Posts Tagged ‘pinas’

While looking for a hotel in Alaminos, I came across numerous posts with recommendations to try the food at Maxine by the Sea’s in-house restaurant. Not wanting to pass up the opportunity to eat good food, we decided to book a room and stay there for the night to be able try out as many of their meals as we can.

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Before I get to the restaurant and the food, I will quickly talk about their room accommodation. We reserved a room that could fit all 7 of us because we wanted to stay in just one room. We’re clingy like that, LOL. The room we got had 3 double beds and we requested for an extra single bed. With all the beds in there, the room didn’t feel too cramped – we still had space to move around. It was pretty basic, exactly just what we needed.

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The restaurant is built on the water and it offers a vast view of the distant Hundred Islands. You are able to smell the sea breeze as you eat in their al fresco dining area. It was quite perfect to beat the summer heat. It is also extra calming to stare out into the open sea while you wait for your food to be served. Service could get real slow during busy hours so you really need to calm yourself down LOL.

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Our accommodation came with a free breakfast which we eagerly gobbled down upon waking up. They have a selection of the traditional -silog meals and I had the Bangus-silog. When in Pangasinan, eat bangus! It was perfectly deep-fried and the marinade was mild yet tasty. We also ordered a platter of fresh fruits in season and everything was so fresh and sweet. The day before that, we all had our fair share of their fresh fruit shakes – I especially loved the ripe mango shake.

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But my favorite was the SEAFOOD GRILL PLATTER. Capslock para intense haha! This was what we ordered for our lunch during the whole day island hopping tour and OMG it tasted even better than it looks. It had grilled eggplant, boiled okra, grilled shrimp, bangus, liempo, squid, chicken, seaweed ensalada, kinilaw na oyster, fried saba and unicorn blood and glitters. HAHAHA. I am seriously drooling right now! We also brought bottles of gourmet tuyo and bags of chicharon. I mean, heaven right? It was a VEEEERY satisfying lunch.

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We all thoroughly enjoyed our stay at Maxine by the Sea and especially loved their food. I would definitely stay there again if I ever go back to Alaminos and I highly recommend you stay there, too. Or at least taste their food because it was THE BOMB DIGGITY.

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Maxine by the Sea Lodge & Restaurant is located near Lucap Wharf and you may check their website out for more information –> http://www.maxinebythesea.com/home/

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After our mini trek to the top of Governor’s Island, we made our way to our next destination – Quezon Island, which was named after our late President Manuel Quezon.

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Out of all the other islands, Quezon Island seems to be the busiest. There are large concrete huts all over the island dedicated to all sorts of recreational activities. When we got there, all tables were already occupied mostly by families and we did not even bother fighting for one because we were more interested in swimming rather than just lazing around. We plopped our things under the rock with the Alaminos City sign, and immediately got into the water.

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We swam all the way to that floating gazebo (pictured below) mainly because we had nothing else to do, and also because the water near the shore is a little murky due to more construction still ongoing all over the island. I’m afraid this island will be over crowded and abused in a few years’ time. 😦

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Midway, we realized that we underestimated the distance of the gazebo from the shore. Not wanting to let our efforts go to waste, we pushed through anyway and made it after quite some time (the strong winds didn’t help much either). It was like a private party in the middle of the sea because not many people dared to swim that far off. When we got back to shore, our boatmen led us to where the giant clams were, but no photos because I didn’t have an underwater camera with me that time. Nonetheless, we thoroughly enjoyed the view of the Giant Clams and corals inhabited by a variety of fishes.

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After that long swim, we were quite worn out so we spent some time rolling around the fine white sand, people-watching while trying to get re-energized.

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By this time, we were more than ready for our lunch but our boatmen insisted that we just eat when we get to our next destination – which I will share with you next. 🙂

Edit: LOL scratch that last part. As it turns out, I do not have any photos from the day’s last destination but believe me when I say it’s amazing. We rolled around the beach’s powdery white sand and hiked up a hill just to jump down a large basin of water inside a cave. I swear it was amazing. But no pictures, bummer! 😦

I had to call in sick for work today because I woke up with an upset stomach. By afternoon, I felt better and got bored so I started playing with a video editor Cris just downloaded for me.

I just want to share with you my first shot at editing a video. I am CRAP at this. I swear I have all these ideas in my head but I just don’t know how to edit stuff to form a clip acceptable enough to share. But with this new app, things just got better. Even a dummy like me was able to do it! Somehow, this is beginning to sound like an ad for that app LOL.

