Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Mountain Bays Touch- Medi Spa- Eco Resort and Suites

I decided it was time to have a girlie day, so I invited my niece to have a massage with me at a local spa called Mountain Bays Touch. Monica found it on the internet and was told by friends it was nice. Off we went down the National Highway headed south, left at the PPC City Hall, down a dirt road a bit, and voila! A big surprise at the end of the road!

It was totally worth going and we will be back. In fact they even have
native cottage suites for rent as well as regular rooms, an on site restaurant and a minimal fee for a van to take you to town, as it's a bit out of the Town Center. It's tempting to take Dave there for a bit of a Honeymoon getaway!
The place is well made with detail to landscaping and placement of cozy nooks to sit in. They've used mostly native materials and rocks. The whole place feels clean, lush and very inviting. Beautiful plants and flowers scattered here and there.
I think this particular native Banaue style hut is for massage. There is one that is delightfully and very aethetic with a veranda overlooking the bay and the mangroves.
Beatuful wooden and geometrically pleasing steps lead down the building to the massage rooms. There is a mangrove area off the seaside as the view from the whole place. I was already getting relaxed on the way to my massage.
Very clean massage rooms with privacy drapes and aircons in every stall. The one thing missing was some good background spa music or some such diversion. The massage itself very relaxing, so complaints. I'm more into trigger therapy. Just dig in an nail those aches. However, since it was my intention to just relax, it fit the bill just fine.

 I didn't expect the place to be so sprawling. I'd been to a small salon spa in town and it certainly doesn't compare to this. They don't have a lot of clientele yet it seems, considering how many tourists are in town. I think is so off the beaten track, one really has to know about it to go there.
This hut has a wooden veranda with full view of the bay and mangroves. It is available for overnight guests with a full bathroom with tub and shower, flat screen TV, locking cabinets and airconditioning!

This is inside the hut. A not quite double bed. But it's clean and the porch makes it really nice. The breeze was so delightful off the water, it was blowing the curtains around.

A real bathtub! Very rare this part of the world.
The locking closets. The small room sports a small flat screen TV and a fridge.

A relaxed pair after our massages. It was 600. pesos each. They do take senior discounts as well.
Me and my niece Monica Eleazar Manzano after our massage!

One of the pretty flowers around the property.

A creative use of mahogony seed pod parts, normally raked up and burned or thrown away. I save them too and have been thinking of other uses for them. But this beats burning them anyway.

Mountain Bay's Touch
Sitio Sandiwa, Brgy. Tiniguiban,
Puerto Princesa  Palawan  5300 Philippines
Lant line:  (02)4048321 or
Mobile No.: +63 (916)5524758
E-mail: info@mountainbaypalawan.com
Website: http://www.mountainbaystouch.com

 and can be contacted through  

Bakers Hill Bakery-restaurant-playground-Puerto Princesa

Mitra Road-Sta. Monica
Puerto Princesa, Palawan
Tel. No. (6344) 433-3414

March 30, 2010
I went to Bakers Hill last year in June of 2009. At that time we didn't go far in and were told there was no restaurant, only a bakery.  I was pleasantly surprised today when I went with my niece Monica Eleaza Manzano, who teaches yoga classes here in Puerto Princesa, to check it out. It's no longer just a bakery,  there seem to be a couple of restaurants, but one was closed. A stroll through the grounds was amazing and it's definitely a wonderful place to bring children. Lots of swings and large fiberglass statues of cartoon characters. It is very beautifully landscaped and exceptionally clean. I heard the call of an India peacock, but didn't get down to the aviary. What a pleasant surprise.

Bakers Hill is usually on the schedule of tourist City tours, which includes the Crocodile Farm, Butter Fly Garden , Iwahig prison without Walls, and the City Museum.

The owners home is behind the horse and carriage wooden statue. It is off limits to the public. The park is free to roam in. Please don't litter so the owners won't get annoyed and start charging for entrance to cover all the cleaning fees!

Below photo is my niece Monia Eleazar Manzano, who lives in Puerto and supplies me with our natual baby products for Alysha. She's posing in front of a cutout of a body holding a crocodile. One of the city's other tours is a visit to the Crocodile Farm and nature presere. I guess they are sporting this statue to feature other things to do in the city.
Beautiful flowering vines on several trellises under which are growing bromeliads and other exotic and unusual plants.

Shaded areas house really interesting plants.

