The story of the most popular boulder in San Vicente, Palawan

The story of the most popular boulder in San Vicente, Palawan

What was once a hangout of a child is now the most famous view deck in Palawan’s growing hotspot, frequented by tourists

Whenever you search for photos of San Vicente, Palawan, chances are you’ll find this photo:

The photo that pops up the most when you search for San Vicente, Palawan on Google. Photo from SkyJet Airlines

It’s often mistaken for Long Beach, but it’s actually called Irawan Beach. The place where this quintessential San Vicente photo is taken from? It’s on top of a boulder that’s up a short hill… and it’s called Bato ni Ningning.

This is the view from Bato ni Ningning. Photo by Harvey Tapan

Named after a television show it was in, Bato ni Ningning is perched on top of a hill in Brgy. Alimanguan, the northernmost barangay of San Vicente.

Getting to Bato ni Ning is a 47-minute drive from the airport or a 22-kilometer drive through paved and dirt roads. It’s best to take a guide with you and rent a motorbike to get to the hotspot.

Introducing Bato ni Ningning. Photo by Harvey Tapan
Irawan Beach from the air. Photo by Harvey Tapan

Once there, you will be rewarded with a panoramic view of Brgy. Alimanguan, with Irawan Beach right in the middle. Simply pay the Php20 entrance fee, stand atop the boulder, whip out your camera, and either take a selfie or replicate that photo of San Vicente you always see online.

Get there
SkyJet Airlines (Flyskyjetair.com) flies direct from Manila to San Vicente four times weekly. Flights are to increase to six times weekly beginning October 27, 2019.

Dashing Spot: Lakawon Island

Dashing Spot: Lakawon Island

White sand beach, azure water, with an amazing floating bar make this hotspot your barkada’s next holiday destination.

If you’re looking for an island where you can find a pristine white sand beach with an exciting vibe, you should be booking a trip to Lakawon Island in Negros Occidental.

It’s roughly two hours by land and sea combined from Bacolod with a stunning white beach as its main centerpiece, is in tune with nature, and dotted by palm trees. The cabanas complete the island paradise look that makes it seem like the island was made for relaxation.

It’s closed right now, but once Tawhai re-opens, you’re going to WANT to go there.

Enjoy a walk on the beach, swim in the clear waters, or try your hand at kitesurfing. If you’re feeling peckish, Sunset Bar offers local-inspired dishes whipped with the the day’s fresh catch.

Get there

Coordinate with Lakawon Island Resorts and Spa (Lakawon.com.ph/) for a van to take you from Bradco Port to Lakawon and back for Php4,500.00 roundtrip (six-14 pax). To get to the Bacolod Bradco Port, simply ride a ferry from Manila to Bacolod.

Entrance fee is at Php350 per person, with the umbrella hut starting at Php600. Overnight stays are from Php2,500 per night (good for four to six people) at the Tropical Bamboo House.

Unearthing the restaurant that does not harm the planet

Unearthing the restaurant that does not harm the planet

Earth Kitchen is not the first to do all organic, all local, sustainable cooking, but it’s among the most successful ones, and we want to come back to for more.

Built on three words that define them more than their cuisine, Earth Kitchen makes sure that what they serve is healthy (100% organic produce), local (all of their produce is sourced from local indigenous farms under the Got Heart Foundation), and sustainable (seasonal menu to fully utilize the best ingredients).

It looks like a greenhouse, but it’s not as warm as one. Very earthy and welcoming, indeed.

Step through the revolving doors of Earth Kitchen and you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a greenhouse in the middle of the city—sans the heat. Earth tones is the game, melding well with upcycled wooden tables made from palochina, wooden chairs made by local artisans from Rizal, in door plants, and yellow lighting.

You can relax here before you have your meal. No food allowed in this area, though. 😉

There’s a conference room across the hall and an art gallery up on the second floor you can access through a glass door in the far left, but by far the best feature of Earth Kitchen is its garden, which you can see glimpses of from the dining hall.

A mini kubo that’s about a storey above the street is a pleasurable place to hang out before of after a meal. No food is allowed in it.

Food

The menu is a combination of Asian fare with inspiration from Chef JR Tani’s experiences in his travels. It’s all organic yet still full of flavor, which means everything you’ll have here is guilt-free. They can also accommodate almost every dietary restriction, so long as you give them a heads-up.

Succulent, savory – bursting with flavor. All without any additives or preservatives.

A favorite for us is the beef kebab. It’s a juicy skewer of bite-size chunks of beef ribs that have been marinated in a secret sauce for at least 24 hours. Accompanying this savory skewer is a refreshing saucer of tzatziki and grilled veggies on a stick. You can have it served with a tortilla wrap, but this date night meal is best enjoyed on a bed of Ifugao rice pilaf.

We’ll gladly have this for lunch any day of the week, whether at Earth Kitchen or in our office. Yes, they deliver.

Another hard-to-resist item is the watermelon & rocket salad. Yes, watermelon in a salad and not in your dessert. The pop you get from biting into the sweet watermelon refreshes the arugula and lettuce with homemade kesong puti, pili nuts, and a homemade balsamic vinaigrette. It’s great for lunch, whether for here or to go.

Drink

A good way of getting kids into veggies: their fresh shrimp spring rolls with hoisin sauce.

No sodas here because why would you drink sodas with healthy cooking? What you do get are fresh juice mixes, freshly-squeezed ripe mango, dalandan, or calamansi juice, shakes, or locally-made, ready-to-drink Lick Iced Tea.

A meal at this brainchild of Melissa Yeung (Got Heart Foundation), Chef David Hizon (Hizon’s Catering), and Chef JR Tani goes a long way. You’re not just helping indigenous communities; you’re also helping yourself get into a healthier lifestyle—or, at least for one meal.

