Instant Visit to Caramoan

  
It looks like paradise. It well can be. The photos do Caramoan justice. Sometimes I feel it makes the islands look even better. 

But nothing compares to the feeling of being there actually experiencing the place. 

January had barely begun when I finally got the chance to visit this famed exotic place. It’s a 4+ hour drive from our home in Naga through never ending winding roads. Normally travellers would travel 2 hours to the place by boat from Sabang Port to Guijajo Port then some 1+ hour land travel to the jump off point to see the islands. However we were a large group and the trip was a very DIY one that we simply rented a van and drove to the place. 

While the ride was scenic and the road fairly well developed, if you have motion sickness, I don’t recommend it. It’s extremely zigzag and you’ll endure it for 2 hours. But the view is really beautiful. You’ll see Mt. Isarog, Mt. Iriga and Mt. Mayon lined up behind the sea. We also saw the hills wrapped in clouds bathed with the early morning sun as it was early morning (around 4am) when we travelled. 

  
Since it was really a DIY trip, we had no contact when we arrived at the place. We went to a beach front accomodation- Caramotan – and inquired how we can rent boats to go island hopping. Our plan is to go back home in the afternoon and not stay in the place. 

The staff were very accommodating and though we didn’t plan to stay overnight they allowed us to use a room to keep our things and use as a place to shower later on. They looked for a boat (two boats in fact) and a tour guide (who happened to be a well-accomplished and well-travelled guy) for us. 

We were able to visit the common islands and even feed some fishes and go snorkeling but all only within less than 30 minutes from the mainland. We were unable to go to the farther islands because to do so would require more time. No wonder the recommended trip is 2 days and 1 night. 

   
 
We spent only about P900 per person for the entire trip – including meals. However our itinerary is not something I’d recommend. You’d feel bitin. 

It would be great to go back and experience the islands again especially the farther ones. Next time I’ll take the boat to Guijajo port then. 

  
Caramoan – white sands all around. Less crowds. Pure peaceful bliss. 

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Discovering Quitinday Greenhills

When we speak of visiting and enjoying the beauty of Mt. Mayon, the usual places that come to mind are Cagsawa Ruins, Mayon Resthouse, Embarcadero and Ligñon Hill. These are the currently popular destinations to take photos of Mayon Volcano.

Recently, a new site has emerged – the Quitinday Green Hills. Dubbed as Pili Nut Hills, it was first “discovered” aboard a Legazpi flight where the hills appear as mounds on the ground. Prior to 2014, they were virtually unexplored and no one knew how to get to them.

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Quitinday Green Hills viewed from a plane to Legazpi (Photo from wowlegazpi.com)

 

But the thirst for a new way of enjoying Mayon saw the site being discovered and developed for tourists.

After reading countless blogs (Turista Trails, Juridical Panda, No Juan Is An Island and Lagalag) about the place – and there arent’ many – and after contacting Jed Villanueva (0927.621.3315) of Camalig’s Local Tourism Office, I was finally able to craft an itinerary that will include visiting these famed hills.

The hills are famous because they have been likened to Bohol’s Chocolate Hills. The difference though is that these hills are covered in lush green grass – hence the term green hills.

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The view at close to 5:30 in the afternoon. Check out the blogs above for thew view earlier during the day. Photo Credit: Macky Garcera

 

Getting There

According to other travel bloggers, to reach the place, you have to hire a tricycle from Camalig Town Proper. They already know the way to Quitinday and will charge P500 for a round-trip fare. Getting to Camalig is as simple as riding a jeepney from Legaspi or a bus from Naga and getting off Camalig Town Proper.

We had a rented van when we went around Albay so I had to find out via Google Maps how to reach the place. Thankfully, Google Maps had a record of Quitinday Greenhills and a search showed us the various routes we can take.

What we didn’t know was the condition of the road. Travel blogs said to expect a bumpy ride since majority of the way were rough roads. They weren’t lying. Sedans and other smaller vehicles will have a hard time navigating the terrain but along the way we saw a Toyota Vios on its way back.

The road is not steep. Though you are going to a hilly place and the road normally inclines, the inclination isn’t steep and there are no sudden zigzags. But there are patches of rough roads in between paved ones though these roads are slowly being developed thanks to the frequency of visitors to the area.

