Friday, July 31, 2009

Back from Bantayan Island!

Hi! I'm just back today from Bantayan Island in the north of Cebu, Philippines.

Dutchman and I stayed there for a week and my family also stayed there for a long weekend. After the laid back snail pace island life I am now again caught in the chaotic mess (read: traffic and just disorganization on the streets) in Cebu. I don't think I can ever live again in Cebu... but oh well you never know...

Anywho, here are some teaser fotos we took in Bantayan Island. The island is gorgeous! It takes about 3 hours drive to Hagnaya Port from Cebu City and then 1 hour boat ride to Sta. Fe, Bantayan Island. A total of 4 hours travel time to get there from Cebu City.

To check out where Bantayan Island is situated in the Visayas Region (central part of the Philippines), go here: Bantayan Island

I will post more beautiful fotos of Bantayan Island and more stories too when I am back in the Netherlands.

Checking out the mangroves. I am frowning because it is very hot here.

Delicious chili crabs for dinner!

Travel Period: July 2009
Destination: Bantayan Island (Cebu), Philippines

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Happy Travels! Enjoy Life =)

Friday, July 24, 2009

Cebuano Cuisine Part 1 and Meet-Ups

It is unbelievable to see unsecured Wi-Fi proliferate all over Cebu City. Every coffee shop is offering free Wi-Fi where people flock to with their laptops by day each ordering only 1 latte for the next 4 hours. Dutchman said if he was the owner of the coffee shop he would have kicked them out, lol.

Anywho, I am on a Cebuano Cuisine pilgrimage in this Philippine holiday trip. This will be PART 1 of hopefully many other Cebuano Cuisine entries.

The famous Cebuano Mango (very sweet and melts in your mouth!) and Budbud (sticky rice) with Sikwate (Cocoa drink made from freshly grind cocoa seeds, this is as organic as you can go) of Cafe Laguna. Waiting for our dinner in Hukad with banana leaves on our plates. Hukad is a new Filipino restaurant in Ayala Terraces. Hukad means SERVE (the meal). And Hilton's Halo-Halo! Bean, Coconut, Jello, Ube topped with crushed ice, milk and ice cream.

Bingka with white cheese and grated coconut on the side (Rice pancake - there are many varieties in the Philippines and the best one is found in the Tagalog region with cheese and salted egg in it). A plate of steamed local vegetables, my favourite!!! - Okra (lady's fingers), Aubergine, Bitter Melon, Yam (sweet potato) leaves garnished with diced tomatoes and onions, and Ginamos (fish sauce). Vegetable Lumpia with Cebuano style dip - vinegar and red hot chili.

I have also met up with my long time bestfriend who is 5 months pregnant, her 3rd child. Her eldest is 12 years old and the second is 7. I will be the godmother for the upcoming baby and that reminds me of my other godson who should be 21 years old this year. Goodness heavens, time have indeed flew out the window so fast? I feel old.

Me and Badiday who is 5 months preggy (hope its a boy this time), my little rascal nephew and his water taxi toy and Jollibee!

More Cebuano Culinaire to come soon...

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Help! Traffic in Cebu

Hi! I am in Cebu City, Cebu, Philippines! The Queen City of the South!

Dutchman and I arrived last Sunday (we flew in to Manila then to Cebu) and we have been busy with family stuff and meeting friends. The weather has been erratic; cloudy and raining but warm and very humid. I hate the sticky feeling.

It's been chaotic here too. The traffic is amazing we captured a video below in Jones Avenue by Cebu Doctors Hospital.

It takes half an hour to cross over to the next block with a car because of the traffic! I also do not know the way anymore as the roads and places have changed; new buildings, new roads, new surroundings. I am a tourist in the city I was born.

I will come back to post more fotos. Lots of Cebuano food and delicacies that I missed, I have fotos of them =). I think I have already gained 1 or 2 kilos. GASP!!!

Tomorrow we are off to Mactan Island with the family for a rest and relaxation in a posh beach resort. Then after we all go again for a real holiday in a small quaint island (still virgin they say) up north.

Till then!

Travel Period: July 2009
Destination: Cebu City (Cebu - Visayas Region), The Philippines

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Grilled Prawns and a Muscadet in Honfleur, France

Back in May I was on a roadtrip in Normandy and I had one of the most loveliest lunch there, in Honfleur.

On the harbour where all the pretty restaurants are located, I spied a nice restaurant. I want to sit along the quay but it looks its full, luckily there is a table available on the street. My seating was actually perfect; I had a nice view of the road and the jetty overlooking to the other side and the terraces before me.

Checking on the menu I was not sure what to order but saw the chef’s suggestion of the day – Grilled prawns in pesto sauce. Hmm, it sounds delectable. I ordered a small bottle of Muscadet from the Loire Valley as well. I heard about the Loire Valley, a beautiful and historical place with many castles. A place that Dutchman I am sure loathes but I absolutely will admire.

