Friday, June 29, 2012

Mangodlong PARADISE Resort

Mangodlong Paradise Resort is one of the newest resorts in the island located in Himensulan, San Francisco, Camotes. This is situated right next to Mangodlong ROCK Resort which is the more well-known and older establishment. The property is not sprawling - with only 18 rooms to cater to guests. The resort's design however, made it feel very private and uncrowded and intimate.

Mangodlong Paradise has 5 types of accommodations - standard, deluxe, suite, beach front and the cabanas, with prices ranging from 2,500 PhP to 6,000 PhP. The room prices come with free toiletries, complimentary coffee & water, breakfast and port transfers.

Cabanas facing everything - the garden, the pool and the beach

Deluxe rooms on the far end of the resort
The Beachfront Room @ 3000 PhP
Jan-jan, the Energy Ball and I were given ("given" = FREE ) the standard room. This is the most affordable room in the resort but it was still very, very comfortable. The room is small but it offers more than the basic amenities: a flat screen TV, a small ref, a safe deposit box and a dresser and a small cabinet to hold your clothes. All very tastefully designed.

Cute. =)
The resort is a treat in itself. It has a huge infinity pool that I was not able to swim. It was my time of the month (bummer, yes). But Jan-jan and the Energy Ball loved it. They swam in the evening, in the morning and even an hour before we checked out. Haha.

If you bring along kids like we did, the resort has a small playground to keep them busy (aside from the infinity pool of course). The Energy Ball had a blast with these too.

THE BEACHFRONT. Paradise's beach front is not as wide. But the water is great and the sand is powdery and white. I can't really say anything about what's underwater. I was not able to swim here either. More reason to come back. =)

It's very relaxing here. There are hammocks scattered at the right portion of the resort, just under the coconut trees. Not to worry. They prim the coconuts every now and then to avoid any falling debris.

There's also a pool table, a chess table and a dart board if you're feeling a bit bored. All of these are located right beside the bar and the playground. Convenient (especially for parents).

Mangodlong Paradise also has its own restaurant. The food is not really that extraordinary but there were some dishes that stood out. Try their sizzling squid with mushroom and beef with broccoli. The clubhouse was good too. We were 7 in a group and each meal would usually cost us 1200-1400 PhP.

This plus the drinks and the service charge cost us 1250 PhP. Good enough for 5 hungry guys, 2 women on a diet and the Energy Ball.
Breakfast was simple. Garlic or plain rice, a choice of chorizo, longganisa, bangus or tocino, a choice of juice or coffee and a slice of fruit. This comes free with the room rate. If you have an extra guest in the room however, they charge breakfast sets at 160 PhP per person.

We decided to have breakfast in the bar overlooking the beach. If you have your breakfast here, make sure that you do it early in the morning so it won't be too hot. There's this beautiful chair that I fell in love with. I'll get myself one of these when I have my own house. Itaga mo yan sa bato. haha.

Once in a while, I turn into a girl. =)
Guests of the hotel also get free shuttle service to and from Consuelo Port. This is where the boat from Danao City docks so it's much, much convenient if you hop on a boat from there.

THE VERDICT: We were so satisfied with the service, we decided to be back next month with the balikbayan Nanay and the not-so-little brother. Looking forward to that. =)

HOW TO BOOK: We were walk-in guests. We got lucky because it was low season. I highly recommend that you make a reservation. They will require you to pay the full amount for the reservation to be confirmed via bank deposit. Remember, it's an 18-room resort so better be sure than sorry.

Mangodlong Paradise also offers tour services in selected destinations @ 1500 PhP. That's a group price. The more people in the group, the less you'll have to pay. Their service can accomodate up to 12-13 pax. We took the tour. You can read all about that here.

You can visit their website for more details. You'll see a lot of contact numbers on their site. The number I posted below however, is the only one that worked. =)

Mangodlong Paradise Beach Resort
Heminsulan, San Francisco, Camotes
(032) 328-0050

Friday, June 22, 2012

Cebu Food Stops: Mochiko

One of the things that I love and miss most about Cebu (when I'm away) is the food. The city is dotted with a lot of hole-in-the-wall food stops and good restaurants that has kept a lot of foodies happy for many, many years. For example, me. =)

I have just recently stumbled across a delightful dessert stop somewhere in Ayala, Active Zone called Mochiko. It's sticky-slightly sweet mochi, filled with rich, creamy ice cream sold at 70 pesos per pop. They come in familiar, feel-good flavors like vanilla, strawberry and chocolate. If you are the adventurous type, they have a few interesting flavors to scintillate you palate too - such as black sesame, cookie dough and green tea.

I had cookie dough - vanilla ice cream with a real, chewy cookie on the inside. The verdict: this is one of those expensive things that you'd like to splurge on after a bad day. Believe me, you'll end up smiling silly after the first bite. 

Cookie dough. Sorry for the crappy photo guys. This was real good, believe me. =)
Where to find Mochiko: The stall is located at the 3rd floor of Ayala Active Zone, just right beside Tablea. It has cute, pink stalls and wooden tables. You won't miss it. Happy eating traveller! =)

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Thoughts on Travellin' and of People

Sights like these make you think of deep thoughts...
Travelling for me has always been about the experience and the destination - the first flight abroad, the first ride on a train, the walk on a famous street, the first taste of genuine Malay food, the excitement of getting lost in a foreign city. But in the past month, my travels in and out of Southern Leyte have made me realize that travelling is something so much more.

I learned that travelling is not just about going to strange places or experiencing new things. There is a higher purpose when people take the risk, leave home and abandon everything that's familiar. Travelling has the power to give you new perspectives in life. It opens your eyes to things that were never there before. It changes the way you see people -strangers, new friends, and even those that you have known for years. There IS magic when you are on the road.

I have always been wary of strangers. But over the past month, I have learned to trust in the kindness of people I barely knew - strangers who look after you, cook for you and make you feel at home in a strange, new place. I saw a new side to old friends and developed a new found respect and admiration for what they do and for who they simply are.

This is NOT a relaxed photo of my manly feet. It was 1am and I was carrying 80 thousand Pesos worth of dive gear. I was terrified, yes.
These trips have been some of the most difficult, so far (although I know a lot of people who have experienced worse). It was not easy being on a 7-hour overnight boat ride with nothing but a plastic seat to sleep on. Spending a night in a bus terminal bringing new (and not to mention expensive) equipment scared the wits out of me. Sleeping on the floor was never my choice of boat accommodation - but it was what I had.

The world is a dangerous place. It's unpredictable and a lot of shit can happen. But sometimes, we have to take chances. I have to take chances. If not, I'll be missing out on all the beauty in life. I simply can't live with that. =)