The basics
Php1,220 (USD23) for two persons
Lot 10 B-10 Katipunan Ave. Ext., White Plains, Quezon City
11 am to 2 pm, 5 pm to 8 pm daily
Earthkitchen.ph
@EarthKitchenPH on Facebook and Instagram

Photos and words by Andrew Del Rosario

The revelation of coco brewed coffee

The revelation of coco brewed coffee

Yes, Latitude Bean+Bar in Malate, Manila cold brews coffee with coconut water… and then some.

The brew in question.

As weird as it sounds, yes, the idea does work. Let coarse-ground coffee brew in coconut water at least overnight and you’ll get a naturally sweet, little-to-no-acid coffee that even someone who isn’t a fan of coffee will like.

And it’s something you can enjoy in the middle of Malate at Latitude Bean+Bar. Why Latitude? “It’s a term used in navigation, and can mean to be in the middle of something,” says Natalie Ong, one of the owners of the specialty coffee shop.

Sit here with a glass of coco brew and a grilled cheese sandwich and you’re good.

The quaint coffee shop is located one lot away from the corner of Remedios and Pilar Hidalgo Lim in the City of Manila, and is oddly (yet satisfyingly) quiet despite being a city block away from Taft Avenue, one of the busiest streets in the metro.

You’ll find it hard to miss this blue wall… or that shelf.

It’s not one of those hidden coffee shops where it’s a “blink and you’ll miss it” sort of situation since it pops out from the greys of the city: the blue walls and the kaleidoscope logo are hard to miss. Even the simple, octagonal shelf stands out as you drive by, calling on to you for a stare or order a cup of coffee.

Food

A “simple” grilled cheese sandwich, with fries and a tomato sauce dip on the side.

They’re not big on food like most cafes, but their mushroom grilled cheese sandwich is quite a treat. The toasted slices of sourdough bread hold itself together as you bite into the savory mix of melted cheese (mozzarella and cheddar) and dried shiitake mushrooms. Take the flavors to the next level by dipping it in the complimentary tomato sauce (Natalie’s recipe) and you get a zing that cuts some of the savoriness, balancing out the flavors.

Munch on these as much as you like.

If you’re there for a quick pitstop, study session, or to simply relax for the afternoon, a bowl of their crispy nori chips will hit the spot. It’s a bowl of crispy potato chips generously dusted with their in-house nori powder blend that has just the right amount of umami to keep you digging for more.

Drink

Yes, that’s Natalie enjoying Latitude’s coco brew.

This is where Latitude shines. A sip of their coco brew is a welcome departure for people who have trouble finding that right balance between the bitterness of coffee and turning the drink into blackened sugar water. Cold brew coffee is already sweeter than black, but the coconut water adds a level of sweetness and you will never get that familiar finish with any sugar substitute.

Dusk at the top, dawn at the bottom; hence the name.

If you’re not feeling up for a cup/glass of coffee, their Dusk Till Dawn will surely perk you up. It’s a mix of strawberry lemonade (with the syrup done in-house) and blue tea (tea made with blue butterfly pea) that’s sweet, sour, and refreshing in all the right ways. Give it a stir and it changes color, or let it sit as it is and get a different flavor as you go deeper into the glass with your reusable straw.

The basics
Php350 (about USD7) per person for one drink and a snack
1851 Pilar Hidalgo Lim cor. Remedios Sts., Malate, Manila
11am to 8pm daily
@latitudebeanbar on Facebook and Instagram

Fishpen to table: J&A Fishpen Resort and Restaurant

Fishpen to table: J&A Fishpen Resort and Restaurant

It’s the seafood place in Camiguin, an institution that should be in your Camiguin itinerary.

As an island province, Camiguin will always bring in the freshest of catches from the sea. While most restaurants can serve you good seafood, there is a place in Camiguin that even locals from the other side of the island would flock to: J&A Fishpen Resort and Restaurant.

There’s the “traditional” seafood resto look.

It’s one of those places we like to call an institution, i.e. something that’s consistently been there since time immemorial. In the case of J&A, they’ve always been the go-to for the best-cooked seafood on the island. Of course, it helps that they’re sitting on the surface of the Taguines lagoon, with some of the island’s best clams ready for the taking.

And then, there’s this: a couple of over-water “cottages” with panoramic views of Taguines Lagoon.

The views you’ll get while you eat are both relaxing and amazing. You’ll feel like you’re on a big boat out in the middle of the sea. It also doesn’t feel bad to have access to the island’s first zip line to date.

Food

Their signature catch: fresh lapis or shellfish, cultured right in the lagoon. This one is adobo, but it can go in a sinigang or tinola.
It’s simple, yes, but fried malasugue (a local fish) tastes better because of how fresh it is.
Also, nothing says fresh quite like fresh kinilaw made with malasugue.

This is clearly where J&A Fishpen shines. Sitting on a lagoon that’s full of lapis (a clam cultured right in the lagoon) and being able to get the freshest catch from the sea, their seafood is on a different level. They’ve got live fish pens to get their fish as fresh as possible. Make sure you try out their “Catch a Fish, Will Cook It Free” promo.

Drink

If simple drinks don’t soothe your thirst, there’s always this: a palayok full of sinigang na malasugue.
They also make a mean sisig, which surprisingly goes well with fresh coconut juice or coconut shake.

Drinks at J&A are quite simple. They have a selection of fruit juices that are either fresh or those in cans, shakes, and beer. Fresh coconuts are the way to go, though, since it adds to the whole fresh-from-the-sea vibe.

The basics
Php800 (USD16) for two people
Taguines Lagoon, Benoni, Mahinog, Camiguin

SkyJet Airlines has direct flights from Manila to Camiguin 5 times weekly.

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