Lunch was super lovely! The grilled prawns in pesto sauce were 5 stars out of 5. I cannot have enough of it. The Muscadet white wine, 4 stars.

I so love long lunches, sitting under a parasol with a glass of wine, nice weather (it is May, spring, just perfect weather) and watching people and just letting time pass by. Lunches are always an important aspect of my holidays. I relish them.

While enjoying the last sip of my Muscadet, my mobile made a noise.

‘Ah, a message. Hmm, who could it be?’

Oh, it is the Dutchman. He wants me to go home.

Okay, I just had a little bottle of Muscadet and I am not fit to drive just yet. So I guess I need to kill time and wander around the pretty little streets of Honfleur again before I hit the road and drive back to the flatlands.

Here are a few fotos of the restaurant area along the harbour and moi:


Travel Period: May 2009
Destination: Honfleur (Lower Normandy), France

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Friday, July 17, 2009

Little pretty streets of Honfleur and some Cider please

After savouring the beauty of Honfleur’s magnetic harbour, I went exploring the narrow alleyways. I found them very charming and inviting.

Calvados regional products and bottles of cider are sold in every liquor shop.

At the back of the beautiful buildings that adorned the harbour is the Saint Catherine Church that is made of wood. The Church has a very catchy design. I sat inside the church here for a while watching people go in and pray, some take pictures of the interior while others were lighting candles.

Sainte-Catherine's Bell Tower beside the hotel covered in moss. The Bell Tower is separate from the church which is located right across the street. The church is all made of wood.

The little narrow streets of Honfleur is filled with beautiful houses and I saw this really cool atelier selling stools pimped with shells, plastic trinkets and what have you. There are also so many delightful specialty and gastronomic shops selling locally produced products from the region.

I stopped by a wine and liquor store and bought a bottle of the famous drink in the Calvados region, Cider. Give me wine anytime! Er, mojitos, caipirinha, straight shots of tequila, whiskey and rum, I take them too =). But, I am in Normandy, in the Calvados region where cider reigns as the king of all alcoholic beverages, thus in order to get the most of this travel experience, I am sticking to local for now. Good call in buying the cider!

Here are the pictures I took of Honfleur town:


Here is the Saint Catherine Church in wood and the hotel covered in green:

Here are more pictures of Honfleur:


Travel Period: May 2009
Destination:  Honfleur (Lower Normandy), France

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Amazing Honfleur (France): The beautiful Harbour

In one word, Honfleur is AMAZING. I fell in love with this seaside town at first sight. From the parking lot, I strolled down the small charming alleyways and then catching a glimpse of the harbour view, all I can say was WOW. Honfleur is like a bigger version of Portofino in Italy!

Breathtaking old port of Honfleur, Le Vieux Bassin facing Sainte-Catherine's quay. This is where expeditions to Quebec, Canada started.

When Dutchman and I retire or have more than the 26 vacation days that we currently have from work for a year, my plan (maybe I should say “our plan” haha) is to buy a yacht, just a small one that can sail through the canals of the Netherlands and down to warm and sunny south of Europe.

Honfleur I know would be a major stop that I will revisit often. Dutchman is remotely enthusiastic about my plan of visiting charismatic villages but when it comes to holiday agendas I am the boss so he might as well shut up =). He actually thinks he has been to Honfleur (he seriously thinks all French villages and seaside towns are the same) and said he will comfirm this with his parents if this was the place where they came across an English couple lugging their baggage and shouting and cursing at each other in the harbour, haha. Um, quite interesting what children retain in their memory banks. He pretty much did not recollect anything about the place except for the fighting couple.

I had a great time exploring Honfleur, pronounced as “on-flue” with a twang on the end. In addition to the French not pronouncing the last letter in a word, they also don’t pronounce the letter H. The harbour has a very picturesque setting that is captured a hundred times by painters young and old. Even the likes of Monet and Courbet have preserved the ageless beauty of Honfleur on canvas.

Interestingly, Honfleur is known to be one of the slave trading ports during the medieval period. I was just reading a site that said it was the Dutch that brought the first African slaves to the USA, then called new world or New Amsterdam, now better known as New York.

And did you know? Expeditions to Quebec, Canada started in Honfleur, too.

Catching Honfleur on canvas, the harbour is a favourite subject by painters.

The harbour is the main tourist attraction of Honfleur!

More of Honfleur in my next entries =)

Travel Period: May 2009
Destination: Honfleur (Lower Normandy), France

Keep in touch and follow me on Facebook: Travel & Lifestyle Diaries by Dutched Pinay Travels
Happy Travels! Enjoy Life =)

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