A passage in chapter 11 of Dr. Jose Rizal’s esteemed novel Noli Me Tángere will usually go over Filipino students’ heads. It’s the simple act of preparing hot chocolate, though it is indicative of how Padre Salvi (or some other friar during those times) treats his guests.
“Well, if he offers you chocolate—which I doubt—but if he offers it remember this: if he calls to the servant and says, ‘Juan, make a cup of chocolate, eh!’ then stay without fear; but if he calls out, ‘Juan, make a cup of chocolate, ah!’ then take your hat and leave on a run.”
“What!” the startled visitor would ask, “does he poison people? Carambas!”
“No, man, not at all!”
“‘Chocolate, eh!’ means thick and rich, while ‘chocolate, ah!’ means watered and thin.”
translated from Chapter 11, Noli Me Tangere, retrieved from gutenberg.org
Why is this significant? It’s because people back then looked at tsokolate eh as a far superior drink, reserved only for the ruling class (i.e. Spaniards). “Eh” was believed to have come from the Spanish word espesso (thick), while “ah” from aguado (watered down or thin).
Nowadays, it doesn’t matter if you’re into tsokolate eh or tsokolate ah, as it boils down to personal taste. What you may want to look into is what you pair your traditional Filipino chocolate drink with.
The basics Café Adriatico is one of the best places to get tsokolate eh, served with pan de sal, a Filipino bun, and kesong puti or cheese made from carabao’s milk. Café Adriatico’s original branch in Remedio Circle, Malate, Manila and has a branch at SM Mall of Asia.
November 6 onwards The Theatre at Solaire Solaire Resort & Casino, 1 Aseana Avenue, Entertainment City Paranaque City
Based on T.S. Elliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Cats the Musical” makes a stop in the Philippines for a limited season run at The Theatre at Solaire this November 6. It tells the tale of how all Jellicle cats gather for their annual Jellicle Ball just to hear who Old Deuteronomy, their benevolent leader, will pick as the Jellicle cat to be reborn into a new life. It features a cast headlined by world-renowned theatre star and the country’s own Joanna Ampil reprising her role as Grizabella. Ticketworld.com.ph
Noel Bazaar 2019
November 15 to 24 World Trade Center, Pasay
Nineteen years on and no other Christmas bazaar in the country has yet to match the largest Christmas shopping bonanza that is the Noel Bazaar, with its first leg happening on November 15 to 24 at the World Trade Center. The bazaar is where you find the latest crafts and merch from some of the country’s best entrepreneurs, and GMA 7’s top celebrities auctioning off their pre-loved items. The best part: it’s all for charity. Facebook.com/noel.bazaar/
VegFest Pilipinas 2019
November 16 to 17 BGC Arts Center, 26th St. cor. 9th Ave., Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
Head for the BGC Arts Center on November 16 and 17 and join the Vegans of Manila at VegFest Pilipinas 2019, an event meant to showcase of all things vegan—from food and non- food products and services, to talks about vegan lifestyle. If there’s ever a place and time to know more about veganism or find the latest vegan products in the country, it’s this. Facebook.com/VegFestPilipinas/
Earth Run 2019
The fourth and final leg of this year’s Takbo Para sa Kalikasan, Earth Run gives you a reason not just to stay in shape but also be more aware of what is happening to our environment. Take part in the 3km, 5km, 10km run or go all out for the environment and join them in plogging, or picking up litter while jogging. Facebook.com/takboparsakalikasan/
If you’ve ever wanted to avoid the crowd but enjoy the food of Tagaytay—hot bowl of bulalo and all—we’ve found the place to be.
Dining in Tagaytay usually includes experiencing a cool summer breeze with heart-warming food and (hopefully) a view of the Taal Lake so it’s no surprise that the two primary roads leading to Tagaytay along with every single restaurant are packed during weekends.
Good thing there’s a place in Tagaytay that satisfies my cravings for a good bowl of bulalo (beef shank stew) and Tagaytay’s cool breeze: D’ Banquet. Located along Aguinaldo Highway, it’s ideal if you’re looking to head home after a few hours in Tagaytay or are looking for a good place to start an afternoon in the country’s second Summer Capital.
The restaurant has near-all-wood interiors and greenery wrapped around it. It’s quite a spacious restaurant, able to sit around 100 people with ease.
Adding to the rustic charm is a small cafe that serves specialty coffee from Benguet and treats you can purchase from the One Town, One Product shop they operate, which includes pastries from the famous Amira’s Buco Tarts.
