Friday, December 30, 2011

What's in a (Business) Name? Tres

Let Kong do your laundry!
Spotted at A del Rosario St., Mandaue City

For more amusing business names, please visit Go Random.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Macaron vs Macaron

...vs Macaron!
Tried French macarons from three different places...

Macaron Tango Cafe
#5 Centero Arcade (The Boulevard), Osmena Boulevard, Cebu City
(032) 412 5151

My first French macaron. Actually my first two French macarons, one dark chocolate and one pistachio, which costs Php 40 apiece. The size? About an inch and a half in diameter. The taste? Good but wasn't a wow moment. Maybe my expectations were too high after hearing so many praises. They do have a variety of choices (as they should since they named their cafe after it)...I wish I could have tried all the flavors.

PS Parking sucks. Parking costs more than a macaron! The complex has space for 10 cars and only gives an hour of free parking provided you buy at any of the establishments at the complex. Staying for more than that will mean goodbye to your 50 pesos for every additional hour or a fraction of it. Tsk tsk tsk. And they do not give a receipt for the parking fee. If you plan to have coffee and chat for hours on end, leave your car at home --- you might spend more on parking than on food.

Vanille Patisserie and Cafe
2nd Level The Terraces, Ayala Center Cebu
(032) 417 1500
How do you choose from so many flavors when you can only afford one (their macarons, which are 1.5  inches in diameter, cost Php 40 each)? I love anything hazelnut...chocolates with hazelnut, hazelnut flavored ice cream, hazelnut of course I had to pick the hazelnut macaron even if it looks like their bestseller is the tableya macaron (there were only a few pieces left on the display). How was the hazelnut macaron you ask? Oh YUM!  But a little too expensive for something I can pop in my mouth at one time. So to make it last as long as I can, I just have to nibble it ever so slowly...kind of hard to do for something so delish!

No 888 AS Fortuna St. Mandaue City
(032) 416 1727
For Php 50 you get a macaron that's about 3 inches in diameter. Flavors available when I popped in were chocolate, pandan, and vanilla. Without blinking an eye, and trying to keep from drooling, I ordered the chocolate one.

And the winner is... fudge! For its portion size! YEAH! I just wish they had more interesting flavors to choose from. But I have to say I loved the hazelnut flavored macaron of Vanille (I admit, I am just too biased when it comes to hazelnut flavored anything).

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Whale sharks

Shark!? Did anyone say shark?! Worry not for you have selective hearing (or reading)! I said whale sharks. Do not be afraid of their size and, particularly, of their large mouth; they do not feed on people but rather have a taste for plankton and microscopic plants and animals. (Unless you are microscopic or own the Chum Bucket in Bikini Bottom then you should have been alarmed five sentences ago.)

To cross off an item in your bucket list, assuming one of them is to swim with the whale sharks, you do not have to haul your butt to Donsol, Sorsogon. You can do so in your own backyard! Okay, more like 117 km from your backyard if you're from Cebu City. At Barangay Tanawan in Oslob, a town south of Metro Cebu, seven whale sharks have taken a liking to its waters (or maybe to the krill...or was that baby shrimps?...the fishermen feed them).


To borrow Discovery Channel's words "The world is just awesome!"

How to find them whale sharks: Hop on a bus bound for Oslob and get off just before you reach the drop off for Sumilon Island (tell the bus conductor you're paying the whale sharks at Barangay Tanawan a visit, they'll know where to let you off). If they eject you in front of a gate with a whale shark painted on it, then you're in the right place.

