Aug 31, 2011

Day 07 - A picture that makes you laugh

I've been looking for "it" for about a week now but there seem to be none in my digital files. That's when I remembered that there's actually a couple of printed photos that made me -- and my girlfriends even more! -- laugh till our stomachs hurt.

It was an ordinary sleepover here at home when my friends suddenly thought of digging into the family's photo albums. You see I was an only child for quite a long while so the old pictures from God-knows-how-many-years are mostly me, me and me. From the tons of prints, this one caught their attention:

Taken during one of the recognition ceremonies in my elementary school after I received my medal and certificate. I can still recall what caption the crazy girls thought of for this picture: "Tara na dad, nasatin na ang medal, pwede na nating pasabugin tong lugar na 'to!" They say I look like I have an evil plan here -- like that of a terrorist ready to attack. Do I? Really???

The laughters eventually subsided and on they went with looking at the pictures... Until they saw this...

I swear the guffaws were non-stop! They laughed like there's no tomorrow when they found out where I got that look -- my dad, no less! They say we're mag-amang terorista. How mean can they be? Hahahaha.

They even wanted to steal these photos and upload them on the internet but I managed to keep them out of their sight. So yeah, I'm doing those girls a favor by posting this now for the www to see. I'm sure wherever they are at the moment, they're laughing their asses off all over again.

Don't tell me you are, too? T_T

Happy back-to-work day, everyone! Don't worry, it's gonna be weekend again in 3 days! :)

P.S. I miss you, fishy friends. No matter how mean you are sometimes most of the time.

Aug 22, 2011

Cebu Getaway: Bantayan Town Tour

After playing in the sand and taking some 50 pictures by the shore, we decided to sit in one of the lounge chairs to relax. That’s when a local approached us to offer a tour to Bantayan Town. It’s actually part of our itinerary because it’s where you can find the old Sts. Peter and Paul Church and the big public market where you can buy all sorts of dried fish – danggit being the most sought after – for pasalubong at a much cheaper price.

When we asked how much the tour is, it’s a whopping 500 bucks! That is way beyond our budget so we asked for alternatives. The local told us that we can rent his motorcycle instead and drive ourselves to the town at a rate of Php300/day + gas. We haggled because we don’t need an entire day but the cheapest that he can give us is Php150 + 50php gas. He said he can give us a lower price but he’ll let us use a motorcycle whose brand I only heard for the first time. Of course we won’t risk getting stranded in the middle of I-don’t-know-where so we still settled for the trusty Honda. Better safe than sorry! :D

Testing 1, 2, 3.

Jhay asked for directions then we’re good to go =)

We traversed a seemingly endless road for about 20 minutes before we reached what looked like a town proper. A few hundred meters more and we saw the town plaza, the old church and the market.

We decided to hit the market first.

Heaps of dried seafood everywhere!

Folks, meet danggit :) It’s at 500php per kilo if salted.
The unsalted ones are 30php more expensive.

Another yummy delicacy: pusit (dried squid).
It’s just about the same price, if I remember it right.

I’m holding a quarter of a kilo, meaning one kilo is really plenty. The packed fish in front of me is tuyo, a Filipino favorite for breakfast, and it’s at 60php per pack.

We spent a little over 800php in the market then proceeded to the nearby bakeshop to buy a loaf of bread for dinner and for tomorrow’s snorkeling.

And then it’s time to say a little prayer =)

The church interiors in its antiquity.

It’s getting dark so we opt to drive back to the resort. The best thing about Jhay driving is that I can ask him to pull over just so I can take pictures!

Maia’s is one of my options but when we saw this sign, I can’t be more thankful that I chose Kota Beach. Maia’s is just too far from the port and the main road!

I originally wanted to sit in the middle of the road for a dramatic shot for my header (Maude’s Avenue of Thoughts, remember? ^^,) but J won’t let me :(

So I had to be contented with this. Haha.

Thankfully we were able to get back to homebase. We dropped by the little market again to buy canned goods, ripe mangoes and bottled water. Our rule is that we can splurge for one meal per day so we’re having Century Tuna for dinner. Haha.

