This day I practiced what you can call street photographing. All images are from Cebu city around Climaco street and in the area of Colon street.
Mismukuno, a Japanese in Ayala center
Teppanyaki is a style of Japanese cuisine that uses an iron griddle to cook food. But that's not all this place has to offer, Mismukuno has a wide selection of Japanese dishes like maki, sushi, sashimi, ramen, tempura etc etc. It's a little bit for everyone here if you are in to Japanese food.
I have been here a couple times before, around lunch and it has been relatively crowded every time. That must be sign for good food, right? Anyway this time I ordered the Platter special which they advertised about at the entrance. Sashimi, sushi and maki in a nice combination.
Platter special offered 9 maki rolls, 3 pieces of sushi and 6 slices of sashimi (salmon and tuna) for 510 PHP. Miso soup was not included. Everything was more than ok but a little bit less than delicious. For example the meat of the tuna was slightly too fibrous for me to be perfect.
Mismukono Teppanyaki gave a clean and fresh impression together with a nice hardworking staff. They have lot's to offer on the menu that I would like to try. For example I am curious about their teppanyaki which should be their specialty I guess. So the conclusion is I will come back for more.
Last but not least... a link:
A Vietnamese kitchen in Ayala center
If you are craving for Thai papaya salad, Som Tam, and you are in the Philippines and you are tired of Filipino Thai restaurants what do you do then? I went to Phat Pho, a Vietnamese restaurant instead. Yes, I know there seems to be no logic in that at all, I know. But before you cry out loud, please read this review to the end!
Phat Pho had a nice interior and when I was there it was not crowded. My impression was a modern style mixed with warm ambience and quality. I got my table on the upper deck with a nice overlooking view.
So what can you expect of Phat Pho á vietnamese kitchen? Since Pho in Vietnamese means noodle soup you obviously can expect they will serve noodle soups. Actually I would say, that's their specialty. Most of the guests when I was there ate different kinds of noodle soups. But they had other things on the menu as well.
Shrimp & sour mango salad
Since I was craving for Thai papaya salad, Som Tam, I was obviously looking for something similar. So what couldn't be better than try the Shrimp & sour mango salad with rice. At least it looked a bit similar to the Thai papaya salad. So I did! I got a big portion of salad rich in flavour and spiciness. Not same as Som Tam but that was of course not expected. The Shrimp & Mango salad was unique in its own way and it felt as an excellent choice!
Phat Poh lighted up my appetite for Vietnamese food and I will certainly come back. Everything was fresh and clean and the staff was nice and friendly. Next time for sure, I will try the their Poh, aka noodle soup.
And finally a link that might interest you:
Cebu Taoist Temple and a date with the dragon
Cebu Taoist Temple is located in Beverly Hills Subdivision of Cebu City, Philippines. The temple is built by Cebu's substantial Chinese community in 1972.
Pray and make a wish
The Taoist temple is open to the worshipers and non-worshipers alike. A ritual among devotees is where one prays to the gods to grant one's wish. The ritual includes washing of hands, going inside the chapel barefoot and dropping two blocks of wood. If the blocks of wood are both face up then one could make a wish. If not then it is not yet the time for one's wish to be granted and one has to come to the temple some other time.
Amazing view from here
Unwind for a while
The Taoist temple is easy accessible from downtown Cebu. We took a taxi from Ayala center and paid around 150 PHP. The view from here is amazing and the surroundings are relaxing for a busy mind. To come here was like to unwind from the hectic and busy city life down town Cebu. I really liked the place for its quietness and beautiful view!
Chinese dragons are legendary creatures in Chinese mythology. Chinese dragons have many animal-like forms such as turtles and fish, but are most commonly depicted as snake-like with four legs. They traditionally symbolize potent and auspicious powers, particularly control over water, rainfall, typhoons, and floods. The dragon is also a symbol of power, strength, and good luck for people who are worthy of it in East Asian culture.
Even if you don’t share their faith, you must always keep in mind that it’s a sacred site for Taoist worshipers and is a place originally intended for meditation and prayer.
Going back to downtown
When time to go back downtown again there are numerous options, taxi, habal habal or jeepney. But we chose to walk. Actually it's not far from Ayala center only about 30-40 min of easy walking. And... yes it's no problem, it's perfectly safe to walk here at least in day time.
A short video clip of our walk back downtown. My friend was also in a desperate need of a cigarette!
SumoSam Crafted The Japanese Way
I don't know about that... but at least that's their slogan. I was there and unfortunately not impressed. But more about the negative later. They serve a wide variety of Japanese dishes with beef, chicken, salmon and other seafoods. I tried the Seafood Teppan Platter. A little bit pricy but it looked good. Two kinds of fish, squids, large shrimps, oysters and scallops.