What to bring for this awesome experience:
Snorkel and mask or goggles (to avoid getting red eyes after staring underwater at the whale sharks too long)
Rashguard (if you're afraid of jellyfish)
Money (to pay the fees)
Waterproof camera (to record this bucketlist item)

Answers to questions I would most probably have asked before going:
  • The bus ride to Oslob will take 2.5 to 3 hours. Buses for Oslob leave the South Bus Terminal every 30 minutes.
  • Driving will take 2 hours if you're a speed devil or 2.5 to 3 hours if you're a Sunday chill driver. There is a parking area.
  • If you're thinking of having a picnic, open cottages are available (Php 100).
  • It is not every day the seven will grace you with their presence. After a typhoon, underwater visibility will be low, and some of them might hide (yes, yes, I made that up) or take a holiday somewhere.
  • You can wash the seawater off your hair and skin, there are shower rooms you can use for free (bring your own shampoo, soap, and towel... it is not that free).

How this awesome experience bore a hole thru Mustachio's pocket:
Cebu to Oslob nonAC bus Php 150
Entrance fee at a resort Php 100
Banca Php 200
Lunch at Lusapon Resort in Boljoon Php 0, thanks to the kindness of a stranger
Oslob to Cebu Php 0, thanks to the kindness of a stranger

  • January 7, 2012 – Heard there are 14 whale sharks now!
  • January 10, 2012 – This from a friend who went to see the whale sharks last January 8:  you have to register and pay at the barangay.  Fees are as follows: Php 300 for banca, add Php 20 if you're going snorkeling, and Php 100 if you're bringing a camera. (Why all the fees??) And according to this news article, 60% goes to the fishermen, 10% to the barangay, and 30% to the municipal government.
  • April 28, 2013 – Fees for Filipinos: Php 300 if whaleshark watching only / Php 500 if snorkeling. For foreigners: Php 1000. Fee already includes banca ride, life vest, snorkel, and transfers to and from registration area/briefing area. Whaleshark watching is from 5AM to 12NN only.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Cafe Georg

Let me introduce you to my favorite restaurant in town.
Dear Reader, meet Cafe Georg.
Georg, say hello to dear Reader.

I have been to this place a couple of times but haven't tried all the items on the menu. But everything else that has touched my tastebuds has my TB's seal of approval! Cafe Georg hasn't disappointed me at all! If only my wallet and my stomach could afford to try everything they have: appetizers, pasta, sandwiches, salads, meat and vegetable dishes, down to desserts!

On this particular day...
Ring! Ring!
Where you at?
On my way to Restaurant X.
I'm at Cafe Georg. Wanna join me for dinner?
A quick U-turn and off to Cafe Georg I go!

Oriental Salad to start.
Chicken, lettuce, carrots, jicama, and fried noodles, with hoisin-sesame dressing

Grilled Lemongrass Chicken for the main dish.
Lemongrass-marinated boneless chicken breast with sweet chili sauce

And a slice of Choco Decadence for dessert.
Flourless choco torte made with dark Belgian chocolate

Don't worry, I am not a glutton, everything was shared with my host :-)
PS. The dessert melts in your mouth! Yummy!

Cafe Georg
Ground Floor MLD Building
Banilad, Cebu City
(032) 234 0887

How inviting Mustachio to his favorite restaurant bore a hole thru Mustachio's host's pocket:
Oriental salad Php 225
Grilled lemongrass chicken Php 210
Choco Decadence Php 90

Monday, December 12, 2011


Getting lost in the mangroves under the angry sun had me craving for a cold cold halo-halo. On the 13-kilometer ride back to Mandaue, I racked my brain for a place that serves one. Nearing my last stop, out the speeding jeepney's window I see Razon's in a blue blur. "Lugar lang!" and hotfooted it to the "pride of Pampanga" (this according to the snackhouse's sign).

No muss, no fuss. One halo-halo and a scoop of strawberry ice cream, please!

From what I could identify from my speed-eating were nangka (jackfruit),  sweetened saba bananas, and macapuno drenched in evaporated milk, and topped off with leche flan. Of course, let's not forget the shaved ice! This halo-halo is a-okay in my book!