The map said it would take us 20 minutes from Camalig Town Proper but the drive felt like more than that. The 20 minutes was actually double since we had to thread the road carefully and when there’s a vehicle coming from the opposite side, we had to figure out how to let each other pass because the roads are also narrow.

Best Time To Go

The best time to go is early morning or late afternoon. The “viewdeck” in Quitinday Greenhills is open from 5:30AM to 5:30PM. The best time to enjoy the scenery is from 3:30PM – 5:00PM just before it gets dark.

We got there late due to a miscalculation of time so we had to cut our trip short and our photos were devoid of light. But the view was still breathtaking.

They don’t offer camping in the vicinity as of writing so they are really strict with getting tourists out of the place before it gets completely dark. Plus the way back is very dark since there are scarcely any houses along the way as well as street lamps.

The Trek Uphill

The trek is easy. Even first timers will not have a hard time. They carved stairs along the side of the hill so getting up is like climbing a long flight of stairs. Leisurely, the climb will not take more than 10 minutes.

Once you’re up the hill, you are rewarded with a panoramic view of lush hills with the perfect cone of Mayon in the background. There are two peaks you can climb further to see a more unobstructed view of the surroundings.

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Photo Credit: Ardee Garcera

 

Just be careful because the pathways are narrow and when there are a lot of tourists taking pictures, one wrong step and you can tumble down the cliff.

But don’t be afraid. The place is generally safe.

Fees

They charge a minimal P20 fee per head as an environmental charge. You can probably get a guide too but the trek is not too steep or hard to navigate and when you get up, it’s pretty easy to explore on your own.

A New Place to Enjoy Mayon

For those in search of your new adventure, drop by these majestic hills before they have been fully developed. Though I doubt they will be as commercialized as Ligñon Hill, there’s a unique thrill about discovering a place before everyone else.

Mayon never fails to amaze us and seeing her nestled before rolling lush hills is certainly treat. I’ve seen her before the city (Ligñon Hill view), before the sea (Embarcadero view) and before farmlands (Cagsawa Ruins view). Now I’ve seen her before rolling hills (Quitinday Green Hills view).

And the epic drive to get there was well worth it.

*Epic because on our way there, we felt like we were driving into the unknown. Every vehicle we come across – especially a Grandia – elicited a sigh of relief that we were going in the right direction.

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Week #9: Discovering a Pinoy Vintage Pop Resto

I didn’t expect to have any adventure this weekend but it turned to be another adventure-filled day. It all began when my sister invited me to the Human Nature MTO (Magalogue Turn-over). Since I was free in the morning, I obliged and we travelled the xx-kilometer stretch from our home to Human Nature’s main branch in Commonwealth. It was my first time to visit the place and the first time to attend an MTO. I felt proud seeing this home-grown Philippine brand become big and introduce products that can really compete with the big global brands. What’s even more interesting is that they are not your traditional capitalist company but a social enterprise which employs farmers, GK communities and other marginalized groups in the country. Products are all organic and beneficial to the body and the environment. Seeing the main branch, my commitment to Buy Pinoy was renewed.

After the MTO, my sister had to go to Papelmeroti in Don Roces to donate her hair. Her hair was once really long and when she had it cut, she intended to donate her locks. Again, I opted to go with her since she’s not familiar with the area and might get lost. Since it was right where Fisher Mall was, I told her that we can drop by the mall and have our lunch there. Fisher Mall is a relatively new mall in the area. For me it’s new because it was inexistent when I was in college and frequented the area. We did not know what to expect having visited the mall for the first time.

It was a great thing though that there was this giant billboard of Pedro N’ Choi – the concept restaurant by Shamcey Supsup-Lee and her husband, Lloyd Lee. It was actually a side ad that we noticed which reminded me of what I saw in TV a long, long time ago. I remembered that Shamcey had a really cool restaurant inside that mall.

And so, without actually knowing the name of the resto, my sister and I began our “adventure”. We found the resto located on the 3rd floor (which felt like the 4th floor to us). Immediately we knew we were in the right place because it was jampacked from outside.

