Tuesday, September 14, 2010

My 3rd Solo Travel [Davao!]


Sat morning, I took a van to San Francisco, Agusan (del Sur, I think) then took a really nice Bachelor Express bus to Davao City (really awesome, the bus is new, clean, spacious and really cold. I've always looked foward to this ride!!! Babaw I know! Haha!)

After 6.5 hours all in all, there I was in Marco Polo hotel. I never planned to splurge the way, I was just enticed by my uncle who had a transferable discount in this hotel ...which I ended up keeping because it's more sulit for huge suites (and I'm sure the family will be able to use it before it expires!)

Marco Polo

It was only 2pm, but I was already tired. So after eating the shawarma I grabbed in NCCC (where I got off, and took a cab), I fell asleep and woke up at 6pm! I felt like I wasted time, skipping a lot of things in my afternoon list. so I immediately got out, hoping that I can shop enough before 7pm, Aldevinco's closing time (that shopping center with a wide variety of Mindanao's products). I was about to stop a cab when I noticed that Ateneo de Davao's right infront of me ...which meant that Aldevinco's just 1 block away, or - seriously - just 1 minute away! Good I remembered Ateneo as the landmark, or the cab driver could've died laughing. Hehe! (or he could've roamed me around the city first, wasting my money)

I shopped for the usual stuff - shawls, bags, accessories, etc. I think I did half of my Christmas shopping already. Haha! This time too, I didn't forget to buy stuff for myself... That's my regret in the previous years! I went back in the hotel feeling so fulfilled, also because I saved a lot for my transpo to Aldevinco. I think I'll forever love Marco Polo for that reason. Haha!

I then thought of having dinner in Matina Town Square but then rain poured heavily. At first it felt bad, having no choice but to dine in the hotel's resto ...then I realized that the price's same as outside PLUS cab rides anyway ...so I excitedly scouted for hotel foods without guilt. I enjoyed checking out all 3 restos, holding just a book and a cellphone, giving the aura, "I'm checked in here, I'm hungry, and I haven't found the food that may fit my taste!" haha! How sosyal!

I ended up in Lotus, a quiet chinese resto which gave me a perfect spot to read a book. Food was good, not too pricey for a hotel resto, and service is excellent. My only rant is that they don't serve dimsums for dinner, though they're available for lunch. But hu-whyyy right? (Bev, I'm still not done with Eat, Pray, Love!!!)

Then I ended my day, still a bit cramming... I had lots of to-do things in my list, but I've done just one so far - to shop in Aldevinco *sigh*. I then started trimming my list - why feel such pressure, when I'm here to rest anyway??? Haha!

I woke up the next day, eager to make the most out of my stay in the hotel. So I immediately got up, dressed up in loose clothes on top of my swimming attire, then went down to eat breakfast (ohyesss, sulitin ang pool, magexercise after magpakababoy!)

OH I LOVE BREAKFAST BUFFETS IN HOTELS! Generally, I mean. Simply coz I'm a breakfast person, I eat A LOT for breakfast, and buffets in hotels give me that chance to do so, without spending (well, unless you're not checked in) haha, how baboy.

Marco Polo Breakfast
my salad

Marco Polo Breakfast
DIY congee

Anyway, I loved their do-it-yourself congee, native hot chocolate, and their dessert - not the usual cakes, but sliced FRUITS. in yogurt! (and they have 3 flavors!). But what I loved most is their BOTTOMLESS MANGOSTEEN AND RAMBUTAN!!! Where in Manila would you find that? Hehe!

Marco Polo Breakfast
Fruits in yogurt! (I chose blueberry flavor)
...and CHAMYTO. hehe!

Marco Polo Breakfast
THE BEST part of my breakfast

I then tried their pool, which was so-so. I guess I really am not a pool person. Hehe. But generally, it was nice, neat, a good place actually to hangout, especially at night. Some pics: (and look, there's one proof that I'm still the queen of self-photography. Haha!)

Marco Polo - Pool
The pool

Marco Polo
Marco Polo, from the pool area

me. hehe.

I checked out feeling a bit dissatisfied. I feel like I need at least 3 nights in a hotel, alone, before I can say that I'm rejuvenated enough. Hehe! Oh well, next time!

Anyway, my flight's 10pm, which meant I still had a half day to spend around the city. But as always, I decided to spend it in a place where there's massage, durian coffee, kinilaw, pasalubong items, and package counter where I could leave my stuff. Where else? SM of course! Hahaha!

So there, I had lunch at Antonio's (really, I can't leave Mindanao without having kinilaw!), got an aromatherapy massage at MediSpa, then had durian coffee at Blugre. Oh, and I watched Going The Distance btw. Haha!

Antonio's (SM) - Kinilaw with salted eggs
Antonio's - Kinilaw with salted eggs

Blugre - Durian Larcepuccino
(ata. basta, durian frap, something like that!)

