and rolls in a nice combination. They actually have something called sushi platter where you choose two variants of the four rolls which are available. In my ears that’s a roll platter not a sushi platter. But I might be wrong... it’s still to be discovered. The menus down below are just a sample, they have more to chose among.
I ordered a Maguro Sushi (tuna), you got two pieces for PHP 95. I also ordered four pieces of California Rolls and four pieces of Philly Cheese Steak Rolls and Miso soup. The Miso soup had a good salty and rich taste. The Maguro Sushi were two generous slices of tuna but they were only ok. I noticed also the two slices had different colors... hm two different batches of tuna? One old and one fresh? Well I don’t know. The rolls were all very good. The steak rolls had an interesting meaty taste but hey (!) it was meat after all. The California rolls were with fresh mango which made them very tasty.
The overall impression was good. Staff was nice and friendly. Price range low to medium also very reasonable. But the competition is fierce among the restaurants inside the mall so maybe next time if I would be craving for sushi I probably would try another place.
Soi, eat thai, love thai
That’s their motto. Can they live up to that? Well we will see.
Soi Thai Restaurant
Soi Thai Restaurant is located inside the The Robinson Place mall in Ermita. When I am there and craving for Thai food I usually go to Soi Thai. Last time I was here was one year ago and since then they had changed the furnishing. New tables and chairs. The big question, was the food also changed?
They offer a variety of typical Thai dishes. For some that might be good not to have to choose between too much but for me I wish they could have broaden their menu. You can find chicken, pork, fish, seafood and veggies cooked Thai style. They have vegetarian dishes without any kind of meat but they are probably not vegan. Notice that the pictures below just showing a sample of their menu.
Yes the furnishing was changed but the food still remaine untouched. Thanks for that! You always get a complimentary snack, like spicy peanuts as a small starter before you order which is nice. The food is tasty and well cooked and they offer complimentary service water with ice. That’s not bottled water but tastes the same and is perfectly safe to drink. The portions are not huge but still enough for me, so if you are not a really big eater it’s probably enough for you as well. You don’t have to wait long for your food and the staff is nice and friendly. The prices are low to medium range so it’s very reasonable. In my opinion you can’t go wrong here at the Soi Thai Restaurant.
And off she went to a better universe!
My mom was clearly the strong and independent type of woman. She always chose her own path in life no matter what.
At the time when she was young it wasn’t that common for girls to strive for a proper education. But she did. She realized in order to be independent she needed to educate herself. So she went to Anders Beckman’s school and became a fashion illustrator.
In the end of the 40:es and beginning of the 50:es it wasn’t that common to travel abroad. Probably under wild and loudly protests from her parents she did travel in early age. One of the first trips she did was hitchhiking from Sweden to France, through a war-torn Europe.
By this time the ideal here in Sweden was to have a secure source of income at a good stable employer. But not my mom. Once again she chose her independence over a stable and secure life. She became her own boss in the competitive and tough but on the other hand, highly creative fashion industry.
An unusual mom compared to others...
Against all odds she bought a house and raised her only spoiled son (me) to be a good boy. She did this all by herself since my dad died way too early. She was a good mom but a bit unusual compared to other moms. She made me open my eyes with the wonderful to travel and also never to say no to new exciting dishes to eat.
In later years she was diagnosed with the Alzheimer’s disease. She really hated what that this terrible sickness did to her independence and integrity. When the years passed by and the sickness relentlessly got worse she got more and more dependent of help. She hated it by all her heart.
She made the life a hell for all the helpers including her only spoiled son (me) who was coming there trying to do their best helping her. It was not that she was evil but she wanted her independency back and to take control of her own life again.
Fuck this world!
I know she hated the thought of moving to the home for elderly. I deliberately waited as long as possible but the inevitable came and I had to take the decision for her to move. I like to think she made up her mind there. “Fuck this world, I am 92 years old and this is enough!” So maybe she did the only thing she had control over, stopped eating and drinking so she could make her last trip as soon as possible. So at 12.40 PM today she peacefully transferrd to a better universe.
Mukut, the local favorite
Long time no see. So finally it was time to revisit Mukut which claims they are the local favorite in the hood. Mukut has been here as long as I remember. I live in the area so I should know. Not long ago they opened a new branch called New Mukut (Nya Mukut) on Sankt Eriksgatan 110, it’s walking distance 5-10 min from this place.
Mukut offers a wide variety of Indian dishes with beef, chicken and lamb and also vegetarian. I was interested in the spicy section of the menu so I ordered the king of all spiciness, Chicken Vindaloo for 160 SKR. Rice and salad was included but the Sada Nan bread 20 SKR wasn’t. My dinner companion ordered the Mixed Thali with king prawns. Garlic Nan bread and one Samosa was included in this dish for 199 SKR. To be honest the Mixed Thali dish looked much more tempting than my Chicken Vindaloo...
My Chicken Vindaloo was an orgy in rich taste and spiciness exactly as I want it to be, specially since I added a little bit squeezed lemon on top. The portion was big enough for me which definitely is a plus. I tasted one of the king prawns from the Thali dish and it tasted really delicious. We were both surprised of how big and many the prawns were. This was one of the better Thali dishes my friend had tasted. Mukut is a nice and friendly place with a pleasant atmosphere so the conclusion is I will definitely come back here soon!