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Shot was taken after we ate so it was not as jampacked XD

There was a receptionist and we had to line up to be seated. Good thing it was more than an hour after noon so the crowd, although still sizable, was significantly less had it been noon time. We were quickly seated and what we first noticed was the overload of décor in the resto. We didn’t feel like we were in a mall. It felt like we were transported to some kalye in a bustling Pinoy town. The main interior of the resto had a kalye vibe during fiesta. There was a huge jeepney which I remembered from the TV interview was an actual jeep. The table we were first seated in had board games such as Snakes and Ladder Pinoy Style.

Continue reading “Week #9: Discovering a Pinoy Vintage Pop Resto”

Week 5: Planetshakers Live in Manila

Who are the Planetshakers? They are simply the best worship band from Australia. Back in my college days, I was only aware of Hillsong as the famous band from down under. But ever since I started attending Jesus Rocks (the church I belong to right now) I have been exposed to a lot of contemporary worship Christian music and by contemporary I mean those that can make you sing, dance, and even headbang!

Listening to their music over the last months has definitely empowered me and helped me draw closer to Jesus. When there are times I feel down – wondering if all His promises are really true and if I am indeed headed to my great destiny – I just pop in a song from the band – Limitless, Turn It Up, Nothing is Impossible or any other song form their albums – and my spirit is immediately boosted up.

There’s a definite sense of confidence and faith building whenever I am led to worship through their songs.

I am writing this blog down – way before my other week entries because I just have to convey to words how great the concert was. It was more than just a concert. It was a glimpse of how amazing heaven would be when we would have unlimited time to worship God – worship Him using the kind of music that speaks to us.

You see, worship is not about the songs really. It’s not about the music even. You can have a solemn worship with hymns. You can have a loud worship with rock songs and fast songs. You can have reggae songs as worship songs. You can have country music.

What is important is your heart – a heart that just bursts out of joy and desire to give praise to the One who saved you from your sins; the One who directs your future; the One who has loved you and continues to love you no matter what you do.

Remembering all that Jesus have done for me and all that He continues to do for my life brought out the desire in me to give Him the best worship possible. I jumped. I screamed. I shouted. I hooted. I sang. I headbangged. I was all out.

And I am so proud that it’s not just during big worship concerts I can do this type of worship. I can do it every week. At our church.

Create Momentum

If there was one thing I would keep from the concert – it’s what they shared. About how we ought to aspire to have that great moment with God and use that to create momentum. As they said, we can create good memories about the awesome night, the awesome worship, the wonderful band, the great place, the great company but what they wanted us to have is that one great encounter with God – that encounter that would create a momentum. A momentum that would start to impact a lot of people.

I have always wanted God to use me – use me for a great purpose.

And tonight, I asked for that momentum to begin. And never stop.

All Access Pass

I liked the story about the All Access Pass. One of the worship leader shared how he had to work his way up the ranks. He started by setting up chairs, arranging instruments and practicing until he became a great musician. And he did all of those to have the All Access Pass during the Planetshakers concert and to eventually be playing on the stage.

However, his friend, who was six years old didn’t have to do any of what he did – and one day just had that all-access pass. Why? Because the kid was the son of the boss.

Just like the kid, we have an all-access pass too. An all access pass to our God – our Father who has given us such wonderful promises contained in the Bible. And we don’t need to work for it. Not for a single bit.

The MRT mishap and the Friday rush hour couldn’t stop me from going to this momentous occasion which was a glimpse of heaven here on earth.

Week 4: Two Different Types of Grills

This weekend my adventure involved backyard grills in posh neighborhoods. It was serendipitous that they were two unrelated events but managed to happen at the same weekend thus lending a theme to my 52 Weeks of Adventure posts.

Backyard Grilled Steak

It was my first time to taste a steak so fine. I’m not a fancy person so I don’t normally eat steaks especially if they’ll cost an arm and a leg. My boss likes to buy fresh steaks from the market and cook them on his own. He claims you don’t have to go to some fancy restaurant just to have a perfect steak. You can just do it on your own.

True enough, he was able to perfect his own steak. Grilled at searingly high temperatures (notice the flames) for a minute each side and out comes a steak that’s cooked medium rare – pinkish in the middle – and really, really juicy.

It was so good and we all had one big generous slice each. Paired with perfectly boiled potatoes and homemade cheese and your night is set.

