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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IATA Code: CEB – Mactan Cebu International Airport

International Air Transport Association (IATALocation Identifier uses a 3-letter code to identify locations of airports throughout the world.419674_10150619212324667_908690600_n (1)

CEB or known as Mactan-Cebu International Airport is one of the main gateways in the Philippines. It is stationed in the Queen City of the South. Located in the Visayas Region, Mactan-Cebu International Airport has been serving a lot of travelers going from and to other countries and parts of the Philippines.

For the international terminal, most flights were to Northeastern part of Asia such as Japan and Korea. It has airline offices for Air Busan, Jeju Air, Korean Air and Asiana Airlines. Not only that, local carriers such as Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific and AirAsia also utilise CEB for flights to other parts of Asia. As I had my starting point in CEB, I noticed that some parts were under construction. Thus, giving a lot of negative feedback on my part as an airport terminal guest. Issues that left me complaining were:

1. There were no seats for passengers or sendoff significant others on the waiting area.

2. ACs didn’t work that well. It was indeed hot.

3. Some gates were barricaded with yellow lines signifying that they were under construction.

4. It was small for an international airport.

Even though there were negative criticisms for CEB, there were also positive points I noticed. First is it was neat and clean. Second, it was in order. Third, it may have been a small airport terminal but it was still spacious, maybe because the passengers were moving in and out. There were only less delay flights or problems on the airport grounds that made it a good thing about how MCIAA/ Mactan Cebu International Airport Authority efficient.

Well, let me give you a tour. Upon entering the gates, you can get a trolley just near the door gates. You can walk from the door gate to your right side and see stalls for coffee, money changers, and airline offices.

Food stalls, money changers, and airline offices

Food stalls, money changers, and airline offices


Airport Chapel

Airport Chapel

Then, there is a ramp going to the check-in counter area. Here, passengers were the only persons allowed. Once you get in, you will go to an X-ray inspection for you luggage.

X-ray

X-ray inspection for luggage

Once cleared, can proceed directly to the check-in counter if they are open already.

Check-in Counters

Check-in Counters

As soon as you have your boarding pass, you will see this table at the middle. This is the travel tax counter.

Travel Tax Counter

Travel Tax Counter

After finishing paying the travel tax, you can head to the terminal fee counter to pay for it.

Terminal Fee Counter

Terminal Fee Counter

When the terminal ticket has been stapled or placed in your passport, you can go inside the boarding gates passing through passport control for exit stamp.

Going to Boarding Gates

Going to Boarding Gates


Near Boarding Gates

Near Boarding Gates

There in boarding gates, you wait for announcement if your plane has arrived and ready for boarding.

Boarding gates with TV to entertain passengers waiting for their flight

Boarding gates with TV to entertain passengers waiting for their flight

While for domestic area, it has been 10 years when I last used CEB hub. I haven’t tried flying from/ to there. But as far as I could remember, my experience using CEB was good.

Easy access to both international and local gates

Easy access to both international and local gates

In general, even though CEB has hit and miss some points but it was a good airport terminal. Maybe soon when I fly back to the Philippines, CEB would be one of the best options to land with due to the proximity to my home province.

It’s Getting Into My Nerves

I needed a month of R&R (rest and relaxation) but in the end, I’ve got a message that tells me that my certification is up for renewal. For the renewal, I need to submit updated validation and verification from different organizations and offices. I also need to sit on an examination. So, basically it turned my one month needed vacation into a spree of running errands, getting those updated forms, a week of self-review for my test.

I’ve been working for almost straight 2 years and I’ve got no other choice but to finish these tasks. With this kind of weather in the Philippines, I would have gone to the beach, basking on the sun, getting tan, drinking booze, meeting other people, dining out, but what I am doing right now is sickening me and it is getting into my nerves. I am just staying at home, writing this post as my frustrations grow bigger and bigger. Currently, I am listening to audios (conversations of native English speakers), reading passages, trying to interpret a graph, and of course, I’ve been doing monologues. I’ve been talking to myself in preparation for my examination. Now, you got a hint what kind of test I’ll be going to take. Yes, it is. It is indeed, the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Exam.

It has been a long time that I didn’t get myself assessed with any examinations for the last 2 years since I’ve been busy taking care of other thing else. Even though, I love to write but I still find it the hardest thing to do. Conversing in a second language which is English is still uncomfortable for me. This is the reason that I can’t just disregard this examination, I need to make preparation since I am not a native English speaker and my English communication skills is not polished enough.

