Monthly Archives: July 2010

Finding the One in Tagaytay

People like to go to Tagaytay during summer season to escape the heat in the metro.  I, however, love going to the pineapple city  during the rainy season.  Why?  Food  tastes a lot better during the cooler months; I love seeing the fog envelope  the road- feels like I’m in a Hollywood flick;  and, of course, snuggling with my two loves – my husband and son – under thick blankets in colder  nights.

As a young couple,  especially when you have a baby already, we are budget-conscious.  We want to stay in a comfortable place that does not compromise quality.  And luck, indeed, is in our side when we discovered One Tagaytay Place Hotel Suites.

40% off in room rates

Don’t you just love the perks of social media?  All you have to do is  become a One Tagaytay Place’s Facebook fan, print the coupon, and avail the 40% discount on the rooms that you have booked!

We chose the De luxe room, whose normal price is P5,800 (  with 40% discount, should be around 3th plus – just do the math or best, contact them here .)

My little monarch jumping on the bed

Our room is absolutely lovely! The newly-built hotel smells and spells NEW. It has a cozy contemporary motiff in subtle colors.  As soon as we arrived, my son, who couldn’t contain his happiness,  jumped on the bed and started giggling.

The room looks like this without our youngmaster Wackee

Higher rooms  have  the lake view, but during foggy season, the site can be limited. But we really  love the view from the balcony. My son enjoyed watching the birds fly across the green scenery.

Can you see the fog?

In a few minutes, thicker fog

Of course, the next place we checked is the toilet.  I admit, we’re total Nazis when it comes to bathrooms.  And this one is definitely at par to our standards.

Toilet is clean as white

The little gadget that really made our day  is the water bidet.  Not all hotels have this, even five-star ones doesn’t even install this  simple tool – a saviour for parents with untoilet-trained-crappyroo-kids.

Thank goodness, a bidet!

Our itinerary for the first day was to sleep until dinner time.  Dinner was really sumptuous at Azalea Restaurant near the lobby.  Chef Ron Manalo prepared homemade bread, tomato capsicum soup, grilled chicken salad, Cordon Blue, and a desert plate that had apple pie, creme broulee, and kakanin. The food was so good and heavy that we wish we had more room for desert; hubby and I opted to share the desert plate.

Delish!

The next day, we are thankful that we have chosen to stay at the east side of Tagaytay-  which is really more laid back.  The west side is for the gimik and night outs.  When we became parents, our priorities have changed, we really aim for our son’s enjoyment.

Wackee asking for more chorizo from the breakfast buffet

What I like about One Tagaytay Place, aside from its coziness and courteous staff,  is that it is near unsung places that are worth going to.  These places  are actually walking distance away from the hotel.

For the Catholics, they can attend Sunday mass at Our Lady of Lourdes church which is right beside the hotel.

Our lady of Lourdes church

Because we wanted to burn the food we ate since dinner,  we decided to walk to the Girls Scout of the Philippines – just a few meters away from the left side of the hotel.

The 3,729 sq. meter lot was acquired from the City Government by the Girl Scouts of the Philippines in 1956. The building was renovated by famous Architect Manuel Mañosa in 1975 . The place is open to the public.

Walking on green grass

Moo says the cow

Girl Scout Philippines co-founder Dr. Helena Benitez sculpture

If you are  adventurous and want more than just view the Taal volcano from afar,  the best perk of the hotel is across it is Talisay road- the way to the crater lake. The hotel also offers trek packages for the brave hearts.

Talisay Road to Taal

Someday, when our son is bigger and can fully run and trek, hubby have already imagined our  itinerary.

7:00-12:00 H – Trek to Taal Volcano

14:00 H – Check-in One Tagaytay Place Hotel Suites

14:00H – 1800 H – hot shower and sleep

19:00 H – Dinner at Azalea Restaurant

21:00 H – Snuggle under the comfy sheets

We are looking forward for this day. Definitely, we have found the One place to be in Tagaytay- One Tagaytay Place!

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Stop hunger: Plant

photo by vagabondish.com

Every time I pass by Old Balara, Quezon City, I couldn’t help but smile every time I see the island between the roads in lush greens.  I have noticed since June, squatters in the area have planted small vegetable gardens.

Old Balara island turns into patches of veggie gardens

Old Balara is  where  the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewarage System (MWSS)  is located. It’s also a short-cut road to Commonwealth.

The reason why I write this is because according to SWS survey, there are 4 million Filipinos experiencing hunger right now.  If this country were Africa, I would say that it’s a difficult scenario.  However, we are blessed with tropical climate, and fertile land.

Because of budget constraints, poor households have converted the  islands in Old Balara into small vegetable gardens.  These are simple ways for the poor to have a sustainable life in the city.

There’s also a new way of planting that doesn’t actually need land – they call it vertical gardens.  It’s a big rave in Europe right now because they grow vegetables in buildings.

vertical garden by Patrick Blanc

When I used to work for the Israeli Embassy, I had a very good conversation with the Agriculture Attache.  He told me that “Agriculture can help your country alleviate itself from poverty.  You have very fertile land, and yet you don’t use that opportunity.  You would rather import rice in other countries. But if you concentrate in developing your agriculture, imagine the money you could save.”

