Corregidor Island has always carried a hint of mystery. Also called “The Rock”because of its terrain, the tadpole-shaped island takes its name from the Spanish word ‘corregir,’ which means ‘to correct.’ It was used as a customs area during the Spanish period, when all ships entering Manila Bay had to stop by the island to have their official papers ‘corrected.’
The island’s current fame comes from World War II, when its strategic location at the mouth of Manila Bay made it an excellent place to build fortifications. Corregidor, also called Fort Mills, played a big part in the liberation of the Philippines. The structures and weapons that the Americans built in WWII still stand today, a doorway to the past.
Now, you can visit The Rock in style as Manila Hotel and Sun Cruises launches Experience Corregidor, a package that combines history with luxury. Take a tour of the historic island, then relax overnight in Manila Hotel, where you can also take a peek into the MacArthur Suite, which Gen. Douglas MacArthur called home while he was in the Philippines.
Read the rest of my Spot.ph article.
A surprising number of visitors discover the province, which, despite its strategic location between Luzon and Visayas, isn’t part of the tourist trail and is almost-but-not-quite bypassed by the nautical highway.
Many foreigners end up in Rombon because they took the wrong boat getting to nearby Boracay. Most of them end up staying.
Taiwan has been gaining popularity as a destination because of its culinary haunts and tourist attractions. But it offers a different kind of R&R as well.
Everyone knows about Taiwan’s night markets and burgeoning food scene, but what many are now discovering is that the country has a spiritual side that draws more and more people every year.
The Fo Guang Shan monastery is in what was once a bamboo forest on a mountain in Dashu, Kaohsiung province. The monastery was established in 1967 by the Venerable Master Hsing Yun, with four goals: to propagate Buddhism through culture, to foster talent through education, to benefit society through charitable programs, and to purify the mind for Buddhist practice.
Read the rest of my GMA News article here.
I accompanied my mom to a wedding in Boracay, which essentially meant that I spent a lot of money so that I could be slightly miserable outside Manila. I love traveling with my mom and her friends are generally cool, but after three days stuck in the Shangri La with no time to myself, I needed a drink, if only to get into my own space.
When we finally got the chance to go to White Beach, I said that I wanted to go to Jonah’s, hoping that my mom and her friends would think it too much of a ‘youngster’s place’ and not come along. They didn’t take the hint and followed anyway, but that didn’t stop me from ordering a piña colada shake in the middle of the afternoon.
Jonah’s Shake and Snack Bar in Station 1 is a Boracay institution, and serves the best shakes in the world. This is not an exaggeration. They have a long list of fresh fruit, cocoa, and dairy combinations, all of them extremely thick in a didn’t-scrimp-on-ingredients way. My favorite is the Avocado Shake, a mix of avocado, milk, and sugar. The texture of semi-melted ice cream, it’s both a thirst quencher and comfort food. This is normally my first choice, but it wasn’t the kind of com for that I needed that day.
The Piña Colada Shake combines pineapple, my favorite fruit, and alcohol, which I severely needed to stop myself from going crazy. It was sweet, but didn’t mask the pineapple’s tartness, and enough alcohol to get just slightly off-center.
I also ordered the Jonah’s Seafood Taco, a giant taco shell packed with vegetables, cheese, and shrimp. It’s a weird pairing, I know, but the taco filled me up and took a bit of the edge off the alcohol.
I finished my shake, tipsy and in a considerably better mood, ready to endure another two days in one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
Yesterday, I accompanied a friend to a meeting in Tagaytay. We drove through McDonald’s for breakfast, stopped by Sonia’s Garden so that he could buy their famous Spanish Bread, then ended the day in Makati by watching The Hobbit. But in between Tagaytay and Makati, he took me to a den of pitch in the middle of Sta. Rosa, Laguna.
Ruyma Restaurant is located on the 2nd Floor of Paseo de Rosa in Greenfield City, one of those strip malls that seem to be popping up everywhere in the South. Aside from a restaurant, Ryuma is also the name of a Japanese grocery store and baby clothes shop (that also sells the type ladies’ clothes that will end up giving them babies), all of them on the same floor.
The restaurant is part toy store, part home shop, and part museum. Museum to what? I’m not sure. Stuffed toys and toy dispensers line the entrance, a makeshift doorway into the white leather couches and formica topped tables that lie beyond. Aside from toys (all of which are for sale), the restaurant’s decorations include glass decanters (also for sale), a full suit of Japanese armor, a juke box and a dance floor. Top all these with Christmas decorations, and you have one confused eating place. This actually works to its advantage, giving the restaurant a weird kind of split-personality charm that only a Japanese restaurant can pull off. And they also have placemats that look like this:
We haven’t even gotten to the food yet. The restaurant features an extensive menu of Japanese dishes, plus set meals at fairly reasonable prices. It is also a good example of Engrish, Japanese-style English that people find strangely endearing (as opposed to, say Filipino-style English, which people make fun of. Talk about a double standard!), like this:
I settled on the Tofu Steak Teppanyaki (Php185) while my friend ordered the Seafoods (sic) Curry (Php310).
The Tofu Steak Teppanyaki consists of batter-coated blocks of tofu served teppanyaki style with three kinds of fresh mushrooms and a lovely, sweet-umami sauce with the flavor of margarine running underneath that adds richness and binds everything together, tastewise. Even my friend, who won’t eat non-meat dishes if he can help it, admitted that it was tasty.
The Seafoods Curry is shrimp, fish, and octopus cooked in Japanese curry sauce and served with a generous amount of rice and shredded cabbage, with raw garlic and chilies on the side, just in case you think it isn’t hot enough.
We were further entertained by a group of diners whose conversation was dominated by a woman who lectured about subjects as eclectic as the Mayan end of the world to self-help buzzwords such as “FOCUS – Follow one course until success,” which became our Quote of the Day (and should be yours, too). We didn’t have to talk. The menu, ambiance, and fellow diners were entertainment enough.
Sta. Rosa is quite a ways to go for decent Japanese food, but if you’re in the area, Ryuma is worth checking out. I know I’m going to be back because I’ve only tried two dishes out of, oh, lots, and if my enjoyment of the curry and tofu steak are any indication, the others are going to be pretty tasty as well.
Paseo de Sta. Rosa
Commercial Center 4
Greenfield City, Brgy, San Jose
Sta. Rosa City, Laguna