Halo-halo craving quenched at:
D'Original Razon's Famous Halo-halo & Special Palabok
Carlos Perez Bldg., AC Cortes Ave., Mandaue City
(032) 239 5052

How this halo-halo craving bore a hole thru Mustachio's pocket:
Halo-halo Php 69
Scoop of ice cream Php 25

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Lost in the Mangroves

Olango Island, located 5 kilometers east of Mactan Island, is part of Cebu province and is under the jurisdiction of the city of Lapu-lapu. The island is a raised coral reef so if you're looking for long stretches of white sand, you're on the wrong island. But if you're a bird lover, then this could be heaven for you for Olango Island has a 920-hectare sanctuary where birds from Siberia, China, and Japan seek refuge from the winter climate of other countries.

Most visitors come to the island on a day trip. To stay a night, either pitch a tent or pick from a handful of choices: Talima Beach Villas, Abalone Beach, Shalala Resort [032 511 3201],  Isla Bonita Inn [032 424 8063].

I picked Shalala Resort for two reasons: sand and budget (Php 1000 for a fan room for two). Talima Beach Villas doesn't have a sandy shore and is way over my budget, so is Abalone Beach. Isla Bonita is inland and obviously doesn't have a beachfront, though this is the cheapest (Php 800 for an AC room for two) of the four.

Shalala Resort is on the south side of the island where the mangroves are.
It has fan rooms, AC rooms, and open cottages.

Blue Bayou, Shalala's next door neighbor, doesn't have rooms but open cottages.

The mangroves at high tide.


How should you spend your 24 hours in Olango? Relax, sleep, rent a kayak (Php 100), check out the bird sanctuary, and walk to Pangan-an island at low tide. The last one was unfortunately off the list for I got lost in the mangroves while trying to find the bird sanctuary. The upside? I got to see the birds without using binoculars! (Sorry, no photos, I don't have a telephoto lens. They hop or fly away if you get too close.)

Ack! Where am I???

Relaxing on a mangrove while figuring out which way to go.

Two hours in the mangroves searching for an exit got me all sunburned, tired, and hungry that once I saw a concrete road I decided to hail a tricycle even if the locals said the resort was close by.

Land! Oh land!

How did I manage to get lost? By taking two right turns instead of one. Quite easy to do when you're surrounded by mangroves and no directional signs! Try it! The goal was to reach the hut where tricycles were waiting (at low tide) to take passengers to Pangan-an island. And here's my actual 2-hour route round the sanctuary in red!

Lessons learned:
1. Know where you have to go. I knew where the wharf is but forgot the name of the area. It could have saved me one jeepney ride.
2. Bring water and food when strolling thru the mangroves. In case you follow my footsteps.
3. Be aware of the tides. You don't want to be in the middle of a 920-hectare sanctuary as the tide comes in, do you?
4. Do not fret if you don't have food. There are small stalls nearby selling food. Just be sure to get there at meal time. Getting there too late will assure you of empty pots and a growling stomach.

How this (mis)adventure bore a hole thru Mustachio's pocket:
Mandaue-Maribago jeepney Php 18
Maribago-Punta Engaño jeepney Php 8
Boat to Sta Rosa (Olango) Php 15
Terminal fee Php 1
Tricycle from Sta Rosa wharf to Suba, Sabang Php 20
Fan room at Shalala Resort Php 1000
Too tired to walk (tricycle) Php 10
Habal habal from Suba, Sabang to Sta Rosa wharf Php 15
Lunch Php 50
Boat to Punta Engaño Php 15
Terminal fee Php 1
Punta Engaño-Mandaue jeepney Php 15

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

What's in a (Business) Name? Dos

Would you go to a beauty parlor named such?
Spotted at ML Quezon Avenue, Mandaue City

For more amusing business names, please visit Go Random.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Persian Palate on a Discount

Was trolling around Ensogo Cebu one time and bought a discount voucher for Persian Palate. Take note when using a voucher: always check the terms and conditions.

Fast forward to 30 days and I'm now at Persian Palate, trying to choose a meal that would fit the Php 300 voucher (bought for Php 150) .

