Friday, February 26, 2010

Legaspi Suites Hotel: Davao

Legaspi Suites is the only boutique hotel in Davao. What makes it boutique is its size and attention to design and ambience. Legaspi Suites is located in a complex that was once an ancestral home. The landmark still remains in tact at the middle of the complex and a 4 story apartment building was built around it to house the hotel.

Once you enter the lobby, you would feel that the hotel thought about its design, which is uncommon in Davao. I would think this would be normal in Cebu already, but in Davao, good design is still scarce.

I got the cheapest room, a standard room for P1,600 since I was only staying for one night. The room was huge and very bare. I'm assuming this room was made simple because of the class. The rooms have different colors, as seen from their brochures. I passed by a suite room which was open, and I thought it looked charming.

My room was located on the second floor beside the spa, so I had a view of the courtyard downstairs. I love this place because it had a relaxing feel. There was a restaurant, cafe, a wine cellar and other service shops on the first level.

And you can dine at the center of the courtyard, at patio tables set up around the ancestral house. It is really a great place to chill out, especially at night.

Legaspi Suites is one of my highly recommended hotels in Davao, because of its price, location and charm. There are also several restaurants and bars in Legaspi St nearby, so one can just explore by foot. There's also a Gaisano mall nearby, and People's Park is just a 5 minute walk away.

So, when in Davao, spend a night or two in Legaspi Suites and feel an old world charm in the midst of a modern setting.

(63) (082) 227-86
(63) (082) 227-1230

Bali Village Hotel: Tagaytay

The Bali Village in Tagaytay is along Maharlika Highway, a little past Taal Vista Lodge when you're headed for Batangas. The resort is still under construction, but they are already building a swimming pool, an event venue and a restaurant.

The design is Filipino, so you stay in Spanish inspired cottages with Filipino materials like nipa and bamboo. Its wooden interiors give a very relaxing mountain retreat experience in Tagaytay.

The rooms are relatively small, so if you are coming in as a group, better get the Big House, which has three bedrooms.
You can even rent an entire house made up of three separate rooms, with a living area upstairs. I like that they have small porches in each room.
The Filipino design of the resort is what I like about this place the most. Though they call it Bali Village, I still think it is more Filipino inspired. Only the roof designs are Balinese (and some decor at the reception area).

Bali Village is relatively affordable as well, around P2,500 to P4,000 for mid luxury accommodations in Tagaytay. You also get free wifi, but no breakfast. I think this place is perfect for those who really want to relax, or get away from it all.


To know about their rates and packages, please visit:
Bali Village
Kaybagal South, Tagaytay City
Tel. (046) 860-2786

Monday, February 22, 2010

Summer 2010 is here!

Summer is definitely here. I've been so busy since the year began, so I missed out a lot on my travels that usually happen the start of the year. Seems like I will be traveling more this Summer, as trip to the Camotes Islands, Leyte and Korea are on schedule. Plus, I am planning to go back to Camarines Norte, to explore the other islands the beautiful province has to offer. So, as always, here are my recommendations for destinations this summer of 2010.

1. WEEKENDER BEACH: MORONG, BATAAN

Why not travel 3 hours to Morong in Bataan. This is where Anvaya Cove is nestled, plus a string of affordable resorts stretches the coastline near the town. You could even visit a turtle sanctuary and explore the hidden coves with a unique view of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (don't worry, no radiation here).



2. REDISCOVER: GUIMARAS

If you've been to Iloilo, it may be unwise not to stop over Guimaras, or better yet, spend a night or two there. Guimaras is the home of the sweetest mangoes in the country. It also has a lot of secret coves and small islands perfect for a castaway ambience.

* image by Sharon Cornejo

3. PARTY: CWC!

If you thought Boracay is THE place to party, wait till you mash yourself up to the craziness that is CWC. Being home to wakeboarders and chicks, there's no doubt that CWC has a lot of party souls to liven up a night in the middle of Camsur. Get drunk with a lot of foreigners, who don't care about anything except having fun.



