Monday, April 27, 2009

PhotoHunt: Protect[ion]

Thanks to utotmopink for inspiring me to join PhotoHunt. It's quite fun, I'll try my best to do a post every week. Here's my contribution...
I was browsing my archives for an appropriate photo for this week's topic - protect[ion] - when I came across this one that I took in Piazza San Marco, Venice a couple of years ago.* I nicknamed it "Attack of the Birds." 

So the touristy thing to do it buy a bag of seed and throw it in the air for the birds. But instead this stupid sucker had the bright idea to throw the seed on himself hence the murderous horde of hungry pigeons attacking him. Totally his fault but entertaining to watch nonetheless. The poor guy is trying to protect himself from getting mauled by birds while his girlfriend is laughing and taking a souvenir cellphone pic of his stupidness.

*Note: A ban was imposed last year and it is now illegal to feed pigeons in St Mark's Square. The vendors who lost their jobs are not very happy about it since bird feeding has been a tradition and a tourist attraction for centuries. But on the other hand, I am happy coz next time I'm in Venice I won't have to dodge pigeon poop as much!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Destination: Cebu

For posterity, we decided to take a tour of Cebu City despite it being so much like Manila with all the nice malls and hang out spots... After all, there is still so much history in this place being the first capital of the Philippines. Our first stop was the Lapu-Lapu Shrine in Mactan Island - a monument erected to the brave Mactan ruler who resisted Spanish colonization. Here's a picture of the statue of Lapu-Lapu and what probably is his battle gear. Imagine him fighting all those Spanish conquistadores and their full metal armor. Such a brave guy. 
It's a pretty nice park. There's also a monument in the site where Magellan was supposed to be killed. 
Our next stop is probably the most famous of all the Cebu landmarks [except, of course, Ayala Mall :)] - Magellan's Cross
What you see here is not the original cross. People started to chip off some wood pieces from the original one for souvenir purposes or with the belief that it had healing powers so this one had to be made and secured inside a small chapel. Cebu also boasts some historic churches left over from Spanish colonization. 
Fort San Pedro was our next stop. It has been used by the Spanish, Americans, Japanese and Filipinos throughout different time periods as a fort for refuge, an army camp, a school and even a hospital. Now it is just a museum and historical site/tourist attraction. 
It still retains the requisite old-world charm though...
The main entrance to the fort. 
Concluding out little city tour is a trip up the hill past the Beverly Hills [!] subdivision to the Taoist Temple built by the rich Chinese residents of Cebu.
Me and my brother enjoying the view. The entrance is supposed to mimic the Great Wall of China. 
We were not allowed to take pictures inside the temples but the outside facade is enough to look at. 
The famous dragon guarding the temple. 
Closer shot. 
And here's another one of me and my brother with a view of Cebu City. 

Our Stay In Plantation Bay

Upon deciding where to stay on our trip to Cebu I came across Plantation Bay Resort & Spa. A couple of my friends had been there too and they enjoyed staying there as well. Here's a picture of the manmade lagoon that's found throughout the resort. 
We booked the cheapest room which was the poolside room. Pretty spacious, very clean with awesome mattresses and sheets! 
Perfect for a good night's sleep. 
Best of all, just a few steps and you're in the pool!
Here's a night shot, our room is the first door on the left. 
There's so many activities to chose from to keep you entertained if you're bored of the usual swimming and tanning. We tried the firing range. 
My brother acting like a tough guy. They let you keep your target board as a souvenir. 
Wielding the rifle was tiring because of the impact it has when it fires! I liked the glock much better. The instructor even taught me how to load my own bullets!
Best of all, they have four amazing restaurants. Here's a sample of our dining experience...
No, the orchid is not edible. Pardon the uninspired half-assed food shots, I was always so hungry.

And after all the running around and going back and forth from Mactan and Cebu it's time to relax with a bubble bath...
The next time I visit Plantation Bay I'll make sure to just stay inside the resort to enjoy it fully. It's so far from the good malls because it's all the way in Mactan Island. Kasi naman I'm such a mall rat I can't resist not shopping when on vacation!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Discovering Davao

We were only in Davao for a couple of days so we weren't able to do a comprehensive tour. But we did see a little bit of the sights in that short period of time. Here's a mini recap of our trip...
I heard about Eden Nature Park through Virtual Tourist. It's an eco-friendly farm resort for nature lovers - a welcome alternative if you're in Davao and want to see something else other than a beach. It was quite a long way from the city proper though so make sure you have enough time if you're including this in your itinerary. 