Lets roll out the orders:

First, and my favorite was the Chello Kebab Special:
I think this would have been Xerxes' favorite home cooked meal
It's two sticks of beef kebab on top of a serving of tomato rice with raisins, two pieces of grilled tomatoes and a small calamondin (limonsito in Visayan) for additional zest. The kebab was juicy and, just like Robin is to Batman, the tomato barbecue was a good side kick to the beefiness of the kebab.

Oh yeah, don't forget these condiments: Yogurt Garlic sauce and Chili sauce. What's great is that they serve these for free and possibly unlimited. I ordered the Yogurt Garlic sauce twice 'coz I had a hefty spread on my kebab.
Not pictured: Chuck Norris spreading the sauces on a kebab. Awesome!

Next, the good looking Falafel:
If I had a bad-ass middle-eastern alter-ego, I'd probably name it Falafel, no?

The ones that look like breaded pork chops are actually green peas patties. With the patties are lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumber, wrapped in a pita. If you can't choose a vegetarian meal, then try this one for a start.

And for the dessert, I had fresh fruits with yogurt. Sorry, forgot to take a picture of this one because I was in a rush to eat something sweet. It's made up of sliced apples, bananas, and papaya, with raisins and lettuce, smothered in yogurt. Just watch out for the papaya. I think yogurt and papaya don't taste good together.
Must have been the reason they went berserk

Time to round up!

This is where I ate:
2nd Level, Active Zone, Ayala Center
(032) 232 6898

They also have branches at:
Mango Square Mall (032) 412 6795
Robinsons Place (032) 254 3608
Parkmall (032) 416 9211

You can check out their menu here (prices may not be updated).

How this bore a hole thru Mustachio's pocket:
Chello Kebab Special Php 180
Falafel Php 120
Fresh fruits with yogurt Php 85

Monday, October 31, 2011

What's in a (Business) Name? Uno

Do you know where Clark Kent's alter alter ego hangs out?
Spotted at Hernan Cortes St. Mandaue City

For more amusing business names, please visit Go Random.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011



Itbayat wasn't in my agenda for two reasons:
1) Going there meant enduring a rollercoaster ride on water eight times as long as the ride to Sabtang (and that's just one way!)
2) Wallet wouldn't allow me to buy a Php 2700 roundtrip plane ticket to Itbayat.
I will visit you, Itbayat, when my stomach is stronger or when my wallet is fatter, whichever comes first.

So instead of talking about Itbayat, shall we talk about food? They say do as the Romans do. I say eat as the Ivatans eat (or eat whatever I can afford).

Here's that 120-peso one-day-old daing breakfast from Shanedel's Inn and Cafe that would have made me cough up my breakfast if I had known it was going to cost me that much.

In Sabtang, I had all my meals at forgot-the-name canteen.
CamoteQ, veggies, turmeric rice, tatus (coconut crab), and fish for lunch.
Looks a bit much for one person? It is. That's actually two servings.

Humet (seaweed soup), onions and egg, and fish again for dinner.
Chicken, noodles, and turmeric rice at Hiro's Cafe.

Also tried out food at canteens in Basco thinking it would be cheaper. But no, food in Batanes wasn't cheap at all! A serving of meat viand at a canteen costs 50 to 60 pesos (that normally costs 25 to 35 pesos in Cebu), 30 pesos for a serving of vegetables, and 15 pesos for a cup of rice. I canteen hopped from Zantan Canteen (ate here twice for they had affordable and tasty pork barbecue) to Carl's Canteen (sells ice cream and has super spicy chili sauce), and to another canteen I can't remember the name of.

Ate lobster at Pension Ivatan and it had its revenge on me, it ate a 400 peso hole in my pocket (actually it was a 200 peso hole since I shared this with another person). Sorry, no photo, I forgot to bring my camera for dinner.

Five days and four nights in Batanes left me with an enriched soul, a full stomach, and a giant hole in my pocket:

Some of the meals were shared with another hungry person and the meal expenses shown above are already my share. You might also wonder why most of my breakfast expenses are less than 50 pesos.... well, I brought some noodles and crackers with me and the lodge had a water dispenser. Not included above are expenses for Cebu-Manila-Cebu.

