Gone Home 2018

It’s my annual vacation again. Last year 2017, I went home and visited various countries such as Taiwan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, and South Korea. This year, I had a quick trip to Japan and before I head back to the United States, I will also visit another country and another state of the US. Anyway, as my stay for 3 weeks in the Philippines, these were all my activities and I called this article, gone home 2018.

The whole time of me going home was spent meeting and setting up reunions with my relatives, friends and also went to have a weekend getaway with family in a world class resort. In my first week, my schedule was full of meeting with friends and relatives. Dining to different restaurants old and newly opened. These are the restaurants we dined:

  • SMOQUE Bistro + Cafe

SMOQUE Bistro + Bar is located at CPG East Avenue, along ACE Medical Center near Bool Basketball court. The name goes from Smoked and Barbecue foods. For me, the crispy pork knuckles was the cherry on top. I loved it so much that I ordered it twice. They also have platters which are good for big group of diners. For inquiries and reservations, call +63 918-300-8180 or visit their location during Tuesday til Sunday from 11AM to 2PM for lunch, and 6PM to 10PM for dinner.

Meatlover Platter with pulled pork burger, fries, steak, ribs, deep-fried pork
Crispy Pork Knuckles
Calamari
  • Boy Zugba

Boy Zugba is a chain of restaurants located mostly in Visayas and Mindanao area. It has branches in Cebu City, Iligan City, Davao and their main restaurant in Cagayan de Oro City. Boy Zugba centers on serving food with different varieties such as smoked, boodle, kinilaw, and many more. For more information, visit their site at boyzugba.com

Bandihadong Karne which consists of pork bbq, chorizo, and liempo
  • Monina RM Inn and Restaurant

Monina RM Inn and Restaurant is located in Tagbilaran North Road, Tubigon, Bohol with telephone number of +63 38-237-2890. The venue served as the location for my mini reunion with my relatives. Seeing them all coming, I forgot to take some photos of the food. But what I can say is the food were really good. We ordered crispy pata, lechon kawali, corn soup, grilled fish, and for dessert was a gallon of ice cream.

  • Lantaw Native Restaurant

Lantaw Native Restaurant just opened in Tagbilaran City last September. The location has good view of the sunset and Tagbilaran Bay. It was spacious, airy and the foods were good, a wide range of Filipino dishes and cuisine. The only downside about it that I can think of is they weren’t still equipped with credit card readers so, diners have to pay cash. Who pays cash these days? Lol. If you want to try Lantaw, visit their location at V.P. Inting Avenue, corner Mansasa-Dampas Road, Tagbilaran City, Bohol, Philippines or call them at this phone number: +63 38 427 2485.

Cordova Express
  • Gerry’s Grill

Gerry’s Grill Restaurant is located in Level 4 Cineleisure Centre, BQ Mall, CPG Avenue, Tagbilaran City 6300, Bohol, Philippines. This restaurant never fails me if I’m craving for Filipino dishes since it is within downtown. It is inside the mall so, after I shop or watch movies, then I can just head to Gerry’s Grill without having to leave the mall. In terms of food, they were well-seasoned and very delicious. If you want to dine with them, just visit their location or call them for reservations or questions at this phone number: +63 38 411 3164.

Lechon Kawali
Chopsuey

I didn’t just eat the whole time I was home. I also spent time with my family. I gave them a treat on going to a 5-star hotel in Panglao Island. We went to Henann Resort. I’ve been there one time few weeks after their soft opening. At that time, it was still only 50% operational. That is the reason why I wanted to go back and I brought my family with me. Check my previous blog when I first visited the Henann Resort.

Henann Beach Resort – Alona, Bohol

Henann Beach Resort still remained to be one of the resort hotels to visit and stay in Panglao Island. The location was perfect for sea lovers since it was right next to Alona Beach. They still have plenty of pools where guests will be confused on which one to dive in.

I Love Henann
Sea view of Alona Beach
Pool with Bars
More pools
Relax under the sun with umbrellas

There were more to the resort that meets the eye. Henann Beach Resort has spa service, and bountiful restaurants. I haven’t tried the spa but the foods in one of the restaurants were really delicious.

Kai Spa
Sea Breeze Cafe

The whole Henann Beach Resort premises was wide. It’s on 6.5 hectares property on the pristine shores of Alona Beach. But it wasn’t a problem since upon check-in, receptionist gave out map of the resort. In every corner of the resort, there were signage telling directions where is where.

Check-In Counter
Lobby
Directions within the resort

When it comes to rooms, we got the family room which was good for 6 people. It has 2 rooms; 3 full size beds and a queen size bed. It has one spacious bathroom and toilet. The room also came with a porch.