It was a perfect recap for our day which was spent working on important business. I called it a backyard grilled steak because it was literally grilled at the backyard of my boss’ house in Alabang. Not the posh Alabang Village but the semi-posh nearby subdivisions.

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Backyard Grill – A #HIPEvent at Dasmariñas Village

The next day a friend invited me to their exclusive event at one of the most exclusive subdivision in Makati – Dasmariñas Village. I half-expected a real backyard grill event but should have been wiser to know it won’t be anything like that. It was more of a high-end and posh mercatto where there were food stalls from hole-in-the-wall concepts selling fish and chips, specialty sandwiches, roast chicken, hotdogs, etc. Interspersed were the sponsors who were mostly real estate developers. There was a band playing soothing music.

It was a laid-back event where residents of the area can come in, enjoy good food and chill out. The heavy rain did not deter the crowds and though the ground was very muddy, the area was still jampacked.

What was the adventure in both? Being new experiences and an attempt to do something more exciting than just sitting at home, reading a book (though this is infinitely exciting) is what classifies these weekend experiences as an adventure in itself.

Week 3: Experiencing a Neon Rave Party in the Province – Bigg’s Illumination

I am not a party person. I personally don’t like clubs, loud music or rave parties. My idea of a party would be more subdued like those of the Victorian era. But when I was invited to witness Bigg’s Illumination – well, how can I say no?

biggs illumination poster

The title makes you think of some Third World religious stuff (trust me to associate Illumination with Illuminati) but it’s actually an innocent and rather daring event by a homegrown brand in Naga.

Bigg’s Diner, now on its 32nd year has been known as a retro place – a resto where you go to eat and experience a 60s – 80s throwback. But recently they’ve been updating their game to still have that retro touch that made them famous while remaining relevant to their target market – the millenials.

According to CEO Carlo Buenaflor, Biggs Illumination is their attempt at connecting to the younger generation.

Biggs Illumination is a neon rave party. The dance floor is pitch black and only blacklights illuminate the scene. Wear white or neon colors and you stand out. Wear black and you’re hidden. Flourescent make up is available for anyone who wishes to add a hint of neon color to their garb.

biggs illumination dance floor

DJs from Metro Manila were invited to share their beat and get the young Naga populace grooving to a beat. Of course, cocktails and beer were available in makeshift bars around the dance floor which was in a roof deck of a commercial building in Naga’s gimmick district.

I laud Bigg’s attempt to stage a first-of-its-kind event in Naga. Bigg’s has always been a game changer pioneering events the city has yet seen. Looking around the venue, it felt as if I haven’t left Manila at all. However, a look at the crowd validated that I’m still at a provincial city.

In Manila, it’s normal for people to start hitting the dance floor the moment they set their foot in. Those milling about have beer cups in their hands and before long will be out in the dance floor. In Naga, the crowd is more reserved. There was an atmosphere of feeling each other out. The crowd did not immediately take to the dance floor and it was a long time before anyone started to dance.

Gates opened at 6pm and I arrived at 9pm to a mellow crowd. I was expecting the party to be in full swing by then. Even when I temporarily left at around 10pm, the crowd had only started to thicken but nobody was really dancing yet. It was around midnight, after the Tower Burger Challenge that the real party began. It seems they were still waiting for the program to start not knowing that in raves like these, it’s a spontaneous event. Dance til you drop is the theme.

But despite the slow start, it’s still a great event for Naga. As a friend said, expose Naga to events like these and soon enough they will get the hang of it. And from the looks of it, Bigg’s is definitely the brand to do just that.

Week 2: Science in Action – the National Science and Technology Week

If last week was science in theory, this week it’s science in action. I was supposed to go visit the National Museum and explore the nearby derelict places of interest but instead I opted to attend two timely events. 

The first was DOST’s National Science and Technology Week held at SMX MOA. It’s a free event where the latest technological innovations by Filipino scientists are displayed. It’s like a giant science fair. I already saw this event last year but it was only this year that I got to attend. 

The theme was Philippines: A Science Nation Innovating for Global Competitiveness. The hall was divided into various sections so researches can be grouped into agricultural sector, IT sector, industry sector and etc. In every exhibit I visited, I can recall my Pisay days whenever we had to present our IPs (investigatory projects). The entire hall looked like a massive IP presentation. 

Audience

There were A LOT of students. As in, A LOT. I went alone and was glad I did. There was just so many students it was dizzying. Many of the exhibitors were also actively engaging with students so it was kinda hard to talk to them. These are high school students btw. 

I got a sense that the exhibit was mainly for the students – perhaps to inspire them to pursue science and technology; perhaps to complement what they learn in the classroom. It catered to other professions too and there  were even separate registration booths for entrepreneurs but if there were fellow entrepreneurs there, they are very hard to spot. 

  
I just hope that entrepreneurs and private businesses would also attend the fair. It’s because they will be the ones who can breathe life to the inventions of these scientists. As scientists their role is to invent better solutions – faster machines, better agricultural products, etc. They conduct groundbreaking research reminiscent of our thesis days. However, their study will remain a study if no enterprising business would get it and build it to scale. 

If their inventions don’t see the light of commercialization, how can it serve for the betterment of the people?

Philippines – A Start-up Hub

Good thing there are companies like Ideaspace who are ready to invest in solid groundbreaking ideas. 

Ideaspace has invested in Croo, a device that can be embedded in accessories so that when you’re in danger you can just click it and it will automatically send an SMS to your loved ones. They also invested in iHarvest, a technology by an Adamson student that seeks to hasten the milling process. 

  

Ideaspace is a startup incubator by PLDT where pioneering ideas are given the chance to flourish through fundings and an entrepreneurship mentoring setup. If your idea like those above are selected in the competition, then you have a chance to market them to the public because resources are made availble to you. 

Schools as Breeding Ground for Start Ups

When I attended the APEC’s Startup Summit (Slingshot MNL) they stressed how important it is to create a startup ecosystem in the country mainly in the universities. 

Going around the exhibit hall, I saw how possible it is to have a startup ecosystem in the country. 

  
  
The UP Diliman booth showcased their winning car in a Shell competition and their innovative guitar. I, of course, felt the UP pride but it was upon seeing the FEU booth that made me realize how truly innovative Pinoys are and that we can definitely compete in the global invention arena. 

The Hamis is an invention where in order to turn on your motorcycle, your helmet must be in place. The ignition is connected to the helmet. There is also the automated book drop collection where every book dropped is automatically linked to your library file. It follows the same logic as the resume scanner which can intelligently scan every paper resume. PUP was also innovative with it’s bamboo power generator. 

To me FEU and PUP were able to identify real world problems and come up with ingenious solutions. Now I hope they present it to Ideaspace and get funding to develop further. 

The Government’s Efforts

The government is also doing its part to innovate and provide better solutions. 

I particularly liked the concept of One Lab. It seeks to simplify lab testing of your products via any DOST lab. As manufacturers or budding entrepreneurs we need to have a product tested – for chemical content, biochemical reactions, etc. One Lab is an online platform that allows you to see what tests are availble in which lab, how much they costs and if vying for certain accreditations what tests are needed. Further, if the lab you chose cannot accommodate you for some reason, they will simply be the one to forward your samples to another lab but they will remain as your primary contact. 

  

  
Another government project I hope sees the light is the use of TV Whitespace as wifi signal. I’m not sure how it actually works but the government also has an initiave to digitalize everything – from obtaining records to transacting with government agencies. 

Perhaps the most impressive government initiative would be the Hybrid Road Train. It seeks to address the massive transportation issues in Metro Manila. I tried the demo ride and it’s a smooth vehicle. It can accommodate 240 passengers in one go and it runs with a mix of diesel and Lithium batteries. It’s environmentally friendly and 100% Pinoy made. It doesn’t need a track to run into but it will require a dedicated lane in the highway. It’s not yet clear when it can be implemented as they still need major investors to fund the initiative. 

   

This is how the train would look like on the road. The unusual roof drew flak in social media.
 
The concept is very similar to the tram except that this version is modernized. 

Addendum 

I saw this giant poster about statistics of S&T Human Capital throughout the years and I’m proud to say I’m part of the Pisay statistics. 

  
I also saw this research that when implemented will solve one of the Millenium Developmental Goals – higher access to potable water. 

It’s a candle-type ceramic water filter formulated with red clay that filters microbial contaminants in the water making it potable. 

  
Another innovation that caught my eye is this loom. It’s intended to improve the use of local fabrics like abaca, jute, pinya and cotton. I remembered Mr. Kengkoy, the social enterprise from Bicol that sought to provide better livelihood to mothers in a town in Albay by using their woven jute cloth as raw material for backpacks. 

  

There are many researches in the area. So many in fact I am confident that the solution to many of our country’s problem lies in the hands of these scientists. All they need is decent funding to bring their inventions to the masses. 

Note: My second adventure for the day was the Inspire Everyday event at the Ayala Museum but I was late and wasn’t able to enter anymore. 

Week #1: Exploring the Mind Museum

I’m still at Week 1 and already I’ve written about 3 adventures. This series is definitely motivating me to write more and explore more.  Science does comes alive at the Mind Museum. I’ve always wanted to explore this place even before it opened. The science geek in me knew I had so much to learn and enjoy in this place. And true enough I was not disappointed.  Armed with a Metro Deal coupon, I tagged my marine biologist friend along to explore. It was a fun coincidence that the travelling exhibit was about the coral triangle in the country.  What I loved about the Mind Museum is how science is creatively presented. For instance, viewing the newly discovered marine species involved placing wooden blocks in a panel that will detect the embeded digital media and flash it on a screen. It was like placing slides under a microscope.     The area I wanted to explore was the giant display of the brain. It was fun how you have to step on a description of the brain part located on the floor to have the appropriate part light up.     Equally fascinating for me was to see replicas of things I observed only under the microscope.

Top and Bottom Left: Bacteria culture in agar. Both of whom I also studied in Microbio. | Bottom Right: Mitosis phases which I observed for onion cells under a microscope

Another fun display in the Life Section was the Pockets of Life which shows how  large certain groups are due to the number of species belonging to them.     I am not a huge physics nor chemistry fan but I find it surreal being reminded of the names of famous scientists who have become household names to me growing up.

The exhibit asks you to pair a scientist with his famous work.

It was also wonderful seeing their famous experiments depicted artistically.

Left: Erathosthenes who measured the Earth’s circumference | Right: Thomas Young who established the wave theory of light contradicting Newton’s light particle theory

A visit would not be complete without marvelling at the giant TRex replica but it was not what fascinated me in the Earth section. I was more fascinated with the trilobite fossile replica. Trilobites are extinct arthropods considered to be the most successful animal having survived for 270 million years – from the Cambrian to the Permian era. I have always loved drawing them back in my Bio days.     I love how the Mind Museum infuses fun with science. To me, science is fun as it is but to many I know they find it a difficult subject. Even for me, not all Science is fun such as Math but the slides in the playground gives Math a whole new perspective. Though honestly, I don’t know the Math equation for these shapes.     The Mind Museum is a fun place to be. And I would love to go there again – and even buy a year-round pass. I might even volunteer to be a mind mover. I just hope they keep up the high quality of the displays. Already some areas are showing signs of wear. It was encouraging seeing some displays closed for improvement but there are many more due for repair. The interactive nature of the displays do call for regular maintenance.     The Mind Museum at Taguig Opens from Tuesdays to Sundays 9am to 6pm Visit mindmuseum.org for ticket rates and exhibit schedules

Week #1: Freshly Brewed Beer at the Brewery

I sort of made a promise to myself to remain sober for a year but I simply couldn’t pass up the opportunity to taste freshly brewed beer. This is beer that’s served straight from the brewery with no bottling or storing at all. 

Sadly, I wasn’t able to meet the owner first hand and interview him. Still the experience was something worth noting and recording. 

I don’t really like bars and I’m not really a party person but when given the chance I wouldn’t say no. So when the company announced that we were to take out our Australian visitors to this hip bar in The Palace at BGC I didn’t hesitate to go. 

The Brewery is the first of its kind here in the country. They brew their beer fresh from the start. You can see these giant cylinders brewing 4 distinct types of beer: 

  • Pilsner which is a light type of beer but with an unusual kick
  • Wheat which taste similar to the usual San Miguel but has that grainy aftertaste
  • IPA which is their strongest beer, reddish in color and with a sweet taste like as if it’s added with some iced tea concentrate
  • Black Ale which is a black colored beer with an oaky flavor
Top: The cylinders where beer is brewed | Bottom Left: The sampler | Lower Right: Kenneth enjoying his Brown Ale

If you can’t decide which of the four beers to try, they will gladly give you a sampler with a shot of all the four types. It was how I got to appreciate each variety. I had IPA first then eventually settled for Brown Ale. IPA was good but Brown Ale was better. Even my friends enjoyed it too. 

The price list for their famous beers

The food was good for me. Not that incredible but not bad either. 

The US Angus Steak was a bit overgrilled. It had too many burnt parts but remove those burnt parts and mix with mashed potato and the taste explodes. The gravy is not noteworthy and neither the lettuce with some viniagrette dressing. 

Average bill per meal is at P500

Fish and Chips was also not noteworthy but what I liked, which I haven’t got a picture of is the Pulled Chicken with Potato Wedges and Jalapeno. The spicy taste was simply delectable! 

Marc Abaya and his band, Kjwan was playing that night. They were the lone performer for the night. We stayed to listen to their set until the end. 

What struck me was the vast parking lot filled with cars and the many young kids around. To me they look like kids but I doubt their more than 6 years younger. This is really the party people crowd / generation. Seeing them brought back fond yet bittersweet memories of my ex. He was the party type. 

Parties and clubs are not really my cup of tea but the beer experience was totally worth it. How I wish I had access to the Brewery less the party crowd. 

The Brewery is located at the Palace – a complex of bars and restaurants which can cater to 10,000 people at once. The goal of the place is for Manila to be known as the party capital of Asia. 

Location: 36th corner 9th Avenue BGC

Note: I’m making this post part of my 52 Weeks of Adventure because experiencing a new kind of beer is an adventure. 

Week #1: Visiting an Art Museum on Phil. History

It was an unexpected trip. Cultivating an exploratory spirit in tune to the recent Pluto discoveries, I decided to add some spice to my usual monthly routine. 

Arriving earlier than usual for my monthly empowerment sessions in Cubao, I decided to explore the advertised art musuem in Gateway Mall. 

  
Apparently it’s been around for more than a year already but not being one from Cubao, it was all new to me. 

The paintings were all brilliant works of art as each mural depicted a moment in the history of the country. It was also enchanting how each scene was painted in a way that closely resembled that moment in history. For example this painting depicting how religion flourished in the Philippines is made to look like stained glass reminiscent of many Catholic churches. 

  
This painting, which was the first in the series depicted the prehistoric era of the Philippinrs. I love how it’s made to resemble a cave painting. 

  
This painting depicting the darkest moment in Philippine history – the Martial Law years captivates the harsh reality of that time. Beside it is a painting of the EDSA revolution. 

   
 
There were many other paintings lined up in a long hall. Each one arranged in chronological order of the event in history. Every historic milestone from the famous revolutions to the formation of the Philippine Republic and government were depicted in art form. Even not so famous but important historic events like the formation of barangays in pre-colonial times to the establishment of work unions in the early 1900s were depicted. 

  
The paintings culminated in a portrayal of current history done in vivid colors reminiscent of hi-res photographs. It even has the PCOS machine in it. 

  
The exhibit is an initiative of UP Alumni Association together with several distinct artists. 

  
It has a coffee book table for those who wish to keep a copy of the paintings and how they were conceptualized by the artists. 

  
According to the guard on duty, the exhibit will run for two years. It’s open from 10am to 7pm. 

Admission is free. 

History buffs and non-history buffs alike would find value visiting this museum. I don’t think it has attracted a lot of attention given the few people milling by when I was there. But every Filipino deserves to see such artistic portrayal of our country’s history especially when it’s made so easily accessible for everyone. 

Perhaps every mall goer should decide to drop by even if just for a few minutes in this gallery and appreciate art and history together. 

Sidetrip

Outside the musuem, on the same level is a topiary garden. It was windy and the breeze was a welcome respite from the heat. However, I was saddened to see that the topiary was plastic. Even the grass was felt. A far cry from the real gardens I’m used to in BGC and Makati. Or even the rooftop gardens I saw in Changi Airport. But for the effort, it’s worth an A. 

  

Note: This post is part of my 52 weeks of adventure blog series. You can read about it here: 52 Weeks of Adventure