Jhay and I exploring a place we’ve never been to on a motorcycle was one great adventure. It’s so fun and it’s another one for the books!

Other posts from my Cebu Getaway Series:

Cebu Getaway: The Beginning
Cebu Getaway: East Capitol Pensionne
Cebu Getaway: SM Cebu and CNT Lechon
Cebu Getaway: Cebu City Tour
Cebu Getaway: Bantayan Island
Cebu Getaway: Kota Beach Resort
Cebu Getaway: Snorkeling and Island Hopping
Cebu Getaway: Gran Tierra Suites
Cebu Getaway: Casa Verde
Cebu Getaway: Skywalk Extreme
Cebu Getaway: See you again, Cebu!

Aug 21, 2011

Cebu Getaway: Kota Beach Resort

Booking our Bantayan Island accommodation has got to be one of the toughest decisions in this trip’s planning phase. I had at least 4 options and every single day I change my mind either because beach X is cheaper than beach Y or beach Z looked prettier in pictures than beach X and so on. But when you drop the X, Y and Z, what do you get? Beach, right. It’s after all what we came to Bantayan for so I settled for the one with the best beachfront – Kota Beach Resort.

However, it is important to note that while past visitors of Kota were raving about the beach, it also has a lot of negative reviews all over the net – poor customer service, unkempt rooms, everything in the resort needs to be replaced, and the list goes on. I discussed it with J and what he kept telling me is that the only thing that matters is him and me together. Alright, I got that recorded, just in case he rants when we get there. Hahahaha.

Fast forward to noon of our second day in Cebu. We docked in Sta. Fe and as we made our way out of the ferry, I already saw this:

Transfers from port to the resort and back is free when you have a booking at Kota Beach.

We reached the resort in about 5 minutes. The shuttle driver, Kuya Dodong, is very accommodating, he even carried our things to the reception area. We waited awhile for the person in charge and when she arrived, she handed our key to Kuya Dodong who more than willingly led us to our room. I booked an Aircon Room Double but I requested him to show us the beachfront cottage as well since I’m considering an upgrade if I’m not satisfied with what I booked. He obliged :-)

Above is how a beachfront cottage looks like. It has 1 double bed and 1 single bed, a CR and its own veranda overlooking the beach. It’s very spacious, can probably fit 4 or 5 with extra mattresses. Kuya Dodong offered it to us for Php1500 instead of Php 1700. That’s when I realized a couple of things:

* I booked with and I kinda felt that it was a wrong move because eventhough they say that they don’t have booking fees, they stick with the standard rates. My only consolation is that they have a Manila line and I didn’t have to make long distance calls for inquiries. And they were prompt and patience in answering my e-mails.

* If I booked directly with the resort, I could have gotten our room at (maybe) Php1000 instead of Php1260 especially since it was lean season. Oh well, better luck next time.

J said that the cottage might be too big for us so we settled for the one that we booked. Let me show you pictures of Aircon Room Double.

From the outside. Nothing fancy, really.

Here’s the bed. We dived into it right away ‘cause we got too excited as it was a lot bigger and more comfortable than the previous night’s. The sheets were not exactly new but it’s not so bad either. We had a good night sleep that we failed to catch the sunrise as planned. Fail! Haha.

This side is right across the bed. The aircon is another thing that made J like this room better. According to him, it’s newer than that in the beachfront cottage (yep, he noticed that!) It met our expectations – we were both freezing in the middle of the night. Hahaha. And then behind the native blinds is a window looking out to the restaurant. I think it’s high enough for people not to peek into the room but we still get paranoid sometimes. Since it’s near a common area, there’s that feeling that anytime someone would accidentally break in. Good thing though there’s none :-)

The bathroom is clean enough for me. The flush works and the water supply is sufficient. However there’s no heater and there’s something about the water coming out of the shower. Ugh. Sorry I don’t know how to describe it but J said he didn’t feel a hundred percent clean after rinsing/bathing. Maybe it’s from a deep well or something. There’s also no bidet but when I asked for a pail and dipper, they were able to provide. So folks I’m happy to report that service isn’t as bad as depicted in the reviews. The Kota Beach staff was able to attend to us whenever we need assistance.