The first room with 1 queen size bed and 1 full size bed
The 2nd room with 2 full size beds
The toilet and bath

Henann Beach Resort has also villas for larger numbers of guests. It offers a lot of activities such as biking on the shores of the beach or downtown, sailing, or just enjoying the beach and pool. Due to the resort’s location, there were other activities but offered by independent providers not by the resort like snorkeling, island hopping, and etc.

For Villa Guest
Walkway to rooms
Picking flowers in early morning
Koi Pond

The whole time I spent during my gone home 2018 was great. I’ve gained some weight due to every night dining out. But the best experience I had was spending my time with my family. Seeing them smile and having fun was worth the treasure in the world. Next year, I might not be able to go back home since I have decided that it will be my mum visiting me here in the United States.

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The Perks of Being The Lone Traveler

One fine day, I received an invitation to go to Henann Beach Resort. Henann Beach Resort is a five-starred resort located in Barangay Tawala in Panglao Island, Bohol. It had its soft opening last May and still has lots of buildings under construction. As I was informed, most of the rooms were occupied already since the resort offered 50% discount upon opening it to the public.

The trip going to the said resort takes about 45 minutes from Tagbilaran City with the roads in Panglao Island are all paved making it a smooth drive. Though getting there has an issue since there are not many cars or public vehicles that pass through the resort. So, the best way to get there is to rent a vehicle or hire a transport service either from the city or call the resort itself for pick-up. Henann Beach Resort offers car rental, airport shuttle, or shuttle service for a fee.

When I got there, I was welcomed with this signage just outside the resort premises.

Hennan Beach Resort

Henann Beach Resort

The resort has a 24-hour security service. They were really strict and followed hotel/ resort rules during my visit, the resort was fully booked but I told them that someone invited me and they let me get inside. When I entered the resort, I was in awe seeing the world class style on the resort’s lobby and reception area.20150523_051544 copy

Reception Area

Lobby

Going to the restaurant. (dinner buffet and free breakfast)

Going to the restaurant. (dinner buffet and free breakfast)

Near Front Desk

Near Front Desk

Going to Hotel Rooms

Going to Hotel Rooms

In the first building, I saw the reception area, front desk, restaurant, and hotel rooms with a big swimming pool. It has 5 floors I think but I’m not sure since I didn’t check it out.

Directions

Directions

Hotel Rooms with Balcony

Hotel Rooms with Balcony

Big Swimming Pool just at the back of our hotel room

Big Swimming Pool just at the back of our hotel room

Seats with the bar at the middle of the swimming pool

Seats with the bar at the middle of the swimming pool

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The Pool was just so tempting

The Pool was just so tempting

Early Morning View

Early Morning View

Next to the hotel rooms are the villas with its own swimming pools and just beside these villas is the clubhouse and when I got inside, I saw five big swimming pools and the view of the beach.

Another building going to other big swimming pools and to the beach

The clubhouse going to other big swimming pools and to the beach

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Just perfect

Just perfect

Pools...pools anywhere

Pools…pools everywhere

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Henann Beach Resort is just in line with Alona Kew Beach. It means that Henann Beach Resort is close to night parties but they also host activities such as fire dancing, live band and etc. The best of all, Henann Beach Resort has a fine white sand beach as well.

Fire Dancer

Fire Dancer

Fire Dancers

Fire Dancers

Fire Dancers

Fire Dancers

As a total package, Henann Beach Resort is one of the best resorts I have been to so far. It has the best of the bests in terms of view, facilities, services and mind you, it is still not fully operational. How much more once everything is put up and working. It has been labelled as the biggest resort in Panglao Island and is under the management of Boracay Regency Beach Resort and Spa. It was indeed a great night stay. I had fun and I enjoyed the perks of being the Lone Traveler.

Address: Beach Front, Alona Beach, Tawala, Panglao Island, Bohol
Contact Details:
Telephone – (6338) 502-9141 to 44
Manila Office – (632) 230-3000 to 02
Email – manila.hbl@henann.com

Check out my video in my YouTube channel, Henann Beach Resort Fire Dancers.

A Place to Ponder

I just got back from my backpacking trip. Last May, I got my Armenian visa thru their e-Visa application. I was thinking about it when suddenly I checked my e-mail and something came up unexpectedly. I still have few months left for my Armenian visa but this new opportunity that has been offered to me can’t be taken for granted. This new world that I am talking about is a promising and prominent country. I have waited for this application for years but just recently, it has moved to my doorstep. Now, I am in the middle of two amazing nations. I got confused and I can’t think of what I wanted to do, therefore, for me to snap out of it, I needed a place where I can think about my decision. Surely, the city doesn’t offer the calm environment conducive to making judgments. Hence, I went to a town up north. I never got the chance to come and stay in this town, so, I took the advantage to visit and called that town a place to ponder. That town is called Buenavista.

