Monday, January 30, 2012

Isdaan Tarlac Experience, Tacsiyapo!

We wanted to turn the disappointing morning into something fun, my aunt suggested the Isdaan Floating restaurant at Gerona,Tarlac. Several tollgates and 3 hour roadtrip after, we reached our destination.
My aunt said that this is a pit stop for people who are traveling to Baguio, and indeed the road to this restaurant was reminiscent to our long trips to Baguio or Pangasinan. We were so hungry, our last meal was on a 9am breakfast at Subic. It was a busy Sunday, at 2 in the afternoon, the place was full. On another time, our eyes could've feasted on the big statue designs and the fishes freely swimming beneath.
The photos taken below were one hour after we finally had our table and the food was served. We were halfway through our meal so we managed to smile. We ordered a bilao of seafoods with rice served on small kalderos, my uncle Emvie commented that he could easily cook the same menu if we opted to go to our ancestral house instead of the 3 hour road trip. Its funny but I understood the emotion since we're famished that time.
When were done eating, we began to appreciate the visual sensations brought by the statues of fish, Buddhas and other creatures that make us think were in Thailand. There's even a San Kilo Bridge challenge where people can get a free 1 kilo of fish if they can successfully cross the bridge. Dont worry that's just a fake crocodile, but that's really steep!
One of the highlights of our Isdaan experience is the Tacsiyapo wall where we can buy anything from vase, glass, plate, even TV and smash it mercilessly on the wall. I think I spent a hundred pesos for various things that I gladly smashed to an undisclosed caption hahaha. This goes to show that we are very supportive as a family, my cousin was going through a break up and she needed a release.

Overall: Good food, poor service, very good ambiance! Maybe, try going there on a weekday instead.

Zoobic Safari Experience

late post
After watching Enteng Ng Ina Mo last December, aside from enjoying the funny movie, my family were also encouraged to try Zoobic Safari especially because of the "tiger" scene. When my relatives came home for a vacation, my cousins requested for a trip to the zoo but my dad asked me to research about a tour package for Zoobic Safari instead.

Good thing they have a neat website where I found all the information that I needed. After several back and forth emails and phone calls, I had a good deal of PHP22,700 for an overnight hotel accommodation, free breakfast/dinner and Safari Day tour for 21 adults and 3 cousins below 7 years old.

By 8AM we were traveling from Caloocan to Subic. Thank goodness for SCTEX because it only took 2 hours to reach Zoobic Safari. On the ticket booth, I presented our vouchers for day pass, they informed me that every 15 minutes, groups are scheduled on the 4 hour tour. I was kinda surprised that it will only take that time to go through the entire tour considering that the map looks very complicated. We decided to eat our packed lunch before the tour, and fortunately I was allowed to check in to our hotel thru phone. Our check in was supposed to be 1am but our day tour could last until 4pm so it was very convenient that they allowed late check in.

During the orientation, the guide informed us that the first part is 1 1/2 hour walking trail. That means that we have to leave nanay behind because she's having a hard time walking. The first attraction is the Bird Walk and Bird Thrill where different bird species are available for photo ops for only PHP10.00! My cousins also tried feeding the birds in their hands for another set of fee.

Then we walked through the Rodent World where they have mice and guinea pigs. On the Petting Zoo, you can feed milk to sheeps for a certain amount as usual.

On the second part of our day tour, we have a choice of riding our own cars or paying PHP50 per pax to ride the train. Of course, it is better to experience it together so we opted for the add-on! We rode the Zooper Train while going to the Close Encounter, Savannah & Animal Muzooeum.
The highlight of our Zoobic Safari experience is the Tiger Safari! It is one of those I'm so happy I did it but I dont want to do it again kind of experience! Together with our bakasyonista relatives and nanay we rode a safari jeep, which looks like a normal jeep but the windows are covered with steel bars. It was probably the longest 20 minutes of our lives as our fully protected jeep entered an enclosed area where tigers roam around. We bought a chicken for PHP200.00 that our guide used to lure the tiger near to our jeep. I think for at least 2 minutes the tiger was licking the chicken from our window while we screamed. For a split second, our guide exposed his hand to the tiger when he threw the chicken to our roof which prompted the tiger to jump! The tiger stayed there for at least 5 minutes. The scariest part was when the tiger wont get off the roof and they had to prick him, you dont want to mess with a tiger! Fortunately, we went out of the enclosed area with the same number of people when we got in but more sweaty :)

Other noteworthy attractions are the (1) Aeta's Trail - where the Aetas, the locales from Zambales showcased music and dance numbers as well as their bow & arrow skills- (2) Croco Loco - where we've seen crocodile overload, (3) Animal Parade and (4) additional PHP200 for ZipLine adveture!