There is a guided shuttle tour for visitors, hiking and horseback-riding trails, fruit and vegetable farms, flower gardens... everything nature friendly. 
It's a well-developed piece of property and it's a good thing that a lot of people still frequent this place despite the distance. 
We took so many pictures here, it's so beautiful and peaceful in this place. 
They even have a falls.
This is called Lola's Garden
They have a wishing well that they decorate with fresh flowers. Nice touch. 
Don't you just feel the fresh air and the cool breeze?
Sweet smelling sampaguita
It would be nice to have a family reunion in Eden Nature Resort. We all need a nice, relaxing break from the city once in a while...
Then we were off to the Philippine Eagle Center - home of the endangered Monkey-eating Eagle - which we all know as the country's national bird. 
Other than the dozens of eagles and fowls, there are also a handful of reptile species that can be found. Like this one below who might turn into a bag or some shoes after it lives out its term as an educational exhibit. Just kidding. 
We also passed by the Japanese Tunnel just to compare it with the one from Corregidor. 
Depicting what life was like in the tunnel. Creepy. 
We had an awesome view of Davao City at Jack's Ridge. I heard that the place is livelier at night. 
There are so many shopping opportunities in Davao and I had trouble looking away from souvenir stalls...
Mount Apo in the distance. 
All in all, I enjoyed the short time I spent in Davao. I don't mind another trip to explore it more...

What's In Your Wallet?

I haven't really been tagged but I want to do this nonetheless... I think you learn a lot from a person by what they carry around with them. Anyway, here are the rules of the wallet tag:

1. Take pictures of your wallet and its contents. 
2. Talk about how you got your wallet and how much you paid for it. 
3. Enumerate the contents and tell a few things about them.
4. Pass this tag to the rest of your friends. 

Ok, here goes...
1. I've been carrying this orange Kipling wallet around for about a month now. I cycle my wallets and try to use them all equally, this just happened to be my wallet now. I should be changing again pretty soon. 

This is the whole wallet. As you can see it's rather huge and bulky. 
And so very orange! 
Unfortunately, I am doing a wallet tag on the day that I don't have any money [cash]. Haha. Oh well, moving on...

2. I got my wallet at Macy's last December. I was drawn to the striking orange color. It really helps because since I have a penchant for humongous handbags I'm able to spot my wallet easily inside whatever dark abyss it's in. Best of all, it was on sale for $24!

3. I can fit so many things inside here: a whole bunch of coins, a checkbook, receipts, credit cards, a bank card, rewards cards, membership cards, stamps, gift cards, ID, driver's license, even some pictures. I will DIE if I ever lose my wallet, it has pretty much my whole life in it!

4. If you're reading this, you are most welcome to participate in the wallet tag! Let me know about it too :)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Idyllic Getaway In Samal Island

I dragged the boyfriend to go with me and check out Pearl Farm Beach Resort in Samal Island. Our Cebu Pacific flight to Davao was considerably delayed for a record time of 3 hours! In fairness to the long wait and inconvenience, we did get a free meal from the airline to compensate. Here's an aerial shot of Davao City before we landed.
We were met at the airport by the staff from Pearl Farm who were waiting for about 3 hours wondering why our flight was delayed. We had to take a boat to get to Samal Island but since it had already left we had to wait for the next one to come. Good thing their waiting area is really nice with a cafe and good facilities [kind of like the waiting area of Boracay Regency in Caticlan]. The boyfriend also brought his macbook so we entertained ourselves with that for a while.
These cogon huts are scattered around the resort too and lends a very beachy touch.
The reception area in Davao where we waited for the boat to take us to Samal Island.
First glimpse of Pearl Farm - the Samal Suites...
Reception area with banig covering the ceiling...
Maranao Restaurant dining area - buffet style.
Samal houses on stilts - awesome!
Gorgeous sunset on the horizon.
The Parola Bar is pretty much the main attraction here and steals the spotlight every time. 
Infinity pool!
Of course I had to take a dip :)
I want a vacation house like this in the future. It looks so presko.

And finally me and the boyfriend refreshed and relaxed.