Anyway, after all that yada yada, here it is! Please check it out and let me know your feedback. I would love some constructive criticism 🙂

 

Thanks guys! 🙂

The Hundred Islands National Park in Alaminos Pangasinan is composed of over a hundred islands covering a land area of almost 2,000 hectares. Only three of these islands were developed for tourists namely Governor, Quezon and Children’s Island.

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Governor’s Island was our first stop of the day. We planned to stay for a maximum of 30 minutes as there isn’t much to do in that island anyway – the beach front was too crowded with boats to be conducive for swimming.

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Our boatman said we could climb up Governor Island’s hill to get a view of the surrounding islands. The climb was short and uneventful except for a little patch of overgrown foliage where one could rest from the heat of the sun, or take photos with a nice (green) background.

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Reaching the viewing deck at the top of the hill, we were immediately greeted by a nice view of the Hundred Islands. However, we only stayed there for not even 10 minutes because it got too hot to handle. More groups of people were also getting to the top so we decided to get out of their way after getting our group photo taken. One could only stare at little islands from afar for too long until they begin to look alike anyway.

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The trek down was shorter, thanks to gravity. The steps are high so it could be quite a challenge for some with shorter (cuter) legs. As we got down, more boats were arriving, good thing we got there early.

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Apparently, the infamous Big Brother House is perched in this island but we did not bother checking it out anymore. I heard it could be rented for Phph10,000 per night. I think it could be quite an adventure to stay there even just for the night, but the lack of immediate boat transfer for emergency purposes scares the paranoid in me.

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Last summer, I was finally able to visit the Hundred Islands in Pangasinan. Along with six other friends from work, we boarded a bus bound for Alaminos and sat through a 5-hour long drive. After a simple silog breakfast at a restaurant near the Public Market, we jumped on a tricyle that would take us to our chosen accommodation – Maxine by The Sea.

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After changing into our swimming clothes, we walked to Lucap Wharf to rent out a boat for our whole day Island Hopping Tour. We chose a Medium Service Boat for Phph1,800 and paid Php20 per head at the Tourist Information Center. While waiting for our boatmen, we saw other boats and tourists getting ready to sail out.

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For this entry, I am not going to talk about our island stops just yet. Instead, I will just share with you some photos I took of the (unidentifiable) islands that we saw while in the middle of the sea.

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I noticed that some of the islets look like mini versions of Coron’s rock formations. Way smaller but beautiful, nonetheless.

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This island looks like a great place to just sunbathe and pass the time. Look at that mound of white, fine sand. It looks so soft and inviting!

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I was getting antsy seeing these islands from afar. I couldn’t wait to dock in one of them, and jump into the clear blue waters.

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I will share our first stop (Governor’s Island) in my next post. I could have condensed our Pangasinan trip into one long post but decided to chop it up into shorter separate posts so you could appreciate their individual beauty. A little anticipation never hurt anyone, right?

Bellarocca Island Resort and Spa is located in Marinduque, Philippines. The island could be accessed directly via private helicopters. There are also chartered flights and luxury yachts from Manila to Marinduque. Our group however took the cheaper route and hopped on a commercial flight to mainland Marinduque.

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From the airport, we were transferred to the town of Lipata, where Bellarocca is located. Our flight was delayed by a few hours but the guest service staff were patiently waiting with water, cold towels, and our private vans when we arrived.

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After around 40 minutes, we arrived at the marina where we got to have our first view of Bellarocca which literally translates to “Beautiful Rock”. One could immediately see the resemblance of the design to Santorini.

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We then had to board a speed boat for a brief 5-minute ride to the island. On the dock were more hotel staff waiting for our arrival. We were welcomed with a beautiful local song and leis made out of indigenous materials.

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Then we were whisked off on a golf cart to the resort’s front desk where a refreshing drink (and more cold towels) await us. A personnel gave a short briefing of the island and its amenities, and which amenities come free with our accommodation.

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After the orientation, we were led to our rooms where a personal note and fruit platter welcomed us. We were in four separate rooms and I was bunking with Anna. I loved our bed, especially the soft pillows.

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After settling down, we went to the restaurant to have our lunch. While waiting for our food to be served, we wandered around and checked out the entertainment area. We played a couple rounds of intense Foosball until our hands felt bare from all the twisting and turning. We also saw DVDs that are free for guests to borrow – I got a copy of The Beach as I actually haven’t gotten around to finishing that movie.

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Soon after, we went back to the restaurant for our lunch. Every meal at Bellarocca starts off with their bread rolls which we loved so much, but sadly I do not have a photo of. I shared the grilled seafood platter with Neri and it filled us up nicely. The food in the resort is priced higher than usual restaurants but that is to be expected in a luxury resort.

