Thursday, December 31, 2015

Get to Know the Newlyweds Regine Velasquez Alcazid Gate-crashed!

It was an intimate gathering of friends and family celebrating the wedding of Dara Buela, a Filipina Interior Designer who's currently based in Papua New Guinea, and Simon Brendling, an Australian-Thai who works for the same company last December 29, 2015.

After the traditional reception program that band started playing dance music to kick-off the party and give the bride and groom the chance to mingle with their guest.

It was during the last few lines of Dancing Queen, that we saw a girl come up on stage and belted out that familiar voice.  It was then that I ran to bride to tell the news that Regine Velasquez-Alcasid was the one on stage, and everyone who's still seated rushed in front starstruck.

Half of the guests were Australians and was clueless of whats going on.  I just informed them that no less than the Asia's Songbird (A Singer with a huge Filipino following including a fan base in Asia) is the one performing.  They were excited with her appearance.

The Songbird was kind enough to have photos with the couple after the song before leaving to join her companions that included husband Ogie Alcasid and Michelle Van Eimeran.

It took a while before everyone recovered to that welcomed surprise.  It really made the celebration more memorable.
A video posted by reginevalcasid (@reginevalcasid) on

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Travel to Bohol from Cebu

Travelling to Bohol from Cebu is fast and convenient. You don't need to pre-book your ferry ride.  Just ask  a taxi driver from the city to take you to Pier 1, and avail of the earliest departing trip from any of the vessel taking the route.  The boat ride takes 2 hours and the fare 500 pesos.

The night before, I booked our hotel from Agoda.  Alona Vida Beach Resort has a last minute promo for less than 2000 pesos that accommodate 2 persons.  We got in touch with them for a pick upon our arrival at the port.  The cost is 600 pesos that you will pay directly to the driver.

When we arrived, I found a guy holding a sign with my name, and he ushered us to a van that fits 10 people.  Panglao, where the resort is located is around 30 minutes from the port.

From the road access to Alona Beach, we walked to Alona Vida.  The resort is conveniently located within the popular restaurants and high end resorts.  Our room was a bit tight, but comfortable.  I love the native bamboo details.  It gives it the tropical beach feel.

Our first agenda for the day is watch the sunset at their beachside cafe.

The white sands of Panglao is comparable to Boracay.  There are plenty of boats parked along the shore that you can rent for island hopping or diving from the many resorts that lined the beach.

Tired from the travel, we rested a bit after our snack.

We went out again for dinner.  We were surprised to find Hennan close to where we were staying.  Their buffet at Seabreeze in Boracay is our favourite, and we took the opportunity to try dinner at their Panglao branch.

We were so full after dinner, that we decided to walk around the beach to explore the night life.  There are a few drinking places, some even has a band and fire dancers.  Panglao, is more laid back compared to Boracay.  It has all the conveniences, but less crowd and noise.

The next morning, we had breakfast at Bohol Bee Farm next door.

After breakfast, we took a dip at Alona Vida's swimming pool.  After the short dip, we freshen up, and packed our stuff and checked out of the resort.  We made arrangements with them for the countryside tour that costs 2500 pesos for a Sedan type car.  That does not include the entrance fees and meals.

We were picked up by 11 AM, to make it to the floating restaurant by lunch.  Here you may opt to avail of the regular buffet for 392 pesos or the high end buffet at 500 pesos.  The difference is on the number of dishes included.

After lunch, we continued the tour with a visit to the Tarsier Reservation Site.  Here you get to see these tiny gently creature that made Bohol popular in their natural habitat.  Be mindful of the viewing rules.

On the way to Chocolate Hills, we made a stop at the Man Made forest.  Its amazing to see the outcome of what community efforts can achieve.  Here, the weather is a bit cooler because of the thick canopy that blocks direct sunlight.

We continued the tour to our lat stop which is the world famous Chocolate Hills.

I can't believe that it took me 12 years to return to this province.  The sight amazed me just the same.

After our reunion with the Chocolate Hills, we asked our driver to take us to the port in order to ride the 4PM departing vessel to Cebu.

We were back in Cebu by 8PM.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

UAP Manila Corinthian Chapter's Escolta Photowalk

This would be my 2nd time to take Architects and students to tour Escolta.  I'm not exactly the most knowledgeable about their history and Architectural styles, but what I can boast about is my knowledge of the area having spent most of my younger years in Binondo.

We originally scheduled for a 9:00 AM meet up in front of Sta. Cruz church.  I'm so glad that the participants were patient with me inspire of my late arrival.

Our photo walk started at the Carriedo Fountain, before proceeding to Escolta itself.  There, we admire the two buildings right across the Estero.  It's the First United, and Regina Buildings.

First United Building
Art Deco
Andres Luna de San Pedro

We arrived just in time for the Saturday Future Market.  It's a showcase of Arts, Crafts, and Rare finds.  Also inside the same building is a small museum dedicated to the patriarch Sy Lian Teng.  It's like being transported to the 60's.  They house a collection of memorabilia's and old office items.

Saturday Future Market

Regina Building
Andres Luna de San Pedro

Natividad Building
Beaux Arts

Calvo Building
Beaux Arts

There's another Museum inside that houses old items and memorabilia's.  The old bottles and movie posters reminds me of my youth.  GMA Network, traces its roots here.

Capitol Theater
Art Deco
Juan Felipe Nakpil

Juan Luna Building
GH Joward

El Hogar
Beaux Arts
Irrureta Goyena

To completely immerse ourselves in our nostalgic tour, we ended the photo walk with lunch at Ramon Lee, another Historic Foodie establishment in the area.

Thank you the students of Architecture from Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila and Ar. Roy Gelveson of Manila Maharlika Chapter!

Must Try: Puto Bumbong Cake at Lia's Cake in Season

Christmas is my favourite time of the year.  I look forward to having the seasonal favourite food, and as soon as I hear Christmas Carols on the radio, my craving for Bibingka (Coal Baked Rice Cakes) and Puto Bumbong would sink in.

I happened to pass by a stand selling this items on my trip to Pampanga along Macarthur Highway in San Fernando.  I was so excited that I had to beg Starbucks to let me have them at their cafe.  I think its best paired with coffee.

The Puto Bumbong Cooking Contraption

Bibingka is cooked by sandwiching the batter
with coals on top and bottom.

A few days after, I saw on Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho a feature on the Puto Bumbong Cake from Lia's.    I have been craving for it since.  Lia's is very close to where I work along East Capitol together with the other foodie places in Kapitolyo, Pasig.

I finally gave in to my craving last Friday.  It's a bit expensive at 210 pesos per slice, but this really is one of a kind and I just had to try it.

The cake is moist lighter version of the original.  The muscovado sugar topping and grated coconuts gives it that familiar flavour.  The dark brown caramel sauce is indulging.  It's a definite must try in Pasig.

Perfect timing!  I totally blend in with the interiors!

Day 5: Tito's Roadtrip Travel Guide to Bicol

Our last day in Bicol is dedicated to our long drive back home. We decided to leave early around 3AM in order to reach Manila late in the ...