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Food Trips | A Taste of Kapeng Barako @ Cafeño

Batangas Tamales with Santan (coco jam)...must-try together with kapeng barako !!! You might be wondering why my first photo is of  ta...

Pangasinan | A Visit to Surip Pilgrimage Site

It's summer time once again; a time to hit the beach, a time to travel and enjoy a place with your family and/or friends. If you're thinking of going up north and is looking for a place not so touristy to spend a weekend, you may want to consider Surip Beach in Bani, Pangasinan. It's not your typical beach of white fine sand but rather a beach with coral beds and shallow openings they call "baby pools". The beach is good for snorkeling and diving, too. Want to know more about the place, you may click the link above for more of Surip Beach.

Surip beach

Another site that you may want to check out when you're in Bani is the Surip Pilgrimate Site. Surip Pilgrimate Site is located atop a hill with a magnificent view of West Philippine Sea and the Surip Beach below. On the mountain slope is a thousand-step path which features the Way of the Cross, a popular activity during Holy Week season on which an annual Archdiocesan Penitential Pilgrimage is celebrated every Holy Thursday of Lent.

Surip Pilgrimage Site, Bani, Pangasinan

The site used to be the resting place of the matriarch of the Navarro family, a political clan in the town of Bani. The family also owns one of the resort along the Surip shoreline, the Surip Mountain Beach Resort.

Anyway, after our short getaway at Surip beach, we made a side trip to the Pilgrimage site. And even though it's past the Lenten season then, we still followed the Way of the Cross going to the top (hilltop is reachable by car or any other type of vehicle, by the way). Here are some of the photos I took from our side trip to Surip Pilgrimage Site:

start of the hike...

empty tomb
The Cross at Surip Pilgrimage Site
from another angle...
Surip Beach and the West Philippine Sea
marker at the entrance of Surip Pilgrimage Site

~ oo00oo ~

For guide on how to get to Surip Pilgrimage Site, please check out my post on Surip beach (click the link). That's all for now folks, hope you all had a blessed Sunday. Hope you'll have a nice week ahead, too. 'Til next time... ^_^
~ oo00oo ~
Surip Coral Beach
Sitio Olanen, Dalacap Sur
Bani, Pangasinan
Date of Visit: May 13, 2015

Pangasinan | Bani: Surip Coral Beach and its "Baby Pools"

Surip, Bani, Pangasinan

My mom is a Pangasinense and I was born in Bani but except for a few visits to my relatives, I've never explored this town until May last year. Bani, a coastal town in the province of Pangasinan, is usually overshadowed by its famous neighboring towns, Alaminos and Bolinao. It is a second class municipality known for its sweet watermelon produce and as such, is called “Pakwan (Watermelon) Capital of the Philippines”. Last summer, I got the chance to visit some of Bani's tourist spots Surip coral beach and Surip pilgrimage site. Located in Sitio Olanen in  Barangay Dacap Sur, Surip beach is around 30-45 minutes travel by tricycle from Bani's town proper.

C2: crystal clear! ;)

A rocky coastline on the western side of town facing the South China Sea, Surip beach is covered with coral beds, some of which have shallow openings they call "baby pools". During low tides, these baby pools trap teeny weeny colorful fishes and other marine life. It also serves as the swimming pool of the kids and kids-at-heart who visit this shoreline.

flat coral beds and "baby pools" here and there
kids and kids-at-heart enjoying the "baby pool" in Surip

Surip, being a rocky coastline, is ideal for snorkeling and diving. It sure is a good site for recreational fishing, too, given the many fingerlings and marine species I saw in some of the shallow pools. I actually saw some fisherman throwing their lines not too far from the shore which proves that this area abounds with marine life.

teeny weeny colorful fishes... can you see them? ^_^
flat coral beds

How to get to Surip?

From EDSA-Pasay or EDSA-Cubao, take Bolinao-bound buses (Five-Star - Pasay, Victory Liner, Dagupan Bus - Cubao) and tell the driver to drop you off in Bani. From Bani town proper, take a tricycle going to Surip, (tricycles are parked near the town's plaza). Bus fare is around 400 Php (for aircon buses), tricycle fare is 250 Php, one way for 4-5 persons. Travel time is around 7-8 hours (Manila-Bani), around 30-45 minutes from town proper to Surip.

the coral beach of Surip

Where to Stay?