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After our lunch, we jumped back on the golf carts (no, we didn’t get to drive 😦 ) for a tour of the island and other private villas. We stopped at a villa where John Lloyd Cruz apparently stayed before. It had its own private pool with a sweeping view of the surrounding water. I especially loved the bathroom which is equipped with a jacuzzi. Fancy!

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We moved on to the seaside swimming pool where lots of water activities could be availed. We mostly just checked out what it had to offer and planned to go back the next day.

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We circled back to the hotel and decided to swim in the lap pool while having a drink and some chips. We were hoping to catch the sunset but failed terribly because the view was obstructed by the hotel LOL. The sky was pretty though.

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When it got cold and dark, we retired to our own rooms to wash up for dinner. The restaurant is beautifully lit at night. I cannot find other food photos so I do not remember exactly what we had. But I’m sure we still enjoyed the rolls haha. After dinner, we convened in one room and played charades til wee hours of the morning.

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The next day, we asked to be dropped off at the seaside pool where we lounged and swam to our hearts’ content. We also asked our lunch to be served at the seaside pavilion so we do not have to drive to the hotel restaurant and back to the pool again. After siesta and some drinks, we kayaked and snorkeled until we got all wrinkly from staying in the water for so long.

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As if that was not enough physical activity, we decided to climb up the highest point of the island. At this point, two of our friends begged off and retired to their room to rest instead.

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Our dinner was an indulgence because it was our last main meal in the island. We had a repeat of the delicious Crispy Pata which we loved during lunch and a number of other dishes (incomplete photos again).

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After dinner, we retired to the cigar room for some drinks and karaoke! There were two other groups when we got there which was quite a surprise since we barely ran into other guests during our stay. Guess everybody loves karaoke, eh?

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The next morning, we had to bid our goodbyes to the beautiful island and the very attentive hotel staff. A group of staff event sent us off with their now familiar friendly waves.

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I loved our brief stay at Bellarocca and if given the chance (and budget), I would go back to the island in an instant.

As mentioned in a previous post, our trip to Polillo Island took an unexpected detour when we were not allowed by the Coast Guard to cross the seas on a Good Friday. We tried a lot of options to bypass the Coast Guard, even hopped from one port to the other. Alas, everything was not working for us. As if some sort of force was trying to direct us somewhere else.

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While arguing with the Coast Guard on duty, we met a bunch of surfers who were also trying to get to Polillo that day. When every other option failed, they offered to take us back to a surf camp where they were staying at.

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We took a tricycle to The Pacific Recreation Kamp a.k.a. “The PaRK”. Apparently, it is a fairly popular place for surfers and non-surfers alike. The PaRK’s campground is covered in soft grass and shaded by trees. It is ideal for pitching tents – which is exactly what we did. We rented a tent and put it up near the fence facing a river. We took a very satisfying nap after a couple bottles of beer and we woke up energized and ready to explore the rest of the camp.

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Just beyond the fence is a river, actually an estuary. There were several boats docked and a blue boat was so perfectly set with the lush green mountains serving as its backdrop.

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To get to the main beach area where most of the people are, we needed to cross the river. It was easy to find the shallowest part in the daytime but believe me, things were totally different when we made our way back to camp when the sun set. High tide, dim moon light and a small dry bag is not a good combination. LOL.

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The beach does not boast of fine, white sand. Instead, the water is rather murky, tinted by the brownish sand. The part where the waves hit the shore is littered with smooth pebbles.

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Walking further ahead, the sand got finer and there were less scattered stones. For some reason, the waves were comparably smaller than other parts. It was crowded with families lounging around. These two boys seemed to be having the time of their lives.

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As per our surfer friends, the waves weren’t really huge that day. That didn’t seem to discourage anyone as there was still a good number of surfers playing in the water even when the sun was already going down. 

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Up further ahead is a more secluded area. It was much less crowded than all the other parts mainly because it takes quite a long walk to get here.

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After swimming and surfing, we decided to head back to camp as it was about to get dark. There are a lot of surfboards for rent at P200/hour or P500/half day. When we reached camp, we washed up and cooked a huge fish the surfers so graciously offered to us. We shared a simple yet sumptuous dinner with our new-found friends and retired to our respective tents early because we planned to catch the first trip to Polillo Island the next day.

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I was not able to take pictures of the main camp area as it was pretty crowded while we were there due to the Holy Week peak. No worries though because this is for sure not my last time at The PaRK.