An eye candy dish...something to pass by and appreciate.
One of the many play areas for children.
Bird figurines.
Another play area for kids.
It was a rather hot day so I had Halo Halo for lunch. It cost 90.00 pesos and wasn't half bad. I couldn't understand why they brought it to me in a plastic cup when I was seated. I had to ask for a bowl to slosh it around in..the stuff just sloshed all over in that tiny cup. Gee everyone knows you have to have room to stir the halo halo mix.
Cartoon character statues make this fun for kids. They are bigger than life sized. I really can't wait to bring Alysha and her playmate Santi back here.

Best Ube and Mongo Hopia around!! Bakers Hills has turned into a lovely botanical gardens. The owners obviously love exotic plants.

There are now several places to eat..this one, a native hut type below this on the hill and also brick fired Pizza! I can't recommend the pizza as we haven't tried it yet.

Our little daughter Alysha loves going to bakers hill. There are several slides and swings for kids to play on.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Daluyon Resort- Sabang

One of our favorite beach resorts, a little over an hour and a half drive from Puerto Princesa is Daluyon Beach and Mountain Resort. It's the only real upscale resort in that area. It's not an inexpensive place to stay, but everything there is run on large generators so I can imagine how expensive that is to operate.
It also just happens to be very close to where you take the tour to the Puerto Princesa Underground River, a mangrove tour and hiking trails.

They have an airy restaurant surrounded by ponds filled with fish and the occassional monitor lizard trying to escape the heat in the summer months, which are Feb., March and April. The beach front is kept clean, there's a beach side bar, and they even have a swimming pool if you prefer fresh water.

One great thing is that they have WIFI in the restaurant and satelite TV.

This photo of the carabao, or water buffalo cart was taken when we went to Daluyon in July, the rainy season. The car wouldn't pass the muddy road to the resort so they sent this Buffo-cart to fetch us up at the beach at Sabang where we could park the car.

There are other tours to take while at this resort like a hiking trail up the limestone mountains, a mangrove paddle boat tour, and a waterfall is not to bad a hike either.
This is the restaurant.
Shot from the restaurant looking out at the cottages.
A monitor lizard cooling off in the pond surrounding the restaurant!

Nice refreshing pool. I took this in late February 2010. We have been to Daluyon in July, the rainy season. The waves on the beach and the pool are too cool for me to swim in at that time.

To find out more about Daluyon Resort, go to their website at: http://www.daluyonresort.com/  
The beach in front of Daluyon Resort. In Feb and March, the waves are manageable. Not sure about April. Will have to go back then and let you know!
Taken in July of 2009 at Daluyon
Me and Alysha enjoying the water on the beach at Daluyon. Be sure to wear sunblock! We did..the sun is very strong this part of the world!

Marketing in Puerto Princesa

Puerto Princesa Palawan, supplies 43% of Manila's fresh seafood. We are lucky enough to be able to hop down to the local wet market, or palengke and find all sorts of fresh fish at a relatively low cost, compared to Manila. Not much is more than 15 minutes away from where we live, and that includes the palengke. The main annoyance at the wet market in town are the ubiquitous gas tricycles, which clog every nook and cranny.

I don't even know what sort of fish and shells they are. I am told that the presence of parrot fish, although truly colorful, is a bad sign. It means we are over fishing and that now we are eating fish that normally would be left for scuba divers to view. I've learned to eat Lato, a seaweed grown in farms around Puerto and Palawan in general.
One business I feel more people should get into here is fish farming of popular fish like Lapu Lapu, Sea bass and the like. If I ever get enough time from building our electric trike business, I want to do this myself with some knowledgeable partners.

The other alternate market in Puerto Princesa, is called the San Jose New Market. It's an outdoor stall affair and they are open on the weekends, although there are now permanent stalls for native furniture, rice, dried fish etc. The vegetables though, are freshest from Friday through Sunday. It's off the National Highway and everyone knows where it is, ask any tricycle driver.

The fish and meat stalls are open all week, not just on weekends like the outdoor stalls and you can find vegetables all week long, not just on week ends anymore.

We prefer to shop at the San Jose New Market because there is a lot more parking the the old market in town. But if you are into seafood, the largest variety still remains at the wet market or palengke downtown.

Some shelled capiz clams and seaweed called Lato. Really salty and the grape like pods pop in your mouth like caviar. Tradionally served plain and then dipped in native vinegar with onions and chiles if you like hot stuff.

Sea Urchins.....not sure how they prepare them..the Uni in them seemed scrawny.

They even eat sea shells here. I see these a lot at the New San Jose open market.

If you prefer a more modern setting, then there is ONE supermarket in Puerto Princesa, it's called NCCC and it carries everything most supermarkets have, plus they even have a department store on the 2nd and 3rd floors.