They’re known for their boneless crispy pata (deep fried pork thigh) and their roasted native chicken, though the buffet offers much more than those. They’ve got a pot of hearty bulalo, which you can get on small soup bowls along with a myriad of Filipino dishes.
Try their balut a la pobre, a dish that gives the humble but exotic balut egg a salty, savory spin. Leave some room for dessert with pastries made from popular Amira’s Buco Tarts smack in the middle of the restaurant.
You can always ask for sodas at D’Banquet, but there’s a better, healthier option that’s right at the buffet: freshly squeezed fruit juices. They usually have at least four varieties available.
If you want to discover something different, try the specialty coffee they serve at the cafe. They use Arabica beans from Benguet in hot lattés, Thai Coffee, and something you don’t see too often in Manila: cafe naranja, which is coffee mixed with orange fruit.
The basics Php800 (about USD15) for two people, Php599 per person for the weekend buffet Aguinaldo Highway corner Arnoulduz Road, Tagaytay City Fb.com/dbanquettagaytay
Get there Ride a DLTB Bus from Pasay that’s headed for Nasugbu and ask the driver to drop you off at Pink Sister’s Convent. D’ Banquet is located across the street from where you will be dropped off.
You can say San Vicente is the Philippines’ last frontier’s last frontier. If this doesn’t sound right, this report will.
Palawan’s open secret might probably be the best thing to ever happen to local tourism, and it’s not hard to see why: sustainable tourism practices are at the heart of what drives the once sleepy fishing town of San Vicente.
The teeny spotlight lit on San Vicente’s two attractions: Long Beach and Port Barton. But the fact is there are more to the town than lounging around these breathtaking shores.
Cove hop on Boayan Island
Boayan Island, the largest island off the coast of San Vicente, boasts some of the most pristine beaches in the province. Most of the beaches on Boayan are within private property, but island hoppers can stop by it. Coves like Kalipay, Evergreen, and Kambingan are great if you want a beach to yourself.
Ask your boatman to bring you to Daplac Cove, one of the more pristine beaches on Boayan Island. It’s a 300-meter cove with powdery white sand that’s a host to a few sea turtles and if the conditions are right you may spot them in your visit. Boayan Island is about 30 minutes by boat from the San Vicente Port. St. Vincent Travel and Tours has this in their tours.
Photo Op at Bato ni Ningning
Bato ni Ningning, named after a drama series that aired on local TV in 2015, gives you a view of Erawan Beach as well as a near-360-degree view of the surrounding area.
Stand atop the rock and bust out your selfie stick to get Erawan Beach in the photo, or go down a bit from the top of the hill and have a cleaner shot of the beach. Bato ni Ningning is a 45-minute drive from the airport, and best reached on a motorbike. Bike rental is around Php600 (USD12) per bike. Entrance to Bato ni Ningning is Php20 per person.
Bar hop in Port Barton
The crowd in San Vicente will always gravitate towards Port Barton. It’s the first area of San Vicente to be explored by tourists and a welcome alternative to those who have been to El Nido.
Two of the top bars in Port Barton are Moon Bar and Mojitos Restobar. Mojitos was once named as Palawan’s best resto-bar on TripAdvisor and is known for its nine variations on the classic mojito. Moon Bar alternately is a beachfront bar that serves smoothies, beer, wines, and cocktails with a view of San Vicente’s cotton candy-colored sunset. It’s hard to miss since it looks like a gigantic two-storey beach hut. Drinks at Moon Bar start at Php200. Moon Bar is a five-minute walk from the center of Port Barton.
To date, there are only two waterfalls known to people who have been to San Vicente: Bigaho and Pamoayan. Bigaho Falls, a 10-minute walk from the beach where your boat will dock, is pretty accessible and often the final stop on your Port Barton Island Hopping tour. It has a small pool at the bottom of the falls for taking a leisurely dip.
Pamoayan Falls, 10 minutes by motorbike on paved and dirt roads from Port Barton beach, calls the adventurous. From the entrance, it’s a five-minute trek including wading on a creek to get to the waterfall. Compared to Bigaho, Pamoayan is more majestic in terms of size and features. Its dipping pool is larger than Bigaho too. Bigaho and Pamoayan both have a sari-sari store where you can buy snacks and drinks, and where there’s a donation box for those who wish to donate cash.
Spend the afternoon (or the night) at Inaladelan Island
It’s a tongue-twister of a name, but Inaladelan Island (or German Island) is one of the best islands to spend a night on in San Vicente. It has tents, a 300-meter white-sand beach on one side, a small bar that serves cocktails, and a small pavilion where you can have your lunch. You’ll love the trees giving you shelter when it’s a tad too sunny. Inaladelan is often a lunch stop for island hopping tours, but we recommend actually spending a night here for you to enjoy some peace and quiet.