The end. Time to go back to the world of work and replenish my travel fund.

If you missed my other Batanes posts, do not fret:
Sketch Batanes
Hello Batanes
Northern Batan on Foot
Northern Batan Not by Foot
Southern Batan
Sabtang Island
Itbayat (you're here!)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Sabtang Island

From Basco, take the jeepney to the port of Ivana. Ask locals for the jeepney and boat schedule. If you're staying in the town center, the jeepney passes Abad Street and announces itself by blaring its horn. The 30-minute jeepney ride to the port costs Php 25.

The Ivatan's boats, called falowas, do not have outriggers for these will only snap like toothpicks in the way-bigger-than-your-regular-sized waves. Passengers are required to wear a lifevest. If lifevests weren't  mandatory, I'm willing to bet you'd beg to have one.

There was only one passenger boat that day. Do you want to know why? Do you really really want to know why? If you don't, you may skip the rest of this paragraph. The other falowa sank the day before as it was leaving Sabtang. And you thought the Ivatans knew their sea conditions well! If this falowa I am getting on sinks, I will have to enjoy my indeterminate extended stay in Sabtang and learn to build a falowa.

Because I easily turn green, I had my eyes screwed shut (and my fingers crossed) most of the way. Sneaked a peek as we were nearing Sabtang Island and saw the island disappear behind the waves. You have to pay Php 50 to experience this half-hour rollercoaster ride on water.

On land, oh lovely land, I head on to the tourism office located just a few meters to the left of the port of Sabtang to register and pay the Php 100 tourism fee. Most visitors come to Sabtang for a day tour but I think it's best to stay a night to be able to explore the entire island. There are rooms at the tourism office for Php 300 a night or you can follow my lead and snore at Sabtang National School of Fisheries, just next door, for Php 150 a night (dorm type).


Vans to tour the island can be rented at the tourism office. Unfortunately, or rather, fortunately, all vans were booked and the only option left was a tricycle with an open sidecar. This proved to be a blessing for 1) it was cheaper, 2) open air equals fresh air, and 3) it can pass thru some areas where vans can't.

Sabtang island has six villages: Savidug, Chavayan, Sumnanga, Nakanmuan, Malakdang, and Sinakan. And I am going to visit all six.

The traditional houses at the village of Savidug.

There are two roof types: maytuab (cogon roof on four sides) and  sinadumparan (two sides only).
 Photo by Bee Chavez

On the way to Chavayan one can see the idiang of Sabtang
(below right, photo courtesy of Bee Chavez) from the roadside

and stop by Chamantad Sanctuary

The best place to find weavers is at the village of Chavayan.

Ivatan women's headgear, worn as protection from either sun or rain, is called a vakul (below left), while headgear for men is called talugong. During cold or rainy days, they wear a coat (below right) made of fine strips of vuyavuy (small palm growing in the coastal hills of Batanes).


The basket (below left) is called a pasikin. And the woven slippers (below right) are used by fishermen when fishing in shallow rocky coasts.


In Chavayan lives Lolo Marcelo Hostallero, the oldest person of Batanes. He is 104 years old.
The secret? Coconut water.

Roads cut thru the rock on the way to Sumnanga.

Duvek Bay at Sumnanga fishing village.

Nakabuang beach is a perfect place to pitch a tent or have a picnic.
But, poor me, I neither had a tent nor food.

Sabtang lighthouse

From here you can see the port of Sabtang and the villages of Malakdang and Sinakan.

Yup, we circled the island of Sabtang in one day.

How Batanes bore a hole thru Mustachio's pocket:
Will tell you in my next post. I promise. That's if you're still interested.

If you missed my other Batanes posts, do not fret:
Sketch Batanes
Hello Batanes
Northern Batan on Foot
Northern Batan Not by Foot
Southern Batan
Sabtang Island (you're here!)