Tuesday, April 8, 2014

My Moalboal Part 1: White Beach

I had been searching the internet for a mini-break by the beach when I chanced upon SilkAir's Sale for flights going to Kalibo, Cebu and Davao earlier this March. It was a perfect opportunity for me. my first option was Boracay via Kalibo. But I wanted to go at such short notice that it was impossible for me to find a decent lodging at a decent price. And so, I opted for Cebu instead.


The shore at Blue Orchid Resort, facing west, directly in front of Negros Island, this area is also a perfect spot for stargazing at night


along the road, i passed by these Lolas weaving hats from buli plant

My first ever trip on the plane was ten years ago and it was bound for Cebu. I toured around the city and then went to Bohol. I never really got to visit the island's best beaches. Malapascua was the first choice, but I read in the reviews that it takes six hours from the airport to get there. Moalboal takes half the time, and is therefore, the next best option.

My favorite spot at the resort, just right in front of my bedroom, which is right at the end of the resort, giving me all the peace and quiet I needed

Just the perfect spot for reading too

Although, Moalboal is mainly for divers, I discovered that it has other options to offer. I initially wanted to do the canyoning at Montaneza, but I had the misfortune of being sick during my travel, so I opted not to do the whole canyoning tour, instead my trip was spent dong some relaxed snorkeling and a bit of hiking and sunset watching.


This is the sunset that welcomed me on my first day... the place has a forlorn air about it that just makes you want to stay more to somehow ease its loneliness... waxing all poetic here... :p


The view early in the morning at low tide... you can literally hear the diverse marine life breathing...

I found this really nice hotel called Blue Orchid Resort, which ranks no 1of 6 hotels in Moalboal. The place looked really charming, both in photos and in person. Although, I was quite disappointed with the bare minimum bedroom and not-so-creative meals offered at the resort, I was nevertheless, very impressed with the natural charm and tranquility of the surroundings.


Each day, I would have this for breakfast... and I was so happy! :)

Giant pink gumamela (hibiscus)

I didn't like seeing this bird in the cage so much... when I got closer, it came towards me and there was a sign that says it loves to be petted on the neck... cute! but I still don't like caged animals...

The owner of the resort is a very friendly German guy. He told me that my favorite reading and sunset-watching spot at the resort was his late mother's favorite spot too. It gave me the creeps a bit, imagining the ghost of some old person sitting there just outside my room... but the creepy feeling went away quickly as I got more and more relaxed and used to the quiet surroundings, with nothing but the sound of the crickets and wildlife at night to lull you to sleep.

While having breakfast, the owner showed me this kingfisher that flew inside his bedroom... he said he will free it after taking a pic

what a lovely relaxing spot...

On my second day, I took a snorkeling trip with the divers at Pescador Island. Apparently, this dive site has a cathedral right below the island/rock. Unfortunately, I forgot to insert the disk in the waterproof camera to take pics. Although, it was not really worth taking pictures since the waters were murky with too much plankton. I also had to rent a wet suit and booties for protection against jellyfish, which were abundant in the area. I had to get back into the boat quickly when i saw lots of them, especially when I saw this type that looked like a giant flatworm, as it could just wrap around my unprotected face so very easily.


White Beach... mouais...

Late afternoon on day two, I walked a bit towards the sandy area of White Beach. I wanted to do a bit of snorkeling at first but I forgot to bring my mask. So I just lied down and watched the bustle of activity around me. Still, it was not very crowded, despite the presence of souvenir shops and restaurants. I liked that it was not very touristy.

My shadow along the steps, framed by the shadow of trees and shrubbery

This blue starfish was just right next to the shore and it stayed there the whole time I was at the resort, keeping me company :)

Day three was spent hiking in the canyons and waterfalls of Montaneza and then dipping into Mainit (literally means "hot") Hot Spring, all arranged by the very friendly and helpful manager, Melissa Watkins... which I will have to write in the second part...

Until next time! Have a good week! :)

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Pidgin Bar and Restaurant

last December, we've taken our visiting in-laws to the Pidgin Bar and Restaurant at Dempsey Hill for lunch. the place has a lot of rave reviews all over the internet. so we decided to give it a try.


first impression: the ambience was very relaxing amid the surrounding greenery. and i just love the colonial architecture that gives an old-world charm to the place.



they also have very interesting dishes on the menu. as mentioned in the reviews, the place offers a refreshing fusion of local and western dishes.

some finger food for appetizers

we were not disappointed with the appetizers either. they all tasted as good as they looked.

something mighty meaty for hubby

salmon confit for me

frog legs!

the mains were all superb too.