But I had to wait
I was looking forward to my meal. But after 20 min waiting I remember I was thinking, hmm (!) but maybe it's good it takes a bit time to to prepare the food after all. After 30 min the waitress obviously noticed that I was beginning to look impatient because she told me that I just had to wait a few minutes more. Well she was observant at least and I was thinking: The one who is waiting for something good is never waiting too long. We have that nice saying in Sweden to comfort yourself when you are waiting too long for something.
Warm and cold
Finally I got my food and it looked good actually. It had also probably been good if the different pieces on the plate had been equally hot. The temperature ranged from "fresh from the grill warm", lukewarm to cold. The fish was "fresh from the grill warm" and the oysters were cold. The oysters had also a little bit strange fishy taste, so no thanks!
Conclusion: too long waiting time and too much rumble
The food had probably been perfect if everything had been "fresh from the grill warm". But it wasn't. When I pointed out for the waiter about the cold oysters, he actually offered me new fresh from the grill. But at that point I wasn't in the mood to wait for another unspecified time again for the oysters to be grilled.
The ambience in the restaurant was nice aside from one thing. One of the AC:s there, obviously needed some kind of service because it was by far too noisy! There was a constant loud rumble in the whole place which made it very tiring to be there. I felt sorry for the staff who had to work in that environment but hopefully the management would fix that soon.
And finally a link that might interest you:
Lively neighborhoods of Cebu
Today I had a visit of some friends here in Cebu city. After we been to the Taoist temple we went for a 2,5 km walk through some lively neighborhoods of Cebu. And yes Thomas was craving for cigarettes!
A real Filipino breakfast is never wrong!
What can be better than salty bangus (fish) fried to crispy perfection, scrambled eggs, rice together with spicy sawsawan sauce? Did I hear crispy bacon and eggs?? Well, I guess nothing excludes the other, right?
Why are mangroves so important?
Fully loaded with protein, good healthy omega 3 fats, carbohydrates and caffeine we headed for Oboob Mangrove Garden. Maybe you have heard that mangroves are important...? So why are mangrove habitats so important? Basically Shoreline protection. Mangroves protect shorelines from damaging storm and hurricane winds, waves, and floods. Mangroves also help prevent erosion by stabilizing sediments with their tangled root systems. They maintain water quality and clarity, filtering pollutants and trapping sediments originating from land.
Oboob Mangrove Garden/Eco Park
It was easy peasy for us to go there with our beloved scooter. We paid the entrance and then attended a short lecture about the Eco park. In my opinion they are doing a great job preserving this sensitive habitat. We were assigned a guide who told us more about the Eco park and of course she even helped us to take some pictures according to Danica's directives.
Tropical storm Basyang
This morning at breakfast it had been quite windy. So later when we came back to our resort we heard about the tropical storm Basyang. There were rumors that the ferry would be cancelled for going back to Cebu Island. So of course we became a little bit worried. It was not the first time we had been stranded on an island. We had already been away for two weeks and it was time to go back to Dumaguete. In the evening we clearly noticed that the wind gained strength. Me: What's the problem it's romantic to be stranded on an island, right? But Danica: I am longing for my daughter huhu...
The typhoon luckily became degraded to a tropical storm but still with hard winds and lot's of rain. The result was that the ferry going back to Cebu island was cancelled. We decided to move from the somewhat remote Bantayan Nature Park and Resort in to the more central located Adelaida Pensionne. We were lucky, we got the last room! There were many other guests with the same strategy, staying near the ferry terminal and wait for the ferry to resume.
The ferry was resumed
After a couple of days the ferry was resumed. That day we had a quick breakfast at the Boulangerie Francaise and off we went. We reached Cebu Island at lunch time and then we had roughly 300 km to travel from north to south to our second ferry over to Negros. We had our dinner break at McDonalds in Toledo. I was beginning to be stressed. Time was already 5 pm and in one hour it would be dark.
The driving went awkward
Around Barili the the driving really went awkward. The tricky road crosses the mountains and the traffic was horrendous. Big trucks and buses speeding and overtaking each others and not to mention it was pitch black! We took a short break at a little sari sari store and I swept two Coca Colas to regain some energy. We still had roughly 60 km to Alegria where we had booked a room at Lucci Pension House for the night. Slowly I realized my mistake, 60 km is very far when driving in the Philippines specially when it's dark and you are drop dead tired. Lesson learned, be sure to plan ahead so you can avoid to drive long stretches in the dark.
Back to Dumaguete
From our lunch stop at Dulot we just had a couple of hours more to go before we came to the ferry over to Negros and back home. We had been away for roughly 2 weeks. We drove 600 km back and forth and maybe at least 200 km on Bantayan Island.
Road trips are fantastic!