Buenavista is a Spanish lingo for good view. It is a town that lies in the northwestern part of the island of Bohol. To get there from Tagbilaran City, the journey will start from Dao Integrated Bus Terminal. There are two types of vehicles you can choose. Either a bus going to Talibon via Buenavista or a public van/ van for hire with the same route. Traveling through a bus will take about an hour and a half due to the bus picking up passengers along the road. While if you will utilise the public van to get there, it will only take 1 hour yet the fare varies coz public van cost much than the bus. You will need to shell out additional PhP30-40 for van for hire. The travel going there was smooth even though some parts of the road were under construction. When I got there, I went directly to Buenavista Eco-Tourism Centre which is located in Barangay Daet. There, I found my place to ponder. There was a river at the back of the building with the breeze from the river that was so comforting. There were also river folks doing their thing. While me, I just sat down on the riverbank, thinking on what I needed to do.

It was indeed helpful with these views I have in front of me.20150517_125435 20150517_125448 20150517_125457 20150517_131520 20150517_131553 20150517_131601 20150517_131610 Photo 5-17-15, 1 16 55 PM

Finally, I have made up my mind. Thanks to the solace and tranquility the town of Buenavista extended to me. I have decided not to go to Armenia anymore and instead, I’ll be going to this new opportunity that God has given me. It will be busy weeks, trying to process all the paperwork to finish my application. You will know it soon enough what country I will be heading to. Just trust me, it will be SOON. 😉

Escape from the City’s Hustle and Bustle

It’s good to be back in the Philippines and what better to do when you are back in your home country than to travel again and I have decided to make one trip within my home province, Bohol. Bohol, as everyone knew, is one of the famous tourist destinations in the Philippines. We have everything you need here.

My family lives in the city and having a trip going to towns and beaches is just hours away. These past few weeks, I was a little bit stressed thus, an escape from the city’s hustle and bustle is the best way for me to rejuvenate and basically, an R&R.

There is this one place that I haven’t gone to yet and it has made a good impression to tourists. Its name has become famous due to its fine and powdery white sandy beaches and take note, I am not talking about Panglao Island. That day, I have decided to go to the town of Anda. I started my journey at 0800H. It should have been early but I woke up late. I arrived in Dao Integrated Bus Terminal at 0845H. Upon entering the terminal, a barker asked me where I’m heading and I told him to Anda so, he escorted me to the van for hire/ public van for PhP130. At exactly 0900H, we left the terminal and the trip started. For about 3 hours, we reached Anda passing through different coastal municipalities such as Baclayon, Alburquerque, Loay, Lila, Dimiao, Valencia, Garcia-Hernandez, Jagna, Duero and Guindulman. But it took a little more than expected since we had a sidetrip to Candijay as far as Barangay Panadtaran since one of the passengers was from there.

First, I got off to the plaza and just beside the plaza is the Anda church. It is a custom for me and my family that when we travel to new lands, the church should be one of the must visit places.

the Plaza

the Plaza

Church of the Black Nazarene

Anda Church

Inside the church

Inside the church

After praying and making wish since it was my first time to visit this church, I went to the waiting shed near the plaza where most habal-habal/ motorcycle for hire drivers were. I asked one of them which is a good place to visit and they told me to try Anda Falls.

Anda Signage

Anda Signage

After I negotiated the fare going to/from Anda Falls, we headed there for PhP50/ trip. Going there was hard with a very rough road. During rainy season, it is not advisable to visit this place. Even the local drivers won’t take risks.

Rough and Rocky Road going to Anda Falls

Rough and Rocky Road going to Anda Falls

Almost there, going up and down and bumping off here and there with this kind of trail.

Almost there, going up and down and bumping off here and there with this kind of trail.

Yet with a nice view up there.

Yet with a nice view up there.

Passing through wide, wild green plants and trees and very narrow path were the adventures you must encounter just to get to the falls. After 15-20 mins, finally, we reached the falls. It is located in Barangay Casica and that is the reason it is called Casica Falls. You need to pay PhP10 for maintenance and environment fee but it is worth it.

Gate to Casica Falls

Gate to Casica Falls

Entrance Fees

Entrance Fees

Cottages are available for PhP100

Cottages are available for PhP150

There is also a bathroom after taking a dip.