It’s true.  Filipinos, however, like to complain and blame.  This time, people should really follow the Old Balara vegetable road island- I really think it’s  an ingenious idea.

Royalty strand in my jam

Princess Diana dancing with John Travolta

In my last blog, I wrote about a live shark being sold at SM hypermart for food. This time people’s taste in food have really gone relic.  Would you eat a food with a piece of hair?  Some people would, especially if it’s Princess Diana’s strand.  Catering company Bompas and Parr made a preservative with the beloved royalty’s piece of hair!

AP reports that the jam called the “occult food”, and tastes like condensed milk, is being sold at almost P400 per jar. Currently being exhibited at London’s Barbican Art Gallery, that includes exhibits by Salvador Dali and Rene Margritte, the preservative, says the Bompas, is both food and art.

Fresh, tasty… and a shark!

located at SM hypermart, Tiendesitas

We went to SM Hypermart yesterday to accompany my husband in renewing his driver’s license.  My son and I  decided to go to the food court to buy a smoothie..  And of course, when we saw this place selling live fish, we immediately went there for my son’s amusement.

Taste Fresh is like a sosyal dampa.  They sell fresh fish and crustaceans, and they can cook it for you as well.

Very!

Eels

As my son’s eyes widen with amazement, I  raise  my eyebrows out of disgust.  I wonder: Can you eat a stone fish? This is highly poisonous!  In Japan, a person has to sign a waiver if they want to eat a blowfish in a restaurant.

Clams...and a stone fish

Then in a corner, a nurse shark!

Nurse shark

I feel sorry for the  sleeping nurse shark. As a scuba diver, I know that these creatures can grow as big as 14 feet. They are nocturnal creatures that hunt fish,  mollusks, stingrays for food only at night. They have a certain eco-system under the sea.

These non-aggressive creatures [swims away from humans] are hunted for their liver oil which is good for fuel, and their tough skin for leather.

4:40 ratio. According to Time magazine, an estimated 40 million sharks are killed yearly for fins or other purposes, while shark attacks on humans are reported at a maximum of four a year.

In this “sosyal dampa,” they sell it as food! The shop’s employee told me that a person bought a shark in the past to put in his aquarium – which i am definite the creature would outgrow, unless it contains at least 500 gallons of water or his aquarium is as huge as a swimming pool.

Although they are not YET endangered, reports the Florida Museum, its abundance in the littoral waters of Florida has decreased in the past decades. That’s in the US, what more in our country where illegal fishing is rampant!

People’s taste in food have become more exotic: the more bizarre, or rare the ingredient, the better. Nurse sharks may  not YET be part of the endangered species, but  does that give you the ethical license to cook and eat  it?

Man’s greediness is really disgusting!

Never leave your kids to strangers!

Tonight, I am quite bothered with the evening news on ABS-CBN  about a three-year-old child being  kidnapped.  Both parents work, and the boy had to be left alone with the yaya.  Apparently, someone came over to their house and told the yaya that the parents had instructed her to bring the child to meet them at a certain place.  So the trusting yaya, gave the boy to the person, who turned-out to be a disguised kidnapper!

I am bothered because this could  happen to anyone, even to my family. I feel really depressed for the child – I pray for his safety, and that he will be found ALIVE!

In the Philippines, children are kidnapped not to get a ransom, but to be sold – either for adoption, crime syndicates, or for organs.

I could not and will not understand the reasons of parents leaving their children to strangers. I, for one, have househelp horror stories – from a househelp’s textmate lover threatening us through texts, to a recently fired help who had put  inside my baby’s crib coins, which he almost ate! I have had enough of the stress, and that’s the end of the search for me.

Money is not everything.  I could have gone back to work for an International organization, and earn a hefty amount, but I could not fathom the thought of leaving my son to a stranger.

I will never exchange my son for money. I would rather be hard-up, than live with a guilty conscience all because of prioritizing material needs.There are many ways to earn – with the digital age, entrepreneurship is just in your fingertips. All you need is creativity!

No parent, however, could ever bullet-proof their children from danger.  But you have the choice to lessen the risks!

Leadership by example

A leader sets the right example.  He is a role model who strongly stands up for what he believes in. By uttering the words “Sisikapin kong maging isang mabuting ehemplo…” in his inaugural speech, President Noynoy Aquino has to be ruthlessly accountable for his words.

Being against the abuse of a “wangwang”, P-Noy has chosen to travel like a commoner.

Although the decision has put him at constant risk, and his Presidential Security Guards  in a difficult position, exercising his stand works.  The next day, travelling sirens (except  those for emergencies) were confiscated nationwide. Some powerful people had tried to reason  to authorities, and the only answer they got was “Utos po ng presidente yan.”

Sans the siren, critics mocked  P-Noy’s  late arrival at the Armed Forces turnover ceremony at Camp Aguinaldo  on Friday.

But why does he continue on traveling without the wangwang?  A leader sets the right example.  Compromise destroys accountability.

*****

Iphone5 to become solar-powered….porn domain .xxx approved….what happens now to North Korean players (after FIFA)….Read more on the latest Diarito issue here