Blugre - Pita chips with Mozarella and Tuna
Blugre - Pita chips with Mozarella and Tuna

All those were enough for me to kill time. The next thing I knew, I was there in Davao int'l airport, waiting for my flight back to Manila... still burping time to time, which tasted like DURIAN (hahaha, sorry, TMI!)

I felt sad a bit, knowing that my vacation's over... That tomorrow's another day at work... And that I have no idea if I'll still be able to solo-travel again after this one.

Well, let's see! :p

Monday, September 13, 2010

Tandag's Fiesta 2010 (388th!)

Hello, I'm back!!!

Just got back from Tandag, Surigao del Sur with my family, for the town fiesta. (Also from Davao ...ALONE. So that should be a separate post. Heehee!) For now, here's the first part:

Sep 8 - I left my apartment early and met my parents and sister at the airport for our 8:30 flight. I was kinda excited, knowing that it's been YEARS since we last went on a "family trip". At the same time I felt quite uncomfy psyching myself that "this trip's gonna be a tiring one", having senior citizen parents who are not light packers. Haha!

at manila airport (terminal 3)

We arrived Butuan after an hour (wow cebu pacific, you gave no hassles this time. I think I'm going to love you again!) then we took a van going to Tandag. The trip was awesome, rough roads are gone, it took us only 4 hours more or less to reach Tandag. It used to be a bumpy and dusty 6-8 hour ride back when I was in 4th grade!

Shrimps, at Lianga stopover

Tandag Plaza
Tandag Plaza

When we got to Tandag, we all still had the energy to hear mass (it was Mama Mary's birthday!). Then we had our dinner at my aunt's place, then that's it, our energy was drained. We slept early for the long days ahead!

Sep 9 - we had breakfast by the beach! I think this is the first time that I wasn't so enticed to swim. Perhaps that usual shoreline no longer attracts me, after I've seen better beaches in nearby towns. Oh well. hehe! Then we went to the nearby town, Tago, to visit relatives (both dead and alive haha!). There we also had our first dose of crabs. Mmmm!

with nephews (cousin's kids)
Pudding n Buchi
homemade pudding and buchi!

Our cousin gave us a lil tour btw. She showed us the ongoing construction of Tago-La Paz bridge, which will soon cut the trips to/from south by more or less one hour! We hanged out for a while under the bridge, and I was so amazed the whole time as it was my very first time to see, up close, the junction of a river and an ocean! And it's not just a river, or just an ocean - I'm talking about Tago river - the largest river I've seen in my travels, and PACIFIC ocean!!! So cool isn't it?! (or maybe it's just me. hehe)

Tago-La Paz bridge
Tago-La Paz Bridge
(that's papa, wearing white)

Tago-La Paz bridge
where Tago River (LEFT) meets Pacific Ocean (RIGHT)! :)

Now this is the most hilarious - Back in Tandag, my sister and I went to the plaza to watch the BOXING MATCH OF GAYS!!! (entitled: "Boksing ng mga bading -The friendly and peace-loving gays of Tandag.") HAHAHA! Funny how they punched, like it was just a cat fight, a harutan, rather than serious boxing. Haha! And gee, most of them wore girly attire (like pecpec shorts! Haha!) and makeup! Really hilarious! Haha! =)

Then, dinner - LECHON and CRABS again! That was only my 2nd day in Tandag yet my tummy's already used to eating pyesta foods, and double rice per meal. Huhu!

Sep 10 - we went to another nearby town, Cortez. We're lucky that tide's low, we were able to take pics on the fine reddish sand, which I really loved! The weather wasn't so good so we didn't stay long, but at least a land tenant gave 3 branches of bananas! Funny that we're so giddy about it, even though we knew we won't be able to bring it back to manila. Haha!

Low Tide
low tide

with uncle allan

d bananas

We had lunch at my aunt's house. Omygawddd, LECHON again!!! Then in the afternoon, while my parents went house hopping for the very plenty lunch/ dinner invitations (that's how Tandag's fiesta is!) Ate minnie and I just stayed indoors, at my aunt's house. We took a nap, watched TV, played with our nephews, and ate A LOT for dinner, simply buhay baboy haha!

I was getting my 2nd serving of humongous shrimps and lechon leftovers, I think, when my cousin told me that I'm getting bigger (huhuhu) and that I should stop getting more - to which I replied, "one shouldn't go on a diet, on his last day of vacation!". Actually, I still had 2 more days but I'll spend them in Davao ...so technically, that night is considered as a last day right?! Haha, excuses.

My other cousin then told me that I'll be missing a lot ...as they'll spend the next day on a nice beach, out of town. That thought saddened me a bit, worsened by the thought of not having kinilaw for the entire fiesta (really unusual!)

But then I thought, I'll be back next summer anyway. and next fiesta. and next next summer. and next next fiesta. I have FOREVER to enjoy those things I missed this year! hehe!


Part 2 kwento comin' up! (SOLO TRAVEL!!!)