In addition to that, taking the IELTS exam costs PhP8,986 wherein you can’t close your eyes after shelling out that amount of money. And wait there is more since the location for the said exam will be in Cebu City, so, I still need to find a place to stay which I will need another bucks to handle that matter.SAM_0002

——2 weeks after——

I already took the IELTS examination on the second week of May which was held in SME Training Centre in Cebu. For the location, you can visit this site. With a place to crash, I made a reservation in Cebu Parklane International Hotel since they were offering a Summer Blast promo for PhP2,800 for a night. If you want to try their Summery Splurge Splendid Promotional Offer, you can visit their site, here. The entire IELTS test experience was nerve-wracking but I got to enjoy it since I can unwind and de-stress with the hotel facilities that I stayed in.SAM_0025Two-bedroom with one extra bedSAM_0026Study Table, television, lamp, and the windowSAM_0031Cebu City view outside my hotel room windowSAM_0033the toiletSAM_0035the bathtub

As a conclusion, all I can say is Whooahh. It surely made my vacation penniless. Now, I’m broke, free and just waiting for the result that will be released within 13 days from the written test date. With the result, you can access it online as well as apply for the exam by clicking here, just make sure to choose the right country that you will take the test.

Festivities in the Philippines: Sinulog 2011

Each year, we always make sure not to skip one Sinulog festival and to always visit the Holy Child in Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño.

Sinulog is held every third Sunday of January to celebrate and honor Sr. Sto. Niño. It is held in different provinces in the Philippines but I always witnessed the festivities only here in Cebu City.During Sinulog, a lot of activities, programmes, contests, parades, prayer vigils, novenas, etc has been arranged.Streets were filled with devotees and tourists, locals and foreigners alike. For us devotees of Sr. Sto. Niño, it will not be a complete experience if we won’t be able to see and kiss Him. That’s why there is always a long queue during this time.

Streets were also blocked due to street parties and parades. Malls were opened til midnight. Bars were jam packed. Everyone in Cebu City is alive during nighttime.

But, even though they have these activities, the main reason that I and my mom visit every Sinulog is to pray to the Holy Child.

I may not have been able to witness and visit Sr. Sto. Niño last 2012 and this year but I always pray to Him for guidance and thank Him for all the blessings I and my family received.

Not to worry, few more months and I’ll be seeing you in a while, Sr. Sto. Niño. I promise!

Conquering Cebu XII: Mactan Island

A party was sponsored by my previous company to show the admin’s gratitude to every employees for their great contribution. We had our scheduled bus to pick us up by 0800H. We’ve waited for 30 minutes then drove to Maribago and finally, we’ve arrived in BlueWater Resort.

It was fun but the heat was really sizzling hot. It was a great experience to see other colleagues enjoy.

Maribago Bluewater Resort is in Mactan Island. Forty-five minutes or to an hour travel from the city centre, Cebu City. The place is good for honeymooners, celebrations, and big parties like reunions and wedding reception.Check out their website at www.bluewater.com.ph. Bluewater Resort has another location which is in Sumilon Island which we explored in Conquering Cebu XI: Sumilon Island.

Related Links:

Conquering Cebu Articles include Argao, Barili, Danao, Carmen, Sibonga, Alcoy, Boljoon, Oslob, San Fernando and Balamban.

Conquering Cebu XI: Sumilon Island

My last outing with the team was planned and it involved swimming and sandbar. Our team has decided to go to Sumilon Island at that time.

We stayed in Marine’s Dive Resort. We enjoyed the pool, jacuzzi, tubbaths, and delectable food. I had a great time and a great laugh with teammates and friends. The day after the swimming in the resort, we direclty headed to Sumilon Island sandbar and had another swimming session.

In Sumilon, the water is so clear that I can see the seabed without wearing goggles. We stayed there for 3 hours, others were just taking photos. There is a resort in the island managed under the Bluewater Resorts. A lot of divers were there considering that the resorts around Sumilon Island and Oslob offer diving activities for a tour package.

Sumilon Island as a resort/ place is just an ordinary location for me, I could definitely say that, ‘nothing beats my home province, Bohol‘. I would say I won’t go there again. But I did not go there to criticise it. I went there to enjoy and have fun with friends and colleagues.

Related Links:

Conquering Cebu Articles include Argao, Barili, Danao, Carmen, Sibonga, Alcoy, Boljoon, Oslob, San Fernando, Balamban and Mactan Island.