There is also a bathroom after taking a dip.

Casica Falls

Casica Falls

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Sure you want to take a swim in this cold water from the falls up in the mountain.

Sure you want to take a swim in this cold water from the falls up in the mountain.

Excess water from the falls goes to the town down.

Excess water from the falls goes downtown.

I stayed there for just 20-30 mins, the air was fresh and cool, too but I needed to see the famous beach that everyone is talking about. I hopped in back to the motorcycle I’ve rented and went to the popular so-called Little Boracay in Anda.

Few minutes, I was already in Anda de Boracay White Sand Resort. There is an entrance fee of PhP50 but consumable in their restaurant. They also offer rooms to stay in for the night. They have swimming pools, conference halls, cottages, shower area, and stores.

Anda de Boracay White Sand Resort

Anda de Boracay White Sand Resort

Wall Painting

Wall Painting

Stores

Stores

Bars and Restaurants

Bars and Restaurants

Ocean View Restaurant

Ocean View Restaurant

View of the sea from the restaurant

View of the sea from the restaurant

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Bacon Sandwich for lunch for PhP80

Bacon Sandwich for lunch for PhP80

Pool Area with Jacuzzi

Pool Area with Jacuzzi

Hallwway going to the beach

Hallway going to the beach

Shower Area for PhP10/head

Shower Area for PhP10/head

The view of the resort from the beach

The view of the resort from the beach

After I had my lunch and spent my time in the resort, I went out to stroll the beach.

The Oh-So-Blue Beach

The Oh-So-Blue Beach

Fisher Folks with his kids

Fisher Folks with his kids

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Floating Cottage for PhP1,500

Floating Cottage for PhP1,500

Then, I reached Quinale Beach which is a public beach for free. The beach here was more cleaner compared to that of the resort. Here, I enjoyed sitting and waiting for the time to come for my trip back to the city. You could also set a campsite here or have your tent fixed. I saw one when I was there. Everything was relaxing and perfect.

Anda Enchanting Nature

Anda Enchanting Nature

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Quinale Beach

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I  could definitely spend one day just bumming in the beach. But I needed to head back to the city because I am waiting for something big to happen within this week. You will know it when I have the confirmation. Stay tune.

The time came for me to say ‘goodbye for now’ to the beach. At 1400H, I walked going to Anda Public Market and waited at the bus stop. Last bus trip going back to the city is 1530H but make sure to be in the bus stop before 1500H to be safe.  I arrived in Tagbilaran City at 1730H, it was exhausting but the experience wanted me to go back and stay there for a long time. Soon, I’ll be back in Anda. I don’t know when but for sure I will.

Expenses:
PhP130 – V-Hire fare from Tagbilaran to Anda
PhP100 – Motorcycle roundtrip fare from/to Anda Falls
PhP 10 – Casica Falls Entrance Fee
PhP 80 – Bacon Sandwich for Lunch in Anda de Boracay
PhP 80 – Bus (Ceres) fare from Anda to Tagbilaran
TOTAL: PhP400

Simply CHAP

I had a one day opportunity to visit one of the tourist attractions in Bohol since it was a holiday that time. I can still remember the day I came back home when the plane landed and I was waiting to get my luggage, I saw on the television about CHAP. Thus, I have decided to head there and check it out. If you are wondering what CHAP means, well, CHAP is an abbreviated word that when dissected you’ll get Chocolate Hills Adventure Park. It’s a new attraction in the province of Bohol located specifically in the municipality of Carmen where you will find the famous tourist spot, the Chocolate Hills.

Chocolate Hills Adventure Park has opened its gate a year and 9 months ago. The park still has a lot of room for improvement and simply CHAP is a good way to describe it. Located in Brgy. Buenos Aires upon entering the town of Carmen from Tagbilaran City, there is this signage that will show you the direction to this park. The road going there somehow needs improvement as well but the travel there is just approximately five minutes from the provincial road.

When you get there, there is this ticket office wherein you can purchase your tickets/ passes. In that area also are the list of rides and activities that you can do in the park. 2014-10-26 13.39.08

the ticket office..oops I can see my reflection. what is he doing there?

the ticket office..oops I can see my reflection. what is he doing there?

After you have your ticket, you can pass ……

the gate of doom.. I mean the entrance gate.

the gate of doom.. I mean the entrance gate.

Once you are inside, you will see different species of garden plants and trees. They sure are nature lover here.

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After a minute of strolling, you’ll get to see the logo of CHAP and have the opportunity to snap some photos as well.

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CHAP logo

Then, you will see this nicely built welcome hall. But before you’ll get there, you’ll pass by the feeding area for the fishes which is along the bridge.