Making a road trip is really a fantastic way to experience the true Philippines. You see a lot and have full flexibility to go and stay wherever you want. But beware of that the traffic might be very different from what you are used to from back home. In my experience you need to adjust yourself to the Filipino way of driving otherwise it might be difficult. Always bear in mind that there are many accidents daily in the traffic so driving a scooter in the Philippines is certainly a high risk activity. Use your common sense and follow some basic guidelines and you will be less likely to get in serious trouble.
1) Be sure you rent a scooter in good condition and with all paper works in order
2) Don't drink and drive and always wear helmet
3) Don't drive fast and furious, better to be safe than sorry
3) Avoid driving in the dark. You don't want to collide with a stray dog...
4) Plan ahead, out in the province it can be far between the nice places you want to stay at
5) Don't bring too much stuff, travel light and easy is part of the freedom!
Madridejos, Bantayan Island
One beautiful morning we decided to explore the north side of the island. We were heading for the very north tip, the Kota Park in Madridejos. So off we went with our scooter. As usual I kept one eye on the road and the other eye on Google maps. There were basically two main roads going north so that shouldn't be complicated, right? But crazy as it sounds we ended up going south instead of north... oh my gosh! Anyway after a big roundabout I got the bearings right.
Old Kota Fort
Finally we reached our destination, the Kota Park. We found a parking spot just near the Old Kota Fort. Obviously there had been some kind of meeting among the big guys equipped leather vests, tattoos and bigger bikes than our cute little scooter! But they left at the same time we arrived.
The Kota Fort is just adjacent to the parking. When we reached there and read the signage outside the Fort you could really feel that this was a historical ground. I could lively imagine the dramatic scenes which have been taken place here over the years.
Where there is a sea there is a beach or at least a shoreline. So we went down to the pier and walked along the beach. The water was really seductive, clean and clear. Farther down they were playing music as loud as they only can do in the Philippines. Though it was my kind of music I can only hope that the neighbors in the hood liked it too, otherwise it would be impossible for them to live there...
We made lot's of friends
As always in the Philippines the kids are very curious. They came and asked us where we came from, what we were doing there etc etc and Danica did her best to keep up with all their questions. We saw some kids playing in the water and they had such a nice model of a fishing boat.
The two fishermen
We also met two fishermen which just had come back from the sea. They had a really nice catch of big squids. If it hadn't been for our poor cooking facilities at our place I had bought one squid. Mmm... super fresh squid directly from the ocean cooked in it's own ink, so yummylicious!
The buko stand
I use to say, buko juice is the travelers best friend, at least in the Philippines where it's available almost everywhere. With that being said, so just before we started our trip back to our hotel we refueled ourselves with fresh healthy buko juice (coconut juice). Danica was hungry as usual so she even scraped the coconut meat out from the shell and ate it.
Bantayan road trip part 1
Bantayan road trip part 2
Bantayan road trip part 3
Bantayan road trip part 4
Paradise beach Bantayan
Paradise Beach is for sure one of the best beaches on Bantayan Island, ideal for swimming and sunbathing. It comes with nice crystal clear water and clean white sand. It’s a perfect setting to work on your tan because you are away from any foot traffic passing through. With that said, you should know it's really lack of shadow along the beach. So if you don't like to be burned by the unforgiving sun you need to be there relatively early in the day to find a spot with some shadow.
Not what it looked at first
When we came there the first time we thought the beach was located just near the camping site. It wasn't much to be called a beach to be honest! Just a small tiny strip of sand. But luckily we discovered that we could walk along the shore and when we turned around some cliffs we suddenly came to the actual Paradise Beach. And by the way, the sunsets here are amazing so just stay and enjoy the sunset before heading back to Santa Fe. The video clip shows our confusion at first, before we found the actual Paradise Beach.
You can easily get here on motorbike, just a 15-20 minutes ride from Santa Fe. There is safe parking at the camping site where you also can buy snacks, sodas and water. You have showers and comfort rooms there as well. From the parking you need to walk for about 10 minutes. The entrance fee is 50 pesos for adults and 25 pesos for children and the beach is open from 9 am to 5 pm daily. We always left the beach after the sunset and it was no problem more than that the reception at the camping site was closed.
Bantayan road trip part 1
Bantayan road trip part 2
Bantayan road trip part 3
Bantayan road trip part 4
Tumalog falls is easy to find
Tumalog falls is easy to find. About 1 km north of Oslob Whale Shark Watching you find the signage along the highway which tells you where to turn. Drive additional a couple of kilometers. The last bit to the falls you have to walk 5-10 min. Eventhough the road is good I was surprised because it’s pretty steep walking down to the falls.
Check out the video
Struggling with steep roads and get amazed by the beauty of mother nature
Conclusion, it’s well worth a visit
The reality exceeded my expectations and that’s not bad. The falls is easy to find and we had fun going there so according to me it’s well worth a visit if you are in the neighborhood.