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Saturday, April 20, 2013

Canoe Beach Resort: A Review

There are a number of resorts in Barangay Pundaquit San Antonio, Zambles where you can stay overnight or so in case you plan to visit Anawangin Cove and nearby islands and wouldn't want to do camping or sleep in a tent there.

Our choices were Capones Vista and Canoe Beach Resort.  There were very few reviews on these resorts that's why we had a hard time choosing where to stay.  Both have swimming pool, which is one of our requirements in case the waves in Pundaquit becomes strong and we wouldn't able to enjoy the beach.  Capones Vista is more expensive than Canoe Beach Resort but it seems more pleasant and luxurious.  Canoe Beach Resort on the other hand is just plain resort but somehow seems safe, clean and pleasant.  And so we settled for Canoe Beach Resort as it is inexpensive.

In front of the rooms with cottages
 We are a family of 14 including 2 kids.  So we got 3 rooms in Canoe Beach Resort, 2 in the pool area and 1 in beach front area as what they call it.  Funny since its not really beach front.  It just has sands in front of the room.  It's better to stay at a room in the pool area.  Anyway, cost of the room in the pool area is Php 2,500 per night, good for 4 pax while in the beach front area, its Php 1,800 good for 2 pax.  Excess per head cost Php 350.  The rooms are quite spacious that's why all 14 of us fits the 3 rooms.

This is the beach in front of Canoe Beach Resort

Check in time is at 1pm but we arrived hours earlier.  Good thing, they allowed early check in since there's no occupants in the room we reserved.  But we cannot use their aircon.  For some reason, we really can't open it.  Maybe the switches are centralized.  But at least, fans are available.

Rooms in pool area have 2 double size bed, small side table with lamp, vanity mirror and comfort room.  For the room in the beachfront area, 1 double size bed, small side table with lamp, vanity mirror and comfort room.  All rooms does not have ref, television and hot and cold shower.  All room occupants can use their amenities like swimming pool, cooking/grilling area, and volleyball area.  The use of beachfront nipa hut is also included. There's no toiletries (except for 2 small soaps and a roll of left over toilet paper) and towels provided. But I read in some blogs that towels can be provided if you asked for it. Since I stayed mostly at the pool area room, below are my comments on it.

Farthest left is where the room termed "beach front rooms" are located

The room was clean and pleasant. Linens are all new and clean as well. However there's no blanket should one gets cold at night. Your only covering would be the bed linens which were 2, one for bed covering and the other one serves as your blanket. There's no small cabinet where you can put your clothes. There isn't any drawers as well even if there's a vanity mirror and side table. In some rooms (like ours) have a few hinges on the wall where you can hang some clothes. The airconditioning was good and it can be really cold at night.

The shower area was somehow clean. There's a wall separating the shower area and the toilet. I just noticed that there's no "sink" on the toilet side so never splash water on it or else the floor would get a little flooded. My brother splashes water in the toilet area to wipe out the sands. But unfortunately, the floor becomes a little flooded the whole time we stayed there. At the back of the toilet door, there are hinges where you can hang your clothes.

Pool side rooms

There is a small lounging area outside the room but no tables and chairs. It's like a small veranda. Since there's no tv, you can hang out there with some snacks and drinks.

Cafe Pundakit

Restaurant is available in the resort named Cafe Pundakit. Prices are reasonable and serving size can be good for 2 in some of their viands. Bringing of food and drinks is allowed in the resort without corkage fee except for sodas and beer.

The resort also offers island hopping to Anawaning, Camara and Capones. The rates are (taken from their email sent to us):

Other Charges:                          4pax Capacity          5-20pax capacity

Boat Ride: Camara Island         P 800.00                   P 150/pax

                  Capones Island       P 1,000.00                P 200pax
                  Annawangin Cove   P 1,000.00                P200/pax
                  (Annawangin only Entrance Fee- P50/pax)
Camara, Capones                       P 1,200.00              P250/pax
Camara, Capones, Annawangin P 1,500.00              P300/pax
Tour Guide to Pundakit Falls   P 50.00/pax

But since the resort's location is where most of the boats dock, we just decided to ask the boatman there and haggle price for island hopping. For 13 adults, our island hopping cost 350 each for adults.

I wasn't able to dip in the pool so I don't know its temperature.  The pool picture from their website looks big but in actual it is not.  The kids, though, enjoyed swimming in the pool.

The pool

We are allowed late check out without additional charge since no other guests will occupy our room on the same day.  However, airconditioning unit was again turned off at their usual check out time of 11am.

Overall, our stay at Canoe Beach Resort is hassle free and enjoyable.  I would recommend this place for people who wish to visit Anawangin and nearby islands but do not want to sleep in a tent.  If no television is not a factor for you then you might try to stay here.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Free Dinner at Figaro

Best things in life are FREE!  Well, the dinner at Figaro we had was not really free.  I paid using the accumulated points I earned as being a Globe subscriber.  The 2012 points I earned has an expiry date, April 15.  So on the same day, I used up all my points (even my little 2013 points) so my boyfriend and I can enjoy a free meal at Figaro.

Figaro was one of Globe's partner in their My Rewards, My Globe program.  As a Globe subscriber, you will earn points everytime you use your Globe to either call, text, browse, etc.  I'm just not sure how many points for each usage.  There are a lot of available rewards with corresponding accumulated points to avail that reward.  It seems that Figaro is one of the most attractive reward since your 1 point is equivalent to Php 1.

This was only my third time to dine it at Figaro.  So I don't know what to order and I don't know which ones are their best sellers.  So we just got what we thought would make our tummy full.