free dessert for everyone to share... i was already full but i still managed to sample this one too. very delish!

luscious chocolate ice cream

i don't really remember what this is. some berry-flavored gelatin, i guess.

crème brulée

even the desserts were heavenly.

the service was excellent and the price was reasonable and fitting for the well above average dishes, and excellent service that the restaurant offers. the staff were very friendly and we never had to wait too long for the dishes to arrive. we're definitely going back for more.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Tiramisu fait-maison

during the holidays, i had quite a lot of energy for cooking and baking and so i decided to make some Tiramisu out of the blue.

cream and vanilla extract

all whipped up to the right consistency

add the mascarpone into the batter with eggs, sugar and cooked milk which had been refrigerated for at least an hour

i didn't realize though, that it was quite a complicated recipe. but i was really into doing it so i decided to get on with it anyway, despite the hard work.

they call these Lady Fingers in the English-speaking world

layer with the biscuits dipped in coffee, then the whipped cream and batter, then repeat

i had to improvise with the scotch since i didn't have rhum in the kitchen

Tiramisu is originally from Italy and it literally means "pick me up". i guess it got the name from the ingredients -- rhum and coffee, which will literally pick your spirits up when you are feeling a bit less hyper and in need of waking up.

dip the biscuits in brewed coffee, be careful not to dip them too much or they will break

et voila! now it's ready to be covered with unsweetened cocoa powder

i found the recipe here, if you're interested to try it out for yourself.


i wanted to put some raspberries on top, but i couldn't find any at the grocery, so i just made do with some apricots.

i hope you all have a great Chinese New Year holiday... and Gong Xi Fa Cai to all of you who celebrate the Lunar New Year!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Qunci Villas

While searching for a place to go to for our family's Christmas Holiday, I chanced upon this beautiful resort called Qunci Villas in Lombok, Indonesia from a friend's facebook photo. and I was mesmerized with the beauty of the place.

Arriving at the place, I did not feel disappointed seeing how beautiful the hotel surroundings are. I immediately fell in-love with the open shower in our room. You can see the tree tops outside while you take the shower because half of the shower area is roofless. It reminded me so much of the batalan in the Philippine provinces. :)

The beautiful bathroom with the shower's roofing half exposed to the elements :)

All the art works in the resort are created by a collaboration of french and local artists. I super love them. We tried to visit the gallery where the art works came from but they close really early and they only sell huge wood carvings.

Hubby says the woman in the painting looks like me.

Our bedroom with comfy window seats :)


That's our room as seen from one of the restaurants

Our bedroom directly opens into a view of one of the swimming pools right in front of the sea. That huge mountain from across is in Bali. It's quite famous and I had a pic with the view of it when I visited Bali but I forgot the mountain's name.

One of the three gorgeous infinity pools facing the sea towards Bali
They actually have three gorgeous infinity pools with salt in them, not chlorine, which is quite fortunate since I have just had my hair colored for the first time.


Beautiful and serene setting

They also have two restaurants which serve really good food for quite a reasonable price.

Breakfast by the sea... super loved it!

The Christmas Dinner, though, was a bit of a scam. It was more expensive than usual but there was nothing so special about menu.

They also have a bar, which we would always visit before having dinner at the restaurant.

Sipping some frozen cocktail while enjoying the view of the sunset

You could also order room service and dine in at your very own balcony, if you're feeling lazy to go out.

Lovely christmas treat waiting for us in the balcony on Christmas morning
The ambience is just so relaxing. They have lots of chaise lounges by the pool and even some beds to nap on while watching the huge waves from the sea. And also these bed areas can be converted into cozy nooks like this for romantic dinner dates:


Hubby notes that only cheesy Asian people like this romantic stuff (i.e. people like moi)

And to complete the relaxation, they also have a spa. I had the facial and the full body massage.

Nothing like a good old spa! :)


The spa room

Here are some more beautiful captures from around the resort:

Enjoying the view with my baby

Hubby and baby
I have totally enjoyed my Christmas Holiday, hope you all did too! :)

Friday, December 20, 2013

Madeleines aux pépites de chocolat

ca fait longtemps que j'ai fait une recette française. c'est pour ca que aujourd'hui, j'ai décidé d'essayer faire les madeleines. c'est l'un des gateaux français que je prefère. je me rapelle, quand j'étais en France, je les mangeais pour petit-déjeuner presque tous les matins. je spécialement prefère ceux aux pépites de chocolat.

ce qui m'etonne ici à Singapour , c'est que c'est toujours difficile de trouver l'extrait de vanille pûr et bien aussi les moules pour faire les madeleine. mais, j'avais de la chance, parce que j'ai démandé ma belle-mère avant d'arriver ici a Singapour pour ses vacances de m'amener quelques ingredients et les moules pour les faire.