Less than a kilometer from its shore is where you’ll find what people visit San Vicente for: sea turtles. There’s a huge patch of seagrass below the waves that sea turtles love to graze in, and they’re more than happy to let people snorkel or swim with them while they feed. Note: This phenomenon is year-round. Overnight stays at Inaladelan are at Php2,500 per person (minimum of two) with roundtrip transfers from either Port Barton or San Vicente, a camping tent with foam bed and pillows, dinner, and breakfast. Book at Inaladelanisland.com
Explore Port Barton’s reefs
Port Barton is home to some of the more thriving coral reefs in Palawan. The islands in Port Barton Bay like Inaladelan and Exotic have some of the clearest waters, making them a playground for snorkelers.
Some of the more popular reefs are Twin Reef and Wide Reef. Twin Reef is a shallow dive (less than 15 feet) and home to large table corals and schools of fish. It’s a small area that’s easily explored even by those who don’t dare dive beneath the waves. Wide Reef is a wider reef area, hence the name, and deeper than Twin Reef, with similar coral formations and species of fish. If you’re looking for larger schools of fish, have your boatman take you to Small Lagoon Reef, located close to Exotic Island; for and to Fantastic Reef, close to Double Island, for a look-see of green corals. Snorkeling in Port Barton Bay is a part of the tours provided by St. Vincent Travel and Tours.
Laze on Long Beach and forget time exists
This one you can do at any of the beaches you’ll visit, but Long Beach gives you the best opportunity to enjoy a legitimately long walk on the beach or do nothing at all.
Long Beach is a 14.7-kilometer, cream-colored sandy beach that has got one of the most colorful sunsets you’d evert see. There aren’t many establishments on Long Beach yet, which means a visit this early will give you a good chance of taking those beach photos without people and manmade structures in the background. Put on loads of insect repellent before you and within your visit to keep you from being bit by sand flies.
Watch sea turtle hatchlings go to the sea
Another unique way of enjoying a stay in San Vicente joining the locals and taking part in releasing sea turtle hatchlings on Long Beach.
Backed by a municipal ordinance, the residents (especially school kids) and officials of the three barangays that share Long Beach walk on their portion of the beach either early in the morning or late in the afternoon to look for sea turtle nests. Tourists can join in on the fun by simply walking with them or visiting Club Agutaya, where they release hatchlings within 24 hours of finding them. Turtle hatching season is from October to April. Register for free at Club Agutaya’s front desk when you visit San Vicente to join locals in looking for sea turtle nests.
Visit Dumaran Island
It’s not exactly on every tour operator’s itinerary and it’s not exactly in San Vicente, but Dumaran Island is the definition of an unknown tourist destination in Palawan. The island is three hours away from San Vicente and will have you take dirt roads and a boat ride to get to it. It’s not a touristy place, with no proper resorts, restaurants, and other tourist establishments but it does have spots you can check out like Isla Pugon, Encantasia Island, Renambacan Island, Maruyug-ruyog Island, Calampuan Island, and the Dumaran Spanish Fort. Tours at Dumaran Island can be arranged with either the local tourism office or Isla Pugod Eco Resort (@DumaranPalawanDiscoveryOfficialPage on Facebook).
The basics Get there: SkyJet Airlines flies direct from Manila to San Vicente four times weekly. Motorbikes are the preferred way of getting around San Vicente, with rentals priced around Php600 (USD12) per bike.
The ever-unpredictable Philippine weather does not stop the brave of heart. And this is true even to celebrities whose IG feeds prove their love for the uplands.
Here’s one lady who’s not afraid of heights. The star of ABS-CBN’s recently-concluded teleserye The General’s Daughter is a fan of adventure, and mountains are no exception.
She swims, she bikes, she runs. And she also goes up a mountain every now and then. Bubbles Paraiso, everyone.
Bit of a cheat, this one (as an entry, not the actual person), but Erwan’s content on his IG and YouTube are filled with nearly every activity you could think of… including hikes.
Yes, it’s her. She’s one of the country’s top female OCR athletes, and she’s just at home at the summit of a mountain as she is on a Spartan course.
This man doesn’t have as big of a following as the artistas on this list, but he is one of the biggest names in the local mountaineering scene. Aftersll, Gideon Lasco is the dude that started pinoymountaineer.com.
If these people aren’t enough to convince you to hike up a mountain, then I don’t know what will.
Didwe miss anyone? Hit us up in the comments below and we’ll expand this list!