Good thing we decided to get the package with hotel accommodation because we were extremely exhausted on the 2 hour commute and 4 hours + Zoobic day tour. Their partner hotel, Zoobic Lodge at Tiara was kinda disappointing. The hotel looks old from the exterior, fortunately it was well maintained and the bath tub saved the day for me. It was a Safari inspired room, plain and simple. We were so tired that we just planned to swim the next morning but the pool was closed, it broke my cousins little hearts! To add to the disappointment, the free breakfast was mediocre. We dont want to spoil our vacation mood so we were supposed to transfer to another resort but my aunt suggested Isdaan restaurant.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

La Luz Beach Resort Experience

One of my new year's resolution for 2012 is to write more meaningful blog posts, here goes my first post for the year.

Dad to Mei: find an affordable but nice beach resort where the clan can enjoy an overnight stay.

Mei: La Luz!

La Luz iz a great place for people who wants to relax - like a boss - but within a budget!

Its located in San Juan, Batangas, its a 3 hour drive from Makati. But words travel fast for sulit travel deals! Back in Jan 2010, a friend recommended it so my friends and I planned to go to this resort, we tried to book 2 months in advance but to no avail. We ended up going to Nagsasa, Zambales for a survivor-like experience. So fast forward nov 2010, my relatives from Orange County finalized their vacation to the Philippines and my dad gladly offered a beach trip for Galang family!

La Luz is the only option because we can find other affordable resorts but dont want to worry about the enormous food bill for 24pax!

Each guest is required to pay PHP1100 for the lunch, meryenda, dinner and breakfast buffet. Each buffet has an unlimited rice chicken, fish, beef/pork and vegetable meals plus fruits and juice. I really liked their pancit that was served during meryenda plus the food choices during dinner! Another cool thing is my aunts who are always tasked to prepare our food, was on real vacation mode!

They even managed to give us a make shift cake for my cousin who celebrated her birthday!

We booked 3 premier lofts that turned out to be enormous! We could actually fit in 2 lofts but the limit is 10 person for this room type. What i like about the room is the separte toilet and wash room. They already thought about 6-10 people waiting for their turn on the comfort rooms.

They don't have a pool but the water is pristine.
The sand is not that fine but you'll disregard it because there's a lot of affordable and fun water activities like boating, kayak and snorkeling.

And oh, my little and big cousins enjoyed the bonfire where we made smores while the others played the guitar. Meanwhile, my aunts and uncles stayed on the cabana to play card games and get a massage.

The proof that I enjoyed my La Luz experience is I'm going back there next month with my friends!

Monday, January 02, 2012

My December 2011

December is the month to be jolly and chubby that's why its my favorite month =)

HongKong! I spent the first days of the month in HongKong with my family. It was great to share the Disneyland & Ocean Park experience plus the happiness of being on a foreign country for the first time with them! We are very lucky to have parents like them, I hope someday my siblings will appreciate this.

The joy of giving! Christmas is the perfect excuse to shop hahaha I spent the entire month shopping and wrapping gifts for family and friends!

Something New.
I still squeezed some time to for my K and JDrama fix. I finally finished Lee Min Ho's "City Hunter", Kenichi Matsuyama's "Gantz 1 & 2" and "Paradise Kiss".

Game on! I'm very happy to be a part of a nonprofit organization to help foster the game industry \m/

Christmas with competitive spirit! Its inspiring to be around with creative and competitive group of people. Go team Brazil, cant wait to spend our cash prize!

Something blue.
I'm renewing my love for reading books! I finally finished Emily Griffin's "Something Blue" and another Rachel Gibson chicklit <3 I hope to find "Hunger Games" soon!

Friends and Weddings.
In 1 month a geek friend successfully executed his wedding proposal and I also attended a magical, lavish but fun wedding ceremony of a friend that made me want my own "match made in heaven" ;)

Love, love, love!
Christmas is a great time to catch up with friends and family whether by having a quick meal together, watching movie or a long overdue sms catch up!

After 3 long years, the Zuniga family - my aunt, uncle and cousins who live in LA - comes home for the holidays :) My baby cousin, Kenny, spent the night at our house and I became Santa Ate Mei for a day :)

December and 2011 has been awesome - except on the lovelife part - and I hope that 2012 will be the same or better! =)