Day 2 – A Cold Birthday Trip to Kota Kinabalu: Exploring Poring Hot Springs & Mt Kinabalu Park

It’s January 30 – Hurray! Happy birthday to me!

This travelogue is part of a travel series for my birthday trip to Kota Kinabalu & Brunei, if you haven’t read the first part, here’s the link http://adventuroj.com/2014/02/09/borneo-travel-itinerary-a-birthday-trip-to-kota-kinabalu-and-brunei/

Birthday Luck Continues..

Our day started early. I woke up with a drizzling rain outside, quite hoping for the sun to shine later, and worried for we haven’t brought any rain gears with us in case this weather will worsen.

Luckily at around 8am, Mr Sunshine already showed up and the rain stopped though the weather’s still cloudy with dark clouds hovering from a distance.

Kota Kinabalu Roads

Kota Kinabalu Roads

Guess my luck still’s with me, for we found out that the tour group we booked had already left and that perhaps there’s no more room for me and my buddy – so instead of joining us with them, we were offered a private tour – a small car with only the 2 of us (my travel buddy & I), and the tour guide, Nicolas, and his fiancé.

Sounds good to me for we could manage our own time, talk to the guide and have him all to ourselves without any other people joining the tour – for the price of a regular tour (more expensive to really opt for a private tour I guess).

So here’s our itinerary for today.

Mt. Kinabalu Park and Poring Hot Spring Tour

  • 8.00am: Pick up from hotel
  • 10.00am: Reach and explore Kinabalu Park.
  • 12.00pm: Lunch and head to Poring Hot Spring
  • 2.00pm: Canopy walk and leisure time in Poring Hot Spring
  • 4.00pm: Head back to Kota Kinabalu city

What to Bring:

  • - Camera
  • - Swimming Attire / Towels / Toiletries
  • - Extra Clothings
  • - Comfortable Walking Shoe
  • - Flip-flop
  • - Sun-Block Lotion / Insect Repellant / Hat / Binocular
  • **Temperature up in the mountain can dropped to 15c-25c during the day, so please bring some warm clothing to cover up.

Poring Hot Spring Tour Pictures

Poring Hot Spring Tour

Poring Hot Spring Tour

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Around Mt Kinabalu Park

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Birthday Gift

After the tour, Nicolas even gave me a gift from the travel agency knowing it’s my birthday today. So say hello to my newest pal, the Probosci Monkey – one of the popular species of monkeys known in Kota Kinabalu.

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Where to stay in Kota Kinabalu?

After our tour, we checked in at Stay Inn Hotel – Quality yet affordable hotel at the heart of the city

This one’s already a 4-star hotel complete with amenities and strategically located just near the Seafood Restaurant – for only 1,000Php per night for 2pax (so that’s like 500Php per person), value for money indeed!

Eating Around Kota Kinabalu

The rest of the evening was spent exploring the city, looking for places to eat.

Here’s what dinner looks like here at their Seafood Restaurant – where literally they have their foods ‘fresh’ as in fresh from water, alive and kicking pa nga in an aquarium. Just choose whichever you want and have it cooked.

Tried this Nasi (which means rice) Goreng (meaning beef) USA

Nasi Goreng USA (8MYR)

Some soto ayam..

Not Your Ordinary Pasta House: Basilio’s – Based Basil Pasta and Resto

It was a cold and cozy Tuesday afternoon when me and my buddy decided to warm ourselves up by treating our appetite to a new found pasta house in our very own province in South Cotabato, specifically in Koronadal City.

Although we often eat out in Davao, but having a taste of specialty cuisines in our locality is still an experience worth trying ; something worth bragging for.

And so around 3pm we entered this home-turned-resto pasta house  – The Basilio’s.

Basilio's Pasta House

Basilio’s Pasta House

Upon entering this restaurant, one will definitely feel the warmth and coziness of a home. A perfect place for family bonding or simply catching up with old friends.

Basilio's Interior

Basilio’s Interior

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Heading upstairs you will be impressed by a Japanese style dining facility where tables are surrounded by cushions laid out for a relaxing dining experience. Floors are squeaky clean and laid out with banig. I even thought that this would be a perfect place to have a relaxing massage or yoga.

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And since it’s Japanese inspired, guest are required to leave their footwear behind. Need not worry for Basilio’s will be providing you slippers.

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Then it’s time to order.

Basilio’s Specialty

Basilio’s culinary fare specializes in pasta. You have a number of pastas and sauces to choose from. And of course, almost all of them include their favorite herb – the Basil. (The name Basilio’s was derived from the restaurant’s main ingredients in almost all their specialties – the Basil.)