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The hall has a reception area, a restaurant which is named Cuisina ni Tisay, and a big space for group celebration, gathering or meetings. When we got there, we were greeted by the receptionists and to my surprise, one of the receptionists even showed us and gave us a tour. I was impressed with the hospitality and the service they offered. Kudos to Ms. Jesel, she was truly a great receptionist/ tour guide. She brought us to the Serpentarium where the reptiles mostly snakes were caged and taught us what directions to take if you want to do the Bike Zip or The Rush and some other activities.

The Tree Top Rope Challenge or Snake Ladder

The Tree Top Rope Challenge or Snake Ladder

The Serpentarium displays a green snake

The Serpentarium displays a green snake

The Serpentarium display

The Serpentarium display

The Directions

The Directions

So, with those arrows leading us to the right path, we never got lost. We directly headed to the famous ride in the park which is the Bike Zip or they called it the Rush. We climbed the stairway to the view deck and we surpassed 248 steps without a sweat. Upon seeing the view, it was mesmerizing. It was all green and beautiful. Seeing those perfect cones of the hills just made my day.

248 Steps

248 Steps

The View

The View

The View Deck

The View Deck

Garden at top the hill

Garden atop the hill

Cafe on top of the hill

Cafe on top of the hill

The Rush is a ride basically with the use of a bicycle suspended in the air with a zipline and a harness. If you are afraid of heights, then this is not for you. But for sure, you will enjoy fresh air and some little adrenaline rush when you try it.

The Rush

The Rush

Just an ordinary bike ride

Just an ordinary bike ride

With a weather so good.

With a weather so good.

After that, we went down and saw the souvenir shop. If you feel you need to go to the toilet, well the toilet is just beside the souvenir shop and it is clean.

Souvenir Shop

Souvenir Shop

The Toilet

The Toilet

What to do after a very exhausting walk? Of course, what better way to do is to eat and take some rest while waiting. We ordered banana split in Cuisina ni Tisay since we don’t want to take advantage of the buffet special they are offering and we also took our lunch already before we came.2014-10-26 14.51.352014-10-26 14.51.46

So, if you want to experience what I experienced, then, come and visit CHAP. Here is the contact details if ever you want to inquire.

Address: Camanayon, Brgy. Buenos Aires, Carmen, Bohol, Philippines

Website: chocolatehills_adventurepark@yahoo.com

Park Mobile No.: (+63) 932.667.7098

 

Tagbilaran Welcomes Me with New Improvements

After 3 years of being displaced in a country which I started to hate but I love in the end, finally, I have settled down in my home country. I’m back for good in the Philippines and for a week, I just stayed at home battling jet-lagged from a 9-hour flight.

Then a week after, I started to think about what will my life be since I don’t have work now. I posted on my Facebook account about missing the people I get to talk to in the Kingdom and most of them commented to me to get a life and have fun while I’m still in my homeland. So, I took note of their comments and I started to roam around my city again. And what I discovered is a big change. Now, Tagbilaran welcomes me with new improvements.

Lets’s start of:

1. The easy access road. The road in J.A Clarin going to San Isidro District from the city centre is well paved. Before, it used to be an uphill drive but look at it now. You can have a smooth trip passing through this street.

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2. New mall arise at CPG Avenue. We called it Alturas Supermarket  before but now no more. AGC or Alturas Group of Companies is still on the middle of constructing another building right next to the mall but here is a peek of the recently opened new Alturas Mall.SAM_0805It has five floors and there are still a lot of stalls available for lease.

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3. City Square with its new look. When I left, City Square doesn’t look like this. As you can see, few things were upgraded while some still the same and they put some green trees to somehow emphasized the love of nature. And still, it is jam-packed with customers and buyers.

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4. Something New in Galleria Luisa. I mentioned a while back about Galleria Luisa, click here. But that was last year, I visited it recently and almost all places were occupied with tenants. Before, Tagbilaran City doesn’t have shawarma but now there is a restaurant who caters Indian, Mediterranean and Arabic foods.SAM_0821 SAM_0823 SAM_0824

Other places still look the same such as,

the plaza

the plaza

doves in the plaza

and its resident doves

Integrated Bus Terminal

Integrated Bus Terminal

Island City Mall

Island City Mall

These are the only changes I’ve noticed but if  I will look meticulously in my surrounding, there are a lot of improvements. It’s just that I’m still not in the mood to travel and explore the new happenings in my city. Anyways, I have all the time in the world to see it for myself. I will just make a blog-post about it if the other changes will really capture my attention.