les trucs amenés par ma belle-mère qui viennent de France -- même si ils sont pas les extraits "pûrs", ils sont meilleurs que les trucs qu'on peut trouver ici à Singapour.

j'etais très heureuse de trouver les sachets de levure chimique de Casino chez Cold Storage ici a Singapour

j'ai suit la recette ici. mais, j'ai remplacé quelques ingrédients pour avoir la touche personelle. j'ai utilisé la levure chimique qui vient de la France, et j'ai ajouté l'extrait d'amande et les pépites de chocolat. un petit conseil: ne pas ajouter trop d'extrait d'amande parce que c'est très fort, et ca donne le goût amer.


je prefère d'utiliser cet ingredient à la place de l'extrait de vanille... j'en ai trouver ici à Singapour chez Cold Storage une fois, mais quand je suis revenu j'en ai plus trouvé, malheureusement. c'est bon aussi pour les "pancakes", etc.

aussi, j'aime utiliser la cassonade à la place de sucre blanc. mais, ca c'est juste une question de goût. et si tu veux, tu peux aussi ajouter le sucre vanillé pour remplacer l'extrait de vanille. ca c'est pratique si c'est vraiment difficile pour toi de trouver l'extrait de vanille pûr.

la forme parfaite

pour la forme parfaite, il faut avoir la bosse comme sur la photo ci-dessus, et bien aussi la coquille à l'envers comme sur la photo ci-dessous:


madeleines aux pépites de chocolat fait-maison

je suis très fière de moi pour avoir faire les bonnes madeleines pour la première fois.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Skin Care Products Review

i am the type of person who gets loyal to a brand. that's why, when i found the perfect moisturizer for my skin type, i never tried any other moisturizer again until today...

i started using moisturizer on my face since i've arrived in Singapore. in the Philippines, my face would always get sweaty sticky oily all throughout the day, so i never really developed the habit of moisturizing my face on a daily basis.

Crabtree and Evelyn, my all-time favorite brand of body lotion

but in Singapore, for some reason, i found it less humid and more drying not just on my face, but on the rest of my body. this is why is started using Kiehl's facial moisturizer. it was one of the brands recommended by a friend for the best lip balm ever. it's a good thing i didn't stop at buying a simple lip balm and extended my curiosity with the moisturizer because it turned out to be just perfect for my skin. i even bought a facial wash to go along with it. and it was also perfect. Kiehl's is absolutely one of my favorite brands.

Kiehl's ultra facial cream for combination skin type

 when i started using it though, i really had very dry skin. and i continued using Kiehl's products even after moving to France, where it was even less humid. it was also a great product to use during the winter. although, i needed to use their Argan Oil too for extreme moisturizing during the winter months.

some of the products that i bought at the Kiehl's Store in New York -- sunblock and a set of cleanser, moisturizer and toner

now, back again in Singapore, i found that my face no longer gets dry the same way as before moving the France. i don't know if it's due to hormonal changes or weather changes, but i do know that the old moisturizer just doesn't cut it anymore because my face now gets especially icky shiny oily especially on the T-zone.

Clinique's pore refining and mattifying facial moisturizer

and so, yesterday, i experimented on this moisturizer by Clinique. it claims to moisturize while leaving a mattifying effect, meaning, less shine as possible. what's more, it has pore-refining ingredients too. tried it today and it worked wonders. does not feel heavy on the skin and my face feels less oily.

i've also chanced upon this famous Rosebud Salve since i've already ran out of Kiehl's lip balms... it was nice. does the work. but it feels kinda hot and heavy on the lips. i still prefer Kiehl's.


trying on some new lip balm (Smith's Rosebud Salve)... not quite as good as Kiehl's

next on the list is this facial wash by Aesop. i chanced upon it while i was browsing the shops in Sydney, Australia. i wasn't really convinced when i tested it on my hand because it was leaving a bit of stinging sensation. but hubby convinced me to get it. and so i did. didn't like it. but i guess he did, because he's now the one who's using it. maybe it's more suitable to oilier skin types like hubby's than mine, which is combination type.


Aesop's Amazing Face Cleanser -- not suitable for sensitive semi-dry skin like mine... leaves a nasty stinging sensation after use... and it was even more expensive than Kiehl's!

 and so, for now, it's still Kiehl's ultra-sensitive, non-drying facial wash that does the trick for me.


best facial cleanser for combination (bordering on dry) skin type

having fun inside the picture booth at Kiehl's NYC shop

have a great weekend, everyone! :)