Classic Pizza - Php 179

Butterscotch Vanilla with Coffee Jelly Frost (Php 155) and two iced tea (free from meals below)

Chicken Ala Kiev - Php 239

Chicken Provencal - Php 239

I find their chicken meal delicious.  You have a choice to what kind of pasta to come with it.  The Butterscotch Vanilla with Coffee Jelly Frost tastes more like Coffee Jelly, slight hint of Butterscotch Vanilla taste.  The pizza looks big on the picture.  I was surprised that it was just a little bigger than pizza hut's pan pizza size.  The taste was just so so.

The last two chicken meal are set menus with free iced tea.  Our total bill was Php 812.  My available points is only 645, so we paid for the balance of Php 167.  Not bad for a complete meal.

I'm looking forward to accumulating my points again with My Rewards. My Globe. so I can avail more of perks like this in the future.  Thanks Globe.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Watami Japanese Casual Restaurant: A Review

I seldom post a review on every restaurant I've been to. But lately, I find myself blogging about the delicious foods I've tasted to some nice restaurants I've eaten. Like this new Japanese Restaurant in the New Glorietta Mall, Watami Japanese Casual Restaurant. I think this is their second branch in the Philippines. The first one was in SM Mall of Asia.

When I heard about it last year, I wanted to try it out. Not because I am fond of Japanese foods but because of I wanted to try this restaurant brought to us by The Bistro Group here in the Philippines.  This is their first Japanese Restaurant.  I haven't tried all of the restaurants from Bistro Group but I know it will be worth it. Besides, I'd like to get myself their new Bistro Group Premier Card.

Finally, my sisters and I tried it out last week. We had an occasion to celebrate and it was my treat. So it is me who suggested this place. My other sister has already tried eating here and she told me that the foods are ok and the prices are quite cheap.

While we're still undecided on what to order, our server, Jopet, suggested that we have an appetizer first. He suggested the Watami Salad. My other sister, on the other hand, told us to order Green Soy Bean. She has the same soy bean cooked at her home by herself. The soy beans can be bought in S & R. And so, we ordered both appetizers.

Unfortunately, when the salad came, we all tasted it immediately that I wasn't able to take picture of it. Anyway, I never tasted such delicious japanese salad! Well, I only know of kani salad in japanese foods. The Watami Salad have chicken strips, shrimps, tuna mayonnaise as dressing, corn, some fruits, nori sheets, tomtoes and crunchy greens. The serving size was big enough good to be shared, although they also serve half size of this for single serve or for couples.  Cost is Php 350.

Green Soy Bean - Php 95

Another appetizer was the Green Soy Bean. At first glance, it may seem like Baguio Beans only a bit bigger. But be wary. The outer part is not edible. Since my sister cooks this at her home, she said that this bean is boiled until cooked. Then salt is sprinkled and tossed to make it tasty. The way to eat this is either peel off the outer greens or suck it to pop the bean out. It's better to suck it as you also get to taste its saltyness. The bean tastes like peanut only a bit softer but still crunchy. This is also a great healthy snack but may not be suitable to those with high uric.

Self Grilled Short Ribs - Php 295

Next on our menu was the Self Grilled Short Ribs.  In the menu, the meat looks big.  Well maybe because that was still raw.  It shrunk when cooked.  My sister opted for a medium rare meat.  I wonder how it was termed "self grilled" when it was not us who grilled it.  There's no grilling stove in our table.  Maybe in some, but I'm not really sure.  Anyway, the meat was tender and flavorful.  The bite size cut of the meat makes you want to eat more and more of this.  So this serving size is good for only 2 pax.

Pepper Beef Rice - Php 190

I ordered for the Pepper Beef Rice.  This is I think the cheapest main dish I saw from their menu.  It's not because of the price why I chose this, its because of the presence of the corn that invites me to try it.  The Pepper Beef Rice was served in a stone pot.  It has beef slices, rice and corn.  In my taste buds, it doesn't seem too "peppery" but my sister said it has too much pepper on it.  Well I guess my tolerance with pepper meals is quite high.  It is quite difficult to eat this meal thoroughly since it is served in a stone pot, the rice gets too hot and some burned so you have to mix it from time to time.  Nonetheless, I enjoyed my meal.

Assorted Salmon Sushi and Sashimi - Php 295

We also had Assorted Salmon Sushi and Sashimi.  Not a fan of raw foods and sashimi so sorry, I don't have anything to say about this :)  This dish contains 5 slices of Sashimi and 4 Sushi with 2 variants.  I like sushi but I wasn't able to try this.  My sisters and brother in law liked this so I guess it was a good dish too.

Stir Fried Udon with Seafood - Php 295

Lastly, my 2 sisters ordered for Stir Fried Udon with Seafood.  The serving size is quite small but is enough for single consumption.  The dish was flavorful.  The noodles was cooked just right.  Assorted seafoods were in this dish and a few meat/pork were included.

We also ordered for Assorted Tempura (Php 295) for take out for my father.  It contains 3 pieces of Tempura, eggplants, mushroom, fish and bell peppers.  I was able to taste it when I arrived home.  It was just so so, same tempura taste.  It doesn't seem delicious already as it already became soggy when I got home.  Maybe it was flavorful and enjoyable to eat when it was served hot.

The Bistro Group Premiere Card

Overall, the taste of all the dishes we ordered were flavorful.  I would love to go back here and try their other dishes from the menu.  And oh, by the way, I availed the Bistro Premier Card.  We were able to get 20% off from the total bill and they gave the Watami Salad for free.  For 5 adults and 1 kid, our total bill went only Php 1,800.  Not bad.

my sisters and nephew

By the way, I learned that it was National Siblings Day.  It's very timely that I had this sumptuous dinner with my sisters.  Only missing is my brother.  Well, my nephew (the boy on the right side), represents my brother although he was my sister's son.