This time the reviews were right. The table and chair are kinda old.
I’m sure they’d appreciate a replacement ;-)

No cabinets as well, only this wooden shelf.
Not a big deal though ‘cause we prefer not to take our things out of our bags.

Now let’s go to the beach! :D

The vast serene sea and the clear blue skies were truly an amazing sight!

And of course, the sandbar that Kota boasts of!
You don’t always get to stand in the middle of bodies of water, do you? :)

One side of the beach. I just wish they do a little up-keeping.
Lotsa dried seaweeds on the shore.

Beach lounge chairs + shade of the coconut trees = the perfect spot to while away time

But it looks like J has other plans…

Hey, hey, where do you think you’re going, honey?
Come back here and take a picture of me first! Haha!

Please excuse that big tummy and just focus on everything else. Like the cover-up top that I’m wearing. It’s nice, no? It’s the perfect beach wear for those who wanna reveal a little but not feel too nekkid :)

Now it’s his turn to be photographed.

A semi-emo shot right there. Hahaha.

That’s me experimenting with the camera. Bear with it ;-P

As usual, the boyfriend trying out every jumpshot pose possible.

Let me just say how much I love this shot. He’s too happy for words. Agree?

It took a lot of tries before we were able to come up with those two shots.
Methinks they’re worth it :-)

Beach-bumming won’t be complete without scribbling on the sand. I forgot to take a photo of what I wrote but it’s supposed to be J & M @ 6 (Jhay and Maude at 6 years, that is!)

No pictures swimming? Yeah, I noticed that too but that’s because we didn’t swim on our first day there. I’ll just include our few water shots in my snorkeling and island hopping post.

All in all, I’m giving this resort 3.5 out of 5. If you, too, don’t mind basic amenities and would just want to marvel at the natural beauty of Philippine beaches, Kota Beach at Bantayan Island is for you.

Other posts from my Cebu Getaway Series:

Cebu Getaway: The Beginning
Cebu Getaway: East Capitol Pensionne
Cebu Getaway: SM Cebu and CNT Lechon
Cebu Getaway: Cebu City Tour
Cebu Getaway: Bantayan Island
Cebu Getaway: Bantayan Town Tour
Cebu Getaway: Snorkeling and Island Hopping
Cebu Getaway: Gran Tierra Suites
Cebu Getaway: Casa Verde
Cebu Getaway: Skywalk Extreme
Cebu Getaway: See you again, Cebu!

Aug 20, 2011

Day 06 - A picture of a person you'd love to trade places with for a day


Kate Middleton.
 No need to explain, right? :D

Dear Lord...

This week has been a crazy ride, work-wise especially. I was given a task I'm not sure I can handle and at just about the same time I saw one great opportunity passed me by. I have to admit, Lord, that I felt downhearted. In fact, I still am downhearted, because that opportunity is one thing that I've always wanted. But it's gone and I know there's nothing more I can do.

Hence, what I ask of you now is an open mind and a brave heart to accept that life wouldn't always go my way. Help me keep in mind that despite the heartbreaks, You are there and You have perfect control of what's going on. Help me not to forget that when you take something away, it only means that you are preparing me for better things to come, things that I don't expect but deserve.

Lord, help me not to be jealous of the people around me because even if I feel that they're way luckier, they too have their own battles. Help me not to fret for not getting what I'm praying for, because not once have You said "No," just "Not now." Help me not to complain but to see things in a brighter perspective, to understand that this is not a misfortune rather a chance to prove my worth, a chance to step up, a chance to chase my dreams.

With this task at hand, bless me with knowledge to comprehend fully, patience to deal with difficulties, strength to overcome my fears and see myself how my colleagues see me: responsible, reliable and highly-capable. Give me an unwavering faith to hold on to the fact that one day all these are gonna pay off, and when that day comes I'll only be grateful that I didn't give up along the way.

All these I ask in the name of Jesus, my lead, my teammate, my guide and Savior. Amen.

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