For our 1st luncheon experience there, we tried their Carbonara Pasta, a fettuccine pasta which has the right amount of creaminess and non of that evap milk taste common in other restaurants. It has the right amount of saltiness from the bacon and butter.

Basilio's Carbonara

Basilio’s Carbonara

The Gambas Pasta, the signature dish of Basilio’s – a tomato based fettuccine pasta with shrimps topped with chili flakes. I was surprised at the pinch of spiciness that linger in your mouth after taking a spoonful of it, probably brought about by the chili flakes.

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 Gambas Pasta

Gambas Pasta

Then the third one the Lasagna, also a house specialty, mixed just with the right amount of creaminess enough to leave you wanting for more.

Lasagna

Lasagna

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This is also a favorite of my father. I actually heard this Pasta House first from him, turned out the owner was a friend of his. As a matter of fact you could also see one of my father’s craft in this culinary place – his Wall Aquariums, a hobby turned business by him. (Let me know if you want one done in your home! *Wink)

Wall Aquarium

Wall Aquarium made by my father

What is impressive with Basilio’s is that their prices are really reasonable! Imagine a plate of their succulent pasta will only cost you around P95 per single serving.. now that is delicious isn’t it?!

Basilios Menu

Basilios Menu

And for those who are not pasta-lovers, they also have main dishes served with rice and vegetables on the side.

Where is Basilios?

Basilio’s – Based Basil Pasta and Resto is located at 72 MH Del Pilar St., Korondal city. From Gensan drive, turn left at the round bowl, and once you reach Notre Dame of Marbel university, turn right and left again at MH Del Pilar St. For bookings or reservations, you can call them at +63 83 228 2878. Business hours is from 10AM til 10PM daily.

Adventuroj Ventures at Basilios

Adventuroj Ventures at Basilios

40 TIPS FOR HAPPY HEALTH LIFE IN 2013

Health:

1. Drink plenty of water.

2. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a beggar.

3. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants, and eat less food that is manufactured in plants.

4. Live with the 3 E’s — Energy, Enthusiasm, and Empathy.

5. Make time for prayer and reflection

6. Play more games.

7. Read more books than you did in 2012.

8. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day.

9. Sleep for 7 hours.

Personality:

10. Take a 10-30 minutes walk every day —- and while you walk, smile.

11. Don’t compare your life to others’. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

12. Don’t have negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.

13. Don’t over do; keep your limits.

14. Don’t take yourself so seriously; no one else does.

15. Don’t waste your precious energy on gossip.

16. Dream more while you are awake.

17. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

18. Forget issues of the past. Don’t remind your partner with his/her mistakes of the past. That will ruin your present happiness.

19. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. Don’t hate others.

20. Make peace with your past so it won’t spoil the present.

21. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.

22. Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn. Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.

23. Smile and laugh more.

24. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

Community:

25. Call your family often.

26. Each day give something good to others.

27. Forgive everyone for everything.

28. Spend time with people over the age of 70 & under the age of 6.

29. Try to make at least three people smile each day.

30. What other people think of you is none of your business.

31. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your family and friends will. Stay in touch.

Life:

32. Do the right things.

33. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.

34. Forgiveness heals everything.

35. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

36. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

37. The best is yet to come.

38. When you awake alive in the morning, don’t take it for granted – embrace life.

39. Your inner most is always happy. So, be happy.

Last but not least:

40. Enjoy LIFE!

©patient.org.in

12.21.12: The Day We Met a UFO at Ice Giants, Davao

Tonight is the night they say would end it all. And tonight is also the night me and my friends met the UFO.

Not the terrestrial body that you’re thinking. Wanna know what it is? Here goes…

Me and my friends originally planned to visit Manna tonight. It’s one of the brightest place here in Davao filled with colorful lights every Christmas Season. On our way, we decided to have a pit stop to fuel our growling tummies at Ice Giants, Damosa Branch, Damosa, DC.

The Stars at Damosa Walkway

Upon our entrance, we spent a few minutes cam hoarding first. Flashing smiles in various poses with the starry background.

Damosa Davao Walkway

Damosa Davao Walkway

A traveler without observation, is a bird without wings.. — at Damosa Gateway, Davao City

Damosa Davao Walkway

The Ice Giants Experience

We were welcomed by Sleeping Giants as we entered Ice Giants. This I find quite funny. But we didn’t mind, and proceeded inside.

The Sleeping Giants at Ice Giants

The Sleeping Giants at Ice Giants

Some more picture taking moments…

Ice Giants Damosa Davao City

Ice Giants Damosa Davao City

As the Giany Devours..

As the Giany Devours..

Ice Giants Damosa Davao City

Reflections...

Reflections…

Ordered what we want – A Pasta (Tuna Pesto and Creamy Carbonara) and Ice Cream for each of us.