4. RETREAT: CAMP SABROS, DAVAO

You haven't seen Apo, until you stay in Camp Sabros in Digos, around 90 minutes South of Davao City. This mountain resort may be known as an adventure park, but it also can offer a very relaxing retreat. Stay at the Glass House which has a glass wall on the 2nd floor that give you the best views of the majestic Apo. It is also a delight to have a picnic here, or have the staff cook up a sumptuous lunch.

* image from website

5. EXPLORE: MACULABO, CAMARINES NORTE

My cousin had this picture in Facebook, and I immediately wanted to know where this was. As expected, this place was in Camarines Norte, our home province. Aside from the beautiful Calaguas, Cam Norte has islands that rival the Caribbean. Maculabo is about 40 mins away from Daet in the town of Paracale. If you want to join tours organized by my cousin, here's the link.



So, what are you waiting for? Get out! EXPLORE THE PHILIPPINES!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Celsius Gastrolounge

I've had a string of bad new restaurants recently. The most recent and probably the worst of the year so far was Bordeaux in Burgos Circle at the Fort. That experience was bad enough for me not to take any pictures of the place and food. French food and service at its worst. To think I had a wonderful experience at Je Suis last Valentine's.


So when I was again in search of a new restaurant, I became nervous. I pass by a new restaurant called, Celsius in the Morato area, near Shakey's. The place intrigued me, but I was afraid it was another pretentious restaurant, since there were very few guests. So when I went back to the area last night, I took a bold move of having dinner there.


Celsius called itself a gastronomic lounge, where you can get a unique gastronomic experience. I thought I made the wrong move going inside, since again, we were the only guests. But, as they say, you'll never know until you try. So we did, made it up to the 2nd floor lounge area. Their menu looked interesting, and they had a one pricing policy for their courses. Hence, all appetizers had one price, and so did the soups, salads and main courses. It was interesting to see this method of pricing. Their selection looked interesting as well as I read through their uncluttered menu. A very friendly waitress took our orders, most of which were her recommendations.


I was still feeling a bit nervous, until this plate of great tasting buns arrived. The bread came with hummus, which actually tasted good. The buns were perfectly browned and the saltiness was just right.


Our first order of Roti Chennai came forward. The roti was tough, ad you would guess it came packed from the freezer. But the roti was beside two dips: curry of course, and surprisingly, salsa. I initially was against the salsa, but when I took a spoonful and mixed it with the curry, the roti tasted heavenly. That was probably one of the best salsas I've tasted.


So the initial salvo was inspiring and was all lit with smiles with the food so far. Our next dish was a salad with sesame coated prawns. I tasted the greens first which took me back to the beach. The taste was refreshingly citrus. But that wasn't all, it came with 4 huge servings of sesame coated prawns that were superb.


When I got the menu, I wanted to order a lot of dishes. We finally settled on one main course, Chicken Stuffed with Spinach and Chorizos. The dish was a recommendation of the waitress. For the first time, I had to express so much gratitude to a waitress, because the dish was great indeed. Let's start with the sin of crispy skin which made my eyes open wide in delight. The spinach and chorizos were perfectly blended together with other vegetables that laid at the base of the succulent white meat of chicken. This was the best dish I had so far this year.


And it didn't end there. Their desserts sounded tempting as well on the menu, but we ordered the most intriguing. The Star Anise Souffle with Banana Fritters. If you have tasted the banana pancakes of Thailand, then you would instantly be taken back to the streets of Bangkok. The star anise cream souffle tasted as expected like cinnamon, but they infused almond flavor as well.

As they say, I will never know until I try it out. Though there weren't any customers and having interiors that looked amateur, Celsius Gastrolounge broke my bad restaurant streak, and proved that good restaurants don't have to have star chefs. I assumed that the masterpieces served on our small table was the result of a passion for gastronomic delights by whoever owns this place. I highly recommend you guys appreciate this passion, and fill up those seats.

* Celsius Gastrolounge is located in the Morato area, in the street where Shakey's is. It is also in front of the new Japanese restaurant, Akiage.

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails