Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Islands of Honda Bay

For our barkada’s Puerto Princesa City, Palawan escape, we availed the Honda Bay Island Hopping Tour. About 30 minutes from the city proper, Honda Bay is facing Sulu Sea and is also where the high-end Dos Palmas Resort is located. The package tour we got costs PhP 1,340 per person and includes air-conditioned van and boat transfers, entrance fees for three islands, and a lunch buffet.

Our tour guide for the trip fetched us at the inn where we were staying at around 7:00 am and proceeded to pick up the other tourists from their hotels. On the way, we stopped at a snorkelling gear shop near Sta Lourdes Wharf. Here, we rented snorkelling masks and aqua shoes at PhP 150 each. Life vests, meanwhile, will be provided on the boat we will be renting at the wharf.

When we arrived at the Sta Lourdes Wharf, the place was already teeming with tourists.  Our guide took care of the necessary permits and fees at the Tourist Information Center. While waiting for her, we seize the opportunity to have a restroom break and take photos. We also bought some bread at the various stalls scattered along the wharf for our fish feeding activity later. Finally, after waiting for quite some time, we hopped on the outrigger boat assigned to our group. Because of the weather condition, we can only go the islands near the wharf.

Luli Island
Our first stop was Luli Island. “Lu” from “lulubog” and “Li” for “lilitaw.” The guide told us that it was named as such because the island is submerged during high tide and visible if low tide. Luli Island is actually a long sandbar with fine sand, a perfect backdrop for selfies and jump shots. The island is quite developed as there are are cottages, restrooms and a floating platform. But what tourists enjoyed most is its diving board. Imagine jumping into the sea? But don’t worry, it’s just a few meters off the shore.

Kabayo Island
The second island for our group was Kabayo Island. This is not among the popular islands in Honda Bay. It is actually a sandbar too, but smaller than Luli Island. Also, it is not that developed, only floating platforms can be found here. But I really had a fun time snorkelling and feeding the fish, just take a look at some of the photos taken by our boatman using my friend’s underwater camera—plenty of multi-colored and different kinds of fishes!


Cowrie Island
Our last stop is Cowrie Island. From afar, I could already see the coconut trees and thatch-roofed huts. We had our lunch at the island’s big covered pavilion. I enjoyed the buffet which consists of pancit, fish, fried chicken, veggies, coffee jelly and a lot more! Too tired to dip ourselves in the water, my friends and I just roamed around and saw a bar, massage services and a beach volleyball area. We also saw tourists kayaking or riding the banana boat. My friend, meanwhile, had a henna tattoo. Since most of us had flights to catch that evening, we decided to go back at Sta Lucia Wharf by 2 pm.

Our Honda Bay island hopping tour was tiring but I definitely enjoyed it! Hopefully when I go back, the weather would be cooperative so that I can also check out Pandan Island, Pambato Reef and maybe even Dos Palmas!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Family Day is Crimson Sunday Brunch Day!

Sundays are considered as family day and should be fun for every for family member. That is why Crimson Hotel in Filinvest, Alabang came up with the “Family Sunday Brunch” at its Cafe Eight restaurant.

Launched just this February 1, 2015, families’ can now spend their Sundays by enjoying an international buffet spread at Cafe Eight, and at the same time kids can take a splash at Crimson Hotel’s pool. The South Writers League, myself included, was invited to check it out last February 8.

What makes Crimson’s Family Sunday Brunch different from the other buffets is they have a station especially dedicated for children. There’s spaghetti, pizza, fruit & marshmallow skewers, and various sweets. There’s even a popcorn and cotton candy maker! They also have kiddie plates that are made of bamboo (not plastic!) to promote healthy eating.

Not only that, they also have an area for kids where they can watch their favorite animated films on a large-screen or perhaps be entertained by an in-house mime artist. Or they could draw, color or play with some toys and balloons.

Plus, children can access this pool for free from 2pm to 4pm! PhP 500 will be charged per every accompanying adult.

While the kids are having fun, we, adults, can now enjoy the predominantly continental, with a touch of Asian buffet spread. For starters, there are nachos and veggie salads with dressing such as oriental and Thai. They also have salmon ceviche, potato and bacon salad, mixed vegetables, Thai beef salad, kimchi, salmon and Caesar salad. What I liked most are the cold cuts (lyoner, salmon, etc) and various cheeses. They also have a wide array of breads (chocolate croissant, soft bun, etc) that you can spread with butter, strawberry jam, orange marmalade or honey.

Crimson Family Sunday Brunch also offers fresh seafood like shrimps, mussels, oysters, etc. It also has a Japanese station for maki, sushi and sashimi lovers.

You can also create your own pasta, crepe or omelette. You want carbonara? Or blueberries or jam with your crepe? Or maybe, ham and cheese filling for your omelette? The possibilities are endless.

Since this is brunch, it has the usual breakfast items like bacon, chicken sausage and potatoes. This is side by side with bundled vegetables, pumpkin ravioli, fried eggplant in ponzo sauce, yakisoba, poached salmon in burgle sauce, pollo al horno, Korean chicken patties, pommes berry potatoes, beef tenderloin with shitake mirin, and samobor pork chops, among others.

Almost all the main entrees taste good but the first thing that I really look for in a buffet is the desserts section and this one didn’t disappoint. Well, there’s the usual fresh fruits, ice cream and halo-halo but what got me is their parfait, orange cheesecake, leche flan, strawberry mille feuille and red velvet. They also have bread and butter pudding, tiramisu bluberry cheesecake, red fruit charlotte, chocolate brownie, macaroons, fruit tart, creampuff, and pavlova, among others.

The Crimson Family Sunday Brunch comes with unlimited juices and all of these can be enjoyed for PhP 1,600 net. But if you want unlimited mimosas, local beer, house wine with the juices, get the PhP 2,100 net package.

For more information, contact:
Tel: (+632) 863.2222

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