We never stayed overnight nor avail a cottage in Surip but I saw at least two resorts very near the beach where we went Surip Mountain Beach Resort (recommended by my uncle probably because the owner, then Mayor of Bani, Mayor Gabriel Navarro is his former boss) and Hide A-way Sea and Beach Resort. Take note that I never stayed in any of these two resorts so I've no idea of their services and/or the facilities they offer. It's best that you contact Bani's Tourism Office at (075) 5532010 to get correct and updated information.

~  oo00oo ~

We had fun in the few hours of our stay in Surip. My nephews enjoyed the beach. They get the chance to ride a pump boat, too. Although now that it's past, I realized I was a bit reckless back then. I have with me two kiddos (a 6-y/o and a 4-y/o) and we rode the pump boat with no life vest. I'm just thankful that nothing happened to us considering the sea was a bit rough. Tsk! I'll never do that again.

Anyway, Surip is a recommended destination for those who are into quiet and secluded beaches, for those who just want to escape for a while their busy life. If you are the type, go check out Surip. You'll enjoy it.

Up-next: A Tour to Surip's pilgrimage site. 'Til then...

Blessed Sunday everyone. Kung Hei Fat Choi!
~ oo00oo ~
Surip Coral Beach
Sitio Olanen, Dalacap Sur
Bani, Pangasinan
Date of Visit: May 13, 2015

CamFlicks | Shuttering while Cruising: Scenery, Sunset, Belenismo sa Tarlac

Shuttering while cruising, the thing I love the most whenever on a road trip. Anything that catches my attention, anything lovely to look at -- traffic-free expressway, nature and scenery along the way, beautiful displays on the street, almost anything actually -- I took photos of. 

Last weekend, we've been to another road trip up north. Our destination -- Monasterio de Tarlac. It had been another happy weekend of endless shuttering along the way. So for this week's post, it'll be all photos I took on the road, while plying the route to and from Monasterio de Tarlac.
cruising along traffic-free SCTEX on a clear sunny day, isn't it lovely? ^_^
I wish EDSA will be like this one day (wish upon a star :P)
concrete/cemented road (Lubigan Road) on a countryside, so this is where our taxes go :P
another photo taken while cruising along Lubigan Road
beautiful and relaxing scenery, right? ^_^
when you see a beautiful sunset while driving along a seemingly deserted place, would you stop and take a photo of it?
I did! :P
who wouldn't stop and capture this sunset? Certainly, not me... ^_^
I climbed the bridge's railing to get these sunset photos, am I crazy for doing it?
Passers-by thought so, I guess, 'cause they blew their horn while passing by  ^_^

sunset @ Lubigan bridge in San Jose, Tarlac
when soldiers get creative...
Belenismo sa Tarlac: The AFP Belen
Note: this belen is definitely more beautiful in person, pardon me and my camera phone for this injustice.

Belenismo sa Tarlac is an annual tradition/competition in Tarlac City (the Belen Capital of the Philippines) that promotes the art of making a Belen (nativity scene). Belens are usually made of indigenous/recycled materials showcasing the creativity of the Tarlaqueños. Belenismo sa Tarlac 2015 opened last November 5 while awarding will be held on December 5. Belens, however, would remain on display until early January next year. So what are you waiting for? Go on a road trip and see those beautiful belens!

~ oo00oo ~

“Drive slow and enjoy the scenery -- drive fast and join the scenery.” ~ Doug Horton
23 days before christmas: Maligayang pasko sa lahat! :)

Food Trips | Maginhawa Eat Street: Hits and Misses II

Don Day appetizers: kimbap, kimchi, potato balls, veggie fritters, etc.

A few months ago, I posted here our previous Maginhawa Eat Street experiences, some of which a 'hit', some others a 'miss'. Here's another round of our 'hit' and 'miss' food trips in this famous food trippers' haven in Quezon City. In this post, I'll cover four other restaurants all from or near Maginhawa Street in Teacher's Village that me and my friend have tried in the past two months.

~ oo00oo ~

Don Day Korean BBQ & Buffet Restaurant

First on this list is Don Day, a Korean buffet restaurant located in Malingap, also in Teacher's Village. We've been to Don Day several times for the past 2 months. It is our go-to restaurant whenever we feel like pigging out.

Don Day offers Korean dishes - buffet style, with several options to choose from. They offer two types of buffet, one with pork samgyupsal and the other with beef. For pork samgyupsal, it's 299 Php per person, 399 Php for beef. On weekend dinners however, diners don't have the option to choose; all are required to avail of the 399 Php buffet, drinks not included. A 50 Php will be added to your bill if you opt to have bottomless drinks.