The food arrived and we dig into it sumptuously.

Berry Strawberry at Damosa Davao

Berry Strawberry at Damosa Davao

Berry Strawberry’s good, stuffed with Cherries, Strawberries, Choco syrup, mallows and choco kisses.

Berry Strawberry at Damosa Davao

Berry Strawberry at Damosa Davao

Tuna Pesto

Tuna Pesto

The Carbonara tastes good but the Tuna Pesto I find a bit dry.

Creamy Carbonara

Creamy Carbonara

Mango Sundae

Mango Sundae

The UFO (Unidentified Floating Object)

As we were nearing the end of our meal, one of my friends noticed something in her Berry Strawberry Ice Cream.

Take a look at what it is.

The UFO - Unidentified Floating Object

The UFO – Unidentified Floating Object

We first spend some moments wondering what it is, me taking photos, them speculating the Unidentified Floating Object (UFO).

Then we finally called the waiter’s attention and asked, “Kuya ano ‘to?”

 

The UFO - Unidentified Floating Object at a Closer Look

The UFO – Unidentified Floating Object at a Closer Look

The waiter, obviously startled of what was found in the food and ashamed at the same time, almost stammering answered, “Cellophane (plastic) po ata Maam,” apologetically.

I could see in his face that he don’t know what to do, he even offered to prepare a new Berry Strawberry for my friend. But we refused, we were already bloated enough to take more.

We left the place with a different image of the place in our mind than we used to have. Probably an honest mistake, but I guess something that they should take as a lesson to learn from.

Paoay Tour: Paoay Church, Malacanang of the North and the Paoay Lake

Paoay Lake

After dusting myself up from the Sand Boarding Adventure, it is now time to head to our next destination – Paoay!

Our original plan was to rent a trike from the city (Laoag) going to Paoay. However we’ve found the trike drivers too overpriced! Imagine 600php? When you could just take a public jeepney going to Paoay for only 34pesos?!

Don’t ask me what I took! Haha.

Jeepney going to Paoay

Jeepney going to Paoay

And so after around 30minutes, we’ve reached our first stop on the list, the Paoay Church.

Paoay Church, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Paoay Church

Paoay Church

The St. Augustine Church or popularly known as Paoay Church is one of the oldest churches in the Philippines. It’s construction started in 1694 by the Agustinian Friars, completed 1894 and was re-dedicated in the same year. It is made of coral blocks and brick that incorporates Gothic, Baroque and Oriental designs that add up to its striking appeal.

Built to withstand earthquakes common in our country, it is probably the best-known “earthquake baroque” church in the Philippines. In fact, one of its key features are the 24 carved buttresses that support the church’s structure during earthquakes.

Paoay Church

Paoay Church

Paoay Church

Paoay Church

Paoay Bell Tower

Paoay Bell Tower

Paoay Bell Tower

Unlike other bell towers in most churches around the country, the Paoay Church’s stunning bell tower is detached from the church. This is to avoid the tower from smashing on the structure when an earthquake occurs.

After the Paoay Church, we headed to the residence of the Marcoses and the Lake Paoay. This time we’ve rented a tricycle for 170php since there are no or few public transpo that goes in there.

Paoay Lake

Paoay Lake

Paoay Lake

Paoay Lake

Paoay Lake

Malacañang of the North

Malacañang of the North is located in Barrio Suba, Paoay, Ilocos Norte and it’s open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM. A minimal fee of 30 pesos is collected for those who want to visit the place.

Malacañang of the North

Malacañang of the North

Built as the official residence of then President Ferdinand Marcos in Ilocos Norte, it is an imposing structure that resembles a 19th Century “bahay na bato” with an overlooking view of the legendary Paoay Lake. This once a seat of power is now converted into a museum that houses several memorabilia of the former President and his family.

Malacañang of the North

Malacañang of the North

Malacañang of the North

Malacañang of the North

TRIVIA: The Malacanang of the North is actually a “birthday gift” of then First Lady Imelda Marcos to her husband on his 60th birthday.

Ilocos Food Treats

By lunch time, we’ve headed to Batac and there took our lunch, delighting ourselves with various Ilocano dishes – pinakbet, etc. as well as their specialty empanada.

Ilocos Food Treats

Ilocos Food Treats

The above blog post is part of my Ilokandia Ultimate Adventure – Laoag – Pagudpud – Vigan tour series of posts in the Ilocos Region, Philippines that happened last November 28 – December 2, 2012. | Ilocos Adventure: Laoag Vigan Pagudpud Budget Itinerary | Laoag City Walking Tour: Places, Food, and Fun Treats | Ilocandia Sand Boarding and 4×4 Ride in La Paz Sand Dunes | Paoay Tour: Paoay Church, Malacanang of the North and the Paoay Lake

Dolefil’s Kapit Bisig Para sa Kabataan now on its 6th Year of Nourishing Kids in South Cotabato!