Don Day Korean BBQ and Buffet facade
pork/beef samgyupsal; veggies to add in/spice up your samgyupsal

During weekends, pork and beef samgyupsal are automatically included in the dinner buffet for 399 Php. Two plates each of pork and beef meats are automatically served when you avail of the buffet but of course, you can order for additional pork/beef servings anytime.

regular dish offers: mussel, chapchae, spicy korean pork dish, tangsuyuk, fish fillet (not in photo)

Of the readily available dishes, the spicy Korean pork dish and fish fillet (not in photo) are my favorites. I don't know how the pork dish is called but I love its flavorful and spicy taste, I always have it first whenever we dine in at Don Day.

Don Day desserts: maja blanca, buchi, candies

Don Day's desserts are not that special, though; not even native of Korea, I guess. Candies and mallows are always present, buchi and maja blanca I only saw in one of our visits so I guess they're their "best sellers". However, if you want to have a taste of Korea's ice cream, they have several varieties; but for additional charge, of course.

As mentioned, we've been to Don Day several times, so obviously, it's a hit for us. Foods taste good; price is very affordable; staff are all nice; restaurant is quite big with enough number of tables to accommodate large groups. If you've never been to Don Day yet, try it and comment below your take on it. ^_^

Don Day Korean BBQ and Buffet
40 Malingap Street, Teacher's Village
Quezon City
Tel. No.: 02-4350528

~ oo00oo ~

Stuff Over Burger Cafe

I eat burgers but I am no burger fan. My friend, on the other hand, is a meat lover so anything with meat, he loves; burgers included. He'd been to Stuff Over once or twice so one time, he asked me to try it too. Stuff Over is located in Magiting Street, very near corner Maginhawa it can't be missed.

Stuff Over Burger Cafe
blue lemonade - regular lemonade served in not-so-common glass jars ;)
Mushy Suzie Burger - 210 Php, fries and drink included
Hungry Daisy Burger - 220 Php, fries and drink included

Unlike the regular burger where you can see the cheese and mushroom or bacon add-ons, here at Stuff Over, these ingredients are mixed-in/included in the patty itself. My friend and I can't tell which is mushy suzie and which is hungry daisy so we sliced them in half and try both. My friend was satisfied with his shares, he ate them all with gusto (he always eat with gusto, by the way). Me? I find them just like the usual burgers, nothing extraordinary that would make me crave for more. My friend may like their burgers but with the price offering, we still find our experience at Stuff Over not quite remarkable. 220 Php for a burger is somehow pricey for us, even with the fries and drink (instant lemonade) included. Another thing that we found off at this burger joint is the place itself. It's so small it only has around 5 serving tables, a table so small it isn't even good enough for 2 persons. We haven't been back there ever since so yeah, I would say it's really a miss for us.

Stuff Over Burger Cafe
51 Magiting Street, Teachers Village
Quezon City
Tel. No.: 02-4341834

~ oo00oo ~

Fariñas Ilocos Empanada

Fariñas Ilocos Empanada

Ordinary dishes like fried fish and veggies appeal to me more than gourmet ones. I love having simple dinner in simple settings, much like having dinner at home. Fariñas Ilocos Empanada in Malingap offers such food and ambiance. I'm craving for Ilocos empanada so one weekend, we tried Fariñas. For our dinner, we ordered pakbet with bagnet, bagnet/longganisa combo, longganisa meal, and dinakdakan (my friend's favorite). I enjoyed everything we ordered, all are good and flavorful, much like the ones I've tried when we were in Ilocos 2 years ago. Final verdict: a hit, of course. ^_^
Fariñas Ilocos Empanada: pakbet - 170 Php, bagnet-longganisa-combo - 140 Php, longganisa-meal - 99 Php, dinakdakan - 130 Php

Ilocos empanada, special - 50 Php
Fariñas Ilocos Empanada
Malingap Street, Teachers Village
Quezon City
Tel. No.: 02-4332584

~ oo00oo ~

Magpie Cafe

Magpie Cafe is located at the famous StrEAT Food Park in Maginhawa, a food hub that offers a smorgasbord of food choices, al fresco style. Magpie though, is different in this aspect as it is glass-enclosed and fully air-conditioned. It offers coffee, pastries and desserts, Korean-style.

Magpie Cafe
chocolate fountain bingsoo - 150 Php

Bingsoo or bingsu - Korean dessert composed of ice shavings with chocolate syrup, ice cream and cherries on top. This is much like our local halo-halo but I would say, ours is better and more flavorful than this one. Except for the ice cream which somehow gives bingsoo some flavor, this Korean dessert is bland and not creamy at all. And the banana waffle below? Well, nothing out of the ordinary; just a waffle with few slices of banana and a scoop of ice cream drizzled with chocolate syrup. For 150 Php each, I'd rather have halo-halo from Chowking and waffle from Belgian waffle. Pricey and not our kind of desserts so yeah, this food adventure is another miss.

nutty banana waffle - 150 Php
Magpie Cafe
StreEAT Food Park
91 Maginhawa Street, Teachers Village
Quezon City

~ oo00oo ~

That's it for our Maginhawa/Teacher's Village food trips part 2. There will be a part 3 to this series so watch out for it. 'Til next time. Blessed Sunday everyone! ^_^

Pangasinan | Lingayen Attractions: A Walking Tour

Pangasinan Provincial Capitol - Lingayen, Pangasinan

Lingayen is a first class municipality in the province of Pangasinan. It is dubbed as "the heart, the soul and the face" of the said province. Being the center of political power and considering its share in its history, I would say the description is just right. Besides these, the town is also known for its bagoong (fermented fish), one of the main produce the province is known for. Lingayen's bagoong (also known as "maniboc", the place of origin of the bagoong), as known to many, is one of the best in the market.

Lingayen may not be a typical tourist destination but for those who happen to wander its lot, there are several attractions worth checking out, most of which within walking distance from each other. Here are some of the attractions yours truly was able to check out during our short visit to my birth province's capital last 2014 (quite late for a post, sensya naman :P).

Pangasinan Provincial Capitol

When I was still working in the government sector, I was able to visit several provincial capitol buildings. Of those I've visited, I've never seen a capitol as open to the public as the Pangasinan provincial capitol. Here, anyone can come and go without any restrictions, even at night (at least that's how it was when we visited Lingayen). I even went to the rooftop of the capitol, took some photos from there, with no one following us. No one questioned me/us, ever. Amazing for a government building, right?

Pangasinan Provincial Capitol @ night

Provincial Capitol grounds and the nearby park @ night, from the capitol's rooftop

Urduja Mansion

Urduja Mansion is the official residence of the incumbent governor of Pangasinan. It is named after Urduja, a legendary warrior princess, believed to have lived in the province. We checked it out late in the evening, after our visit to the capitol building, so we didn't try asking permission to get inside though I've read some online accounts showing that visitors were allowed inside.

Urduja Mansion @ night
Urduja Mansion

Lingayen Beach

Lingayen beach is just walking distance from the capitol building. It is known for its share in the history of our country as it served as the landing place of Gen. MacArthur during the second World War. The beach is a 2 kilometers stretch of grayish sand but it's clean and powdery, you can walk on it barefoot. It was early morning then but we still noticed some tourists preparing for an early swim. We also noticed some fishermen pulling on their fishing net, a typical sight I suppose, on a coastal town such as Lingayen.

Lingayen beach
fishermen pulling on their net; tourist crowding a vendor - a typical morning sight I suppose in coastal cities/towns like this

Veterans Memorial Park

Located at the back of the capitol building, Veterans Memorial Park showcases the heroism of Filipinos and the allied forces during World War II. It also showcases some WW II memorabilia like an old tanker and an aircraft. Also in this site is the Lingayen Gulf Landing Shrine, built to commemorate the Lingayen Gulf landing and the Filipino freedom fighters including the allied forces, which houses photos taken during the said event.

Veterans Memorial Park
remnants of the World War II @ the Veterans Memorial Park

Lingayen Cathedral

As much as possible, whenever we visited a new place, we try to visit the church, too. We weren't able to attend mass here in Lingayen but we still make it a point to at least pay a visit; to say a prayer of thanksgiving and to ask for guidance during our trip. Afterward, I tried taking a photo of the facade but it's only the belfry I was able to capture. We're on a rush and we've no time to move around and find the best spot so I just took this one (photo below).

Lingayen Cathedral
the altar @ the Lingayen Cathedral

That's it for this week's post. Happy and blessed Sunday everyone. 'Til next time... :)

~ oo00oo ~

Attractions nearby Pangasinan Provincial Capitol
Lingayen, Pangasinan
Date of Visit: November 29 - 30, 2014