One of the major challenges that constantly faces our beloved Philippines is the present nutritional situation of the country. Being a nurse myself I couldn’t help but shed a tear whenever I come face to face with this reality, from images in television of children dying in hunger from various parts of the country, news articles depicting increases prevalence rate of malnutrition, and even from day to day experiences of seeing these little ones beg for food on streets.

A 4-YEAR-OLD boy eats rice in Sultan Kudarat. JEOFFREY MAITEM, INQUIRER MINDANAO

That is why I really felt grateful whenever I read about programs from various organizations that seeks to improve this reality. One of this is Doleful’s Kapit Bisig Para sa Kabataan (KBPK) in South Cotabato.

An all-time high of 89% over-all improvement rate was achieved in Dolefil’s Kapit Bisig Para sa Kabataan’s (KBPK) Phase V (2011-2012). In 2011 alone, over 5,000 children, ages 0-8,now have better nutritional status, the program’s ultimate goal. Following this success is the launching of KBPK’s 6th year (Phase VI), which aims to rehabilitate more than 5,000 kids from 10 municipalities and one city of the South Cotabato province from 2012-2013.

The launch of KBPK’s 6th year was spontaneous with the Province’s culmination event for the Nutrition Month (July) in Koronadal City on July 27, 2012. Graduates of KBPK Phase V, along with their parents, were also present to celebrate their newfound health and agility. Likewise, winners of the “Gulayan sa Barangay” Contest (part of the program’s food security initiative) were announced during the event. Winning barangays received gardening tools as prize, which will help them improve and expand their backyard gardens.

The Provincial Gov’t of South Cotabato, Dolefil and Mahintana Foundation, Inc., along with numerous business partners and sponsors, are hand-in-hand (hence, “kapit-bisig”) in addressing undernutrition in the province.

“I am grateful to Dolefil & Mahintana for their partnership with the Province of South Cotabato, in programs covering health, education, environment & basic social services,” South Cotabato Governor Arthur Y. Pingoy Jr. stated.

For its 6th year, the project components (health education, deworming, micro-nutrient supplementation, livelihood programs, backyard gardening, etc.) are focused on sustainability and capacitate families to address the nutritional needs of their children. To date, almost 15,000 undernourished children have been improved nutritional status through the KBPK Program of Dolefil.

It is my hope that more organizations will follow the steps of Dolefil until our country will no longer witness hungry beggars on streets or hear about incidences of malnutrition.

Way to go Dolefil!

Around Clark and Subic: Travel Saving Tips

Arriving in Clark for the first time and want to save some penny? Then here are some travel tips for you.

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My Magnum Ice Cream Indulgence

I was awakened this afternoon from a nap by my ratting brother. I know I was suppose to be mad at him for disturbing my sleep (considering that I haven’t slept the whole night), but what he’s holding in his hand and licking deliciously changed my mood.

Indulgence Inside

It was the ever talked about Magnum Ice Cream.

I’ve been hearing a lot about this ice cream.. I actually saw this first during my trip at Singapore, but haven’t had the chance to buy it that time.. Lucky for me, this delicious indulgence is now available here at Tupi..

Magnum Almond Ice Cream

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A Taho a day, keeps the doctor away

Tahoooooo!!! Tahoooooo!!! Tahoooooo!!!

These are some of the words that I long to hear from a man walking the streets outside my window carrying two stainless vats attached to a wooden rod everyday – the magtataho. And I’m sure you’ve already heard this battle cry too at least once in your life.

Photo Courtesy from http://angsarap.net

Taho, a Philippine snack food made of fresh soft/silken tofu or bean curd with sago (mini tapioca pearls) and sweet caramelized sugar syrup, is an iconic and ubiquitous street hawker food that remains popular to this day. This staple comfort food is a signature sweet and can be found all over the country. Its origins can be traced in Chinese influences, and has since become a mainstream favorite for generations. But catching a taho vendor on the road is a hit or miss thing.

Ever since my health conscious times (when I was still going to the gym) until now that I’m already on a Seefood diet (I eat what I see), taho had already been part of my daily carvings.

How to Make Taho? Continue reading

Palawan Food Trips: Balinsasayaw, Kinabuchs, Bona’s Chaolong, Pizzito, etc

Here are some of the food stalls (some popular ones, and others not really but worth trying and not to mention yummy ones!) that we’ve tried and dine on our stay at Palawan.

Balinsasayaw Chicken and Grill

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